The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/16/13 at 06:48 PM ET
I know it got garbled in code (not quite sure why), but I noted this two days ago, so I at least get to smirk and say, "Well, of course he did." The Free Press's Brian Manzullo duly notes that Henrik Zetterberg led the charge when Aftonbladet's Linus Norberg asked members of the Swedish Olympic orientation camp to weigh in on Russia's anti-homosexuality law. Zetterberg, Patric Hornqvist, Erik Karlsson, Henrik Lundqvist, Gabriel Landeskog and ten other Swedes weighed in, too, and they echoed Zetterberg's comments:
Zetterberg, the Detroit Red Wings captain who will likely represent Sweden in the Olympics, reportedly told Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet that the law is “awful, just awful.”
"I think that everyone should be able to be themselves,” Zetterberg said. “It's unbelievable that it can be this way in this time, especially in a big country like Russia.”
Fellow Swedish player Victor Hedman, who plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning, also had strong things to say about the law: “That's completely wrong, we're all humans. No one should have a say in what way you're sexually oriented.”
They're all upset about it, and especially given that Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva (who now claims that she was "misunderstood") ripped into Swedish high-jumper Emma Green Tregaro's decision to wear rainbow-colored fingernails at the Track and Field World Championships in Moscow (it's still front-page news in Sweden) as "disrespectful" of Russian laws and traditions, the Swedes are taking things personally.
I don't care if you're like me and really do have bestest pals who are members of the LGBT community, or whether you believe that gays and bisexuals are damned to hell. The Russians' laws that can get gay, bisexual, transgender and straight people alike in jail for waiving a rainbow flag, for smooching in public or even voicing support for homosexuals. It's nuts, and while it is utterly impossible to "move" the Olympics to boycott the Russians' policies, I do believe that the rest of the world needs to ensure that athletes or fans who chose to make the Olympics a place for political theatre do not get show-tried and tossed into jails like the band "Pussy Riot" was.
We need to ensure that Sochi's inevitable arrests and detentions for shows of support for LGBT folks do not result in outlandish fines, long-term detention or physical violence upon those who act out, and we need to make sure that anyone who runs afoul of the law is simply "sent home," because there is no doubt that some folks of all sexual preferences will try to provoke the authorities, and there is no doubt that they will act to "make examples" of protesters.
Update: MLive's Ansar Khan offers some legal background:
Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 30 signed legislation that allows the government to fine people accused of spreading “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations amongst minors" between 4,000 and 1 million rubles ($120 to $30,000). Russia's interior ministry announced last week that this so-called anti-gay law would be applied during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
And Khan's link goes to the following ABC News story by Kirit Rada:
The law, technically against spreading “propaganda” about “non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors, in practice makes it potentially illegal to even speak about homosexuality or to display a gay pride symbol like a rainbow flag in public. Opponents say the law is open to dangerous subjective interpretations and could be used as a pretext to harass openly gay individuals. Violators of the law face steep fines and jail time. Foreigners face similar penalties plus deportation.
Cue the, "Why yes, yes he did" meter again for the Free Press's summation of Ken Holland's interview on Detroit Sports 105.1 FM:
When asked about the signings of Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson, Holland described the Wings’ off-season as good.
He explained how in the new salary cap world, a lot has to come from within the organization, too. “We need some of the young kids Nyquist and Anderson and Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl and Lashoff to take a step.” He added the Wings also need a “healthy” Darren Helm.
“We need some secondary scoring ... we’re hoping the addition of Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss will allow us to put two lines together that consistently produce some offense,” Holland added.
When asked if the Wings were suited for their new conference, Holland doesn’t buy into the idea that “you gotta be big” to win the East.
He pointed out that Detroit played St. Louis and the L.A. Kings in the West, both big teams. “A good team in the West is a good team in the East,” he said. He called the idea that the East is big and the West is small is a “complete fallacy.”
Why yes, you can listen to the interview here...
And here was Mike Babcock's interview:
The Free Press also notes the following:
Red Wings and former Spartans Justin Abdelkader and Drew Miller are among the NHL players scheduled to participate in Michigan State’s annual Pro Camp next week at Munn Ice Arena.
