Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings overnight report: trying to go beyond the ‘Nyquist will solve everything’ theory

I happen to believe that the best thing one can greet fans with when one's sports team is losing is silence, and I sort of assumed that the Red Wings would just take the "off day" to practice (which they didn't) and attend the Toast of Hockeytown, which they did (yay charitable function + fan interaction!)...

And DetroitRedWings.com's Andrea Nelson reports that the Wings did indeed appreciate mingling with their fans while raising $27,000 for the Red Wings Foundation, the team's charitable arm:

“I think the biggest thing for us is we have so many dedicated fans and this gives us a chance to see them away from the rink,” defenseman Brendan Smith said. “It’s a good fundraiser so we can meet all the people that are actually giving us jobs and they’re the people that follow us. They’re actually, I think, the sixth player on the ice sometimes because they’re so great in the stands, so it’s pretty cool to give back to them because they give us so much.”

Hockeytown fans enjoyed the event just as much as their favorite Red Wings, some returning year after year to support the players and the Detroit Red Wings Foundation.

“Just the environment of it,” said Danielle Gregoire, who has attended the event for three years. “I’ve met multiple players at different events before but this one is just fun. You get to have a few drinks, meet a few of your favorite players and they’re all just incredibly nice.”

For others, including center Stephen Weiss, Toast of Hockeytown was a brand new and very enjoyable experience.

“For me, this is my first time, so I think anytime you can come out and do some stuff for charity and for the fans, we don’t get a chance to do that a lot,” Weiss said. “It means a lot to the guys who participate in that and like I said, this is my first time so I’m just taking it all in. It’s a beautiful setup, I just have to cruise around and see all the stations.”

Toast of Hockeytown featured over 80 wines, specialty tequilas and vodkas, and food stations that showcased sushi, beef short rib tacos, ravioli, bruschetta and much more. Iridescence, Melting Pot of Troy, Just Baked, Olympia Entertainment and Tim Hortons Café of Troy were just a few of the restaurants that presented their finest spreads at the event.

Beyond the food and drink, lights dangled overhead, illuminating the arena that has celebrated numerous Red Wings legends. The event allowed guests to enjoy the unique perspective from the arena’s ice, while getting exclusive opportunities to sit in the penalty box and walk through the team’s locker room.

Etc. etc.


I wasn't surprised that Mike Babcock gave an interview to the Fan 590 which mostly consisted of Nick Kypreos, Darren Millard and Doug MacLean asking him about the Olympics and the GM's meetings instead of the Wings given that Steven Stamkos's injury, its Canadian Olympic repercussions and the GM's meetings' discussion of shootouts were on the hosts' minds...

Nor was I surprised that Kirk Maltby spoke with Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery about the Wings' six-game home losing streak from a scout's perspective more or less admitted that the Wings are handcuffed by the cap at present.

But the snippets of Ansar Khan and Chuck Pleiness's interviews with Ken Holland regarding the Wings' cap situation, especially in light of the discontent among the fanbase after the Wings' 3-2 shootout loss on Tuesday, and ahead of a Friday night match-up with the 9-8-and-1 Washington Capitals (who defeated the Blue Jackets 4-3 in OT on Tuesday and will come to town without Mike Green in tow)....

Well, Holland was honest--the Red Wings' salary cap and roster situations involve some CBA calculus under a document that wasn't released to the public until June, so not all of us are aware of the ways in which LTIR exemptions, waivers teams' abilities to "bury" salaries in the AHL really play out under what is still a very new and very much so a "living" document--but the tone of the interview came off as if he was saying, "Like that Talking Barbie used to say, 'Math class is tough!'"

I get the gist of it, and I think his points are valid enough:

1. We already know that simply demoting Jordin Tootoo won't allow the team to recall Gustav Nyquist--who leads the Grand Rapids Griffins with 7 goals, 10 assists and 17 points registered over the course of 13 games played--when Jonathan Ericsson and Brendan Smith return from their stints on the IR, because the team would still have 24 players (one man over the 23-man limit) and be over the cap if Nyquist was on the roster;

2. It's entirely possible that waiving Patrick Eaves and his $1.2 million salary won't clear space for Nyquist's $950,000 cap hit, especially if his entry-level contract's counted at its $1.025 million real-world dollar figure (per Capgeek), because the Wings really are literally scraping against the cap on a day-by-day basis to maximize their long-term injured reserve relief, probably to the extent that Ryan Martin and what I'm assuming are a capologist staff by now are performing mental gymnastics to ensure that the personnel decisions are kosher;

3. Nyquist would a) have to remain on the roster for the remainder of the season as his waiver-exempt status expires in 2 games and b) would have to contribute because the Wings already have a crapload of salary riding bikes in the locker room on every given night, and c) the Wings are probably very itchy about burning what little roster flexiblity they have;

4. Most importantly, no one player whose name is not Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi, Alfredsson, Kronwall or Howard is "the answer."

