The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/23/12 at 05:28 AM ET
The last two days have been particularly gloomy from a Red Wings fan's perspective--or at least mine--so, facing a content-light morning, I'm going to try to look at the bright side of things. So excuse the gritted teeth and false smile from a very gloomy-feeling blogger...
Nobody else is using Joe Louis Arena, so the Red Wings are opening the ice to fans. There will be four 1-hour open skates, Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m.-noon, noon-1 p.m., 7-8 p.m. and 8-9.
It's all free, including parking, but you have to bring your skates and register at detroitredwings.com/openskate while space is available.
Some bargain-price food will be available at the Joe, or you can bring your own. No pucks or sticks allowed.
And while fans like you and me might have shook our heads when we learned about Wings VP Jimmy Devellano's $250,000 fine for calling players cattle grazing at the owners' ranch, more than a few people know who the Victoria Island News's Scott Harrigan is given the way his Q and A with Devellano spread like wildfire, and in a strange twist, the Island News's Christian J. Stewart engaged in a little chest-puffing-out regarding the little newspaper website that shocked the hockey world (yay?):
Two days after Island Sports News published an exclusive interview with Detroit Red Wing Senior VP Jim Devellano, the hockey world is abuzz with reaction to his comments, and the NHL has acted swiftly, reportedly fining the Red Wings $250,000.
In the interview with ISN's Scott Harrigan, Devellano, who reportedly has a tendency to "shoot from the hip" with his comments, referred to NHL owners as the "ranchers" that own the ranch and allow the "cattle" - the NHL players - to graze there.
"The owners own the ranch and allow the players to eat there," told ISN. "That's the way it's always been and that's the way it will be forever. And the owners simply aren't going to let a union push them around. It's not going to happen."
The Devellano article has spurred a flurry of activity on the Island Sports News web site, which over the course of the past three days has received over 15,000 unique visitors to the site, as well as almost 32,000 views of the Devellano article alone to this point.
The article and its fallout have also been picked up by many of the major news and sports media outlets including Sportsnet, USA Today, NBC Sports, CBS Sports, TSN, the Globe and Mail, the Buffalo News and many more, as well as many hockey related blogs throughout North America and Europe.
Viewers are also speaking up on Facebook, and in the blogs, with opinions being pretty well split between siding with the owners (and hence Devellano's comments) and siding with the players. Those who have always been anti-Gary Bettman and anti-owners are calling for Devellano's head, and those who tend to side with the owners are lauding Devellano for speaking his mind and speaking what they feel is the truth.
Erm, I wouldn't call things split, but sure, why not. Congrats to Harrigan and the Island News for breaking a story that helps establish a career! (and there was much rejoicing from the locked-out NHL fan base...cue the Monty Python half-hearted, "Yay"...)
I did think that Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika's take on owner-muffling was intriguing, and let's just say that while I'm not Facebook friends with Devellano, he was "retweeting" messages of support, so while the Free Press's Helene St. James received the company line...
Devellano did not return a call seeking comment. General manager Ken Holland declined to comment.
Devellano's pretty proud of what he said, too, and it's clear from what little he's letting the public see that he's not backing down from it for a second.
And I don't know what the hell that says about ownership. It scares me.
Hey, at least everyone's voicing their opinion now, that's got to be good, right? The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch noted that there's been something of a blossoming of reactions to said comments from all sides:
The players weren’t exactly thrilled with being labelled as “cattle” by Devellano, but they weren’t totally shocked either as San Jose winger Martin Havlat told QMI Agency in a text message Saturday afternoon.
“The comments made by Devellano are nothing new,” said Havlat. “The players know that’s how Bettman and some of the owners think, we’re not shocked at being called ‘cattle’. I can tell you the players have been called a lot worse by some of the guys on the other side, it’s just never been reported publicly. I think it helps that the fans get to hear what we already know, we’re not humans in their eyes, we’re just pieces of meat that get to eat some grass for awhile.”
Now, that’s harsh.
