The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/20/13 at 03:54 AM ET
Monday was super busy from an "its summer news-wise" perspective, mostly because the second-to-last week in August usually marks the first time that NHL'ers take to the ice. Whether it was Daniel Alfredsson pissing people off in Ottawa (tip for "Alfie": there is nothing you can do that WON'T piss Ottawans off other than hauling tail to Metro Detroit) or Justin Abdelkader, Drew Miller, Jakub Kindl and a pair of former Wings in Valtteri Filppula and Daniel Cleary at Michigan State University's pro camp.
Michigan Hockey's Nick Barnowski spoke with Filppula about his new start in Tampa Bay, and he also spoke with Miller and Abdelkader about kicking off the on-ice portion of their off-season training regimen at their alma mater:
“It’s always good to get the guys together here,” Abdelkader, whose 2007 MSU team won the national championship, said. “It’s always good to come back here to Munn, it brings back from great memories.”
The camp has been around for about 15 years, started when former Spartan Jason Muzzatti approached Newton regarding the high number of alums still living in the area over the summer. They were looking for someone to run drills and get on-ice training in before their pro camps started in September. [Spartans assistant coach Tom] Newtown coordinated it all, and ever since, Spartans who now play professionally know to come back to town during the third week of August.
“Coming back here is one of the times in the summer you look forward to,” Miller said. “It’s fun to come back here and see all the guys and reminisce the times in college.”
The camp isn’t just an excuse for the players to hit the ice with their fellow Spartans. Newton’s practices are rigorous and include scrimmages and heavy skating towards the end of the sessions.
“Preparation-wise it’s a big part of my summer,” Miller said, “and a lot of the guys here use it to jump start their training before training camp starts. Coach Newton puts on a good camp for us and we appreciate coming back.”
Michael Caples also posited a photo gallery accompanying the story...
And the Lansing State Journal posted a clip of Miller and Abdelkader chatting, as well as some practice footage. I'm using a link as opposed to an embed as it's one of those dreaded auto-play-and-it-keeps-going clips.
If you missed it, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan also reported that Daniel Cleary wasn't on his draft of the Wings' training camp roster (though stranger things have happened), and he offered an update regarding Gustav Nyquist, who will hopefully be the last of the 16 forwards attending camp, as Nyquist's the only unsigned player at present (please excuse the repetition):
When restricted free-agent forward Gustav Nyquist re-signs, as expected, the Red Wings will have 16 forwards and will be slightly over the salary cap of $64.3 million and two over the roster limit of 23.
“We have 16 NHL forwards, and kids in Grand Rapids who are pushing and aren’t far away,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said Monday. “There will be competition.”
Holland made offers to Cleary and Brunner before unrestricted free agency began July 5, but both were looking for bigger financial deals than what the Red Wings were offering.
Again, the Wings can exceed the cap by up to 10% (Capgeek figures that the team has about $313,000 in cap space) and exceed the 23-man roster limit until the 5 PM the day after the exhibition season ends (September 29th), and the Wings will have to move some bodies (Jordin Tootoo? Patrick Eaves? Cory Emmerton?) unless they sustain injuries requiring LTIR placement.
The Red Wings signed forwards Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss, and anticipate the return to health of forwards Darren Helm, Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson. With those developments, the chances of Brunner and Cleary returning became slim.
Also: in retrospect, I'm really stunned that Cleary and/or his representative chose to test the market. Ken Holland's mantra is, "If you aren't signed by the time free agency begins, we're going to use your roster spot and money on someone else and move on as if you're not going to be with us." The only times the team's made exceptions to that rule--in the cases of Brendan Shanahan and Sergei Fedorov--they got burned.
Holland expects Bertuzzi (back) and Samuelsson (pectoral muscle) to be ready when camp begins Sept. 12.
Holland and Nyquist’s representatives have done a lot of talking the past few weeks and the sides are close to what will be either a one- or two-year contract. Nyquist, who turns 24 on Sept. 1, had six points (three goals) in 22 regular-season games and five points (two goals) in 14 playoff games.
