The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/03/13 at 04:38 AM ET
Today marks the start of a very, very busy sixteen-day stretch for me, and while tomorrow's 230-mile drive's always an adventure, as the mom likes to say, "Packing is purgatory" (can you tell that my anxiety disorder's doing somersaults?).
The Red Wings' players will skate at Joe Louis Arena as informal practices slowly but surely increase in both intensity and attendance during the lead-up to training camp on September 12th, and while the Wings now fly in to Cherry Capital airport, the players taking part in Thursday-to-Monday's prospect tournament are in for long travel days followed by the poking and prodding involved in taking physicals.
A pair of Twitter-savvy Wings prospects took note of their impending journeys to Traverse City...
And while the Grand Rapids Griffins' vets are no longer eligible for the prospect tournament, they're getting ready to head back to Michigan to prepare for training camp:
(Tatar posted a pre-flight picture on his Facebook page, too).
This one's a repeat, but it's still remarkable to me:
The Red Wings' Twitter account noted that the alumni/celebrity game on September 14th will involve jerseys that the Wings really should sell as unofficial alternates--because the old-fashioned "Detroit Red Wings"script is slick...
And if you are attending the prospect tournament or training camp, regardless of whether you're going to be there for one practice or the entire fourteen days' worth of activity, I cannot emphasize this part enough:
Please remember that each and every person working at Centre Ice Arena over the next two weeks is a volunteer, and that the folks are donating their time--and in many cases, they're either spending their only vacation from their day jobs and/or have understanding bosses who're willing to give their employees two weeks of unpaid leave.
The vast majority of the volunteers arrive at the rink at 6 or 7 AM and they don't leave until 11 or 12 at night during the prospect tournament, spending six days treating everyone from general managers to try-outs and fans like VIP's, catering to every need they're asked to fill. During training camp, they continue bending into pretzels to give the Wings the best experience possible.
They do so because they love the game of hockey, they love the Wings and they know that Centre Ice Arena's budget depends on the prospect tournament and main camp, and they were robbed of the opportunity to raise funds for the rink last year thanks to the owners' lockout.
Please remember that anyone in attendance is a VIP guest in the volunteers' "house," and that the folks taking your tickets, serving you food and cleaning up after you are the engines that make the events happen.
This bit of charitable repetition, from the Detroit Free Press, is worth it:
The 13th annual Ted Lindsay Foundation Celebrity Golf Outing will take place Monday at Wabeek Country Club, 4000 Clubgate Drive in Bloomfield Hills.
The event benefits autism research and treatment.
Check-in starts at 10 a.m., and golfing — an 18-hole scramble — begins at noon. Dinner, an awards program and a silent and live auction follow at 6 p.m.
To participate, contact Lew LaPaugh at 248-202-6194 or Cherly Ash at 313-802-6485.
For more information, go to http://www.tedlindsay.com or call Wabeek at 248-855-0700.
Lindsay, 88, was a member of the Red Wings’ Production Line that terrorized NHL teams in the 1940s and ’50s, with teammates Sid Abel and Gordie Howe, then with Alex Delvecchio succeeding Abel.
The vast majority of the balance of this morning's entry is repetitious, though I have to note it (so skim away if you wish). The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness spoke with Jimmy Howard about his first remembered Olympic games (in 1992) and his tenure with the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor having prepped him, to some extent, to meet USA Hockey's expectations...
“I remember my first time watching the Olympics was 1994,” Howard recalled. “Ray LeBlanc was playing in net. It’s always been a dream to play on the Olympic team. Getting my first taste with being part of the under-18 program and wearing my jersey every single day, you come to the realization how much of an honor and special it really is.”
Howard is no stranger to international competition for the United States. He was in the U.S. National Development program in 2001-02. The following year he won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2002 IIHF World U-18 Championships and played in the 2012 World Championships.
“It’s just going out there and play my game,” Howard said. “I know what I’m capable of doing out there. It’s just going out there and performing for the guys.”
The Olympics aren’t the only high-profiled event Howard could be a part of this season, he’ll be the starting goalie in this year’s Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor when the Wings take on their new divisional rival, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“It’s one of those things where you’ll be able to look back and it will be pretty neat,” Howard said. “With the Winter Classic and everything that’s built up around that, trying to get tickets for family, get that all out of the way now so when training camp starts you’re really not thinking about everything and everything is in place and you can think about playing hockey.”
