The Malik Report
Red Wings overnight report: another Ken Holland interview, talkin’ trades, Griffins and the 97 Wings
by George Malik on 06/07/13 at 02:20 AM ET
Now we have something of a timeline as to when Red Wings fans might want to be a fly on the wall at Joe Louis Arena. The Wings' coaches and front office will be very busy over the next couple of weeks, and GM Ken Holland told the CBC's Rob Pizzo and David Amber that the team will hold its pro-and-amateur-scouts-and-coaches' powwow for three days sometime next week, preparing for both the draft, attempts to re-sign the team's UFA's and RFA's-to-be and free agency...
And before Pizzo and Amber lose Holland's cell phone signal, he states that:
- The team's pro scouts are watching the Eastern Conference Final more closely as the team's going to compete for the Cup in said conference, though they want to watch the Blackhawks closely as Chicago offered a blueprint as to how to defeat Detroit;
- He felt that the team did very well overall in terms of its last-week-of-the-season and playoff performances, but the team's belief that success every season = at least making the Conference Final remains unchanged;
- The Wings are also watching the Griffins on an in-person basis;
- He will speak to Pavel Datsyuk's agent soon, and yes, he is glad to hear that Gary Greenstin and Datsyuk want to sign an extension, but as he's been scouting the Griffins and working with the Competition Committee, negotiations aren't at any sort of serious phase as of yet;
- Yes, the Wings are aware of the fact that the Eastern Conference is a bigger but more wide-open conference, but the team cannot fundamentally alter its lineup and/or style of play because it takes years to build a different kind of team from both without and within, and the Wings' style of play...Works;
- Darren Helm's health and recovery remain a huge focal point in terms of the roster going forward;
- Holland feels that the Jimmy Howard extension was fair based upon the league-wide salary comparables and Howard's performance, maturation and having earned the coaches and players' trust over the past couple of seasons.
Going forward in terms of building the Wings' roster, you and I both know that the team's modus operandi involves attempting to re-sign its own free agents and then exploring the free agent marketplace, but with the CBA available, we can now take a look at how cap compliance buy-outs work and take a gander at other tweaks as they apply to the team both now and in the future.
There's little doubt that the Wings will buy out Mikael Samuelsson and his $3 million dollars owed next season, and that Carlo Colaiacovo will probably be traded as he's a serviceable defenseman earning a very affordable $2.5 million, but it is entirely possible that the Wings may move more bodies depending on Helm and Todd Bertuzzi's recoveries from back issues as the team faces a roster crunch up front, and while the Wings are probably going to watch the free agent and cap-compliance buy-out markets closely...
Sometimes it's good to get a different perspective, and the Hockey News's Adam Proteau believes that the combination of the cap going down from $70.2 million to $64.3 million, many teams facing a cap crunch and teams having the ability to "eat" part of traded players' salaries in trades = many, many more trades this summer, if not trades serving as the primary point of emphasis for teams looking to overhaul their rosters in what really is, at present, anyway, a summer in which the free agent crop kind of stinks:
In other years, this dearth of talent would’ve left GMs and owners holding the bag(s) of cash. But this off-season for the first time in league history, the salary cap upper limit is dropping, by 8.4 percent. Because it will lower from $70.2 million to $64.3 million in 2013-14, big spenders such as Philadelphia (whose payroll for next year is at $70.7 million), Vancouver ($64.4 million) and Chicago (with just $2.1 million in cap space) will have to tighten their belts. Even if there was a high caliber of free agents, teams cannot indulge their every urge as they did when the cap ceiling rose each year.
League-imposed restrictions (including limits on contract length) and long-term investments have conspired to curtail free agency, but that doesn’t mean rosters will remain static. Instead, GMs will have to look at other areas – compliance buyouts and trades – to alter their lineup. There are some marquee names (led by Ilya Bryzgalov, Daniel Briere and Brad Richards) who could be UFAs via amnesty buyout (each team is allowed up to two); depending on the level of interest in an amnestied NHLer, they could be a bargain and/or reclamation project, but we’re talking about players who were cut loose because their teams no longer wanted them. Again, free agency isn’t the panacea.
