The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/05/13 at 02:12 PM ET
Updated 5x at 6:22 PM: Paul already posted the Free Press's Helene St. James' report about Pavel Datsyuk returning to the ice at the Joe, but the Wings' beat writers Tweeted some updates--including a contradictory note regarding the Daniel Cleary story:
That's news...I guess the Griffins are at least having Lynch try out with them...
Now THIS WAS INTERESTING:
As noted earlier this morning, St. James reported that the Wings will probably have Cleary try out with them at camp, but the beginning of her story has changed:
Daniel Cleary's plans to join the Detroit Red Wings' informal skates today were waylaid by a late flight; now he expects to be at Joe Louis Arena on Friday.
The rest of the week ahead is much murkier. Cleary had been taking part in a hockey camp in Vail, Colo., but that ended Wednesday. A delayed departure out of Denver made for too late of a night to get up and skate the next morning.
So he'll join eagerly anticipating former teammates a day later. But then what?
Possibly a professional-tryout invitation to camp — which is, ironically enough, how it all began between the Wings and Cleary.
In the prospect tournament vein, I was busy watching practice, taking notes and then conducting interviews when this stuff happened:
The Wings had a very large TV camera and a very long boom mic at practice, so I'm wondering whether they're going to post some "game audio"-style stuff...
And here are the rest of their Tweets:
For the record, the Free Press's St. James' Datsyuk story is now accompanied by a video (warning, auto-play):
"I go back to home, stay with friends, see family lots, but now come back to live here," Datsyuk said. "Always, summer too short. But now, forget about summer. Lots of work beginning."
It's the first time Datsyuk has been in Detroit since signing a three-year extension in late June; with a year left on his current deal, the new contract kicks in starting in 2014-15.
"I'm happy here, I enjoy this time," Datsyuk said of his decision to stay in Detroit. "Every year, better and better. I choose to sign here."
Datsyuk expressed delight about newcomers Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss, the latter of whom should facilitate that, for a change, Datsyuk will start the season on a line with Zetterberg. The two love playing together, and the Wings love being able to play them together, but past stints rarely have lasted long because the Wings needed one of them to center the second line.
"We'll see how long we last this year," Zetterberg said, smiling, "but we're excited that we'll get a chance to start again. But it's a little bit up to us, too. We have to play good."
Of seeing his longtime close friend and oftentimes line mate re-up through 2016-17, Zetterberg said, "I was really pleased to see he signed for another three years. He's a big part of this team, and he always will be."
Zetterberg, who turns 33 next month, and Datsyuk, 35, grew close almost immediately when Zetterberg joined the Wings in 2002-03, one year after Datsyuk helped the Wings win the Stanley Cup as a rookie. A decade later, it's still special to play together — and Zetterberg is certain which one of them has aged better.
"It's gotta be me," he said.
There's no news regarding the condo robbery in Yekaterinburg, at least thus far.
Via RedWingsFeed, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan just filed a Datsyuk story as well. Datsyuk addressed his 3-year contract extension, and the fact that he's going to be in Detroit until he's 39--at least...
"Don't have to think too much, make any decisions, just focus (on hockey)," said Datsyuk, who had 15 goals and 34 assists last season.
Datsyuk wants to play in his native Russia before his career ends, which led to speculation he would return to Russia after this season. But the extension put those rumors to rest.
"It's time to forget about the summer, there's a lot of work beginning," Datsyuk said.
The signing of forwards Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss means, at least to start, Datsyuk will be on a line with Henrik Zetterberg. Coach Mike Babcock said he wants Datsyuk and Zetterberg together, as well as Weiss with Johan Franzen. The opportunity to skate with Zetterberg thrills Datsyuk, who'll enjoy the chance while it lasts.
"It'll be fun but it's always he (Babcock) says we'll play together at the beginning, and we play, but they break us up," Datsyuk said.
Said Zetterberg: "We'll see how long it lasts this year, but we're excited that we get a chance from the start again. It's up to us, too. We have to play good. If we don't do that, we'll probably get split up. But we're looking forward to it."
One thing that enticed Datsyuk to sign for several more seasons with the Red Wings was the infusion of young players and promising future. Datsyuk is optimistic about this coming season.
"It's a little bit different team, more younger team," Datsyuk said.
And he talked about the Olympics as well--but not the issue that even I'll admit I'm afraid to ask him about:
"There's always pressure on the home team, doesn't matter who it is," Datsyuk said. "There's lots of pressure. Everybody (in Russia) is talking about the Olympics. You go through the middle of downtown (in Datsyuk's hometown) you see the Olympics (excitement)."
In terms of the public hearing regarding the Red Wings' rink development, as you might imagine, reaction was mixed. The Detroit News's Louis Aguilar captured some of the comments...
About a dozen speakers weighed in on the proposal just before noon at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center. A slight majority of the speakers have praised the idea. The public endorsements came from the head of the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce to one of the largest private owners in Cass Corridor.
“I whole-heartedly support this project. We couldn’t fill this hole in another 20 years,” said Joel Landy, a longtime Cass Corridor developer.
