The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/16/14 at 03:14 AM ET
The Red Wings officially officially announced that the team has hired Tony Granato as one of Mike Babcock's new assistant coaches (Bill Peters leaving for Carolina + Tom Renney's departure to take the reins as Hockey Canada's president = one assistant coach down, one to go; Granato signed for "1 year plus an option") yielded a predictable amount of, "I'm happy to join the Red Wings" comments and a suitable number of jokes about the Babcock-Granato yell-fest back in 2008.
At this point, this Wings fan was more than happy to read somebody discuss the reasons that he felt Detroit was the place to be. Granted, Granato wears a suit these days, not a jersey, but he told the Macomb Daily's George Pohly that he believes the Wings aren't "that far off"...
Absolutely,” Granato said Tuesday when asked if the Red Wings can make a deep playoff run.
“I think it’s a great lineup, and I think it’s a lineup that can win,” Granato added. “The Detroit Red Wings play a system and brand of hockey … that’s tough to play against every night. They know how to develop players. They know how to win.”
And Granato told Pohly exactly the words we'd hoped a younger "new member of the family" might say on July 1st...
“I looked at the team, I looked at the staff, I looked at the management team led by Kenny and ownership,” he said. “This is a premier organization, and I wanted to be part of it. I’m lucky it became available when it did and I’m thrilled to be part of it.”
While discussing his possible role with the team...
“I think I can relate to the players well,” said Granato, who added that he wants to “be a complement and do whatever Mike needs of me.”
And his take on the Wings' youth movement:
“I just started watching video on (the younger players). I’ll continue to do my homework over the summer to get to know them a little bit better. But I do know there are some exciting prospects that have some great potential to play more significant roles as we move forward.”
Granato also discussed the Red Wings' "rebuild on the fly" while speaking with the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...
The possibility of working for the Red Wings excited Granato, who feels the roster is utterly capable of making a run at the Stanley Cup.
(Looks up the definition of "utterly," finds out that it can in fact be used in a positive sense, though most of our modern connotations of "utterly" involve negative characteristics)
"Absolutely," said Granato, whose nephew Landon Ferraro is a Red Wings prospect on the cusp of the NHL. "If you look at what they went through last year, how they battled right to the end and compete the way they did, it was extremely impressive, one of the best years they've had while dealing with some tough situations.
"They've been able to find ways to win and compete. What they did last year, you look at the injuries, their best players played half the year and young players and some other players were asked to step up and play more significant roles, it really had a big impact on the season."
Rah rah rah?
"When you look at what they've (the Red Wings) done in the past 20 years, there's no franchise that can match the consistent success they've had," Granato said. "They know how to develop players, how to win, and find the right people and personnel and fit into the organization and roster. Year after year, they find ways to succeed."
As for this?
Here's what he told Kulfan:
"I've gotten a lot of texts about that picture," said Granato during a teleconference Tuesday announcing his hiring as the Red Wings’ new assistant coach. "It shows the competitiveness we have, the intensity both of us have. It's a funny thing right now. It's one of my favorite pictures. It shows Mike's intensity, and it shows mine as well."
Regarding his present role with the team, the Wings aren't quite sure whether Granato will manage the defensemen and penalty-kill, or whether he'll step into Renney's role and work with the forwards and power play, but Granato told Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji that he's comfortable with both roles:
"I learned a lot over the years about the importance of the small details of the game that are so important to being a part of a team's success," Granato said. "In Pittsburgh I worked with the forwards and PK. Over the past four years I think those two areas that I've enjoyed. So just bringing energy and I think I can relate to the players well; you can get a pretty good pulse on the locker room; and to be a complement and do whatever Mike needs of me."
And what does he think about his nephew, Landon?
"Obviously, I've watched him over the past few years develop into a pretty good player," Granato said. "Hopefully he continues to develop and be part of it as well."
For better or worse, we're not likely to hear much from Granato after this summer.
The Wings' assistant coaches tend to surrender the spotlight to Babcock, so the first time we hard a peep from Bill Peters was when the Carolina Hurricanes named him their coach last month, and I learned more about Tom Renney during his unveiling as Hockey Canada's president than I knew about him during his tenure with the Wings.
Renney received oodles of endorsements from a certain general manager and a certain relative of Landon Ferraro when the Canadian Press's Stephen Whyno sought out a little Renney-hiring context...
The Cranbrook, B.C., native spent parts of eight seasons as an NHL head coach from 1996 through 2012 and most recently was an associate on Mike Babcock’s staff with the Detroit Red Wings.
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said it was a “no-brainer” to hire Renney two years ago in Detroit and thinks his decades in hockey make him fit for the position as Hockey Canada’s top man.
“I’m sure that there’s going to be some learning on the fly, but I go back to his experiences,” Holland said in a phone interview. “He’s presented, he’s been an assistant coach, he’s been a head coach. He’s been involved with Canada’s national program, he’s been involved at the junior level. He’s got lots and lots of experiences.”
Renney doesn’t have much of a business background, but his resume goes beyond coaching. He spent time as director of player personnel and vice president of player development for the New York Rangers.