Logan Couture, Havlat’s Sharks teammate, who arrived in Switzerland to play during the lockout, was taken aback on Twitter.
“Just read the article about a Red Wings exec calling the players ‘cattle’ at the owners ranch. Wow,” wrote Couture Saturday.
That prompted Toronto’s James van Riemsdyk to respond.
“I thought we were in the 21st century?,” he tweeted.
Perhaps refreshingly and thankfully, Niklas Kronwall spoke to Expressen's Linus Hugosson about his playing situation (Kronwall's Allsevenskan team, Djurgardens IF, is attempting to sign Patric Hornqvist and Douglas Murray) and the sticky wicket that is finding himself and his teammates locked out by the Wings' ownership, and Kronwall insists that there are no hard feelings (this is roughly translated):
You Red Wings players almost always speak warmly and full of admiration in your voices for your owners, the Ilitch family. Now you sit on the opposite side in a conflict that may become bitter and long--how does it feel?
"Yes, it's a little strange to be against them," said Kronwall. "But it's a fact that the Red Wings are one of 30 teams and are one of 30 owners, so right now they are on the other side."
"But we have the deepest respect for them and all that they have done for us. We've had a remarkably good owner."
As for his playing options, Kronwall may or may not join Djurgardens IF at some point, and he may or may not consider playing in the KHL as his brother Staffan plays for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, but for now...
While some of you skate at the Joe on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Kronwall and about half of the Wings' roster will begin skating in Troy after having taken a week off from practicing at the Joe,* and Kronwall told Hugosson that he's going to try to wait for a while before deciding whether he wants to play overseas...
"I haven't set a date that I 'must' go home and start playing by, but I agree that it's still very open," says the Detroit Red Wings defenseman. "It depends on how the practice sessions are over here, but it's also a playing game that you love to do. Exercise is just fun to a certain point, and then you want to play hockey."
What is your recommendation of the players--to strike by staying at home, or to go and play in Europe?
Hugosson uses the word "strike"--and it's an owners' lockout--not me...
"It's up to each individual to decide. If you want to go to play and are able to do so, you need to have a good insurance policy."
And as Hugosson points out, those insurance policies are incredibly expensive, especially in Sweden, so there's almost a sense that once the Swedish Elitserien's embargo upon signing NHL players, which is being challenged in court and still upheld by 10 of the 12 Eliteserien teams, is settled, there's going to be a second wave of players joining the 70 or so who've already rushed over to play, especially if the NHL does indeed cancel the season early into negotiations for shits, giggles and scorched earth's sake.
If you're interested, the New York Times' Jeff Z. Klein posted a "rough guide" to the levels of play in European leagues...
Each week, Steve Schrader hands out "Stevies" to the best, worst and weirdest from the week that was in sports. This week's Stevies:
The "Dr. Rahmani Would Never Do That" award: To locked-out Pavel Datsyuk, whose shirtless pictures from his team physical were posted at CSKA Moscow's website. The Royal Family is going to sue on his behalf.
CSKA will introduce Datsyuk and Ilya Bryzgalov as members of the team later today, but for now, we're restricted to the doofy physical gallery (hey, look, we check their hearts now, no worries, NHL'ers!), a glimpse of Datsyuk's first practice with the team and Champoionat's picture of Datsyuk and Brygzlov taking in CSKA's 3-1 victory over Yugra from the press box (and I believe that picture #2 shows Mrs. Fedorov #2, so it looks like Sergei's remarried and did quite well for himself).
And hey, the Griffins' training camp begins on October 1st, and on the 7th, they're playing at Yost! All can't be bad! Except for the potential cancelation of the Winter Classic thing...
I'm smiling like I mean it, really! Okay, not really.
In European-playing player and prospect news, per DRW Prospects
Datsyuk will debut on Tuesday, as will Valtteri Filppula, who's playing for Jokerit Helsinki. Brunner was eventually credited with one goal in EV Zug's 6-3 win over Ambri-Piotta, who recevied 2 goals from former Wing Jason Williams.