Many of the public speakers said the idea created jobs and activity in an area that has long struggled with blight and poverty.
Speakers like Tony Stewart, executive director of Carpenters and Millwrights Union, said Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch had a strong track record in hiring Detroit workers.
But several small business owners downtown blasted the proposal. Jerry Belanger, owner of the Park Bar and the building that contains Cliff Bells, said “this whole thing is a sham.”
Belanger said the Ilitch’s track record of its downtown properties was abysmal. “They own the United Artists building, the Cass Moose Lodge, the Chin Tiki,” he said, naming some of the empty buildings owned by Ilitch’s Olympia Development.
As did WDIV...
During a public hearing Thursday before the Detroit City Council and representatives from the DDA, commenters laid out what they saw as the pros and cons of the project.
Gerald Belanger owns the building that houses Cliff Bells, the Park Bar and Bucharest Grill. He blamed Ilitch Holdings Inc. for buying up properties in the city and the leaving them blighted for years.
"Their policy is clearly to put a wall around their items," Belanger said. "This whole thing is a sham ... They are representing an entity and they’re asking me to pay for the exact people that I think have hurt Detroit for a long time."
Thomas Stevens, who identified himself as a homeowner, taxpayer and representing "Detroiters resisting emergency management," said it all boils down to a single argument.
"The issue of public funding for a professional sports arena is not a new one. It’s been controversial for decades. It hasn't worked here or anywhere else," he said. "The suggestion that there should be public funding for a new professional sports arena in a bankrupt Detroit, packed with public tax payer dollars, has appropriately been greeted with a great deal of public skepticism and even outrage."
Those who spoke in support of the project said it would become a source of revenue for the city and brings jobs.
And the Detroit Free Press's Matt Helms:
“Right now we’re in a bankruptcy,” said resident Joann Jackson, who opposes the arena deal. “I feel that there will not be any jobs. You all have said that about the casinos. You all have said that about the ballparks,” yet unemployment in Detroit remains high, she said.
The public hearings were the first held on the massive project. To approve the deal, it requires a concessions-management agreement with the city that would include provisions committing the Red Wings to play at the new arena for 35 years with two optional 12-year renewals. The arena would be owned by Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority and managed by Olympia Development, a similar arrangement to how the Ilitch organization runs the city-owned Joe Louis Arena, where the Wings now play.
Representatives of the quasi-governmental Detroit Economic Growth Corp., which has a hand in most major downtown developments, presented information on ordinance changes that have to happen for the deal to go through, including expanding the DDA’s boundaries to encompass the project area that covers 45 acres between downtown and Midtown.
Council members including JoAnn Watson said they wanted to make sure Detroit is adequately compensated for city-owned land that will be used in the development, and that there are guarantees the Ilitch organization will pay all taxes and fees associated with the project.
Public comment was mixed today. Joel Landy, who owns more than 50 residential and commercial properties north of I-75, said the project should start without delay.
“We couldn’t fill this hole in for another 20 years,” he said. “However we have to fund it, it’s important to our success.”
Tom Stevens, a member of the group Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management, said he opposes taxpayer support for the project, saying any proposal that relies heavily on public financing “should be greeted with a great deal of public skepticism.”
He said that even with Detroit under control of an emergency manager, “what this shows is nothing has changed. It’s about public money for connected insiders.”
But Detroiter Tom Wilson, a retired teacher, invoked Motown great Marvin Gaye and said, “Let’s get it on. This is going to create jobs. We’re talking about retail space and housing. How anyone could want to turn this down, I can’t understand,” he said. “We’ve been hemorrhaging people out of this city since 1953.”
MLive's David Muller took note of the comments made as well:
Jerry Belanger says that he is in the renovation business, and the owners of the Detroit Red Wings are in the blight business.
“I’ve offered to buy properties and restore them and they won’t sell them to me,” said Belanger, who owns and renovated the downtown property that now houses Cliff Bell’s and The Park Bar. “They don’t’ sell to anybody. Their deal is scorched earth. They’re creating the stadium at the crux of all the expressways. You can come into the suburb, come into the compound, you can get out, and you don’t have to rub elbows with Detroit.”
Belanger made the comments after a public hearing for the Downtown Development Authority’s expansion to accommodate a tax capture for the proposed $650 million Detroit Red Wings arena and entertainment district. Another public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 12.
The DDA needs to have its area expanded north of Fisher Highway to encompass the 45-block footprint of what the project’s developers are calling the “catalyst” area, which is roughly bound by Charlotte Street to the north, Grand River to the west, Grand Circus Park to the south and Woodward Avenue to east. The 650,000-square-foot arena would span four blocks along Woodward Avenue from Sproat to Henry Street, and west to Park Avenue.
This part is VERY interesting as it clarifies the "Wings owe the city taxes"
Several others questioned why Mike Ilitch, the founder of Little Caesars Pizza chain and principal of Olympia Development, which owns the Red Wings as well as the Detroit Tigers, is able to get away with owing millions in taxes while many of the city’s poor are being foreclosed on and forced from their homes.