But longtime NHL player and current TSN analyst Ray Ferraro thinks Renney’s business intelligence is overlooked because everyone considers him a coach.
“Tom’s an educated man. He’s been around the business world for 30 years although his focus has always been on the coaching end of things,” said Ferraro, who recalled when Renney ran a clothing shop in Trail, B.C., as he was just getting into coaching. “His passion was hockey, but who knew? You’re coaching in Trail, right? Who knew there was going to be a grand career to this thing? Especially at that time.”
And while you may not be all that interested in what Renney's new job entails, the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson offered a succinct summary of Renney's requirements...
[He’s] putting away his whistle, maybe for good. He is tasked with making hockey the winter sport of choice for more Canadians; of growing the game, not just winning the games; although being president of Hockey Canada also means bringing home the gold medal at the world junior and world championships, and the Olympics, whenever possible.
“This opportunity comes along once in a lifetime,” said Renney, who was head coach of the national team from 1992-94, vice-president of Hockey Canada’s hockey operations from 1997-99, coached Canada’s world junior team to a silver medal in ’99, and was assistant coach on the 2004 and 2005 world men’s teams.
And Matheson also lets us know what Renney was doing this spring:
Renney, 59, interviewed for head coaching jobs with the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricane after the season, but the ’Canes hired another Detroit assistant coach, Bill Peters, and the Panthers went with Gerard Gallant.
“I knew I was in the hunt, but I had my eye on this (job),” said Renney. “It wasn’t in the back of my mind, but I had planted the seed.”
Renney indicated that Red Wings general manager Ken Holland brought Hockey Canada’s interest to him. Holland knew how important, and all-encompassing, the job is.
Renney will look after hockey development, high performance teams (men’s, women’s and juniors), corporate sales, events and marketing, and membership services.
If you want to read more about Renney's new responsibilities, Yahoo Sports' Sunaya Sapurji goes into significant depth regarding his tasks at hand, but I think that's more than enough Renney chat for this entry.
He never did figure out how to turn around a power play that's been horrifically inconsistent since Todd McLellan left to coach the San Jose Sharks, but Renney seemed to give Babcock a solid "good cop" and his experience as the coach of a very young Oilers team may or may not have helped Babcock reluctantly embrace the "youth movement."
I wish him well, and I hope that Babcock looks for a "good cop" given that Granato coaches like he plays--with an edge.
Given that Babcock's stated that Jeff Blashill will remain in Grand Rapids, he has several excellent in-house options in assistant coach and video coordinator Keith McKittrick and long-time Griffins assistant coach Jim Paek, but it appears that Babcock's looking to bring in another outside perspective.
The following comment doesn't come from a member of the Red Wings' organization, but it's getting "third billing" because it's the kind of comment I wish we'd heard from the intrepid admiral of the S.S. Red Wing. This comes from the Globe and Mail's James Mirtle and some dude who was just named the president of a team a 4-hour drive up the 401 (unless it's rush hour):
“A goal of ours was to leave some holes and create some competition,” team president Brendan Shanahan said of his team’s NHL roster last week at the Leafs development camp. “We want our young players, some of the guys that are out here at this camp, some of the guys that finished the year with the Marlies, to have job opportunities.
“We want to have competition, we want to create that internal pressure and [the idea] that there are jobs to be had here.”
“It’s a bad habit to try to build your team on July 1 year after year after year,” Shanahan said. “It’s not always a great day.”
It's like a *#$%@&' party here in Detroit, "amirite?"
Applesauce so we can take some Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements for Daniel Cleary's knees' sake!
Regarding one of the future members of the organization for whom we can throw our hands in the air, and raise them like we just don't care, the Red Wings posited what I'm presuming is a Bill Roose or Andrea Nelson-penned article (no author is cited) profiling Ryan Sproul...
“We haven't had a defenseman in the organization to shoot the puck as hard as he does since I remember,” said Jiri Fischer, Detroit’s director of player development. “He gets it through, every shot is dangerous and the way it comes off his stick, goalies have a hard time reacting. That's a gift.”
Sproul signed a three-year entry-level contract with Detroit in March 2012 following his second junior season with Sault Ste. Marie of the Ontario Hockey League. He was the third-leading scorer for the Greyhounds and was third amongst all OHL defensemen with 54 points.
He scored 23 goals with 31 assists and was plus-16 with 53 penalty minutes in 61 games for the Greyhounds, a team that he almost didn’t join.
“He was thinking about going to play college,” Fischer said. “He was recruited by Michigan. He ended playing junior in Sault Ste. Marie and last year he graduated the OHL as the top defenseman in the league. Later at the Memorial Cup, he was voted the CHL defenseman of the year. We've never had a defenseman that was drafted by Detroit receive that honor.”
In his first full season with the Griffins, Sproul earned 11 goals and 21 assists, the second highest scoring defenseman on the team. Despite his success in Grand Rapids last season, Sproul still has plenty to work on.
