The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/30/13 at 02:39 AM ET
The Free Press's Helene St. James has been positing profiles of the Red Wings' key contributors going forward, and of the four players she's profiled--Justin Abdelkader, Todd Bertuzzi and Daniel Alfredsson, and today, Pavel Datsyuk--Datsyuk's arguably the most important player on the team not named Henrik Zetterberg, Jimmy Howard or Niklas Kronwall, and as such:
A) The Wings' most important summer signing involved retaining Datsyuk's services until he's 39 years old;
B) As St. James suggests, Datsyuk's the team's key contributor--and given his incredible work ethic in terms of physical conditioning and continued skill development after every practice, there's no reason to believe that he's "on the downside of his career" at 35:
Looking back: Datsyuk had a strong start reflective of having spent the lockout playing in his native Russia, and kept pace throughout regular season. Had solid series against Anaheim, contributing seven points, three of them as the Wings fought off elimination in Game 6. Was quieter in the second-round series against Chicago, which saw Datsyuk add just two points over seven games.
Looking ahead: At 35, Datsyuk is entering old age in his field, yet his sublime skill and sneakiness with his stick safeguards his status as one of game's superstars. He has averaged around a point-per-game in each of his last three seasons. What might have been a distraction this upcoming season — the topic of his future — was taken care of earlier this summer, when Datsyuk agreed to a new deal that will keep him in Detroit through 2016-17.
The Wings have started many a recent season hoping to play Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg together only to have to scuttle plans and use each as a center. The off-season's arrival of Stephen Weiss should allow Datsyuk and Zetterberg at long last to start together and stay together. They bring out the best each other - partly because it's hard for any team to defend both at the same time.
Datsyuk has been integral to the Wings' success for more than a decade. Part of what makes him so special is his unquenchable thirst to learn and improve, to push himself. Even as he climbs closer to 40 over the coming years, he'll continue to be an impact player.
Datsyuk's like his first Russian mentor in Detroit, Igor Larionov--his game is subtly physical at times, and he battles his way through hard checks, but he's held up well, and he's battled through the occasional wrist injury or knee issue. He works his ass off to stay in shape and to continue to deke, dangle and otherwise slink through his opponents by trying out new moves in practice and playing "keep away" with his pals, and he's a treat to watch in warmups as he continues to work on puckhandling while gauging the ice and boards between the blueline and the center ice red line, too.
He's also perhaps the most naturally-talented athlete (despite Glenn Healy's assertions to the contrary) the Wings have employed since Sergei Fedorov. He's going to age well.
In terms of "predictions" and odds-making news, USA Today's Kevin Allen also looked forward to the 2013-2014 season in making 10 predictions for the upcoming year, and he believes that the Wings will do just fine in terms of moving to the Eastern Conference and a stacked Northeast Division:
7. Red Wings will soar in East: With the improvements the Detroit Red Wings made to their offense and the return of Darren Helm, they can finish second in the new Atlantic Division, just behind the Boston Bruins. The misconception about the Red Wings is that they have defensive issues, but they were actually a strong defensive team by season's end. Their issue centered on a lack of scoring depth. Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss will help eliminate that deficiency.
As Pro Hockey Talk's Jason Brough posted Bovada's early Stanley Cup odds. The Wings are in the top third of the NHL at least...
Chicago Blackhawks 6/1
Pittsburgh Penguins 13/2
Boston Bruins 10/1
Los Angeles Kings 12/1
St. Louis Blues 12/1
Detroit Red Wings 16/1
Vancouver Canucks 16/1
San Jose Sharks 18/1
Edmonton Oilers 20/1
Minnesota Wild 20/1
New York Rangers 20/1
Anaheim Ducks 22/1
The list continues, obviously, but 16/1 ain't terrible...
For those of you who are worried that teams may toss restricted free agents Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson as the Wings are close to the cap, PHT's Jason Brough reminded us that there are more established players out there...
there remains a lengthy list of noteworthy RFAs without arbitration rights that still don’t have a contract for 2013-14 — a list that includes Alex Pietrangelo, Derek Stepan, Adam Henrique, Marcus Johansson, Nazem Kadri, Cody Franson, Cody Hodgson, Jared Cowan, Magnus Paajarvi, and Chris Tanev.
No arbitration dates = they're prone to offer sheets, and Pietrangelo, Stepan, Henrique and Kadri are all much, much more likely to be targets than anybody else.