The tool that creates the majority of roster change is likely to be the trade market – particularly this year, because the drop in the cap ceiling will force teams to deal away talent they otherwise would’ve clutched tightly to. There is also a new wrinkle to come out of the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement that will make it easier to execute trades: the ability to deal or acquire salary as part of any transaction. There are limitations on doing so (for instance: a team can retain no more than 50 percent of any contract), but for years now, league executives such as former Toronto GM Brian Burke have argued the ability to retain salary would go a long ways toward creating more trades. This year, more than any year, that will be the case.
So don’t get all giddy about July 5 this summer. There will be no savior your favorite team can acquire with a simple signed contract. Clubs have locked down most of their talent, but there will always be an appetite for change. From now on, it looks like that change will come via the swap shop.
Again, the Wings' tendencies suggest otherwise, and I don't believe that the Wings will be interested in, say, Shawn Horcoff or Ales Hemsky (who is essentially a right-handed Valtteri Filppula) just because the Oilers want to jettison the pair and could eat half of the players' respective salaries (a $5.5 million cap hit for the 34-year-old Horcoff and $5 million for Hemsky), but one can't rule anything out.
That being said, who would the Wings consider trading at this point? Players like Cory Emmerton, Patrick Eaves, Brian Lashoff, Kyle Quincey and the aforementioned Colaiacovo and Samuelsson are worth very little, and the team has always been loath to trade its top prospects.
We've also been repeatedly told that Franzen's going nowhere, and if the Wings' management is anything, it is consistent in backing up its words with deeds or the lack thereof.
It's much more likely that the Wings will buy out Samuelsson, swap Filppula's rights for a draft pick and more or less dump Colaiacovo's salary, decide whether to attempt to re-sign Drew Miller and/or Daniel Cleary, make sure to re-up Damien Brunner (UFA), Brendan Smith (RFA), Jakub Kindl (RFA), Joakim Andersson (RFA) and Gustav Nyquist (RFA), adjust the roster to accommodate Tomas Tatar's full-time promotion, decide whether to make any stabs at re-signing some middling prospects in Tom McCollum, Brent Raedeke, Jordan Pearce and Francis Pare (only Pare is a UFA but the Wings can get rid of McCollum, Raedeke and Pearce by not issuing qualifying offers to the RFA's, making them unrestricted free agents)...
And after deciding whether to pursue a big goal-scoring forward or a top-four defenseman (I believe they'll go with the former option), and monitoring Helm and Bertuzzi closely, I'm starting to think that we're more likely to see the Wings exceed the 23-man roster limit and possibly even the summer cap as they let the what may be 15 or 16 forwards and at least 7 defensemen determine their own fates over the course of training camp and the regular season (and there is no doubt that Calle Jarnkrok will be given every chance to prove that he's NHL-ready, too).
With the Grand Rapids Griffins heading to the AHL's Calder Cup Final, and with the Wings having to make decisions on the AHL-only-contracted prospects that are Chad Billins and Luke Glendening, given the team's roster crunch given that it is perilously close to the 50-man roster limit, and given that most of its AHL-only-contracted veterans are likely to leave the team for bigger paydays elsewhere or in Europe thanks to their strong performances...
Capologist and de-facto assistant GM Ryan Martin will have his work cut out for him in terms of deciding how many veterans to surround an increasing number of young players on the Griffins' roster when all is said and done, too, so there are many factors at play here.
Regarding those Grand Rapids Griffins, as noted on Thursday evening, the Griffins and Crunch's respective press corps have weighed in on the Calder Cup series to come--it begins with back-to-back games in Syracuse
tonight and tomorrow Saturday and Sunday, and yes, the AHL Live website is streaming games for free (I registered, and you have to surrender your email and mailing addresses and all of that jazz, but it let me register without submitting any credit card info, so that much is excellent), and it is possible that Danny DeKeyser may make his Griffins debut tonight.
If you do plan on watching the games and/or going to Grand Rapids for Games 3, 4 and 5, the Syracuse Post-Standard's Lindsay Kramer offers us the series schedule:
2013 Calder Cup Finals
Game 1 - Saturday - Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 7 p.m.
Game 2 - Sunday - Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 6 p.m.
Game 3 - Wednesday - Syracuse at Grand Rapids, 7 p.m.
Game 4 - Fri., June 14 - Syracuse at Grand Rapids, 7 p.m.
*Game 5 - June 15 - Syracuse at Grand Rapids, 7 p.m.
*Game 6 - June 18 - Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 7 p.m.
*Game 7 - June 20 - Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 7 p.m.
