The Malik Report
by George Malik on 12/31/13 at 04:59 AM ET
For a blogger who prides himself on grinding out long days and long nights trying to cover as much as I possibly can--i.e. as much "stuff" as other people create as I possibly can--gigantic NHL events including the team I cover are exercises in futility, and absolute nightmares for my OCD.
The honest-to-God truth is that there is no way in hell that I could cover everything written about the Winter Classic even if I stayed here at the home office in South Lyon and pulled 24-hour work days, and there's certainly no way in hell that I'll be able to get through attending the Alumni Showdown and Winter Classic itself, never mind actually enjoy attending the events, if I try to snag everything.
Between what I witnessed at the media credential trailer at Michigan Stadium, the number of people in the press box for the Griffins-Marlies game and the media reception through which I chose to watch the Red Wings lose to Nashville instead of chat with the LeBruns, Custances and Cotsonikas, I'd suggest that there are at least five hundred media types here, and they represent at least eighty different outlets.
There's no way in *#$%@& hell that I can tip all of those stories and videos and Tweets toward you. So I'm not going to do that, and I hope that that's okay.
For the present moment, it's 4 AM as I'm starting to write this, I hope to get to bed by 5 and wake up at 9 and be down to Comerica Park by 11 at the latest. Attending the Alumni Showdown means that Paul's going to help me with the simultaneously-scheduled Red Wings and Maple Leafs' practices at Michigan Stadium, and when everything's over, I can only play catch-up for so long as getting to Michigan Stadium on Wednesday, even from South Lyon, will turn a 22-mile drive into quite the adventure because I'll be racing to get to my parking spot with 110,000 of my closest friends.
I don't know what form my coverage is going to take over the next couple of days, but I do know that it's not going to be comprehensive. I hope you can forgive me for wanting to experience the event myself.
In terms of what's happening today, here's what you need to know: The Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs are playing a pair of Alumni Showdown games at Comerica Park at 1:00 and 3:30 PM EST. They will air on Fox Sports Detroit, NBCSN (with the second game airing at 4 for some reason) and the CBC.
At Comerica Park's gates, Red Wings and the Detroit Rescue Mission will be collecting new or gently-used winter clothing to distribute to Detroit's homeless .
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose stated that the games will break down as follows...
Tuesday’s games will be played in equal halves. Game 1 will consist of 20-minute running time and the clock will stop in the last five-minutes of each half. Game 2 will be 25-minute running time with the clock stopping in the final 10-minutes of each half.
And Roose released the rosters for Games 1 and 2 in an article focusing on Mike Palmateer:
GAME 1 ROSTERS (1 p.m. EST)
Red Wings: Forwards John Ogrodnick, Dallas Drake, Jimmy Carson, Martin Lapointe, Petr Klima, Dennis Polonich, Red Berenson, Garry Unger, Kevin Miller, Pat Verbeek, Paul Ysebaert, Brent Fedyk, Mike Knuble;
Defensemen Jason Woolley, Aaron Ward, Steve Duchesne, Mathieu Dandenault, Jiri Fischer, Mathieu Schneider; Goalies Kevin Hodson, Ken Holland and Eddie Mio;
Coaches Scotty Bowman and Barry Smith;
Ambassadors Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Vladimir Konstantinov.
Maple Leafs: Forwards Dan Daoust, Mark Osborne, Bill Derlago, Stew Gavin, Pat Boutette, Rob Pearson, Claude Loiselle, Brad May, Shayne Corson, Tom Fergus, Mike Krushelnyski, Dave McLlwain, Todd Warriner, Dave Reid, Nikolai Borschevsky, Lou Franceschetti and Mike Johnson;
Defensemen Mike Pelyk, Jamie Macoun, Matt Martin, Brad Marsh, Greg Hothan and Cory Cross;
Goalies Mark Laforest and Peter Ing;
Coaches Tom Watt, Ron Ellis and Dan Maloney.