In other news, we've had Eugene Melnyk claim that Daniel Alfredsson's agent lied to his own client after Bryan Murray got his jabs in regarding the Alfredsson-Senators Divorce, and Paul noted that the Ottawa Citizen's James Bagnall reports that Melnyk's Senators have probably lost $94 million over his tenure as the team's owner, and after the lockout, Melnyk took a BIG loan to refinance some of his rink debt, yielding the following equation:
It was only after the league returned to action, allowing the Senators to generate revenues from ticket sales, that Melnyk finally arranged $150 million in fresh financing — this, according to Davies, the law firm that helped to negotiate the deal. He signed a four-year deal in April 2013 with a pair of U.S. specialty funds. By this time, the mantra of conservative spending was even more firmly embedded in the Senators’ financial culture. This posture would be an important factor in the ill-fated contract negotiations involving the Senators’ long-serving captain, Daniel Alfredsson.
The issue was not so much whether Alfredsson would settle for $4.5 million or $7 million — the initial variation between the two sides. It was, rather, the context. Under NHL rules, the Senators can allocate up to $64 million US for players’ salary next season. But the team was holding the line at $51 million US or so. The lower figure was established by Senators’ general manager Bryan Murray, though he did so understanding full well the financial stresses endured by the team over the past year. For Alfie, the $13-million gap represented money not being spent on hiring free agents who might increase the Senators’ odds of progressing further in the playoffs.
When the Swedish star revealed July 5 that he had accepted a one-year contract worth $5.5 million US to play for the Detroit Red Wings, disbelief among Senators fans gave way to anger, then resignation. More recently, there has been a cooler appraisal of what it takes to create a winning franchise in a small market such as Ottawa. While financial commitments to his outside business and personal interests have hurt Melnyk’s flexibility with respect to the Senators, he appears quite at peace with the idea that you don’t have to spend big money to create a winner in the NHL.
“Could we spend more money on players? You could,” Melnyk said during a lengthy interview with the Citizen. “But stats have proven over and over that there is a road of less return because you’re starting then to pay for more mediocre players, especially in the unrestricted free agent market where everybody is scrambling.
“It’s no different than the horses,” he added. “You’ve got your superstars up here, then you’ve got the other 80 per cent.”
The difference in talent between the top and the bottom outside the pool of superstars is “marginal” Melnyk noted, and not worth the extra spending — especially when other factors such as coaching, linemates and the free agent’s work ethic can be great equalizers when it comes to talent.
So Alfredsson's no stud in Melnyk's eyes.
Ironically, Melnyk's on the rebound after taking a gigantic finanical hit when his previous pharmaceutical company, Biovail, tanked amidst a deal to pay SEC fines, and Melnyk's new financial firm is--and I'm not making this up--banking on creating the female version of Viagra.
So, how do the Senators and Alfredsson start repairing the damage done this week? From a public relations perspective, two easy steps would go a long way.
1. Radio silence: Alfredsson’s decision to leave was a completely unexpected bombshell that needed to be explained further. While some would have been satisfied buying the initial “hockey reasons” narrative, many others had to know the real reason the franchise’s marquee star suddenly decided to uproot his four kids and bolt for the border rather than close out a storybook career here. There was a grieving process that had to take place.
For all mixed messages coming out of both camps, there is a much clearer picture now. As in most arguments, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. So what is there to gain by continuing to lob grenades, drawing this argument into a time of year when people have actual hockey to talk about? Nothing.
2. Make Dec. 1 a memorable evening for the right reasons: There are two ways Alfredsson’s return to the Canadian Tire Centre can go. The first is a week that begins with a discussion about how the team and fans will receive him (‘will he be booed?’) and ends with a token scoreboard acknowledgment of his mere presence.
The other is that both sides park their hostility and the Senators give Alfredsson a proper tribute before the game even starts, acknowledging and embracing just how much he, the franchise and the city have meant to each other over the last 18 years. Move forward.
As with Don and Peggy, the past will occasionally creep up. For the next little while, expect almost every story about Alfredsson to reference this messy hockey divorce. But time has a way of taking the edge off of spats between players and the teams that employ them, and a truce would move that process along much quicker.
There’s no reason it can’t happen here.
Something tells me that, again, via RedWingsFeed, Sportsnet's Ottawa hockey reporter has a better inkling of how things will really go down:
Otherwise...Sportsnet's Jamie Neugebauer notes that Pavel Datsyuk's part of a "stacked" Russian Olympic team...
And I guess that the Flagship Station's got to keep its fingers in as many pies--I mean cakes--as possible:
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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.