The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/29/14 at 11:36 AM ET
Updated 2x at 1:29 PM: Amongst today's Red Wings-related news stories and tidbits:
The subject of the proceeds from the Plymouth Whalers' charity exhibition game against the Windsor Spitfires tomorrow got a "write-up" in the Free Press today, too (and the Windsor Star's Bob Duff posted the Spitfires' roster):
Regarding the prospect tournament roster and its tryouts...
SlapshotGoal's going to be recording of prospect tournament games, too!
In much more substantive news, Michigan Hockey enlisted the Windsor Star's Dave Waddell to discuss the "Red Wings' issues," and Waddell is--as usual--refreshingly blunt while playing "Myth Buster":
Detroit is no longer a destination
The Wings can paint it anyway they want, but there’s no doubt this issue needs to be addressed head-on moving forward. When you offer more money or more term as Detroit did to several free-agent targets in July and come up empty for the second time in three summers, it’s no longer an aberration. There’s no doubt the team isn’t viewed as good enough by free agents. It’s not viewed that way by Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, who have both publically stated the team needs to be strengthened to go deeper into the playoffs.
Another factor is the Joe. Fans may hold a fondness for the Joe Louis Arena, but if you take off the rose colored glasses it’s a dump Wings fans would ridicule if it were located in another city.
Former assistant GM Jim Nill conceded some years ago when he brought the team’s prospects to the Joe for the first time they were always shocked at how inferior the facilities were to their college or major junior teams. The new rink will fix that, but it’s still about three years away.
The Wings are also starting from behind based on the reputation of the city of Detroit. It might not be justified, but it’s a reality. With lifestyle decisions playing an increasingly important role in free agents’ decisions, this will remain a challenge in attracting players without Michigan ties.
Mike Babcock is scaring off free agents
Is Babcock tough, demanding, arrogant, owner of a large ego and disliked by many players? Yes. He’s also thorough, well-prepared and widely respected as one of the game’s great coaches and stands alone in hockey history as the only bench boss to win the World Junior, World Championship, Olympics and Stanley Cup. Players like to win and as long as Babcock is viewed as giving them the best chance to do that, players will play hard for him.
As for the criticism that he’s chasing away free agents, I present former Wings’ defenseman Mike Commodore. No one hates Babcock more than Commodore, but it didn’t stop Commodore from signing with Detroit a few seasons ago even after he spent years telling everyone that Babcock had tried to ruin his career previously.
It’s a lack of talent and the perception the team isn’t a cup contender that’s keeping free agents away more than a demanding coach.
And in exhibition game news:
Adam Almquist and Severstal Cherepovets lost a 5-2 decision to Jokerit Helsinki, and , and Julius Vahatalo started for the Finns in their Under-20 Four Nations win over Russia; Christoffer Ehn and Axel Holmstrom's Swedes are battling the Czech Republic presently, and Holmstrom and Ehn centered the first and second line, respectively, at the start of the game.
And yes, I have to plug this:
I looked at my Paypal account and I'm very happy to say that your generous contributions have me 13 days removed from the prospect tournament with $954, which is just short of halfway to my fundraising goal.
The good news is that the hotel is booked ($1,500ish for two weeks) and that I'm about to submit my media credential request; the bad news is that I know that most of you gave big for the summer development camp ($1,500 hotel cost for 4th of July week, holy pants), so I have to ask for the nitty gritty:
At this point, if you can donate $20, $10, $5, whatever, that would be fantastic. Those donations are what's gonna get me to the camp, and if you can shake some pennies loose, I'd be grateful.
I've attended two of the past three Traverse City-based training camps/prospect tournaments and the past three summer development camps at your leisure. If you're willing to lend a hand, I would greatly, greatly appreciate it.
Any and every donation helps pay the way up there (I break even) and I'm strongly considering printing some t-shirts and/or ensuring that every entry has a "sponsored by/brought to you by" note (and as always, the coverage is based upon your suggestions and questions, so it's an interactive experience).
My "merchant ID" is my non-work email address, rtxg at yahoo dot com, and I'm incredibly grateful for your readership and support. Thank you.
Update #2: Yahoo Sports' Darryl Dobbs suggests that Johan Franzen is a "fanasy hockey sleeper" pick. You don't say:
Johan Franzen – The Mule would be fantasy gold if he stayed off the injured reserve list. He’s missed at least five games a year every season since his rookie year in 2005-06. However, he’s been on a 60-point pace for each of the last six seasons. If he could stay healthy — hey, it has to happen some year —then he becomes a one of the league’s top 50 point producers.
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About The Malik Report
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.