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The Malik Report

Red Wings afternoon news: Ice buckets (and passionate defense thereof), fantasy hockey chatter etc.

Updated 3x at 4:48 PM:

Amongst this afternoon's Red Wings-related news stories, mostly in the charitable vein:

Via RedWingsFeed, Chris Chelios and Al Sobotka used the Wings' Zamboni #2 to partake in the Ice Bucket Challenge...

And the Wings issued a press release regarding a golf event not involving next Monday's Ilitch Charities Celebrity Golf Classic (which is probably "full"):

Registration now open for Little Caesars Celebrity Golf Shootout on Monday, Oct. 6 at Oakhurst Golf & Country Club
Golf outing features Red Wings Players & Alumni to benefit Little Caesars Hockey

DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings players and alumni will team up with fans and hit the links during the Little Caesars Celebrity Golf Shootout on Monday, Oct. 6 at the Oakhurst Golf & Country Club in Clarkston, Mich. Registration is now open for the golf outing that will pair every foursome with a celebrity player in an effort to raise funds for Little Caesars Hockey.

The outing kicks off with a Celebrity Player Draft at 10 a.m. to give select sponsored foursomes the opportunity to “draft” a celebrity team member – either a Red Wings current player, coach or alumnus. The remainder of celebrity players will be placed with each foursome as a “free agent” to ensure all groups feature a celebrity player.

Following the draft and continental breakfast, the groups will hit the links with a shotgun start at 11 a.m. The festivities will continue with cocktails and a strolling dinner at a post-round awards reception at 4 p.m. A silent auction will be held throughout the day, with winners being named at the awards reception. Lunch and refreshments will be available on the course and in the clubhouse, and golfers will receive numerous giveaways and prizes throughout the day.

Foursomes for the golf outing are $3,500, while sponsorships start at $1,000. For more information or to register, click here.

(If you think that's expensive, you don't want to know how much the Celebrity Golf Classic's foursomes cost)



The Joe Kocur Foundation's most recent Tweets about this Saturday's charitable softball games in Highland, MI (again, bring some effing sunscreen) include the following:



In "At the NHL Level" news, fantasy hockey version: ESPN's Matthew Coller penned a fantasy hockey "Summer Skate" article focusing upon the Red Wings, and I'm allowed to post part of the Insider-only entry (which utilizies "Goals vs. Threshhold" as its metric):

Trending up: Jimmy Howard, G

Last season: 2.8 GVT
VUKOTA projection: 9.2 GVT

After back-to-back terrific seasons in 2011-12 and 2012-13, Howard hit a rough patch in 2013-14. As he dealt with injuries throughout the season, his save percentage dropped from .920 and .923 the previous two seasons to a mediocre .910.

If he bounces back to 100 percent health, the 30-year-old netminder will return to a save percentage closer to his career save percentage of .917. Still, he could be facing an uphill battle playing behind an aging Datsyuk and Zetterberg and a defense that has been trending down during the past few seasons. The pressure will be on Howard to be outstanding or see his team struggle to make the playoffs.

Trending down: Johan Franzen, F

Last season: 7.8 GVT
VUKOTA projection: 6.6 GVT

For many years, Franzen has been an underappreciated work horse -- mule? -- on the wing. His point production has been incredibly consistent, averaging between 0.83 and 0.72 points per game in every season since 2008-09.

However, it is reasonable to expect his scoring to descend at age 34. Franzen did see a drop in shot rate this past season, from as high as 3.46 in his heyday to 2.76 per game in 2013-14.

His role could force a drop in production as well. If the young, offensively gifted forward group in Detroit continues to grow as it did this past season, Franzen's role could diminish. Forwards Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar will see their top-six time and power-play minutes pumped up, which may force Franzen to take a backseat offensively.

Key Red Wings stat: .921 even-strength save percentage

The Red Wings ranked 20th in the NHL in team even-strength save percentage, trailing division rival Boston (.940) by a country mile. Detroit is probably in need of an overhaul on defense, but in Hockeytown, a rebuild is not acceptable, so the team has patched things together.

Even if Howard bounces back from a down campaign, backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson will drag down the team's numbers (and wins). The former Toronto Maple Leafs netminder has posted well-below-average save percentages of .890, .902 and .907 in the past three seasons when he's played more than 20 games.

In "At the NHL level" news, out-of-town news version: NJ.com's Randy Miller reports that Philadelphia Flyers coach Craig Berube's touched base with Ken Hitchcock and Mike Babcock in an attempt to improve upon Berube's "rookie" NHL coaching season:

He's also reached out this summer to Ken Hitchcock, his old Kamloops Blazers junior coach in 1985-86 and another who won a Cup as an NHL head coach.

