The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/12/13 at 01:16 PM ET
Updated with a Jordin Tootoo profile at 3:42 PM: As TSN's Bob McKenzie suggested a little earlier this morning, once the NHL and NHLPA reach their "memorandum of understanding" (perhaps better defined as a North Korea-vs-South Korea-style "detente" as opposed to a peace treaty) today, there's no doubt that player personnel moves will be coming down the pipe in fast and furious fashion, but until the NHLPA doulbe, triple and quadruple-checks its votes...
We're kind of at a standstill in terms of finding out about the NHL's 2013 season schedule--or, on this blog, as the 2013 schedule as it applies to the Red Wings--and the Wings' plans regarding training camp, as outlined by the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan, will remain "tentative" and "preliminary."
In the interim, here are a few stories to tide the news-ravenous Wings fan over, starting with an update regarding the Grand Rapids Griffins' Great Skate:
- It's ridiculously warm in Michigan this weekend--it's going to be 58 degrees in Southeastern Michigan, and Grand Rapids will be close, so the Griffins just released the following Tweet regarding events at the Rosa Parks Circle and its outdoor rink:
WZZM 13 had already confirmed that at least the first couple hours of the Griffins' Great Skate may not take place on the ice, and while the rink has a cooling system, sixty-degree temperatures may nix the first few hours of skate-arounds with Griffins players and coaches:
It is possible it will be too warm to skate on the ice of Rosa Parks circle for the first day of the Grand Rapids Griffins' annual Great Skate Ice Fest, but don't change your plans.
Sunday is still expected to be cold enough for skating, but whenever people cannot skate, there will be plenty more to do. Activities include ice sculpting, a tent with stuff for kids to do, plus visits from zoo animals, sled dogs, the athletes, and more.
It starts this Saturday, January 12 at noon, until the next day at 10 p.m. Head out any time you can, and keep an eye out for plenty of the WZZM team supporting the cause.
Admission is free, but you are asked to help support the Grand Rapids Youth Foundation. For more information on how, visit: http://www.griffinshockey.com/greatskate/
- In other gnus of a charitable nature, AnnArbor.com's Pete Cunningham reports that the Wings' School Assembly Program continues to roll along, with Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby having visited Saline Elementary School on Thursday;
- In news of a not-so-charitable nature, Pavel Datsyuk's soon-to-be-former team, CSKA Moscow, has had a bumpy KHL season thus far. Ilya Bryzgalov has been less than stellar, Alex Radulov has maintained his poor off-ice reputation, the team fired its coach in December, and now Datsyuk and Mikhail Grabovski are leaving the team, joining Bryzgalov.
Given that Comrade Putin helped broker Russian oil and natural gas giant Rosneft's sponsorship deal with CSKA (in an attempt to revive the moribund Moscow hockey scene, and yes, Rosneft's majority owner is the Russian government), and that CSKA has disappointed in a big way, It should come as no surprise that, as Paul reported earlier, and as RIA Novosti is reporting today, CSKA's 43-year-old general manager may make his professional hockey curtain call a little earlier than anticipated:
NHL legend Sergei Fedorov could make a surprise return to competitive hockey at the age of 43, CSKA Moscow’s interim head coach Vyacheslav Butsaev has said.
Fedorov is big-spending CSKA’s general manager and has not played a game since leaving Metallurg Magnitogorsk at the end of last season, although he has never officially announced his retirement.
“We’ve talked to him about it,” Butsaev said Thursday, adding that Fedorov was “training and in excellent condition.”
CSKA had three NHL players during the lockout, center Pavel Datsyuk, goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov and center Mikhail Grabovski, who seem set to return to North America after a new collective bargaining agreement was reached. CSKA has won its last two games without locked-out NHLers.
- ack over on this side of the pond, this story slipped through my radar, but not the all-inclusive radar screen of RedWingsFeed. Detroit Economic Growth Corporation CEO George Jackson spoke to MLive's Eric Lacy about the Ilitch Holdings/Olympia Entertainment plan to build a new rink or two as part of their $650 million plan, probably located at or near Woodward Avenue and Temple Street, just across I-75 from Foxtown. We already know that the DEGC will be partially subsidizing the construction (as previously noted by, uh, everybody, they're diverting $16 million of *funds they already collect* in taxes toward the Ilitch plan, so there are "no new taxes" being collected, nor are Michigan schools being milked for the arena, despite reports to the contrary).
