The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/12/14 at 08:22 PM ET
Updated 2x at 8:36 PM: I've been dreading this for a couple of days, but I suppose it's time to "git 'er done."
Between my catchy-uppy post last Wednesday morning and this afternoon/evening's entry, a whole lot of Red Wings-related stuff took place and/or was discussed online--I had a fantastic vacation and swam in Lake Superior three times, too, going half-a-mile out and 45 or 50 feet deep on my last long swim, and spending lots of time with my awesome relatives--and here's my attempt to summarize everything I've been able to find over the past couple of days:
First and foremost, MLive's David Mueller noted that the Red Wings' $650 million rink-and-entertainment-district project, which is largely a project that was designed in tandem with and will be overseen (and paid for) by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation's Downtown Development Authority, will "go through" a new DEGC chief operating officer:
The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation on Friday announced it has named Rodrick Miller to its top executive spot. Miller founded and was president of the New Orleans Business Alliance, a quasi-public entity similar to the DEGC that New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu established to help attract development to Orleans Parish. Miller fills a post vacated this year by George Jackson, who stepped down in March after 12 years at the helm of the DEGC to form his own private consulting firm in Detroit.
According to Crain's Detroit Business's Amy Haimerl, outgoing CEO George Jackson will remain with the DEGC to help implement the Ilitches' project--Jackson championed the project from its outset--but Miller will likely help shepherd the "District Detroit" to its fruition:
Miller officially takes the baton from Jackson on Sept. 15. He'll be moving himself and his 8-year-old son to the city. He is working with a real estate agent and considering neighborhoods.
Jackson, who held the CEO post for 12 years, announced in January that he would be stepping down to start his own consulting firm. Jackson initially planned to leave the nonprofit at the end of March, but he has stayed to help with the transition period and with shepherding the new Detroit Red Wings arena through the political process.
For what it's worth, Fox 2 also had to posit a report clarifying their stance on the rink-and-entertainment-district project after airing Charlie LeDuff's incendiary report about the Ilitches' water bill (Bloomberg News posted a story about the project as well):
Regarding the present rink, any of your or my disabled friends will tell you that getting into the Joe and finding proper handicapped seating is, at best, a pain in the ass, and the Detroit News's Louis Aguilar reported that a lawsuit will result in improved access to the Joe for those who can't walk up the stairs...
The operator of Joe Louis Arena has reached a settlement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to make the home venue of the Detroit Red Wings more accessible to people with disabilities.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan announced the deal Wednesday. The settlement agreement with Olympia Entertainment Inc. resolves a complaint filed by a patron with a disability who was unable to attend Red Wing games at The Joe. The arena was built prior to the American Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities.
“This agreement provides people with disabilities with much improved access to enjoy events at Joe Louis Arena, and perhaps even more importantly, ensures full and equal opportunity at Olympia’s new events center for generations of hockey fans to come” said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade in the press statement. She was referring to the new arena that is slated to begin construction soon.
Under the settlement agreement, Olympia will provide 45 wheelchair accessible seats. Olympia has also agreed to improve accessibility in restrooms, concession stands, restaurants, and clubs throughout the arena.
And CBS Detroit confirmed the news:
Under the settlement agreement, Olympia will provide 45 wheelchair accessible seats, and an equal number of companion seats at Joe Louis Arena, with substantial improvements in the lines of sight over standing spectators.
Tickets for the accessible and companion seats will be offered at prices proportionate to the number of general seats in each price category, and will be able to be purchased in the same manner as general seats, including online through Ticketmaster.
According to McQuade, Olympia has also agreed to improve accessibility in restrooms, concession stands, restaurants, and clubs; improve signage throughout Joe Louis Arena; provide additional Assistive Listening Devices; and annually train its employees on the ADA.
The settlement agreement also requires Olympia to submit to inspections by an Independent Licensed Architect to allow the U.S. Attorney’s Office to monitor all stages of the design and construction process for Olympia’s new Events Center which is planned to house Olympia’s future entertainment operations, including Red Wings games, to ensure full ADA compliance.
Under the agreement, all operating policies and procedures for the new Events Center concerning the ADA also will have to be approved by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The agreement was reached under Title III of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by public accommodations. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will actively monitor compliance with the agreement.
For more information about Title III visit http://www.ada.gov or call the U.S. Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TTY) or the U.S. Attorney’s Civil Rights hotline at 313-226-9151.
