The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/04/13 at 12:14 PM ET
Via both Paul and my pal NHL Gossip, the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson posted a less-than-surprising but still intriguing quip about Red Wings forward Valtteri Filppula's contract demands (according to MLive's Ansar Khan, Filppula's sore shoulder's keeping him from practicing this morning)...
- The Detroit Red Wings are in a pickle with Val Filppula, who has tons of ability but has never really broken through to star status. He makes $3 million US now, and sources say he’d like $4.5 million or so in a new deal when he’s an unrestricted free agent July 1. That’s too rich for Detroit, but what if Pavel Datsyuk, 34, returns to Russia after his contract ends in 2014? “They know that’s a possibility,” said one NHL executive. Then, they need the Filppula, who’s 28.
And Matheson offered two more Wings-related quips...
The Detroit Red Wings have to decide this summer whether to re-up former Oilers winger Daniel Cleary, whose body has started to betray him the last few years with a string of injuries. Cleary, 34, always plays hard, but they probably won’t pay him $2.8 million any longer. Maybe the same two-year deal Todd Bertuzzi got ($3.85 million).
- Darren Helm saw a specialist in New York and said he had a small tear in a disc in his back. It’s a four- to six-week healing process, dating back to the start of the season. He has started skating, and the Wings miss his speed big-time on the third-line.
As well as a take on realignment from Cleary's friend, Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff, which focuses very squarely on the Wings:
Injured Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff knows realignment is the way to go with Detroit and Columbus moving to the Eastern Conference, Winnipeg getting into a central time-zone division in the Western Conference, and the Oilers, Calgary and Vancouver in a group with the West Coast U.S. teams. The Oilers would play the other six teams in their division (Gretzky Division?) 29 times, and the seven teams in the Central Division of the West (Minnesota, Winnipeg, Chicago, St. Louis, Nashville, Colorado and Dallas) 21 times. Add up 32 games against the East, and that’s 82.
The players, who voted on it Sunday, may still balk at eight teams out of 14 making the playoffs in the West, and eight out of 16 in the East, because it’s an imbalance, but the NHL is only granting them a vote as a courtesy. They probably won’t care what the players say because we’ve got a new CBA now and feel they can push it through.
“The last time they (NHL) wanted to rush it through (without any NHLPA input),” said Horcoff, who likes the idea of the Oilers playing L.A., Anaheim, San Jose and Phoenix more often, and not just because the weather’s better in the winter months. “I’ve heard our travel may be worst if we were flying just for a one-game trip, but as long as we’re out there (for three or four games), that’s great.”
“It was inevitable (realignment). Detroit and Columbus playing West Coast teams has been terrible. I have lots of friends on the Wings, and flying home from games they’re losing three hours. They’re telling me they would get home at four or five in the morning from the West Coast,” Horcoff said.
“As long as we’re playing every team, that’s good. This will be something fresh for the fans and the players.”
Horcoff wouldn’t mind seeing re-seeding once they get to the final four teams standing, based on points. If two Western teams play in the Cup final or two in the East, so be it. “It should be the best teams.”
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