The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/20/14 at 04:27 AM ET
I had this date marked on my calendar, so: NHL.com's "30 in 30" series discusses the Detroit Red Wings today, and the NHL dropped a hint as to what was coming via a YouTube video in which EJ Hradek and Dan Rosen posited a 2014-15 season overview:
I disagree with Hradek and Rosen on one point: the Red Wings haven't exactly been a "destination" for free agents for some time now.
"In article form," Rosen penned three of the five articles that constitute the "30 in 30" examination, and we might as well kick things off with his interview with Mike Babcock regarding the State of the Wings.
Babcock suggests that the Wings received key contributions from Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Jurco, Luke Glendening and Tomas Tatar, and that "the kids" are essential to the team's success going forward:
"The year before they won the Calder Cup, and then last year they got us into the playoffs," Babcock told NHL.com. "In the playoffs we didn't perform … but they're all good hockey players and they're all getting better this summer."
Although the Red Wings still feature an assortment of veteran players, including stars Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall, the fate of their playoff streak is again as much in the hands of "the kids" as it is the players who for years led the way in keeping it alive.
"Two years ago, [Joakim] Andersson helped us get into the playoffs and gave us a good run in the playoffs as a third-line center, but last year he wasn't playing as much at the end," Babcock said. "We can't have that happen to the rest of these kids or we will miss the playoffs."
Babcock also points out that the Wings' veterans still have to set the tone for the Wings' next generation, especially given that the Wings swung and missed in free agency...
Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Kronwall will still wear the letters, still lead this team. Johan Franzen, Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader will still be relied upon for production, possession and more. Jonathan Ericsson and Kyle Quincey will again have to join Kronwall as leaders on the blue line.
The Red Wings are hoping Stephen Weiss is healthy and can score at least 50 points like he used to with the Florida Panthers. They'd like to re-sign Daniel Alfredsson if he's healthy. They need elite goaltending from Jimmy Howard, who was beset by injuries and inconsistent play last season.
"You can have a wish list in the summer and a wish list in training camp, but really as a coach, whatever they give you, you get," Babcock said. "If you start hoping and wishing for any more than that, that's just not realistic."
But he tells Rosen that off-season training should enable Weiss and Zetterberg (as well as Datsyuk, Ericsson and Helm) to stay healthier this upcoming season...
"If you do the work, if you prepare to dance, usually everything works out," Babcock said.
And he makes a rather surprising comment given the fact that a certain Daniel Cleary's presence might push Tomas Jurco to Grand Rapids to start the season:
"We used to say in training camp, and I'd say it every year, 'The tie goes to the veteran,'" Babcock said. "Maybe the tie still goes to the veteran, but we've shown, and we did it last year, you're allowed to take guys' jobs and the best players are going to play."
Rosen's second article involving Babcock isn't part of the "30 in 30" series--instead, it's from Rosen's weekly "Over the Boards" column--but it's particularly pertinent to the, "Do veterans 'win the tie?'" equation:
Before Anthony Mantha even came up in the phone interview, Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock asked a question he'd love to know the answer to.
"We've never talked about a kid making the team," Babcock said. "Can [Anthony] Mantha make the team?"
Mantha is the Red Wings' prized forward prospect. He was the No. 20 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft and scored 107 goals in 124 games during the past two seasons for Val-d'Or of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He led the QMJHL with 57 goals and 120 points last season.
"I don't know a lot of guys who scored  goals in junior last year that are [6-foot-5] and shoot the puck like him," Babcock said. "There is room on every roster for great players. Is he mentally ready?"
Is he mentally ready? Maybe. Is he physically ready? Probably. Is he ready to interrupt the now-instinctual tendency to take 90-second shifts via gliding up the ice instead of skating hard? Is he prepared to find out that he's not going to have the time and space he used to enjoy to wind up and wait for a one-timer like he did in the QMJHL? Those are difficult questions to answer:
"Last year when I saw him play in the Memorial Cup, his shifts were 1:46 long. That's just the way they played there," Babcock said. "He was that smart and that good, but now he's got to learn to play 40 seconds at a time. If you think you're going to play on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and say, 'Hey Pav, do the work,' well, Pav ain't doing that. So you've got to be a worker. You've got to put your work in front of your skill."