I do NOT know how the lawsuit regarding allowing NHL teams to sell their national TV rights will pan out, but that's one worth watching as it might help break the NHL's stupid Center Ice/GCL blackouts.
In terms of the Red Wings' prospects taking part at the World Junior Evaluation/Selection camps in Lake Placid, NY (USA, Sweden and Finland) and Montreal, QC (Canada), Tyler Bertuzzi had to leave Canada's camp due to strep throat, but Axel Holmstrom (Sweden) and Dylan Larkin (USA; teammate and fellow Wings pick Dominic Turgeon made the half-cut-down team) played very strongly during the first half of said tournaments, while Zach Nastasiuk (Canada) and Julius Vahatalo (Finland) were quiet.
Between Wednesday, August 6th and Saturday, August 9th, when both camps concluded:
On Wednesday, Larkin was held off the scoresheet for the U.S. and Holmstrom didn't register a point for Sweden as the U.S. beat Sweden 7-1 (Turgeon didn't play in the game), but Nastasiuk scored the 4-1 goal as Canada defeated Russia 5-2 (and the game recap links have embedded highlight clips);
On Friday, the Americans took the day off (goofy video included), and Nastasiuk didn't register a point and also stayed out of the penalty box in a penalty-filled 5-2 Canadian loss to the Czech Republic;
On Saturday, the Czechs "crossed over" to the U.S. camp and the Swedes "crossed over" to the Canadian camp.
Larkin registered 1 goal and 2 assists in 3 games and Turgeon went scoreless in 3 games for the Americans;
Vahatalo scored 2 goals in 4 games for Finland;
Holmstrom scored 1 goal in 4 U.S. games and 1 goal in 1 Canadian game;
Nastasiuk scored 1 goal in 2 games for Canada.
At the end of the U.S. camp, Team USA coach Mark Osiecki told NHL.com's Adam Kimelman that Larkin was counted among a crop of strong first-and-second-line players:
The most offensively talented line was top 2015 NHL Draft prospect Jack Eichel centering Alex Tuch (Minnesota Wild) and Tyler Motte (Chicago Blackhawks). In a 7-1 win against Sweden on Wednesday, Tuch had a hat trick and Eichel had three assists. In a 9-1 defeat of Finland on Thursday, Eichel had one goal and four assists, and Motte had a hat trick.
Another trio that was solid when put together was Dylan Larkin (Detroit Red Wings) between Sonny Milano (Columbus Blue Jackets) and Hudson Fasching (Buffalo Sabres). They brought a heavy, grinding style that created offense off a physical forecheck.
In their final three games of the week the U.S. outscored its opposition 19-2, with 15 of the goals coming from forwards.
"They [the coaches] liked the way that the flow of the lines are going and the way they're playing together," said Jim Johannson, the assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey and the general manager of the U.S. team for the WJC. "I think they like the chemistry, the makeup of the players that we have and how we can put older, responsible-type players around the guys that we're expecting offense from and they seem to be blending well."
Also in the national team vein, you probably know by now that Brian Rafalski will enter the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame this December, and the Free Press's Helene St. James took part in Rafalski's conference call...
"I'm very humbled and honored," Rafalski said on a conference call from his off-season home in Wisconsin. "It's very rewarding for myself. I wasn't really expecting this."
After gaining attention overseas, Rafalski joined the Devils in 1999 and won the Stanley Cup in 2000. A second Cup followed in 2003. He came home to Detroit in 2007, when the Wings saw his tape-to-tape passes ideally suited to their puck-possession style.
It was a fantastic experience for Rafalski.
"The best part of playing in Detroit was coming home and playing in front of family and friends, and the opportunity to play with some other great defensemen, like Nick Lidstrom, Chris Chelios," he said. "Throughout my career I've had the opportunity of being coached and playing with some of the best defensemen of all time, going back to Slava Fetisov and Larry Robinson in New Jersey, and then also Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, and in Detroit, guys like Mark Howe, Larry Murphy, just being in the locker room and seeing those guys come through."
Rafalski quit hockey with a year to go on his contract, citing health and a desire to explore new horizons. He now spends most of his time serving as a chaplain in the area around Ft. Myers, Florida. While he went through a failed comeback attempt earlier this year, Rafalski said he didn't second-guess his decision to retire in 2011. "I'm very happy God has put me back where I'm supposed to be at the right time," Rafalski said. "It's worked out great."