There is no "one answer" to the "questions" that are the Red Wings' scoring issues, the Wings' defensive gaffes (see: the sign in the neutral zone advertising, "Turnovers aplenty, steal here!"), the Wings' inability to adhere to the "structure" that actually yielded a pretty f***ing dominant game on Tuesday, result excluded, or the team's either unwillingness or -over the course of what have been 67 regular season and 14 playoff games--to  a) Find and stick to a bloody post-Lidstrom identity; or b) Sustain any sort of secondary scoring.

Here's what Holland said to Pleiness...

“We’ve got to move players to get Nyquist up,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said during a phone interview.

The Wings simply don’t have a roster spot or salary-cap space to recalled Nyquist.

“It’s complicated,” Holland said.

Of late, the Wings are a one line team comprised of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, along with whoever coach Mike Babcock decides to have with them and most of the season it’s been Todd Bertuzzi. Zetterberg leads the team with 10 goals and Datsyuk has nine. Combined that’s 19 of Detroit’s 47 goals scored this season. Bertuzzi has chipped in with five.

No one else on the team has more than three goals. The Wings, who are 0-1-5 over their last six games at home, entered play Wednesday tied for 21st in the league for goals scored per game (2.47).

“That’s it, that’s the team,” Holland said. “We’re not the first team in the league to have struggles. There is no hockey store. It’s got to be done internally.”


“When E and Smitty are healthy, we’re over the cap,” Holland said. “If they are ready, we have to make some moves. We have to make some moves to get cap compliant.”

Ericsson could be ready to play Friday at home against the Washington Capitals. Smith said on Tuesday he should be ready to return sometime this weekend.

And Khan:

“We got to move players to get Nyquist up,’’ Holland said.

Nyquist, 24, might be recalled at some point this season. But he can’t come up as a temporary replacement for an injured player; the move must be permanent. That’s because Nyquist will be out of AHL options once he plays two more NHL games and would need to clear waivers to be sent back down.

As it is, the Red Wings will need to make a couple of moves to accommodate the return of defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, who is expected to come off long-term injured reserve and play Friday against the Washington Capitals at Joe Louis Arena.

Jordin Tootoo, who cleared waivers last week, likely will be assigned to Grand Rapids. Patrick Eaves might be waived.

The Red Wings, winless in their past six home games (0-1-5), are tied for 21st in the league in goals per game (2.47). Datsyuk scored both of their goals in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Winnipeg. Zetterberg did likewise in Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss to Tampa Bay. This team has gone four games without a goal from any forward not on the top line.

Holland said the solution must come from within.

“That’s it, that’s the team,’’ Holland said. “We’re not the first team in the league to have struggles. There is no hockey store. It’s got to be done internally.’’

Khan did a better job than Pleiness of noting that while Johan Franzen missed 5 games and Stephen Weiss is on the IR with a strained grion, the Wings had hoped to receive more scoring from them, and as such, the team's really struggling to find more than five core contributors, but he pointed out that this is nothing new, either:

The Red Wings need more secondary scoring. They weren't much better offensively last season (2.54 goals per game), but were more balanced, with their top goal-scorers, Datsyuk (15) and Franzen (14), accounting for only 23.8 percent of their goals.

For better or worse, my bottom line is pretty simple here: there is no magic eraser to undo the Mikael Samuelsson or Jordin Tootoo signings. No amount of complaining about their presences will make them disappear.

Samuelsson's mysterious pectoral issue happened to flare up during the times when the Wings could've bought him out, so they used one of two amnesty buyouts on Carlo Colaiacovo, who's signed with St. Louis, and, for better or worse, the team chose to eat some hard decisions in refraining from using its second Get Out of Cap Jail Free card until next summer.

There is clearly no appetite for Tootoo's salary given that 20 of the NHL's 30 teams are within $2 million of the salary cap, and the rest are so "capped out" that nobody's willing to take on bucks unless it's dollar-in-dollar-out.

From what we are told, the coach, the GM and the team were all on board on that roster-complicating signing that was bringing back Daniel Cleary at 1 year and $1.75 million, and from Tomas Tatar to Marin Frk'in Frk, who RedWingsCentral duly noted is unlearning some very bad habits in the ECHL at present, the rest of the roster had to know that bringing Cleary back gave the Wings 17 forwards with NHL contracts at the time, and that some of 'em would be forced out.

In terms of the "endangered"...

Cory Emmerton's in Grand Rapids along with Nyquist, having been waived..

Jordin Tootoo's heading there soon, and I get the feeling that the Wings have attempted to exhaust their options for taking part of his salary on while sending him to an NHL team, but they aren't likely to find a taker.

The Wings have waited this long to waive Patrick Eaves for a simple reason, as the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson suggested--he'll get picked up because he's in the last year of his deal (unlike Tootoo) and has a smaller salary ($1.2 million versus $1.9 million in cap money and $2 million in real-world bucks).

Mikael Samuelsson could be waived with little to no cap relief, and he can be traded despite his no-trade clause--which simply gives him the option of choosing a certain number of teams that he won't be traded to, usually 8, 10 or 12--but the coach seems to be reluctant to let the rare right-hand shot go, though he's sat out pretty regularly.

