The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/09/14 at 02:54 PM ET
I hate tossing off "napkin notes" without a substantive news story with which to anchor "tidbits," but I also hate sitting on stories for hours on end simply because there's no "anchor," too. I've looked around all the English-language and foreign-language news websites that I frequent on a daily basis, and I didn't find anything particularly earth-shattering Red Wings-related note, but I did find a decent amount of "stuff"...
So it is with mixed feelings that I provide you a set of stories which may or may not involve significantly substantive content:
1. Henrik Zetterberg had a bogus Twitter account for a couple hours today, @40HZetterberg, but this much is not terrible: its first Tweet was a Retweet regarding the real deal's charitable foundation's participation in Hour Detroit's annual "Best of Detroit" dinner:
The Zetterberg Foundation also Tweeted an informational video regarding where a significant chunk of its "Club 40" $1,000-per-year donations will be spent:
But then the Red Wings checked up on the "40HZetterberg" Twitter account, and this happened:
So charitable promotion yay, impersonating someone not so yay.
2. Of fan-participatory note, Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan's getting into the news busines...Sort of...Tomorrow morning on WZZM 13...
And Jimmy Howard jersey card might not be enough to get you to head to the Hockey Hall of Fame on July 12th, but it's still spiffy:
3. Also in fan-participatory news, both Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples and http://msn.foxsports.com/detroit/story/tatar-nyquist-go-head-to-head-for-tsn-play-of-the-year-060914Fox Sports Detroit reminded us that this week's big "voting" initiative involves Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist facing off in TSN's Play of the Year final. You can vote here as to whether Tatar's deke-and-dangle-and-evade goal...
Out-dazzles Gustav Nyquist's second-second-effort goal against the Lightning:
4. In video news of a different kind, I am not a big "gamer," and when I'm done covering hockey, if I have some free time (that's rare; mostly I try to catch up on sleep), I tend to play The Sims to get away from hockey, but those of you who play EA Sports' NHL franchises might find the NHL 15 teaser that Paul posted to be of interest:
5. Regarding the competition committee's meetings in New York ahead of this week's GM's meetings, again, Paul posted this, but given my take on expanding video review to COVER EVERY DAMN INSTANCE IN WHICH THE PUCK GOES IN THE NET, these Tweets from TSN's Bob McKenzie left me incredibly disappointed:
Get ready for another year--or more--of that, "THE CALL ON THE ICE STANDS!" or, "That referees' determination is not reviewable!" bullshit.
And that's what the NHL's competition committee and GMs and Board of Governors' stubbornness regarding not reviewing referees' in-the-moment takes on goaltender interference ("incidental contact" = no goal sans penalty, "goaltender interference" with no goal and a penalty, player "in the crease" impeding or not impeding a goaltender's ability to make a save, whether the net being off its moorings or off its "plane" should affect a goal's legality, and as Wings fans learned this past season, whether, say, a Brendan Smith tug on a Cam Atkinson should yield an awarded goal, etc. etc.) has yielded for all fans--a bunch of bullshit calls and bullshit non-calls.
Mickey Redmond and Ken Daniels may be partisan as can be, but they also like to remind us that referees are human beings who do not have the benefit of access to video review, and as such, their best attempts to "get it right" occasionally "get it wrong." Mike Babcock tends to suggest that refs are trying to keep their jobs and earn playoff officiating spots, too.
Regrettably, the Dan O'Hallorans of the world like to be "the show" instead of the players, and the NHL's affording such referees the right to decide the fates of regular-season games, the awarding of playoff spots, the ranking of said spots, playoff games, playoff series and even the Stanley Cup because the owners either feel that video review is "slowing the game down too much," or because they'd rather have the eyeballs on the ice get it wrong than remove some of their autonomy.
That's just stupid, and it reminds me of the ways that the NHL's GM's and the BoG's dinosaurs tried so very hard to prohibit taking the determination of goals away from goal judges in the 90's. It's upsetting and disappointing that those in charge of the rules still have their heads in the damn sand.
6. Regarding another important set of rules, per CBS Sports' Brian Stubits:
From every account, the 2013-14 NHL season has been a massive success. Fans returned and then some after the lockout in 2012-13 plus the outdoor games were increased six-fold.
It was such a great season by the NHL's standards that commissioner Gary Bettman effused praise at the start of the Stanley Cup, trumpeting his league's success.
"Thanks to our fans, we set records for attendance at our arenas and viewership on NBC. By any measure this may have been the most successful season on and off the ice in NHL history."
That helps explain why the salary cap is likely going to take a huge jump this offseason. There have been various estimates on what the salary cap would come to for next season. Given that it's based on this season's revenue, there's now a pretty clear idea of where that revenue number will fall. According to Chris Botta, it will be way up there and will only climb again next year.
Here's more from Stubits:
f Botta's sources are correct, then the salary cap should fall in somewhere around $70.6 million, the floor at $53.4 million. Those numbers this season? The cap was $64.3 million and the floor was at $44 million, so those will be pretty big jumps.
It's not hard to envision teams near the cap quickly using that excess money to land another big-name player or a couple of other guys on relatively cheap deals. Certainly it's enough to make an impact. As for teams on the floor, well, they're going to have to up the payroll rather considerably.
The official numbers will be released after the Stanley Cup Final is completed.
