The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/22/14 at 02:14 AM ET
I missed a couple of days due to sinus bug, and my immune system picked the wrong days to miss!
Between Thursday and this morning, the Red Wings released their preseason schedule and the date of the team's home opener--the rest of the 2014-2015 season's schedule will be released today (the Free Press's Helene St. James Tweeted that it will be released at 4 PM EDT)
On Thursday, the Wings unofficially re-signed Jonas Gustavsson to a 1-year contract extension in the $1.5 million range;
The Wings also officially bought out Jordin Tootoo;
The news that the management has kicked the tires on Joe Thornton caused something of a tizzy, thought ESPN's Pierre LeBrun's insisted that the Wings have only engaged in tire-kicking as opposed to attempting to pry a 35-year-old Thornton from San Jose;
The combination of news that the Carolina Hurricanes hired former Wings assistant coach Bill Peters and that the Panthers are going to hire Montreal Canadiens assistant coach Gerard Gallant to helm their team means that the Wings need to find a new assistant--but the Canucks' hiring of Willie Desjardins and the state of the Penguins' coaching search indicate that Tom Renney will remain behind the Wings' bench for another season;
As the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan notes, we should expect Dominik Hasek and Mike Modano to be named part of the Hockey Hall of Fame's 2014 induction class on Monday;
And on Tuesday--ahead of two days of Board of Governors' meetings in Philadelphia, the start of the "Wining and Dining" period for free agents (June 25th to June 30) and the draft (on June 27th and 28th), DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose reports that a very important person will accompany Danny DeKeyser (an awards presenter) and Mike Babcock (who won't win the Jack Adams Award) to Las Vegas:
Ten weeks after he underwent life-saving heart surgery, Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay is heading to Las Vegas to once again present the trophy named in his honor at the NHL Awards next Tuesday.
Doctors replaced the Hockey Hall of Famer’s aortic valve at Beaumont Hospital in suburban Royal Oak on April 9. And the 88-year-old has been anything but sedentary since.
His road to recovery has featured physical therapy prescribed and monitored by his doctors and sprinkled with a few public appearances around metro Detroit, including the inaugural Matt Dery golf outing last week to benefit the Ted Lindsay Foundation.
“The doctors were phenomenal; what they can’t do today they’ll do tomorrow. My doctors were just great,” Lindsay said in a cell phone conversation Thursday. “The way the things are I can live, probably, forever, I guess.”
Lindsay’s healthy lifestyle, which has always included a physical fitness regimen, is credited for his speedy recovery from cardiac surgery, which was performed by Drs. Marc Sakwa, George Hanzel and Robert Welsh at Beaumont Health System.
This will be the fifth year that Lindsay will preside over the presentation of the Ted Lindsay Award, formerly known as the Lester Pearson Award.
Roose continues at length--NBCSN will air the awards live at 7 PM EDT, and the CBC tape-delays the broadcast, which it airs at 8 PM EDT) and he also noted the following regarding the draft (the first round takes place on Friday at 7 PM on NBCSN and TSN; rounds 2-7 start at 10 AM EDT on Saturday the 28th, and they air on the NHL Network and NHL.com):
PART 1: I'd like to start this "catch-up" post at the top, with Bill Peters' hiring, mostly because Peters never talked to the press (like so many assistant coaches, he was seen but not heard). The Hurricanes' website posted Peters' introduction presser here...
And you can listen to Peters and Ron Francis speak with the media via audio here:
The Hurricanes website's Michael Smith penned something of a recap of the presser...
“Bill was highly sought after, and I’m thrilled he chose to join our organization,” said Canes Executive Vice President and General Manager Ron Francis in an opening statement. “I’m confident we have the right guy to lead the Canes going forward.”
Peters, 48, comes to the Canes after spending three years behind the bench in Detroit as an assistant under Mike Babcock, in which he worked primarily with the defensive and penalty killing units. But that doesn’t mean he’s a stranger to being the bench boss.
Prior to joining Detroit’s staff, Peters served as the head coach of Rockford (American Hockey League), where he guided the team to a 122-97-21 record and two playoff berths over three seasons. Before that, Peters spent three years as the head coach of Spokane (Western Hockey League), where he posted a 111-82-23 record and captured a Memorial Cup title in 2008.
“Bill has been a head coach and a successful one at different levels. He comes from good organizations, and I’m sure as you saw, this is a guy that knows coaching,” Francis said. “We’re very comfortable, even though he hasn’t coached a game as a head coach in the NHL, that he’s going to be very successful at what he does.”
Peters first interviewed with the Canes a month ago in Detroit, when Francis and Assistant General Manager and Director of Hockey Operations Mike Vellucci were in town for a meeting with CEO and Owner Peter Karmanos.
From the get-go, Peters’ preparation and attention to detail impressed the Canes’ executive management.
