The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/12/12 at 02:23 PM ET
It’s been a strange morning at the Red Wings’ summer development camp. The players’ bus didn’t come to their hotel on time, so the on and off-ice activities didn’t begin until almost 9 instead of 8:20, but the team won’t have a short break in between the morning’s workouts and skill drills and the afternoon’s sessions, which will further throw off players’ schedules because so many are accustomed to mid-day naps.
So this news post more or less plays off the Zamboni scrape entry and generally involves more minor tidbits than not:
• First and foremost, let’s do some debunking. I know that Expressen’s Oscar Brostrom’s conversation with Tomas Holmstrom’s agent, Howard Goruwitz (which I mentioned yesterday), has some thinking that Holmstrom might very well play in another NHL city, but that goes against Holmstrom’s own suggestions that there’s only one team he wants to play for and that it’s the Wings.
Just as importantly, if we are to believe what agents say, sixteen teams are interested in Shane Doan, or so his agent, Terry Bross, claimed to USA Today’s Kevin Allen, and as mentioned in the morning report, Dominik Hasek’s agent, Rich Winter, told iSport’s Pavel Barta that five NHL teams are interested in bringing a 47-year-old goaltender who hasn’t played competitive hockey in a year into the fold as a back-up. I just don’t buy agent bluster at this time of year;
I understand that Holmstrom possibly leaving Detroit makes for a “juicy storyline” in the middle of July, but it’s not happening.
• The Grand Rapids Griffins already accounted for looming departures in signing Nathan Paetsch and Triston Grant to AHL deals and inking prospect defenseman Chad Billins to a Luke Glendening-style AHL-only contract this morning, so I’m surprised at how much play the following stories are getting.
As MLive’s Josh Slaghter notes, defenseman Doug Janik has signed with Adler Manheim of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga today, and Slaghter also notes that fellow blueliner Garnet Exelby signed with the Boston Bruins a few days ago.
Janik didn’t have a future in Detroit and Exelby was a Curt Fraser signing, so I’m not surprised that either player left—there’s a ton of roster turnover in the AHL, and Jim Nill is clearly building the Grand Rapids Griffins’ roster up as we speak, but in announcing the moves, the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness titled his story, “cross two defensemen off Wings’ search for help along the blue line.
Uh, whoop-dee-doo? We’re talking about a serviceable #7 defenseman in Janik and someone who didn’t earn an NHL call-up even last year in Janik. I think the team will be okay without them.
• Regarding the Winter Classic Alumni Game(s), Michigan Hockey’s Stefan Kubus penned an article about yesterday’s presser…
“We started off this process with the alumni game trying to put a roster together of 23, 24, 25 players in Detroit, and ultimately reached out to Toronto and felt that we had so many players we wanted to bring out and honor to be part of this alumni game,” Holland said. “Toronto was in the same situation, so we decided to have two games, so we can honor probably 23-25 players on two different teams. We can have 75, 80, 100 of the greatest players in Leaf and Red Wing history.
How that will pan out is still undecided, however.
“I’m not sure how we’re going to break down the game. That’s going to be for another time.”
The glaring history between the two teams is undoubtedly prevalent heading into both the alumni game and the Winter Classic itself.
“Detroit has won 275 games, Toronto has won 276,” said Holland. “Math wasn’t my best subject, but we’re one game down. If we win the alumni game, we can make the game at the Big House the ultimate rubber match. We obviously both won a lot of Stanley Cups over the years, so this sets up as a classic week with a classic game right here and eventually getting to the Big House in Ann Arbor.”
For Holland, it’s going to be an unforgettable experience being able to witness some of the all-time greats from both sides have at it.
“I’m looking at this game as a trip down Memory Lane. I grew up in British Columbia, I was a diehard Toronto Maple Leafs fan growing up… For me, as a fan, to be able to sit in the stadium and watch all these great Red Wing players and Leaf players on the same sheet of ice is going to be absolutely incredible.”
And MLive’s Phillip Zaroo focused on the grind line’s reunion:
Sure, it didn’t have anywhere near the skill level of the Production Line, which featured Howe, Lindsay and Sid Abel, but fans fell in love with the blue-collar mentality of forwards Kris Draper, Joe Kocur, Kirk Maltby and Darren McCarty, who were key to ending Detroit’s 42-year Stanley Cup drought in 1996-97 with a sweep over Philadelphia.
Then-coach Scotty Bowman used Draper, Kocur and Maltby on his fourth line because of their ability to wear down opposing teams’ top lines – be it with Draper’s quickness, Kocur’s physical play or Maltby’s ability to agitate. They became the original Grind Line.
A year later, McCarty replaced Kocur at left wing, opposite Maltby. Yet the result was the same: a Stanley Cup Finals sweep, this time over Washington.
That line went on to help the Red Wings win two more titles – in 2002 and 2008.
When general manager Ken Holland announced the players’ names as part of the Alumni Showdown at Wednesday’s press conference, he noted “that’s four guys on one line.” Wendel Clark, who will represent the Maple Leafs in the game, and who had his share of run-ins with The Grind Line quipped, “On some nights, it felt like that.”
Kocur, who was also in attendance, was anxious about the prospect of going against some his former adversaries.
“I think that’s going to be very exciting,” he said. “Playing against Wendel again, we had some good battles back in the day.”
• Via RedWingsFeed and Pro Hockey Talk’s Mike Halford, Mikael Samuelsson spoke to Hockeysverige’s Ronnies Skrivsmedja, and while I don’t have the time to translate much of it, even the Google translate versions of a couple of questions are encouraging:
Question: You played four seasons for the Detroit Red Wings between 2005 and 2009. Is there a different kind of hockey culture for the Europeans who play and have played there?
Samuelsson: “That’s not the reason. Detroit is a very well-organized team. Because there is concern for the players on the team and their families. Everything isn’t just business. Sure, we’re obviously out to win, no doubt about it. The difference is that the general manager and other embers of the organization are at a good level. After all, we’re all people and not robots. You do feel as if you’ll perform well, that there’s nothing strange about it. In addition, you get an important continuity when players thrive on the team and are happy to stay”
Question: What is it about Mike Babcock’s leadership that makes him unique?
Samuelsson: “What I remember is Mike had his own way to coach the team. He talked a lot with our players and we knew what he wanted. I liked that way very much. I guess he hasn’t changed that much since I was in Detroit last time.”
Question: How does Mikael Samuelsson get prepared for a comeback with the Detroit Red Wings?
Samuelsson: “The Same way every summer. I think I have a good idea about what’s required of me to be in good shape when I get there. Then I hope to earn a decently good role on the team.”
• From the Red Wings’ summer development camp in retrospect, from the Left Wing Lock’s Sarah Lindenau:
• From the Wings’ development camp today, from the Wings:
• And from the Wings’ development camp, from me, here are my interviews with…
1. Robert Rooba (nice guy):
2. Ted Pletsch:
3. Andreas Athanasiou:
4. Kellan Lain:
5. And Brendan Smith, talking about the bus shenanigans and the tough turnaround time today for creatures of hockey habit:
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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.