The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/17/14 at 03:45 AM ET
Warning, warning, this entry contains a clearly-visible swear word!
This morning's entry took a bit of a turn when Capgeek Tweeted that it had new Red Wings contract info, so I headed over to their Red Wings salary cap chart, and of course Daniel Cleary's 1-year, $1.5 million contract now includes:
1. A base salary of $1.5 million (with a one-way salary; he'll make his $ regardless of whether he's in the NHL or AHL);
2. A $1 million performance bonus for 10 games played (which might be deferred to the 2015-2016 salary cap);
3. A no-trade clause;
4. And a $250,000 signing bonus. Because, y'know, promises and what-not. Happy summer!
Anyway...I was going to start by saying that Red Wings fans have long had a love-hate relationship with Cleary, mostly involving love during his productive years on the team, and a significant amount of anger, resentment and bitterness about the team bringing back Cleary last fall at the expense of one Gustav Nyquist's 2013-2014 season beginning in Grand Rapids (please also see: 28 goals, 20 assists and 48 points in 57 games played after Nyquist was recalled from Grand Rapids in late December)...
And then enduring a season in which Cleary was mostly "broken" due to groin and knee injuries, only to witness Cleary re-signed on July 10th because the team apparently promised to "take care of him" for either turning down a reported 3-year contract in the $7.5-to-$9.5 million range from Philadelphia and/or what may or may not have turned out to be a pro try-out contract instead.
Those of us who've made our dissent known regarding the concept that Cleary might win a roster spot over the likes of Tomas Jurco (the Wings' only waiver-exempt forward), the now-now-longer-waiver-exempt Landon Ferraro or Mitch Callahan, or even the spare part that is Joakim Andersson or the player that Wings fans insist is a borderline NHL'er at best in Luke Glendening...
We're upset. We're pissed off. We don't like the concept of Jurco getting Nyquist'd, Ferraro or Callahan waived even if they play better than Cleary does during training camp or the exhibition season, and we don't like the seeming inevitability that is Cleary simply winning a roster battle
Perhaps we're a bit bitter because we witnessed Mike Babcock and Ken Holland slowly evolve from holding, "Veterans win roster spots by default in October" and, "The kids aren't the answer" philosophies to find that the coach and GM actually embraced the concept that the "kids" might in fact be the key to making the playoffs, and making roster decisions accordingly, and then we watched the Wings swing and miss in free agency...
Only to make what appear to be both reactionary, expensive and lateral re-signings in the form of Cleary and Kyle Quincey, who parlayed a season in which he posted 13 points in 82 games and only finished at -5 after spending the most of the season hovering somewhere between -13 and -9 into a half-million-dollar-a-year raise and 2 more years of this...
And possibly 2 more years of this, given that our faith in the coaching and management staffs has been shattered:
Of course, along the way, we've been told that Ken Holland doesn't care what we think and that Daniel Cleary doesn't care what people on social media think.
Of course, the intonation that people on the interweb daring to have an opinion is dreadful because people who share their opinions on social media are all trolls who live under the same damn bridge, and we can't possibly understand that Cleary posting 8 points and finishing at -11 in 54 games played is totally not a reflection on his performance (though even Luke Glendening and his depleted uranium hands finished 1 point behind Cleary) or that Cleary having posted 23 points and finishing at a total of -16 over the past 2 seasons (Nyquist and Tomas Tatar out-scored Cleary's past-two-seasons performance during last year alone; Riley Sheahan equaled it in 42 games played, and Tomas Jurco's 15 points were registered over the course of 36 games played; don't even ask about Cleary's "fancy stats," because they're terrible).
I mean, shit, man, we're having the annual summertime, "The comments section is a zoo: do we kill it with fire?" discussion here on TMR, but I do in fact value the opinions everyone posits here. Not everybody is a troll, and the delicate suggestion-within-a-suggestion that Wings fans are somehow misinformed, if not a bunch of idiots, for daring to dislike Cleary's return is a bit insulting.