“When we asked if he had anything for us, he had a booklet that broke everything down,” Francis said. “The next time, he had not only a booklet, but a PowerPoint with it. He’s extremely, extremely detailed. He’s going to communicate with our players, and they’ll know where he stands.”
“I think we developed a pretty good comfort level with myself, Mike Vellucci and Ron,” Peters said of the first interview. “As we went into the second interview, I got to meet a lot more of the management staff. It was very comforting with the communication we had over the past four weeks.”
As well as "Seven Takeaways"...
3. Accountability and Work Ethic: Accountability is a word utilized so often in hockey circles that the definition of it can sometimes be lost. What does the word mean to Peters, and how does he plan to ensure that accountability exists in the locker room and on the ice? Here’s what he had to say:
“I have the ultimate hammer as the coach, and the hammer is the ice time. They all want ice time, they all feel they deserve more ice time, they all want to play in the situations that match their skill set. I’m all for that as long as you’re giving me the things that I need.”
A consistent, solid work ethic is going to be the foundation for the Canes’ team identity under Peters. Those who pull their weight will be rewarded, and those who don’t won’t.
“The work ethic part of it is not negotiable. You look around the league at any team that’s any good, they’re some of the hardest working teams in the league. That’s where it starts,” Peters said. “The guys will know what’s expected. The guys that can deliver and play on a consistent basis are going to be the guys going out over the wall and getting the opportunity.”
The Associated Press's write-up noted that Peters insisted that the Hurricanes don't need a massive overhaul...
"When I did my due diligence and went to look at rosters ... we're not far off," Peters said. "I think there's lots of pieces here and it's up to us and our coaching staff ... to max our group out."
He replaces Kirk Muller, who was fired last month -- a week into Francis' tenure as GM -- and went 80-80-27 in three seasons with no playoff berths.
Instead of an established NHL head coach or a popular ex-player, Francis went with Peters -- a 48-year-old Detroit Red Wings assistant who has never been an NHL head coach but was in demand this offseason.
Peters said he interviewed for two other jobs and Francis says he spoke to 10 candidates during "a pretty extensive search," narrowing that to a three-man short list before deciding on Peters and giving him a three-year contract.
And Fox Sports Carolinas' Lauren Brownlow noted that this part of Peters' presser sounded...Babcockian...
"I want to be a hard-working team, obviously. Every coach is going to tell you that, but there's work ethic indicators as coaches that we can pick up on in the game, postgame, watching the video, breaking down the chances for and against and everything else," Peters said. "Guys will know what's expected. The guys that can deliver and play and do it on a consistent basis are going to be the guys that are going out over the wall and getting the opportunity."
The Raleigh News & Observer's Chip Alexander talked about the Peters-Francis partnership and he profiled Peters, Luke DeCock wondered aloud why the Hurricanes hired someone without "star power," and Nolan McCaskill noted that fans don't know who the hell Peters is, Peters spoke with the NHL Live (and it's interesting to note that the CBC's Elliotte Friedman believes that the Hurricanes snuck Peters out from under the Pittsburgh Penguins' noses) and the Red Wings' current head coach spoke with the News & Observer's Joe Giglio about Peters' departure:
Peters’ former boss in Detroit, Mike Babcock, has no doubt the Hurricanes hired the right coach.
He said it’s not a question of whether Peters, who worked for Babcock the past three seasons with the Red Wings, will be successful in his first NHL head coaching job.
“It’s not he could be, he will be,” Babcock said. “He’s a hockey guy and real good coach. It’s a big loss for us.”
Holland addressed Peters' departure while speaking with MLive's Brendan Savage...
"Bill did a real good job for us for two years," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. "He's a good man. He has a lot of passion, good work ethic.
"Having an opportunity to work with Mike Babcock for a couple of years obviously helped his development. He helped make us better and I would like to think we gave him an opportunity to develop as a coach."
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...
"We're real happy for Bill; he's worked real hard," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. "He has a lot of passion for coaching. Working the last few seasons with Mike Babcock has helped in Bill's development as a coach, and that experience should help him into the future."
Peters joins Todd McLellan (San Jose), Doug MacLean (Ottawa) and Jeff Blashill (American League title with Grand Rapids) as Babcock assistants who've left the Red Wings and had success.
"Bill has worked closely with Mike and (associate coach) Tom Renney; they've refined the system over the years, and just working with a coach like Mike Babcock, that will go a long way," Holland said. "Bill will hold people accountable and he has a great work ethic."
Holland and Babcock will formulate a list of candidates to replace Peters leading to the NHL draft in Philadelphia June 27-28. With so many head coaches being fired this offseason – and not landing jobs elsewhere – there could be a deep pool of candidates.
Holland said Blashill, who was Babcock's assistant for one season before going to Grand Rapids, will stay with the Griffins.
“Mike Babcock’s done a good job in finding replacements when we’ve lost people,” Holland said. “I’ll talk to him in the next day or two. We’ll start out by exchanging ideas. I’m sure some people will reach out to us and tell us that they’re interested in the job in Detroit and we’ll slowly find a replacement.”