And during downtime, Berube's searched the Internet to find reading material on strategies of other top coaches.

"It's just more of a thinking game in the summer with strategy," Berube said the other day. "I write lot of stuff down, try to read things on different coaches and philosophies. I like to read different coaches and what they're doing."

He greatly enjoyed his talk with Babcock.

"He's just a real smart guy that looks outside the box on things," Berube said. "He's a good guy and he really opened up a door to me to talk to him at any time. It was good."

In "At the NHL level" news, Chat version, per ESPN's Katie Strang's chat:

Joe (Cubicle Hell): Hi Katie... What kind of contract will Alfie get in Detroit? Would you bring him back or use the roster spot on one of the many up and coming forwards if you were Kenny Holland?

Katie Strang: Really sounds like the Wings do want him back, but that will likely depend on how he feels in the next few weeks or so leading up to camp. With his age getting up there and durability an issue, expect his base salary to be lower than last season, but they could set up a bonus structure for him that still might be enticing to come back for another year.

In "At the NHL level news," promotional version:

1. Repping the local guys in Warrior Hockey... I need to ask Warrior for a headquarters tour, seriously...

2. No Red Wings (that I know of) are taking part in the Biosteel Sports Camp in Toronto, but they sure to put together superb videos chronicling the event (and I don't "drink the pink"--I have some electrolyte issues but I'm more of a Powerade Zero person):



And getting back to the charitable heart of the matter, Jared Coreau took part in the Ice Bucket Challenge...

And Michigan Hockey/MSU journalism major Nick Barnowski's dad passed away due to ALS, so if you're going to read an article defending the ethics of the "ice bucket challenge," read this one--and I'm publishing it in full because Nick is a good human being who knows more about ALS than anyone should have to know:

I’ve come across a blog post in the Detroit News that was published Monday. It was written by Kathy Hoekstra, a Michigan graduate and communications manager. It upset me.

I shouldn’t have to defend the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. By now, nearly all of you know and understand what it is all about. You’re challenged by someone you know to dump a bucket of ice water on your head and then you nominate someone else to do it. Simple. All to raise awareness for this awful disease.

My dad passed away from Lou Gehrig’s Disease in July of 2012, fewer than two years after he was diagnosed. I’ll never get over it and I’ll never understand why it had to happen to him. It will haunt me till the day I die.

So when Ms. Hoekstra asks, “Does Stephen Hawking care if you dump ice on your head?” it’s easy to see why I’d be upset.

Let me tell you something. If Stephen Hawking – who has lived with a motor neuron disease damn near similar to ALS for more than 50 years – is anything like my dad, I know that he cares.

For more than 50 years, Stephen Hawking has been wondering what he did to deserve ALS’ wrath. He’s sat in his wheelchair, day after day after day, likely wishing he could hear the sound of his own voice come out of his mouth instead of in his mind. He’s yearned and desired to breathe like a normal human instead of through a ventilator. Stephen Hawking, one of the most brilliant scientists in the history of the world, has been forced to watch his mind grow while his body seemingly decomposes right in front of his eyes.

I’ll bet that Stephen Hawking has spent hundreds if not thousands of hours wondering if there will ever be a cure for ALS. Wondering what the day will be like when a cure is found. Wondering if it will happen in his lifetime, or wondering if it will take another lifetime.

If Stephen Hawking is anything like my dad, and like most ALS patients, he cares.

An amazing benefit of the coping process is that we learn about these diseases and conditions.

This is 100 percent true. Before my dad was diagnosed, all I knew was that 1) it was going to kill him, and 2) Lou Gehrig had it. As the disease wreaks havoc, you learn more about it than you want to know. The disease is nightmare inducing and takes you to the depths of hell. It is the worst thing in the world.

Did you know that ALS has been around since 1869 and still has no treatment options? That there is no clear cut way to diagnose it, other than to rule other diseases out first? That two out of every 100,000 people will get the disease? Or that 30,000 Americans are living with it right now?

But what has the ice bucket challenge done? Educate people on these facts.

We raise money for research, treatment and help for the victims and their families. This involvement helps us feel like we are somehow making a difference — if not for the person who suffers, for whom it might be too late, then for those who follow.

Then just stop the article here. With a disease that has no cure, ANYTHING that’s done can make a difference. Yes, the difference made by taking the ice bucket challenge often isn’t tangible to the person taking it, but I guarantee that it is to someone who has ALS. The whole point of this raise awareness and raise money – anything makes a difference with this disease.

