Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

End-of-the-season reading and a Red Wings overnight report of sorts

The 2010-2011 NHL season ended in the strangest way I’ve ever witnessed an NHL season end in a Nicklas Lidstrom’s career’s worth of years—19 and counting. The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in a dominant Game 7 performance, defeating the Vancouver Canucks 4-0, but this morning’s sports pages across the world (I can verify this in terms of at least Swedish, Russian, Finnish, Czech, Slovak and English) contain fewer images of the Boston Bruins lifting the Cup than images of downtown Vancouver in flames due to the actions of morons who even the Detroit area morning news—and I’m old enough to remember the post-Tigers looting and pillaging in 1984—insist were the result of Canucks fans’ anger.

This just in, folks. The people who did that aren’t fans, and if they were, Vancouver Canucks fans and those of 29 other teams are collectively kicking them out, effective yesterday. The Vancouver Police has a website which allows you to report morons if you were there, and there’s a Tumblr blog asking people to identify people pictured and send their information to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Otherwise, Vancouver fans, we get it. This had nothing to do with you or your team. “You” are not “them.”

As for what happened on the ice, the only thing I can say as an American is that it puzzles me to no end that there’s a sense that Canada has been shut out and lost “its” Stanley Cup to America again. Once your team has lifted the Stanley Cup, no matter where you live or where you’re from, you believe that its “home” is in your team’s hands, in your team’s city and your favorite players’ hometowns. If anything belongs to hockey fans, it is the Stanley Cup, and while I heartily congratulate the Boston Bruins this morning, if you’re a hockey fan that’s witnessed your team lift the Cup in your lifetime, and you’re not a Bruins fan, you don’t think it’s “home” today.

In any case, here’s a brief survey of the hockey world (as the boss will hopefully sleep in for the first time in forever), and I’ll eventually get my way to discussing some Red Wings stuff:

• If you missed it, Mark Recchi told ESPN Boston’s James Murphy that he played in his last game on Wednesday:

“I’m done. Yeah that’s it,” Recchi said. “I couldn’t ask for a better way to go out and to do it with this team was even more special. I love these guys. This is what we set out to do and we did it.”

ESPNBoston.com confirmed prior to Game 7 that Recchi would retire after the game regardless of the outcome.

“We’ve talked about it and I had a glass of wine with him yesterday and it’s probably the last glass with him before a game ever,” veteran winger Shawn Thornton acknowledged earlier Wednesday. “So everyone loves (Recchi) and appreciates everything he’s done for us. I’m a big supporter of his and I’m hoping we can do it for him.”

That’s exactly what the Bruins did for the now three-time Stanley cup champion who became the eighth player in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup in three different decades—he won in 1991 with the Penguins and 2006 with the Hurricanes—and the third player to win with three different teams, joining Joe Nieuwendyk and Claude Lemieux. He is also the only player on the Bruins roster who was alive the last time Boston won the Stanley Cup, which was 1972. But even if Recchi didn’t reach those milestones and win his third Stanley Cup he said he was happy to go down swinging with this Bruins team that battled through adversity all season and never wavered.

“Regardless of whether we won or not, this is one of the best teams and groups I’ve been with,” Recchi said. “They’re such a committed group and such a fun group. There was no turmoil at all and we really stuck together strong throughout the year and what a great bunch of guys.”

• There is no small irony in the fact that outgoing NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell’s face beamed with both pride and relief as his son Gregory won the Cup, knowing that the 2010-2011 season and his tenure as the most hated hockey personality this side of referees and Gary Bettman ended.

Campbell won the Cup as an assistant coach with the New York Rangers in 1994, but he told NHL.com’s Dan Rosen that his son’s championship ranks ahead of his own:

“That would have to be No. 1,” Colin Campbell told NHL.com when asked where Wednesday’s moment ranks in his long career. “Every dad will tell you when you’re kids are born nothing tops that, but in hockey to watch your son win the Stanley Cup, knowing what he’s gone through to get here and what it really takes to win the Stanley Cup, it’s amazing.”