Mantha's definitely more of a lurking sniper, and I think Wings fans need to understand that 6'4" + over 210 pounds does not equal a heavy-checking power forward, but he is very smart and he's dedicated to working his tail off to self-improve:
"Last summer at the [Canada] World Junior camp they didn't like him, Brent [Sutter, coach] didn't think he worked hard enough," Babcock said. "Well, he ended up being a heck of a player for them. Sutter said the harder he was on him the harder he played. I loved to hear that. That means you're not a mental midget. That means you're finding a way. I thought that was a glowing review for the kid."
NHL.com's Adam Kimelman takes the helm in discussing Mantha and the rest of the Red Wings' "Top 10 Prospects":
To say the Detroit Red Wings struggled with injuries last season is putting the deluge of trips to the trainer's room lightly.
However, there was a silver lining to all the ailments. It meant 12 rookies got into the lineup at some point, including nine who made their NHL debuts. It might not have been ideal, but general manager Ken Holland, coach Mike Babcock and their staffs got ample opportunity to see what the future could look like.
"It was a great learning experience about our prospects," Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer said. "We got a firsthand glimpse of what guys can really do. Thanks to so many injuries and so many voids to be filled in one season, we really got to learn about our guys, what they potentially can bring at the next level."
This article is Jiri Fischer-heavy, and I suppose we might as well start with Fischer's take on Mantha...
1. Anthony Mantha, RW
How acquired: 1st round (No. 20), 2013 draft
Last season: 57 GP, 57-63-120, plus-34, Val-d'Or, QMJHL
It's been 15 years since the Detroit Red Wings have had a player jump from junior hockey to the NHL, but the 19-year-old Mantha could be the first since Fischer did it in 1999. After being the only draft-eligible 50-goal scorer in the Canadian Hockey League in his draft year, the 6-foot-4, 190-pound forward was even better last season, leading the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in goals and then scoring 24 times in 24 QMJHL playoff games.
"I love the way he plays," Fischer said. "He's got tools that you probably cannot teach. His hockey sense, to find the space, to get open, to jump on loose pucks with poise and composure; it's unparalleled with his peers. He's unique. He's fun to watch. The bigger the games, the bigger he plays, the bigger his performance, the more he wants to win. He loves playing games. He knows that he's going to get a chance [at training camp]. He's going to get a top-six forward chance in camp and he's excited about it. … He knows this is the situation he wants to be in and that's a great sign."
But if I'm going to use my other "quote" on another prospect, it's not going to be on the players the Wings have already covered in Ryan Sproul (article 1, article 2 + video), Xavier Ouellet (article + video), Mattias Backman (article + video), Alexey Marchenko (article 1, article 2 + video) or Martin Frk (article + video). I wonder when this guy is going to "steal a job":
3. Teemu Pulkkinen, LW
How acquired: 4th round (No. 111), 2010 draft
Last season: 71 GP, 31-28-59, Grand Rapids, AHL
In his first season in North America, the 22-year-old forward tied for fourth in the AHL in goals, was second among first-year players in points and earned a three-game NHL call-up. However, Fischer believes nerves might have gotten the best of Pulkkinen (5-11, 183), as he had four shots on goal but no points.
Pulkkinen endured some significant ups and downs production-wise in Finland, and he's still a little too willing to take a check to make a play or to skate through a check instead of around it or skating a little smarter to avoid the check entirely, but there's no doubt that he has the best one-timer I've seen from a Wings prospect in at least half a decade:
"I saw a game in Detroit and he shot everything that came to him," Fischer said. "He wasn't in his comfort zone. I watched him three years prior in Finland and in the American league. He scores, he makes plays. In the NHL, he was trying to shoot, put everything on net. The next time around when he gets called up we're going to see more settling into what he's going to become eventually."
At the other end of the spectrum, the Red Wings have what we might call an "X-Factor" or an anchor, depending upon how he performs this upcoming season.
Stephen Weiss has 4 years remaining on a contract that pays him $4.9 million per season, and Capgeek states that Weiss has both a "modified no-trade clause" and a "no-move clause" (though Capgeek isn't sure whether these count for the duration of Weiss's contract), so the 31-year-old's skating with Gary Roberts in Toronto, hoping that he's put his sports hernia behind him.
While Valtteri Filppula blossomed into the top-six forward and point producer that the Wings hoped he'd become in Tampa, Weiss posted all of 4 points (2 goals and 2 assists) while trying to skate through 26 games' worth of worsening groin issues, and as he missed most of the 2013 season due to reconstructive surgery on his left wrist, Wings fans have every reason to be wary of Weiss's potential resurgence.