If the Wings were to try to trade him, they'd probably have to eat at least $2 million of his $3 million salary to simply make him go away, and that's a *#$%@& hard sell.

Tomas Tatar's earned an every-day spot in the lineup, despite his hiccups.

The player who Babcock deemed himself to be the "biggest fan" of was benched in an attempt to send a message that no one is exempt from sitting if they underperform.

And Todd Bertuzzi came into camp saying that he knew his ass was on the line, too, and you see where he's playing understanding that there are kids after his spot.

Otherwise, Justin Abdelkader's trying to find his confidence as a goal-scorer away from Datsyuk and Zetterberg, Joakim Andersson's had his ups and downs, sometimes looking strong and sometimes looking like a sophomore, I can't deny that Drew Miller's occasional lapses in effort have surprised me, or that I haven't seen somebody get that "shook up" by a broken hand, but when you're a penalty-killer, that kind of stuff is scary, Franzen's looked much, much better as a center, Alfredsson is obviously essential....

And Luke Glendening's looked NHL-ready and then some some nights, and like a placeholder for Darren Helm, who's been excellent save his cement hands since he returned.

Outside of Datsyuk and Zetterberg, that's who the Wings have save the guy who Babcock mentioned in speaking with NHL.com's Dan Rosen:

Babcock isn't sure when center Stephen Weiss (groin) will be able to return to the Red Wings' lineup, but even when he does the coach won't be expecting much right away.

"I also think it's going to take him another month after that," Babcock said.

Weiss has three points in 17 games this season as he has struggled to adjust to being with the Red Wings after spending his first 10 full NHL seasons with the Florida Panthers.

"He's a ways away from being a Red Wing," Babcock said. "I knew it was going to be tough sledding, but I didn't think it was going to be this tough."

Rosen's column from Wednesday morning may in fact yield the best "answer" as to why the Wings haven't been able to get the puck up ice and keep it there:

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock thinks his team has been too slow recently. He expects it to change soon, perhaps as early as Friday against the Washington Capitals, when Babcock is hoping to get Jonathan Ericsson and Brendan Smith back in the lineup.

"When we have Ericsson and Smith in the lineup on the back end we're fine because we can play [Danny] DeKeyser in the second pair," Babcock told NHL.com. "When we don't have them we have to play DeKeyser in the first pair, and we don't have enough depth on our team on the back end and we don't move the puck. When you don't move the puck you don't score. We're not deep enough on that position to have injuries."

Ericsson has missed 10 straight games and Smith has missed four in a row. If they return Friday, barring other injuries, Babcock should be able to put together the defense pairs he wants: Ericsson with Niklas Kronwall, DeKeyser with Kyle Quincey and Smith with Jakub Kindl.

"Whoever plays with DeKeyser plays great and whoever plays with Kronwall plays great," Babcock said. "There's a reason for that. They're great. Other guys need help. That's just the facts. I don't think we're that far away. To tell you the truth, I really don't. I think we're going to be quicker. We're a slow team right now with the way we move the puck on our back end, but once we have our back end locked … I think we'll be way quicker than we play right now."

Kronwall's taken the blueline on his back. Ericsson, when he's played, has been superb. DeKeyser has had some sophomore hiccups, but he's been reliable. Kindl's reminded us that he's still relatively inexperienced at 26, but he skates strongly, passes the puck well and shoots it damn hard. Smith is Smith, a gambler and a dangerous player for both his team and the opposition. Quincey's a *#$%@& mess. Ouellet and Almquist have been good.

That's what the Wings have there, and SI's Allan Muir offers this assessment of the goalie who turns out to have two NHL-capable back-ups in the resurgent Jonas Gustavsson and Petr Mrazek, all while Muir argues that the goalie in question is the second-best option available to Team USA's Olympic roster-makers:

2. Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings: His boxcar numbers look terrible — he ranks 24th in goals-against and 27th in save percentage — but the lede to nearly every Detroit game story of late includes some variation on “the Red Wings wasted another outstanding effort from Jimmy Howard.” Like Miller, he’s doing his part despite difficult circumstances.

This morning, the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa tried to move past what's honestly a simplistic notion in suggesting that Nyquist's promotion will solve all the Wings' problems, and I think this "stanza" of what's 5-part analysis of the Wings' struggles is most telling:

Consistency is defined in the NHL as playing with the same energy, concentration and fortitude on every shift. A team “in flux” sometimes has some difficulty doing that. It comes with more experience and truly understanding what it takes to win.

“It is frustrating because some of the games, I think, we’ve done enough to get two points, but somehow we ended up without them,” Zetterberg, the captain, said after a 4-3 overtime loss to the Stars on Nov. 7.

It is something veteran players dictate to younger ones, and sometime must remind themselves to do — play hard and smart every shift of every game, every minute of every period. Because in the NHL, letdowns often mean pucks in your net.

“That one was obviously a big disappointment,” Niklas Kronwall said of the same game. “We did enough good things to win that game, but for some reason, we kept giving up timely goals, for them.”

Similarly, after the loss to the Lightning, Babcock stressed a juncture in which the Red Wings were, again, lax after playing so well.