GAME 2 ROSTERS (3:30 p.m. EST)
Forwards Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Igor Larionov, Mickey Redmond, Tomas Holmstrom, Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty, Joe Kocur, Dino Ciccarelli, Slava Kozlov, Sergei Fedorov and Doug Brown;
Defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Chelios, Mark Howe, Larry Murphy, Slava Fetisov, Paul Coffey and Brian Rafalski;
Goalies Chris Osgood and Manny Legace;
Coaches Scotty Bowman and Barry Smith;
Ambassadors Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Vladimir Konstantinov.
Forwards Darryl Sittler, Rick Vaive, Wendel Clark, Doug Gilmour, Dave Andreychuk, Darcy Tucker, Kevin Maguire, Gary Leeman, Russ Courtnall, Gary Roberts, Lanny McDonald, Tiger Williams, Mike Walton, Tie Domi, Mike Gartner, Joe Nieuwendyk, Steve Thomas and Steve Sullivan;
Defensemen Dave Ellett, Bryan McCabe, Bob McGill, Al Iafrate and Bryan Berard;
Goalies Curtis Joseph, Felix Potvin and Mike Palmateer;
Coaches Pat Quinn and Red Kelly.
OTHER INVITED AMBASSADORS
Red Wings: Marcel Pronovost, Gerard Gallant, Lee Norwood, Bill Gadsby, Dave Lewis, Eddie Giacomin, Nick Libett, Norm Ullman, Dale McCourt, Greg Stefan, Brad Smith, Dennis Hextall and Jim Rutherford.
Maple Leafs: Johnny Bower, Jim McKenny, Frank Mahovlich, Bob Nevin, Terry Clancy, Brian Conacher, Pat Hickey, Rod Seiling, Jim Dorey and Doug Favell.
On Wednesday, the Winter Classic takes placeat 1 PM EST, and will air on NBCSN and the CBC. The NHL Network is doing significant pre-game coverage in the U.S. and TSN and Sportsnet will be all over the Big House like a frat boy returning from Christmas Break early simply to snag a ticket from a scalper and pay $9 to say he legally drank inside Michigan Stadium.
Or, as my experience with frat boys and older Michigan fans on Football Saturdays suggests, a frat boy's 40-year-old father.
It will be very cold at both events. We do not know whether the snow--up to 3-5 inches if you believe the National Weather Service--will hold off or whether it will fall. It will be safe, but if you are attending, please remember that among 40,000 people at Comerica Park and 100,000+ at Michigan Stadium, some are certain to be assholes who want to steal stuff from you or otherwise be jerks.
In terms of stuff you might want to read, on a site by site basis, that I'm not going to read through so that I can at least get some sleep:
- DetroitRedWings.com's Roose's Palmeteer article is part of a series which includes Andrea Nelson speaking with Mark Howe, Brendan Shanahan and Nicklas Lidstrom, Joey Kocur speaking with Roose about the 1986 and 87 playoff series against Toronto and Roose speaking with Lidstrom and Kris Draper.