After having two surgeries, with the first repairing a "core muscle" and the second cleaning up scar tissue from the first surgery (both were performed by Dr. William Meyers, the Philadelphia-based specialist who's helped Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom and Chris Chelios recover from sports hernias), Weiss tells NHL.com's Rosen that he's finally healthy:
"A piece of scar tissue breaks off, pinches the nerve, and every time you move your leg it's almost like having a root canal in your stomach and groin," Weiss said.
Now four months removed from his second surgery, Weiss said he's healthy and ramping up his skating to be ready to earn his job back as the No. 2 center. If Weiss can do it he'll be the equivalent of the big free-agent acquisition Detroit didn't have this summer. Weiss averaged 53 points and 77 games played per season from 2006-12. He had four points in 26 games last season.
"I think we've put a nail on the head here of what the big issue was," Weiss said. "I'm back to normal, not having any pain, and I'm slowly starting to get explosive again. It's tough to compete at this level when you're not 100 percent."
Babcock makes an intriguing comment about Weiss's injury spiral...
"Sometimes when you go to a new team and you've got a big contract, you're so busy trying to prove yourself and earn your contract that you don't want to make any excuses and you don't want to make anyone think you're bailing," Babcock said. "Well, it's not bailing, it's called injured, and when you're injured you can't play in our League. You've got to get fixed. Stephen didn't help himself and in the end ended up with a setback."
And Weiss insists that he's modified his training regimen to not screw things up:
"I skated about six or seven weeks after the [second] surgery," he said. "All was good there, and I've been going on twice a week since mid-July. I've done enough to know it's good."
Good enough to let him return to being the 50-plus-point, 70-plus-game center he was in Florida?
"I'm confident," Weiss said. "I know I can play the game and I'm a threat on the team as a No. 2 center with those two guys [Datsyuk and Zetterberg] coming out first. We should be able to do some damage if we're healthy."
I sure hope so. The Wings still ought to find a priest, a rabbi, a minister, an imam, a hindi minister, a voodoo priest and a witch doctor to perform an exorcism on the trainer's room just to be sure...
NHL.com's Adam Kimelman broadens our focus via an examination of the Wings' lineup as a whole (fantasy hockey sidebar included), and as we've spent so much time talking about the team's forwards, let's discuss the defense and goaltending:
Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson
Brendan Smith - Danny DeKeyser*
(Asterisk = DeKeyser remains a restricted free agent)
Kyle Quincey - Jakub Kindl
Niklas Kronwall is a fringe-elite player. Jonathan Ericsson is his steady partner and was missed sorely for half of last season. Brendan Smith and Danny DeKeyser are capable of being consistent top-four defenders in the NHL, but they're still working on the consistency part.
(And Kindl and Lashoff are disasters on skates?)
After the Red Wings reportedly missed out on a couple big names in free agency, they circled back and signed Kyle Quincey for a lot of money considering he might only be the team's fifth- or sixth-best defenseman. The top six seems pretty set, but someone like Adam Almquist or Xavier Ouellet could impress during training camp.
Erm, no. Almquist is playing preseason games for Severstal Cherepovets of the KHL, and if we are to believe what we read, Ryan Sproul, Alexey Marchenko and even Mattias Backman are more likely to get "long looks" than Ouellet, who's still got some work to do on his forwards-to-backwards-skating transitions (though one never knows going into training camp).
Jimmy Howard started a new long-term contract last season but was just OK. His .910 save percentage was his lowest since 2010-11 and he, like many Red Wings, missed time with injuries. He only played in three of the team's playoff games.
For the Red Wings to be an elite team again Howard will need to bounce back in a big way. Jonas Gustavsson is a league-average backup at this point, though Petr Mrazek has been crafting a nice resume since joining Grand Rapids two seasons ago and could be one of the better No. 3 options in the League.
Finally, NHL.com's Rosen asks "Five Questions" that may separate a 24th consecutive playoff appearance from a draft lottery postseason, and among them, these two stand out:
1. Can the Red Wings get full seasons out of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg? -- Everything changes when Datsyuk and Zetterberg are healthy. They take on the bulk of the scoring burden and every forward gets slotted into his proper position on the depth chart.
The problem last season was Datsyuk and Zetterberg combined to play 90 games, 45 each. Neither played a game in March. They still combined for 85 points, but to reach the playoffs Detroit had to elevate young players into prominent roles.
Babcock would prefer to rely on Datsyuk and Zetterberg. The good news is he said he has spoken to both players and they told him they're feeling the best they have in years. Of course, they haven't played a game since April, so they should feel good.
Technically speaking, Babcock and Holland have stated that Zetterberg feels better than he has since 2008 and that Datsyuk's progressing well.