“He always likes to take off out of the D zone, even before the puck leaves,” Fischer said. “He likes to use skill in the D zone. He worked on it and he's gotten better. Ryan can be really special. The defensive part, he's working on it. I think it's just a matter of time until he convinces everyone that 'I've done my duty and this is my time.’ ”
And the article complements the Wings' video profile of Sproul:
The Wings have profiled Sproul, Xavier Ouellet and Teemu Pulkkinen, and it is good to "be reminded" that the organization's future does remain bright:
In the alumni department, The Score's Justin Bourne penned an article titled, "Remembering Dominik Hasek, the greatest goalie who ever lived." Amongst his commentary:
As far as the debate generally goes - Roy, Brodeur or Hasek? - it’s tough to argue for anyone but the latter. Some straight facts on Hasek:
* He’s won the most Vezina Trophies of any goaltender ever. Well, technically his six (six!) is less than Jacques Plante’s seven, but Plante’s came in a league with only six teams (and thus, six starters), and was just given to the goalie who started for the team with the lowest goals-against average. Hasek was up against 26-30 goalies, depending on the year. Brodeur won four, Roy won three...at one point Hasek won five in six years. To even be in the conversation to win the Vezina that many times is Hall-of-Fame stuff.
* He’s the only goalie to ever to twice win the Hart Trophy as league MVP. He also won the Ted Lindsay (league MVP as voted by the players) in both of those seasons, an award that’s only been won by one other goalie, Mike Liut (80-81).
* He won Olympic gold. Not like, the Czech Republic so much, but him. His stats: 0.97 goals-against-average, .961 save percentage, and he blanked Team Canada in a shootout.
* He didn’t even start for the Sabres until he was 28. He was a 10th round draft pick stuck behind Ed Belfour in the early days.
Bourne also suggests that "The Hasek Roll" was the Dominator's signature save:
In the "napkin notes" category:
A week ago, Kyle Quincey supposedly pulled out of the International Ice Hockey Australian Tour and declined to captain the Canadian team because he was "tired" from the rigors of the 2013-2014 season. This week, the NHLPA's website reports that Quincey captained Team Ontario 1 at the NHLPA's charity golf tournament in Pebble Beach, and Quincey's team won the tournament (the NHLPA is holding its summer meetings in Pebble Beach).
Quincey was most likely a free agent at the time the Australian tour was being set up, and I'd imagine that the insurance premiums involved in taking part in a hockey tournament halfway around the world were absolutely astronomical. It's not fantastic that he had to bow out, but paying a five or six-figure premium and hoping that you don't get hurt...This is one instance where I'm actually defending Kyle Quincey.
Slightly more controversially, the Metro Times has been a very vocal critic of the follow-on arena and the politics surrounding it, and today, Ryan Felton discusses the Comet Bar, one of the likely sacrifices for the sake of the rink's footprint.
And now it's time to address the elephant in the room. When I joined Kukla's Korner, The Malik Report mostly inherited a significant chunk of Abel to Yzerman's audience, and it was assumed that the hands-off policy regarding the 19's territory as Red Wings blog core commenters would continue.
Throughout my tenure here, Paul's preferred a hands-off, comment-at-your-own-risk policy. I've followed that policy. Commenters are indeed the lifeblood of a blog, and while we've had our differences (some major), I do in fact respect each and every one of you, respect your opinions and your criticism, and I do value you. "Fo' realz."
On Tuesday, after asking for input regarding some complaints about the comments regarding Michael Petrella's article, I received a deluge of input via Twitter, Facebook and email, and it was overwhelmingly negative. From suggestions that the comments section has become an "echo chamber" dominated by a few commenters to comparisons of the comments section to, Lord of the Flies and a solid chunk of either, "I don't dare scroll past the ad" or, "I read your stuff, but because of the comments section, I read and then I go somewhere else."
My first and biggest concern involves the TMR community, and I certainly don't expect the comments section of any blog to be warm and fuzzy--especially this summer--there's definitely a sense that pissing contests have slowly but surely become the thrust of the majority of reader discussions, and if people feel that they're not able to express their opinions or that they've been intimidated out of contributing to the discussion on a consistent basis, that's an issue.
My second concern involves my own ass. I understand that anything and everything I write is going to be criticized--that's part of the business, and while I grouse and grumble from time to time, I've learned to try to take the constructive criticism, hold myself accountable to my audience, and to do my best to let the rest of it slide.
When I hear people saying that the comments are driving them away from the website, community meets people reading-and-scooting. That's not good for me and that's not good for KK.
I want to open the floor, open Twitter, Facebook and my email to your suggestions as to what can be done to refine and improve the comments section in terms of inclusiveness and perhaps cranking the venom factor down from black widow to something survivable at least. Paul and I will continue the discussion throughout the balance of the summer.
We've done the, "Okay, from date X, the slate has been wiped clean, we're going to let what happened previously be and we're going to start again" thing before, but it doesn't seem to last past one controversial entry.
If the TMR community at large (this blog's readers also interact outside of the comments section) is overwhelmingly unhappy with the status of the TMR community as it appears in-online-print--and that is the case--then it's time to talk about changing the rules of engagement.
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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.