“What I didn’t like is when we lost our composure... and we gave up chances for no reason,” Babcock said.

Krupa continues, suggesting that the Wings are actually making progress--and they are--and his article's worth your time.

I don't have any magical answer as to what's ailing the Wings or what's going to solve their problems. I'd be foolish and arrogant to suggest that I did.

I hope that the Wings say the right things today at practice, and that they then back their statements up with strong play over what is still a very home-friendly schedule, with the Wings hosting the Capitals on Friday, battling the Islanders on Saturday, and taking a pair of days off before hosting the Predators on the 19th, the Hurricanes on the 21st, the Senators on the 23rd, and, after a road jaunt to Buffalo for a matinee on the 24th, playing a "barometer game" against Boston on Thanksgiving Eve (the Wings wrap up the month with a Black Friday matinee on Long Island).

December gets trickier, nastier and more intense, from the Alfredsson Reunion Tour stop on the 1st to the Winter Classic on January 1st and all the lead-up to said event, and I can only hope that the Wings establish some more consistency, better adherance to "structure" and that they find some bloody secondary scoring by January.

Time will tell, and fans like you and me can't make personnel decisions, coach the team or score the goals. We can support and critique and hope and pray and complain, but we're not in charge.

All I can tell you is that, as of last April, I'd more or less decided that the Wings' post-Lidstrom identity-building process, both in the literal sense and in terms of player personnel adjustments, was probably going to take two years, not one.

I based that theory both upon the lockout having yielded a declining salary cap and thus much less flexibility in terms of addressing needs via free agency--the Wings' favorite option for team-building outside of the draft (and we knew Filppula was out the door, which meant that the Wings' main thrust would be replacing Filppula, and, as it turned out, Brunner), I based the theory upon the fact that half a season simply wasn't enough time for a team to really readjust its blueprint to account for Lidstrom's retirement, or Stuart and Holmstrom's absences (I thought the one thing the Wings needed most was what they didn't get last year in 82 games and seven months to work their shit out both on and off the ice), and I based it upon the fact that young players don't really establish confidence on the ice without a ton of practice time and plain old games played to allow both the "next generation" and the coaches and management watching them to determine what the team needs to do to address its shortcomings over the long haul.

In other words, it takes time for the kids to work it out and it takes time for the kids and vets alike to show the team what it lacks.

If I was a GM, and if the Wings weren't in the Eastern Conference or Atlantic Division, I'd suggest that the one personnel issue the Wings would have to address over the long haul would involve bringing in another top-four defenseman, not a scoring forward, and that the rebuilding Sabres would offer a perfect target in Christian Ehrhoff. The fact that the Wings are in the same division as the Sabres makes that kind of deal unlikely, and we don't really know "who's available" out West yet, but if I were to hazard a guess as to what the Wings would do at the trade deadline, I'd suggest that it's the back end that needs to get "sorted out," and that once it does, the "front end" is going to have more offensive pop.

But I'm just a fan searching for answers like you are. The only difference is that once the game is over, you get to rant and rave and go to bed, and it's my job to stay up for another five or six hours trying to figure out and then retell what happened.

That gives me time to think. It doesn't mean that I come to the right conclusions, but I've got to look at the Wings' performances from a slightly different perspective than you do, and I hope that it at least facilitates discussion, because we are Red Wings fans, and we're in this boat together. We might as well cope as best as we can, and try to get stabby with each other as seldomly as possible.




Also of Red Wings-related note: The Free Press's Helene St. James asked Holland to weigh in on his proposed changes to overtime:

Holland’s quest to make changes is timely — and timeless. The Wings have been grumbling about the post-regulation format since a shootout was instituted coming out of the 2004-05 labor dispute. Detroit and Chicago were the only teams that voted against using a shootout, or skills competition as its sometimes derided, to decide games during the regular season. Sudden-death overtime remains the order of the day come playoffs.

Holland acknowledged today that shootouts, “are staying. We understand fans want a conclusion before going home.” What Holland wants to accomplish — and there was overwhelming support from fellow general managers for a presentation he made — is to extend overtime.

“Overtime is going to be extended by two or three minutes,” Holland told the Free Press. “It’s going to go to either 7 or 8 minutes. My presentation was to stay with four-on-four, but there’s also support for going to three-on-three. Everybody was in agreement to extend trying to decide the game playing hockey versus a shootout.”

The details will be hammered out during March meetings so they can be implemented for next season. Winning teams will still get two points and the losing team, one point. So why the desire to extend overtime? Because it can matter at the end of the regular season. If teams have collected the same number of points after 82 games, the first tiebreaker is regulation and overtime victories. Shootout victories do not count.




As I was writing this, a story popped up, and it involves the CBC News North speaking with Jordin Tootoo's father about his son's likely demotion:

"Well, I don't feel very good, and for sure Jordin doesn't feel very good," said Barney Tootoo, Jordin's father. "Like any player put on waivers, I don't think they feel very good. It seems like with the new salary cap that they figure they no longer need him there."

When Tootoo was drafted by the Nashviille Predators in 2001, he became the first Inuk to join an NHL team.

