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The Malik Report

‘Asking Ansar’ about Ken Holland and St. James on ‘sell mode’

Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

1. MLive's Ansar Khan penned a column of "Ask Ansar" questions and answers, including something I've been saying for a while now:

Q: The Wings are doomed. Hopefully there'll be a new GM to make the expected resulting higher picks. Holland's made too many mistakes. Maybe with Mike (owner Ilitch) gone there'll be a change. Wonder if (senior vice president Jimmy) Devellano could step in temporarily. - Clyde.

A: Holland has one year remaining on his contract and I expect he'll fulfill it. Maybe he'll retire or take another position in the organization after next season.

(At this point, it appears that Kris Draper or Ryan Martin will replace Holland a summer from now)

You can criticize him for giving too much money and term in contracts to Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm and Danny DeKeyser, and for not starting the rebuild a couple years ago, but the playoff streak was important to the organization.

I don't blame them for trying to retool on the fly and doing what they could to keep the run going, including signing veteran free agents Mike Green, Brad Richards, Frans Nielsen and Thomas Vanek, and unloading Pavel Datsyuk's cap hit, in the process forgoing the opportunity to pick defenseman Jacob Chychrun 16th overall in 2016.

Now that the run has all but officially ended, it's time to rebuild in earnest.

Devellano is not stepping in.

Khan continues, and the Free Press's Helene St. James suggests that the Wings should sell, sell sell:

Today was a scheduled day off (the collective bargaining agreement requires that NHL players get four days off per month, and even though the Wings have their World Cup of Hockey-required five-day bye at the end of this month, none of those days counts against the four). The Wings next play Saturday afternoon, when they host the NHL-leading Washington Capitals (2 p.m., FSD, NHL Network), followed by a Sunday matinee at Pittsburgh. It’d be almost a miracle if their losing streak isn’t at seven by Monday. Coming out of their bye week, the Wings go to western Canada, starting a March that features four back-to-backs and the tripleheader Minnesota-Carolina-Carolina adventure. Sixteen games are crammed into 28 days.

The Wings would be best served by shifting to seller mode already, in advance of the March 1 trade deadline. They play two contenders this weekend -- Stanley Cup hopefuls that could have interest in rental players such as pending unrestricted free agents Thomas Vanek and Brendan Smith. Other trade partners include Anaheim (which needs scoring help) and Chicago.

Vanek has been terrific, better than the Wings hoped for when they took a chance on him over the summer. He has raved about how much he and his family like it here. Ideally, general manager Ken Holland sits down with Vanek, talks to him about the benefit of flipping him for a draft pick (Vanek has acknowledged he understands why it could happen) and then reuniting this summer.

In Smith’s case, there is a good chance that he goes elsewhere this summer anyways, so it's better to try to get a draft pick or prospect for him, if possible. If there are good offers for other players -- Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou and Dylan Larkin are untouchable -- the Wings should stockpile as many draft picks or prospects as possible, with an eye partly on a future package deal for an upgrade on defense.

Update: NHL.com's Arpon Basu weighed in on the "Trade Buzz" surrounding the Red Wings as well:

Detroit's streak of 25 straight seasons reaching the playoffs is in trouble, especially after their loss at home against the Blues on Wednesday, and general manager Ken Holland has to seriously consider cashing in some of his assets at the deadline.

Holland never has been in this position before, so it will be interesting to see his approach.

The Red Wings enter play Thursday last in the Eastern Conference with 54 points, nine points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second wild card into the playoffs. The Red Wings not only have to catch the Maple Leafs, but also leapfrog the seven teams that sit between them in the standings.

Not a likely scenario.

Forwards Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott and defenseman Brendan Smith can become unrestricted free agents July 1, and each of them has varying degrees of value as trade commodities ahead of the deadline.

Vanek, 33, probably is the most attractive of the three with 14 goals and 36 points in 44 games. He also leads the Red Wings with five power-play goals and 10 power-play points.

There reportedly were 18 NHL pro scouts in attendance at the Blues-Red Wings game Wednesday, and although that is rarely a reliable indicator of anything, it is an unusually high number.

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Comments

MurrayChadwick's avatar

(At this point, it appears that Kris Draper or Ryan Martin will replace Holland a summer from now)

OMG NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!

You guys think Holland is bad, this would be the worst thing to happen to this franchise. Ryan Martin is just a terd, and Draper is far from the coldest beer in an unplugged fridge.  The Wings should go get Dave Tallon, he may not be able to finish the product, but he can certainly draft the right pieces, and that’s what we need right now.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Hey Hey Hockeyfart on 02/16/17 at 03:23 PM ET

Avatar

Don’t stay internal.