The Wings and Leafs will also be featured on HBO’s “24/7” leading up to the game. The program gives a behind-the-scene look as both teams prepare for the game on New Year’s Day.
“We’ve got a lot going on, don’t we,” Howard asked with a smile. “Winter Classic and a lot of guy here are trying for Olympic spots, HBO “24-7”, it’s going to be pretty hectic.”
And the Windsor Star's Bob Duff noted that Howard's not a fan of the fake, almost ironed-on lacing that's going to adorn at least the Americans' and Russians' jerseys:
“I didn’t think they were too bad actually, except for maybe the fake laces,” said Howard, partaking in informal skates with other Red Wings and NHL players at Joe Louis Arena. “I really didn’t mind them.”
I can't say that I'm a fan of the same-shade-of-blue stars on the shoulders as they also look ironed-on, but that's just me.
If you're wondering why Team USA tweaked its logo, the answer is the same reason that Hockey Canada has to tweak its logo: the International Olympic Committee no longer allows teams to use logos that they also use as their foundations' "wordmarks," and the "USA" with the flag waving underneath the "S" is considered to be a money-making logo.
I guess this was inevitable: the latest article lambasting the Wings' rink funding comes from the Bloomberg News's Martin Z. Braun, declaring, "Detroit Billionaires Get Hockey Arena as Bankrupt City Suffers" (FOR THE LOVE OF PETE PLEASE SCROLL ON):
Cue someone who doesn't know about the concept that the bonds are being sold by the State of Michigan, who doesn't know that the Downtown Development Authority and Detroit Economic Growth Corporation are not City or County governmental organizations, and cue the outrage over property taxes coming from "schools and pensions" as opposed to a dedicated drain on Downtown businesses (see: corporations for the most part) for discretionary funds dedicated to "downtown development."
And let's add some boo, Republicans in for good measure.
[sarcasm] Oh joy, this is going to be fun... [/sarcasm]
Now that Detroit has become the biggest U.S. municipality to declare bankruptcy, it’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s turn to tout a comeback spurred by a stadium for a suburban fan base financed with help from city taxpayers. Snyder approved a plan to put public money toward a $450 million downtown arena on behalf of the the National Hockey League’s Red Wings and their billionaire owners.
The 18,000-seat complex and a planned $200 million private development nearby would transform a blighted area into one with apartments, offices, restaurants and shops, says Snyder, who controls the city through an appointed manager. Critics call the plan a giveaway to Mike Ilitch, owner of the Red Wings, the Tigers and the Little Caesar’s pizza chain.
“It’s going to be very tough, in my opinion, to make the case that the city of Detroit should go into bankruptcy so they can simply go in and just raid pensions or give money to the Red Wings,” said the Rev. Charles Williams II, senior pastor at Historic King Solomon Baptist Church in the city.
This part is interesting, because it's the first time that the Red Wings have made a statement about what's going on:
John Hahn, a spokesman for Olympia Development, said the Ilitch organization has been committed to Detroit and the state for 31 years and was making another “substantial” investment downtown.
“We have a tremendous opportunity through this large-scale project to create jobs, stimulate economic activity and have a positive and lasting impact on our community,” he said in a prepared statement.
However, the state still must take money from programs to make up for cash benefiting the Iliches, said Shikha Dalmia, a senior analyst for the Los Angeles-based Reason Foundation, which describes itself as a public-policy think tank promoting free-market economics.
“The left should be crying bloody murder,” Dalmia said. “Why are you diverting money that’s meant for Detroit school children to this guy’s pocket? And the right should be crying about crony capitalism. They could easily have passed another state law which allowed this money to go to fighting crime, or a bazillion other things.”
I agree with that last sentence.
But the State could have easily decided to decline Governor Snyder's decision to nix an annual $1.7 billion in business taxes and shift the burden for those tax revenues on to people like the over-65 folks I live with, whose state and federal benefits are now double-taxed, for example, and that decision did both take money away from things like schools and hit those of you who file income taxes in the State of Michigan in the wallet.
But states tend to put businesses first, often at the expense of taxpayers, and in many instances, the only way to discourage such practices is to not vote for the elected officials again, assuming that there are viable and palatable alternatives (again, I am a registered independent, and I do not have any party affiliation).
