The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/13/14 at 01:30 PM ET
Today's crop of Red Wings news isn't particularly deep, but just as was the case in the overnight report, there's no point in sitting on stuff, so:
I don't have any particular superstitions about the number 13, but Friday the 13th is a spoooooky day to some, and the Hockey News's Jason Kay took advantage of the date to list the top ten players who've worn the "unluckiest" digit. I have no qualms with any of his comments regarding the best #13 ever...
Pavel Datsyuk. With two Stanley Cups, three Selkes and four Lady Byngs, Datsyuk is the most decorated of the 13s. At 35 and still performing at an elite level, this sure-fire Hall-of-Famer has time to further pad his resume.
And this guy wasn't bad, either:
Slava Kozlov. Like Datsyuk and Sundin, Kozlov stayed true to 13 until the end, registering 853 points for three teams.
Regarding the Wings' Russians, Sports.ru's Epicenter blog posited a remembrance of the Russian 5, and the videos they posted are plain old fun to watch--and are good reminders regarding the genesis of the Wings' puck possession game:
This goal changed everything--it was the first time that the Russian 5 played together, back against the Calgary Flames in 1995...
A year later, this became routine...
And please remember that Vladdie Konstantinov could do this...
As easily as he did this:
Igor Larionov was a pretty solid scorer, too:
Regarding potential unrestricted free agent additions to the present-day team, USA Today's Kevin Allen penned a list of 20 notable free agents-to-be...
1. Defenseman Matt Niskanen (Pittsburgh Penguins): The defenseman pool is shallow, and Niskanen, 27, is coming off a breakthrough season. He's a puck mover and has improved his defensive play. With the Philadelphia Flyers' Andrew MacDonald signing for $5 million a season, Niskanen's expectations might start at $5.5 million and move upward. The Penguins want to re-sign him, and he likes it in Pittsburgh. He'll have to decide whether he wants to swing with all of his might or take slightly less to stay with the Penguins.
10. Defenseman Dan Boyle (New York Islanders): The Islanders acquired his rights so they could talk to him before he becomes a free agent, but he is expected to enter the market. Many teams are looking for puck-handling defensemen, including the Detroit Red Wings and Florida Panthers.
12. Center Steve Ott (St. Louis Blues): The feisty, competitive agitator plays a sound defensive game and chips in a goal now and then. He's perfect for a team seeking an edgier look for the playoffs.
(if the Wings want to add some toughness, Ott is a solid bet)
It wasn’t that long ago that it looked like Stralman might not be able to have a long and fruitful career in the NHL. By the time he was 25, he had already been traded twice and went into the summer of 2011 as an unrestricted free agent because the Columbus Blue Jackets didn’t feel he was even worth a qualifying offer.
The defenseman wasn’t able to secure a contract over the summer, so he accepted an invitation to attend the New Jersey Devils’ training camp. When they released him from camp, he continued to practice with the team in the hopes that they might eventually sign him. In mid-October, he returned to his home country Sweden because he wasn’t allowed to travel with the Devils on their trip to Nashville.
His intention was to talk to his family and decide how long he should wait for the Devils to make him an offer before moving on, per the Bergen Record.
“I had a confidence that I could make it back, but I didn’t really have the confidence that I was going to get the chance to come back,” Stralman told reporters Thursday in Los Angeles. “It kind of worked itself out.”
Indeed it did because on Nov. 4, 2011, the New York Rangers finally gave him the chance he was looking for and he ran with it. He’s not an all-star defenseman, but he’s solid defensively and has been trusted with big minutes in New York’s playoff run.
Also of UFA-related note: Kimmo Timonen re-signed with Philadelphia today:
Regarding all those dang mock drafts, MLive's Brendan Savage reports that another Red Line Report draft has the Wings picking David Pastrnak, and again, I'm going to defer to the Sabres' website's mock drafts here (this article was penned by Kevin Snow; the Sabres have Pastrnak picked with the 15th overall pick, the one the Wings own presently, too):
15– DAVID PASTRNAK
RW, Sodertalje (Sweden-2)
6’, 167 lbs.
2013-14: 36 games, 8-16-24, 24 PIM
Shifty and instinctive, Pastrnak combines speed, playmaking and elements of grit to project as a high-end top-six forward at the NHL level.