Peters, who spent the last three seasons in Detroit, replaces Kirk Muller in Carolina and will be introduced Friday as the Hurricanes’ 13th coach in franchise history.
Peters, 48, was primarily in charge of the penalty kill and defensemen while with the Wings.
“I’m sure Mike is thinking about it right now,” Holland said. “I’m in no rush. There have been so many people let go in the industry the last month I’m sure there’s a few looking for another opportunity. And I’m sure there are people with real good experience in the American League or juniors that would like an opportunity. We’ll have some good candidates and we’ll eventually find somebody.”
Peters bade farewell to Detroit via an interview with the Free Press's Helene St. James:
"I'll take the culture of winning in Detroit with me," Peters told the Free Press. "Our players are every day-ers, and that's going to be our challenge in Carolina, to win every game. Our expectations are going to be high, we're going to improve our work ethic across the board, and that will allow us to have more success."
Peters, who'd also interviewed with the Florida Panthers for their head coaching vacancy, called the Carolina gig, "a good opportunity for me and my family." The Hurricanes are owned by Detroit businessman Peter Karmanos, Jr.
While with the Wings, Peters worked mainly with the defense and penalty kill. Now he'll have the whole scope of the team as his responsibility - and he's eager to get started. "There's lots of work ahead of us," he said. "It's an exciting time. I'm going to get into the inner workings of the organization, start calling some players and building relationships."
The Hockey News's Adam Proteau also posted some outside-the-organization perspective via the last member of the front office to leave the organization for another team (at the NHL level; Grand Rapids Griffins assistant coach Spiros Anastas is heading to the University of Lethbridge), a gentleman who discussed the Wings' status as something of a coaching and managerial university:
The question was put to Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill in late 2013: with the GM role having the potential to eat up every waking moment and most of the unawake moments of a man’s life, is delegation of duties a crucial part of his decision-making? His answer was the first thing that came to mind when news broke that the Carolina Hurricanes had hired as their new head coach Detroit Red Wings assistant coach Bill Peters.
“It’s the key to your success,” Nill told The Hockey News. “That’s one thing I learned from (longtime Red Wings executives) Jim Devellano and (current GM) Ken Holland: you have to hire the right people. I talked to my staff about this the other day: the real reward is going to be when my phone starts to ring in a few years and it’s other teams wanting to hire the people we’ve hired.
“I remember (Wings owners) Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch talking about that. That’s what makes them so proud of their organization: they’ve got a coach in San Jose (Todd McLellan), a coach in Ottawa (Paul MacLean), a GM in Tampa Bay (Steve Yzerman), and a GM in Dallas. It shows you’re doing the right things as an organization and that’s what I want to build here. I want good people to do a good job, and I want them to be rewarded not only on the ice, but in the future.”
On the trade front, three centres are drawing a lot of attention. Amongst them is Joe Thornton, who has a no-movement clause. Would he willing to waive it?
LeBrun: Joe Thornton has yet to tell the San Jose Sharks he wants to be moved somewhere. Right now, Thornton wants to stay in San Jose. Could that change by the end of the summer? I suppose it could before the end of the summer. In the meantime, teams who are intrigued are calling San Jose. Amongst those teams are the Detroit Red Wings. Thornton is from St. Thomas, not too far from Detroit but, again, none of that talk means anything until Thornton decides to tell the Sharks he does not want to be a part of the rebuilding plan, and that has not happened at this point.
But LeBrun clarified the Thornton situation on Friday, and let's be realistic here: he doesn't play defense, so this is most certainly tire-kicking as opposed to earnest interest:
One club we’re told that is intrigued is the Detroit Red Wings, although at this point it's just that, pure intrigue and other than a very preliminary discussion, there hasn't been much work done on that front.
For starters, I don’t think Detroit can do something of that magnitude as long as Stephen Weiss and his $4.9 million cap hit remains on the books for the next four years. Good luck moving that contract.
Secondly, who's to say Thornton would include Detroit on his list of teams if the day should ever come that he decides to accept a deal?
It’s worth repeating, there’s no indication yet that Thornton wants to move on. At least not yet.
The Wings have more than enough centers, and the Wings need to utilize what cap space they'll have after re-signing restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, whatever Jonas Gustavsson ends up costing to determine Daniel Alfredsson's future and look for a top-pair or top-four defenseman.
The Wings don't need Joe Thornton and the Wings don't need to surrender the kinds of assets that the San Jose Sharks would demand for Joe Thornton for a 35-year-old center.
As Paul posted on Friday, Ken Daniels did indeed speak about Peters' departure as it applies to the Wings' coaching situation and possible free agency moves from the 15:44 mark of HockeyCentral at Noon's Friday noon-chat-cast until the 31-minute mark, and he discusses the fact that the Wings need a defenseman, not a forward, to aid their cause.
