The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/24/13 at 05:34 AM ET
Those of you who feel that this Red Wings-hockey-less summer has been unberably long must surely know that your long wait is nearly at an end.
After the Joe Kocur Foundation's slate of softball games today, after the Red Wings' players, coaches and management take part in Olympic orientation camps (Pavel Datsyuk, who's in Sochi today, will probably linger in Russia until his daughter's first day of school; Mike Babcock and Ken Holland will face innumerable questions while taking part in the Canadian Olympic orientation camp in Calgary from Sunday to Wednesday; Justin Abdelkader, Danny DeKeyser and Jimmy Howard will head to Arlington, VA to take part in the U.S. Olympic orientation camp on Monday and Tuesday), the Wings' personnel will soon descend upon the Troy Sports Center and Joe Louis Arena for informal practices.
We're going to start reading "practice reports" by Tuesday or Wednesday at the earliest and Friday at the latest.
We're a week and-a-half removed from the start of the Red Wings' prospect tournament in Traverse City, and as Ken Kal reminded us on Friday, the start of the Wings' main training camp is only 20 days away.
Things are about to move very quickly, and it's a little ironic that the capped-out and 26-man-carrying Red Wings team's general manager, Ken Holland (whose daughter is getting married in Toronto today), spoke with USA Today's Kevin Allen about what is an imminent and inevitable loosening of teams' purse-strings as training camps approach:
"There is always a (market) correction that goes on in the month of August or early September," said Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland. "Players start out wanting to play for three or four million, but end up playing for a lesser price for one year, thinking they can have a good year and drive their salary next year."
It hasn't helped NHL job seekers that teams have been dealing with the salary cap dropping from $70.2 million to $64.3 million this season. Among the players that are still available include Daniel Cleary, Ryan Whitney, Brenden Morrow, Ron Hainsey, Simon Gagne, Brad Boyes, Tom Gilbert, Ian White, Damien Brunner and David Steckel. Most, if not all, of those players normally would be signed by now.
"A lot of teams have spent money and they are near the cap or they have kids who they think are ready," Holland said. "So we have some younger players replacing some older players. And in some cases, some salary demands are above the marketplace."
At this point, it most certainly appears that Brunner will find employment in short order, and whether Daniel Cleary will be given one final chance to shoehorn his way onto the Red Wings' roster depends on whose articles you're reading. Allen and the Free Press's Helene St. James believe that the Wings still want to re-sign Daniel Cleary, but that's impossible at this point:
The Red Wings are just above the salary cap limit, and yet there seems to be mutual interest in Dan Cleary re-signing with the team. But the Red Wings would have to move out some contracts, and they haven't been able to do that. Probably they will just go to training camp and see what happens.
"Probably in February and March, we had $20 million in cap space," Holland said. "But we re-signed Jimmy Howard and then signed (Stephen) Weiss and (Daniel) Alfredsson and then it's gone. It goes fast."
The Wings are selling something that will "go fast" this morning, too (the Calder Cup will also be in Grand Rapids this weekend and this upcoming week):
In a "preview" of a different kind, via RedWingsFeed, I smiled when WXYZ aired a video insisting that the architectural diagrams from the now-crashed "New Olympia" blog site represent the design of the Wings' follow-on rink.
Way back on August 8th, I noted that Architect.com's Alexander Walter found the blog site, and they were linked to a now-invite-only site called "Stadium Drawings," whose author was admittedly doodling potential arena designs for, say, an NHL team in Seattle and other possibilities on his website via Google Earth and Google Draw software.
The fact that the design shows a rink behind the Fox Theatre indicates that it's not official, too, but WXYZ is goin' with what it's got:
We’re getting new details on what the new future home of the Detroit Red Wings may look like. A few select Detroit business leaders have seen preliminary construction details of the new $450 million arena, including the $200 million surrounding entertainment district.
Sources tell 7 Action News reporter Jeff Vaughn that the peak of the new arena will resemble the old Olympia Stadium. There are images from a site called http://www.newolympia.blogspot.com and i,t matches what source say the new arena may look like.
It would be an architectural throwback paying tribute to the old Olympia Stadium where the Red Wings played from 1927 to 1979.
The Red Wings say they will not respond to the speculation.
I have no doubt that there will be some remembrances of Olympia Stadium, but a window-less concourse seems unlikely, and the fact that Ilitch's parent company is called Olympia doesn't necessarily have everything to do with Olympia Stadium. He is Macedonian, after all.
In more real estate news, if you missed it, the Detroit News confirms that, as reported on Friday, Reality Today's Kevin Goodwin inormed the world hat Chris Chelios's Malibu beach house is on the rental market...