And the Hockey News's Lyle Richardson reminds us that the realities regarding the Saturday evening "tip" that the Wings may trade Jordin Tootoo back to Nashville make such a transaction seem like a little less than a sure thing:
Tootoo, 30, began his NHL career with the Predators, where he played for eight seasons until signing with the Wings last summer as an unrestricted free agent.
Wings management intends to re-sign restricted free agent forwards Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson, which would give them two extra forwards and push them over the salary cap. They need to move a forward or two to address both issues before the start of the season.
There's nothing wrong with exceeding the cap by up to 10%--$6.4 million--during the off-season, but the Wings have to get back down to under $64.3 million by the "last day of training camp" (a.k.a. the exhibition season), which equals 5 PM on September 29th.
The Predators have approximately $2 million in cap space, but also have a logjam up front, meaning one would have to move to make room for Tootoo.
In news of a controversial nature, if you have not been following Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea's reports about the financial circumstances surrounding the Wings' new rink and the surrounding economic development, or you've been led astray by the CNN report, whatever the hell "right wing" sites have posted or what the Nation (which makes CNBC look like Fox News) offered today, Winging it in Motown had David Malinowski break down the financial situation...
In case you missed WIIM Radio from July 24 in which the new arena was discussed, the State of Michigan will be issuing up to $450 million in bonds, not Detroit.
Nobody would buy bonds from a bankrupt municipality. Period.
It should be noted that the overall financial picture is still extremely fuzzy. Some outlets report two-thirds public funding, while others report that Ilitch is paying the majority of the cost. The Detroit Downtown Development Authority, according to the Associated Press, has long been allowed to pay Detroit's general obligation bonds with $12.8 million that otherwise would have gone to schools throughout the state of Michigan. The general picture of the finances that seems to be surfacing is that roughly 44 percent of the funding will be public, and the rest will be paid for by Olympia Entertainment Incorporated, the developer owned by Mike Ilitch.
The breakdown, as Crain's Detroit Business's Shea has noted, reads as follows...
Again, shea discussed the details regarding the rink and/or development's construction and funding...
In a statement today touting the project, Gov. Rick Snyder said construction of the arena alone will create 2,900 direct construction jobs and the ancillary development would mean another 1,480 construction jobs.
Under the deal, half those jobs must be filled by Detroit residents, Snyder's office said in a statement.
DEGC President and CEO George Jackson said he hoped approvals for the arena project could be in place by the end of the year. Actual construction of the arena would take 24-30 months, so 2016 or 2017 are the likeliest years that the Red Wings would begin play at the new arena.
The quasi-public, nonprofit DEGC is the city's umbrella economic development agency providing staff, financing and incentives for the various authorities, including the DDA, that do specific tasks, such as neighborhood, commercial and industrial redevelopment along with investment.
Again, the DEGC is NOT affiliated with the City of Detroit. It's essentially a quasi-governmental as well as quasi-public corporation, and
Details presented to the MSF board included:
• Completion of the arena is anticipated in 2017.• The size of the arena would be about 650,000 square feet, with 18,000 seats, including approximately 1,200 premium seats.
• An attached parking deck would have about 500 spaces, and the ground floor would include 10,000 square feet of retail space featuring a team store, restaurants and other retail. This space would be open to the public not only during events, but also at other times.• Possible projects in the development area around the new arena might include new office and retail at Woodward near Sproat; renovation of the Detroit Life Building and Blenheim buildings for retail and residential units; renovation of 1922 Cass building for office use; a new 70-car parking deck with ground floor retail; and a site for a possible new hotel.
The tax funds being diverted by the Downtown Development Authority and its parent DEGC are NOT taxes residents pay: they are property taxes on businesses that fall under the DDA's umbrella, and they include GM, DTE Energy, Compuware, Rock Financial, Penske Corp and even Ilitch Holdings. The funds have been collected since the DDA was founded and they are ONLY to be used for economic development.
On Monday, another member of a State of Michigan governmental agency answered questions on MLive.com, and, as MLive's Melissa Anders noted, he addressed the Wings' rink and development:
Michael Finney, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., said during a live chat on MLive that the project should have a wider effect.
"The Catalyst project is more than an arena for the Detroit Red Wings. The level of private investment has the potential to greatly impact the long-term recovery of Detroit," Finney said. "We are looking to every opportunity to support investment in our urban communities...many have needs."
I don't necessarily agree with everything surrounding the rink and its development, but we at least need to get the facts straight before engaging in a debate about the issue.