Campbell feels extra gratification because he knows how hard it is for Gregory to be his son and deal with the on-ice ribbing that comes with being the offspring of the League’s chief disciplinarian from 1998-2011. Campbell gave his gavel to NHL Senior V.P. of Player Safety and Hockey Operations Brendan Shanahan before the Stanley Cup Final began.

“There were lots of benefits in coaching him and knowing Steve Yzerman, Adam Graves and Wayne Gretzky—all those things you get when you’re hanging around a dressing room, but there was lots of garbage he had to face,” Campbell said. “So, this is real satisfying.”

Watching Gregory play these last two months was also the hardest thing Campbell ever had to do in hockey.

“There is nothing that compares to it, nothing,” Campbell said. “I’ve had tough decisions to make in this job with Hockey Operations, and I’ve done a lot of things in coaching and playing, but there is nothing that compares to this. It’s just eight weeks of hell to tell you the truth. You’re on the edge of your seat. It’s not like you’re sitting there saying you want him to score a goal, you’re saying, ‘Please, just get through the shift without making a mistake.’ “

• In the Bruins’ goal, Tim Thomas grabbed the game puck and celebrated both his first Stanley Cup at the tender age of 37 and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs’ most valuable player, but he told the Sporting News’s Craig Custance, who penned a superb profile of Thomas, that his steely smirk masked honest fear:

“I was scared. I won’t lie,” Thomas said after the win. “I had nerves yesterday and today. I faked it as well as I could and I faked my way all the way to the Stanley Cup.”

It was a moment that marked, not the conclusion, but what may be the pinnacle to the Tim Thomas story. The rise from college hockey to minor league hockey to European hockey to NHL star—Thomas kept rising.

And it could have all ended last year. It could have ended when injuries meant he lost his starting job to Tuukka Rask. It was less than a year ago that he was surrounded by trade rumors, that he avoided going to any website that might have speculation about his future outside of Boston. He limited his online consumption to mainstream media that didn’t cover too much hockey because the last thing he wanted to see was his name in a headline. He didn’t want to see news about him being shipped out of town.

“I go to those type of websites so I don’t have to read about myself,” Thomas told Sporting News last June.

The story continues, and it’s definitely worth your time;

• In the home team’s locker room, it was more than evident that a defense beset with injuries galore and nagging injuries to Ryan Kesler (shoulder/groin), Henrik Sedin (ankle) and other Canucks slowed their progress against a determined Bruins team, but the CBC’s Tim Wharnsby found no takers in terms of admitting that pain was part of the problem, from Henrik and Daniel Sedin on down:

“Eight goals in seven games wasn’t good enough,” Daniel said. “It was good enough to get us to a seventh game, but not good enough to win. It’s our job to score and we didn’t get the job done. It’s extremely disappointing.”

It’s too simple to blame Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo. Of course, he was outplayed by Thomas, but his teammates’ lack of production put too much pressure on Luongo.

“I’m disappointed and we’re devastated as a team,” said Luongo, who gave up 18 goals in the four games he lost in the series. “The playoffs, the last couple of months, is the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with mentally.”

Some of his teammates must have felt the heat, too. Henrik and Daniel have won back-to-back scoring championships, but scored only one goal apiece in the final. Ryan Kesler, a 41-goal scorer in the regular season, had only one assist. Kesler had six shots on goal in the finale, but refused to divulge if he played hurt. He suffered a groin injury in the last game of the series against the Sharks, but did return to finish that outing.

“I did everything I possibly could today,” said Kesler, on the verge of tears. “I can hold my head up high, but it hurts. It definitely hurts right now.”

Kesler and his teammates continued that line while speaking to the Vancouver Sun’s Ben Ziemer:

“I’m not going to sit here and complain about injuries,” [Kesler] said. “I was out there. I gave it everything I had tonight and I’m proud of that, I’m proud of the guys that were in this dressing room. It’s disappointing, but we are going to stick together through this one. I gave it everything I’ve got and I can walk out saying it didn’t happen. It’s tough, obviously, it’s emotional, it’s tough to talk about right now, but for me, for a lot of guys in this room, we can hold out heads up high. It’s Game 7, no excuses, you’ve got to lay it out there. We laid it out there, we gave everything we had . . . I’m a leader on this team and I did everything I possibly could. I can hold my head up high but it hurts. It definitely hurts right now.”
“We had our shots, we definitely had our shots,” he said. “Thomas played great. He stopped everything he needed to. They are a good team. They didn’t get here by chance, we didn’t get here by chance. Game 7, anything can happen. We had a chance to put them away in their building (in Game 6) and we didn’t.”