Posted by ilovehomers on 02/16/17 at 03:39 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

(At this point, it appears that Kris Draper or Ryan Martin will replace Holland a summer from now)

That’s just Malik.  It’s not possible that the young Ilitch is that stupid.

Posted by MoreShoot on 02/16/17 at 03:45 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

(At this point, it appears that Kris Draper or Ryan Martin will replace Holland a summer from now)

OMG NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!

On this we can agree.  Ownership has to see this group needs some new blood and fresh ideas, not just Holland’s yes men.

Tallon makes champs, period.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 02/16/17 at 03:47 PM ET

Primis's avatar

RE: DET-related trade buzz:

I fully expect the Wings to not make a single trade and for this group to go into June completely unchanged in either direction.

It is truly probably the absolute worst thing they could do, and therefore it is what I expect.  I haven’t even read much lately on the trade market for this very reason, because I don’t want to be further disappointed somehow.

Posted by Primis on 02/16/17 at 04:26 PM ET

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“Wonder if (senior vice president Jimmy) Devellano could step in temporarily. - Clyde.”

Wow! Guess we haven’t hit rock bottom yet. Coach Edsuck anyone?

Posted by leftwing on 02/16/17 at 05:46 PM ET

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(At this point, it appears that Kris Draper or Ryan Martin will replace Holland a summer from now)

This makes me want to curl up in the fetal position and cry a little.

Posted by Steve1306 on 02/16/17 at 05:48 PM ET

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The Wings should go get Dave Tallon, he may not be able to finish the product, but he can certainly draft the right pieces, and that’s what we need right now.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Hey Hey Hockeyfart on 02/16/17 at 02:23 PM ET[

I gotta agree and if you can’t get Talon please get a quality candidate outside the Red Wings organization. I assume Holland will stay until his contract expires so I don’t look for much in the way of changes until he goes.

Posted by Mackster from Eastern Canada on 02/16/17 at 05:48 PM ET

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They’ll trade Vanek. But that’s probably it. (Maybe Smith if they can get a taker, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Holland resign him because Holland.)

For the most part though, I’m not concerned about most of our bad contracts. Most likely nobody will take them and if we’re going to suck anyway, we might as well sit on them until the inevitable buyout doesn’t stay on the cap for too long.

It’s going to be a sucky couple of years, but I don’t know that there’s much else to be done.

Posted by McG on 02/16/17 at 05:49 PM ET

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Still deluding myself into believing Stevie will eventually come back.

Posted by McG on 02/16/17 at 05:51 PM ET

Primis's avatar

There reportedly were 18 NHL pro scouts in attendance at the Blues-Red Wings game Wednesday, and although that is rarely a reliable indicator of anything, it is an unusually high number.

I don’t know why DET fans find this interesting.  STL has Shattenkirk, and people still expect something to happen there.

Put it another way, if 18 scouts were there, probably 14 of them were there to see Shattenkirk.

Posted by Primis on 02/16/17 at 05:52 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Still deluding myself into believing Stevie will eventually come back.

Posted by McG on 02/16/17 at 04:51 PM ET

Given the corner he painted himself into in TB… are you sure you want Yzerman as a GM?

Ultimately so far in TB, Yzerman’s legacy is alienating and losing Martin St. Louis, the whole Drouin fiasco and kinda’ lucking out that his stubborn approach paid off, getting kinda’ lucky in re-signing Stamkos in the 11th hour, and now signing himself into a cap nightmare situation with a team that’s maybe/probably still going to miss the playoffs.

Maybe he’s fine and learning from his mistakes, but there are starting to be some red flags there.

Posted by Primis on 02/16/17 at 05:57 PM ET

DocF's avatar

I fail to understand how the teaming minions here can be so negative about Kris Draper when he has never been in position to do the job of general manager.  But then, I fail to understand the level of bitching by these same teaming minions when times were better. 

Go into sell mode.  Find someone who is willing to accept the limitations of Vanek and Smith as rentals and get what we can.  See if anyone is interested enough in Green and/or Nielsen to make it worthwhile.  And understand that draft choices are not instant gratification, but maybe three years down the road for a payoff (or in the case of Edmonton, maybe never). 

The reason the Red Wings are in this mess cap wise is because the rules were changed after the deals were done.  Do we not understand this?  I hate it, but we got screwed because we are not the favored flavor of the day for the Evil Garden Gnome.

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 02/16/17 at 06:48 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

A: Holland has one year remaining on his contract and I expect he’ll fulfill it. Maybe he’ll retire or take another position in the organization after next season.

