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The Malik Report

Red Wings overnight report: on the aggravating Mule and more number retirement talk

While Anthony Mantha and Jake Paterson attempt to make Team Canada's cut at the World Junior selection camp starting today at the Montreal Canadiens' practice facility and then shifting to the combined U.S./Finnish/Swedish World Junior summer camp in Lake Placid on Tuesday...

The Free Press's Helene St. James continues her survey of the Wings' present and future with someone the team's essentially stuck with in one Johan Franzen and his moderate cap hit belying a massive contract belying massive underachievement-on-the-dollar that Wings fans insist the team should have spent re-signing Marian Hossa--despite eight gabillion and five indications that Rich Winter planned on giving the Wings a long-term discount on his client's services as much as, well, Neil Sheehy planned on doing anything less than waiting things out to ensure that Damien Brunner earns $3+ million per season.

In theory, anyway, St. James believes that the Mule can indeed get what he wants--or perhaps needs--by playing alongside Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson, and I sure as hell hope so:

Looking back: Franzen opted not to play anywhere last fall during the lockout, but it didn’t take the 33-year-old winger long to get his wind once the NHL season started in January. He was remarkably consistent — other than a six-game scoreless stretch in late February and into March, Franzen rarely went more than a game without at least a point. But he was less impressive in the playoffs, especially in the second round against Chicago, with only one goal and two assists in seven games, none the last three.

Disturbingly enough, despite Franzen's inconsistency, he actually ended up doing a helluva job tossing off assists when he wasn't scoring goals, and he at least impressed me with his ability to posit 17 assists to go with his 14 goals registered over the course of 41 games.

Looking ahead: Franzen can be a frustration for the Wings, who think highly of him because of his size, skill and consistency. and someone who will deliver at least 20 goals a season, but they also wish he would be tougher on opponents. At $4 million a year — not a bad salary-cap hit for a top-six forward — the Wings can live with Franzen’s deficiencies.

That, and with the Tomas Jurcos of the world at least two or three years away, the Wings' most immediate scoring threats in the prospect pipeline--Tomas Tatar, Landon Ferraro, Teemu Pulkkinen and Calle Jarnkrok--are all classically "undersized" forwards, so while the team's managed to draft bigger and grittier players over the past three years, those players aren't likely to be ready for prime time duty for at least another pair of seasons, making Franzen's size, even when he floats...useful.

Franzen could have a good year ahead thanks to the off-season additions of Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss. Weiss should enable the Wings to unite as linemates Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, who will draw any opponent’s top defenders. That likely will create a second line of Franzen, Weiss and Alfredsson, a trio that will have more room to roam against lesser defenders.

Franzen is at his best when he’s driving to the inside and going to his shot, whether at even strength or on the power play. At 6-feet-3 and 220-some pounds, he can be a bulldozer. He played center during much of his career in his native Sweden, a handy asset for the Wings when they face a foe with a big center.

I actually thought he was more engaged when he played center last season.

The bottom line: As vexing as he might sometimes be, his occasional lethargy is outweighed by his assets.

That's the truth, even though so many of us wonder what could have been had the team somehow managed to dole out the big bucks to retain Hossa.

 

 

 

While we're wandering into controversial territory, the Oakland Press's Pat Caputo, penning an article for 97.1 the Ticket, suggests that the Red Wings need to--surprise!--retire #91 after they send #5 to the rafters...But he also believes that #30 should be up there, too:

1. Chris Osgood, No. 30, Red Wings – Osgood is one of only 10 goalies in NHL history to win more than 400 games, the majority of which came with the Red Wings. The Red Wings have won four Stanley Cup titles since 1997. Osgood was the primary goalie for two of those playoff runs.

....

3. Sergei Fedorov, No. 91, Red Wings – I have never understood the fan hate for Fedorov. He won a Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP. He was a truly brilliant skater and two-way player on three Stanley Cup title teams. And he was at his best during the playoffs.

(Caputo's "athlete #2" was Jason Hanson's #4)

Ring of honor! Ring of honor! And run away!