Cleary spoke with the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan on Tuesday evening, and Kulfan reports that Cleary's "Motivated by Red Wings fans' disapproval of his return":
Daniel Cleary doesn’t live on social media. And that might be a good thing. Since last week, social media have been ablaze with fans dumbfounded by the Red Wings re-signing the forward to a one-year contract worth $1.5 million (with the potential for $1 million in bonuses).
“That’s just the way it is these days,” Cleary said. “There are going to be opinions on everything. You can’t let it affect you, and I don’t. People are going to say whatever they want, and especially about pro sports. You can’t let it get to you.”
Cleary doesn’t. But don’t think for a second it doesn’t add a bit more fuel to Cleary’s offseason workouts as he hopes to rebound from a disappointing season (eight points, four goals, 52 games) cut short by a knee injury.
“You want to prove people wrong,” said Cleary, who is working with Plymouth-based trainer Mike Barwis. “My main objective is get healthy and play the way I know I can. Last year was a tough year.”
Again, we're being told that Cleary may in fact not "earn" a spot on the roster, especially if Daniel Alfredsson (see: tied for the team lead in scoring) returns...
“But that’s always the way it is, there’s always competition,” Cleary said. “Mike has always been consistent about that, about using who is playing well. Nothing will change.”
And the General Manager insists that the man who had a bad reaction to an injection of synthetic knee lubricant designed to buy time for people with bad osteoarthris in their knees (Cleary's knee issues are degenerative in nature) is going to rebound:
“He’s a player the coaches and his teammates like, and wanted him back,” Holland said. “He’s one of the leaders.”
“Dan had a tough season,” Holland said. “But he’s working hard, and we’re hopeful he’ll bounce back.”
All I can say is this: when a pal on Twitter posted a Daniel Cleary "banner," I had a hard time not responding with a Late Night Art With George's MS Paint-edited version:
In cheerier overseas news, Pavel Datsyuk's summer hockey school is underway in the Moscow suburb of Zelenograd, and Red Wings Grinder/Championat's Alexey Kovalevich will be among the media members taking part in a Datsyuk and hockey coaches vs. the media game today.
Datsyuk posted several Tweets regarding his mid-summer summit, now sponsored by the Russian cell phone company Megafon...
(I know that Sharks assistant coach Jay Woodcroft takes part in the school)
Pictures courtesy of Allhockey.ru's Alexander Shapiro
In news regarding lists and Wings competition: The Free Press's Brian Manzullo reports that two Michigan coaches made the Sporting News's "Top 25"...
The state of Michigan landed two coaches in the Sporting News’ top 25 active coaches among the six major sports (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, college football, college hoops).
Quoting the Sporting News:
13. Mike Babcock
Championships: Babcock led the Detroit Red Wings to the Stanley Cup championship in 2008.
Why he's here: "Babcock has more wins with the Red Wings than Jack Adams, but no Jack Adams Award. It's a weird bit of irony for one of hockey's best-regarded coaches. Last season, he presided over an impressive youth movement, and next season, should he move on, he's going to make a dump-truck's worth of money. If an NHL coach deserves it, it’s him." — Sean Gentille
Stat that matters: Babcock is big in the international game. He led Canada to the gold medals in the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics.
(I have this theory that Babcock's having a blast with the media speculation that he's going to "move on" despite his public statements to the contrary, and I'd imagine that he might use his leverage to double his $2 million annual salary, but that's just me)
SI's Allan Muir reports that the Wings did not fare so well in Forbes' annual ranking (they seem to rank everything under the sun) of sports' 50 most valuable franchises; only the Toronto Maple Leafs made the list as a $1.15-billion organization, but no other NHL team made the list (Forbes' NHL valuations, compiled last November, estimated the Wings' value at $470 million, and you can assume that the follow-on rink, now scheduled to open two years from now, will increase that number substantially);
In "checking out the competition" chatter, the Free Press's Helene St. James continues her assessments of the Wings Altantic Division rivals' off-season moves by surveying the Montreal Canadiens today. The Habs may have made the Eastern Conference Final, but they made some...unique...changes...
