The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/17/13 at 01:11 PM ET
Amongst this afternoon's Red Wings-related news: one member of the Red Wings' front office is taking part in a charitably "working" vacation activity today...
Red Wings VP Jimmy Devellano also spoke with the Free Press's George Sipple to answer a fan-submitted question as to why the Red Wings have not chosen to wear a "third jersey," despite the obviously huge merchandise sales that they'd rake in:
As for the Red Wings, they are asked each season by the NHL whether they would like to add a third jersey. They say no. "Every year, (owner Mike) Ilitch and I have talked about it, but we just love the tradition of our sweater, our crest, our colors," said Red Wings senior vice president Jimmy Devellano. "We just see no need to try to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. We really have never seen any need for a third jersey."
The Wings have created jerseys for special occasions, such as the upcoming Winter Classic.
"I remember there was a year when everybody kind of went to their original sweaters," Devellano said. "We’ve done things like that. But not a permanent third jersey. Quite honestly, the home red is one of the nicest jerseys in the league. Probably, if we had our way, we’d wear that jersey home and away, it’s so nice."
I'm with Devellano on this one. Detroit didn't have a white jersey for a short portion of their initial existence as the Red Wings, but they had to adopt one to play against Montreal. I'd love to see the Wings play teams in red unless there was a "red on red" conflict.
The Red Wings' website also posted an episode of Wingspan in which Fox Sports Detroit's Trevor Thompson spoke with Chris Osgood, Kris Draper and Chelios regarding their post-hockey-playing careers as members of the Wings' front office (and there's a Murph appearance, awwwwwww):
In a different kind of alumni vein, also from the Red Wings, the Joe Kocur Foundation is holding its annual softball game in Highland, MI on August 24th ($10 tickets are worth it--I've been to one of their games, and they're oodles of fun, seriously) and their Twitter account keeps on revealing more and more participants on a near-daily basis:
Let's see here...Per their event flyer, Dino Ciccarelli, Darren McCarty, Chris Osgood, Jason Woolley, Kirk Maltby, Mickey Redmond, John Ogrodnick, Kevin Miller, Dave Lewis, Jiri Fischer, Eddie Mio, Paul Ysebaert and Karen Newman will all be there, and their Twitter account's stated that Manny Legace, David Legwand, Bryan Smolinski, Petr Klima, Slipknot drummer Chris Fehn, Dave Coulier, Pat Peake and Dave Rozema are all taking part.
The Red Wings' prospects who didn't take part in the summer development camp are busy, too, as noted yesterday...
And this afternoon, per Pro Hockey Talk's Joe Yerdon...
The Albany Times-Union's Steve Barnes offers the details regarding Brian Lashoff's "Day with the (Calder) Cup":
East Greenbush native Brian Lashoff, a defenseman for the Detroit Red Wings and former member of its AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, which won the 2013 Calder Cup, will bring the trophy to an appearance scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday (7/20) at Wolff’s Biergarten in Albany.
The meet-and-greet youth portion of the event runs until 6:30 p.m.; happy hour with Lashoff continues until 8 p.m. Admission is free. A portion of the evening’s food sales with be donated to Capital Region youth hockey organizations. The food special for the evening will be a burger with blue cheese and “Detroit hot wings” sauce.
Wolff’s is located at 895 Broadway.
The Calder Cup is the trophy awarded annually to the champions of the American Hockey League and is the second oldest actively awarded professional ice hockey playoff trophy after the NHL’s Stanley Cup.
For the record, the AHL's still selling Calder Cup Final nameplates on eBay, and Parkes, Gustav Nyquist, Brett Skinner, Brent Raedeke, Riley Sheahan and Teemu Pulkkinen's nameplates are still available.
In terms of stories regarding the prospects who did take part in the summer development camp (again, I filed my last entry after emptying out the notebook and sound recorder on Monday--I know that some folks had to leave town with extra info and that others like to spread their stuff out, but I like to get it all out there), MLive's Brendan Savage penned a profile of try-out and highly likely-to-return camper Michael Babcock.
Babcock's neither worried about the fact that he stands a listed 5'9" and 150 pounds and is probably more like 5'10" and 165 now, nor does his famous last name bother him. He's more than ready to grind his way toward his college career with Merrimack while beginning a two-year stint with the USHL's Fargo Force:
"There's a lot of big guys here," said Babcock, who stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 150 pounds. "I don't know if the size will be there but I'm just looking forward to the opportunity."
