The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/22/12 at 03:20 AM ET
What The Chief does is harder than one might think. That whole combination of earnest snark and a willingness to play the Don Cherry of Red Wings blogdom boor for the sake of baiting those who dislike and sometimes detest the Winged Wheel by issuing the verbal equivalent of bloody fish guts and 8-day-old octopus…I can’t pull off that s*** for the life of me. I do the earnest typing monkey thing. The charismatic leadership is reserved for our friend who’s somewhere in the Pacific where the internet does not reach….
But I believe he would feel it necessary to suggest that the press box at Joe Louis Arena might be “no place for a nervous person” when the Colorado Avalanche come to town on Saturday night, given that a certain employee of the Denver Post (who Wings fans call the “Space Canoe” and I call Adrian Dater) chose to get out a season-and-a-half’s of mixed feelings bout Kyle Quincey in analyzing the three-team trade which gave the Colorado Avalanche Steve Downie, the Red Wings Kyle Quincey and the Tampa Bay Lightning Detroit’s 1st round draft pick and minor-leaguer Sebastien Piche:
As for Quincey: Honestly, I thought he was going to be a tremendous player here for many years to come, after watching him play the first couple months as an Av in 2009. He was the team’s best player in those months, a big, physical defender who did smart things with the puck and had something to give at the offensive end too.
And then? And then, I’m really not sure what happened. His game just never seemed to match that level at all. I try to be honest about every player I cover, and while I think he was a respectable player for most of his time here, I just almost never found myself going, “Wow, what a play by Quincey!” in the last two years. He just seemed like any other guy out there too often. Maybe that is a compliment in a way to a defenseman – the more you notice them, very often it’s in the bad sense. But after believing this guy could be a strong, No. 1 D-man on a team, too often you just had the feeling of “Oh yeah, Quincey played too.”
Thing is, he doesn’t have to be very good to be a good pickup for the Red Wings. He is likely a very good 4-6 D-man, but a 1-3? I wasn’t seeing it anymore. He turned the puck over at times, in often crucial moments (he was tied for second on the team in giveaways with 29). His bad play with the puck essentially cost the Avs a point in Vancouver the other night, with time running out in regulation.
Personally, I never had any problems covering a guy like Quincey, but I never felt like I had any bond with him at all either. I suspect I’m not alone in that feeling. I know for a fact that Quincey didn’t help his standing in the eyes of team management when, after being eligible to play again after a concussion in December he essentially said “I wish I hadn’t reported my injury” after the Avs held him out a few more games (because the team was winning without him). Fair or not, it created the impression that Quincey cared more about himself than the team winning.
And as for the Red Wings?
A few people have anointed the Wings the winner of this trade, but don’t be so easily fooled about the Wings. They massively messed up a couple years ago taking Landon Ferraro one pick ahead of Ryan O’Reilly at the 2009 draft (I can still picture Avs scouts doing high-fives after Detroit picked Ferraro instead of O’Reilly) and for all the bluster about them being invincible this year: that’s what everyone said the last two years too, when they had similarly fine regular-season records, only to be bounced out of the playoffs like a superball on pavement by the San Jose Sharks in the early rounds.
Fact is, I’d take Vancouver over the Wings in a playoff matchup right now. Plus, Pavel Datsyuk just had knee surgery. The Wings said he’ll only miss two weeks, but the Wings are famous for underreporting the severity of injuries to the public. You might as well put “Times three” next to any Wings public proclamation for how long a guy will be out, or how long it’ll take for him to be effective again.
Yes, because Datsyuk on one leg is a terrible player, and the kind of arthroscopic “clean-up” job that takes 2-3 weeks to recover from cannot possibly take 2-3 weeks to recover from.
In any case, methinks that Mr. Dater is the one who’s warming up for this weekend’s game by chumming the Wings fan waters, and I respectfully accept his comments as his knowledgeable opinion, but again, I’m not the Chief.
And I’d rather suggest that we listen to what Ken Holland and Quincey himself had to say to NHL.com’s Brian Hedger (I’d make a Darren Garcia joke, too, but one of my best pals is a Wings fan who gets called, “Fag!” at Avs games and then stands up, turns around and looks politely down from his 6’4” frame and says, “Why yes, I am, do you have a problem with that?”):
“I don’t think there’s any one reason you make this deal, unless it’s a complete rental, and this isn’t a rental,” Holland told NHL.com prior to Detroit’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on Tuesday night. “We paid a bigger price than a rental price, but he’s [a restricted free agent], he’s 26 and he’s really just coming into his prime. We’re trying to get deeper on the back end as we head into this year’s playoffs, but he also is part of our team going forward.”