Jackson told Lacy that the DEGC will do its best to support the Ilitches as their plan takes shape--and it should be noted that it also appears more and more likely that the Woodward Avenue light rail plan backed by the Ilitches and other Detroit business titans is actually going to be built, and received a $25 million assist from the federal government on Friday--but he also pointed out that Joe Louis Arena's days will be numbered once the new rink is built...and the property tax issues between Olympia and the City of Detroit are taken care of...
In related news, Jackson said he's not worried about the future status of Joe Louis Arena now that Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch's plans for a new one have surfaced. Jackson also said he's not worried that the city-owned arena could eventual sit empty and unused if the Red Wings move to a new location.
Reports last month that Ilitch's Olympia Entertainment owes the city at least $1 million in unpaid property taxes don't seem to bother him either.
"We'll get that done, we'll get that done," Jackson referring to all issues pertaining to The Joe. "I'm that kind of guy (to help get it done). I look at everything as an opportunity; either it's a good opportunity or our job to make it a good opportunity. We fix things. There's nothing that happens - here in Detroit or any other city - that just works perfectly."
Jackson said The Joe, leased to Olympia Entertainment, has already received interest for redevelopment because its in a prime location along the Detroit River.
Jackson declined to reveal the parties expressing interest in The Joe and their potential plans for redevelopment, but might've given a hint to what its future use could be.
"It's sitting there on the water; there's already interest in it," Jackson said. "I cant say for what, but the bottom line is that it comes from various people for various uses. The bottom line is that it's a site on the waterfront. The other issue: Do we need two arenas? No, arenas don't exactly make money."
I can say "for what." Either a residential development or a much more likely expansion of the Cobo Hall and exhibition facility. That's the one big bummer about the equation (and again, the fact that the Ilitches surrendered Cobo to the City in 2009, and given that Cobo's $300 million renovation has actually gone along swimmingly, has yielded a significant amount of leverage for the city in terms of cutting a better deal on its supposedly-owed taxes) is that the Joe's days are numbered. The rink may be a slightly crumbling and incredibly antiquated relic, but it is beloved nonetheless, and sometime before Henrik Zetterberg's contract expires, the rink will cease to exist.
Update: The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness chose to keep working during this strange little wait for the NHL and NHLPA to make their "memorandum of understanding" official, and he's penned a profile of Jordin Tootoo:
“Over the last eight seasons we played against Detroit, they know what I bring to the table,” Tootoo said after an informal skate with teammates at Troy Sports Center. “For me it’s not going to be trying too hard to be the difference out there. I’m just going to have to keep it simple. That’s my game, north and south. Obviously, bringing the physical part, which will create not only room for myself but hopefully my linemates,” Tootoo added. “It’s about picking and choosing your spots. Sometimes there’s going to be games where you’re going to have to be more physical and I know I can play on both ends on the puck, defensively and offensively.”
Wings coach Mike Babcock has Tootoo penciled in on the fourth line with Justin Abdelkader and Drew Miller.
“Guys come and go throughout the year and we understand it’s going to be a quick process,” Tootoo said when asked about how long it’ll take to build chemistry with new linemates. As far as line combos, that’s not up to me, wherever they put me in, that’s where I’ll be. We’ve got to make every opportunity count,” Tootoo continued. “For me, it’s taking it one day at a time and making sure I’m mentally and physically prepared for whatever’s thrown at me.”
Tootoo seemed to wear out his time in Nashville when the playoffs rolled around. He was a healthy scratch in seven of the Predators’ 10 postseason games.
“I think he’s a really good player, he brings a lot of energy,” Abdelkader said. “He’s a guy that’ll be a big help to our team. I’m just looking forward to going out there and playing with him.”
According to hockeyfights.com, Tootoo has 61 fighting majors in his career. He also has two Gordie Howe hat tricks – goal, assist and a fighting major in a game – to his credit.
“I play to win every night, whatever team I’m on. It doesn’t matter if I’m playing pickup hockey or the Detroit Red Wings, I’m a Red Wing for the next three years and I’m going to make sure every team we play knows that,” Tootoo said.
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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.