I would imagine that the difference of opinion monetarily speaking involves Nyquist's combined AHL and NHL production, especially in the playoffs, versus the fact that he's 23 and coming off a contract that had a base salary of $837K and $125K in bonuses last season, and that he, like Brendan Smith before him, probably can't expect to be paid $1.25-1.5 million this upcoming season simply because he had a spectacular 12-13 campaign.
He'll get signed, and he'll sign shortly, but I get the feeling that he's going to get a one-year deal.
As for Cleary, you never know if he'll end up trying out somewhere. He'll find a job, as will Damien Brunner, who spent Monday at the Swiss Olympic orientation camp. They may have to ink try-out deals or wait till the regular season begins for roster space to open up, however, given how capped-out most teams are.
Regarding one of the Wings' "support players," the Free Press's Helene St. James profiles one Brian Lashoff today. If the Wings hadn't landed Danny DeKeyser, Lashoff would either be higher up on the depth chart of supplanted by an unrestricted free agent signing, but as is, and as St. James suggests, he's going to start the season as the team's seventh defenseman (at an affordable $725,000 cap hit):
Looking back: Lashoff had a storybook start to the season, taking a car service from Grand Rapids to Columbus to play that same night against the Blue Jackets, filling a hole as the Wings were short on defensemen just two games into the season. Lashoff even scored a goal. He went on to appear in 30 more games, reflecting a season-long injury bug on the back end, providing a generally steady presence and helping to kill penalties.
Looking ahead: As it stands now, Lashoff will be the reserve man on defense headed into next season. Lashoff brings good size at 6-feet-3 and 210-plus pounds, but he’d do well to be more physical. The Wings like their d-men to be puck-movers, and this is not an area of strength for Lashoff. His future is as a stay-at-home d-man, and considering he’s not used against the opponent’s star forwards, needs to improve in his own end. Lashoff is only 23, though, and has just one half-season, really, of NHL experience to his credit; weighed in the balance, he figures to serve as a solid seventh man.
Lashoff may or may not have the skating ability to keep up with the Wings' puck possession game on a regular basis, but he is a very driven young man whose down-to-earth demenaor belies a chip-on-his-shoulder mentality (like Luke Glendening, he was a walk-on try-out with his amateur team [the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs] and has had to prove his worth since day one) that should yield enough self-improvement to push somebody sooner than later. I hope, anyway, because he's one of the nicer people I've met, plain old ever.
At the other end of the spectrum, MLive's Ansar Khan offered up some significant alumni news, reporting that Nicklas Lidstrom will probably part in the alumni double-header preceding the Winter Classic:
“He was very receptive to the idea, but there's nothing official yet,'' Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said.
Holland spoke with Lidstrom prior to finalizing the March 6 date for his retirement ceremony and talked about the alumni games, which precede the Jan. 1 Winter Classic against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium.
“He mentioned he had intention of participating in the Winter Classic (alumni game),'' Holland said. “He's the greatest Red Wings defenseman ever, one of the greatest ever to play the game. It would be pretty special. Lidstrom and (Steve) Yzerman are two guys we'd like to have in the game.''
Yzerman, the longtime Red Wings captain who's been the Tampa Bay Lightning general manager since 2010, said last year in a release that he was not planning on playing in the alumni game, but Holland will continue trying to talk him into it.
“I always hold out hope,'' Holland said. “Our hope is to get as many of the greatest Red Wings in the game.''
Let's get something straight here, folks: a couple years ago, Yzerman readily admitted that he hadn't skated since he retired, and I would imagine that his status hasn't changed. I'm sure that he still works out on an elliptical machine, but I don't think he's skated and I don't think that he wants to do so.
As far as I know and as far as you should know, Yzerman's probably got to make a decision as to how much pain he wants to put himself through for the sake of an alumni game. If he chooses not to participate, please don't hold it against him.
Here is a link to the roster of players from Detroitredwings.com who have committed to participate.