From 2008 to 2012, the assessed value in Detroit’s downtown district declined by $167 million, according to the Detroit Downtown Development Authority’s 2012 annual report. Andrew Zimbalist, an economist at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, said that if -- “and it’s a very big if” -- a $200 million investment by Olympia to build around the arena comes to fruition, it might boost property values.
“The problem is often that the investment in the retail or the other activities are substituting for activity that’s being lost in the economy,” said Zimbalist, who has written 12 books on the business of sports. “Two hundred million dollars, by the way, isn’t a lot of money.”
Not by developmental standards. Definitely by real people standards. But this rink was going to happen, and given the way the City of Detroit and Wayne County work, in all honesty, I was stunned that only 44% of its funding is coming from public sources.
Maybe it's sad to have to say, "Folks, by our cities,' counties' and State's standards, this is progress and this is way, way different from the way governmental business to benefit business goes," but it's the truth.
Does that make any of this any less "wrong" or any more "right?" You already know my opinions regarding the project, and believe me, over the XVI flame wars we've had this summer, I and our readers know yours.
All I can ask is that we not descend into flame war XVII today.
If you're still with me, I did find some fantasy hockey news, and oddly, NHL.com's ranking Pavel Datsyuk as the 9th-best-available fantasy hockey center, and Stephen Weiss the 35th-best-available fantasy hockey center.
At least Darryl Dobbs has deemed Gustav Nyquist to be a "fantasy hockey sleeper" pick:
Gustav Nyquist, Detroit Red Wings - Even though Nyquist's ice time will be kept down in favor of older, more experienced teammates…and even though his linemates won't often have "Pavel" or "Henrik" in their name, he'll get his points. The 24-year-old (Happy Birthday, Gustav) has the talent to score and set up goals even if he had Wyshynski at center and Leahy on the far side.
At this point, I'd also like to address the reason that I haven't given SlapShotGoal's videos from the summer development camp their proper amount of attention, though I'd prefer not to do so:
The Wings get very, very picky about the video that they allow folks to take at their summer camps because Tomas Storm, Jim Bedard and Andy Weidenbach's drills are their intellectual and money-making property. The Wings also feel that their drills are similarly protected, so nobody's *supposed* to take video.
I'm guessing that the Wings are going to ask folks to refrain from taking videos (though we all know that camera phones exist) during the tournament practices and possibly the main camp's practices.
As there are many more of you than me, and as I'm not supposed to take videos, I'll be happy to share your stuff--and I'd like to encourage you to send stuff in if you want to get plugs and/or credit for what you do, because plugging good content is what I'm about...
But I'd encourage you to take any video judiciously instead of gratuitously, and if you're going to be recording whole practices, I'm going to have to pretend to some extent that it isn't happening to protect you from being told to ixnay on the ideovay. That's why I didn't promote her work more extensively--I want her to be able to do more of what she's doing, and, sometimes, the less a big deal I make of something, the better. SO BE VEWY VEWY QUIET.
Oh yeah, by the way:
In terms of my availability, I'm obviously going to be "in and out" today. I've got to pick up my dry cleaning, pack for two weeks' worth of hotel living and run some familial errands (I may need to shave, too), so I will try to cover the big stuff, but I'm not going to be around all the time.
Ditto for Wednesday--I'm not leaving early as my hotel's check-in time is 3 PM, and I'm going to be spending enough time waking up at the crack of butt in the morning over the next two weeks, so I'm going to give my body clock one more normal day of operation. I will check in when I get up there but Paul will be handling the big news.
In terms of my coverage during camp, I'll probably be using Twitter extensively as our blog software does not like my cell phone and I could not afford to purchase a tablet this past summer, and I'll hustle back to the work areas or crack open the laptop as necessary. I can only promise my best efforts as I work for you over the next fourteen business days and two travel days.
I will be taking a "crash day" the day after camp ends, and it is highly likely that my participation will be a wee bit limited for the first two days after I get home, but after that, I hope things will get back to abnormal--and don't forget that the Grand Rapids Griffins are going to be playing a pair of exhibition games against the Lake Erie Monsters in Plymouth on September 28th and Windsor on September 29th!
See you later this morning.
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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.