The Malik Report
Red Wings evening news: weighing in on the coaching shuffle, a Griffins re-signing and prospect talk
by George Malik on 07/14/14 at 05:10 PM ET
Upated 3x at 11:45 PM: I was out this afternoon, so I managed to post this afternoon's coaching news but not follow up on it. As such:
1. I liked Tom Renney, despite his inability to turn the power play around (it's been iffy since Todd McLellan left in 2008), and despite the Wings' offseason moves, I got the sense that Renney's experience coaching the youthful Oilers helped Babcock come around to giving "the kids" a fair shot--and he seemed to play a very strong "good cop" to Babcock's "aggressive cop," too. I hope that Renney does well with Hockey Canada.
2. I like the Tony Granato hiring (though it's not official), too, because it essentially forces Babcock to go out of his way to find a "players' coach" to replace Renney. The equally-aggressive Granato has head coaching experience in Colorado and assistant coaching experience with both Colorado and Pittsburgh, and while the team has a "meh" track record in terms of bringing back alumni, the team's player personnel has always seemed to find missing ingredients by assimilating "enemy" players or coaches. Might as well bring some of that Pittsburgh puck possession know-how into the fold.
Babcock told the Free Press's Helene St. James (who reports that the Wings are securing Granato's release from Pittsburgh) and MLive's Brendan Savage that he's happy with the hiring, and Savage pointed out that Babcock and Granato have butted heads before (video via Savage):
St. James points out that the guy that finishes Babcock's sentences (possibly the best clip from 24/7, period) isn't necessarily locked up yet, and it would make sense for the coach to a) make sure that Holland's going to remain here before committing...
The 2014-15 season will be Babcock's 10th season behind the bench in Detroit. Such anniversaries usually are a cause to give something made of tin. Or in pro sports, a raise.
Babcock reiterated today that he doesn't anticipate talking about his own future, so long as general manager Ken Holland also is in the last year of his contract. (Holland, however, has one year plus an option year that, thought a club option, can become vested depending on what happens this season.)
There's no doubt that Babcock — a Stanley Cup champion and Olympic champion — would get snapped up in a second if he were to be free next summer (hello, Toronto). But he has a great situation in Detroit, and a pay raise from the $2 million he currently makes could well mean many more work anniversaries.
And b) Babcock probably does indeed want a raise, so he's going to squeeze a little bit and let the sports talk radio types dream up Babcock-to-Ak-Bars-Kazan scenarios until Holland's locked up to ensure that he's the NHL's highest-paid coach.
I don't believe he's going to leave, though I know I'm in among the minority in that department. The man's been consistent in stating that he wants to remain in Detroit, and if he goes against his word in this town, he'll have some hell to pay.
In other news, the Grand Rapids Griffins re-signed a veteran mentor...
EVANS' THIRD TOUR
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins on Monday re-signed veteran defenseman Brennan Evans to a one-year contract.
Evans, 32, spent the past two seasons with Grand Rapids, tallying 24 points (4-20—24) and 259 penalty minutes in 144 regular season games. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound blueliner picked up four goals, 13 assists and 17 points during his 2013-14 campaign with the Griffins, exceeding his 11-year professional records for both goals (3) and points (16). Including his 2013 Calder Cup-clinching goal, Evans has also picked up two goals and six assists in 34 playoff appearances since joining the Griffins in 2012. In 780 career AHL games, the North Battleford, Saskatchewan, native has amassed 124 points (18-106—124) and 1,608 PIM.
Evans’ only NHL action came in the 2004 playoffs, when he skated in two games with the Calgary Flames during their series against the Detroit Red Wings. Prior to turning pro, Evans spent five seasons in the Western Hockey League, recording 41 points (12-29—41) in 257 games and capturing a Memorial Cup with Kootenay in 2001-02.
The Red Wings posted a video profile of Xavier Ouellet on their YouTube channel...
Octopus Thrower's Peter Fish spoke with Andreas Athanasiou during the Wings' summer development camp...
Andreas Athanasiou went into Development Camp this year as an elder statesman of the Red Wings system because it was his third year at Development Camp, but he still had areas of his game to work on.