The Canadiens lost captain Brian Gionta and Thomas Vanek via free agency, and traded Josh Gorges and Danny Briere. Replenishment has taken the form of face-off master Manny Malhotra and defenseman Tom Gilbert, who joins his third team in three seasons. P.A. Parenteau was acquired for Briere. Gorges yielded a second-round pick.
Offensive defenseman P.K. Subban, a restricted free agent, remains unsigned.
Subban's currently scheduled to have a salary arbitration hearing on August 1st...
Swapping Parenteau for Briere looks good in light of the age difference between them — Parenteau is 31 and Briere is soon to be 37. Montreal took a chance on Vanek at the trade deadline, but he was a playoff disappointment, so it’s no surprise he isn’t returning.
The Canadiens are headlined by Carey Price, the elite goaltender whose 2014 was highlighted by an Olympic gold medal with Canada. Price left the playoffs in the third round after being injured in the first game against the Rangers, a loss the Habs couldn’t overcome.
The Canadiens are a middling team offensively, and Price is a big reason behind their top-10 finish defensively last season. They haven’t improved their scoring capability, and as a group Montreal’s defensemen don’t stack up to Boston’s or Tampa Bay’s.
A year ago in early June Chase Perry a 96 born goalie was given the news that he did not want to hear. The Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL would not have room for him after he attended their main camp. A week later the Wenatchee Wild drafted Chase on a flyer that he would leave his Minnesota high school team and come west to Wenatchee, Washington and play in the NAHL for the Wild.
Chase was recruited to come out to the Wild's main camp in July. Chase played well in the camp but not well enough to earn a spot on the Wild. We wanted to see more so we invited Chase along with two other goalies from the Wild's camp to attend a second camp held in Minnesota at no charge. We felt we had a NAHL veteran in goal coming in from Sweden in Gustof Johanson to be the starter but we needed a quality younger goalie to come in and back up. It should also be noted that Gustof would not be able to play until the end of October because of an injury. The backup would have a great opportunity to play a lot the first two months. Chase came to the second camp and narrowly beat out the other goalies. Chase had a spot with the Wild for the 2013-2014 season.
Chase came to Wenatchee with the promise that we would get him in a minimum of 15 games. He would have to earn anything else. What Chase did with this opportunity was show up to Wenatchee with a great attitude, a super work ethic, and team first mentality. What Chase left with 13 months later was team MVP, probably the most respected person on the team, many friendships that will last a lifetime, a scholarship to Colorado College for this upcoming season and to top it off Chase was selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the fifth round of this year's NHL draft.
And Ryan Sproul watched his pal Peter Holland make quite the shot after signing a 2-year contract with Toronto:
Here's hoping that Sproul finds himself in a similar situation two summers from now.
Otherwise...If you're into Green Slime, per the Free Press's Steve Schrader:
Justin Verlander is up for the Biggest Cannon award at the first Kids’ Choice Sports Awards, hosted by Michael Strahan at 8 tonight on Nickelodeon. Our other local nominees are Calvin Johnson for Favorite Catch, and Red Wings fans for Smells Like Team Spirit.
The Metro Times' Ryan Felton broke down the construction of the M-1 Rail line on Woodward (the planned stop on Sibley Street = right across from the Wings' follow-on rink)...
As a reminder, the Ted Lindsay Foundation is bringing HockeyFest to the Kroger in Canton, MI this Saturday...
And finally, in anticipation of the fun we're going to have in the comments section today, once again, we're trying to come up with ideas as to how to improve the inclusiveness of said comments section. Please share your opinions regarding what we can do to build up the TMR community in the comments section, on Twitter, Facebook or via email. The goal here remains improving the community as opposed to being punitive for the sake of being punitive.
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About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.