Tootoo was a fan favourite in Nashville, and in Nunavut, he's a huge star and a role model who travels to communities to talk to kids.

Sports analysts say Tootoo is a victim of the salary cap. At $1.9 million a year, they say he was too expensive to keep on the team, especially with other, stronger players coming off the injury list.

"Unfortunately he was just in a bad situation in Detroit in that they have a slew of right wingers right now between Bertuzzi, Daniel Alfredsson, Dan Cleary, Samuelson," says Hockey Night in Canada radio host Rob Pizzo, "They just didn't have room for him."

Detroit sport journalists say Tootoo could be heading to the minors by the end of the week, but knowing his character they say he'll fight to get back to the big league.



Speaking of "experts," Fox Sports' Eric Stephens penned a list of power rankings on Tuesday night, and here's his assessment of the state of the Wings:

14 . Red Wings [record] 9-5 -5 [down] 1 [highest/lowest]  5/14

GOOD NEWS: Henrik Zetterberg scored 10 goals, earned 10 assists and had a plus-12 rating after 18 games.

BAD NEWS: Against all odds, this team managed to win just three times during a 10-game span.

BOTTOM LINE: This team needs to find some secondary scoring to keep up in the Eastern Conference. Stephen Weiss has just three points in his first 17 games.



In the informational department, Fox Sports Detroit finally posted all three of Darren Eliot and Chris Osgood's segments on the effects new nets and smaller goalie gear are likely to have upon goaltenders...




In the promotional department, part 1: the Red Wings and Dunham's Sports are offering 4 tickets to the Wings' December 15th game against Tampa Bay;



In the promotional department, part 2:

From yesterday, per Detroit Business Daily's Izzi Bandall:

RedOrange USA, a film and video production company in Birmingham, just wrapped up filming for a commercial starring Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings, who will play for Russia’s National Team in the upcoming Winter Olympics. The commercial, for a Russian telephone company, will air throughout Russia during the Sochi Winter Games in February.

“It’s not often that we get to host a Russian advertising agency (Leo Burnett) from Moscow, a cinematographer from Rome, and a director from Barcelona,” says Barry Meier, executive producer of RedOrange. “There’s probably 150 people involved in this production, many whom are staying at the Townsend Hotel (in Birmingham). There’s a lot of local commerce that’s coming out of this.”

Roughly 90 locals were involved with the project, including local production assistants, wardrobe personnel, and various artists. Nearly 50 actors were used as either background or principal characters.

“We love our hometown, and this project allowed us to highlight the capabilities in both production and post-production,” Meier says. “And while (Director) Michael Bay brings his Transformer crews here once every few years, the majority are out-of-towners. At RedOrange, we put the local talent to work.”

Filming took place at five different locations, ranging from Social Kitchen in Birmingham, which was transformed into a Russian eatery, to Beaver Creek Restaurant in Westland, which was styled to look like a Sochi sports bar. “We transformed (Beaver Creek) using Russian posters and jerseys. It was a pretty extensive set dressing project,” Meier says. Pierce Street in Birmingham also was transformed to appear as a snow-covered street.

The production company will begin editing the project today at Ringside Creative in Oak Park.

Other recent projects by RedOrange include commercials in Stuttgart, Germany for Mercedes; in Slovenia for Toyota Land Cruiser; and in Bloomfield Hills for the GMC Denali.

For the record, Sports.ru's Artem Ziryanov paid tribute to Datsyuk's status as having tied Nicklas Lidstrom for 10th in Wings goal scoring with a set of YouTube clips from Datsyuk's rookie season...




And finally, the Detroit Free Press's Jamie Samuelssen asked the following question....

If you held a draft with all of the Detroit athletes in it, who would be in your top 10?

And picked 1 Red Wing...

8. Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard: Ken Holland’s shrewdest move over the past couple of seasons was signing Howard to a six-year contract at the end of the regular season. It prevented him from going on the open market. And it was before the stretch run and the playoffs where he was clearly the Wings best player. If Holland had waited, Howard would have bolted or the Wings would have been forced to pay a million or two more for their goaltender. Some hope to see Petr Mrazek take over the reigns in goal someday. Howard may have this position secure for another 10 years giving Holland a huge trading chip down the road.


Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk just don’t have enough years left to compare with some of these young stars. And Brendan Smith, Tomas Tatar, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bruce Rondon may have potential, but it hasn’t been displayed to the degree that the top 10 have displayed it.



Update: Via RedWingsFeed, MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with Ken Holland about his desire to tweak overtime, too:

Holland for several years has been pushing for expanded overtime in the regular season, from five minutes to 10 minutes. He put it on the agenda again Tuesday at the NHL’s general managers meeting in Toronto and said the reception was positive.

“There’s enough support to the point it appears there’s going to be some type of extended overtime than the current five minutes,’’ Holland, the GM of the Detroit Red Wings, said Wednesday. “People could change their minds, but certainly with (NHL commissioner) Gary Bettman, the league’ hockey operations department and (many) managers, we have enough support to explore expanding overtime.’’