- ESPN's Scott Burnside spoke with John Collins about the Biggest Game in NHL History a year delayed and ESPN posted a list of "Numbers" regarding Hockey at the Big House;
- USA Today's Kevin Allen talked about the attendance record, the nostalgic aspect thereof--including some NBC Sports conference call comments--and he spoke with Olympia CEO Tom Wilson about the economic impact of the events;
- The Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby talked about the "aged" status of the Bob McGills and Lanny McDonalds of the world, Wendel Clark penned his own column about the Alumni Showdown, and Mike Zeisberger duly noted that the Leafs are the first Canadian team to take part in the Winter Classic;
- The QMI's Wayne Newton also has some travel tips for those visiting Ann Arbor;
- The National Post's Bruce Arthur rather wisely suggests that fans not let the 24/7 burnout jade them, because these events will still be fascinating and anything but stale or feeling "staged";
- NHLcom posted a Q and A with Red Berenson, a "Numerical Look" at the Winter Classic and the delightful highlights of Mike Emrick, Pierre McGuire and Eddie Olczyk's conference call, as well as all those videos Paul and I have posted (and probably more), and Emrick raved out the Winter Classic's location in the NHL.com official Winter Classic blog;
- Present-day Leaf stuff? The Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby penned a midterm report card, Dave Hilson noted that James van Riemdsyk's been involved in 2 Winter Classics and has lost both of 'em, Hilson noted that this game is indeed worth two points for teams tied in the standings, Hilson found Randy Carlyle full of praise for Tyler Bozak, the Leafs wondered if they'll have to deal with snow, Steve Simmons talked to the Leafs' players about their childhood outdoor hockey memories, Rob Longley suggested that Jonathan Bernier's the Leafs' starter and Mike Zeisberger wondered whether the Winter Classic might come to Toronto's BMO Field;
- The Toronto Star's Rosie Dimanno noted that Nazem Kadri's not worried about his coach's rather harsh critiques, Curtis Rush and Brian Kennedy asked the Leafs how they'll cope with the outdoor conditions and the Leafs shared childhood memories with Kennedy;
- The Globe and Mail's James Mirtle talked with the Leafs about their Winter Classic preparations;
- Ditto for the National Post's Michael Traikos, who also noted the Kadri criticism;
- Sportsnet videos: Top 5 moments in Wings-Leafs rivalry, Big House spectacle, ten minutes with Scotty Bowman, Felix Potvin on goaltending and Cujo on Homer;
- TSN videos: Aaron Ward and Mike Johnson turned foes, Leafs talking about "surviving the elements," Rick Vaive, Doug Gilmour and Darryl Sittler talk with Johnson and does Jimmy Howard start? Yes;
- Please conveniently ignore the latest sets of power rankings;
- Mickey Redmond on WDIV? Hell, this ain't digest stuff!
If you are lucky enough to get WDIV, they will air Winter Classic pre and post-game shows--as well as a primetime special tonight at 8 PM--and I believe Fox Sports Detroit is also airing a Winter Classic post-game show.
Winter Classic weather update from MLive's Amy Biolchini? I guess so:
Gusting winds as high as 26 miles per hour Tuesday will usher 2013 out the door. The wind chill on New Year’s Eve will make the 22-degree high feel more like one degree, Schultz said.
Less than half an inch of snow could fall New Year’s Eve during the day. The temperature will be about nine degrees at midnight.
The forecast for the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day is shaping up to be a snowy one.
Temperatures will reach a high near 20 degrees, with winds expected from the east at 3 to 8 miles per hour. Schultz said the wind won’t affect the temperature too much.
There’s a 70 percent chance of snow on New Year’s Day as a system moves out of the northwest plains and down across Michigan. Schultz said about three to four inches of snow could fall on the Ann Arbor area during the day.
The strong chance of snow continues throughout Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Schultz said the early forecast for next week shows temperatures dropping even colder than this week.
Surprise! WDIV's Brandon Roux is saying the same thing at 4:50 AM.
In Swedish, Nicklas Lidstrom told Expressen's Gunnar Nordstrom that he's practiced twice and that he mostly serves as an assistant coach for his 13-year-old son Samuel's Vasteras IK team, but he thinks he'll survive; he also says that he doesn't feel pangs regarding a comeback and that while he has scouted players with Hakan Andersson, his job as an assistant with VIK is now a 5-day-a-week job;
The Detroit News's David Goricki spoke with several Wings alums about today's game, including Lidstrom...
“It’s great being in the locker room with the guys again, talking about great memories,” Lidstrom said. “You feel like you’re a little kid again, playing outdoors with your former teammates.”
When Lidstrom was asked if he felt he retired too soon he replied: “No, never to the point where I felt I should have played another year or continued to play. I felt good about my decision, but I knew I’d still miss hockey and being a part of a team like today.”
Games will be played at 1 and 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, but players weren’t thinking about that, just having fun and being together again. And, the weather shouldn’t play a factor, though temperatures were in the high teens during the practice.
