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The Malik Report

If there was a switch, I’d have flipped it already

While I was overwhelmed by the support so many of you offered when I stated my health issues in plain terms, I’m not expecting the same here, especially because it starts with a crappy simile:

I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety for my entire life, and just as there’s no instruction manual for how one should properly recover from a the literal blows to the head that we suffer in the forms of concussions—and I had a major concussion that took six months to recover from, so I know the whole, “Go to the hospital, get a CT scan, get a pamphlet that says, ‘Hello! So you have a concussion!’” and the indignity that comes with having done it by slipping on ice and landing on my ass (and smacking my head on cement)—the neurochemical imbalances that cause mental illnesses don’t come in prescribed doses or offer quantifiable recovery times.

In other words, I’m not going to be able to hold up my end of the bargain—I’m still in the clearing-up stages of recovering from my serious-ass depressive episode, and I’m optimistically hoping to return to work on Monday at the earliest—and the long story short is that as I continue to struggle to shake this episode off, I can’t do my job here, much less attempt to head up to Traverse City to catch the last three days of training camp.

I don’t have anything eloquent or particularly observant to say other than it’s been tremendously disappointing to come to this conclusion, and that Paul will handle any refunds via email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). I don’t expect any sympathy for a health issue that’s forcing me to not do work I was essentially paid to do on your part, so do what you need to do. I’ve gotta get healthy and get my head on crooked again and you’ve got to do what’s best for you.

I’m terribly sorry and I hope that this is the last entry I write about my health for a long, long time. If there was a switch to flick I would have done it, and if there was a way to push through and just shake off any issues, I would’ve done it. I’ve been quite literally dreaming about establishing a presence at training camp for a long, long time, and having to bow out after one appearance due to the same old, same old…it sucks like nobody’s business, especially when I know I’m letting down the best audience a blogger could hope for, and it is, for lack of a better term, a real bummer.

Update: Here’s the best way I can put it, eight sleepless hours after I wrote the above entry: the difference between being a content-reflector, which is more or less what I am now, and a content provider, which is where I want to be, is the ability to go out there and attend events so that I’m backing up the stuff you and I can both see with the kind of stuff that you can’t.

In video form, Alyonka Larionov posted this clip of Igor Larionov and his client, Wings prospect tournament try-out Artem Sergeev, having a conversation when Sergeev was a healthy scratch, and the most immediate thing I could think of while watching this was, “Hell, that’s my favorite spot to stand when the bleachers are full!”

So all the reference observations, interviews, and chance occurrences that happen when you’re down at ice level or up in the press box didn’t happen and won’t get to happen, what would have been at least a hundred pages’ worth of observations and tons of interviews, all of that promised content and future material for backing up statements made, that’s gone…

And more than anything, I feel like a shill and an *#$%@& for having asked you to help me get to a place that I didn’t travel to this morning. I’m not particularly talented at anything in life other than being a compulsive reader, searcher of information and someone who observes stuff with all the compulsiveness that yielded, “How many five-subject notebooks did you fill this term? One? Yeah, I go through one of those in each class every six weeks…” remarks in college, and I can convey that level of observation in a manner that’s cogent and apparently somewhat readable despite my major flaws as a writer.

That’s it. That’s what I’ve got to off-set the health stuff and the utter absence of talent or any other level of skill which the average human being innately possesses (English and Philosophy degree-holders seem to be similar in this regard as we’re the most likely candidates to be overqualified for what we our degrees quantifiably train us for—entry-level jobs), and instead of being up there learning, I’m struggling to get my damn head back on crooked (the sideways-looking Facebook/Twitter photo I use is appropriately-chosen) and talking to you about how much it sucks to take your money. That’s embarrassing, frustrating and probably a waste of bandwidth, but I don’t know how to otherwise tell you how much it sucks to not do what might be the only job I’ve ever truly wanted to do.