 

 

 

In other news...As mentioned at the start, Jake Paterson and Anthony Mantha (and summer development camp Jake PaTTerson) are all attending Team Canada's World Junior selection camp...

  • Burnaby Now posted a picture of Landon Ferraro sharing the Calder Cup with a young fan...

 

  • Iffin' you want to attend the Red Wings' preseason game in Chicago, Blackhawks 101's Andrew McIntyre reports that Hawks preaseason tickets go on sale this Monday;

 

  • And, regarding Saturday's story about Eisbaren Berlin defenseman Constantin Braun receiving oodles of support from his team and the media regarding his battle with severe depression, Stephan Held on Twitter pointed out that Buffalo Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff had some things to say about Braun's battle, too:

 

And I quote from his Facebook page:

Wishing all the Best to my Team Germany Teammate Constantin Braun, who will be taking time off hockey to battle his depression.

Depression is a very serious disease and I wish him all the strength he needs for a full recovery.

What he said.

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Comments

Mistercristo's avatar

“The Free Press’s…$3+ million per season.”

Holy crap, that’s a long sentence!  Had to go back to make sure I didn’t overlook a break in that paragraph.  I’m guilty of some verbose lines as well, but I will say that you’re very thorough and accurate.

Keep up the phenomenal digging.

Posted by Mistercristo from Cameron Frye's garage, circa 1987 on 08/04/13 at 04:32 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I tried to break it up to make it more readable.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/04/13 at 04:46 AM ET

Mistercristo's avatar

Then I get to “That, and with…useful”.  Maybe it’s the bourbon, but I laughed.  KK/MR/A2Y entertain/educate me to no end.  WIIM and DGB are equally edutaining, and usually deliver a spit take at least one a week.

Posted by Mistercristo from Cameron Frye's garage, circa 1987 on 08/04/13 at 04:48 AM ET

Mistercristo's avatar

In no way are either of those a criticism.  Much better to burrow into a sentence than trying to brave the choppy seas of four or five word flotsam on certain other blogs.

Keep up the great work, George, and please get some rest grin

Posted by Mistercristo from Cameron Frye's garage, circa 1987 on 08/04/13 at 04:57 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

Should I repost, again, the epic “Elephant in the Room” post from October 2008 on A2Y about the need to sign Hossa after only 5 games with the team?  Nope, I’ve long moved past that (probably April 2013 I did) and Franzen is not a bad signing for the money he’s being paid. 

Playing with more NHL scoring talent this year on one of those lines he might start racking up 30 goals.  Just engage more, will ya’?

I wish I could have seen Wings games all season long during the 90’s when Sergei was playing like I have the last 10 with NHL Center Ice, instead of occasional ESPN games 4 or 5 times a year.  As a result I probably don’t appreciate enough about him compared to the lingering memories of his failures to lead his subsequent teams to any significant success.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with creepy Rob Lowe. on 08/04/13 at 11:56 AM ET

calquake's avatar

Looking at Sergei objectively he is easily one of the greatest Wings to play the game.  He was money when it counted.  I’ll always remember when Yzerman missed a great deal of time and he revealed that he told Sergei he’d have to carry the team, and carry the team he did.  I believe that was the year he won the Hart trophy in ‘94.  Maybe because of that he felt he was “the man” and then had to go back to being relegated to second fiddle.  Egos are funny things, they allow individuals to accomplish great deeds and yet some are so fragile they crumble if not revered.  He does belong in the rafters at our arena, wherever that may be.

Posted by calquake on 08/04/13 at 03:27 PM ET

monkey's avatar

Chris Osgood’s ranks, all-time, Detroit Red Wings:

Regular season
Games played: second
Wins: second
Losses: third
Ties: third
OT losses: first
Shutouts: second
GAA, among top ten in in wins: fifth

Post season
Games played: first, only goalie to ever play in over 100 playoff games as a Wing (110)
Wins: first, only goalie to ever notch over 50 post season wins as a Wing (67)
Losses: tied for first with Terry Sawchuk (37)
Shutouts: first, one of only two goalies to notch more than 10 post season shutouts as a Wing (14)
GAA, among top ten in wins: third

Retiring his number is a no-brainer.  If Chris Osgood’s number can’t be retired, probably Sawchuk’s will remain the only number retired in honor of a goalie.

