The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/19/13 at 04:12 AM ET
I'm writing this entry "backwards" because its main thrust involves even more fun fun fun stuff pertaining to Daniel Alfredsson's "divorce" from the Ottawa Senators, and I know that you and I are both a little tired of the proceedings given Thursday's trainwreck, never mind the fact that it dragged on into the weekend.
Inspired by Aftonbladet's Per Bjurman's note that the Hockey News's Yearbook (which can be snagged digitally on Zinio.com; ditto for full-season subscriptions) named Erik Karlsson the NHL's best defenseman, I looked at THN's Top 50 NHL Players list to find out which Wings players were named to the list, and all of 3 Wings are listed--and none of them made the top 10:
11: Pavel Datsyuk. Detroit/C: Arguably the most skilled player in the NHL, Datsyuk re-emerged as a point-per-game player at 34. Jaw-dropping moves and attention to detail are his prominent hallmarks.
26: Henrik Zetterberg. Detroit/LW: Taking the captaincy in Detroit seemed to bring out the best in Zetterberg, who avoided a slump last season to return to his point-per-game form.
50: Niklas Kronwall. Detroit/D: One of the most fearsome open-ice hitters in the league, Kronwall has emerged as a leader in Detroit after the retirement of Lidstrom.
Continuing with the "backwards" theme, I'm happy that the Wings' brass chose to bring Todd Bertuzzi back into the fold in 2010, but the team's decision to surrender Shawn Matthias and 2 conditional draft picks (as I recall, the Wings didn't have to surrender them as they neither made the Cup Final, nor did Bertuzzi re-sign) is one of those "it may bite the team in the ass" deals (like the Robert Lang deal, which allowed the Capitals to draft Mike Green). Matthias is slowly but surely blossoming into a power forward, and the 6'4," 220-pound forward told NHL.com's Mike Battaglino that he'd like to fill the void left by Stephen Weiss' departure for Detroit:
That title in the past was held by close friend and former housemate Stephen Weiss. The forward signed with the Detroit Red Wings as a free agent, leaving Matthias, at 25 years old and with 253 games, as the longest-tenured Florida player.
"He's a special guy. He's been with the team for so long and he really cared about the Panthers. … I learned a lot from him," Matthias said of Weiss. "Saying that, I want to be the guy now. He's a good guy, he's my buddy, but at the same time, I'm not too sad to see him go. I want to take on that bigger role now."
The Panthers need him to. His 14 goals last season were tied for second on the team with rookie Jonathan Huberdeau, one behind the 15 scored by Tomas Kopecky.
Florida has had one 30-goal scorer in the past five seasons (David Booth, 31, 2008-09), and newcomer Scott Gomez is the only player on the Panthers roster to have one in the NHL (33 for the New Jersey Devils in 2005-06).
Matthias' hot streak of 11 goals in 16 games equates to 56 over 82.
The one thing the Wings' prospect pool currently lacks is an NHL-ready power forward (Calle Jarnkrok, Teemu Pulkkinen and Landon Ferraro aren't particularly big, Riley Sheahan appears to be developing into a defensive forward, and Tomas Jurco's a few years away; one could also argue that losing Tomas Kopecky hurt the team in the size department), and they'll see Matthias five times this upcoming year.
I'd toss off an "otherwise" regarding the following notes most of the time...
- Don't forget this one:
As noted on Sunday, the softball game takes place on Saturday, August 24th in Highland, MI.
- Also as noted on Sunday, if you're keeping score at home:
- Pavel Datsyuk will take part in Team Russia's Olympic Orientation Camp on Friday the 23rd and Saturday the 24th in Sochi, Russia;
- Mike Babcock and Ken Holland will be in Calgary for Team Canada's Orientation Camp between Sunday the 25th and Wednesday the 28th;
- And Justin Abdelkader, Jimmy Howard and Danny DeKeyser will head to Arlington, VA to take part in Team USA's orientation camp on Monday the 26th and Tuesday the 27th.
We should also expect the Wings to take to the ice either in Troy or at Joe Louis Arena by August 30th, too. They've generally hit the ice sometime between the 26th and 28th. They won't be practicing every day early on, but as training camp approaches, they'll start skating five or six days a week starting the first full week of September--usually with some players who spend their off-seasons in Detroit, like Shawn Horcoff and the rest of Justin Abdelkader's MSU alum gang (they're hitting the ice this week in Lansing).
The CBA prevents the Wings' players from being coached by Babcock until training camp begins on the 12th, but you can bet that the coaching and managerial staff will happen to be at work and will happen to take in some of the players' "informal" skates, and it's entirely possible that players and coaches will strike up conversations as the coach's offices happen to be down the hall from the locker room.
- I could only smirk at Pro Hockey Talk's James O'Brien's suggestion that the Nashville Predators' status as having 14 NHL forwards on the roster means that the team may want to shed players, not add them (cough Jordin Tootoo rumor cough);
- And in Minsk, Belarus, Championat's Paul Panyshev reports that Amur Khabarovsk defeated Spartak Moscow 3-2 to win the Ruslan Salei Memorial Tournament. Hometown Dynamo Minsk beat HK Neman Grodno 3-1 in the consolation game.