And after the Ottawa Citizen's Allen Panzeri noted that Daniel Alfredsson was skating in Ottawa while wearing Wings gear, and the Ottawa Sun's Tim Baines followed that up with first a picture and now a ten-image gallery of Alfredsson skating in red Bauer gloves and pants, noting that the Senators will play an exhibition game in Detroit in October...
The Ottawa Citizen's Vito Pilleci reports that Alfredsson's cutting ties with the city in a big way:
Former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson is cutting his last remaining ties with the nation’s capital by listing his secluded Kanata home for sale, according to a source with knowledge of Ottawa’s real estate industry.
The home, located in a posh area of rural Kanata along Sherubby Way, is expected to be listed on the Mulitple Listing Service (MLS) sometime within the next week. The home, which is situated on more than two acres of land, has been appraised at $837,500, although the timing of the appraisal was not revealed. Alfredsson bought the property for $800,000 in 2004.
If Alfredsson lists for near the assessed value of his home, the property would be selling for a bargain price. A $37,500 increase over nine years would suggest the area he chose to live in has seen severely stagnated real estate values, or that Alfredsson just wants to sell his property quickly and move out. Most homes in Ottawa have experienced between five per cent a six per cent annual increases in value over the past decade.
The market for high-value homes in Ottawa is on fire. In July, real estate agents sold more than 14 properties valued at more than $1 million. In July 2012, only eight properties valued at more than $1 million were sold.
Alfredsson is expected to list the property with Coldwell Banker Rhodes & Company, which is run by Tony Rhodes, his close friend and long-standing golf partner at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club.
The location of the home was perfect for taking Alfredsson’s oldest son, Hugo, to the minor atom AA Kanata Blazers’ practices. Former teammate Chris Phillips also had a son on the team.
Alfredsson's family may have already made the move to Metro Detroit as private schools' years begin prior to Labor Day, and I would imagine that Alredsson's sons will either be playing for Catholic Central in Novi or the Little Caesars team.
Again, this is just a guess, but I really got the feeling from Alfredsson's presser that he's not staying here for a one-and-done opportunity, but his health and money will obviously be factors. The "when or if we'll return to Ottawa" statement was clearly meant to be taken literally, however...
Perhaps in a similar vein, recently re-signed Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist spoke with Aftonbladet's Linus Norberg about both his new contract and the salvaging of his stolen first NHL goal puck. Here's a rough translation thereof:
Gustav Nyquist prepares--with his fondest property
Gustav Nyquist talks about the mysterious disappearance of a puck
Gustav Nyquist, 23, signed a new contract with Detroit worth nearly 13 million Swedish Kronor.
Now he's preparing for the new NHL season--and he's received his mysteriously lost puck back.
"It's a memory for the rest of my life," says the forward.
By the end of next week, Gustav Nyquist will go back to Michigan in hopes of winning a regular spot with Detroit. The NHL team recently signed him to a two-year contract worth $1,900,000, or equivalent to nearly 13 million Swedish Kronor.
"It feels really good to go back to the team again. We've got a really exciting team again, with several good additions," said Nyquist.
"Alfredsson's one of them, a leader both on and off the ice. It feels great to have him on the team, although it was surprising," continues the 23-year-old, who tells Sportbladet about the mysterious disappearance of an important piece of property.
And the feeling of getting it back.
"The storage facility was completely empty"
Nyquist left Sweden and Malmo's youth team in 2008. And after playing college hockey with the University of Maine, the Swedish hidden talent played his first NHL game during the 2011-2012 season.
He scored his first NHL goal then.
But the puck that went into the net, which he's allowed to keep by tradition, disappeared the following summer.
"Me and some pals from Grand Rapids (Detroit's farm team) locked up our stuff that we couldn't take home over the summer. The puck was among it. But the company that leased the storage fiddled with the money, and when we came back after the summer, our things were gone, they'd been auctioned off. The storage area was completely empty," says Nyquist.
"A memory for life"
The hockey players were forced to ask for police help to recover their belongings, and Nyquist waited through a long process.
"It was obviously hard to lose lots of things, but the puck most of all. That's a memory for your entire life, and it can't be replaced."
"So it was really great to have gotten it back. I was surprised when the police told me that they found the puck. That was before I went home last summer."
Now are you never going to lock the puck in a foreign storage unit again?
"Ha ha, no, or at least I'll be careful which company I choose," said Nyquist, who's registered 13 points (4 goals and 9 assists) over the course of 40 NHL games during his two seasons in Detroit.