2. Will Gustav Nyquist progress or regress? -- With 28 goals on 153 shots, Nyquist had the highest shooting percentage (18.3 percent) of the 169 players with 150 or more shots on goal last season. Only 12 of those 169 players shot as high as 15 percent. Only four scored more goals than Nyquist.
Statistically speaking, the odds are against Nyquist producing at the same rate with the same elevated shooting percentage this season. Nyquist is expected to be a 30-goal scorer, but only 31.2 percent of the 30-goal scorers since the 2008-09 season (45 of 144) have shot as high as 15 percent; only eight have shot as high as 18 percent.
Even with a statistical regression Nyquist should be able to build on his 28 goals from 2013-14 if he plays a full season and continues to produce on the power play (he had six power-play goals last season). The difference is Nyquist will have to do it with a target on his back, because the rest of the NHL knows all about him now.
Nyquist got the s*** checked out of him by the Blackhawks, two seasons ago, and he never seemed to learn from it; after he slowed down toward the end of the regular season, he also got the snot checked out of him by the Bruins, and he's got to learn from that experience.
Rosen's other questions involve the aforementioned Stephen Weiss, whether Daniel Alfredsson will play, and whether the team's "blueline will hold up." I have to raise an eyebrow regarding this suggestion:
Detroit has seven left-handed shooting defensemen, of which only one, Niklas Kronwall, is a proven top-two player. The lack of a right-handed shot is a legitimate question mark that general manager Ken Holland no doubt still is trying to address.
Holland's actually stated that he's ready to go into training camp with what the team has, and that the Wings will reassess their situation after they see whether the team's "kids" on the blueline can steal jobs...
But that's where I'd encourage you to take everything you've read with some grains of salt. It appears that these articles were written prior to August 1st, and that the most recent radio appearances by Holland weren't taken into account.
As something of an addendum, one of USA Today's Kevin Allen's "5 Pressing NHL Offsesaon Questions" involves Alfredsson's presence:
3. Daniel Alfredsson will play or fold: Alfredsson, 41, has been on record as saying he soon will decide to play for the Red Wings or retire.
The issue is the Red Wings already have 14 forwards under contract and have $5 million and change left with DeKeyser still to sign.
If Alfredsson wants to come back, the Red Wings won't have much cap space. They might not have a roster spot for prized youngster Tomas Jurco.
I'd argue that Joakim Andersson might be in more danger of "losing his job," and I wish that Daniel Cleary was in the same situation--or that Babcock hadn't exhausted Luke Glendening's waiver-exempt status--but at this point, it does appear that Tomas Jurco's likely to start the season in Grand Rapids regardless of whether Alfredsson plays, in no small part because the team could lose Mitch Callahan and/or Landon Ferraro on waivers.
In other news, the Red Wings posted an author-less article discussing Riley Sheahan's first NHL goal...
When Riley Sheahan scored his first career NHL goal in Detroit’s 3-1 victory in Los Angeles on Jan. 11, Red Wings fans everywhere cheered with enthusiasm. But few celebrated as loudly as the center’s family.
“My mom (Peggy) was telling me stories about the people dancing around the house and things like that,” Sheahan said. “So it was cool to share that with them and they had a good time with it.”
Although netting the goal was an exciting moment for Sheahan, he didn’t have time to dwell on the accomplishment as the Red Wings and Kings still had two periods of hockey left to play. It wasn’t until after the game when Sheahan picked up his cell phone and read the countless messages of congratulations that the magnitude of his goal set in.
“It was definitely a little bit surreal,” Sheahan said. “But you’re kind of in the moment of the game and you just sort of think about how you can help the team win. It sort of started to build more towards when the game ended and I started checking my phone and saw all the text messages and people congratulating me so that was pretty special.”
Sheahan’s success at Staples Center didn’t end with his goal, as the 22-year-old also assisted on Tomas Tatar’s game-winner midway through the final period of the contest. But it was the puck he snuck by Kings goalie Jonathan Quick that Sheahan will carry with him for years to come.
“It’ll be nice to get it framed and maybe with a picture in there or something,” Sheahan said. “But it’s pretty special.”
The article continues, and Sheahan makes an interesting comment about the Grand Rapids Griffins' playing environment:
“We got a really good system down there, great coaching, a great group of guys down there,” Sheahan said. “So when you go down there it’s a really easy environment to sort of get better. They push you a lot in the weight room, and on the ice during practice is pretty intense so it’s helped a lot for me and I know the other guys as well.”