Yup. Executive, Super GM.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 02/16/17 at 07:43 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

Any bets that Holland makes no moves, and when asked why not, he responds: “The asking price was Larkin.” 

Bonus points if he then lights a cigar with a $100 bill and zips away from the media scrum on a segway.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 02/16/17 at 08:42 PM ET

AzWingsFan's avatar

I would like to see both Jimmy D and Holland retired and offer Stevie the Presidentss job and let him do what Toronto has let Shanahan do.  Will it happen? Doubt it, but the whole front office really is where the Wings need to start the rebuild before it totally starts on the ice.

Posted by AzWingsFan on 02/16/17 at 08:42 PM ET

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The reason the Red Wings are in this mess cap wise is because the rules were changed after the deals were done.

I didn’t realize the likes of Helm and Abdelkader were signed before the rule changes? Here I thought Helm was a free agent just 7 months ago.

Posted by ilovehomers on 02/16/17 at 08:42 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

https://www.wunderground.com/US/FL/Tampa.html

If you had a mansion in Tampa over the winter season would you move back to Detroit?

Stevie ain’t comin’ back.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 02/16/17 at 09:55 PM ET

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Kris Draper or Ryan Martin will be the next GM? 

“Hey, who was first mate on the Hindenburg?  Let’s get that guy!”

Posted by captaineclectic on 02/17/17 at 12:20 AM ET

WingedRider's avatar

Fun to speculate but WTH do you do with all the NT/NM contracts??  Goon Goose gets a , I will be in Detroit forever.

Watch KH miss the opportunity to move him.  I think Tatar is 2 yrs away.

Green is the only DMan worth anything.Even some of the bottom 6 are locked up for more than a couple of years. Sheahan, LGD, Helm (yes Helm u are not top 6), Miller, .. Fill in with GR prospects. The Bowmans do it in Chicago

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 02/17/17 at 12:53 AM ET

NIVO's avatar

put half the team o waivers and bring up the black aces LOL

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 02/17/17 at 03:28 AM ET

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No doubt most of the bad signings were well post-cap and new CBA.

Agree with some that Ericsson’s deal was the worst; but still a little high
in $ and definitely longer than necessary.

Abdelkader is frequently mentioned in league-wide media as
having one of the most insane terms in any present deal.

Was someone else seriously going to sign Helm for more than 3.85
or whatever it is and for equal term? For a player who misses half
a season every other year and has never been anything better
than a very good third-line checking center, that’s where you
say: we like you, but you’re not a core player or getting any younger,
more skilled or less injury prone. But Holland basically signals that he
really would like to get a deal done because of a family lake cabin connection.

Glendening was the first preemptive “let me overpay you, because in
spite of you being a very limited role player, I underpaid you too much
last time” deal I have ever heard of in the NHL. Pre-Cleary I mean.

If it’s keep Pav’s cap space and set a clear limit with Helm and don’t
sign

One really basic question so general it’s almost never been asked, is:
What does it say that the GM bet, spent and invested (quite long-term!)
in players designed to help barely extend the streak. Here we are,
bottom of the conference, first in cap total. None of us has a crystal ball. Certain
variables are out of anyone’s control. But that’s a massive misjudgement
of the state and competitiveness of his team, by the guy who is paid
to know best.

Dekeyser: Signed in Detroit because he’s a born and raised Michigan
kid and Wings fan. He should know he’s valued in Detroit and will
play a large role on defense for years. But there’s no sample size
nor need justify overpaying in money and term so soon.
Again, it’s paying the guys most connected and invested in the area
like they are another team’s coveted UFAs.

At this point, I think we’re all agreed that, as hard as it is to see our
proud and still very productive captain go through this, it’s time
for the team to play more kids and pick high. In fact, Larkin
and Mantha have seemingly enlivened Z’s game at times, too.
Let’s watch the kids and build for the future.

Hopefully, in the meantime there will be enough room for reflection
and careful consideration at the top of the organization about how to reorient
this team.

Whether Stevie Y really wants to come back and face the pressure
and constant attention in rebuilding his old team in the town where
he’s a household name is obviously his call. I think it’s a little too early
too to say that Tampa’s suddenly in such a bad place cap and roster-wise.

Same with Nill in Dallas.

Neither guy has been perfect by any means.

Everyone’s surprised at how much both teams have underperformed

But looking at their caps, systems, rosters, demonstrated ability of both
GMs to be creative in moving and adding players, I think both are
in and have created better situations for themselves than Holland has for sure.

