The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/13/12 at 07:11 PM ET
As noted by several Red Wings beat writers yesterday, after the Wings' players engage in their final practice at Joe Louis Arena tomorrow and pack their bags, we know that players like Jakub Kindl, Cory Emmerton and Jan Mursak will head to Europe, as they told the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan, with some of the Wings' equally young, single, inexpensive-to-insure and, well, interchangeable players sure to follow.
The decision to head to Europe isn't so simple for the vast majority of the Wings' players, however, for both family reasons, because of obligations to the NHLPA and, put simply...
Because the vast majority of European teams are wary of bringing in a player who may only contribute to their cause for a month or two, regardless of their star power, and especially because insuring a Henrik Zetterberg-style contract is all but impossible.
MLive's Ansar Khan offers updates on the Kindl, Emmerton and Mursak's situations (see: Czech Republic and, "Whoever will take me"), as well as those of the Wings' higher-profile players ((as previously noted, Niklas Kronwall is iffy as to whether he'll head over to play for Djurgardens IF, Jonathan Ericsson's iffy, let's go with a "strong maybe" for Pavel Datsyuk and a, "Not until Christmas" for Henrik Zetterberg).
The vast majority are likely to continue skating in Troy and elsewhere until they know whether this lockout will be a short one or a long one, but their situations are also pretty bloodly fluid, depending on whether teams are really interested in their services:
Danny Cleary said he and his good buddy, Edmonton Oilers forward Shawn Horcoff, will play somewhere together, like they did in 2004-05 (Mora IK in Sweden), when the NHL season was canceled.
“It's hard now when you have a family and kids in school,'' Cleary said. “If it drags out a little bit, I'll definitely look to play somewhere, just to get your legs going and get a feel for the game and get ready. It's one thing to skate here, but it's another to actually be in a game.''
Valtteri Filppula said he plans to play for his former club, Jokerit of SM-liiga in his native Finland.
“I'm still optimistic we'll get things started fairly soon,'' Filppula said. “But if it starts going on a month, you want to get playing.''
Goaltender Jimmy Howard hasn't looked into it yet, but said, “I think I'd like to play just to remain sharp.'' Drew Miller and Justin Abdelkader said they're exploring options.
“I'm still optimistic that something will happen, maybe not right on (Saturday), but hopefully soon after,'' Miller said. “It's something that you've got to at least explore, have a plan B. You have to be playing hockey and you have to be prepared, whether it's continuing to skate and work out here or having an opportunity to go overseas.''
Darren Helm and Ian White said they probably won't play anywhere.
“I wouldn't move my family (a 1- and a 3-year-old),'' White said. “It would be hard to go over to Europe. We're away from (their families) so long as it is during the season, so I'd probably just stick around.''
All I can tell you is that while the players are particularly optimistic about skating elsewhere, Zetterberg's comments to the Swedish press have been well-reasoned--European leagues aren't planning on welcoming the vast majority of the NHLPA's card-carrying members, especially given the KHL's import restrictions, the Swedish Eliteserien's current no-go order and the simple fact that it's dangerous to bring an irreplaceable player onto your team for a couple of months and then find yourself without that key cog come January, which is the stretch run for teams whose playoff runs begin in March.
More Wings than they'd like to admit will be in Troy for at least a month to come.
I'll try to see them there a couple times when I get healthier, and I will be attempting to make contact with the front office to plain old ask what they'll be doing. I know that the Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindenau will be the first to inform us about what will be an inevitably delayed training camp, and we'll just roll from there.
Not many of you seem keen on heading to Toronto or New York at present, but I'd still like to go if I can afford it.
And I want to set up a, "Lockout protest ideas" thread/blog entry/something when you're ready, too, if only for the sake of getting through this grieving process together.
In other Wings-related news, the Wings prospects haven't been skating in Traverse City, and as the Grand Rapids Griffins won't be breaking camp with the Wings, Fox 17's Steve Amrose provided two updates regarding the team's next generation (if you missed it, Griffinshockey's Kyle Kujawa posted a superb article about incoming Griffins coach Jeff Blashill's plans in an article penned for Michigan Hockey Now):
Also in the substantial news category, the Griffins are asking for fans' help in their youth foundation's attempts to secure a $250,000 grant...
In less weighty matters, both Yahoo Sports' Greg "Puck Daddy" Wyshynski and the Score's Justin Bourne took note of Henrik Zetterberg's "Peace" shirt at today's NHLPA meetings--and the PA's website reports that Justin Abdelkader, Patrick Eaves, Cory Emmerton, Jonathan Ericsson, Valtteri Filppula, Johan Franzen, Jimmy Howard, Jakub Kindl, Niklas Kronwall, Gustav Nyquist, Kyle Quincey, Mikael Samuelsson, Jordin Tootoo and Ian White joined Zetterberg in NYC...
And no, nobody seems to know whether Ken Holland will awkwardly admit that he raised his hand when Gary Bettman asked and Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs asked to make sure that all 30 attendees at the Board of Governors' meeting approved the lockout before signing Justin Abdelkader to a 4-year deal--as Helene St. James has suggested, it behooves the Wings to keep him as an unrestricted free agent who can't head anywhere else to play--or whether Carlo Colaiacovo will don the Winged Wheel before the lockout ends.
He does seem to be likely to do so sooner or later.
I can't help but say this, too: I feel ashamed of Holland and the Red Wings. There is NO reason for the NHL to be locking out its players simply because Bettman's called the current CBA "too fair" for the players.
Update: I hate to admit it, but I like this...
That's gonna be about it for me tonight. Two days in, I'm..Bummed, honestly. This lockout stuff sucks donkey balls.
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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.