Cue the video!
Sheahan does a fine job of going to the front of the net and either making lateral passes or tucking in rebounds, but he does quite a bit of his work facing the goal. If the Wings could encourage him to tip some shots, that'd be fantastic, and it would guarantee Sheahan some power play time.
[edit/update: Quite conveniently, MLive's Ansar Khan discussed Riley Sheahan's "outlook" for the 2014-15 season in a 6 AM-posted article:
2013-14 in review: Led the team's rookies in goals and points. ... Combined with Danny DeKeyser to give the Red Wings two rookies with 22 or more points for the first time since 1991-92 (Nicklas Lidstrom, Vladimir Konstantinov). ... Scored with 1:15 remaining in the third period to tie game at Pittsburgh on April 9, assuring team one point that clinched its 23rd consecutive playoff appearance (Penguins won 4-3 in shootout). ... Ended the season on a three-game goal-scoring streak. ... Recorded five multi-point games. ... Ranked second to Gustav Nyquist on team in shooting percentage (15.3 percent). ... Charged with only nine giveaways. ... Won 49 percent of his faceoffs. ... Averaged 2:06 per game on the power play. ... Had 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 31 games for Grand Rapids.
2014-15 outlook: The Red Wings were especially decimated by injuries to their centers. Sheahan seized an opportunity after being recalled mid-season, essentially assuming the second-line center spot, and did a good job at both ends of the ice. Defense is considered his strength, and he can be counted on to play against other team's top lines and trusted to be on the ice in the final minute to protect one-goal leads. Sheahan, the club's top pick in 2010 out of Notre Dame (21st overall), also displayed his offensive ability – he was on pace for a 17-goal, 47-point season – playing mostly on a kid line with former Griffins teammates Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco. He utilizes his size down low and around the net and protects the puck well. With Todd Bertuzzi gone, perhaps Sheahan's net-front role on the power play will expand. He needs to improve in the faceoff circle.
Key question: Does Sheahan have enough offensive potential to eventually become a permanent second-line center?
In charitable news...The Griffins did the "Ice Bucket Challenge" to benefit the ALSA Foundation (http://www.alsa.org)...
New to this year's version are contributors Tom Awad and Iain Fyffe. While both were mentioned heavily in last year's version, this time around they're full contributors and each have written several sections of the new book. This creates several positives for the book. For one, it makes the project feel more open and approachable. While Vollman did a great job last year (and another great job in this version) of referencing existing expertise to bolster the analysis, having extra contributors takes it away from feeling like just one gatekeeper presenting the overall state of hockey analytics. Additionally, the differences in each author's voice adds a bit of refreshing variety.
The separation of the voices to give the book a bit more of a community feel also helps in how Hockey Abstract is laid out. Where last year's book had the feel of a "fun" part and a separate technically heavy part, the way this one is laid out mixes the two ideas extremely well.
Returning are attempts to find the best skaters and goalies in the league at various specialties and the team usage charts I've come to love. These already-strong staples have been bolstered by additional considerations which I feel have added value, especially the team-by-team section which factors in the usage charts, additional context, and even rates each team on 13 categories identified as important to success. Additionally, the new contributions include interesting discussion pieces such as Fyffe's study on what factors lead to a player's induction into the Hall of Fame from different eras. I was also extremely satisfied to see he took the time to show the scores for not-yet-eligible players because I found myself constantly wondering where Nicklas Lidstrom stands by his measures (because any measure that wouldn't have him as a stone-cold lock is one I'd easily dismiss).
Probably one of my favorite parts is the section dedicated to shot quality which takes a very serious look at trying to account for how much more dangerous one shot can be compared to another, which has long been a contentious issue in discussions which include possession metrics used in attempts to quantify player contribution.
Octopus Thrower's Howard Ward wonders whether Axel Holmstrom or Alexander Kadeykin will succeed Calle Jarnkrok (and this is apparently the first of a 3-part article assessing potential Jarnkrok potential replacements at the center position). Holmstrom looked superb during the Wings' summer development camp, but I find Kadeykin to be particularly intriguing as a 20-going-on-21-year-old who was Atlant Mytishchi's first-line center last season:
Kadeykin,who can be viewed scoring on a penalty shot in a preseason game this year, was also drafted in the 7th round of the 2014 draft. Standing at 6’3 and weighing in at 213lbs he is one of the more solid centers the Red Wings drafted in recent memory. One should note that Kadeykin is listed at 20 years old, making him 1-2 years older than the average prospect on their draft day as he was passed over twice in consecutive drafts until selected by Detroit. His age gives him an immediate advantage over his younger compatriots as he has had more time to develop in professional leagues playing against men in the KHL. RedWingsCentral.com compiled an assessment of his strengths as a player:
“Stands almost 6-foot-4 and is strong and mature … Already established as a solid two-way center in the KHL … Uses his size to protect the puck and controls it well down low … A creative offensive player and set-up man who can nicely complement skilled wingers … Works hard at both ends of the ice and plays a responsible defensive game … Red Wings are impressed with his character and coachability.”