He also talked about the Wings' prospects, Jeff Blashill and Babcock's statuses (he expects Babcock to remain with the team), the potential of having a healthy Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg on the roster, Peters' successor (not Chris Chelios, probably not Jiri Fischer) Ted Lindsay's status as a hard-core workout achiever:
PART 3: Ken Holland told MLive's Ansar Khan and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness that the team was placing Jordin Tootoo on waivers for the purpose of buying him out via the team's final salary cap-complaince buy-out, with Holland telling Pleiness this:
“We don’t want to pay someone the kind of money he’s making to play in the American League,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said on Wednesday. “He doesn’t want to be in the American League. He wants another opportunity to be in the National Hockey League.
“After talking to Mike he thinks that with the development of our kids we are better served using them; and that they can bring certain things to the table so it all added up to doing this,” Holland continued. “I told Toots at the end of the year if we didn’t have a plan for him to be in Detroit next year that it would be in his best interest and ours to place him on waivers. This is step one.”
On Thursday, Tootoo cleared waivers, and the Wings bought him out.
Tootoo spoke to the CBC North about his situation....
Tootoo says after spending three quarters of the past season in the minors because of salary cap issues his ultimate goal is to get back into the NHL.
Tootoo says he found out about the waivers situation Wednesday night in Yellowknife, as he was returning from a community tour of Nunavut's Kitkmeot region, where he didn't have cell service.
He wouldn't say if he has a team he'd prefer to play with.
"I have so much to offer to any team that hopefully signs me," he said. "So right now I'm going to keep going here day by day, work hard in the gym and hopefully get another chance."
And he really did seem overwhelmed:
The Free Press's St. James did a little bit of theorizing regarding said move:
Tootoo played in 42 of the 48 games during the lockout-shortened 2013 season but was used only once in the playoffs. As the 2013-14 season grew into November, he was a healthy scratch more and more often, culminating in spending most of the season with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
The Wings are working to add a top-four defenseman and a top-six forward to their lineup. They currently have about $50 million committed in salaries towards next season, when the salary cap is expected to rise to somewhere around $70 million. Of that $20 million in space, however, the Wings have $3 million in bonus overflow penalties, and also need to set aside money to re-sign restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser, Tomas Tatar and Riley Sheahan.
You may take the Hockey News's Proteau's take on the Wings' decision to cut ties with Tootoo, Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson for what you will...
Detroit comes out of this pretty much unscathed. Gustav Nyquist made the most of his sophomore campaign, picking up a ton of offensive slack when Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg went down with injuries and now all three will be raring to go in the fall. Tomas Tatar showed that he too could be a full-time contributor, while Danny DeKeyser was great on the blueline until his own shoulder malady cut into his rookie campaign. And Brendan Smith finally got to play a full season with the Red Wings, proving he belonged during an effective year.
The Wings still have some big-name free agents to deal with, notably Daniel Alfredsson, who led them in scoring during that bizarre 2013-14 campaign. And Jordin Tootoo has already been put on waivers. But for a team that has always been super-patient with its youth, Detroit now has several kids who really took advantage of their opportunities when the Wings needed them.
Now Detroit no longer needs Bertuzzi, Samuelsson or Tootoo – and the Wings can probably jettison a veteran or two more. If anything, they’ll be even more dangerous in 2014-15 now.
And I don't think that the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons, who's been a passionate advocate for Steve Moore since Day 1, is aware of the fact that Bertuzzi's battled chronic and debilitating back and leg issues for a while now, never mind the concept that someone who committed a monstrous act could be a human being, too:
I don’t imagine there will be much of a market if any for the 39-year-free agent, Todd Bertuzzi, especially with the Steve Moore civil suit coming up in September.
The trial's been bumped back before, it might be bumped back again, and I still wouldn't be all that surprised if the NHL finds a way to reach a settlement with Moore and his attorney, Tim Danson.
PART 4: The Wings haven't officially signed Jonas Gustavsson to an extension for one and only one reason: he wasn't able to sign on the dotted line, as the Free Press's St. James reported on Thursday:
General manager Ken Holland told the Free Press today that "it appears we've agreed to a one-year deal."
Gustavsson, 29, was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent July 1, but both sides were interested in extending a relationship that began in the summer of 2012. Gustavsson is coming off a two-year, $3-million deal. His extension is expected to be in the same $1.5-million ballpark.
Holland said Gustavsson has returned to Sweden, but paperwork should be sorted out within days.
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan took note of the soon-to-be-signing...
Gustavsson just completed a two-year contract worth $3 million and will earn slightly more than the $1.5 million average for next season.
He was 16-5-4 last season with a .2.71 goals-against average and 907 save percentage.
"He played real well for us last season and we expect him to form a solid 1-2 punch with Jimmy Howard next season," general manager Ken Holland said. "We wanted Jonas back, he did a real good job for us, gave us opportunities to win when he was in there."
And MLive's Ansar Khan took note of Holland's take on Gustavsson's signing...
