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Red Wings overnight report: Holland heads west and Smith chats with TSN 1050

The NHL's 2013-2014 schedule was supposed to be released today, but only in the case of the NHL, the IIHF and the International Olympic Committee having agreed upon a framework for NHL participation in the 2014 Olympics...

And the IOC isn't the kind of organization that likes to be rushed, the NHL and the IIHF aren't exactly bestest buddies, and even by Russian governmental project standards, the Sochi Olympics' construction, infrastructure-building and organization are so grossly bloated and bogged down by corruption and kickbacks that it might make Vladimir Putin blush through his botox.

So who the hell knows whether we're going to see a schedule today, tomorrow or two weeks from now. That two-week break in mid-February is something of a "keystone" as far as the 13-14 schedule's concerned, so until the deal is done, we'll all be in the same holding pattern that so many free agents find themselves in as general managers head to their summer homes.

This morning's crop of Red Wings news builds upon the last day's worth of chatter from Wings GM Ken Holland and the re-signing of Brendan Smith to a 2-year contract.

The closing of the Wings' summer development camp yields a six-or-so-week-window's worth of R&R for the Red Wings' front office, and, as the Free Press's George Sipple notes, that means whatever constitutes vacation time for Holland, who built upon the, "If we're done making moves we're fine" conversations Holland conducted with MLive's Ansar Khan and NHL.com's Dan Rosen:

Holland still has to work out deals with forwards Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson, who are restricted free agents.

The Wings may bring back veteran forward Daniel Cleary, but they would have to make some subtractions from their current roster to make that happen. Cleary could decide to sign elsewhere rather than wait.

The Wings already are over $66 million in payroll for 2013-14 and must get down to $64.3 million by the start of the season.

“I know I’ve got to sign Andersson. I know I’ve gotta sign Nyquist,” Holland said. “It’s starting to get pretty quiet in our industry, as you can see by transactions. We’re not signing anybody or doing anything unless we can move something. If we can’t move somebody, we’re going to go to camp with what we’ve got, and we’ll sort it out in training camp. In the meantime, over the next couple of months, if there’s a move that we think makes us better or frees up some cap space, we’re interested.”

In the interim, you may play with Capgeek's Wings organization chart as you will.

I can only suggest that Jim Nill and Joe McDonnell's departures have left the Wings' front office without the man who served as the GM's go-between, and his absence has yielded some...Clunky movement...among the Wings' organizational tentacles. It's going to take a while for those who remained in Detroit and those who have joined the fray



Ironically enough, the Dallas News's Mike Heika wisely pointed out that not everything Nill touched in Detroit turned to gold, and that nothing that Nill's done has won the Stars any games yet, so the many and repeated suggestions that Dallas will become "Detroit South" and/or that Nill's taken Detroit's drafting success and/or competitive mojo with him are all--all--premature:

While Nill gets a bit of a fresh start in his first gig as the boss, he’s taking charge of a team that hasn’t made the playoffs for five straight years. On one hand, that’s great; you can’t go anywhere but up. On the other, it’s not; it’s “here we go again” and “what has this guy ever done” the second the team starts to lose.

[Ex-Stars GM Joe] Nieuwendyk came in as a knight in shining armor four seasons ago, and his presence helped fuel a new excitement for the Stars — new coach in Marc Crawford, new players in Kari Lehtonen and Alex Goligoski, new optimism in building through the draft. But all too quickly, Nieuwendyk was judged. How could he trade James Neal? How could he let go of Mike Modano and Brad Richards and Mike Ribeiro? How could he have fired Dave Tippett and passed on Ken Hitchcock as a possible coach?

Hindsight is the way of sports. It comes with the job. Heck, even Nieuwendyk is probably questioning some of his moves. Yet, as he ponders his future, he can look to Tippett and Hitchcock, and Doug Armstrong and Bob Gainey. This business will knock you down at times, but it generally lets you get back up. Ask people in Dallas about Gainey as a GM, and he will be called a saint. Ask people in Montreal, and he will be called something else.

Nill comes in with a dazzling reputation, and he’s earned that. It’s one of the reasons people seem to trust his moves. He worked with Ruff on several occasions with Team Canada — and when you consider that it’s not easy to be involved with Team Canada at any level, then that relationship means something. He watched Seguin as a center in Major Junior hockey in the suburbs of Detroit and believes a move back to center will return the speedy forward to the level of play (106 points in 63 games) that resulted in his being drafted second overall in 2010. Nill’s son played at Michigan State, and he got to know Horcoff, who is an active alum there.