As with Holmstrom he could stand to improve his skating. But his size and commitment to both ends of the rink have made him another stand out two-way center. He has good vision (being 6’3 helps) and if thrown on a line with wingers like Tatar or Nyquist could form a dangerous scoring line that is more than capable in their own end.
Comparison: Besides speed and agility Kadeykin lacks Jarnkrok's offensive talents as well. He does have Jarnkrok beat in spades in size and defensive play(a troublesome area in Jarnkrok development) giving him a slight edge in physical play and puck possession. If he can not improve his speed, or at least adapt his positioning, he may never be more than a 3rd line option in the NHL but he could make up for it by finding a scoring touch that matches his two-way play.
I really hate to say this, but "Uncle Mike" from "Uncle Mike's Musings" penned an article titled, "How to Ve a Yankee Fan in Detroit," and he actually wrote a superb guide to Detroit's sporting monuments and other activities that one can engage in while in Detroit and the suburbs, including a capsule history of Joe Louis Arena:
* Joe Louis Arena and Cobo Center. Opening in 1979, while Louis was still alive, this 20,000-seat building was considered very modern at the time. There has been talk of a replacement for “The Joe,” but it doesn’t look likely that an agreement for one will be reached anytime soon.
The Red Wings have come a long way from the building’s early days, when they were nicknamed the Dead Things, winning 4 Stanley Cups in 6 trips to the Finals between 1995 and 2009. It’s considered one of the loudest arenas in the NHL: In 1992, a writer for Hockey Digest compared it to Chicago Stadium, the now-demolished home of their arch-rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks, and said that, if the visiting team scores 2 early goals, the Chicago fans quiet down, but Detroit fans stay loud throughout the game.
The Joe hosts college hockey, including the Great Lakes Invitational, in the week between Christmas and New Year's. Michigan Tech is the host, with Michigan and Michigan State usually participating, and a 4th team in rotation -- this year, it's Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan. (Comerica Park hosted it in 2013, since the NHL Winter Classic of January 1, 2014 was being held there between the Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs.)
The Joe also hosted the 1980 Republican Convention -- right, the GOP meeting, and nominating union-buster Ronald Reagan no less, in a majority-black, heavily union city, in an arena named for a boxer who struck a blow for racial equality. (Then again, in 2012, the Democrats met in conservative Charlotte.)
The Joe was built next-door to Cobo Center, which was named for Albert E. Cobo, Mayor from 1950 to 1957. Its centerpiece, a building originally known as Cobo Hall, has been Detroit’s major convention center since its opening in 1960, and, following the rejection of a plan to demolish it and put a new Pistons-Red Wings arena on the site, it recently underwent a renovation and expansion.
It includes a 12,000-seat arena that was home to the Pistons from 1961 to 1978, and a convention complex that includes the city’s famed annual auto show. It is known for some legendary rock concerts, including the KISS album Alive! and area native Bob Seger’s Live Bullet. Unfortunately, it may be best known for the January 6, 1994 attack on Nancy Kerrigan during a practice session for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. 600 Civic Center Drive at Jefferson Avenue. Each arena has its own station on the Detroit People Mover.
And finally, again, I know it's early, but three weeks from today, I'm heading up to Traverse City for two full weeks, first to cover the prospect tournament and then the Wings' main camp, so:
I've attended the past four Wings summer development camps and two of the past three Traverse City-based training camps at my readers' request, and because my budget is all but literally "shoestring," I've relied upon your donations to provide in-person coverage. It's going to cost somewhere around $1,600 to stay in Traverse City for two weeks, about $200 in gas money and another $150 or so to eat like a college student (which I have no complaints about), and I'm about $500 from a $2,000-ish goal.
If there's any way that you can lend a hand, no matter how small the donation, I would greatly appreciate it.
My "merchant ID" is my non-work email address, rtxg at yahoo dot com, and I'm incredibly grateful for your readership and support. Thank you.
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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.