The Malik Report
Red Wings off-day news: Forbes says Wings 9th-most-valuable NHL team; on Z, Mule, Gustavsson & Alfie
by George Malik on 11/25/13 at 11:30 AM ET
The Red Wings aren't practicing today and Wings coach Mike Babcock's heading to Montreal to receive an honorary doctorate from McGill University, so we're likely to hear very little about Pavel Datsyuk's status until tomorrow's practice and team visit to Children's Hospital.
On the heels of the Red Wings' 3-2 win over Buffalo yesterday afternoon, there is some Wings-related news this morning, and the biggest news comes in the form of significant figures from the Free Press's Helene St. James:
Forbes issued its annual NHL team valuations, and Michael Ozanian suggests that the Wings' total value is $470 million, which is up by 36% thanks to the latest lockout. Forbes estimates that the Wings had gross revenues of $96 million last season--over the course of 48 games and a 14-game playoff run--and the Wings earned about $10.5 million in profit. Forbes has this to say about the Wings:
9. Detroit Red Wings
Current value: $470 mil.
Revenue 2012-13: $96 mil.
Operating income 2012-13: $10.5 mil.
As the debt-ridden metropolis moves through bankruptcy proceedings, a state board in September gave the go-ahead for a new Red Wings hockey arena in downtown Detroit that will be financed in part through $284 million of taxpayer dollars.
I hate to beat a dead horse into glue, but the money's coming from the State of Michigan and the Downtown Development Authority's permanently-diverted-downtown-business-property-taxes. It's not coming from money that the City can get its hands on, nor are local residents on the hook for the rink.
Forbes also suggests that the NHL should continue to expand into Canada, and while Pavel Datsyuk doesn't stand among the NHL's highest money-earning players, Forbes shows its limitations by suggesting that Daniel Cleary's past record means that he's a scoring "steal."
They also reveal that the Wings' TV deal is among the best in the NHL while again jabbing at the Wings for being the subject of one of many downtown businesses whose taxes the City never chose to collect:
#4 Detroit Red Wings
Current rights fee: $30 million
Local TV broadcaster: Fox Sports Detroit
The Red Wings are halfway through a 10-year, $1 billion deal with the Tigers of MLB and Pistons of the NBA that was designed to keep the trio from starting their own regional sports network.The City of Detroit is currently holding out its hand waiting for a $70 million share of that TV pie. According to them, owner Mike Ilitch's company Olympia Entertainment's lease on The Joe says he needs to share 25% of all cable TV revenue for live events and has yet to pay a cent.
When the City was about to file for bankruptcy, it revealed that it hadn't collected hundreds of millions of dollars from all sorts of Detroit businesses, and the Wings were included as one of the biggest offenders, but the way that the City chose to say, "Oh, hey, business and/or corporate entity, you really owe us all this money under laws we never enforced, and hey, the bill's due in full, you 'tax scofflaw'" was staggering in its gall. The world doesn't work that way.
In cheerier "numerical news," from ESPN's stats crew:
Red Wings 3, Sabres 1
* Red Wings: 9-1-0 in last 10 meetings vs Sabres
* Johan Franzen (DET): PP goal (6); 4 of 6 goals this season have come in last 6 gams
* Sabres: lost 4 straight games
FROM ELIAS: Henrik Zetterberg reached the 700-point mark for his NHL career when he assisted on Johan Franzen's game-winning goal in Buffalo on Sunday. Zetterberg, who has played his entire career with the Red Wings, hit the 700-point plateau in his 739th game. The only players who needed fewer games to rack up 700 points for the Red Wings than Zetterberg are Steve Yzerman (519), Sergei Fedorov (638), Gordie Howe (673), and Pavel Datsyuk (706).
Johan Franzen had a goal and an assist, moving his year totals to 13 points (six + seven) in 20 games.
Go figure, a useful Mule.
"In Case You Missed It," per the Detroit Free Press's James Jahnke:
The Michigan Sports Hall of Fame today announced its 58th induction class, as selected by a statewide group of sports journalists, college and professional sports administrators, MSHOF members, the MSHOF Board of Directors and a public online vote.
“The Michigan Sports Hall of Fame 58th induction class is made up of a diverse group of individuals from a variety of sports and eras that have achieved excellence and represented the State of Michigan at the highest levels,” MSHOF president Scott Lesher said in a released statement. “We look forward to the annual Michigan Sports Hall of Fame induction event in February of 2014, when our newest class will be formally enshrined."
The 58th MSHOF Induction Class:
■ Jim Brandstatter: Longtime Michigan/Detroit Lions radio broadcaster, host of “Michigan Replay” show
■ Dorne Dibble: Michigan State football All-America, member of Detroit Lions NFL championship teams
■ Jason Hanson: Pro Bowl placekicker, NFL record holder, recorded 19 game-winning field goals
■ Alexi Lalas: All-state soccer player at Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook High School, Herman Trophy winner, member of U.S. Olympic/World Cup teams
■ Nicklas Lidstrom: Detroit Red Wings captain, 12-time NHL All-Star, seven-time Norris Trophy winner
■ Tom Mach: Detroit Catholic Central High School football coach, 17 Catholic League titles, four MHSAA championships
■ John Smoltz: Eight-time MLB All-Star with Atlanta Braves, Cy Young Award winner, 200-plus wins and 150-plus saves
■ Percy Snow: All-America at MSU, Butkus and Lombardi award winner, College Football Hall of Fame
In goaltending news, while the IIHF's Ty Dilello's estimation of the respective goaltending situations of Olympic-participating teams doesn't include Jonas Gustavsson, Aftonbladet's Daniel Hultqvist reported that Gustavsson, Robin Lehner, Viktor Fasth and Johnas Enroth are candidates to back up Henrik Lundqvist in the eyes of Team Sweden coach and GM Par Marts, and, as MLive's Brendan Savage notes, Gustavsson's become a very viable option for the Wings to utilize as necessary:
Gustavsson's hot start might lead to more playing time for the fifth-year veteran while allowing coach Mike Babcock to keep Howard a bit more fresh next spring should the Red Wings extend their streak of playoff appearances to 23 seasons. Gustavsson turned aside 21 shots Sunday in a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center, giving him a 5-0-1 record in seven appearances this season.