As did the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:
hen former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski announced his retirement from professional hockey following the 2010-2011 season with one year and $6 million left on a contract, it came as quite a shock.
Conversely, the announcement made Wednesday was no surprise. Rafalski was among four people elected to the class of 2014 of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
“He was a player that always was involved in the play,” said his former coach at Wisconsin Jeff Sauer, who was also named as part of the class of 2014. “He was a guy that you could count on in all situations and circumstances along the way. He was the type of player that you looked down the bench and who’s the next guy that you need out there to kill a penalty or work the power play or be out there in a critical situation in a game? He certainly was the first guy you would pick.”
Rafalski ranks 10th all-time amongst American-born NHL defenseman with 515 points (79 goals, 436 assists) in 833 regular season games, while totaling 29 goals and 71 assists in 165 playoff games.
“I remember him telling us you come to college as a boy and you want to leave as a man,” Rafalski said of his former coach. “He gave you responsibility to grow up and learn what it took to be a professional athlete. You come to the rink every day, work the 3-4 hours and when you came out of there, you were ready to work hard and try to make a career out of hockey if you wanted to. It really allowed us to grow up and to go on to better things in our lives. It was something all the guys appreciated.”
You may or may not have also noted that the Los Angeles Kings plan on honoring a former Wing and a current member of the coaching staff this season:
The Los Angeles Kings will honor Luc Robitaille, Tony Granato and Barry Melrose as part of this season’s popular Legends Night Series presented by McDonald’s. As part of the special Series, Robitaille will also have a statue unveiled in Star Plaza at STAPLES Center.
Melrose, the Kings head coach from 1992-95, will be honored on February 12 before the Kings-Calgary game at STAPLES Center and Granato – who played in 380 games for the Kings and recorded 305 points -- will be honored on February 24 prior to the Kings-Detroit game. Robitaille, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, will be honored on March 7 prior to the Kings-Pittsburgh contest.
In charitable news, the Plymouth Whalers are holding an alumni game to raise funds for the Children's Miracle Network on Saturday at Compuware Arena, and last week, the Whalers announced that they'll be holding an exhibition game for charitable purposes on August 30th, as noted by Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples:
The Plymouth Whalers and the Windsor Spitfires are going to play in a preseason contest on Saturday, Aug. 30.
What they’re playing for is a lot more than just summer conditioning.
The two OHL rivals will square off in a game that will be serving as a fundraiser for the family of John Bieniewicz, a Livonia soccer referee who passed away during a game after being punched by an adult player.
The game – officially being called “Play It Forward For Bieniewicz” will have 100 percent of its proceeds go to the John Bieniewicz Foundation and C.O.P.S. (Michigan Concerns of Police Survivors). Puck drop is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Tickets will cost $10 in advance and $12 at the door. They can be purchased on the Whalers’ official site or by calling the Livonia Police Department (734-466-2470).
Admission to the game will also include a meet-and-greet with the Whalers players after the contest.
Again, the Joe Kocur Foundation is holding its annual charity softball game on August 23rd, too.
In the fan participation category, MLive's Brendan Savage reminds us that the Wings are holding a "Hockeyfest" at Joe Louis Arena on September 14th...
The event will feature appearances by current and former Red Wings, who will be available for autographs sessions while taking part in interactive games around the arena and in pickup hockey stations on the covered ice and Joe Louis Arena concourse.
There will also be tours of the Red Wings dressing room, photo opportunities with the 2008 Stanley Cup championship banner as well as the banner commemorating the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom's No. 5, and Q&A sessions with players and staff.
Tickets are $20 for general admission and $10 for children 12 and under. Gold tickets are available for $500 and include a guarantee to have two items signed by every current and former player in attendance.
Tickets are available at the Joe Louis Arena box office, http://www.DetroitRedWings.com all T,icketMaster outlets or by calling the JLA box office at (313) 471-7575 or TicketMaster at (800) 745-3000.
And the Wings did this last week, too:
The Red Wings have also announced their 2014-15 promotions schedule.
Items that will be given away include bobblehead dolls of Justin Abdelkader, Jonathan Ericsson, Gustav Nyquist and Danny DeKeyser. The Red Wings will also give away Gordie Howe bobbleheads March 31 to celebrate Mr. Hockey's birthday.