There will be further discussions when the general managers meet again in March.

Holland would prefer the regular five-minute four-on-four overtime be followed by a five-minute three-on-three overtime. All that open ice would lead to more goals, reducing the number of shootouts.

The Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks were the only clubs that voted against the shootout in 2005, when the NHL implemented it following the canceled season as a way to rekindle fan interest. Despite their abundance of skilled players over the past eight-plus seasons, the Red Wings have been below average in shootouts, winning 38-of-81 (46.9 percent).

“We understand the shootout is here to stay, but the Detroit Red Wings believe we’d like more or as many games decided in overtime as opposed to a shootout,’’ Holland said. “(Expanding overtime) has been gathering steam through the years and finally it’s to a point where there’s enough support that we’re going to have further discussions in March. I don’t think it’s going to get to 10 (minutes), but seven or eight is certainly a possibility. Even if we stay four-on-four I believe we should have a longer overtime.’’

Holland's not a fan of goalie fights, either.

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Why do you buy Ken Holland’s “It’s complicated,” line?  Why do you say the capologist and his staff are doing “mental gymnastics”?  Why do you call it “calculus” when, in fact, it’s math any 5th grader should have mastered by now?  Why do you say doing the math on the newest cap is a “living document” that changes all the time when the cap calculations actually haven’t changed the first one since 2005?  Why do you proclaim to be an authority on it even two weeks after someone pointed out your flawed reasoning?

It’s simple math, George.  Adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.  There are no letters in it.  It’s not even algebra, let alone calculus.

Big John goes on IR.  His cap hit is 3.25 million.  You divide that number by 82 games in a season = $39,634.  You multiply that number by the number of games he will miss (I believe it’s 12) = $475,608.

Now you have to account for his replacement. Ouellete, Almquist and let’s throw in Mrazek to make it very close to 12 games so it’s simple for you to understand.  Their average salary is about $625,000. Again, divide that by 82 = 7622 multiply by the number of games (12) =  $91,464.

Take Big John’s space cleared 475,608 and subtract the cap space used by his replacement(s) - 91,464 = $384,144.  That’s how much LTIR space was actually cleared.

Now do the same for Helm and Eaves (the only other players placed on LTIR) and then add in Emmerton, Glendening and anyone else who might have dressed for a game and therefore entitled to an NHL paycheck (Coreau has not).

This would take me, a guy with no calculus experience at all, approximately 30 minutes.  In fact, I wouldn’t even know how to do simple algebra (5th grade stuff) right now.  And you think that capologists, who do this for a living, would think this is “complicated” stuff?

People think you are some kind of authority on this stuff, because that’s the way you write—with such certainty.  If you are going to write that way, fine, but do the simple homework first. 

As I stated (now for a third time), capgeek was estimating the LTIR for that day’s roster for the entire season.  It assumed Big John was out for the year and Ouellete would be on the roster for the rest of the year, which everyone knew was not true. 

It’s not complicated.  It’s not even slightly difficult for a 5th grader to figure out.  Don’t take Holland’s word for it.  Challenge him.  Your readers will appreciate that much more than the company line.

Posted by jkm2011 on 11/14/13 at 09:21 AM ET


Nyquist alone won’t solve anything, but he’s a piece to the puzzle that the Wings are missing.

No single puzzle piece is more important than the others, but if you want to solve the puzzule you have to have the right pieces.  Having Nyquist in Detroit provides them with the best pieces available to solve the puzzle.

Nobody (nobody) thinks that Nyquist is going to come up to Detroit and score 60 goals.  No matter what you, George, or HockeyinHD think, none of us expects that he is going to be Pavel or Hank 2.0.

Having Nyquist up (and preferably playing with his dominant-in-the-playoffs Griffins line) would give the Wings more offensive versatility and another line that is a goal-scoring threat.  It takes the Wings more and better depth.  It could potentially alleviate the pressue on Weiss’s line.  It could help provide Detroit with some (any) secondary scoring, whether it’s by putting the puck in the net themselves or by making teams spend more time stopping them and allowing other lines more leeway.

So no, f*cking obviously Gustav Nyquist isn’t “the answer” but again, he is a piece to the puzzle and having him up in Detroit would give the Wings more pieces to allow them a shot at actually solving the puzzle.

And, as jkm2011 says, it really isn’t that complicated.  Ken Holland made a stupid signing that f*cked the team.  1+1=2 and that ain’t calculus.

Posted by Garth on 11/14/13 at 09:51 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

If the Wings were to try to trade him, they’d probably have to eat at least $2 million of his $3 million salary to simply make him go away, and that’s a *#$%@& hard sell.

You can’t retain more than 50% of a player’s salary in trade. 50.5(e)(iii)(A)

This would take me, a guy with no calculus experience at all, approximately 30 minutes.