“I just wore a long sleeve shirt,” Lidstrom said. “When you’re skating on the ice you get warm right away and once you’re on the bench you’re pretty warm with the heaters on.”
And the man who convinced Steve Yzerman to take part...
“For the last two or three months I’ve been trying to coax Steve Yzerman into playing,” Mark Howe said. “I know Stevie was a little aprehensive, but the game just would not have been the same without him. I’m really happy and excited for Stevie. He needed to be here.”
And, Howe was happy to be at Comerica Park, playing while his father and son, Nolan were on hand.
“We had 24 family members in town and had a nice late Christmas dinner last night,” Mark Howe said. “It’s great to get a chance to celebrate and be around and have Dad with us since you never know how much time is left so it’s nice to have him here. My boy (Nolan) used to come to all the games and he was on the ice when we won the Cup (in 1997). He’s 27 now and he’s a hockey lover like everybody who will be here tommorow. I got him in the team picture and got a picture with myself and his grandpa and it’s just things you cherish as you get older in life.”
I will skip the Free Press's George Sipple's chat with Mike Emrick and Pierre McGuire in lieu of his chat with Chris Osgood, Jimmy Devellano and Ken Holland regarding today's Alumni Showdown participants...
Osgood: Always there when the game was on the line. Persevered his entire career. A fixture in Red Wings history. Now one of the top five minor league coaches in the Michigan area who brags about his team’s record.
Osgood: “One of the greatest power forwards of all time. Great snap shot. A knack for scoring from anywhere. One of the few guys that could fight one of the toughest guys in the league, score a hat trick and throw a huge hit in the same game. Just a hard-nosed Irishman that other teams hated to play against.”
Devellano: “I had a lot of favorites in my time in Detroit. I feel a little closeness with Vladimir Konstantinov. When he came over to play in the Russian Red Army team and I had a guy do some legwork for me undercover. I hired a Russian man to make contact with Konstantinov ... and deliver him to my office at 1 o’clock in the morning after the Russians had gone to bed. I tried to get him to defect right then and there. I offered him bags and bags of money to defect and he told me while he would love to, he couldn’t because he had a wife and young baby back in Russia. But it was there I was able to tell him the Detroit Red Wings want you to play for them.”
Osgood: “He’s got the most dangerous (goalie) equipment, because it’s not very protective. The more he’s practiced, the better he’s gotten. He put me on notice for my game. I have to credit him for making me practice more than I would ever have liked. As always, since I was 18, he’s always pushed me, even when he doesn’t know it.”
And the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa has "the spirit of the thing" down pat, so he's going to take us out (and obviously these clips are from much longer articles which I suggest you read in full):
They are essential to what the NHL is today. Between the world wars, the Red Wings and Maple Leafs rivaled each other on the ice while their owners secured the success of the league.
In the Original Six era, from 1942 to 1967, the Wings and Leafs faced each other 14 times in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Each team won seven series. In those 25 seasons, they won 14 of the 15 cups not won by the Canadiens; the Maple Leafs nine and the Red Wings five.
“The Red Wings are paid to play, but they would play the Toronto Maple Leafs for nothing because their interest in beating them was so intense,” said the late Sid Abel, a player, captain, coach, general manager and broadcaster for the Wings.
The games include some of the most fabled in NHL history, including what stood for 33 years as the only comeback from a 3-0 series deficit in any major sport, the disputed details of an on-ice incident that nearly killed Gordie Howe and one of the great goals in the history of the sport.
This week, after 15 years of playing each other infrequently, as members of different conferences, the teams renew it, first in two alumni games today at Comerica Park, featuring former stars across eight decades, and then the NHL Winter Classic on Wednesday at Michigan Stadium.
“I probably got about 50 to 70 people coming down from Toronto to see this,” said Kris Draper, who was born and raised in Toronto and who, after retiring, is special assistant to general manager Ken Holland. "For me, it’s awesome.”
Me, I'm gonna try to get four hours of sleep, and to not be nearly as comprehensive going forward.
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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.