Babcock has already got a taste of the USHL, appearing in five games for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders last season – when he also played one game for the U.S. National Development Team – but he spent the majority of his season with DCC.nHe helped the Shamrocks reach the Division 1 state championship game before they lost 2-1 to Brighton. Babcock drew an assist on DCC's only goal.
"I was really glad I went back," he said. "I scored a lot more than the previous year and I got the opportunity to be one of the guys who needed to be on the ice for the team to win. It was a good learning experience."
Babcock was one of three Development Camp players whose last names are well known to Red Wings' fans.nTyler Bertuzzi, nephew of Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi, was a second-round draft pick this year and Dean Chelios, son of Red Wings adviser of hockey operations Chris Chelios, is a camp invite who is heading into his senior season at Michigan State.nBabcock didn't speak with either about the burden of carrying a famous last name and the expectations that come with it.
"Not really," he said. "Cheli kind of gets it more just because he's been here more. His dad was a player. My dad is just a coach. I think Dean got it a little bit more. I haven't talked to Bert about it. I think Bert can take care of himself."
And what about his famous father? Was it tough growing up in Hockeytown with the same last name as a Stanley Cup-winning coach, whose decisions are usually questioned on a daily basis by Red Wings' fans after eight years?
"Growing up, guys would heckle you a little bit," said Babcock, who sports a strong resemblance to his dad. "Most of the guys were good about it. You get the occasional heckling. Not too much at the high school level.nMy dad is good about it. I didn't have to be a hockey player. That was my choice. He influenced me a lot."
His father's "influenced him a lot," but Michael's intense as intense can be on the ice. Off-ice, he's easygoing and will talk your ear off.
And it took long enough, but Traverse City's Grand Traverse Insider, which publishes once a week, offers insignts as to what the camp was all about from Greg Gielczyk and Centre Ice Arena's director of Red Wings activities, one Ann Reeves:
Most of the camp is devoted to evaluating the prospects’ fitness levels, off-ice workouts as well as on-ice skating and drills. But something new has been added this year with a cooking class and a nutritional class.
"Not only are they working on their body on and off the ice, but they are taking yoga classes and taking the nutritional class," said camp director Ann Reeves. "The team is teaching them how to eat properly. As you can imagine, when you are a professional athlete, any advantage that you can get to make you better than your opponent (is a plus) … it makes you better not only from an individual standpoint, but overall makes the team a better team when you have the edge."
The players ADORED the cooking class, they thought that Tomas Holmstrom's presentation was great, they love working with Wings strength and conditioning coach Pete Renzetti despite the fact that he beats the heck out of their bodies, and they at least kept an open mind regarding the yoga classes.
[Tyler] Bertuzzi is one of eight Wings' draft selections attending the camp, which is the appetizer for the upcoming training camp, andexcitement has been running high since last Wednesday.
Reeves believes that interest in hockey has sparked even more this year with the Red Wings' minor league affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, recently winning the Calder Cup – the minor league equivalent of the Stanley Cup.
“Inquiries have been coming in from all over Michigan,” she added. "Folks can get back up here and jump back into it again. This is a kick-start to the 2013-14 season."
Close to 1,200 fans attended last year's scrimmage that marked the end of Friday's camp activities.
Whether it's because fans are just eager for more hockey or the improved social media connection with the Red Wings, Reeves expects higher attendance across the board for practices and the scrimmage. She also said there have been increased media requests from all across the state.
Hockey takes no off-seasons, and neither do the Red Wings.
Ain't that the truth.
Otherwise...DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose previews one of the Wings' new regular opponents as an Eastern Conference club in the New York Rangers (and this is just part of a much longer article)...
[Coach Alain] Vigneault will be a breath of fresh air for the Rangers, while is approach and system should give New York a bit of an offensive boost, particularly for young forwards like Carl Hagelin and Chris Kreider, who have some speed and skill to be big-time offensive contributors with Vigneault now calling the shots.