The Canucks obviously took Wednesday night’s loss hard. Kesler, the Sedin twins and goalie Roberto Luongo all came out to face the media, but many of the players did not. Bieksa, who had a terrific post-season and is the team’s most eloquent player, did not appear. Nor did, among others, Sami Salo, Manny Malhotra or Alex Burrows. Kesler said he hopes after some reflection he and the rest of the team will be able to look back at some of the positives of the past season.

“It was a great season for us, Western Conference champs, Presidents’ Trophy, one game away from a Stanley Cup,” Kesler said. “It’s hard to swallow, it’s emotional, it’s tough. Hopefully we can reflect on this for a couple of days and get over it.”

Kesler is believed to be just one of a long list of Vancouver players who were playing through some sort of injury. Defenceman Alex Edler acknowledged he was playing Game 7 with a pair of broken fingers. Winger Chris Higgins may have been playing with a broken foot suffered in the second round. There is a suspicion that Henrik Sedin was playing hurt and defenceman Christian Ehrhoff was banged up. There were probably others. To their credit, the Canucks didn’t want to make excuses.

“Everybody was fine,” said coach Alain Vigneault. “We’re not going to use injuries as a reason for not getting it done.”

Christian Ehrhoff, who may leave the team as an unrestricted free agent (given that retaining Kevin Bieksa is a higher priority for the Canucks’ capped bucks), admitted to NHL.com’s Dave Lozo that he was indeed hobbled:

Ehrhoff suffered a shoulder injury during Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the San Jose Sharks. He said in order to play in the Stanley Cup Final, he needed to take a pain-killing injection in the shoulder before all seven games against the Boston Bruins.

The 28-year-old from Moers, Germany, was minus-7 with just one assist against the Bruins, but he showed the type of toughness teams covet. One of the top unrestricted free agents the Canucks possess said Wednesday that he wouldn’t mind staying right where he is.

“It’s a great group of guys,” Ehrhoff said. “There’s definitely a great chance to be back (in the Stanley Cup Final) again and I hope I can be part of that. My agent and (GM) Mike (Gillis) have to talk. We’ll see where that leads.”

• In the land of bombast, out of respect to the Canucks’ fans—again, being from Detroit, I know where you’re coming from in terms of losing Game 7 at home, and it sucks—let’s just go with, “I’ll give you a blurb and suggest that it’s further reading”:

1. If you believe the Toronto Star’s Damien Cox, the Canucks received comeuppance for “not playing the game the right way” (he and several other pundits seem to suggest that no player has ever dove before);

2. If you believe the Hockey News’s Ken Campbell, the Boston Bruins will become the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champs since the Red Wings did so in 1997 and 1998, and you might also believe that the Canucks must somehow trade Roberto Luongo as he can’t and/or won’t cut the mustard in Vancouver;

3. And if you believe the Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek, sportsmanship exists...

In the handshake line, after the Boston Bruins won their first Stanley Cup since 1972, goaltender Tim Thomas stopped brief to speak to his opposite number with the Vancouver Canucks, Roberto Luongo.

What was said in that exchange?

“I told him, ‘just for the record, I think you’re a great goalie,’ ” Thomas reported. “He had a great year. As far as I can recall, I never said anything bad about him. I didn’t necessarily say anything good about him, but was a little bit of tactics – and it seemed to work.”

As do redemption and enthusiasm in the forms of Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, who scored a “rat trick’s” worth of goals and assists:

Marchand is a 23-year-old rookie, a Theo Fleury-style pest in the making, who scored 11 goals in the post-season, two Wednesday night, the pivotal second goal, on a brilliant wrap-around and then an empty netter.

