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Canadian Winter Classic and Alfredsson reunion on American Thanksgiving

Various luminaries and political types from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, the State of Michigan, City of Detroit, the State and U.S. legislature, the province of Ontario and City of Toronto will be making their presence known at the Winter Classic on New Year's Day, but I can only shake my head at this report from the Toronto Sun's Joe Warmington, who reports that the worst mayor since Kwame Kilpatrick is sure to do his best to steal the spotlight:

There are 107,000 hockey fans expected at the New Year’s Day outdoor NHL Winter Classic in Michigan and Mayor Rob Ford says he plans to be one of them.

“Definitely,” the mayor said of the much anticipated Jan. 1 game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings. “I don’t have the plans worked out yet but I want to go.”

There are only single seats left and Ford says he will be buying his own. And paying his own transportation to Ann Arbor too.

It’s unclear if Ford will try to take his family to the game or travel down with a group of fans. It’s also unknown if the mayor will also partake in the alumni game, on New Year’s Eve, inside the Detroit Tigers’ stadium, Comerica Park.

“It’s all logistics,” said the mayor’s chief of staff, Dan Jacobs.

Via RedWingsFeed, the Maple Leafs' website very, very happily posted a HBO Sports YouTube clip promoting the 24/7 series (Rob Ford won't be followed by HBO's cameras) with a little more Maple Leafs emphasis and blue and white over red and white:

Sportsnet has been positing a list of "Top 20 '24/7' Characters," and today, Kristina Rutherford broke the rules and suggested that Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel should be tied for #2nd.

The Windsor Star's Bob Duff at least offered a "Canadian Take" on the Hockeytown Winter Festival that's worth reading for its discussion of the Winter Festival's impact upon downtown Detroit:

“The preference for the Ilitches was to play everything at Comerica, but that would have really limited access,“ NHL chief operating officer John Collins said. “With Toronto being involved in this game, we had an unbelievable opportunity. That was the genesis of the idea to get the Big House.”

[Olympia Entertainmen CEO Tom] Wilson admitted that once the notion of setting an NHL record for attendance was broached, the Wings were immediately on board with the plan.

“It wasn’t just setting a record for a hockey game, the thought was, ‘What are we going to do with the demand (for tickets)?’” Wilson said. “If we played at Comerica, the season-ticket holders from Detroit and Toronto would have gobbled up everything and not every fan would have had the opportunity to enjoy this.”

Instead, they anticipate some 35,000 Leafs fans trekking to Ann Arbor for the game, which should draw a crowd in excess of 107,000.

“The vision to let the Winter Classic game get out to the Big House was a big idea and a gracious moment on the part of the Red Wings organization,” Collins added. “Involving the Toronto region in this game is going to make it special and probably the biggest game we’ll ever do.”


The process of turning the Big House into a hockey house gets underway next Tuesday.

“We’ll work through Dec. 23, take a break for the holidays and come back on Dec. 26 and really finish up everything we have to do,” [NHL executive VP of events Don] Ranzuilli said. “The teams will be out there for practice on Dec. 31. They’ll get two hours each on the ice.”




In news from another hockey-mad Canadian locale: reported yesterday, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk told Ottawa's Team 1200 that he plans on issuing a video tribute to Daniel Alfredsson on Sunday (the Wings play in Ottawa at 5 PM, and the game will air on FSD and TSN), which the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch confirms that news...

Daniel Alfredsson will be welcomed back with open arms Sunday.

As reported by the Sun earlier this month, Senators' owner Eugene Melnyk confirmed Wednesday the club will pay tribute to its former captain with a pre-game video when he returns with the Detroit Red Wings.

"We'll recognize what Daniel has done in Ottawa and what he means to our fans," Melnyk told TSN 1200 Wednesday.

"There's no question we're going to honour him and make sure that everybody is behind him.

"We're going to do a very nice tribute video before the game starts. Hopefully, everyone gets to their seats early and watches. We now have a new captain, new team and all we can do is wish Daniel the best. I think he'll be happy and the fans will be happy. We're going to give him his due recognition."

And the Sun's positing a "survey" for Senators fans...

The player many consider the best to wear an Ottawa Senators jersey (in the modern era) returns to town sporting new colours on Sunday.

We want to know how you feel now about Daniel Alfredsson, and his decision to bolt the Senators for Detroit during the summer. Are you still angry, did Ottawa get an upgrade when they signed Bobby Ryan in his stead? Is Alfie's leadership gap a reason the team has been so inconsistent?

Take our 60-second poll and let us know. Then watch for the results online and in the Ottawa Sun on Sunday.

Here are its options:

Q.1 It's been 6 months since Alfie bolted for Detroit. How do you feel about it now? *

  •     Still angry at the Senators
  •     Still angry at Alfie
  •     Still angry at everyone
  •     I've moved on. Looking ahead, not back
  •     Was glad to see him go
  •     Didn't care then, don't care now

Q.2 The Senators let Daniel Alfredsson go as a free agent, but then signed Bobby Ryan. Which team ends up further ahead? *

  •     Detroit with Alfie
  •     Sens with Ryan

Q.3 Do you think the Senators miss Alfie's leadership, on and off the ice? *

  •     Yes
  •     No

Q.4 If you are attending Sunday's game, or could attend the game, how would you greet Alfie? *

  •     Cheer like crazy
  •     Boo him
  •     Sit on my hands



And finally, via RedWingsFeed again, McGill University posted a set of photos from its Fall Convocation, and this picture of one Honorary Doctor of Laws Causa taken by Owen Egan is absolutely priceless:




In case you missed it, Fox Sports Detroit also posited a broacasting announcement of Griffins and Wings-related note during last night's Wings-B's game, stating that FSD is going to be the "broadcasting home" of the Hockeytown Winter Festival's games:

FSD will air the Great Lakes Invitational's games at Comerica Park on December 27th and 28th, they'll air the Griffins' outdoor tilt against the Toronto Marlies at 5 PM on December 30th, and they're going to air both of the Wings' Alumni Showdown games against Toronto on New Year's eve, with the pair of tilts scheduled to take place at 1 PM and 3:30 PM, respectively.

There's no news as to whether the pair of OHL games between the Windsor Spitfires and Saginaw Spirit (which takes place at 1:30 PM on December 29th) and then the London Knights and Plymouth Whalers (which takes place at 5 PM on the 29th) will air on TV, but I'm sure we'll learn whether and where those games will be televised shortly.

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Mistercristo's avatar

Oh, boy!  Someone’s gonna have a field day with that picture in Photoshop.

Posted by Mistercristo from Cameron Frye's garage, circa 1987 on 11/28/13 at 08:40 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.