The more that outside-of-Detroit media types attempt to make political points by discussing the rink and development, the more the facts conveniently change to support their arguments, and that's not cool.
And if we're going for "full disclosure," I want the record to state that I'm a non-partisan "middle" person who registered to vote at 18 as an independent, so yes indeedy, I try to take both sides into account, and when it comes to my birthplace, nothing is easy, simple or anything less than difficult to assess as an across-the-board "positive" or "negative."
Obviously, every cent that does not go to helping the citizens of the City of Detroit or the public services that are so very terribly neglected is a cent that should and could have been better-invested in going back toward the average folk as opposed to corporate movers and shakers, but the city's been horribly mismanaged by elected officials for the past 40 years...
And in terms of governmental, quasi-governmental or corporate entities, in terms of doing business in the City of Detroit (which is a dirty, dirty business), the DEGC and DDA are as honest as they come--and they get shit done on time and on budget, which almost never happens in Detroit.
I'm not thrilled with the concept of so much public money (and as a State of Michigan resident whose household pays taxes, it's "my" money) going toward a private development that's going to primarily serve the Ilitches' bottom line, but, for better or worse, it is the way that the world works, and the Cass Corridor is just horrifically blighted and downright dangerous, so I'm willing to live with public funds going toward linking Downtown with Midtown in a manner that's going to improve the City and bring more people downtown.
Regarding a certain Mr. Tootoo, as noted on Monday afternoon, Tootoo spent this past weekend touring communities in Nunavut in cooperation with a company called Nunasi, which helps Nunavut natives find employment and invests in Nunavut businesses.
The CBC posted a story about Tootoo's tour...
Tootoo was only in Kimmirut for a couple of hours but as soon as he got off the plane, fans of all ages wanted photos and autographs.
Tootoo signed everything from hockey sticks, jerseys to rocks.
He said the highlight this summer is visiting with Nunavut youth. It's been three years since the N-H-L player checked himself into rehab for alcohol abuse. And 30-year-old Tootoo says he has never felt better.
"There's a lot of people in the Arctic communities that struggle with substance abuse and what not and I think the only way to change that life style is for you to decide that upon yourself"
On Saturday, Tootoo visited Clyde River and Qikiqtarjuaq, on Sunday, he went to Cape Dorset and Sanikiluaq. He even spent time in Iqaluit on Monday afternoon...signing autographs.
Tootoo has a message for the people he talks to.
"It's about wanting to be a better person and helping each other out," said Tootoo.
Tootoo posited a Tweet from his autograph session at the Rankin Inlet airport...
And while you have to head over to the APTN National News's website and scroll down their video page to find the video, there is a clip of Tootoo speaking about his trip.
In foreign-language news, I believe Lidovky.cz's Jaroslav Tomas' interview with Petr Mrazek's the fourth or fifth posted from a promotional appearance Mrazek made last week, so, again:
- Mrazek hopes to push for a spot with the Wings via a strong showing during training camp and the exhibition season, and after the AHL season, Ken Holland told Mrazek that he'll have an opportunity to prove himself;
- He attended the Czech pre-Olympic gathering a couple of weeks ago, and while he's going to have stiff competition in terms of earning a spot on that team in Tomas Vokoun, Michal Neuvirth and Ondred Pavelec in the NHL, as well as national team startes Jakub Kovar and Jakub Stepanek, Czech coach Alois Hadamczik told Mrazek that he's in the mix;
- And even he had to clarify Detroit's bankruptcy situation, explaining that the city's lost a huge chunk of its population as jobs have moved to the suburbs, where the Wings' players live, but that Detroit's bankruptcy does not equal the team struggling. He also hopes that the city will rebound...
And in case you missed it, former Wing Andreas Lilja will serve as the captain for Swedish Allsvenskan club Rogle BK this upcoming season, and he told HD.se's Linus Andersson that he'll take the lessons learned from playing alongside Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom to work as a 38-year-old first-time captain.
In the prospect department, Landon Ferraro had his "Day with the Cup"--the Calder Cup--in Vancouver and Burnaby, British Columbia on Monday, and it looks like a professional photographer spent his or her day with Ferraro, too:
Ray’s son Landon just happens to be a solid player with the Detroit Red Wings organization, and also happens to have won the Calder Cup with their AHL affiliate the Grand Rapids Griffins earlier this summer. The Griffins beat the Syracuse Crunch in six games to claim the Cup, which has been awarded since 1937. Ferraro had his day with the Calder on Monday, and chose to bring it to the Burnaby Winter Club for a couple of hours in the afternoon. The BWC was his haunt growing up, so it’s fitting that he would honour the place with the Calder for a couple of hours.