7. In the FYI/FTR-and-or-unrestricted free agent-to-be department, Comcast Sportsnet Northeast's Joe Haggerty reports that Jarome Iginla is at least beginning to engage in contract talks with the Boston Bruins, which may bum out Helene St. James and some of you (in this sense, MLive's Ansar Khan's "Ask Ansar" comments are still relevant regarding the Wings' free agent and trade alternatives);
8. In...eclectic...alumni news, JuniorHockey.com reported that short-time Wing Dmitri Mironov will serve as a consultant for the "Central Ontario Stars," a new member of the highly controversial "Canadian International Hockey League," and Yahoo Sports' Neate Sager noted that Tim Cheveldae is hoping to keep his day job as the WHL's Saskatoon Blades' goaltending coach;
9. In a different alumni vein, the Tennessean's Josh Cooper both reminded us that the Predators have Calle Jarnkrok, and reminded us that we can't rush to judge whether the Predators really won the David Legwand trade:
Jarnkrok had nine points in 12 games to give Nashville hope that he indeed could be a solid offensive contributor at center for years to come.
But what can we truly expect from the 22-year-old Jarnkrok for next season? Here are his stats from the various teams he played for this past season:
Grand Rapids Griffins: 36 points in 57 games
Milwaukee Admirals: Nine points in six games
Nashville Predators: Nine points in 12 games
Team Sweden (World Championships): 0 points in 10 games
So even though Jarnkrok had a strong showing for Nashville, the figurative jury is still out on his production level and how the 22-year-old will look as an everyday NHL player.
Jarnkrok wasn't bad at the World Championships--he was TERRIBLE. His skating abilities were tremendous, but his "compete level" was, on a 1-to-10 scale, at a -5. He made Johan Franzen's bad games look like examples of tenacity at its best.
10. Regarding prospects not affiliated with the Wings, Plymouth Whalers GM Mark Craig engaged in a chat on the Free Press's website, and you can read the transcription thereof here;
11. Stepping waaaaaaaaaaaaay away from the Wings, I'd like you to know that the KHL may be expanding to Sochi, bringing in Jokerit Helsinki (both of its owners are so tight with little Vladdie Putin that they're on the U.S.'s sanctions list) and they've revived Lada Togliatti...
But here's a huge reminder why they're not a viable threat to the NHL as of yet: Spartak Moscow, one of the KHL's oldest franchises, won't play in the KHL for the 14-15 season, and RIA Novosti reports that Spartak's out because the Russian government doesn't plan on bailing out the franchise after its sponsor, Investbank, was shut down in something of a banking corruption crackdown last December.
The team played the vast majority of the second half of the KHL season without paying players' salaries or expenses, and because the players were being paid via Investbank debit cards, the Russian government's crackdown froze the players' access to their money.
This is normal for the KHL--one or two teams' main sponsors either fall into bankruptcy or blow themselves up, and those teams disappear from the league as other teams shuffle in. That's not a great business model.
12. Moving slowly back to topic, MLive has brought in former New York Times columnist Joe Lapointe as a sportswriter-at-large, and he sounds like he's going to invest a solid amount of time talking about the Red Wings;
The Grand Rapids Griffins’ 18th season is in the books.
While the conclusion of Hockeytown West’s 2013-14 campaign didn’t yield any cup-hoisting déjà vu, it’s not to say that the Griffins didn’t achieve innumerable successes throughout the season.
“What I’d say in terms of success or failure is that our guys did an incredible job this season. I thought that they handled lots of different adversities,” said Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill. “Every year is a little bit different. We faced challenges this year that we didn’t face a year ago, and I thought our guys did a great job of handling those and continuing to excel.”
Among those new challenges was the Griffins’ revolving locker room door, which saw the long-term promotions of star prospects Luke Glendening, Tomas Jurco, Gustav Nyquist and Riley Sheahan. In all, 17 members of Blashill’s 2013-14 squad were called up to play a total of 329 NHL games, and 13 players from his Calder Cup championship team logged time in Detroit this season, helping the club extend its playoff streak to 23 consecutive seasons. Calder Cup champions scored goals in 15 of Detroit’s 16 games prior to clinching a postseason berth.
Despite their ever-evolving roster, the Griffins (46-23-2-5) managed to churn out an even better regular season record than their Calder Cup-winning campaign (42-26-4-4). And this was accomplished with the return of only four of Grand Rapids’ top 12 scorers from the previous year.
Another obstacle came in the form of major injuries, most glaringly the season-ending ankle sprain of Alexey Marchenko, as well as Mitch Callahan’s infamous slapshot to the mouth. Callahan returned to the lineup by Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals, but his absence was certainly felt when he missed the final six games of the regular season. The Griffins ultimately dropped what would have been their second consecutive Midwest Division crown to the Chicago Wolves by a single point on the final night of the regular season, highlighted by a dramatic 4-3 shootout loss to the Lake Erie Monsters that same evening. Callahan (26 goals) was the second-highest goal scorer for Grand Rapids behind Teemu Pulkkinen’s 31 tallies.
That single point would have set the Griffins on an entirely different playoff path. But such is hockey and such is the league.
“Well, we’re certainly disappointed to not still be playing,” said Blashill. “When you have opportunities to be able to play through June, you want to do that. We felt that at the beginning and through most of the year that we had a good enough team to be able to continue to play.
“Now, we also have a great amount of respect for Texas, and we knew that they deserved the right to be considered the best team in the league going into the playoffs because they had the most points. So, we knew that was going to be a tough challenge.”
Which continues at length...
14. And finally, in the player Twitter department:
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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.