"He's been great," said forward Johan Franzen, who scored the game-winning goal on a power play with 8:17 to play. "He's a gamer. He battles like crazy out there. He's very agile and he's smart, too. He can really play the puck and read the plays. We got a lot of confidence in him."
Like the Red Wings, Howard has been struggling of late. He hasn't won a game since Nov. 1, when he made 22 saves in a 4-3 victory at Calgary. In his last seven appearances, Howard has an 0-3-4 record. In the Red Wings' last 10 games, they've got a 2-3-5 record and Gustavsson has won both games.
"He's doing a real good job there that way," Babcock said of Gustavsson. "Let's be honest, Howie is one of the best goalies in the world. It hasn't gone the way he's wanted a bit here for him. Probably pressing a little bit.
"As Howie goes, we go. Let's not kid ourselves. He's a big-time leader on our team with his work ethic and commitment to doing things right. We need him going. But sometimes if Gus can buy time ... I remember one time in the old days when Howie bought (Chris Osgood) almost half a winter one year. It was good for us (the way Gustavsson played against Buffalo), good for him."
The personal success is nice and playing well obviously is good for the Red Wings (11-7-7) but at the end of the day its wins and losses that gives Gustavsson the most pleasure regardless of who is in the net.
"That's why you play hockey," said Gustavsson, who has a 2.35 goals-against average and .926 save percentage. "That's why you play a team game. You want to win together. It's a lot of fun now when we win when I've been playing. But I'm happy when we win and I'm not playing. For me, it's all about playing well as a team and going forward."
Looking forward, as the CBC's Tim Wharnsby notes, the Great Canadian Media Hype Machine will descend upon Ottawa this upcoming Sunday, December 1st, for Daniel Alfredsson's return to the Canadian Tire Centre, and Red Wings-Senators comparisons are kind of inevitable at this point:
The Senators and Red Wings met for the second time this season this past Saturday with Ottawa departing home with two points, courtesy a much-needed 4-2 victory. But on Sunday, that win was wiped away with a 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, while Detroit visited Buffalo and came away with a 3-1 win over the Sabres.
Alfredsson did not play Saturday against his old teammates. But after five games on the sidelines with a groin injury, he returned to action in Buffalo, set up a game-tying goal from Darren Helm and then scored an empty netter. It was only the Red Wings' second win in 10 outings.
When Alfredsson made his decision to bolt the Senators as a free agent last summer, he felt he was joining a team in Detroit that had a better shot at winning the Stanley Cup. Others felt that with the additions of top-six forwards like Bobby Ryan and Clarke MacArthur that the Senators would be better despite the loss of their long-time captain.
But the Senators have struggled this season, particularly in their own end, and need to put together a win streak to get back in the playoff picture. The Red Wings, meanwhile, currently have one of the wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference despite their recent slump.
Here are some stats to consider before Sunday's homecoming:
- Detroit is 11-7-7 for 29 points in 25 games
- Ottawa is 9-11-4 for 22 points in 24 games
- Alfredsson has four goals and16 points in 20 games
- Ryan has 11 goals and 22 points in 24 games
- MacArthur has six goals and 17 points in 23 games
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose's "A Look Ahead in Hockeytown" notes that while the Red Wings' Thanksgiving Eve game against Boston may serve as more of a Bellwether marker (Merriam-Webster defines Bellwether as, "Someone or something that leads others or shows what will happen in the future")...
Finally, the Red Wings are in the midst of a long stretch where they will see teams in their new conference with 13 straight games against the East. Not since the first week of the season has Detroit had a week like the one coming up. The next seven successive days is filled exclusively with Eastern Conference foes with the Bruins, Islanders and Senators on tap.
The Red Wings are 1-3-1 against their Week 9 opponents with their lone win – a 3-2 decision against the Bruins – in a Columbus Day matinee at Boston on Oct. 14. The Original Six rivals will meet for the third time this season when Detroit hosts the Bruins in Wednesday’s tradition Thanksgiving Eve contest. The game will mark the Bruins’ first trip into Joe Louis Arena in 33 months.
Sunday's game will "mean more" to the rest of the NHL, and to Daniel Alfredsson of course:
But it’s next Sunday’s game in Ottawa that will be a significant one for Daniel Alfredsson, who returns to the city that he was a part of for 17 seasons. While Alfredsson doesn’t know what to expect from the Senators’ fans, he knows it will be an emotional visit to the Canadian capital. But as he was in Ottawa, Alfredsson’s been exceptional in his time in Detroit, producing three goals and 14 points in 19 games.
“He’s outstanding, he’s great, unbelievable,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock. “Just a great, great person, he’s a great player, provides very good leadership in the room for a guy who hasn’t been in our organization. Knows the right thing to say, knows how to be a pro, had great integrity, is a great help to the coach.”
The Sens have adapted to life after Alfie, though they certainly know, and appreciate, his value on the ice and in the community.
“We’ve adjusted just fine,” Sens coach Paul MacLean said. “We all have tons of respect for Alfie and the stuff he did in Ottawa. But he’s not here. So we don’t have any concern about it. We’re moving along just fine.”
And I don't usually do this, but I'll leave you with a Tweet from, well, me:
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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.