The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/27/13 at 11:25 AM ET
Last night's crop of marginalia didn't involve enough to posit an overnight report, but today's crop of news...Well, provides some anchor content.
Lightning's strengths: Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos are the most potent tandem in the league. St. Louis, one of the game's premier offensive players for many seasons, led the NHL with 60 points and Stamkos, the best pure goal-scorer in the game, was second in goals (29) and points (57). His league-leading 185 goals over the past five seasons is 33 more than Washington's Alex Ovechkin, who's second. The Lightning bought out captain and long-time franchise cornerstone Vincent Lecavalier. They hope enigmatic Valtteri Filppula, who'll fill their second-line center slot, can fulfill his potential as a consistent 20-goal, 60-point man after underachieving in Detroit. No. 3 overall pick Jonathan Drouin, a tremendous skater and scorer in juniors with Halifax, has a chance to make the club this season. Tampa Bay has a fairly solid top four on defense with Matt Carle, Victor Hedman, Eric Brewer and Sami Salo.
Lightning's weaknesses: They allowed too many goals, mostly due to below average goaltending from Anders Lindback and Mathieu Garon. That's why Ben Bishop was brought in late last season and why he might take over the starting job. They are top-heavy offensively, lacking scoring balance. They need oft-injured Ryan Malone to return to his 20-to-25 goal form.
Lightning's outlook: They were a team on the rise in 2011, when they took eventual Stanley Cup champion Boston to seven games in the Eastern Conference finals. They have regressed since, finishing 10th and 14th in the conference, due mainly to their inability to keep the puck out of their net (30th and 26th in goals against). Scoring shouldn't be a problem, but their goaltending will determine whether they're able to challenge for a playoff spot.
Another division rival's coach is holding a coaching clinic in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, and Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean told an audience of coaches and the Charlottetown Guardian's Ryan Cooke that part of his playing tenure involved someone else doing all the work on his line, at least in theory...
The Jack Adams Award winning coach swapped stories with his fellow peers, including former Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Doug MacLean and Montreal Canadiens assistant coach, Gerard Gallant.
Despite being only months removed from a heated NHL playoff series which saw MacLean’s Ottawa Senators down Gallant’s Canadiens in five games, the two joked about the year they spent together as teammates, playing on a line with Hall-of-Famer Steve Yzerman.
“They always show that clip on TV, hey? The one where Stevie circles around and dekes out the entire Blackhawks team about five times,” MacLean laughs, speaking of a famous clip from the 1989 season in which Yzerman made minced meat of the entire Blackhawks team before roofing a shot on goaltender Jimmy Waite.
“Yeah, what you don’t see in that clip is me and you standing there to the side, tapping our sticks on the ice,” Gallant said.
And he offered quite the quip about the most talented player he's ever coached:
Following Paul MacLean’s keynote speech, the crowd peppered the NHL’s top coach with questions. He was asked everything from what to do with struggling kids to who the best player he ever coached was.
“Nicklas Lidstrom. Hands down,” he answered to the latter question, referring to the Detroit Red Wings longtime franchise defenseman, whom he coached while serving as an assistant to Mike Babcock. "It’s actually boring when you’re that good.”
Customers going to “Hockey Fest” Saturday, Aug. 3, at the Kroger store in Canton can fill their shopping carts with Detroit Red Wings memories while supporting a worthy cause.
“Hockey Fest” is slated to take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot of the Kroger at 1905 Canton Center Road.
Those who come out to the store (admission is free) can meet Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay and other Wings alums and at the same time help support autism research and local treatment programs.
There also will be a Hockey Hall of Fame Legends of Hockey exhibit, as well as interactive games, including a mini hockey rink, foam puck shooting range and a fast shot radar cage.
“The Ted Lindsay Foundation has played a significant role in raising money to fund groundbreaking research in the quest to find a cure for autism,” said Jayne Homco, president of the Kroger Co. of Michigan. “We invite customers to join us for the fun and excitement of Hockey Fest while supporting the Foundation.”
Customers can help Kroger support the Ted Lindsay Foundation by making coin box donations, as well as purchasing a $1 scan card located at Kroger registers now through Aug. 31.
“Autism has reached almost epidemic proportions in our country,” Lindsay said. “Because of the commitment of community partners like Kroger, we are able to reach large audiences to help spread awareness of autism and to fund research to discover more about its causes and treatment.”
