The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/29/13 at 11:24 AM ET
Updated 7x with Howard talk at 3:16 PM: Amongst this morning's Red Wings-related stories:
- As Paul noted, today is a pretty special day for one of the Wings' elder statesmen:
- Three years ago, Puck Daddy asked me to pick the four faces of a "Mount Puckmore" team for the Detroit Red Wings, and picking four all-time best Wings was an incredibly, incredibly difficult task. This morning, Sportsline's Brian Stubits posits his take as to which teams constitute the Wings' all-time bests, picking Lindsay, Gordie Howe and Steve Yzerman as the best forwards, Terry Sawchuk as the best goaltender, and Nicklas Lidstrom and what I would argue is a slightly surprising face as the team's best defensemen:
Red Kelly: It wasn't just about Howe and Lindsay during the 50s for the Red Wings, guys like Kelly played a pretty big role as well. At this point in his career Kelly was still playing on defense, something that would change when he was traded to Toronto later. That shows the kind of versatility and overall skill Kelly had.
As a member of the Wings, Kelly was a Lady Byng winner three times and took home the Norris in 1953-54. He also appeared in nine All-Star Games with the winged wheel on his chest. Kelly also won four Stanley Cups with the Wings -- and four more with the Maple Leafs! -- helping him to earn his spot in the Hall of Fame. Oh, he also found time to go into politics (although that was while in Toronto). Quite a career.
The Wings and Kelly have mended fences, but it took decades for the team to come to terms with Kelly's split career between Detorit and Toronto, so I'd suggest that he's an "interesting" pick...
- MLive's Ansar Khan also posited an intriguing pair of answers to Wings fans' questions in his latest "Ask Ansar" column:
Question: Now that we signed (Stephen) Weiss and Alfie (Daniel Alfredsson), does that make Franzen expendable for a trade piece in acquiring a top-pair (defenseman)? What team would be willing to take Sammy?
Ansar Khan: Franzen isn't going anywhere, at least not this season. He'll probably start the season on a line with Weiss and Alfredsson.
However, if Franzen has a bad season, I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to trade him by next year's draft. He would have six years and $17.5 million remaining on his deal. If there are no takers, they still have one compliance buyout at their disposal. But would they pay him $11.67 million (two-thirds of the remaining value of his contract after this season) to walk away, even though it would be spread over 12 years? Tough to imagine they would dump him (and pay him, to boot) if they couldn't get an asset in return.
I highly doubt Samuelsson can be traded. Maybe at midseason if he shows he's healthy and somewhat productive (but in that case there would be no reason to move him).
Question: Do you think Danny DeKeyser will be on the first (defense pairing) with Niklas Kronwall? If not, do you believe the Wings will trade for one to be up with him?
Answer: DeKeyser will be paired with Jakub Kindl. The top pairing of Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson will not change. It is difficult to acquire a top-pair defenseman through a trade, so I don't see that happening.
I find it difficult to envision the Wings finding a willing taker for Franzen's contract given the nastiness of the new CBA's "cap recapture" formula, but I do agree with Khan that it's entirely possible--if not probable--that the Wings may start next spring's playoff run (hopefully) with their present "top six" defensemen.
Yes, the Wings want to add another top-four defenseman, and I'm guessing that Ken Holland and the team's management will make pursuing one between the start of the regular season and the trade deadline a top priority, but the team's been looking to add a top-four defenseman since Brian Rafalski retired, and they haven't been able to land one yet.
- Sticking with the defenseman-centric theme, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose offers a review of Niklas Kronwall's 2013 season "numbers":
24: The number of assists he produced this season while finishing second among Western Conference defensemen in the category. Only Minnesota's Ryan Suter (28) had more assists.
14: Number of power-play assists, which was tied for third-best among NHL defensemen. He assisted on PPG for six different teammates, including Pavel Datsyuk (4), Henrik Zetterberg (3), Damien Brunner (3) and Johan Franzen (2).
83: Number of blocked shots he had to lead the Red Wings for the third consecutive season, though his per-game average slipped from the 2.16 blocks that he averaged in 2011-12.