With quick hands and a purely offensive mind, Pastrnak is an exciting player to watch when the puck comes his way. The slick Czech boasts a very robust skating game, relying on elusive speed bursts and lateral quickness to cut into space and keep defenders at bay.
His vision sees him thread soft passes and wire accurate darts, and his timing and agility make him an effective one-on-one threat.
The nifty offensive package came together for eight goals and 24 points in 36 games while playing for Sodertalje in Sweden’s second tier professional league as a 17-year old.
Pastrnak’s season was cut short in February with an upper-body injury, but not before racking up the most points for an under-18 player in that league in over 40 years of stat keeping.
Pastrnak, who displayed terrific chemistry on a line in Sodertalje with fellow draft prospect William Nylander, brings a consistent effort and well-rounded offensive arsenal that should see him make an impact at the NHL level with a few more years of strength and conditioning work.
The cream of the crop in an up year for Czech draft prospects, Pastrnak has one year to play on his SHL contract before testing the North American waters.
European Skater - Sodertalje, SWEDEN-2
Final Rank: 5 Midterm Rank: 4
Position: Left Wing Shoots: Left
Height: 5' 10" Weight: 165
Born: May 25, 1996 Hometown: Havirov, Czech Republic
Born in: Havirov, CZE
• In 2013-14, Pastrnak spent most of the season with Sodertalje of Sweden’s second division, leading the team with 16 assists and 24 points in 36 games.
• He was an assistant captain with the silver-medal winning Czech Republic team at the 2014 Under-18 World Championship, recording five assists in seven games. He also represented his country at the 2013 event (1-1—2 in five games).
• At the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial, Pastrnak tallied four points (2-2—4), including a goal and assist in the bronze-medal game to lead the Czech Republic to victory. It was the country’s first top-three finish at the tournament, which they co-host, since 2005.
• He netted one of his team’s two shootout goals as the Czech Republic upset Canada 5-4 in a preliminary round game at the 2014 World Junior Championship. He finished the tournament with three points (1-2—3) in five games.
• In 2011-12, he led the Czech Republic under-18 junior league in goals (41) and points (68), split between his hometown club in Havirov and Trinec.
• His late father, Milan, played professional hockey in Germany from 1996-98.
Director of European Scouting, Goran Stubb:"David is an offensive-minded player with smooth hands, great instincts and a very quick shot. He's an excellent skater with speed and acceleration. He's very smart on ice but will need more weight and strength to excel at the next level. He's creative and dangerous in 1-on-1 situations."
In the "Local Interest" category, Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples spoke with Skate Fenders founder Fred McLelland about the establishment of his comapany and its NHL success (aided in no small part because McLelland is friend of Wings equipment manager Paul Boyer from his time spent at Lake Superior State University):
If you watched their skates closely this season, you would have noticed that the majority of the Red Wings’ defensive corps had extra protection surrounding their feet.
Danny DeKeyser, Niklas Kronwall, Kyle Quincey and Jonathan Ericsson were all wearing foot protection from Skate Fenders, a Michigan-based company that created molded polycarbonate shells for a players’ skates that offer protection from that dreaded slapshot to the side of the foot. Forwards Joakim Andersson and Drew Miller donned the protective equipment, as well.
McClelland said that the Skate Fenders idea was a long time in the works, after watching various attempts at padding to protect one’s feet while he grew up playing the sport himself.
“I played hockey for a long time, probably more than 50 years,” McClelland said. “Way back when I played midgets, there were these old ankle guard things that guys wore to protect the ankles, and I was kind of looking at making a high-tech version of that, because I didn’t think that the old ones, you could get them custom-made, but they’re not practical.
“I thought I would take a stab at designing a high-tech version of something that would protect the feet. I tested a lot of different materials and plastics, and I ended up with the polycarbonate that we use now, which is actually a form of Lexan. We use two grades, they’ve both proven very reliable, very durable, even at the pro level, the NHL and everywhere down.”
I find it fascinating that both the "Skate Fenders" being sold out there and goaltenders' "danglers" are made from the same material in Lexan plastic.
The Skate Fenders were designed with the help of Lake Superior State University’s Product Development Center. Both the PDC’s project managers, along with LSSU engineering students, helped create the mold that produces the Skate Fenders with a focus on protection, followed by it being light weight and easy to put on.
And finally, in the Twitter department:
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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.