Calle Jarnkrok registered an assist in Brynas's 3-1 victory over Mattias Backman's Linkopings HC.
Alexei Marchenko plays for CSKA as well--that's good, right?--and Rasmus Bodin plays for HV71 Jonkoping.
For some reason--I couldn't find an explanation--Jakub Kindl sat out HC PSOB Pojistovna Pardubice's 2-1 win over HC Plzen;
And former Wings prospect Dick Axelsson was held off the scoresheet in the Frolunda Indians' 3-2 victory over Farjestads BK, too.
Back here in North America...
In the QMJHL, Phillipe Hudon registered six minutes in penalties in the Victoriaville Tigres' 2-1 loss to Rouyn-Noranda;
Xavier Ouellet was held off the scoresheet in the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada's 3-2 victory over Val-d'Or;
In the OHL, Ryan Sproul registered an assist and took 2 penalties in his team's 3-2 OT loss to the Windsor Spitfires;
Jake Paterson gave up 5 goals on 29 shots in the Saginaw Spirit's 5-2 loss to Owen Sound;
In the WHL, Richard Nedomlel was held off the scoresheet but took two penalties in his Swift Current Broncos' 7-1 win over Moose Jaw;
Marek Tvrdon registered an assist and a penalty in the Vancouver Giants' 3-2 loss to Victoria;
And in the USHL, Mike McKee fought and took another penalty in his Lincoln Stars' 3-1 win over the Muskegon Lumberjacks, in the team's final preseason game.
My French is miserable (I took German in high school and college), but Yahoo Sports' Neate Sager also points us toward an article from La Presse, in which Blainville-Boisbriand Armada captain Xavier Ouellet tells Francois Parenteau that he's living in the gym, has bulked up by 15 pounds over the summer and now weighs 190 lbs., that he is bummed out about missing the "beautiful experience" that is taking part in the Wings' prospect tournament and main camp, but that he also plans on spending his last season in the QMJHL taking the team he captains "as far as possible" while setting an example for his teammates.
Now that's not a bad way to end things, and I mean it this time.
*I do plan on going to some player practices as I am able, but I'm self-locked out of the Troy Sports Center until I no longer live with a hacking, coughing and downright acutely ill mom spreading around the virus the whole house has been batting for a month. It would be irresponsible for me to interact with anybody I want to establish a working relationship with while carrying around a virulent illness.
Update: Speaking of which, it's been a very bad night in the mom department, so I'm going to toss off the Google translation of Pavel Datsyuk's interview with CSKA-Hockey.ru's Dinara Kafiskina and leave the ungarbling to someone less frazzled:
Pavel Datsyuk: It's nice that Sergei Fedorov invited me to play for CSKA
We all are to some extent used to the fact that the KHL international stars come to perform the NHL. But the appearance of a level of hockey, as Pavel Datsyuk attracted particular interest. Our meeting with one of the most famous Russian players at the second day of his stay in CSKA. Paul, as always, was friendly, humble and sincere in communication.
- As far as the NHL lockout was unexpected for you or is it to some extent expected?
- Pre it certainly was not planned, but were waiting for the lockout to happen. Everyone understood that there is very little chance that the parties agree among themselves. And now knows how he can last. No one will say.
- Another stellar rookie CSKA Ilya Bryzgalov said that the lockout did not upset him. And you?
- Either. I really want to stay at home, to play for their fans. Missed Russia, the Russian language, spirit and family, my friends, in communication. Last shutout was like a breath of air. Seven years later, I hope to get it back. So, even with joy treated the incident. But this is my bell. I signed a contract and I'm calm. But on the other hand, how many players left, as they say on the street. I have many friends in hockey. I worry about them.
- Wrote that during the lockout Pavel Datsyuk will play in Kazan "Ak Bars". From this information come from?
- It's just a rumor. Negotiations with the "Ak Bars" were but superficial. Nothing in particular.
- And even after you saw the match "Motorist", there were rumors that you can pursue a career in his native Yekaterinburg.