Well then do that and start telling everybody exactly how much space the Wings have to clear. I look forward to your answer 30 minutes from now.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/14/13 at 10:13 AM ET


George and J.J.; I actually think our “rebuilding process” will take at least 3 years. We currently have Bert, Cleary, Sammy, Alfie, Eaves, Jonas, and Quincey in the last year of their respective deals. Now, assuming Holland re-signs Cleary (he’s commented as much), and maybe Alfie, that still leaves a few more spots than usual. Would we go after UFAs or promote some players (i.e., Jarnkrok, Jurco, Mrazek, Ferraro, Sheahan)? I know Ferraro and Sheahan are out of waiver options next fall so who knows.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 11/14/13 at 10:23 AM ET


I’d also like to add Almquist, Ouellet and Sproul to that group. KH, it seems, has tried to re-build our defense first (more out of necessity) and now our forward personnel will get a roster over-haul over the next 2 seasons. You can see it because he’s actually signed our veterans to deals that expire all in the same year. I know he’s actually mismanaged the cap where he’s literally tied his own hands, but look at the flexibility we have after this year. It’s great. But I digress.

I hope we turn this around soon, but we’re fortunate we now reside in the East because it’s obviously not as strong as the West. I really hope we get to see Jurco and Jarnkrok over the next 2 years. They, along with Nyquist, are playing really well in GR.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 11/14/13 at 10:27 AM ET

WingsFanInBeanLand's avatar

Would Helm thrown into a trade package help the Wings get a top four D?

Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from where free agents no longer dare. on 11/14/13 at 10:30 AM ET


KH, it seems, has tried to re-build our defense first

He what?  He rebuilt our defense?  Did I miss that?

Posted by Garth on 11/14/13 at 10:32 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

He what?  He rebuilt our defense?  Did I miss that?

He said “tried”

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/14/13 at 10:39 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

more or less admitted that the Wings are handcuffed by the cap at present

The Wings are handcuffed by Holland’s mismanagement of the cap (i.e. signing aging and/or superfluous forwards to silly contracts while completely ignoring glaring needs on defense, and hampering a youth movement that needs to happen), not the cap itself.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 11/14/13 at 10:49 AM ET

Mandingo's avatar

I’d love to know what the general feeling is among young players who get drafted by the Wings.

I wonder if there’s a concern that it’s taking money out of their pockets.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 11/14/13 at 10:51 AM ET


Nyquist alone won’t solve anything, but he’s a piece to the puzzle that the Wings are missing.

Posted by Garth on 11/14/13 at 08:51 AM ET

Couldn’t agree more, Garth. I hate how people keep oversimplifying this. “Well, getting Nyquist isn’t the difference between a losing team and a Cup contender…” No, he’s not being called up to make the team into this juggernaut all of a sudden. What he can do is provide a very dangerous weapon on the third line that has to be accounted for. Any shift Nyquist skates against another team’s third defense pairing is advantage Red Wings, especially if he has Tatar, a guy he has lots of experience and chemistry with, on the other wing. To put those guys out there together, I expect that to bring out the best in both - rather than Tatar skating with a different set of forwards he has little experience with, every game, until Babcock decides to shuffle the lines again. I’d expect Nyquist to be a factor on his own and also to help raise Tatar’s game.

Do I think he will save the world? No. But I do think he adds a very dangerous element to the third line and if the expectations are for him to go out and be a keystone of the league’s best third line, that’s a realistic expectation and one that will, in my opinion, boost the Red Wings.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 11/14/13 at 11:08 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I wonder if there’s a concern that it’s taking money out of their pockets.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 11/14/13 at 09:51 AM ET

If there is, then the player agents for guys like Mantha and Nastasiuk each did their clients a huge disservice by talking them into signing their entry-level contracts so soon.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/14/13 at 11:15 AM ET

Mandingo's avatar

  I wonder if there’s a concern that it’s taking money out of their pockets.

  Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 11/14/13 at 09:51 AM ET

If there is, then the player agents for guys like Mantha and Nastasiuk each did their clients a huge disservice by talking them into signing their entry-level contracts so soon.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/14/13 at 10:15 AM ET

How so?

Serious question. I’d like to be educated on this.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 11/14/13 at 11:19 AM ET


The way cap space is calculated and “banked” for future use, as well as how LTIR credits are applied, follow somewhat a somewhat convoluted process, but actually in the Red Wings’ specific circumstance the situation is relatively straightforward.

Imagine that the Red Wings have a “cap bank account” that they use to pay players. Every day of the regular season, the NHL drops an a deposit that equals what the Red Wings are allowed to spend per day, equal to the cap ceiling divided by the number of days in the regular season. This year, the cap is $64.3 million and there are 195 days in the regular season, so the daily “depost” is about $329,744 per day. The team this uses that theoretical account to pay its players; the daily cost of each player is their salary cap hit divided by 195.

If you spend less than that, then you save that extra money and can use it later in the year; that is why teams with apparently $1 million in cap space can add, say, a $3 million player at the trade deadline with no issue.

If you use LTIR to spend above your daily limit, what happens in the analogy is that you spend money out of your account until you have $0 left, then the NHL floats you temporary assistance to cover the overage for as long as your player is on IR.

But you can never, never, NEVER overdraw your account.

For the Red Wings’ specific situation, then, there is no calculus. The situation is very straightforward. They have been over the cap all year long. They have not banked any space. At the end of every day they have $0 left in their theoretical account.