But that’s what life does. Life is harsh, existence ensures that we define it as difficult, and people help get us through. That and it’s not polite to air one’s skeletons so publicly, and trust me, you’ve more or less seen all my laundry. At this point, I might as well apologize for being otherwise bland, too…But there are more important things going on and much more interesting things going on in the world, and given what’s going to unfold today, mostly off the ice, I don’t think sympathy for one depressed blogger’s even relevant, much less appropriate.

Two more as I continue to overthink things:

1. I believe I have a theme song in addition to a logo now:

2. And, yeah, this pretty much says it all, albeit in German.

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Comments

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cigar_nurse's avatar

George. We are here for you if and/or when you need us. Just come back when you feel up to it. I believe depression is kinda like a concussion. If you come back too early, it can be a setback that just delays the recovery time. Take your time George. We arn’t goin anywheres.

Posted by cigar_nurse from Greenville South Cakalakee on 09/17/11 at 10:22 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Don’t worry about the negative comments, folks. Eric has a valid point and he’s made it. I’m still floored by your support but I understand that this is TMI as well. Let’s move on.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/17/11 at 10:33 PM ET

miscotty's avatar

Feel better, George. We need you for the regular season, anyway!

Posted by miscotty on 09/17/11 at 11:24 PM ET

Alanah McGinley's avatar

Myself, I’m just glad you’re taking care of yourself, George. And I doubt any of your regular readers are worried about anything as arbitrary as “TMI”. Hell, your hockey coverage could even be called TMI… and yet we love it! smile 

So just keep doing what you gotta do and be well…

Posted by Alanah McGinley from British Columbia on 09/18/11 at 12:35 AM ET

Avatar

Thanks for being honest, it shows that people deal with it. I’m proud of you.
Don’t stress about missing events, there will always be another event. Take take of yourself
It’s a journey, not a sprint
Good luck and be safe!

Posted by Ballgame from Philly on 09/18/11 at 02:14 AM ET

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From one compulsive person to another (note when I’m writing this), I’ve followed you since MLive days, and will repeat what I told you from/since then:
1. You’ve cranked out more good stuff on a CONSISTENT basis than any sports person I’ve seen in my life, which is why I’ve always worried (compulsively, of course) about your health and balance (again, from experience).
2. We accept your crankiness/depression/whatever flaws you want to bring up.
3. If being slightly less compulsive when you come back results in better health in the long run, you’re still going to be ahead of the typical Red Wings writer by a mile. Being a compiler is fine for now.
4. I’m still not going to ask for my money back. We know you’re trying to get back as soon as possible, and friend, sometimes in this life you provide for others and sometimes others provide for you.
5. I know you’re sort of agnostic, but my prayers are with you regardless. I’m not able to be here as much as in the past, but still keeping you in mind.
6. When you do get back in full swing, kick butt like you usually do.

Posted by Bugsy on 09/18/11 at 05:44 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Well if we’re going there, I dig females, I’m a registered independent and I was raised Catholic, but between seven years of Catholic school, the fact that my dad died on my confirmation day and nearly marrying a “church lady” didn’t work out, I guess you’d categorize me as “grumpy about religion.” God and I have issues, and we’re fine with that.

I’d like to think that we define our existence as it is meaningful for us, and while I do believe in a higher power, I tend to assume that I’ve burned enough bridges and pissed off so many pious folks of many religious persuasions that I need to avoid houses of worship and run if someone starts splashing holy water or incense. That stuff’ll probably turn me into a newt (and not the kind that will get better!).

So thank you, prayers are accepted as much as good wishes, care, concern and Paypal wink raspberry And now I never want to talk about my religious or political persuasions again.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/18/11 at 06:15 AM ET

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Best wishes, George. I know we’ve finally got our team back in Wpg but we don’t have a blogger like you.  Frankly, I don’t know if I could stay a Wings fan without you. OK, I could but I got bored following the team last year when your blog was in hiatus. Take care and we’ll be waiting for you.

Posted by manitobaredwingfan on 09/18/11 at 11:42 AM ET

Bradley97's avatar

If it were play off time we’d call this a lower body injury.  I reallly enjoy your work.  Take your time, get well, we’ll be here when you return.  Wishing you all the best!