And maybe both really wanted a new start and their own gig
a little more under the radar, less in the shadow of everyone they worked with
before.

Who knows?

Both would be an improvement.

It’s great to have sharp Wings alums in the mix.

But there’s no need to limit oneself to just alums and incumbents.

This front office needs a huge infusion of new ideas, passion and insight.

Posted by Lefty30 on 02/17/17 at 04:39 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

I fail to understand how the teaming minions here can be so negative about Kris Draper when he has never been in position to do the job of general manager. 
Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 02/16/17 at 05:48 PM ET

Having met Draper, and having dealt with people who closely have worked with and deal with Draper, he’s not known as the savviest person to work a room if you will, as I try to be nice to a former player, unlike Yzerman and Shanahan, putting Draper in a GM position of any NHL hockey team would be a disaster.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Hey Hey Hockeyfart on 02/17/17 at 10:15 AM ET

Avatar

Holland has one year remaining on his contract and I expect he’ll fulfill it. Maybe he’ll retire or take another position in the organization after next season.

This is what I fully expect will happen and that truly sucks. I really don’t want Holland in position to make what are more critical decisions moving forward. Frankly, I don’t even want him handling the trade deadline moves. He’s apt to get fleeced or somehow take a bad contract in return.

It’s not likely but what happens if the Wings bounce back next season and those underachievers are back to their previous levels, maybe sneaking into the playoffs again. Suddenly Holland is in good graces and gets and extension YIKES!

I really don’t want Holland replaced with somebody from within or someone with Detroit ties (Nill, Yzerman). I think they desperately need fresh blood. Tallon does appear to the best option right now. But I fully expect the organization will seek a GM from within or Nill/Yzerman IF they become available. If they go that way, might as well see what Chelios can do as a head coach. At least it would be interesting and he wouldn’t settle for players that don’t work hard.

Posted by evileye on 02/17/17 at 10:24 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Draper?


DRAPER????


FFS, tell me this is a joke?!?!?!?!

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 02/17/17 at 10:45 AM ET

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Ultimately so far in TB, Yzerman’s legacy is alienating and losing Martin St. Louis

Losing MSL? Yzerman traded a 37 year old on his last legs for a 29 year old Callahan and wait for it, got a first rounder and a second rounder on top of it. One of the best trades in the last 5 years if you ask me. He also had no issue buying out the face of the franchise Lecavalier because it was a good business decision. Part of the reason he was able to accomlish it is the fact he did not have any long term personal connections with those players. And this is exactly why we desperately need somebody from outside to become a new GM. I do not know if Draper can be a good GM, but he is personally connected to all the players KH is giving out contracts too, so it will be more of the same.

Posted by VPalmer on 02/17/17 at 11:48 AM ET

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re-signing Stamkos in the 11th hour

Does not matter when he resigned Stamkos. The end result is he resigned him (and Stamkos did not even talk to any other team) and he managed to resign him for about $3 mil less per year that Stamkos was rumored to get as a free agent. KH signed Helm in the 11th hour….

now signing himself into a cap nightmare situation

Yzerman signed Stamkos and Hedman at below market prices, that’s a big accomplishment right there. On defense he signed/traded for Garrison, Stralman, Coburn, etc. Looking at their roster, there are almost no bad contracts there (maybe 2-3 at most). Yes, this summer will be a problem, but it’s because they have too many good players (sort of like Chicago). We are in a worse cap situation and do not have a single star on the roster. So, to me, Yzerman job performance as a GM has been a success.

Posted by VPalmer on 02/17/17 at 12:10 PM ET

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I don’t think the Bolts cap “nightmare” is something that should be a negative against Yzerman. In fact, it’s probably a positive. The only reason they are in this mess is because they had a lot of quality players, drafted and developed in their system, needing big contracts at about the same time. It’s a much better situation than being strapped to the cap with a bunch of underachievers or players on the backside of their careers.

I’m sure some will point to this season as a failure for Yzerman. It’s certainly not good but I fully expect the team will be fine headed forward. They have too much growing talent not to succeed. The expansion draft may cost them a valuable asset and the cap might lose them another but they can move pieces and still be very competitive. They’ll have to follow the Chicago model and fill out the rest of their roster with inexperienced prospects but at least they have solid pieces in front of them.

Posted by evileye on 02/17/17 at 12:21 PM ET

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Comparing the TB cap situation to the Wings is insane.  Yes TB has cap constraints, but it also has an abundance of young talent.  It is a surprise that TB isn’t doing better.  Some of which injuries are to blame.  Detroit is in a worse cap situation and its core is aged and there isn’t strong talent coming up.