The Red Wings and Gustavsson agreed Thursday to a one-year contract extension. Gustavsson, who earned $1.5 million per season on his recently expired two-year deal, will make at least that much in 2014-15.
"Gus played real well, had a lot to do with us making the playoffs," Holland said. "He gives us some security, a one-two punch with Jimmy Howard. The only downside is he spent some time on IR with the groin."
As well as the impact that Gustavsson's re-signing has upon Petr Mrazek:
"This gives us the opportunity to have Petr Mrazek play lots of games in the AHL," Holland said. "We like Gus. We got Mrazek. A year from now we'll evaluate where we're at."
Gustavsson was seeking a two-year deal but the Red Wings could not commit to more than one season to a backup because Mrazek is virtually assured of making the NHL roster in 2015-16.
Mrazek, 22, is exempt from waivers for two more seasons but his entry-level contract expires next summer. Without an assurance that he'll be in the NHL in '15-16, he might opt to play in Europe. The Red Wings won't let that happen.
The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness also found good news about Gustavsson's off-season training regimen:
“Gus played real well and had a lot to do with us making the playoffs,” Holland said. “The frustrating thing is it’s been a real battle with him with groins. We talked about it at the end of the season. He’s hoping to do something this summer to have better luck with groins.”
PART 5: The Red Wings' 2014-2015 preseason schedule reads as follows...
Detroit, MI – The Detroit Red Wings today announced their 2014-15 preseason schedule. The Red Wings will skate in a total of eight preseason games, including four games at Joe Louis Arena, highlighted by three matchups with Original Six rivals in the Chicago Blackhawks (Thu., Sept. 25), Boston Bruins (Sat., Sept. 27) and Toronto Maple Leafs (Mon., Sept. 29). A home showdown against the Pittsburgh Penguins is also slated for Wed., Oct. 1. Tickets for all Red Wings home preseason games will go on sale Fri., Aug. 15 at 10:00 a.m. and can be purchased at the Joe Louis Arena Box Office (313-471-7575), all Ticketmaster outlets (800-745-3000) or online at DetroitRedWings.com. The complete 2014-15 preseason schedule can be found below.
DETROIT RED WINGS 2014-15 PRESEASON SCHEDULE
DATE DAY SITE TIME (ET) September 22 Mon. at Pittsburgh CONSOL Energy Center 7:00 23 Tue. at Chicago United Center 8:30 25 Thu. CHICAGO Joe Louis Arena 7:30 27 Sat. BOSTON Joe Louis Arena 7:00 29 Mon. TORONTO Joe Louis Arena 7:30 October 1 Wed. PITTSBURGH Joe Louis Arena 7:30 3 Fri. at Toronto Air Canada Centre TBD 4 Sat. at Boston TD Garden 5:00
And if you were not already aware of the situation, the Free Press's St. James pointed out that a certain Anthony Mantha will be competing for a spot in the lineup...
This could be a more exciting exhibition season than usual, seeing as those auditioning for jobs with the Wings includes Anthony Mantha, the 20th overall pick from the 2013 NHL entry draft. Mantha is turning pro after wrapping up his junior career by once again hitting the 50-goal mark for Val-d'Or. Wings management is keen to see whether the 6-foot-4 forward is ready for NHL action (he only turns 20 in September).
The early plan is to give him 5-6 exhibition games to make his case. If he’s not, Mantha will go to Grand Rapids but will be near the top of the call-up list in case of injury.
Other prospects who will be given good looks this fall include defenseman Xavier Ouellet and Ryan Sproul and forward Teemu Pulkkinen.
PART 6: The Red Wings also released the details regarding their home-opener on Saturday:
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings quest for the 12th Stanley Cup in franchise history begins on Thursday, Oct. 9, when the Boston Bruins, the defending Presidents’ Trophy winners, pay a visit to Hockeytown for a 7:30 p.m. showdown at Joe Louis Arena.
In conjunction with Opening Night, all fans in attendance will receive a 2014-15 Red Wings magnet schedule, courtesy of Belle Tire, as Detroit and Boston meet in a rematch of last year’s opening round series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The matchup will mark the 11th time in franchise history that the two Original Six opponents have squared off in the Red Wings Home Opener and the first time since the 1973-74 campaign. Overall, the Red Wings are 47-31-9 in Home Openers and own a 5-5-0 record in opening games against the Bruins.
Detroit Red Wings vs. Boston Bruins — October 9
It’s a playoff rematch between a Red Wings team that was game and beat up and a Bruins team that was too good and too much for the Wings. Now that they’re division rivals and they have a playoff battle under their belts, perhaps we’ve got the start of a good rivalry.
The Red Wings should have Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg at full strength while the Bruins will still have Tuukka Rask and Patrice Bergeron excelling. These two teams bring the best out of each other but the Bruins will be coming off an opening night game at home against Philadelphia. Nothing like back-to-backs to start the season.