Another highlight for fans will be the opportunity to talk to Lindsay and get autographs. Lindsay will do just that from noon to 2 p.m.
As part of the event, Kroger, The Ted Lindsay Foundation, Today’s 105.1 and WDIV/Local 4 ClickOnDetroit have gathered prizes that customers have a chance to win, including two pair of tickets for a 2013-14 Detroit Red Wings regular season game, restaurant gift cards, theater tickets and more.
Guests will have the opportunity to meet other former Detroit Red Wings players and can purchase a family meal deal, with all proceeds from food and raffle sales benefiting The Ted Lindsay Foundation.
The Wings are still accepting applications for their "Volunteer Energy Red Patrol Team," too....
And Jordin Tootoo posted a pair of re-Tweets regarding his whirlwind tour through Nunavut this weekend:
- Mrazek believes that he's going to have to impress the Wings at training camp to earn a spot on the NHL roster, and he's hoping that he can at least do so by the middle of the 2013-2014 season;
- He's crossing his fingers regarding earning a spot on the Czech Olympic team as well, though he enjoyed taking part in the Czechs' Olympic orientation camp;
- And he addressed Detroit's municipal bankruptcy, stating that he's aware of the residential flight to the suburbs, but duly noting that Detroit's sporting bottom line does not suffer from the city's difficult economic times.
In the "new prospect" department, Hockey's Future's Kevin Forbes weighed in on the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's crop of 2013 draft picks, including the Wings' first-rounder:
The Detroit Red Wings added to their stable of QMJHL talent with the 20th overall pick, selecting Anthony Mantha of the Val-d'Or Foreurs. Mantha, who led the league with 50 goals last season, joins a prospect pipeline that already includes QMJHL forwards Martin Frk and Tomas Jurco as well as defenseman Xavier Ouellet.
If you were not aware of the fact that Plymouth Whalers owner and new USA Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Peter Karmanos once owned the Windsor Spitfires, the Windsor Star duly notes that Ontario Hockey League president David Branch is grateful for Karmanos' work in a) Stabilizing the Spits and b) Helping the OHL become an international developmental league:
Karmanos, who founded the Compuware Youth Hockey Program in the late 1970s, took ownership of the Spitfires in 1983.
“Pete let it be known he wanted an OHL franchise,” OHL commissioner David Branch told plymouthwhalers.com. “He ideally wanted to set it up in Detroit from the start. What a lot of people do not realize is we had an issue in Windsor with the ownership of the franchise. It was in terrible straits. We were concerned that we might even lose the franchise altogether.”
Branch said he convinced Karmanos to take over Windsor.
“He cleaned up the situation,” Branch said. ”He retooled it and made them a winner both on and off the ice, won an OHL Championship (1988) and went to the Memorial Cup.”
The Compuware Spitfires came within a game of winning the Memorial Cup in 1988, losing the final game to the Medicine Hat Tigers.
Karmanos, who also owns the Carolina Hurricanes, sold the Spitfires in 1988 and was awarded an expansion franchise for Detroit in 1989. The Detroit Compuware Ambassadors became the first OHL team based in the United States.
“He provided us for the very first time as a league to enter into the United States, which was a huge step for us,” Branch said. ”He helped us grow the Ontario Hockey League.”
And I can only shake my head at this story from the Canadian Press's Joshua Clipperton:
Daniel Alfredsson's decision to sign with the Detroit Red Wings shocked the hockey world — and at least one golfer. The 40-year-old Alfredsson had spent his entire career with the Ottawa Senators before abruptly cutting ties with the team to sign in the Motor City when free agency opened July 5.
Canadian golfer Brad Fritsch, who is from Ottawa and is sponsored by the Senators on the PGA Tour, knows Alfredsson personally and wasn't expecting the former captain to leave.
"It was very surprising, based on the conversations that we had," Fritsch said Friday at the RBC Canadian Open. "I don't think anything happened that hasn't been reported. I think he just had a change of heart."
Fritsch likened Alfredsson's decision to leave Ottawa to the pressures of the spotlight that high-profile golfers sometime face.
"He probably feels the way Mike Weir has felt for a long time — being 'the guy' for so long. Obviously Alfie for the Senators and Mike for Canadian golf," said the 35-year-old Fritsch. "I think maybe it wore on him a little bit. Now he's got two or three or four players in Detroit where he can feed off them rather than the entire team having to feed off Alfie."
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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.