Now we get to the fun part of this entry, and by "fun" I mean, "Oh frickin' joy, I'm being sarcastic as *#$%@&," because we get to enjoy even more Daniel Alfredsson-exits-Ottawa content.
- TSN's Brent Wallace, the National Post's Bruce Arthur, the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons (who kindly suggested that the Senators need to be punished for circumventing the CBA on Saturday night) and Sports Illustrated's Michael Farber blather on and yell at each other about the divorce for 5 minutes and 25 seconds;
- I will grant you that the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa is ever-thoughtful and ever-thorough in assessing both Don Brennan's use of the old, tired "DeToilet" quip and the whole Alfredsson-vs.-Eugene Melnyk-vs.-Bryan Murray dynamic, and the finale of his post-mortem is excellent--albeit as biased as can be:
Saying, as some in Ottawa do, that Alfredsson’s decision was “all about the money” is like saying the NHL standings is all about the numbers. It is about the money, in other words, to the same extent that the money is an expression of a player’s value to a franchise. And the Senators told Alfredsson for more than a year that his value was low, after he had cut them slack for the previous four.
Bryan Murray, the respected former coach and general manager of the Red Wings who is the general manager in Ottawa, responded that he had expected Alfredsson’s agent to continue bargaining. That is like saying he expected to saddle the horse he had been kicking.
Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said Friday that Murray would never lie. That was interesting, because no one accused Murray of having done so.
What seems clear is that the Senators either were done with Alfredsson or Melnyk could not afford both the long-time captain and all-time scoring leader and the offensively talented Ryan.
But what the Senators appear content to do is to besmirch Alfredsson’s sterling reputation, rather than admit to their obvious failings. And, Alfredsson, may God love him, took it all, provided an explanation Thursday to fans he plainly adores and uttered not a discouraging word.
“I have no bad feeling against anybody,” he said. “I can’t say at all I’ve been disrespected.”
Well, I can: Daniel Alfredsson was disrespected. And one has the sense that, somewhere, Mike and Marian Ilitch might be looking on, shaking their heads and saying, very privately, “That’s no way to run a hockey team!”
(Let's not tell Krupa that Scotty Bowman entertained trading Steve Yzerman to Ottawa for Alexei Yashin, goalie Damian Rhodes and the Senators' 1st overall pick in 1996)
- And then there's this, from the Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa. If this ain't fluffernutter, I don't know what is:
Daniel Alfredsson opened up a Chris Neil-sized can of worms on Thursday. During a news conference in Ottawa, the former Senators captain acknowledged he accepted a $1 million salary for 2012-13 because he planned on retiring before the season. Of course, adding a dummy year to bring down the average annual value is cap circumvention. Fortunately for the Senators, the NHL will not pursue the matter. The league should, however, conduct a thorough investigation into Alfredsson’s hair. The 40-year-old’s lettuce is tumbling onto his shoulders. There are those in their 20s who’d like a hit of whatever Alfredsson’s on
I started losing my hair after my dad passed away when I was 14, and by the time I was 21, I had what was a comb-over sheared off. I don't miss my hair at all, and the last five hairs up there annoy the hell out of me.
And there's no word as to whether the Alfredsson bobblehead night on November 23rd (against Ottawa) will include hair or Alfredsson's once-shaved-head look.
And finally, as you already know, I'm behind the curve in attempting to raise funds for my trip to Traverse City for the prospect tournament and main camp. I need to raise about another grand to just afford the hotel bill (gas up and down is another $220 and food costs, well, I'm cheap and don't eat out often, so I'd say I could live on a hundred and my own money after that), and I'm two-and-a-half weeks from leaving town on September 4th. If there is any way that you can lend a hand and/or spread the word, I would greatly, greatly appreciate it.
I'm sticking with PayPal as folks are familiar with it, and the email address that you use as my "recipient" ID is my personal email address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update: The Detroit News's Bob Wojowski gets the, "Oh, peppy peppy peppy" from the Kids in the Hall's "Shirling" sketch...
We have a crisis here. With six weeks remaining in the season, we’re running low on angst and adjectives. If you have any new words to describe Miguel Cabrera, I’m taking all suggestions.
This is a thunder show for the ages, and I’m not sure which is more enthralling — Cabrera’s mightiness or the joy he takes in doing it. Here was Max Scherzer continuing a brilliant run, now 18-1 after the Tigers pounded the Royals, 6-3, Sunday. And yet, the indelible image again was of Cabrera, who’s just merciless.
He’s the best hitter in baseball and one of the best ever, and that’s no news flash. But I’m prepared to add this: He’s the most dominant Detroit athlete of my lifetime (and probably yours). We can debate Barry Sanders, Nicklas Lidstrom, Steve Yzerman and Isiah Thomas over beers, but what Cabrera is doing is virtually unprecedented.
Cabrera would rather joke with teammates and playfully lighten the pressure. He won a World Series in Miami in 2003, but this has become a singular quest, and it could cement him forever in Detroit lore. Sanders played 10 spectacular seasons for the Lions and never won a title. The Red Wings stars almost deserve a separate category because the team was so good for so long.
But Cabrera is doing things that have everyone marveling. Shortly after his home run Sunday, fellow major leaguers took to Twitter to pay homage. From the Indians’ Jason Kipnis: “Dear Miggy … You’re making the rest of us look bad. Knock it off! — MLB Hitters.”
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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.