Posted by monkey from Finland on 08/04/13 at 06:22 PM ET

monkey's avatar

Caputo loses all credibility with one sentence: “I don’t believe kickers belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.” Learn about the history of the game before you start spouting off.  It’s called FOOTball for a reason.

Posted by monkey from Finland on 08/04/13 at 06:25 PM ET

monkey's avatar

If Chris Osgood’s number can’t be retired, probably Sawchuk’s will remain the only number retired in honor of a goalie.

By which I mean forever.  How many goaltenders meet or exceed Terry Sawchuk?

Posted by monkey from Finland on 08/04/13 at 06:35 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Dominik Hasek, for one year? That’s a hard topic to discuss, isn’t it?

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/04/13 at 07:00 PM ET

monkey's avatar

Dominik Hasek, for one year? That’s a hard topic to discuss, isn’t it?

Maybe.  Not necessarily. 

My problem with how Chris Osgood is treated remains the fact he is being held to an impossibly high standard.  It always boils down to “He wasn’t Terry Sawchuk” or “He wasn’t Martin Brodeur” or “He wasn’t Patrick Roy”, or, yes, “He wasn’t Dominik Hasek”.  Nobody ever gives the guy any credit for what he did or cuts him any slack regarding the fact he played during a golden era of legendary goalies.  If Chris Osgood wasn’t good enough to have his number retired, in all likelihood no goaltender will ever be good enough.  For God’s sake, Sawchuk played when the regular season was only 70 games, goalies had almost no equipment, and right now ranks fifth all-time in wins, league wide, and second in shutouts.  Is that how good a goaltender has to be to get his number retired?  Really?  Yet Ted Lindsay, Sid Abel, and Alex Delvecchio are up there.  We’re supposed to believe those guys, as skaters, meet the Sawchuk standard? Bullshit.  There’s like six guys who were that good, and most didn’t play for Detroit.  You’re talking Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, Nick Lidstrom, maybe Maurice Richard.  Not too many others, maybe none.  I’m not positive Steve Yzerman meets that standard.  How many cups did he win without Fedorov, Shanahan, and Lidstrom?  And that’s heresy right there, especially from a Wings fan.  But people do that to Chris Osgood all day long and never think twice.

Incidentally, Lindsay, Abel, Delvecchio, and Yzerman all absolutely deserve to have their numbers retired.  They are legends.  There are other guys who deserve it too; Red Kelly comes to mind.  Sergei Fedorov, who could skate circles around most of the guys up there already, is another.  Fedorov is the third best forward to ever play in Detroit, and Osgood is the second best goalie (past his prime Hasek be damned), and their numbers belong in the rafters.

Posted by monkey from Finland on 08/04/13 at 07:41 PM ET

monkey's avatar

I could go on and on and on like this.  How many times did Hasek win the cup as a starter?  Once, and that was on a team with NINE future Hall of Famers.  His second championship run was spent almost entirely riding backup to… Chris Osgood.  Well, shit.

How many Red Wings goalies have ever won nine consecutive playoff games?

Posted by monkey from Finland on 08/04/13 at 08:01 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

you’re not just monkeying around.

If I remember this close to accurately, Nashville had won 2 games with Hasek in goal when Osgood bailed out the series and the rest of the Cup run.  As Babcock said at the time about wining it all, “if a team has to change its goalie during the playoffs that usually doesn’t happen.’

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with creepy Rob Lowe. on 08/04/13 at 08:08 PM ET

monkey's avatar

Johan Franzen will score 70 goals this season.