Bergeron was a Canadian Olympian 16 months ago, but hardly played as the team’s 13th forward. However, he was front and centre Wednesday night. Usually cast in a defensive role, Bergeron scored twice, including a pivotal short-handed goal with 2:35 to go in the second period that essentially sealed Vancouver’s fate.

It was a goal that resulted largely from Bergeron’s sheer will and determination. Pulling away from Christian Ehrhoff, Bergeron was off on a partial breakaway, forcing the Canucks’ defenceman to pull him down. As both crashed to the ice, the momentum carried the puck past a bewildered and stunned Luongo. The looks on the Canucks’ bench, as they hoped for an overrule, said it all. This one was over.

“We wanted to be difference makers,” said Marchand, amid the jubilant on-ice celebration. Marchand revealed that his father had told him before the game, ‘go out and get a hat trick and make a name for yourself.’ I was like, ‘that’s not going to happen,’ but he said, ‘well, you can go out and score, so go out and play your game.’ He had so much faith in me. If it wasn’t for him [Kenneth] this wouldn’t have been possible.”

• Elsewhere in the hockey world, they may not have a team name or a coach, but the Winnipeg Sun’s Kirk Penton reports that the Winnipeg NHL team will announce the new name of its rink via a naming-rights deal today;

• This was going to happen somewhere: the Toronto Sun’s Dan Peat reports that the Toronto City Council has officially chosen to not support any efforts to establish a second NHL team in the Greater Toronto Area;

• This was going to happen somewhere, part 2: According to Sport-Express’s Igor Larin, Ilya Bryzgalov has left Russia to meet with the Philadelphia Flyers’ management in person, alongside his agent, Rich Winter.

The pair will speak with Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, coach Peter Laviolette and goaltending coach Jeff Reese today, getting to know each other before getting down to business in the hopes of signing Bryzgalov to a long-term contract which will probably solve the Flyers’ goaltending problems but also cause all sorts of cap trouble for the Flyers;

• And if you’re not a Wings fan, this is where you get off the train, via the Globe and Mail’s Rachel Brady (who was my first editor when I started out at MLive), because I’d like to think that we should end on a note we can all agree is a positive one:

The International Ice Hockey Federation is ready to announce its biggest initiative yet to help improve the level of women’s hockey internationally, and it has called on Canada’s Hayley Wickenheiser to assume a key role.

The IIHF is expected to release on Thursday the details of its mentoring program, which will pair some of the world’s most successful women’s hockey coaches and athletes with countries who are struggling to compete.

World champions and Olympic medalists from the top four women’s hockey nations – Canada, the United States, Sweden and Finland – will share training advice and coaching assistance to women’s national team programs in countries ranked five through 14 for two and a half years leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

Wickenheiser, a four-time Canadian Olympic medalist who is largely recognized as the most accomplished female hockey player in the world, is expected to be taking on a co-ordinating role in the project rather than mentoring one specific nation.

Several prominent Canadian Olympic medalists are expected to be on the list of mentors and coaches. China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Kazakhstan, Norway, Russia, Slovakia and Switzerland are the countries that will receive the mentoring, the countries most likely to qualify for the 2014 Games.

The program is one element of the $2.1-million women’s hockey improvement project that the IIHF kick-started after lopsided scores in the women’s competition once again stole headlines at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

If you’re a Red Wings fan, most of this is catch-up territory from yesterday night’s news:

First and foremost, we kind-of-sort-of have a date by which Nicklas Lidstrom will inform the team whether he wishes to continue playing, and the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan reports that Lidstrom will do prior to the NHL Awards, which take place next Wednesday in Las Vegas:

General manager Ken Holland said Wednesday he expects to know before next Wednesday’s NHL Awards Show whether Lidstrom is returning for a 20th season.

“Nick said he’ll have a decision by then,” said Holland, who is also traveling to Las Vegas to attend the show.

Lidstrom, 41, is a finalist for the Norris Trophy (best defenseman), Lady Byng Trophy (sportsmanship) and Mark Messier Leadership Award. Holland met briefly with Lidstrom this week, but said the captain offered no answer to a possible return.

