The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/27/14 at 06:47 PM ET
This evening's crop of Red Wings-related news is a little "scattershot" in nature, but that's the nature of the late-July beast:
First, speaking of "late June," it's not often that a Sunday TV sports show talks about the Red Wings at all, but WXYZ's 7 Sports Cave's" "Fast Five Minutes" led off with Wings talk, and Matt Sheppard, Mike Stone and WXYZ's Brad Galli spent a minute discussing the Wings' likely 2014-2015 season-to-come:
While we're doing, "Media weighing in regarding media reports," Pro Hockey Talk's Ryan Dadoun had this to say about Jimmy Howard's belief that he can improve upon his previous season's performance, as noted by the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:
It’s worth noting that Howard had to deal with knee problems and a hip flexor injury last season and those issues occasionally forced him to the sidelines.
Detroit tied its fate to Howard when he was signed to a six-year, $31.75 million contract. That deal won’t expire until the summer of 2019, so if Howard doesn’t bounce back, it would be a big problem for the Red Wings. If he stays healthy, the Red Wings are expecting Howard to play in a minimum of 60 games.
The Wings would theoretically be able to trade Howard if Petr Mrazek "steals his job" this year, but it wouldn't be easy to move him, in no small part because Capgeek reports that Howard's $5.291-million cap hit contract includes a no-move clause for this upcoming season and then a no-trade clause. Quoting Capgeek:
CLAUSES: NMC (through 2014-15); NTC (2015-16 through 2017-18; player can supply 10-team no-trade list)
In something of a twist regarding the "District Detroit" development, Crain's Detroit Business's Amy Haimerl spoke with the owner of the Temple Bar which is just outside the footprint of the Wings' follow-on rink, and George Boukas told Haimerl that he has no plans to move:
It looks and sounds nothing like the lofts, apartments and restaurants the Ilitches plan for the area surrounding the arena. They are investing in a "deconstructed" design where the arena itself is detached from other restaurants, retail and offices available year-round, not just on game day.
But Boukas has no plans to leave the neighborhood. His mother still owns the building and he has no need to sell out. Boukas said he fielded two offers to buy his bar, offers he suspects came from the Ilitch organization, but he's not certain because the broker didn't disclose the prospective buyer.
The last offer, which came in 2010 or 2011, was for $184,000 — for the building, his business and his liquor license. He said an emphatic no.
And that's back when times were tough and business was off nearly 60 percent. He was funneling money into the bar, keeping it alive, with proceeds from his side gig as an accountant. These days business is better, though still 20 percent off.
Haimerl continues and interviews a slate of local business-owners who aren't sold on the impact of the proposed rink-surrounding economic development, including the owner of the Town Pump:
"I hope they do it; we've been lied to before," said Sean Harrington, owner of the Town Pump Tavern, Centaur Bar and Hot Taco Detroit, all of which reside in the newly designated Columbia Park Area, which is to the west of the Fox Theatre and Fillmore.
"They say we're going to turn these neighborhoods into Shangri-Las, but what happens to so-and-so building? How are you going to make them fix it up? Or are you just dropping in some paving bricks and a planter and a tree and a place to tie your bike up to? Which absolutely is needed. But I've been sitting down here for years planting flowers and ivy and cleaning my street, and I stare onto a cyclone fence."
When Harrington built the Town Pump Tavern 18 years ago, people then assumed it was because Harrington was betting that the hockey arena would be built nearby. But he said that's not the case. He invested in Detroit, even when everyone told him to go to Royal Oak, because of what the Ilitches did with the Fox Theatre.
But now that the arena is finally coming, "this," he said, "is going to be huge for us."
If you happen to work downtown, MLive's David Mueller has news regarding the road closures caused by the M-1 Rail Line's construction, which begins tomorrow...
Shifting focus back to on-ice issues via a survey of Wings bloggers' articles, via RedWingsFeed, the biggest question regarding the Wings' summer development camp involved the absence of one Martin Frk, who experienced a particularly bumpy pro debut.
Frk went from scoring 35 goals in 56 QMJHL games (posting 84 points in 56 regular season games, and another 33 points in 17 playoff games as the Halifax Mooseheads won the QMJHL championship) during the 2012-13 season--while playing alongside linemates Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon--to posting 3 goals and 9 assists in 50 AHL games and 5 goals and 8 assists in 15 ECHL games last season. He was a frequent healthy scratch in Grand Rapids, and an occasional healthy scratch in Toledo.
Octopus Thrower's Peter Fish wonders why the Wings chose to have Frk continue his offseason workouts in Montreal for the sake of inviting as many college free agents to the camp as possible:
Martin Frk was scheduled to take part in the Detroit Red Wings Development Camp in Traverse City, but after Detroit drafted six forwards there were too many forwards and Frk was given the time off.
The Red Wings view Development Camp as a quick introduction to the Detroit Red Wings and what they expect from the players. which is something Martin Frk would already be aware of because he has been to development camps and training camps before and spent the last season in the Detroit Red Wings system.