The Detroit Free Press reported in December that Mayor Dave Bing and a top aide believed Ilitch’s Olympia Entertainment could owe the city some $1.5 million in unpaid taxes on the Joe Louis Arena, where the Red Wings currently play.
But George Jackson, president and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, which staffs the DDA, told the press after the hearing that, as far as he knows, there is no outstanding money owed by the Ilitches.
Jackson touted the development as a job creator and tax generator. He also stressed that money for the project is not coming from the financially crippled city’s general fund, nor will taxes be raised to come up with the portion of public funding for the project.
And so we don't end on a downer...
Update: MLive's Ansar Khan penned a Datsyuk article...
“I go back home and stay with friends and family a lot, now come back to work here,'' Datsyuk said. “The summer is too short, but now it’s forget about summer. Lots of work. I’m happy here. I enjoy this time and every year it’s better and better. It’s a different team, a younger team and some older (faces).''
As happy as Datsyuk is to have signed a three-year, $22.5 million extension on June 18, his teammates are just as pleased that he'll be a Red Wing through at least the 2016-17 season.
“Pav is one of the best players in the league, one of the top three players, probably,'' defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “He keeps showing it year after year. To be able to get that (contract) taken care of early without it being a distraction is beneficial for everybody. Nobody needs to wonder what's going to happen with him.''
Kronwall dismissed rumors and speculation that Datsyuk would return to Russia after his current contract expired in 2014.
“Just talking to Pav (last season) it sounded like he was comfortable here, he liked it here and he wanted to stay,'' Kronwall said. “I never had any doubts whatsoever.''
Coach Mike Babcock said he plans to start the season with Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg on the same line (with either Justin Abdelkader or Daniel Alfredsson).
“It’s going to be fun, but every year he say we play together,'' Datsyuk said. “In the beginning we play together a little, and they break us (up).”
Said Zetterberg: “We'll see how long it lasts this year, but we're real excited that we'll get a chance from the start again. I think it's a little bit up to us, too. We have to play (well). If we don't do that we're probably going to be split up.''
I found it particularly interesting that Greg "Puck Daddy" Wyshynski and Pro Hockey Talk's Mike Halford just happened to discover the Neue Luzerner Zeitung's Nicola Berger's story about Damien Brunner possibly playing in Switzerland until the NHL season begins...
I believe we call this a Twitter tit-for-tat of minor proportions...
And in the "for further reading" category, MLive's David Muller reports that the folks who live in the area where the Wings' new rink will be built have formed a coalition to ensure that they don't get, well, screwed over.
Update #3: Via RedWingsFeed...
And the NHL Network posted a currently non-embeddable video interview with Howard.
MLive's Brendan Savage is now offering Nicola Berger's story...
The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness penned a Datsyuk story...
“It’s much easier so (I don’t have to) think too much, not making (a) decision,” Datsyuk said about the relief of getting a deal done before the season. “(I’m) just focusing (on hockey).”
The deal keeps Datsyuk in Detroit through the 2016-17 season.
“Kind of feels weird to talk about it now because it happened in the summertime but of course we’re really pleased to see he signed another three years,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “He’s a big part of this team, always has been and always will be.”
The new deal, which has an average salary-cap hit of $7.5 million, pays him $10 million in the first year and then $7 million in year two and $5.5 million the final year of the extension.
“The summer is too short, but now it’s (time to) forget about summer,” Datsyuk said. “(There is) lots of work.”
Datsyuk made headlines when he made said his dream would be to finish his career in Russia, which many speculated meant leaving Detroit after this contract ran out.
“There’s no doubt if you were following different websites you were up to speed on what was being said out there but just talking to Pav it sounded like he was comfortable here,” Kronwall said. “He liked it here and he wanted to stay. I never had any doubts whatsoever.”
As did DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose...
With the acquisition of winger Daniel Alfredsson and center Stephen Weiss, coach Mike Babcock said this week that the Wings will begin the season with Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg together on the top forward line. But Zetterberg is taking a wait-and-see approach.
“We’ll see how long it lasts this year, but we’re real excited that we’ll get a chance from the start again,” the Wings’ captain said. “It’s a little bit up to us, too. We have to play good. If we don't do that we're probably going to be split up. We're looking forward to it. I think the forward situation is a little different this year. We have a little more depth.”
The Red Wings will go to training camp in Traverse City on Tuesday with 16 forwards, and that doesn’t include veteran Daniel Cleary. According to a local newspaper report, the Wings are interested in the unrestricted free agent, who has played eight seasons in Detroit. But the Wings would need to clear salary cap and make some personnel moves in order to make room for him.
Aside from moving East, this season is setting up to be an exciting one for the Wings with their involvement in the 2014 Winter Classic on New Year’s Day and the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Datsyuk is especially thrilled for the Olympics in his homeland, where the Russian team will be expected to win gold.
“Much pressure on the home team,” Datsyuk said.
Something Datsyuk didn’t want to talk about Thursday was a report that his Russian apartment was burglarized with $45,000 worth of personal belongings stolen last month.
“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “(Keep to) sports news.”
Uh, yes worry.
And finally, for the moment...
And the Wings' posited a trio of Tweets:
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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.