The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/28/14 at 01:01 PM ET
Updated 3x with a Chris Osgood interview and Tomas Tatar revealing that he's heading to the World Championships at 3:50 PM: I'd been assuming all along that the Red Wings would just want to get their locker room clean-out done and over with, as they have in past seasons, so I've written three very lengthy and comprehensive entries attempting to frame the next steps as Red Wings fans prepare for the longest offseason in a long time.
I tried to channel a few slow days due to a stomach virus and no sleep last night into preparing for an onslaught of Wings news from the people whose opinions tend to determine the course of April, May, June, July and August in the Red Wings coach, GM and players...
But I've been out of the media loop in terms of the particulars of said clean-out day--I will explain this to you in more detail and perhaps ask for your support in a certain initiative to change the terms of engagement, but this is not the week to engage in such an endeavor--and a kind-hearted soul informed me that the Wings will in fact meet the media for the final formal time tomorrow at Joe Loius Arena, not today.
That gives you and me another day to speculate and ponder what the Wings should do next, and while I apologize for getting your hopes up, that's what happens when you aren't invited to the party (or wake, as it were), and I still hope that the work I've put in over the last 13 hours has helped you understand how the offseason process unfolds and offers some expectation-grounding as to the possible shapes of the Wings' offseason plans.
In terms of stuff that's popped up since I wrote my last entry, WDFN's Matt Sheppard spoke with MLive's Ansar Khan about the offseason to come...
And Sheppard himself weighed in with his take on what's necessary for the Wings to rediscover their form (and boy howdy, if the sports talk radio crowd's talking about trading Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Kronwall, I think I'm gonna stick to NPR this afternoon and avoid a certain Flagship Station at all costs)...
They want to give contracts to Danny DeKeyser, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar, who are all restricted free agents. That would mean 15 (including Jordin Tootoo) forwards and six defensemen. We know the salary cap will go up, but there aren't many free agent forwards worth signing.
We also know that Mike Babcock wants at least one right handed shot on defense. That right-handed trigger might come from Ryan Sproul or Alexey Marchenko from Grand Rapids, or maybe a guy like Dan Boyle (37-years-old), Derek Morris (35) or Matt Niskanen (27) via free agency.
I just don't see Morris as a top-four guy anymore. More like a right-handed Kyle Quincey.
This means tough choices for Ken Holland, but it also means he might have to get creative, trading what is viewed as a valuable commodity for a proven need. The Bruins did it this past off-season, trading Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley for Loui Eriksson (among others). It has worked out because the B's won the President's Trophy and should represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals.
That's where I go: Huh? I get that the Wings have a wealth of blueline prospects and some intriguing forwards, but if we're talking trades, other teams are going to want the Nyquists, Sheahans, Jurcos, Tatars, DeKeysers and Smiths, not the Helms, Abdelkaders, Millers, Glendenings, Lashoffs, Kindls (or Franzens).
Rather than the Red Wings setting the standard, maybe the Bruins are the blue print, not as much for their style, but for their willingness to make moves and shake up a roster.
The Wings would argue that adding a player or two might make a bigger impact than making a possibly future-mortgaging trade for the sake of a shake-up, and if you've checked Holland's trade record of late...
I'd be more than happy if the team pursued one offensive defenseman, possibly one goal-scoring forward, and then made room for the Manthas, Ouellets, Sprouls, Marchenkos, Backmans, Mrazeks and even the Callahans, Ferraros and Almquists to make hard pushes for roster spots next fall.
For clarification's sake?
Today is FOR complaining and speculation. We're frustrated fans and we've got to get it out sometime. Let it roll out today. No big whoop, it's time.
Update: From my email inbox...
*** MEDIA ADVISORY ***
RED WINGS LOCKER CLEANOUT AND FINAL MEDIA AVAILABILITY SCHEDULED FOR TUESDAY, APRIL 29 AT NOON
Detroit, MI… The 2013-14 Detroit Red Wings will gather for the final time this season on Tuesday, April 29 for the annual team photo and locker clean out at Joe Louis Arena. The team photo takes place at noon and is closed to the media and public. Players and coaches will be available to speak with the media in the team dressing room at the completion of the team photo.
Update #2: Chris Osgood appeared on Detroit Sports 105.1 FM earlier this afternoon...
And MLive's Brendan Savage took note of a few more of Babcock's post-Game 5 remarks:
"I just think kids in general aren't very successful at playoff time unless they're one of three on a line or they're the sixth D man," Babcock said. "When you're counting on them, I think it's hard for them. When you can surround them with a bunch of veterans to look after them it's a totally different thing. When you're counting them, they get here and they find out there's no space and they wonder what's going on. Instead of just fighting through it they start thinking too much and now they're slow and now they don't do what they normally do. I thought that was for sure for our guys."
Nyquist, Tatar and Jurco combined for no points against the Bruins while Glendening had the lone goal for the youngsters, scoring in a 4-1 Game 2 loss when the puck deflected off his body.
Babcock also pointed out that it's not unusual for youngsters to struggle in the playoffs. Pavel Datsyuk, for instance, had three goals in his first 42 playoff games over four seasons and was blanked in the postseason for three straight years. But in the last eight seasons, Datsyuk has 36 goals in 93 playoff games, including three of Detroit's six against Boston this year.
"Our back end has got to be better and we got to be able to score better up front," Babcock said. "That means the kids that scored during the regular season got to find a way to do it in playoffs. But it doesn't happen the first time. For Pavel it didn't happen the second time. You get some bitter disappointments. This is a disappointing day any way you look at it. But it was real good experience for our kids. We got lots of kids in this series. They were important parts of our team and they found out how hard it is."
Update #3: From Tomas Tatar's Facebook page:
We got eliminated from play off. It's too bad the series is over. We battled but just not enoght to beat bruins. Anyway with the all injuries what we had through all season we sticked together and made to the play off for 23rd straight year. That's pretty impressive. Tomorrow we are starting with medical test I hope everything will go well so I can join to team Slovakia.
The Slovak news agency SITA reports that the Slovaks also want to bring Tomas Jurco to the Worlds, but to use a technical term, "That Ain't Happenin.'"
It does appear that Gustav Nyquist and Jonas Gustavsson are at least "maybes" to play for Sweden at the Worlds, too.
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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.