PART 7: According to the NHL's media website, the NHL and TSN2 will announce the Hockey Hall of Fame's 2014 induction class at 3 PM EDT, and there will be a media conference call at 3:30. NHL.com kind of sort of let us know that three players (the selection committee can pick up to 4 male players, 2 female players and a "builder") are all but slam-dunks:
Dominik Hasek, Peter Forsberg and Mike Modano are among the favorites to earn entry into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014 in their first time on the ballot.
The Hockey Hall of Fame Selection Committee will meet June 23-24 and announce the Hall's 2014 inductees June 24. It will be the first selection meeting for committee chairman John Davidson, the Columbus Blue Jackets president of hockey operations, who was named to the post in April.
Hasek, with his unorthodox style, became one of the greatest goaltenders in the game's history. He won the Vezina Trophy six times and is the only goaltender to win the Hart Trophy in consecutive seasons (1997-98). He won the William Jennings Trophy three times, the Ted Lindsay Award twice, and played in six NHL All-Star Games. He won the Stanley Cup twice with the Detroit Red Wings, as the starter in 2002 and as the backup to Chris Osgood in 2008.
Among those on the ballot for the first time, having been retired three years, are Mark Recchi, Doug Weight, Owen Nolan and Chris Osgood. Players from past years under consideration are Eric Lindros and Tom Barrasso.
The inductees will be honored at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Nov. 10, along with USA Today hockey reporter Kevin Allen, the winner of the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism, and Chicago Blackhawks play-by-play announcer Pat Foley, who received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for broadcasting.
The Detroit News's Kulfan spoke with both Modano and an unlikely first-year inductee in Osgood about the possibility of getting the call from the Selection Committee on Monday morning (or, more likely these days, Sunday night). Kulfan notes that on Thursday, the Dallas Stars marked the 15th anniversary of their 1999 Stanley Cup Championship as something of a conversation-starter:
[T]here wasn’t much Thursday in terms of celebrating the anniversary. Modano and his wife Allison are expecting twins within a few weeks.
“A lot going on,” Modano said. “The anticipation and preparation. It’s an exciting time. I can’t believe it’s been 15 years. Gone by quick.”
Hasek and Modano are likely to be linked again Monday. Both are expected to be named to the Hockey Hall of Fame, two of four former Red Wings on the ballot with Hall of Fame credentials.
Chris Osgood and Brian Rafalski are also on the ballot and are at least in the discussion of being Hall of Fame worthy.
Incidentally, all but Hasek were on the 2010-11 Red Wings team and retired that summer.
“I know for a lot of guys, making the Hall of Fame, that’s what you think about, that’s what you wonder if you’ve done enough,” Osgood said. “It’s something I’d like to make.”
Kulfan also spoke with Ken Holland about Modano and Hasek's influences upon the team, and Modano makes a surprising remark about the severed tendon in his wrist that cut his campaign short:
“I had a ball,” Modano said. “I really did, until I got hurt. Just the response I received around town from people, getting the opportunity to play in front of family, it was special. Had I not gotten hurt, I really believe I could have played there another season or two.”
I can't quote all of Kulfan's article, but he talks with Holland and Osgood about Hasek and Brian Rafalski, and, regarding #30's legacy. Osgood makes a telling remark about the 2009 Cup final...
PART 8: Regarding the NHL Awards, I thought you might get a chuckle out of this take on Babcock-vs-Patrick Roy from the Colorado Springs Gazette's Angelo Stambene:
Will win –People will say that Mike Babcock was able to coach the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit’s minor league affiliate) to the NHL playoffs, but that’s exactly what a coach is supposed to do. Granted, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk were both limited to 45 games, but is a team with Daniel Alfredsson, Niklas Kronwall, Johan Franzen, Jimmy Howard and Justin Abdelkader really at a disadvantage?
Should win –It cannot be understated that Patrick Roy took one of the worst teams in the league last year to first place in the division, third overall and a playoff berth. Roy coached one of the worst defensive units in the league, which was a secret to no one, and still was able to win 76 percent of the games (first place in the NHL) in which the team was outshot.
The Detroit News's Kulfan disagrees with Stambene's forecast. He's picking Roy for the same reasons Stambene says Roy should win.
PART 9: Regarding the NHL Draft: ESPN's Corey Pronman posited an Insider-only blog entry discussing the possible draft strategies for Atlantic Division teams, and here's what he had to say about the Wings:
Detroit Red Wings
Strengths: The Red Wings have a pretty deep system, partly due to good drafting and partly due to a massive traffic jam over the past few seasons between Grand Rapids and Detroit. If the strength leans anywhere, it's toward the forwards, as Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar finally worked their way into regular playing time this season ... and there are more coming. Tomas Jurco and Riley Sheahan showed well in the NHL, Anthony Mantha had a huge season in the QMJHL and Teemu Pulkkinen was impressive in the AHL. Detroit's depth on defense shows with Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul, Alexei Marchenko and Mattias Backman. Petr Mrazek and Jake Paterson are a solid goalie duo.