And any of us who have ever worked in the media get involved ten-fold as participants and storytellers to these efforts. The more gimmicky, the better, right? Raise your hand media friends if you have ever spent time in ‘jail’ to raise ‘bail’ money for the March of Dimes? Or relayed for life? Or shaved your head to conquer kids’ cancer? Or sat up on a freeway billboard until people coughed up enough money for you to come down?

How can you trivialize things like that? As “storytellers,” those in the media should be able to see the passion behind raising money for March of Dimes. The dedication it takes to participate in Relay for Life. The bravery displayed each time someone shaves his or her head in honor of a friend of relative with cancer.

Yes, there are idiots out there who have done the ice bucket challenge as a way to make themselves more popular on social media. Congrats to them. But the underlying point remains. Each time a person posts an ice bucket challenge, SOMEONE out there learns about ALS. One more person than before is more educated about this stupid, stupid disease that has stripped lives away from the greatest people on earth. One more person makes a donation, or decides to get involved with the ALS Association.

So, yes. With all due respect to the celebrities, Gov. Rick Snyder and many of my colleagues who have taken the “ice bucket challenge” to raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, it has struck a nerve. An article in Slate explains:

“As for “raising awareness,” few of the videos I’ve seen contain any substantive information about the disease, why the money is needed, or how it will be used. More than anything else, the ice bucket videos feel like an exercise in raising awareness of one’s own zaniness, altruism, and/or attractiveness in a wet T-shirt.”

I would argue nothing has been more influential in raising awareness about ALS than celebrities doing the ice bucket challenge. To say it strikes a nerve is, in my opinion, vein.

More people now know about ALS than ever before. For a disease that so many people know so little about, awareness is everything. As far as the Slate article goes, well, it’s Slate. Maybe my mindset is different than the author’s in that whenever I see a video, I think of the impact it could potentially have, instead of what’s being said in it. Most of the “substantive information” is likely relayed before the actual challenge is filmed. I just went through this with one of my roommates. We talked about what ALS is and my experience with the disease before he doused himself with ice water. Chances are, the people he nominated will do the same thing.

This is all designed to get the ball rolling. Dumping water on your head isn’t the cure to ALS. But it’s a start. Just under a month ago, I was still explaining the disease to people. Now, practically the entire continent at least knows what ALS is. Progress is a good thing.

The writer goes on to explain that some pro-golfers started the ice pail craze with the intent to simply get video of themselves doing something silly, “the charity part was an afterthought” and ALS was an AFTER-after thought at that. The Today Show’s Matt Lauer donated whatever money was raised from his ice shower went [sic] to a hospice program.

Well, former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates is credited with starting the challenge, not a bunch of golfers. If you want to cry, watch ESPN’s incredibly emotional piece on Frates and the challenge here. Matt Lauer is one of the most famous people on TV and did the challenge. Yeah, he probably should have donated to the ALS Association, but as I said, it’s awareness.

Although the ultimate use of this money is still rather murky to me, I’m not disparaging the $2.3 million raised for ALS. ALS is a horrible, horrible disease, an awful death sentence that typically stretches about five years. For the cause to have raised $2.3 million, compared to $25,000 at this time last year, is fantastic.

The ALSA’s expenses are outlined here. It has also reported that $15.6 million in donations have come in since July 29. There have been a total of 307,598 new donors. For ALS, those are astounding numbers. It’s fantastic. Why was this article written?

Has anyone asked Stephen Hawking what he thinks of people subjecting themselves to two seconds of icy discomfort for ten minutes of attention? I bet the renowned physicist and cosmologist would give us a science lesson of what happens to the ice crystals when they hit Lauer’s bald head. Or the cosmic reaction of ice water dripping down Fox and Friends’ Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s hair. And quite frankly, I’d be more interested.

This is almost insulting. More than $15 MILLION has been raised in under a month and you think Stephen Hawking, the second most famous person to live with the disease other than Lou Gehrig himself, cares more about ice crystals or whatever than that? Is this for real? I would love to know what Stephen Hawking thinks about the money that’s been raised for the cause, or the awareness the challenge has brought. Hawking has been the subject of jokes for years simply due to bad luck. The fact that this author cares more about Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s hair says a lot in my opinion.