With that taken into account, I believe if Frk had gone to Development Camp he could have laid down a strong foundation for Training Camp and his next season in the Red Wings’ system.
The Detroit Red Wings are hoping that Martin Frk can turn the corner this season and with the addition of Anthony Mantha to the professional ranks, there is plenty of competition and if Frk does not turn the corner he could be left behind.
We were told that the reason Frk didn't take part involved both the draft crop and the team's decision to invite 23 free agents, mostly of the college-playing variety, to the camp, yielding "no room" for Frk.
I'll grant you that the summer development camp has become more of an "orientation" and "strength and conditioning" camp than an on-ice skill development camp, and that the fall prospect tournament's going to be where Frk will have the opportunity to establish a strong foundation for his upcoming campaign, playing against 7 other teams' top prospects as the Wings hope to defend their first prospect tournament title...
But having Frk come to the summer camp couldn't have hurt.
In the land of wildly optimistic predictions, The Hockey Writers' Tom Mitsos makes three very "bold predictions" for the Wings' 2014-15 season...
2. Anthony Mantha Leads Team in Goals
In his final season of the QMJHL, Anthony Mantha scored 57 goals in 57 games during the regular season and 24 goals in 24 games during the playoffs. For someone who has a knack for scoring goals, leading his team in scoring wouldn’t normally be a bold prediction.
However, what makes this prediction bold is the fact Mantha will most likely start the season in Grand Rapids. If Daniel Alfredsson, Tomas Tatar and Danny DeKeyser all re-sign with the Red Wings, the team will have 15 forwards, and there will be no room for Mantha.
Mantha will probably start the season in Grand Rapids, but once the season gets underway and injuries start happening, he will get his shot with the big club. There is a huge jump between juniors and the NHL as far as competition level goes, but Mantha isn’t an ordinary player. I think he’ll tear it up in the AHL just like he did in juniors, and Ken Holland will take notice and bring him up to the big club.
Mitsos also hopes that Stephen Weiss can score 25 goals and that Jimmy Howard will win the Vezina Trophy.
I'm a little less willing to believe that Mantha will have a Gustav Nyquist-like second half--and I think that he's going to have some difficulty adapting to the lack of time and space in the AHL, as well as the bump-and-grind of playing against pro players who are bigger and stronger than he is--but I do think that he'll finish the year with the big club. I expect him to struggle off the bat, however, and I don't expect his first half of the 14-15 campaign to be easy by any stretch of the imagination.
He's used to way, way, way more time to wind up and shoot in the Q, he's not accustomed to the level of checking that he's going to receive and he's going to have to cut down on those 90-second-to-2-minute shifts.
I hope that Howard rebounds, and I hope that Weiss turns out to be an asset instead of a millstone.
That's where I tend to stop predicting, but I'm annoying that way.
And finally, it's not Red Wings-related per se, but Paul noted that NHL.com's Kurt Dusterberg spoke with Steve Chiasson's sons, Mike and Ryan, who took part in the Carolina Hurricanes' development camp:
Mike and Ryan are the sons of Steve Chiasson, a Hurricanes defenseman who died on May 3, 1999 in a single-car accident hours after the Hurricanes lost their first round Stanley Cup Playoffs series against the Boston Bruins. Chiasson and Francis were teammates then; Mike was 8 years old at the time of the accident, Ryan was 4.
Today, Mike is a 23-year old defenseman ready to start his senior season at the University of Michigan. Ryan, 20, plays junior hockey for the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League, where he recently switched from defense to forward.
"Michael has earned the opportunity having been at Michigan," Francis said. "Ryan is still trying to catch his break and find a college that will give him an opportunity. But when you bring kids into a camp like this, it gives them that education that maybe puts them over the hump."
Playing together in a Hurricanes camp means a great deal to the Chiassons. It is here where they both have memories of their father.
"If he was off on Saturday or Sunday, he would just hang out with us, being a regular dad," Mike said. "Or midday during the week, he would find time to come into school and talk to the kids or read a book."
The memories are fewer for Ryan, but they are indelible.
"I have little tidbits of remembering, like coming to the rink and hanging out before and after the game," he said, remembering the two years the Hurricanes played in Greensboro, N.C., before settling in Raleigh in October of 1999. "I do remember skating on family days out at the rink. So there are little things I do remember."
Dusterberg continues, and I look at the 1991-92 Red Wings team that I followed during my "rookie" campaign, and I see Steve Chiasson's name, Shawn Burr's, Brad McCrimmon's, Bob Probert's and Vladimir Konstantinov's names...Four men gone before their time and another whose life was changed forever.
Steve was a tough defenseman, no-nonsense, gritty, strong and there was a time when he and Yves Racine were seen as Detroit's future. The Wings traded Chiasson to Calgary in the Mike Vernon deal, and he found his way to Carolina.
It sounds like he raised good sons.
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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.