Back at the NHL level, in "Blast From the Past" territory, ESPN's Scott Burnside spent Thursday evening penning a column which suggests that, uh...
The Pittsburgh Penguins are being out-classed by the Boston Bruins in a manner reminiscent of the 1997 Detroit Red Wings' destruction of the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Final:
The Flyers arrived in the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in a decade with the expectation, at least externally, that they would cruise through a Detroit Red Wings team that had been remade before the season and featured five Russian players playing prominent roles.
They didn't. In fact, after being crushed 6-1 in Game 3 of the finals, head coach Terry Murray referenced the team being in a "choking situation," a term that has become part of the lexicon of playoff hockey.
Whether that was accurate or not, the Flyers lost Game 4 and were swept out of the finals, and shortly thereafter Murray was fired as head coach.
History suggests, however, that despite the presence of players like Eric Lindros, Rod Brind'Amour, 50-goal scorer John LeClair and goalie Ron Hextall, the Flyers weren't necessarily chokers but rather the victims of a Detroit team that was deceivingly good.
That Red Wings team -- with future Hall of Famers Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan, Slava Fetisov and an emerging Vladimir Konstantinov -- might have been underappreciated at the time, but it turned around and won the '98 Cup by sweeping the Washington Capitals in the finals, as if to reinforce the Red Wings were the real deal no matter how much emphasis had been on what the Flyers did or did not do against them the previous year.
We were reminded of that '97 series as we watched the Pittsburgh Penguins drop a gut-wrenching third straight game to the Boston Bruins on the road Wednesday night.
His article abandons the "frame story" format--so the Wings comparison is more of a historical-framing plot device rooted in giving the reader concrete details to grasp so as to be more receptive to his message (and his message is: "No offense, Pittsburgh, much love and respect, but your stacked-roster-on-paper status doesn't take away from the fact that you're getting your asses kicked"). The only time he returns to the Wings' story after his opening paragraphs involves asking the Bruins if they're getting "enough credit" for dismantling Pittsburgh:
But just as the '97 Red Wings were a very good team that just hadn't been recognized as such, this Boston team has not been given full credit for all of its success. And no, that doesn't really bug the Bruins.
"Not really. We're not a group that needs the limelight, let's put it that way," head coach Claude Julien said Thursday. "We're a group that wants results. You just have to look back at how David Krejci, how Tuukka Rask has been handling this. It doesn't matter to us.
"What matters to us is what we accomplish as a group," Julien added. "We go about our business, you gain the respect from winning a game, winning a series and hopefully winning Cups. Our goal is to continue to play well and give ourselves a chance."
In news regarding tangentially-Wings-related events, the Saginaw Spirit confirmed their and three other teams' respective statuses as participants in the Hockeytown Winter Festival on Thursday, as noted by the Spirit's website...
The event may be taking place a year later than first planned, but the elements for December’s Hockeytown Winter Festival are starting to come together. Of course a major component of the two week event will be the first ever outdoor edition of an Ontario Hockey League game with the Saginaw Spirit, Plymouth Whalers, Windsor Spitfires, and London Knights front and center at Comerica Park in Detroit on December 29th. The Spirit and Spitfires will take the ice at 1:00 pm, with the Whalers, and Knights following that game up at 5:00 pm.
The game times and other updated details were unveiled earlier today for the business community and media of the Great Lakes Bay Region with Olympia Entertainment President Tom Wilson, Plymouth Whalers President and Head Coach Mike Vellucci, and Spirit President Craig Goslin providing the details.
Ticket prices for the OHL doubleheader are listed at $38.00, $28.00 and $18.00 dollars, and Saginaw Spirit season tickets holders can purchase the $38.00 premium view seats for $30.00. Those interested can contact the Spirit at 989-497-7747 to pre-order their tickets today, with Spirit season ticket holders given the first priority in choosing seats.
The Saginaw News's Cory Butzin...
“This is really an unprecented opportunity for our franchise and our league to get the word out to tens of thousands of sports fans who may have never heard about our league,” said Spirit President and managing partner Craig Goslin.
The doubleheader marks the first outdoor games in Ontario Hockey League history. Both games are part of the two-week Winter Festival that includes OHL, AHL and NHL Alumni games at Comerica Park, in addition to the Great Lakes Invitational. The two-week festival culminates in the Winter Classic when the Detroit Red Wings host the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Big House in Ann Arbor.