At the same time, due to having most AHL points (122 over 122 games) and because the Sochi Olympics are taking place this winter, he was part of coach Par Marts' preliminary team.
Back over on this side of the pond, one of the participants in the Kocur Foundation's softball game, one Darren Pang, spoke with the Free Press's George Sipple about the Wings' move to the East and Jimmy Howard's maturation into an elite starting goalie:
“I think the Ilitches and the Red Wings, they sacrificed a great deal staying in the West,” Pang said. “Not just the travel and that there was only two teams in the Eastern time zone in the West. But TV ratings are a big part of it. It’s amazing they’ve had as much success as they’ve had in dealing with the travel. TV ratings are sky high. It just goes to show the fans will do whatever it takes to watch the Red Wings play.
“I’m glad for them that they’re in their own time zone. They do deserve that for all they’ve done for the game.”
As a former goalie, Pang has been impressed with the improvement Jimmy Howard has made over the years. Pang said one NHL general manager told him he voted Howard No. 3 for the Vezina this season, which goes to the top goaltender.
“I think he continues to take steps forward,” Pang said. “It goes to show you if you develop properly, have patience, this is what you could end up getting. For a lot of teams, he’s a great example of how to do it the right way. His overall game, the way he’s evolved. He’s a lot more patient. I think he’s get over bad goals against much better.”
In the fan-participatory news department, the Red Wings are down to their "top 8" in their "Top 24 Plays of 2012-2013"...Bracket? Let's not tell them that there was no 2012 portion of the campaign;
- Again, Team USA's going to hold an autograph session on Tuesday at the Capitals' practice facility in Arlington, VA;
- As part of his participation in the NHLPA's Rookie Showcase on September 2nd in Etobicoke, Ontario, Upper Deck re-posted a blog entry strongly hinting that there will be some sort of public signing period, and that the players will head to the Hockey Hall of Fame after their photo shoot;
- And it's a little late, but SlapshotG0al from Winging It in Motown posited an analysis of tip-in and net-front drills from the Red Wings' summer development camp.
In the Twitter department:
And all I'm saying is that sometimes it sucks when the only person who can calm your audience down reminds you that your audience isn't really yours.
I had doubts as to where this blog was going around the trade deadline. And prior to free agency.
Now, again, I'm having doubts. It's August 24th and I feel burnt out. It's August 24th, and the past two weeks, between the Alfredsson stuff and then the Datsyuk stuff, have proven in my mind that my request that folks at least respect each other went nowhere fast.
I have a thick skin, but I find it utterly bizarre that the positive comments on Facebook and Twitter stand in such stark contrast to the amount of negativity in the comments section, regardless of whether there's a reason to be negative or simply because I'm the one doing the writing.
I'm not posting the Paypal button today. You can go back to previous overnight reports for the details. I've got enough money to pay for the hotel, but not enough to get me up there, down there, or to drive around there, or to eat.
We're at another point where I'm looking at going away for two weeks to cover the prospect tournament and main camp, trying to keep my head on straight so that, after a day or two off, I can attack the exhibition season, and hopefully stay healthier throughout the course of an 82-game season instead of a 48-game one, and...
I'm not having a snit fit here. I'm wondering aloud whether this is wise for my health given the level of respect or the complete and total lack thereof toward the content-provider here.
I push myself beyond my performance envelope given my anxiety disorder and the level of pain from depression I deal with on a daily basis, and in the end, when push comes to shove and when controversy rears its ugly head--and a season of wins and losses and injuries and personnel moves is always full of controversy--the many of you seem to absolutely adore turning on each other and turning on me, if you don't call me an *#$%@& all the damn time.
Maybe the Chief is your pied piper and I'm just the messenger, and maybe I'm comfortable with that, but maybe, looking toward a long and difficult season ahead, and knowing that my capabilities are limited (and thanks to the State of Michigan's legislature highly unlikely to approve any sort of Medicaid expansion, those capabilities aren't likely to improve in the absence of regular therapy), this shit is getting old.
So I'll go quietly this weekend, but I'll be doing some thinking, because there is a part of me that believes that the author-audience relationship was fundamentally broken somewhere along the way last season, and that it turns out that a summer of resting and recharging for everybody else hasn't healed the wound.
I work really hard, and I work myself down to the bone pretty regularly. I don't know if you give a *#$%@& about that, or whether it's worth doing this given the way our relationship's gone over time. If the most vocal of you simply want me to go away, maybe that's a message I need to consider, because I'm already mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted, and the season hasn't even begun.
If all of this ain't worth it, than the prospect tournament and main camp may be where it's time to call it a day.
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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.