- "Motorist" gave me a good offer. And I am very grateful to the leaders of the club for the fact that they came into my situation. Understand that I can not stay for objective reasons. Especially thank our governor Yevgeny Vladimirovich Kuyvashevu. In principle, one day for the "Motorist" I would like to play. I hope that we remain on good terms and the time will come when I'll ask them, and they respond and take to his team.
- I'm sure that now you want to see other clubs KHL.
- Yes. There have been several proposals. But I am very happy that I was exactly in CSKA. This is a legendary team. For it were our idols, to which we would like to emulate. In CSKA general manager called me the army club Sergei Fedorov. It was very nice. I gladly accepted the invitation.
- Probably, responded yet because with the arrival of new owners CSKA this season before the army club faces big challenges?
- Large tasks set themselves a lot of teams. But they are each their own. To get into the playoffs - also because the task. And CSKA - winning the Gagarin Cup.
- As for the legends CSKA, I know that your idol was Valery Kharlamov ...
- Yes. So. He's one of my favorite players. I like it, well, liked, when I actually was playing - 16.17 years. Please everybody. Was oversized, but very technical, smart and bold. Moderately aggressive. And always on the ice thought.
- Just like you. Pavel Datsyuk, too, because now for many is a role model.
- Well, if this is so. But I think there are many good players who can learn something.
- For example, Sergei Fedorov. Although he is now in a different position ... You would like, as Sergei finish up to 42 years?
- I'm not guessing in advance. In hockey dangerous plan anything. Live in the present. While there is a desire and interest of the clubs will play and prove that I was capable of. Ambitions are the same. I can not calm down only because they took me to the team.
- How to adapt to CSKA? How was the acclimatization?
- I was all summer in Russia. Therefore, establishment itself was not. And in the team accepted me very well. Many guys knew before - Arkhipova, Radulov, Guskov Kvasha, Denisova, Rylova ... I still do not understand how it will be on the ice, but what happens in the locker room - all excellent.
- In one of the training you put in a link to the brothers Radulov. Understanding found?
- They are brothers. Easier for them to agree among themselves. And I was among them (smiles). Overall, everything was great. But this is just practice, not a game.
- Hockey players your level how important a partner or who you quickly find a common language with everyone?
- No. Not all. Need some time.
- With CSKA coach Valery Bragin nowhere had not crossed?
- Somewhere just crossed. But under his leadership, I have not worked. After three training hard to understand what he promotes hockey. But I am ready to fulfill all the requirements to be put in front of me. I'm not a freelance artist, and one of the Watch winch.
- And what kind of hockey you like?
- The one where thousands of heads slaughtered (smiles). But this does not happen.
- What will set itself for this season two-time Stanley Cup?
- Max. Let's just say, starting from the command. CSKA have already defined it. Everyone understands and clearly explained what to do. When the team plays well - sleeping peacefully. If bad, but with personal statistics all right - nightmares.
- A hockey dream?
- During the season, of course. Where do without him. After all, all day - hockey, hockey, hockey ...
- You know, that you, as the saying goes, will demand special? Not afraid that it may not be what everyone expects from you?
- Wolves are afraid of - in the woods do not go. This is me, on the contrary, is inspiring. And when a lot of fans in the stadium. It is good if they scream and good words and bad too. Then there's a reason to think. We all play for the fans. This is our main judge. So, of course, want to see a full stadium. But everything depends on me, on our team and our organization. We will act with dignity - fan going, and will watch the game with pleasure. But no one says that it is easy to get used to the area, another hockey and I can be a leader. Still, after the lockout was seven years old. But all the same to change the situation very interesting.
- Who is the audience and you, of course, will go ...
- Do not know. I only have two pass-out. Two people can guarantee exactly (laughs).
Update #2: I forgot about Jake De Haas playing for the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. He took a penalty in Penticton's 3-1 victory over West Kelowna, as noted by DRW Prospects/Red Wings Prospects:
Alan Quine has mononucleosis and won't be playing for the Peterborough Petes for a while.
I think that allowing McKee to remain in the WHL was a "step back" decision, but that's just me.
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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.