The Grand Rapids Griffins wear many different jerseys throughout the season. For instance, their mid-week jersey is different than what they wear on Fridays.
For the upcoming season, the team is offering the public a chance to get involved.
The Griffins are holding a contest to find the best alternative jersey design. The winning entry will be worn by the Griffins for a game in January or February, 2015. Plus, the designer receives a personalized version of their jersey.
Entries are due Aug. 31. As of Friday, the Griffins reported 34 entries.
This is actually the fourth time the team has held a jersey-design contest, but the first since 2011.
There have been five winners the previous three occasions, including two in 2011, and they have come from all over - Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, London, England and two from Grand Rapids.
For the sake of a roll call, here are past winners:
2009 – Chad B. Stilson, Grand Rapids; Brian Oesch, Grand Rapids
2010 – Ryan Muraro, Waukesha, Wis.
2011 – Jason Villanti, Sayre, Pa.
2011 – Fraser Davidson, London, England
While Tomáš is playing on his new PS4, we are getting ready for a big interview with him The interview is going to cover wide range of topics such as his early years in hockey, the important/big moments of his career etc. We will also talk about the life "off the ice". You can ask Tomáš anything you want in the comments below. The most interesting questions will be used in the interview!
The good news is that the interview will be available also in ENGLISH on the official website http://www.TomasTatarOfficial.com
In what I will very, very delicately describe as, "Stories involving lists and shit":
4. Pavel Datsyuk - Detroit Red Wings - 93 Overall
Summary: If Datsyuk focused solely on offense he would have the potential to be in the NHL scoring race every single year. Instead, Pavel is a legendary two-way forward who consistency finishes near the top of the league in takeaways.
And Henrik Zetterberg is listed as the 2nd-best left winger:
2. Henrik Zetterberg - Detroit Red Wings - 92 Overall
Summary: One of the best two-way forwards in the game, Zetterberg plays in all situations. His five-star Puck Skills, Senses, Defense, and Skating make him a constant threat in all three zones.
2. CSN Washington's Ben Raby revealed that the Hockey News's annual yearbook is picking the Wings to miss the playoffs...
For what it’s worth, all preseason predictions should be taken with a grain of salt. Consider that just three years ago, THN picked the Capitals to win the 2011-12 Stanley Cup. Instead, the Capitals fired head coach Bruce Boudreau 22 games into the season and scrambled at year’s end just to secure the 7-seed in the Eastern Conference.
In addition to playoff appearances from the Penguins, Blue Jackets, Rangers and Capitals in the Metropolitan Division, THN is also predicting Eastern Conference playoff berths for the Bruins, Lightning, Canadiens and Panthers from the Atlantic Division. According to THN's predictions, the Detroit Red Wings (picked fifth in the Atlantic Division, but on the outside of a wild card position) would miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in 25 years.
THN is picking the Chicago Blackhawks to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Finals, in what THN Editor in Chief Jason Kay described as "a decision that came shockingly easy" compared to previous seasons.
3. Speaking of the Hockey News, Adam Proteau wondered whether two members of the 13-14 Wings team should "hang 'em up"...
Daniel Alfredsson, RW: Yes, he’ll turn 42 in December, but Alfredsson still made an impact last season, finishing tied for first among Red Wings pointgetters with 49 points in 68 games. He’s already made it clear he’s either returning to Detroit or retiring, but the Wings want and need him back, which confirms his value as an NHLer. Hang in there or hang ‘em up? Hang in there
Todd Bertuzzi, RW: Bertuzzi’s play has fallen off precipitously since his second stint with Detroit began in 2009. In 59 games last season, he amassed just three goals and nine points at even strength. And his Ontario court case with Steve Moore is scheduled for September 8. Even if he took a pay cut from the $2.075 million he made last year, Bertuzzi wouldn’t attract much interest. Hang in there or hang ‘em up? Hang ‘em up
(The trial's been delayed repeatedly due to the machinations of Moore's lawyer, Tim Danson, who's now seeking a $68 million payout, as well as Bertuzzi's status as a playing athlete, so that's not the issue--it's the fact that Bertuzzi's degenerative back and knee issues have blunted his ability to contribute on the scoresheet)
Matt Larkin asked a "Burning Question" about the Wings' bench...
Will Detroit re-sign Mike Babcock before the season starts?