And he has worked in one of the most Russia-friendly organizations in the NHL and has plenty of connections with the KHL. He understands the challenges Nichushkin will face, he understands the challenges Seguin will face, he understands the challenges Ruff will face.

He is not going into this blind.

Nill is mostly quiet and mostly calm. He is called “straightforward” and “matter of fact” by many. He’s one of those guys you hear about who doesn’t want any of the credit but is willing to take all of the blame.

It’s a good philosophy to have in pro sports. Because you will be judged. And it’s best to be prepared for it.



Free agency assessments have already hit in large numbers, and this morning, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan suggests that the Wings are one of this summer's "winners," via a 31-image gallery of multimedia-yielding-commentary...

Detroit: The fact the Red Wings signed Daniel Alfredsson still boggles the mind. He was an Ottawa institution. Alfredsson, even at 40, should mix well with his fellow Swedes, the style of play, and motivation to win a Stanley Cup. Free agent Stephen Weiss should be more consistent and productive than Valtteri Filppula. Re-signing Daniel Cleary would further bolster the forwards.



Regarding the most recent re-signing, the Red Wings' Twitter account re-tweeted this tidbit:

Smith ended up speaking with TSN 1050's Mike Hogan and Dave McCarthy for thirteen-and-a-half minutes, discussing his rookie season with the Wings, learning from Nicklas Lidstrom, the ever-present historical context involved in playing for the Red Wings, his brother Reilly being traded to Boston and having to scrounge up tickets for Wings-Leafs games. It's interesting to hear Smith speak in a slightly more relaxed setting and manner:



And as I'm still pretty damn tired from my week spent in Traverse City, and as the Wings' prospects were still heading home on Tuesday evening, I'm going to leave you with one "good" and one "some days are better than others":

I'm going with the best fan-made YouTube video of the U2 song by the same name in terms of song quality. You may or may not like the video, but I love the song. Zooropa is by far my favorite U2 album...

For the record, going up, it was: A Perfect Circle's Thirteenth Step, Ladytron's Gravity the Seducer, Queens of the Stone Age's Like Clockwork and then Rated R heading into Traverse City itself; on the way back, I listened to Like Clockwork, Black Rebel Motorcycle's Specter at the Feast--twice--listened to more Ladytron and wrapped things up with APC's Mer de Noms.

This may be the best cover I've ever heard.


Goodnight and good morning. It's been quite a week, and as wonderful as it was to take part in the Wings' summer development camp, it's good to be home.

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d ca's avatar

The Wings are at 66.265M cap payroll….

HOWEVER, don’t forget that Alfredsson’s 2M bonus money can be deferred towards next year’s cap if necessary.  Plus Tatar’s 160k bonus money along with DeKeyser’s 850k bring that down just over a million too.

Cap geek calculates the Wings (summer) cap space as 1.044M still and that excludes bonus being deferred (3.01M).

They have plenty of money to resign Nyquist and Anderson. However, I think Holland is waiting to see if there is interest in them as part of a package. And that will change what kind of contract terms Holland throws at them.

Posted by d ca on 07/17/13 at 08:47 AM ET

Primis's avatar

I am looking forward to what name the NHL will officially give the Flortheast Division so we can all find out what name we won’t be calling it.

Here’s the deal:  Holland still has to do something on defense.  They bought out one of the actual few defensive d-men they had in Cola, and you can’t expect a Smith or a Kindl to learn on-the-job alongside a flake like Quincey who often needs someone covering for *him*, and while I like Dekeyser I don’t think it’s fair to expect him to cover for Kindl or Smith either given Danny’s still going to be learning as well.  And Lashoff probably needs another year and more icetime in Grand Rapids.

Until that’s done, the roster is not “set”, regardless of what Holland says.

I don’t think the Wings will miss Brunner.

Posted by Primis on 07/17/13 at 09:29 AM ET

Joe Z.'s avatar

Posted by Primis on 07/17/13 at 10:29 AM ET

The Cola-buyout was a statement that D is set. Hollands most important task is to resign Nyquist, even for that to happen someone will have to go.

Posted by Joe Z. from Austria on 07/17/13 at 12:11 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.


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