As Kulfan notes, the Wings completed two days of organizational meetings on Wednesday, having talked about their draft and free agency plans:

The Red Wings concluded two days of organizational meetings Wednesday, and unrestricted free agents and trade targets were identified by Holland and his scouts. Holland said defense will be a primary need July 1, when unrestricted free agency begins. And with Brian Rafalski ‘s retirement, Jonathan Ericsson un-signed, and Lidstrom’s status unclear, there are holes to fill.

Holland also said he’ll continue to talk to goaltender Chris Osgood and center Kris Draper — both would like to continue playing.

Holland also said he’d like to have both assistant positions filled by next weekend’s draft. Coach Mike Babcock is sorting through candidates.

That kind of conflicts with Babcock’s repeated insistence that he’s going to take his time in selecting his assistant coaches, but things start to move fast once the Cup’s been handed out.

As for Draper and Osgood, while the Detroit Free Press changed its headline over Helene St. James’ report, with the headline now stating that Chris Osgood and Kris Draper are “unlikely” to return instead of “won’t be back,” Holland told St. James that, barring any free agent defections and Lidstrom’s decision, it appears that neither Osgood nor Draper will be back:

The Wings also will need a backup goaltender. Osgood would like another season in the role, but the club is wary because he suffered repeated setbacks after undergoing groin surgery in January.

“The injury is a major concern,” Holland said. “He hasn’t played a lot the last two years.”

With Draper, it comes down to a numbers crunch. The Wings have 11 forwards signed to one-way contracts for 2011-12 and are trying to re-sign Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller. Holland does not want to risk losing prospect Cory Emmerton by exposing him on waivers, as would have to happen for him to be sent to the minors. Even with the likelihood of a trade — such as moving Jiri Hudler — management then would have to consider whether Draper brings more to the team than a newcomer.

“Right now, we owe it to ourselves to wait till July 1,” Holland said. “I’ll talk to both players, but so much is unknown right now. We don’t know who is going to be on the market July 1. Is there somebody out there we think brings something we’d like to our team? We owe it to ourselves to look at options. The torch has to be passed. If 40-year-olds aren’t passing the torch, we aren’t going anywhere.”

Holland refused to rule out bringing the pair back while speaking to MLive’s Ansar Khan...

“So many decisions affect other decisions,” Holland said. “Drapes and Ozzie are important guys, bring important ingredients. ... They’re support players, they bring intangibles, but we got to figure out a way to make our team better. No decision has been made. Nothing has changed. It might go into early July. It might not. There’s so many moving parts.”

The club might not have a roster spot for Draper, 40. It has 11 forwards on one-way contracts and hopes to sign Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller before they become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

The 14th and final spot would go to rookie Cory Emmerton, who is out of minor league options and likely would be claimed on waivers if the team tried sending him back to the Grand Rapids Griffins. Holland said they are debating whether to carry 14 forwards and seven defensemen or 13 forwards and eight defensemen.

Health is the biggest concern with Osgood, 38, who didn’t play after Jan. 4 due to surgery for a sports hernia. Although Osgood said after the season that the injury no longer is an issue, the club realizes it would be taking a big risk by bringing him back to serve as Jimmy Howard’s back-up.

And Khan both revealed that the Wings will simply not bring Joey MacDonald back as the team’s back-up…

MacDonald, 31, hopes to sign a one-way contract with an NHL club after July 1. If he doesn’t get it, he’ll likely sign a one-year deal for $1 million with a Russian team.

And he gave all sorts of credence to the rumor I didn’t buy—as it turns out, Khan says that Jaromir Jagr’s agent has indeed spoken to the team, and when you add in the fact that, via NHLGossip (who doesn’t tread in unfounded rumors, go figure) on Twitter, Jagr’s European agent told Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov that it’s Avangard Omsk or bust for Jagr, it appears at least somewhat likely that Jagr will play for some NHL team:

The Red Wings didn’t call Jagr. His agent, Petr Svoboda, called them. But Red Wings general manager Ken Holland has had several conversations with Svoboda, and coach Mike Babcock has spoken to Jagr.

