The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/16/12 at 05:53 PM ET
Updated with a little Griffins talk at 5:53 PM: Pardon the repetition, because this afternoon's crop of Red Wings-related news includes a) swearing and b) more of the same in terms of the substance of news stories.
As previously noted, Pavel Datsyuk will play for the Ak Bars Kazan--his first pro team--during the lockout, but the Free Press's Helene St. James notes that the vast majority of the Wings' players don't plan on leaving Detroit,with the exceptions of Jakub Kindl, Cory Emmerton and probably Valtteri Filppula (Damien Brunner will head back to EV Zug in Switzerland for a week or two, but then he'll join the Griffins at the end of this month, and as St. James noted this morning, Jonathan Ericsson may end up playing for Vita Hasten in the Swedish first division, which would be the equivalent of an NHL player signing with a semi-pro team):
Pavel Datsyuk opted to stay in his native Russia and signed Sunday with his former club, AK Bars Kazan. Most of the veteran Wings are staying in town, reflecting hope a new accord will be reached before the end of November.
MLive's Ansar Khan stated that the Wings' players will take a week off before resuming skating in Troy or wherever else they can get ice time, and I believe Niklas Kronwall and Henrik Zetterberg will state as much when WXYZ airs Brad Galli's interview with the pair (hopefully they'll post the video online as well) during tonight's Sunday Sports Update (and the lockout's gotten top billing on all our local newscasts over the past three or four days, with talk about its effects upon fans, local businesses and other hockey leagues all being discussed within the first five minutes of every broadcast).
Kindl is probably heading back to the Czech Republic to play for his first pro team, HC Pardubice, but Kindl wasn't able to head out of town on Sunday, and he dropped an f-bomb in frustration. His Tweets have been deleted, but here's how they read:
Flight got canceled....might have to do one more Sunday funday here
This is f***ing annoying http://pic.twitter.com/umwKYLKK
It happens...Understandable frustration if you ask me--and I wish him well in Czech and hope he comes back to Detroit healthy and with a paycheck or two in his pocket. But maybe the deletions indicate that he's got an agent who's watching out for his client's PR skills.
Otherwise, well, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff engaged in a little Twitter reiteration of some familiar points...
And Duff produced a story to that effect:
Information is knowledge and the players feel confident that they are well informed on the issues in this dispute. “There’s not that second guessing that was apparently going on the last time around,” Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard said.
Even if it means losing another season, the players are steadfast that as much as that would be distasteful to all involved, they won’t give in simply to avoid that reality. “That would not be fun, but if that’s what it takes, then that’s what it’s going to take,” Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg said. “We are ready for it. We’ve been ready. We’re ready to have a fight.”
Cleary wonders if the fact that the previous lost season did little to harm the league’s long-term growth might play into the owners’ hands, since all previous evidence suggests that fans will come rushing back once the pucks start dropping again.
“Another full year, the implications would be – I don’t know what they’d be,” Cleary admitted. “I’d like to say catastrophic, just devastating, but I mean last time, they weren’t. Maybe early on it was, but as we’ve seen, the league has really grown well.
With the success that the NHL has enjoyed since the last lockout, Cleary, like many, wonders why this latest dispute is even necessary.
“I think hockey’s in a better place now,” Cleary said. “It’s going well for the players it’s going well for the league. We’ve both grown a hell of a lot in the last seven years. I just feel looking at this year you can say that at least 12 or 13 teams have got a real good chance at winning the Stanley Cup, maybe more. That’s a pretty good thing, and I don’t think you could have said that in 2004.”
It’s for that reason that Cleary remains optimistic that both sides will ultimately find common ground sooner rather than later. “My way of thinking is that eventually, we’re going to come to an agreement,” Cleary said. “We’re going to have hockey at some point, so let’s try to reach that point as quickly as we can
“We owe it to ourselves not to have a full season wasted. We need to come to an agreement. That’s pretty much going to be up to Don, but someone’s going to have to move at some point, us or Gary. So we’ll see.”
Duff also delivered fantastic news regarding one of the nicest people I've met, a young hockey player who's 5'9" and has hands of stone but skates like the wind, works his tail off and happily makes fun of himself as he's as easygoing as his father is a "Type A personality":
The Under-17 team plays out of the Ice Cube in Ann Arbor, just like the Under-18 team, so that's great news as Michael gets to stay close to home.
RedWingsFeed and Yahoo Sports' Sean Leahy want to remind us that if you have Center Ice on your cabel or satellite provider's service, you need to cancel it or it will automatically renew this month and send your money into the owners' pockets...
And the Birmingham Observer's Carol DeWeese wants to remind us that the Red Wings will be engaging in some promotional activities, though they'll only include Wings alums for the present moment:
The kids at Holy Name School in Birmingham had a chance to hit the “ice” with former Red Wing star Kris Draper Monday.
Draper visited the school as part of the Red Wings School Assembly Program sponsored by the Detroit Red Wings Foundation, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan, and the Kroger Co. The Red Wings School Assembly Program was launched in 2010 as a vehicle to introduce kids to the sport of hockey and encourage an active and healthy lifestyle.
Draper played on four Stanley Cup winning teams, is a winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy, and scored over 100 goals as a Red Wing.
During the visit, the school assembly team opened the program with a lesson on exercise and healthy eating tips, followed by a fun face-off between teachers and students during a hockey shootout competition on the gym floor.
For this hockey season, each of the 115 elementary schools participating in the program receives two full sets of floor hockey equipment complete with hockey sticks and goalie nets courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings Foundation. A Red Wings folder and a Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan keepsake magnet that lists five fun after-school activities are distributed to the students.
The children at Holy Name Catholic School had a great time. They were loud and enthusiastic. One of the highlights of the event was when the student shoot-out team with Draper on it beat the teacher team, 3-0. Also a number of the students enjoyed Draper telling about the time that he and his children had a “Breakfast of Champions” — eating cereal with milk for breakfast out of the Stanley Cup.
Again, I'm guessing that Chris Chelios is absolutely beside himself regarding having to keep his mouth shut about this lockout given his status as an NHL team's employee (see: muli-million-dollar fines for speaking out), and Draper was nearly as vocal in his support of the NHLPA during his playing career, so toeing the company line can't be easy for either alum. I'd imagine that Kirk Maltby and Chris Osgood feel similarly, too.
Update: The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke to Griffins coach Jeff Blashill about his team's plans:
On Friday, the Red Wings assigned 22 players to Grand Rapids, including forward Gustav Nyquist and defenseman Brendan Smith, two standouts with the Griffins a year ago who were projected to start the season in Detroit. Top prospect Damien Brunner was also assigned to Grand Rapids.
The three are able to play in the AHL during the lockout because they are exempt from waivers.
“The league already plays at a high level and this would have an opportunity to bring it even higher,” Blashill said. “That’s great for our fans. From that aspect it’s a positive. From where we sit, we deal with the hand were dealt and go from there.”
From that standpoint, Blashill sees the Griffins in the same position as other AHL teams.
“We’ll have an opportunity to coach some players we might not otherwise have, and we might not have some players we could have had,” Blashill said. “So, really, the whole league is in the same boat. It has the potential to bring the talent level of the league to an extremely high level.”
The coach said he doesn’t spend time wondering what we happen.
“I don’t worry about things I can’t control,” he said. “Ultimately these are decisions that are well beyond my control. So, as far as the Griffins go, will look to maximize the opportunity with the players we have.”
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