Weaknesses: Detroit could use some help at center, especially if Sheahan graduates. Mattias Janmark is an interesting prospect that Detroit drafted last year as a re-entry, but given that top centers Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are getting up there in age, it would be beneficial to shore up that part of the organization.
Recommended strategy: I'd try and get a center in the first round for Detroit. A player like David Pastrnak or Robby Fabbri would be a nice add. I'd also target a couple of long-term prospects in college and European players who they can take three to four years to sign instead of burning out their first pro contract in a long stay in the AHL.
RedWingsCentral's not so sure that the Wings will use the 15th pick at all, and I'm leaning toward agreeing with them:
[T]he seven times in the past eight years the Red Wings have held a first-round pick, they’ve traded down and acquired an extra pick, usually landing two selections in the second round instead of just one in the first.
Typically this occurs when the prospects the Red Wings were targeting are taken by other teams. Since the scouting staff ranks prospects in tiers where appropriate, the Red Wings can often guarantee a player in the current tier will still be available at the lower pick they’ve acquired. In that case, the extra selection is just a bonus.
RedWingsCentral continues, but if you're familiar with last year's trade, which landed the team Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi, or the team's trade-down to get Tomas Jurco and Xavier Ouellet in 2011, you may be familiar with the process.
The Red Wings do not have a second-round pick in the 2014 draft because they traded it to Nashville to acquire David Legwand. Their remaining picks are in the third round (76th overall), fourth (106th), fifth (136th), sixth (166th) and two in the seventh (196th and 201st).
The 201st pick comes from San Jose in a move that saw the Sharks acquire the negotiating rights to unrestricted free agent Brad Stuart before re-signing him.
RedWingsCentral suggests that at least one of the final two picks will be a "Hakan Anderssn" home-run attempt, while noting that there have been more Jesper Samuelssons than Jonathan Ericssons. I will certainly be utilizing RWC as a main source of information regarding the Wings' new prospects on Friday and Saturday, and I hope you will, too.
Sporstnet's just posted its top 30 draft rankings in the form of a three-part series incorporating infographics and prospect profiles, the Hockey News's Ryan Kennedy tossed off his "Top 100," and MLive's Brendan Savage is picking defenseman Anthony DeAngelo as something of a "dark horse" player.
PART 10: In the "Noise and Thunder" department, from the Detroit News's Mike Martindale...
A lawsuit seeking an injunction against Detroit Red Wings Darren Helm and Tomas Tatar for late-night activity inside a Royal Oak condominium has been resolved and dismissed, according to an attorney Thursday.
The Main Street Lofts Condominium Association filed a complaint in Oakland Circuit Court in March asking the hockey players to comply with the association's noise rules or "vacate the premises."
"Specifics of the agreement are confidential but you can report that the matter has been resolved," said Cheryl V. Jordan, an attorney for the association.
An order dismissing the complaint was signed Thursday by Judge Denise Langford Morris.
And in more weighty news, from the Detroit Free Press's Brian Manzullo, this was pretty cool:
When one user, @BlondeBarbie103, tweeted: “#futuregoals marry a @DetroitRedWings player #puckbunny” this morning, the Wings took notice and responded with this:
PART 11: As Paul noted, the Bob Probert Memorial Ride takes place in Windsor, Ontario today, and the Windsor Star's Bob Duff spoke with Probert's daughters regarding the event:
The fourth annual Bob Probert Memorial Ride is slated for Sunday. Already, the event has raised more than $260,000 in net proceeds for cardiac care in Windsor and Essex County.
“It’s so incredible to be able to turn such a tragedy to us and our family into something so amazing to benefit the community and turn this into an amazing thing, because truly it is an amazing thing for Windsor and the Essex County community,” Tierney said.
PART 12: Regarding the horse-trading at the draft and the free agency period to come:
Regarding the Wings' top free agent targets, ESPN's Craig Custance reported this about Matt Niskanen...
The Hockey News's Matt Larkin also suggested that it's "buyer beware" regarding Niskanen:
Matt Niskanen: Niskanen just had a career year. A major raise on his $2.3-million cap hit is imminent and deserved. This is a handy player, a highly useful addition to someone’s top four, well-rounded and just 28. But he exploded for 10 goals and 46 points in his seventh NHL season when his previous bests were six goals and 35 points. The latter totals are a realistic expectation. If he leaves the high-octane Penguins attack, the points won’t pile up as easily. But because he’ll have such a long line of suitors, someone will pay dearly for his career year, in term and price.