Do you want to compare TB:
Can we sign Johnson, Palat, or Drouin because we made LT deals with Stamkos, Hedman, and Kucherov

to Det:
Can we sign Mantha, Larkin or Tatar because we made LT deals to Abdelkader, Helm, and Glendenning

Yeah I could see where you would think TB is in a much worse position…

Posted by murph1jj on 02/17/17 at 12:26 PM ET

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We have just over 10M plus any cap growth to sign 5 forwards and 2 dmen at his point.

The forwards would include Vanek, Tatar, Anthanasiou, Jurco, and Ott’s spot.

Dmen are Ouellet and Jensen.

This excludes any meaningful cap trades, or the expansion draft helping us.

While any and all may or may not be resigned, and some are RFA, all except Ott I believe would expect a raise, and KH has no history of not providing.

BTW, the next year is Larkin, Mantha, Sheahan, Sproul, Green, Mrazek, and Coreau

The only substantial saving would be not resigning Green, which is still one of our best D

Posted by murph1jj on 02/17/17 at 12:45 PM ET

Colin's avatar

Yzerman is the guy. St. Louis trade was more one-sided than an interrogation mirror. Lecavlier buyout was as ballsy as it was smart. Excellent moves to upgrade D. Signed a top-5 center and top-5 defenseman to big discounts long term, a master class in cap management. He dealt with the petulant Drouin well, and now Drouin is a contributor on the team.

To those saying he won’t come back because winter:

a. He’s a Canadian
b. His family is still here

The only reason he wouldn’t is because taxes, but this is the job he was always meant to have.

Now onto the monkey in charge of the bananas, Holland.

You get a free pass on the following contracts:
Zetterberg: Pre-CBA and that was the league norm at the time
Kronwall: Pre-CBA and that was the league norm at the time
Franzen: Pre-CBA and that was the league norm at the time. The only issue I have is Hossa is going to the HOF, was a much better and more consistent player than Franzen, played well in all situations, and is making about the same money and still playing at a high level in Chicago. This was Holland being stupidly short-sighted, but you can’t really fault him for the actual contract.
Howard: Might be an unpopular opinion, but $5.3m/yr over 5 years to a goalie who was in the top tier when his contract was signed isn’t bad unless your abysmal defense wears him down over time and forces him to have bad injury issues.
Nielsen: He’s a very good player and a good mentor type as we transition from Z and onto Larkin/Athanasiou.
Green: He was the right player to get at the time, however it wasn’t enough to just go out and get a 2nd-pairing offensive DMan, we needed more.
Vanek: No explanation needed.

You get light scolding on these:
Nyquist: Yes he was lighting the lamp repeatedly when you signed him, but he never showed the type of poise and toughness you ridicule your new young core over. Very small sample size as well. A side effect of our “brilliant” over-ripening strategy. You bring up a guy like him, he lights it up for a year and a half, but because you brought him up so late you have to sign him to a high-value bridge-deal we are now stuck with.
DeKeyser: In the grand scheme of things, this contract isn’t bad. Yes, he is underperforming. He’s also being played in completely the wrong way. He’s a stay at home defenseman who could be a solid #2 next to a Shattenkirk, but next to a 2P guy that doesn’t defend at all like Green, he looks horrible. Put DeKeyser on a top-pairing with a real #1 who can compliment DeKeyser’s steadfastness in our zone with some aggressiveness and his contract suddenly makes perfect sense.

Now for the WHAT THE F&%@ WERE YOU THINKING section:
Ericsson: An at-best middle pairing big DMan who wasn’t physical or a good puck mover got re-signed mid-season to a long term deal. Add in that Holland knew about his hip condition at the time… I struggle to think what that contract would’ve looked like had he been perfectly healthy.
Helm: Never been more than a good checking 3C. No hands, glass bones. How this justified a 5yr deal for almost $4m per season is way beyond me, and probably any other GM that was laughing hysterically when they heard about this deal.
Abdelkader: I wanted to like this deal. He’s the closest we have to a power forward on this team, and I really really hope he turns things around next season. However, 7yr deals are for FRANCHISE players, NOT middle-6 borderline power forwards. If this was a 4yr deal, I’d be cool with the cap hit.
Ott & Miller: These guys were totally unnecessary. With how inconsequential they have been this season, you’d have been better off bringing up Callahan and Bertuzzi to play with Glendening. Actually, that could’ve been a pretty good 4th line.

 

Posted by Colin on 02/17/17 at 01:43 PM ET

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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.

 

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