- Sticking with "numbers," Reuters' Joseph Lichterman penned a story about Detroit's resident sports teams serving as something of a beacon of hope during difficult times for the city they play in, and he dropped a pretty spiffy stat regarding the Wings' impressie record at Joe Louis Arena:
Over the last decade, the Wings have assembled a daunting record of 232-120 on its home ice in "the Joe," as locals call the Joe Louis Arena, named for the Detroit native who was a legendary boxing champion in the 1930s.
That's a winning percentage of 65.9090909% (with the decimal point repeating)...
- In the participatory vein, Landon Ferraro's "Day with the Calder Cup" is today, and he invited fans to join him in celebrating the Grand Rapids Griffins' AHL championship...
Mitchell Callahan invited fans to take part in his day with the Cup, too:
Waaaayyyy up north....
And as an FYI:
- In the multimedia department, via RedWingsFeed, the Wings' YouTube channel posted a pair of highlight clips this morning...
- And heading back to Twitter, here are some retweets of note:
That's a framed Kitchener Rangers jersey, not a New York Rangers one...
Every day is a gift, so be sure to share it with the people that mean the most to you. Happy Birthday to Ted Lindsay who turns 88 today and is celebrating with friends and family!
Update #3: And if you find yourself in the Greater Toronto Area tomorrow...
ORONTO (July 29, 2013) – The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) will be holding its 21st annual NHLPA Golf Classic on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario. More than 30 current and retired NHL Players will be hitting the links to support numerous player-supported charities, including Josh Harding’s “Harding’s Hope” for multiple sclerosis and David Clarkson’s “Clarky’s Kids” charity. The players will compete for a total of $100,000 in charity money through the newly created NHLPA Charity Challenge, with $40,000 being donated to the winning group’s designated charity.
What: 2013 NHLPA Golf Classic – Media Availability at Glen Abbey Golf Club
When: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Who: Many current & retired NHL Players are scheduled to participate:
Kevin Bieksa, Martin Biron, Tim Brent, Kyle Brodziak, Chris Campoli, David Clarkson, Cal Clutterbuck, Cory Conacher, B.J. Crombeen, Tom Gilbert, Josh Harding, Peter Holland, Shawn Matthias, John Mitchell, Steve Montador, Dominic Moore, Justin Peters, Kyle Quincey and Daniel Winnik; and former players Todd Harvey, Paul Henderson, Nick Kypreos, Mark Napier, Mark Osborne, Mike Peca, Joe Reekie, Dwayne Roloson, Mathieu Schneider, Scott Walker, Steve Webb, Kevin Weekes and Rob Zamuner.
Where: Glen Abbey Golf Club, 1333 Dorval Drive, Oakville, Ontario
Update #4: For the record, Helsinborgs Dagblad's Eric Persson reports that Andreas Lilja will serve as the captain for Swedish Allsvensksan club Rogle BK this upcoming season.
Update #5: iDnes.cz's Jaroslav Tomas provided a Deep Digger-style 3rd interview transcript in 3 days from one media availability Petr Mrazek engaged in last Friday. Among Mrazek's points, again:
- He does not expect to be given a spot in the Wings' lineup, but he hopes to perform well at training camp and hopefully to earn a spot on the team, which he's been told is possible, but he acknowledges that it's going to be an uphill battle;
- The Czech Olympic team told him that he'll have a "chance" to make the Olympics if he performs well, and he enjoyed taking part in the Czechs' Olympic orientation camp a couple of weeks ago.
Update #6: MLive's Brendan Savage suggests that Daniel Alfredsson's status as not invited to the Swedish pre-Olympic gathering from August 12-14 is the biggest "snub" of any Olympic non-invite, but I'm not so sure of that given that the Swedes didn't know whether Alfredsson would be playing when they cobbled the roster together in mid-June.
Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings – When Niklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski were manning the back, many thought Jimmy Howard was just benefitting from a strong defence. But that obviously wasn’t the case as the American goalie was able to put up similar stats even with a depleted group. Howard is very legit and he should be in this tier for years to come.
And it appears that Landon Ferraro's having a nice day with the Calder Cup:
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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.