Svoboda reportedly contacted Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers, two of Jagr’s former teams, as well as Montreal.

But Jagr would prefer to play in Detroit for the chance to play with highly skilled players Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and, if he returns, Nicklas Lidstrom.

The Red Wings consider it a gamble, since Jagr turns 40 on Feb. 15 and hasn’t played in the NHL since 2007-08. But they also believe it might be worth the risk if they can get the Czech native fairly cheap, since they don’t have to relinquish anything in return.

Holland declined comment, except to acknowledge that his club has been contacted and is exploring the possibility.

Here’s where things get even stranger.

The Czech Republic’s CTK News Agency reports that Jagr has bought a 70% stake in his hometown team, HC Kladno in the Czech Extraliga, and Jagr states that he’s spent all his time since the KHL season concluded helping manage his new business venture.

Jagr won’t specify what position he’s taken in the club’s management, and as for his NHL versus KHL future, he says, “It’s fifty-fifty.” Jagr at least sounds like he’s working as the team’s GM—I’m not trying to translate these articles wholly as Czech’s an adventure—while speaking to Denik Sport’s Jakub Hlavac. Here’s a rough translation of their most pertinent exchange:

On Tuesday, news emerged that SKA St. Petersburg isn’t interested in signing you. How does this affect your decision about your future?

“Not much has changed. There’s still a chance I’ll play in the NHL or Russia. In terms of going overseas, it would be easier for me, because I’d have more time to spend with Kladno. I could go there sometime in October, and by then the Czech Extraliga would have already started. But perhaps there is another option.”

In Russia, you have to leave much earlier [to prepare for the season]...

“If I stay in the KHL, I’d arrange it with my individual club to take part in team workouts later, joined near the beginning of the season. I think that’s realistic, that we could agree to these conditions. So everything’s open.”

So in the end, which is more acceptable to you in terms of running your team?

“To be honest, in the last month, I haven’t cared about anything else other than Kladno. It started right after the World Championships, when I met with the city and we agreed on the terms. Without that, it wouldn’t have happened.”

So the Red Wings might be bidding on the services of a 39-year-old who hasn’t played in the NHL since the 2007-2008 season and registered only 50 points in 49 games (via the Sports Forecaster’s Jagr profile) for Omsk last season, and on top of the Mike Modano-sized ego and his Sergei Fedorov-like “hockey artiste’s” personality, the guy’s planning on being involved on running a professional hockey team while he’s playing for an NHL or KHL club.

Having read my share of the Russian and Czech press over the past few years, Jagr’s spoke somewhat romantically about playing for Montreal and coming back to New York or Pittsburgh, and as for Detroit?

Obviously there are two fits. Risk-versus-reward and money. The Wings will not out-bid anyone for Jagr’s services, and, quite frankly, he’ll make much, much more money if Avangard is interested in him, or if he’s willing to wait until July, when Atlant Mytischi has suggested that it would bid for Jagr’s services.

So that’s quite a bit to think about, for the Wings and us, too.

Also of Red Wings-related note: As the Detroit Free Press’s Steve Schrader notes, the Wings fell out of the top ten in ESPN’s “Ultimate Standings,” dropping to 17th place;

• Speaking of “power and influence,” as the NHL’s not exactly America’s biggest sport, the Free Press’s Jamie Samuelssen suggest that only captain Lidstrom would crack his list of the most powerful athletes in Detroit, ranking last:

5. Nicklas Lidstrom –– I struggled back and forth with this one. A Red Wing has to be on the list and it’s either Lidstrom or Datsyuk. During the playoffs, Datsyuk seemed to move from being “great player” to being “the best player in the game.” It helped that Crosby wasn’t playing and Alex Ovechkin had a quiet, brief run for the Capitals. But after the season, Lidstrom did all the interviews. He was on “The Jim Rome Show” last week to promote the NHL Awards show. He was fourth on a Nielsen list last week which identified the most familiar names in the game among American fans (Mike Modano was oddly No. 2 on the list behind Crosby). He may be in the twilight of his career, but he still is the best chance for a Red Wings player to make an impact on the national level.