It’s shaping up to be a memorable season in Detroit. The possibilities range from glorious to disastrous. We could see the young guard of Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurco and Anthony Mantha leap forward and take the torch from Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. We could see the rickety stars go down again and the youngsters struggle to replicate last season’s miraculous effort. Babcock’s future as coach is equally cloudy. Will he sign another long-term deal to shepherd the next generation? Or is he ready for a new challenge? He won’t discuss a contract with GM Ken Holland until the two meet face-to-face in the coming weeks. If he enters the season unsigned, though, it adds a few more degrees to a piping-hot seat, especially when he’s already said he won’t talk contract during the season if he doesn’t have a deal in time for Game 1.
And Ryan Kennedy suggested that the Wings and 29 other teams should errect new player statues:
Detroit – Steve Yzerman (Ted Lindsay and Gordie Howe already have one)
4. NHL.com's Pete Jensen listed one Wing among his "fantasy starting lineup of the past decade"...
Nicklas Lidstrom, Red Wings, 2005-06 - Lidstrom churned out plenty of vintage seasons over the years, but none was more impressive than his career-best 80-point output -- the highest total by an NHL defenseman since 1995-96. He's the only defenseman during the past decade with 50-plus power-play points and 50-plus PIMs in a single season, and his shots output (243) was impressive as well.
5. Sportsnet's Mike Johnston ended up editing his gaffe about Riley Sheahan being a right-shooting "Eastern Conference Breakout Player"...
Riley Sheahan. He, along with role players like Luke Glendening (one of the only right-handed shots on Detroit), was one of the youngsters that stepped up in a big way when the Red Wings’ veterans were banged up last season. Sheahan has the ability to alleviate some pressure off Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg when it comes to creating offence, which makes him all the more valuable to Mike Babcock.
6. And the Wings barely missed the cut of the Toronto Star's Kevin McGran's "best and worst off-season moves" list, but he made sure to give Detroit a "dishonorable mention":
Dishonourable mentions: Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota Wild
The Wings tried but struck out in free agency. The Wild added Thomas Vanek, who may be past his best-before date, and did not address its goaltending problems, an Achilles heel for a team that believes itself to be close to contending.
I raised my eyebrow when Pro Hockey Talk's Ryan Dadoun suggested that the Dallas Stars' purchase of their AHL franchise, the Texas Stars, meant that Stars GM Jim Nill would "have the opportunity to employ a Red Wings-style of AHL development," because it takes much, much more than control over an AHL team's finances to build a prospect development pipeline;
Octopus Thrower's Howard Ward pondered Marek Tvrdon's ability to rebound from a professional debut season so poor that it makes Martin Frk's 13-14 campaign look like a rousing success;
Winging It in Motown's Kyle McIlmurray penned an intriguing commentary stating, "I Do Not Hate Daniel Cleary" (neither do I...I just resent the whole giving-him-a-contract-because-I-someone-else-would've thing...);
"Down on the farm," the ECHL's Toledo Walleye have announced that they've re-signed Kyle Rogers, brought back Cody Lampl and signed A.J. Jenks, but they have yet to confirm that they've signed Josh Holmstrom;
I guess we're going to go there, per the Hockey News's Lyle Richardson...
[ESPN's Craig] Custance believes the Detroit Red Wings are a natural fit for Green and notes they have the depth in young talent to interest the Capitals. The Wings seek a top-four defenseman with a right-handed shot. They were linked to Green earlier this summer in the rumor mill, though that chatter has since died down.
The Wings might covet Green’s offensive skills, but his salary and lengthy injury history could concern them. They have a little more than $5 million in cap space, meaning they’ll have to move out a salaried player to create additional room to absorb his cap hit. Though Green’s entering the final season of his contract, the Wings (or another club interested in him) could demand the Capitals to pick up part of his salary to facilitate a trade.
Should the Capitals put Green on the trade block they’ll likely want a promising forward in return. While the Wings have the depth in young talent to make a pitch for Green, they won’t part with Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Anthony Mantha or Tomas Jurco. Realistic candidates are Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening or Joakim Andersson.
As Custance notes, the Capitals aren’t under pressure to move Green. They aren’t above the cap, so they don’t have to make a cost-cutting trade before the season opens. In late-July CBC.ca’s Elliotte Friedman claimed the Capitals were lukewarm toward trading Green, as they want to see how he’ll perform under new coach Barry Trotz.
It appears the Capitals will enter training camp next month with Green still on their roster. That will give them time to evaluate his adjustment to Trotz’s system. It could also improve his trade value as other clubs assess their own blueline needs.