Despite being smack dab in the middle of an urban centre like Greater Vancouver, the BWC has the feel of a small town rink. It’s a simple place, but even this has changed significantly in the 10 years it’s taken Ferraro to go from teen minor hockey player to professional champ. Was there a coffee bar here a decade ago?
“Definitely not,” laughs Ferraro, “all of this, the offices, the cappuccino bar, it’s all new since I played here. There was just a tiny little kitchen in the back, with a couple of simple tables out here.”
Kurylo continues, and his article's worth your time....And as an FYI:
As for Ferraro himself, just four weeks after winning it all in the AHL, he’s already looking forward to training camp. “I won’t do the [Red Wings] prospects camp this year,” he said. “I’ll go to the main camp and try to get into a few pre-season games, then see where it goes from there.”
Here’s hoping I won’t have the chance to chat with him after a Griffins-Heat tilt this season.
“Sure, it’d be great to stick with the Wings, but if not, playing for Grand Rapids has been great,” he said. “There are worse things. If I’m with the Griffins, I’ll see you in Abbotsford.”
Again, if you're going to be in "SoCal" on Wednesday, Mitch Callahan's inviting you to hang out with him during his "Day with the Cup":
It was also good to see Jared Coreau, a.k.a. Rozi3B1rd on Twitter, essentially re-Tweeting confirmation that he's working out at Northern Michigan University, which likely means that he's returned to health after recovering from shoulder surgery...
And if you missed it, the Griffins posted their third video chronicling the team's playoff journey. It's 37 minutes and 41 seconds long!
In promotional news, Gordie and Mark Howe are making a charitable appearance on Wednesday in Audubon, PA, which is located about 20 miles northwest of Philadelphia:
Legendary former Detroit Red Wings player Gordie Howe and his son, former Philadelphia Flyers Hockey player Mark Howe while they have a meet and greet at TeamChildren, an Audubon, PA based nonprofit. Mark Howe had begun his Rolfing® sessions 20 years ago with Advanced Certified Rolfer® Robert Toporek, founder and executive director of TeamChildren. He attributes four extra years of playing hockey to the vitality he acquired through Rolfing®, a highly specialized massage series transforming posture.
Mark Howe said, "I found it so beneficial for me... It gets rid of soreness and pain and helps relieve stress."
Join us on Wednesday, July 31 at 1:00 p.m. to meet Gordie and Mark Howe for pictures and autographs. You can learn more about the Howe's experiences with Rolfing® and you can visit TeamChildren's 8,000 square foot technology center where you will see ten to twenty teen and senior citizen volunteers at TeamChildren refurbishing computers and transforming early childhood education.
"There isn't one thing about it I don't like," said Mark Howe.
You will see 1,000 high quality, low cost refurbished computers, needing new homes, each fully loaded with $500 worth of early learning software donated by Brillkids.com, a Hong Kong software developer, and AWE Digital Learning Solutions in Chester, PA, Windows 7, and Open Office software. Software programs Little Reader, Little Math and child safe web browser Elf in combination with Rolfing® are effectively preventing the the pervasive effects of poverty on the growth and development of children's brains and bodies.
Who: TeamChildren Presents Gordie and Mark Howe
What: Meet and Greet with Legendary Hockey Players Gordie and Mark Howe
When: July 31, 2013. Media can see the technology center, take photos, and interview former professional hockey player Gordie Howe and his son and professional hockey player Mark Howe, founder and executive director of TeamChildren Robert Toporek and technology center manager Joe Granese.
Time: July 31 at 1:00 p.m.
Where: TeamChildren's Technology Center—960 Rittenhouse Rd, Audubon, PA 19403
The Red Wings are holding something of a sporting social media strategy powwwow for businesses today at Joe Louis Arena:
And finally, remember Munrovia Pictures' Fake Henrik Zetterberg series? Greg DeLiso and Peter Litvin are native Metro Detroiters who moved to NYC to pursue film careers, and they've filmed a new series called "Hectic Knife."
They're trying to raise funds for their new project, "Hectic Knife," and they have an IndieGoGo page and have set up a YouTube video explaining their endeavors and what their new project's about. There are some F-bombs dropped and some gratuitously cartoonish blood yviolence involved, so viewers beware:
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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.