Athanasiou talked about what Development Camp is to him, “I think, just getting into that game shape and getting ready for main camp coming up and just learn how to play Detroit Red Wing hockey.”
Andreas Athanasiou possesses an incredible amount of speed and was the fastest player on the ice for Detroit, but with that speed comes some issues for the young center.
There were more than a few times when Athanasiou would continue skating up the ice, but the puck would slide right off of his stick, as if he was skating faster than the puck was moving. Most players will drop down a gear to control the puck better, but Athanasiou prefers to stay in top gear.
JJ From Kansas wants you to know that Joakim Andersson may in fact be a better player than Luke Glendening...
And on the Twitter...
(That would be when the Predators snagged Doug Brown from the Wings in the 1998 expansion draft. The Petr Sykora the Wings sent to Nashville was not the successful Sykora--Petr the lesser played in 12 NHL games and spent the vast majority of his career with HC Pardubice of the Czech Extraliga)
Update: The Macomb Daily's George Pohly spoke with Babcock about his new assistant coach:
“He’s an impressive guy,” Babcock said of Granato, 49, who filled the vacancy created when Bill Peters left last month to become head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Babcock has a list against which he measures staff candidates. He wants a “real good person” who must “love hockey” and have coaching experience.
“That’s kind of the order for me,” Babcock said.
Granato, a former NHL player, completed the hat trick.
“He’s a real good person,” Babcock said. “He’s got four kids in college. He talks about his family like they’re more important than hockey, which is what it should be. He has vast experience as a player and a coach. He loves the game.”
Babcock talked to the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz, and to former Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero, about Granato.
“They all gave him ringing endorsements,” Babcock said. “I was surprised we could get him. He met with three other teams first. We let him do that. We were excited he chose to be a Red Wing.”
Update #2: Take this for what you will, from the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:
[As] his assistants were coming and going Monday, Babcock was adamant about one thing: He isn’t going to be talking about his future once the season begins.
“By that time (regular season), it’s hockey,” Babcock said. “It’s about the team. It’s not about Mike Babcock.”
Babcock doesn’t expect any extension until general manager Ken Holland, who also has one year left on his deal, works out his own contract.
“I’m not concerned,” Babcock said. “I’ve always been of the belief that if you do your job, do your job well, people want you.”
Update #3: Hockey's Future's Adam Schnepp penned a review of the Wings' 2014 Draft haul, and he mentions a player who hasn't been discussed at any length as of yet:
Chase Perry, G, Wenatchee Wild (NAHL)
5th round, 136th overall
Height: 6-2 Weight: 175
Detroit rarely selects players from the NAHL, but they saw a combination of athleticism, skill, and size in Chase Perry that was too difficult to pass over in the fifth round. Perry had a 15-12-6 record for the Wild in 2013-14, along with a .905 save percentage and 2.34 goals against average. Perry’s game took a step forward in the playoffs, where he posted a minuscule 1.83 goals against average to go with a .933 save percentage.
Perry will begin his freshman season with Colorado College of the NCAA in the fall. He has four years to sign an entry-level deal, giving him plenty of time to adjust to the college game before turning professional.
Perry spoke with Hockey’s Future at the NHL Combine, with his comments captured in this HF video.
As well as the Wings' last pick:
Alexander Kadeykin, C, Atlant Mytishchi (KHL)
7th round, 201st overall
Height: 6-3 Weight: 213
The Red Wings may have pulled off quite the steal with the selection of Alexander Kadeykin, especially considering that the pick with which he was selected was a throw in from San Jose in the trade that sent Brad Stuart to the Sharks after the 2011-12 season.
Kadeykin fits the bill as far as the type of player Detroit leaned towards in the 2014 Draft; he is a strong two-way center with offensive upside that is just beginning to develop. In 54 KHL games in 2013-14, Kadeykin notched 23 points. This is not an earth-shattering total, but it is more impressive when considering that Kadeykin was only getting the minutes of a third line center. Kadeykin will play one more season in the KHL in 2014-15.
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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.