“It actually came together very quickly,” said Tom Wilson, President and Chief Executive Office of Olympia Entertainment which is putting on the two-week hockey festival. “We were awarded the game last year in February or March. We said it was beyond nice to have the Winter Classic, but what can we do at Comerica Park to make it special. The idea of the Border War made sense. You’ve got two teams here in Saginaw and Plymouth, then maybe two of the best markets in Canada. It was literally four phone calls and very short discussions. Everybody wanted to be a part of it.”
In 2011, Pittsburgh welcomed 80,000 fans to the Winter Classic that generated $40 million for the area, and with three times the number of fans expected for Winter Classic in Detroit, Wilson expects this year’s edition to dwarf that number in terms of revenue generated in Southeastern Michigan.
Goslin said 21,000 tickets had already been sold for the Spirit’s last year’s Winter Festival, which was cancelled due to the NHL work stoppage, and that more than 30,000 tickets are expected to be purchased for the game this year now that it’s confirmed.
The OHL record for attendance at a game is 22,000.
More than a quarter of a million people are expected to descend upon Detroit and Ann Arbor for the festival that includes concerts at Fox Theater and Joe Louis Arena, in addition to opens skates, high school games and a variety of other opportunities.
“You’d think it’s a lot until you get into it and you find out it’s a whole lot,” Wilson said. “You have a two-hour meeting and realize you haven’t scratched the surface. A big game like an All-Star game is one day. It’s huge, it’s impactful and then it’s over. Here, particularly when you get in the second week, you’ve got OHL, AHL, (Great Lakes Invitational), NHL Alumni. That’s 40,000 to 50,000 in the stadium for each game. Then you’ve got to think about security and operations. You don’t have many opportunities like this to have such a big impact on the economy.”
And Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples:
More long-awaited details about next winter’s outdoor hockey continue to emerge; this time, it’s confirmation that Michigan’s Ontario Hockey League teams will be skating at Comerica Park next December.
The Saginaw Spirit formally announced today that they, the Plymouth Whalers, the London Knights and the Windsor Spitfires will all be taking part in a doubleheader at the home of Major League Baseball’s Detroit Tigers on Dec. 29.
The Spirit will play the Spitfires at 1 p.m. outdoors, and then the Whalers will play the Knights at 5 p.m.
The Ontario Hockey League doubleheader will be held the day after the conclusion of the Great Lakes Invitational, which will feature Michigan, Michigan State, Michigan Tech and Western Michigan.
It's safe to assume that Wings prospect Jake Paterson will start in goal for Saginaw.
For the record, the Windsor Star's Jim Parker reports that Dwayne Roloson will be taking part in the Roger Neilson's Coaches Clinic at the University of Windsor this weekend...
The move from hockey jersey to suit proved a lot smoother than expected for Dwayne Roloson. It was just over a year ago that the 43-year-old Roloson wrapped up his 14th season in the National Hockey League and became a goaltending consultant with the Anaheim Ducks.
With a season spent talking about the game more than playing, Roloson will now step behind the podium Sunday to try and pass on some of his knowledge as a guest lecturer at the 26th Roger Neilson’s coaching clinic at the University of Windsor.
“This is my first Roger Neilson one,” said Roloson, who is a Simcoe native. “I’ve done (plenty of lectures at) goalie schools and different topics. It’s always nice to get out and talk to people as much as I can.”
He’ll focus on what he’s learned playing the game and how that relates to teaching the game.
“I’ll be talking about relationships with goalies and goalie coaches,” Roloson said.
WHAT: 26th Roger Neilson’s coaches clinic in Windsor
WHEN: Friday through Sunday
WHERE: University of Windsor
PRESENTATIONS: 15 speakers with two bonus speakers.
COST: $575 for event. Limited space still available and details at http://www.rogerneilsonshockey.com/cc_reg.html
And the Detroit Free Press's bracket of most-hated Michigan sports team's opponents is down to...
Ron Artest, Chris Pronger, Claude Lemieux and Patrick Roy, with fan voting on the "semifinals" taking place until 2 PM today.
Given that 6 of the 24 "most-hated" athletes were hockey players (Peter Forsberg, Sidney Crosby and Shea Weber also made the initial cut), I think this counts as more proof of the fact that hockey players have long memories.
That's it for this morning. I hope I'll see more than a few of you on Twitter during the Griffins game, and I'll get to grades...Soon. I'm still kind of wiped out.
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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.