Posted by monkey from Finland on 08/04/13 at 08:19 PM ET

monkey's avatar

If I remember this close to accurately, Nashville had won 2 games with Hasek in goal when Osgood bailed out the series and the rest of the Cup run.  As Babcock said at the time about wining it all, “if a team has to change its goalie during the playoffs that usually doesn’t happen.’

Troof.  Osgood started out 9-0 that postseason, finished 14-4.  The type of playoff run that the media would have came in their pants to gush over if the goaltender had been anyone else.

Posted by monkey from Finland on 08/04/13 at 08:49 PM ET

MsRedWingFan's avatar

  Dominik Hasek, for one year? That’s a hard topic to discuss, isn’t it?

Maybe.  Not necessarily.

My problem with how Chris Osgood is treated remains the fact he is being held to an impossibly high standard.  It always boils down to “He wasn’t Terry Sawchuk” or “He wasn’t Martin Brodeur” or “He wasn’t Patrick Roy”, or, yes, “He wasn’t Dominik Hasek”.  Nobody ever gives the guy any credit for what he did or cuts him any slack regarding the fact he played during a golden era of legendary goalies.  If Chris Osgood wasn’t good enough to have his number retired, in all likelihood no goaltender will ever be good enough.  For God’s sake, Sawchuk played when the regular season was only 70 games, goalies had almost no equipment, and right now ranks fifth all-time in wins, league wide, and second in shutouts.  Is that how good a goaltender has to be to get his number retired?  Really?  Yet Ted Lindsay, Sid Abel, and Alex Delvecchio are up there.  We’re supposed to believe those guys, as skaters, meet the Sawchuk standard? Bullshit.  There’s like six guys who were that good, and most didn’t play for Detroit.  You’re talking Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, Nick Lidstrom, maybe Maurice Richard.  Not too many others, maybe none.  I’m not positive Steve Yzerman meets that standard.  How many cups did he win without Fedorov, Shanahan, and Lidstrom?  And that’s heresy right there, especially from a Wings fan.  But people do that to Chris Osgood all day long and never think twice.

Incidentally, Lindsay, Abel, Delvecchio, and Yzerman all absolutely deserve to have their numbers retired.  They are legends.  There are other guys who deserve it too; Red Kelly comes to mind.  Sergei Fedorov, who could skate circles around most of the guys up there already, is another.  Fedorov is the third best forward to ever play in Detroit, and Osgood is the second best goalie (past his prime Hasek be damned), and their numbers belong in the rafters.

Posted by monkey from Finland on 08/04/13 at 07:41 PM ET

  Bravo !!!

Posted by MsRedWingFan from West Michigan hometown of Abdelkader on 08/04/13 at 09:01 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

To state the obvious, If Federov had retired instead of going to Anaheim, his number would be next to #19 already. He was a once in a generation kind of player, playing next to a captain who was much the same.

I’d support that retirement, but then again, Sergi was my favorite Wing of that era. The money aspect that soured him for so many of us is separate from the on-ice game. That’s what SHOULD matter so far after the fact.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 08/05/13 at 08:55 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

James Howard is one Cup away from at least tying Osgood as the second greatest Red Wings goalie ever.

/hides and covers

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/05/13 at 10:34 AM ET

SuperMatt75's avatar

I’m with you Monkey.  I’ve always been a huge Osgood fan.  So much so that I even went out and got an Osgood Islanders jersey from when he got s*#t-on during the Cujo/Hasek debacle.

I don’t think there’s any question that Osgood should be in the HHOF.  And I can’t think of a reason why anyone who is in the HOF, who played (nearly) their entire career with one organization, shouldn’t get their number retired by that organ-i-zation. 

That goes for Federov as well.  It sucked when he left. Bad.  But that doesn’t diminish his performances. I thought he deserved the Conn Smythe for the 02 Cup.  He was so dominant.  What Yzerman had in will and determination, Sergei had in pure talent. That dude could skate.

Posted by SuperMatt75 from the cool side of the pillow on 08/05/13 at 03:09 PM ET

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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.