Please, dump the ice bucket. Ice cubes melt in mere minutes and so will this fad. Here is a far more effective “challenge” to raise awareness about ALS that will leave a life-long lasting impression on everyone who tries it. Lauer, Hasselbeck, Oprah, Bill Gates, Lebron James, Gov. Snyder — everyone:

    • Before you eat your next meal, take a good, long look at the food. Inhale deeply and appreciate the aroma. Now, imagine never being able to taste that – or any other food – for the rest of your life.
    • Put two large marshmallows in your mouth and have a conversation with your friends. How many times must you repeat yourself? How does this make you feel?
    • Strap 25 pounds to your forearm. Now, adjust your rearview mirror.
    • Sit in a chair for just 15 minutes moving nothing but your eyes. Nothing. No speaking, no scratching your nose, no shifting your weight, no changing the channel on the television, no computer work. Only your eyes. As you sit, imagine: this is your life. Your only life.

I’ve long been on the fence about suggestions such as this. I wouldn’t wish ALS upon my worst enemy and while one could temporarily walk in an ALS patient’s shoes by following what’s above, no one can enter the mind of someone stricken by the disease and truly know what it’s like.

I saw my dad’s physical reaction when he could barely stand one day at Niagara Falls. I saw the look on his face each time he or I had to explain why he needed to enter a building with a broken hockey stick to hold him up. I saw the pain in his eyes every time we had to load him into our conversion van.

But I’ll never truly know what he was thinking. I can take a good guess, just like I can guess why Stephen Hawking cares about the ice bucket challenge, but I’ll never know exactly. As I’ve learned, living with ALS requires a shift in mentality. No longer can things wait until tomorrow. The sand in every human’s hourglass is set to run out at some point; for ALS patients, the sand seems to drain at the speed of light. Life deteriorates one day at a time, but one thing remains: hope.

For a disease that’s so tormented, those who are forced to live with it often are the ones with the most hope. Hope that one day ALS will be a distant memory and that precious lives won’t be taken from us when these people have so much more to give to the world.

That’s why I will always defend the ice bucket challenge. There has never been a better month for ALS awareness, research, and fundraising, and sometimes all it takes is a glimmer of hope to change the world. I believe that one day there will be a cure for ALS, and while some may disagree, every person who has posted a video of themselves pouring water on their heads can say they played a part in defeating one the world’s most devastating forces.

Damn straight, Nick, damn straight.



Update: Michigan Hockey also posted a clip of Justin Abdelkader speaking with the media from yesterday's MSU Pro Camp session:

The Toledo Blade reports that the ECHL's Toledo Walleye have signed a depth player as well:

The Toledo Walleye have signed Justin Mercier, a forward who has played in nine games in the NHL.

Mercier was a sixth-round pick of Colorado in the 2005 NHL draft and appeared in nine games with the Avalanche during the 2009-10 season. He scored his first NHL goal on Feb. 4, 2010. He also had one assist with the Avalanche.

Mercier, 27, will be entering his sixth pro season. The native of Erie, Penn. split last season between Idaho in the ECHL and Iowa and Bridgeport of the American Hockey League.

As captain at Idaho, Mercier posted a career best 30 points (18 goals, 12 assists) in 43 contests. The veteran forward has skated in 239 games at the AHL level (41G, 40A, and 213 penalty minutes) with stops in Lake Erie, Iowa, and Bridgeport.

“Justin brings great leadership and experience to us in Toledo,” Walleye coach Derek Lalonde. “This is a tremendous signing for us going into the season. It is exciting for us to add a player of his caliber on and off the ice to this team.”


Update: FYI/FTR from MLive's Brendan Savage:

The NHL Network is trying to pick the greatest milestone moment of the 1990s and the Detroit Red Wings have two candidates.

Steve Yzerman's 500th goal and Scotty Bowman's 1,000th coach victory are among 10 moments fans can vote for at NHLNetwork.com.

Yzerman scored No. 500 on Jan. 17, 1996 in a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche at Joe Louis Arena.

Yzerman finished with 692 goals in 22 seasons, ninth-most in NHL history.

Bowman won his 1,000th game a little more than a year later in a 6-5 overtime victory at Pittsburgh on Feb. 8, 1997.

Bowman recorded 410 of his NHL-record 1,244 victories during nine seasons with the Red Wings.

Update #2:

And from Winging it in Motown:


Update #3:

Well this is...different...According to Sveriges Radio, Tomas Holmstrom's new house in Faro, Sweden has been "reported to the community police" because he's covered part of the portion of his home leading toward the beach abuting the lake near his house...with COBBLESTONES. Expressen's Linus Sunnervik reports that the police report was filed to force Holmstrom to remove the stones from the beach.

So it's "crease violation" stuff again...

And, via RedWingsFeed, NHL.com will post its "30 in 30" profile of the Wings tomorrow morning, and they've posted their "30 in 30" video about the Wings today:

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About The Malik Report

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.