Under Vigneault and his coaching staff, players like Brad Richards, Rick Nash and franchise goalie Henrik Lundqvist will likely find a more agreeable environment. Vigneault added assistants with NHL coaching experience in Scott Arniel and Ulf Samuelsson to implement his systems. Arniel is a former head coach, having worked with Nash in Columbus, and Samuelsson worked with coach Dave Tippett and Wayne Gretzky before then in Phoenix.
The Rangers struggled to give Lundqvist goal support, averaging just 2.62 goals per game, which was a four-season low for the Blueshirts. He’s a five-time Vezina Trophy finalist, who has been in New York spotlight for awhile, and now he’s in his final year of a six-year contract that has paid him $41.2 million.
In 2011, Sather signed Richards to a nine-year contract worth $58.5 million. Last season, the second year of the deal, he produced 34 points in 46 regular-season games. In the playoffs, Richards had one goal in 10 games and was a healthy scratch in the last two games of a series loss to Boston.
Derek Stepan emerged as the Rangers’ top-line center, producing team-highs in assists (26) and points (44), and his plus-25 rating ranked fifth in the league. However, entering this summer, he was one of three key restricted free agents the Rangers needed to sign, joining Hagelin and defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who both locked up new deals this month.
As far as the defense goes, Dan Girardi, who led the league with 125 blocked shots, returns. The club also hopes to get a healthy Marc Staal back on the point by the start of the season. The 26-year-old blue-liner was hit near the right eye by a puck in early March. As of late May, he was still experiencing blurry vision and altered depth perception, though he believes his eye will improve even if it doesn’t return to 100 percent.
Michigan Hockey's Darren Eliot discusses Jimmy Howard's literal and figurative "worth" (cue, "Part of a longer article"...):
After the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, the pace set in going from the draft to free agency was frenetic. As if the league was still trying to catch up from the first-half lockout. One of the “catch-up” mechanisms to come out of the new collective bargaining agreement was the amnesty buyout, whereby a franchise can reduce the pain against the cap by taking bad, long-term deals off their books. One such case involved goaltender Rick DiPietro, bought out and let loose by the N.Y. Islanders under the new provision.
I bring DiPietro up for the sake of examining the goaltending landscape in 2013. He was thought to be a rising star and paid on speculation. Injured at the 2008 All-Star Game, DiPietro never developed over the next five injury-riddled years. Fast forward to present tense and you have the Boston Bruins inking Tuuka Rask, hot off his run to the Stanley Cup Final, to an eight-year $56-million contract. Some say it is too much. That Rask hasn’t proven enough to warrant top money – despite the Final appearance. The same was being said in these parts when the Red Wings – as usual – got out ahead in signing goaltender Jimmy Howard before the playoffs. It paid off as Howard played his best hockey when it mattered most.
Still, many will say his roughly $6.5-million annual salary is too high for a guy with very little post-season pedigree. All of which got me to thinking: Would you rather have the stable approach of Ken Holland when it comes to his team’s goaltending, or endure what Canucks’ fans have lived through in Vancouver? The curtain finally fell as GM Mike Gillis – unable to trade Roberto Luongo due to his arduous long-term deal, reversed course and dealt instead Cory Schneider to the N.J. Devils; this after signing Schneider two summers ago and declaring him the Canucks’ No. 1 netminder. Beyond the drama and the dough, though, who are the NHL’s top goaltenders and what are the criteria?
I can only nervously smile in agreement when Sportsnet's Luke Fox suggests that Jonas Gustavsson is a back-up who the Wings and the rest of the league "need to see more" of before determining his "worth"...
Jonas Gustavsson, Detroit Red Wings — In Toronto, former GM Bryan Burke once compared signing Gustavsson to getting a free first-round pick. Well, that one didn’t work out. The big Swede struggled with consistency and health concerns before leaving for Detroit as a free agent last year.
If you are a Brendan Smith fan, you enjoyed his interview on TSN 1050 yesterday, or you just want new wallpaper for your computer, CBS Detroit's story about Smith's re-signing includes a wallpaper-sized image of Smith winding up for a slap shot against--get ready--Chicago...
And this was coming, one way or another:
I have no idea what # Alfredsson will be wearing--we did find out that Stephen Weiss will be wearing #90 yesterday, so I sent a Tweet Tomas Tatar's way, asking him whether he's going to be changing is # given that his Twitter handle is @Trto90 and that he wanted to wear #90 before Weiss gobbled it up.
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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.