So when Ericsson comes off LTIR, the Red Wings need their roster to immediately be beneath the regular ~$329,744 daily limit. This is the effectively the same thing as saying that, once Ericsson comes off, the full-season cap cost of the team needs to be less than $64.3 million, and all you need to do is add up the regular cap hits of everybody on the roster to find out whether or not the team makes the cut.

Only once the team gets under the cap, the real cap, and begins to “bank” space can the Wings slowly accumulate the kind of space they would need to make more meaningful roster adjustments.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 11/14/13 at 11:26 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

By signing an entry-level contract at age 18 or 19 like Mantha & Nastasiuk did, they not only locked themselves into a 3-year deal, but they also locked themselves into the possibility of that deal ‘sliding” at the club’s whim.

Essentially if you’re junior-eligible and the team doesn’t use you for more than 9 NHL games before sending you back to juniors, that whole year doesn’t count as far as your contract being served.

So both Mantha and Nastasiuk are locked into the Wings’ organization until they’re 23 and they don’t have a choice as to whether it gets cleared sooner (other than to play so balls-out amazingly that the Wings have to take them straight from juniors and play them in the NHL… like Monaghan in Calgary)

In Mantha’s case, if he plays this year in Juniors and gets an overage exemption to do the same next year, he could re-enter the draft and find himself in a spot to be in the NHL two years earlier. 

Even if Mantha left the CHL and went to play in Europe, he could have found himself an unrestricted free agent at the age of 22, able to sign with any club (although he still would have had to sign an entry-level deal, it would have been two years instead of 3 and, depending on how dominant Mantha was in that time, could have come with more bonuses).

It’s kind of a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t setup for young kids who want to play in the NHL, but if there’s no faith in the Wings to give a guy his fair shake, then their agents should be instructing them not to sign their ELCs with Detroit.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/14/13 at 11:34 AM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Interesting. Thanks, J.J.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 11/14/13 at 11:37 AM ET

Primis's avatar

There are only two problems the Wings need to clear up.

One is named Holland.  The other is Babcock.

THERE are your two problems.

Holland created the situation, enough said on him.

Babcock, for all his defenses, still does dumb stuff like sit Tatar as punishment to the whole team apparently, and therefore loses any defense he has about not being the one signing guys to the roster.

The rest is all trickle-down, folks…

Posted by Primis on 11/14/13 at 12:09 PM ET

calquake's avatar

There are only two problems the Wings need to clear up.

One is named Holland.  The other is Babcock.

THERE are your two problems.

And replace them with who exactly?

Posted by calquake from a.k.a. Uniquake, workin' on my manifesto on 11/14/13 at 12:58 PM ET


Posted by calquake on 11/14/13 at 11:58 AM ET

Me and HockeyinHD

Posted by Garth on 11/14/13 at 12:59 PM ET

calquake's avatar

  Posted by calquake on 11/14/13 at 11:58 AM ET

Me and HockeyinHD

Posted by Garth on 11/14/13 at 11:59 AM ET

Thanks Garth, I appreciate the laugh. big surprise  Although I wonder how you would exist without killing each other. smile

Posted by calquake from a.k.a. Uniquake, workin' on my manifesto on 11/14/13 at 01:04 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Which one would coach and which one would GM?

This is important.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/14/13 at 01:06 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Which one would coach and which one would GM?

This is important.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/14/13 at 12:06 PM ET

Obviously, HD is the mastermind while Garth is relegated to coaching, hence my wondering aboot the killing. cheese

Posted by calquake from a.k.a. Uniquake, workin' on my manifesto on 11/14/13 at 01:12 PM ET


Posted by calquake on 11/14/13 at 12:12 PM ET

As long as he doesn’t re-sign Cleary I’m fine with that…

Posted by Garth on 11/14/13 at 01:32 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Me and HockeyinHD

Posted by Garth on 11/14/13 at 11:59 AM ET

May I also suggest you hire jkm2011 as your capologist.  I know he thinks he’s really very good.

Posted by calquake from a.k.a. Uniquake, workin' on my manifesto on 11/14/13 at 01:51 PM ET

Tripwire32's avatar

Me and HockeyinHD
Posted by Garth on 11/14/13 at 11:59 AM ET
May I also suggest you hire jkm2011 as your capologist.  I know he thinks he’s really very good.
Posted by calquake on 11/14/13 at 12:51 PM ET

JJ as senior vice-president & alternate governor, and Primus as Chief of Scouting. It would be great fun to be a fly on the wall in management meetings.    cool smile

Posted by Tripwire32 from Kay He Mar Heart on 11/14/13 at 02:02 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

Can I apply for a job as the superviser the guys that carry and hand out those little boxed Little Ceasar’s pizzas at the Joe?

I swear, I’ve never had a pizza taste nearly so good as one of those while beating the Blackhawks a couple years ago.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 11/14/13 at 11:54 PM ET



I don’t think there’s room in Sammy’s pants for the two of you.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 11/15/13 at 01:01 PM ET

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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.