• Speaking of power and influence in a very strange way, the Detroit News’s Adam Graham claims that even Chris Chelios won’t work out with Laird Hamilton, per one Kid Rock, as Chelios is “yelled at” by the pro surfer;

• Again, power and influence, but in the charitable hockey vein, via the Port Huron Times-Herald:

Albom to speak at Shawn Burr golf classic luncheon

Mitch Albom will be the guest speaker on June 27 at a luncheon before the annual Shawn Burr Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic at St. Clair River Country Club. The luncheon begins at 11 a.m. and a limited number of tickets are still available. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased by contacting Dave Goetze at (810) 434-4446 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

• If you find yourself in Timra, Sweden on July 30th, Dagbladet’s Tobias Jonsson reports that Wings prospect Calle Jarnkrok will take part in a “farewell game” for Timra IK’s Sebastian Erixon and Anton Lander, and the club hopes to bring TIK alums Fredrik Modin and one Henrik Zetterberg in for the game;

• Also in the new-found alumni department, the Ottawa Citizen’s Wayne Scanlan’s list of nine reasons why Paul MacLean should succeed as the Ottawa Senators’ coach reads like a Babcockian manifesto;

• And I’d prefer to not bring out the donate button, but I am still trying to close the gap in raising funds for the TC prospect camp trip. If you can lend a hand it’d be great, and if not, that’s cool. I’m only about $200 short of being able to cover the hotel, food and gas for the week!

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MsRedWinger's avatar

George, thanks so much for the news about women’s hockey. 

Guess we’ll all be nail biting in earnest for the next week.  I go back and forth in my gut feeling about what Nick will do.  But I’m hanging my hat on my hope that he’ll stick around until Homer’s contract is up - one more season for those two to work their magic together.

cool smile

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 06/16/11 at 10:37 AM ET


This is completely off topic but:

Does any one else get angry when they here the commercial for the NHL awards and they talk about how Octopus will be thrown.  I feel like its a slap in the face to Detroit fans.

Posted by wingsnut25 on 06/16/11 at 11:29 AM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

Excellent piece, George.
Thank you.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 06/16/11 at 11:36 AM ET

Slumpy's avatar

Haha, yeah wingsnut25.
I think bettman got booed louder last night by Canucks fans than he was at The Joe in 2009
cool smile

Jagr a Red Wing LOL Never going to happen. Saw him in a metro Detroit mall signing autograghs years ago and when I found out it was 100 bucks to get his signature I walked away.
Thornton put into the linup by Julien in this series was a major factor in turning it around for Boston. Note to Ken Holland: Get us an enforcer that can skate please. Thornton hit the ice and was a menace in the Final and now has his name on a second SC. Kocur and McCarty faired pretty well too I recall being a part of SC winning teams

Posted by Slumpy from Under My Wheels on 06/16/11 at 02:02 PM ET

Crater's avatar

Ozzie needs to sign a 2 way deal, spend time ink GR mentoring the kids. Conklin needs to be the 1 way backup for Jimmy. I know drapes wont sign a 2 way, so i hate to see him go, but as Holland said, ” torch needs to be passed”

Posted by Crater from SoCal on 06/16/11 at 02:19 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

After ragging on Nick this week for taking so long to make a decision, I’ll give him full credit for announcing his decision before the draft. But the fact that he’s doing it before the awards ceremony makes me think he might actually retire.What better place for players and coaches to give him a well-deserved final standing ovation than at that event.
Posted by OlderThanChelios on 06/16/11 at 12:56 AM ET

Are you saying Nick is timing that announcement to get proper peer and public recognition?

Posted by RWBill on 06/16/11 at 02:27 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Excellent write-up, George…like a jolt of Java’s finest in the morning.

The Wings brass have proven to their fans that they leave virtually no proverbial stone unturned in planning and executing.  I have faith in them that the team showing up in TC in TC will be Cup-contenders.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 06/16/11 at 02:42 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Ah yes, This year it was Vancouver as “Canada’s last best hope to bring the Cup “home”.  That’s right, the Canucks, with a Swedish Captain and whose best playoff player was American.  There is a an element of the “mob mentality” in Canada this time of year, but I don’t think it’s too wide spread.