The list includes: Scotty Bowman, Barry Smith and Jacques Demers behind the bench;
Alex Delvecchio, Kris Draper, Mickey Redmond, Dino Ciccarelli, Darren McCarty, John Ogrodnick, Joe Kocur, Ted Lindsay, Igor Larionov, Kirk Maltby, Martin Lapointe, Dallas Drake, Petr Klima, Brent Fedyk, Tomas Holmstrom and Brendan Shanahan up front;
Aaron Ward, Chris Chelios, Steve Duchesne, Jason Woolley, Mark Howe, Larry Frickin' Murphy and, in a non-playing capacity, Vladimir Konstantinov on defense.
I have no clue whether Sergei Fedorov will attend. The team will probably ask him but he is CSKA Moscow's GM, and while the KHL has a Christmas-ish break, New Year's Day is the biggest holiday in Russia, and "Russian [Orthodox] Christmas" takes place in early January.
In alumni news of a very different kind, TVR.by posted a clip of the Ruslan Salei Memorial Tournament in Minsk, which Amur Khabarovsk of the KHL captured by defeating Spartak Moscow. Here's their English-language snippet from the Belarusian-language video that's embedded in the story (which includes some comments from Salei's mom; you probably won't understand a word of the video, but the tributes to Ruslan are worth seeing):
Andrey Kozlov: The participants of the tournament included: Dinamo, Minsk, Neman, Grodno, Spartak, Moscow and Amur, Khabarovsk. Meanwhile many people keep on visiting Ruslan Salei's grave at Moskovsky Cemetary. The tournament itself was unveiled by Ruslan's son Sandro. The Belarusian Hockey Federation submitted a request for including Ruslan Salei into the Hall of Fame of the International Hockey Federation.
Glen Hanlon, the head coach of the national Belarusian hockey team: "I remember, when in one of the games in 2009 we were playing in the minority, and Ruslan was on the ice for more than 2 minutes and still asked me to let him on the ice saying that he is never tired".
Evgeni Vorsin, the Chair of the Belarusian Hockey Federation: "He could talk to the team during the break and it was a totally different team after the break. He was a real captain and the leader".
Dynamo Minsk, the hometown KHL team, came in third, losing to Amur in the "semifinal" game and defeating HK Neman Grodno of the Belarussian Superleague.
The Prince Albert Daily Herald's Dave Leaderhouse also notes that the WHL's Prince Albert Raiders will pay tribute to Brad McCrimmon this September:
Brad McCrimmon, Jim Bristowe and Doug Winterton are all very worthy inductees and long overdue for the recognition of what they brought to the Raider franchise.
I remember when McCrimmon first joined the Raiders. He was a couple of years older than me, but you knew right away he was something special. When I was playing bantam hockey he came to a couple of our practices and what this guy could do with the puck just stopped all of us in our tracks.
As a former Raider I followed his professional career a little closer than others and he had a pretty impressive run in the NHL. Winning the Stanley Cup is everyone’s ultimate dream and he achieved that in 1989 with the Calgary Flames.
His life ended tragically two years ago in a plane crash in Russia, but it is nice to see the Raiders bringing his career back to life for everyone to remember. It will be a special night when the McCrimmon family gets to see and hear what Brad did during his two years with the team. He truly is a part of the Raider history.
The Raiders will honor McCrimmon on September 27th...Twenty days after the second anniversary of the crash (September 7th).
On Monday evening, the Red Wings posited an accompaniment to Bill Roose's "By the Numbers" look at Henrik Zetterberg's 2013 season with a highlight clip:
I could not find Brendan Smith in the highlight clip from Day 1 of the Biosteel Sports camp in Toronto, and as it's something of a commercial, I'll allow you to decide whether you want to watch it on your own:
In the Twitter department, one Red Wings player kinda sorta told us he misses us...
Wings draft pick Tyler Bertuzzi reminded everybody that OHL, WHL, QMJHL and college hockey teams' training camps begin next week...
And Zach Nastasiuk showed off a "keepsake" of his part in helping Team Canada win the 2013 Under-18 World Championship:
This stuff is a bit repetitious, but I want to include it because the mid-day post was updated so very repeatedly:
- In the Tweet Repeat department:
Also: if you're smart enough to read the URL, this is its inspiration. I occasionally posit seemingly nonsensical URL's when I'm saving my work because it's easier to write than it is to think about titles. I don't really care if nobody gets the reference as a giggle in the middle of the night is worth it.
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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.