Quincey, who’s making $3.125 million this season according to Capgeek.com, was also part of the Red Wings going backward. After breaking into the League with Detroit and playing just 13 regular-season games spread over three years – along with a 13-game playoff stint in 2007 – Quincey was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Kings prior to the 2008 season. Quincey scored four goals with 34 assists in 72 games that season with the Kings, who then traded him to Colorado – where he played for almost three seasons until Tuesday’s trades that sent him back to Detroit. Now that he’s come full circle, Quincey is excited to be a Red Wing again. The way it looks initially, Quincey is expected to be in uniform and play his first game back with Detroit on Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks – when the Red Wings will be trying to extend their NHL-record home winning streak to 24 games.
“I’m coming to a great team and have a chance to win a [Stanley] Cup,” he said on a conference call with reporters in Chicago on Tuesday night. “That’s your dream as a kid growing up. Just coming home, where I got drafted, obviously I know pretty much every single one of the guys on the team – which is kind of weird. I’m just looking forward to it. Anxious to get there.”
“He’s a top four D-man in Colorado and he’s played 20-plus minutes a night,” Holland told NHL.com. “He can play the second power play. He can play with Nick Lidstrom. He can play with Ericsson. He can play with [Ian White]. He gives Mike Babcock options.”
Quincey wasn’t hoping to play with Nick on Thursday, but….
“Just from the outside looking in, I really don’t know much but we’ve got great chemistry in the top four [already] and I played with [Ericsson] down in the minors,” Quincey said. “If that’s where I start, that’s fine with me. Just go from there.”
And why did Holland make the move?
“If we’re going to go anywhere, we’re going to need more than six D,” he said. “Now we’ve got eight. I’d rather have too many than not enough. You can’t have enough defensemen in the NHL. They’re hard to find.”
“We know him and probably never should’ve let him go in the first place … but we did,” Holland told NHL.com. “We reacquired Igor Larionov when he went to Florida many years ago and brought him back. I reacquired Chris Osgood and I re-acquired Dominik Hasek and have now re-acquired Kyle Quincey. Again, it’s not a rental. We’re trading a first-round draft pick for a 26-year old defenseman that can play in the NHL for a number of years.”
For the record, here’s what Steve Yzerman had to say to the Bolts’ press, per the Tampa bay Lightning’s website, about making the move:
What does this mean for you, these moves today?
Well again, we’ve had a lot of talk with Al Murray and myself to discuss the issues about the needs we may have to address. We look at the team that we are today and the trades that we’ve made in the last week, and the players that we’ve moved out for draft picks. We obviously felt the return we got made the trades worth doing, and our options today were to keep Steve Downie, Kyle Quincey for the first-round pick. We wanted that first-round draft pick , so that’s how that decision was made.
The other night you said you had options with all these draft picks. Do you feel like you have more options now?
I think so. If we have draft-related or trade-related options to acquire some players; we have some flexibility. We can hang on to some of those picks and if a move comes up where a team is looking to move a player; there’s a lot of options for us.
When we get to the draft, we can move up or move down and do a lot of different things. When you look at today, we traded players off of our roster to get draft picks, but I think it puts us ahead in the long run.
What’s the message you send to the players who still feel like, being just six points out, there’s still a chance for the playoffs?
Obviously, I traded three players for draft picks. These moves are made to make us better in the future. Any situation that comes along from today through the trade deadline and into the off-season is something we’re willing to look at.
Our picks give us options. My goal is to win a Stanley Cup here, and I think we have to do some tough and difficult things along the way to do that. We need young players. We need to draft well and build that way, and this was an opportunity to take advantage of that and acquire more picks, and relatively high picks. The message to our players has been that I want to win a Stanley Cup and I’m going to do what I have to do to get us there.
Was there ever a moment today where you thought about keeping Kyle Quincey? How difficult was he to pass up?
Initially, the discussions were with Colorado about Kyle Quincey. I thought more about him and talked to other general managers around the league as to what they were looking for and his name came up. You take everything into consideration: contract status, where they’re going to fit on your team, the type of player they are, and we had to think if we wanted Kyle Quincey or a first-round pick. I thought we should take the first-round pick.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.