And for all the Vancouver hockey fans who not merely and so uniformerly and vociferously boo’d those American teenagers in the WJC a few years ago, including Jack Johnson, but were so enthusiastically cheering the Russians Junior team in their match with the American kids, suck on last night.  Your silence was golden, as all the once bold traces of “Looooooo” quickly evaporated as he repeatedly had to reach around to clean out the coal bin in a critical game once again.

There is a nastiness among the Vancouver contingent, little surprise they turned to torching their own town.

Conversely the majority of the crowd at the game are to be acknowledged and congratulated for their sportsmanship, as in the midst of the crushing disappointment of losing Game 7 at home they quite notably turned their loud jeers for Bettman to cheers for opponent goalie Tim Thomas, perhaps wishing that their own goalie would at least learn to shut both his mouth and his five-hole as Tim did with class.

Posted by RWBill on 06/16/11 at 03:12 PM ET


Ah yes, This year it was Vancouver as “Canada’s last best hope to bring the Cup “home”.  That’s right, the Canucks, with a Swedish Captain and whose best playoff player was American.  There is a an element of the “mob mentality” in Canada this time of year, but I don’t think it’s too wide spread.

I can attest that this mentality was much more prevalent among the media than among the public at large.

And for all the Vancouver hockey fans ...suck on last night.  Your silence was golden, as all the once bold traces of “Looooooo” quickly evaporated as he repeatedly had to reach around to clean out the coal bin in a critical game once again.


My personal favourite image was of the green men sitting silently in their seats when the first Bruins penalty was called.  Priceless.

Conversely the majority of the crowd

Absolutely must give props to the in-arena crowd.  Very classy in their tribute to the Canucks and the reception to the announcement of Thomas as Conn Smythe winner.

And some extra props for the reception they gave Bettman.

Posted by Garth on 06/16/11 at 03:25 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Thanks for wording out my feelings, too, Bill.  Gary.Ass couldn’t wait to get the hell off the ice fast enough.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 06/16/11 at 03:31 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

I have to take issue with one small point of your (as well as the rest of the media) coverage of the riots. Every media report, including yours, states that the riots were the action of a few morons, thugs, etc. that don’t reflect on the City of Vancouver. What hypocritical BS.

When there were post-championship riots in Detroit in 1984(Tigers), 1989 and 1990(Pistons), nobody in the media bothered to say it was a small minority of morons and thugs. The media painted Detroit with broad strokes that the rioters were typical Detroiters.

So why the difference in coverage? Riots in Detroit play into the narrative that Detroit is a dangerous place. Riots in Vancouver must be downplayed because of the narrative that nice polite Canadians would never riot like that (so it must be just a handful of morons).


Bringing in Jaromir the Poodle is a worse idea than Modano. As noted, the Poodle hasn’t played an NHL-length schedule in years. The Poodle is a one-way player, the likes of which haven’t been welcome here since Scotty Bowman came to town. I just can’t see The Poodle buying in to what Uncle Mike preaches. Sure, he might come cheap, but who would you have the Wings lose to make room for him? Miller? Eaves? Abby? Helmer? Mursak?

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 06/16/11 at 03:37 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

And some extra props for the reception they gave Bettman.
Posted by Garth on 06/16/11 at 01:25 PM ET

Vancouver fans earned my respect for the extraordinarily loud and long booing of Bettman. And props to NBC for not “adjusting” the sound levels of Lil’ Gary’s mic vs. the crowd mic so that we could really feel the contempt haockey fans have for him.

As if Bettman didn’t look small enough already, the picture of him handing the Cup to Charra (where Lil’ Gary was almost holding the Cup over his head while Chara was stooping over) was priceless. Can’t wait for the day when the owners wake up and realize that little troll is holding back the game and fire him.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 06/16/11 at 03:45 PM ET


I’m not going to argue it, just throw it out there, but I wouldn’t mind if Detroit made a run at Erik Cole, since it’s looking like Carolina may not sign him.

Posted by Garth on 06/16/11 at 05:07 PM ET

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