This evening, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness confirmed the Wings' interest in retaining Daniel Alfredsson's services if he's healthy...
“My take is we’re probably going to try to do something with Alfie,” Holland said. “When he was healthy, he was valuable.”
After appearing in 68 regular season games, Alfredsson played in just three of the five games in the opening round playoff series with Boston and didn’t record a point.
He had 18 goals and 31 assists in the regular season.
“I don’t look at Alfie thinking he’s going to play 82 games,” Holland said. “When you’ve got (Gustav) Nyquist, (Tomas) Tatar, (Tomas) Jurco, (Luke) Glendening and (Riley) Sheahan, if we can get a certain amount of games out of him, we would feel like he would be a real positive addition.”
“At the end of the day we want to see him skate her every day for 2-3 weeks and then we’ll see how he feels,” Holland said.
And he noted the following:
Holland said he plans to talk with DeKeyser this week about a new contract. DeKeyser is the last restricted free agent left for the team to sign. His salary was $950,000 each of the last two seasons.
Holland also said that they’re not looking to sign any depth forwards or defensemen before training camp begins, believing what’s out there isn’t better than what’s on the roster already or in their system.
This isn't Red Wings-related, but I sure as hell think that this note from the Windsor Star's Jim Parker's interesting...
With Luke Kirwan now in the fold and less than three weeks until the start of training camp, Windsor Spitfires general manager Warren Rychel has one item left on his to-do list. Rychel would like to get defenceman Blake Coffey, who is the son of NHL hall of fame defenceman Paul Coffey, signed before camp gets underway Aug. 25.
“We’re working on him now,” Rychel said. “We’ve offered him a contract and we’re waiting to hear back.”
The five-foot-11, 180-pound Coffey was Windsor’s fifth-round pick (92nd overall) in April’s OHL Draft.
“I’d love to get it done,” the 16-year-old Coffey said of a deal with the Spitfires. “That would be a bonus, but right now I’m focusing on being a better player on and off the ice.”
Coffey had eight goals and 26 points in 30 games for the Toronto Marlboros minor midget and said he plans to be in Windsor for training camp.
“I still have nothing, but great feelings (for Windsor) and I want to push to make the team,” Coffey said. “I’m very excited for camp. I want to get going, check it out and prove myself.”
And finally, I'd like to thank Paul oodles and oodles for keeping the blog running while I was on vacation, and I'd like to thank you for continuing to read while I was away.
I desperately needed the mental break, and while I'm very happy to be back at work, I wasn't truly able to calm down and put the season behind me until the moment I stuck my bald head underwater at the mouth of the Hurricane River. Going into the hypothermic state that is swimming in Lake Superior has a way of reminding you to "chill," and being with my family for a week recharged my batteries in a way I haven't been able to experience for two years.
Things are getting back to normal in a hurry, of course. Tomorrow, the mom and I head back to the dermatologist to find out more about her "spot" on her temple, on Thursday, she and I will deposit a few pounds of Grand Marais sand at the laundromat in South Lyon (the aunt won't let us bring dirty laundry from Grand Marais in the house)...
Next week, the Wings' players will probably begin skating in Troy, ahead of the Joe Kocur softball game on the 23rd and a very likely last-week-of-August set of "informal" practices at the Joe, and four weeks from tomorrow, I'll be packing up the Pacifica again and heading up to Traverse City for a full two weeks--from the 10th to 24th--to take part in the Wings' fall prospect tournament and the Wings' main training camp.
As such, you can expect to see the Paypal button up shortly (I've got a few hundred bucks left over, but two weeks in TC = big hotel bill), and as such, I figure I've got about three weeks' worth of, "Oh hey, friends, I can actually come out and visit you and do stuff like walk away from the computer without worrying about missing anything 'big'" time until it's back to the grind.
Speaking of which, via RedWingsFeed, I posted MLive's Riley Sheahan-at-Wings-kids'-camp video in the evening entry, and this evening, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan posited an interview with Sheahan (who's now wearing Bauer gloves and using a Bauer stick):
Tuesday’s guest coach during the Red Wings Youth Camp at Joe Louis Arena, Sheahan remembered how about 15 years ago he was one of those pint-sized players.