Posted by Steve on 09/17/11 at 02:11 PM ET

Scotty would call it a groin injury. Those were the days…

Reporter: So what’s ailing [player x] (gash on the face, etc.)?

Scotty: Groin.

Reporter: What’s ailing [player y] (can’t shoot or pass, likely hand issue)?

Scotty: Groin.

Reporter: How about [player z] (stopped throwing body checks, likely shoulder issue)?

Scotty: He’s also got a groin problem, and so does everyone else you want to ask about.

George,

I, like many others, am glad you are taking the proper time to return to doing what nobody does better. You’re the 007 of blogging (you seem to have forgotten your middle name, James), not Homer (certainly not Homer Simpson). Don’t forget, you’ve got a great relationship with Jim Nill and a number of other members of the organization. How many people do you know who can say that? Heck, you could probably call him when you are back to your normal self and get a post training camp interview either on the phone or at the Joe. I mean that sincerely. Even in your first interview/conversation with him you never wasted a question, and you’re so polite you’ve already made an impact on the team in a way that has paid dividends for a number of years. So you missed this year’s training camp. You’ll be there next year, and if not, don’t worry about it because they play the preseason here and I have no doubt they’ll let you in the room. Heck, they’d probably let you in regularly during the season (they do practice) if you asked, but I know you’re not the type to push your (perceived) boundaries. The positives far out way the negatives, and the fact you are not seeing that right now shows me that you do need some more time to fully get your head back in its correct crook. I’m with you all the way.

Posted by Bradley97 on 09/18/11 at 12:22 PM ET

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George, half seriously, I’m proposing the opposite. If you need the PayPal link put back up, don’t hesitate, despite your concerns of refunding people. Sorry, didn’t mean to start up the topic since you didn’t want to. Hope the computer is finally all fixed—no news is good news, yes?

Posted by Bugsy on 09/18/11 at 01:19 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

The “replacement” computer is something I’m not happy with, so I have a big decision to make about the donated $ as there’s enough that I could either save up for some road trips this season or buy the uber-computer that I really need to do my job properly for the next two or three years. It’s a bit of a conundrum.

And for the record, I’m starting to bookmark all the stories I need to read to catch up and get back to work in a couple of days. This is a big step as I essentially missed sixteen or seventeen days’ worth of Wings news.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/18/11 at 03:30 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Actually, given that it’s not my money, I’d be curious as to what everybody thinks I should use it for…

And I have a question: should I assume that we’ll be sharing the links to, ahem, possibly semi-legal internet feeds of pre-season games with each other?

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/18/11 at 03:46 PM ET

christpuncher's avatar

“And I have a question: should I assume that we’ll be sharing the links to, ahem, possibly semi-legal internet feeds of pre-season games with each other?”


I hope so! Luxuries like expensive NHL packages and even cable T.V. at this point aren’t an option this year…

And, the “pay site” has gotten my last dollar as the feeds are total garbage. Nearly unwatchable in some cases. 

First game Wed??

Posted by christpuncher from Detroit, MI on 09/18/11 at 04:05 PM ET

Avatar

Hi George,

Keep the money (well, you can certainly keep mine) and use it as you please. A computer is essential for us to get all the information you feed us..or if you want to save it for a later trip, go right ahead.

Best wishes

Posted by Nathalie on 09/18/11 at 05:12 PM ET

Avatar

My 2 cents are buy the ubercomputer, since if you get a decent brand and take care of it, it may be good for more than 2-3 years (buying extra memory is dirt cheap nowadays compared to the past). If you decide to throw up the paypal link again occsasionally with little comment (e.g., for computer, trip, etc.), I’m okay with that. However, if the trips will be good for your mental health/ability to get closer to the team, that’s okay too.

We’ll be looking for the firehose of stories in the coming weeks. Do get some sleeep while doing it.

Posted by Bugsy on 09/18/11 at 08:52 PM ET

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George, I vote for you to get the ubercomputer you really do need to do the wonderful job you do.

Posted by wingsluver4ever from TC on 09/19/11 at 01:45 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

My wish for you George is good health. All the best.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 09/21/11 at 04:10 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.