On Wednesday, June 18th TSN's Pierre LeBrun reported that the Islanders were trying to trade Dan Boyle's rights, but I would be surprised if anybody wants to give up a draft pick to speak with him between today and the opening of the "wining and dining" period on the 25th, a.k.a. this upcoming Wednesday;
Regarding Anton Stralman, the New York Post's Larry Brooks reports that the Rangers will be able to pony up at least $4 million to keep the 4-5-6 defenseman, and that seems very reasonable;
Regarding the interview period itself, CBS Sports' Brian Stubits found that the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo clarified the rules of the wining and dining period, and in theory, no numbers are to be exchanged, at least in specific terms:
In the June 18 memo (read over the phone to me by an agent), the league states, “After discussions with a number of general managers, we have revised and hopefully clarified with regard to last summer the permissible parameters of player contract and communication during the applicable interview periods.
“Please be advised that clubs are permitted to discuss the potential interest in as well as general parameters of a potential future contractual relationship with another club’s pending RFA or UFA during the applicable interview periods. The clubs may not enter any agreements or make any binding offers, promises, … oral or written concerning the terms of a potential SPC (standard players contract) with another club’s pending RFA or UFA.”
So in other words, teams and agents can now discuss the general parameters of a deal, as in, “I’ll be looking for a seven-year deal at around $5 million annually,” etc., meaning now players and agents at least know where each other is at heading into July 1 and know who’s in the game and who isn’t.
Last year, there seemed to be confusion where nobody had any idea of what could and couldn’t be discussed during the interview period. Some teams/agents apparently followed the rules, some teams didn’t, which created a conundrum that ticked off the teams that did follow the rules.
See: the Flyers basically inking Vincent Lecavalier to a contract they might buy him out of within two days' of interviews.
If the Wings are to make a trade at the draft, the Free Press's Helene St. James suggests that they target Keith Yandle:
Yandle is a franchise face for the Phoenix Coyotes, an aggressive top-notch defender who loves to make plays offensively. He has finished in the top seven among NHL defensemen in scoring the past two seasons. Last year, he had eight goals and 45 assists for 53 points. He has topped 40 points in four of the past five seasons and had 30 points in the lockout-shortened 2013 season.
Yandle is an excellent point man, producing a team-leading 31 power-play points in 2013-14, six more than any Wings player contributed during man advantages. He has got a durability not seen in Detroit since Nicklas Lidstrom headed back to Sweden, with Yandle having a perfect attendance record for five straight seasons. He turns 28 in September, so he has only just crossed into his prime.
Yandle is three seasons into a five-year, $26.25-million contract that has an annual salary-cap hit of $5.25 million. It’s an extremely palatable contract given that if Yandle were an unrestricted free agent this summer, he’d easily command $7 million a season.
Here’s the sobering fact about a possible Yandle trade: The Coyotes are going to want the moon in exchange for so valuable an asset. At the very least, they would demand one of the following young players — Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurco, Anthony Mantha — and a high-end draft pick. Demands might even extend to a second player, such as Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm or Jakub Kindl.
That's the problem. Yandle would cost a ridiculous amount--one of the Wings' top 3 or 4 prospects, a 1st-round pick and, I would argue, an NHL defenseman in return (as in Brendan Smith, not Jakub Kindl), and I don't know if the Wings can afford that.
And finally, I do have to ask. 11 days before I leave for Traverse City, I'm a good...Eight hundred bucks short of breaking even, and that's all I try to do on these trips, not end up having to yank my pockets out my pants. If you can lend a hand, I would be incredibly grateful.
Over the three years that the Wings have held development camps in Traverse City, I've asked for your help in raising the finances to cover my hotel and gas bills, and you've been amazingly and remarkably kind in affording me the opportunity to "work for you"; due to my present financial circumstances, I'm afraid that I have to ask for your assistance again.
If there's any way that you can lend a financial hand in my attempts to get up to Traverse City for the summer development camp and/or eventually to attend the prospect tournament and main camp in the fall, I would be incredibly grateful for any help.
I'm sticking with Paypal as it's the most direct route (though I will also do the whole, "Give me your address and I'll send you a check or a few bucks in the mail" thing, too), and you have to use my email address, rtxg at yahoo dot com, as the recipient.
Here's the button:
If you can aid the cause, I'd be incredibly grateful; if you can't, I understand, and as usual, literally any amount helps. You'd be surprised how many $5, $10 and $20 donations end up paying my way. Thanks.
Update: NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale suggests that the Wings have the following "draft needs":
DETROIT RED WINGS
Top priority: Depth on defense
The situation: The Red Wings got strong contributions this season from members of their 2013 Calder Cup-winning team in Grand Rapids, among them forwards Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco. Their development was crucial considering Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg aren't getting any younger. It's never a bad idea to bolster the prospect cupboard with offensive talent, something the Red Wings scouting staff always has taken great pride in. It would seem, however, that adding depth along the blue line and in goal might be the plan this year, particularly with the rapid development of right wing Anthony Mantha (2013, No. 20). It appears Petr Mrazek (2010, No. 141) will back up Jimmy Howard next season, so now might be the time to groom another young goalie.
Also: Fox Sports Detroit earned an Emmy Award for its Winter Classic Alumni Showdown coverage. Click the link for five minutes of way-back machine fun.
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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.