“It brings back memories,” said Sheahan after Tuesday’s morning session, the sound of kids running in the corridors outside the Red Wings locker room evident. “You were that age once. It’s kind of cool, you kind of joke around with the kids. It’s fun to be in this setting. They’re pretty excited to be here and it’s fun to share that experience with them.”
Red Wings fans have been less than enthusiastic about this offseason, which saw no unrestricted free agents arrive in Detroit — other than defenseman Kyle Quincey and forward Daniel Cleary (and likely forward Daniel Alfredsson), players who were on the roster last season. But the Red Wings expect to be healthier this season — forwards Pavel Datsyuk, Stephen Weiss and Henrik Zetterberg, in particular — and the maturation of Sheahan, Tomas Jurco and Tomas Tatar, among other young forwards, should make for a good season.
“There’s so much talent on the team, we have no reason not to have any success,” Sheahan said.
He was one of several young forwards who joined the Red Wings during the course of last season and showed he belonged. In 42 games, Sheahan had nine goals and 15 assists (24 points) and a plus-8 rating, while averaging 14 minutes, 26 seconds of ice time.
“Riley had a very good year,” general manager Ken Holland said.
Having an opportunity to play regularly, and with so many of his former Grand Rapids teammates who won the 2013 Calder Cup, made for comfortable surroundings for Sheahan and increasing confidence.
“The young guys got a chance, we had some success, and we were able to contribute to the team’s success,” he said. “For sure it helps a lot seeing the familiar faces in the locker room. You can tell the chemistry is there and it translates to the ice.”
Tomorrow, Danny DeKeyser will speak with the media at the Wings' third and final Kids' Camp media availability, and after that, things should be relatively quiet.
Until David Legwand appears at the Whalers' alumni game on Saturday, anyway, until the Wings' MSU alums start skating at their pro camp at Munn Arena next week, and until those informal practices begin--barring any surprises from the team.
And there are always surprises.
I know that most of you are dreadfully bored by now and want the season to begin as soon as humanly possible, but for me, these next couple of weeks are my only post-swim chance to truly refresh and reset myself for the upcoming season, so I'm going to try to enjoy it. I hope you can do so as well.
Quick update: I posted this in KK Hockey:
This is a press release about a media availability, but the NHLPA's "Rookie Showcase" is one of the more interesting events of the summer. The NHLPA and Upper Deck, the league's hockey card rights-holder, picks a gaggle of top prospects to take part in photo shoots and autograph-signings in Toronto, and the players enjoy the meet-and-greet-and-hang-out aspect of the event:
2014 NHLPA ROOKIE SHOWCASE
TORONTO, ON (August 12, 2014) – Thirty-three of the top NHL® prospects/rookies will gather in Toronto at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (site of the former Maple Leaf Gardens) on Saturday, August 23rd for the 2014 NHLPA Rookie Showcase. Now in its sixth year, this unique event provides Upper Deck – the official trading card partner of the NHLPA and the NHL – with an exclusive opportunity to photograph many of the game’s top young prospects/rookies in their official NHL team uniforms, in shots that will be used for upcoming trading card and memorabilia launches.
The prospects attending include the following players...
NHL prospects/rookies scheduled to be in attendance include:
Aaron Ekblad (Panthers), Sam Reinhart (Sabres), Sam Bennett (Flames), Laurent Brossoit (Oilers), Andre Burakovsky (Capitals), Anthony Camara (Bruins), Nick Cousins (Flyers), Jacob de la Rose (Canadiens), Max Domi (Coyotes), Haydn Fleury (Hurricanes), Derek Forbort (Kings), John Gaudreau (Flames), Joey Hishon (Avalanche), Charles Hudon (Canadiens), Alexander Khokhlachev (Bruins), Evgeny Kuznetsov (Capitals), Curtis Lazar (Senators), Brendan Leipsic (Predators), Anthony Mantha (Red Wings), Brock McGinn (Hurricanes), Greg McKegg (Maple Leafs), Mirco Mueller (Sharks), Vladislav Namestnikov (Lightning), Darnell Nurse (Oilers), Brett Ritchie (Stars), Kerby Rychel (Blue Jackets), Hunter Shinkaruk (Canucks), Colton Sissons (Predators), Ryan Sproul (Red Wings), Teuvo Teravainen (Blackhawks), Chris Tierney (Sharks), Andrei Vasilevskii (Lightning), Alexander Wennberg (Blue Jackets).
Update #2: FYI, from the Wings' email list:
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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.