The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/28/12 at 04:31 AM ET
Updated at 5:07 AM with bonus Swedish: The Free Press's Helene St. James has taken Wings fans on quite the analytical journey through the team's roster, spotlighting a host of key performers for the 2012-2013 season, and this morning, she discusses the literal and figurative impact Jordin Tootoo may have upon the Red Wings' lineup:
Looking at money: Salary for 2012-13 is $1.7 million, start of three-year, $5.7-million deal.
Looking back: Tootoo, 29, spent the last eight seasons with the Nashville Predators, where he gained a reputation as a pest. He spent the last year working especially hard on developing his offensive skills while still managing to rack up 92 penalty minutes. He saw limited action in playoffs, where he played just 6 minutes in Game 3 of the five-game series against the Red Wings.
Looking ahead: The Wings recognized a need to get grittier after the quick playoff exit and responded partly by signing Tootoo, a sandpaper-type player who isn't limited by being one dimensional. Tootoo could thrive in the Wings' system, which emphasizes puck possession down to the fourth line, allowing him to build on the career performance he delivered last season. Most vital, though, he's expected to crash and bang, irritate, get under the opponent's skin.
Tootoo should have a positive impact on the bottom-six group, as he'll push other wingers for minutes. He'll be a good fit on the fourth line, but could also be useful on a third line next to Darren Helm and probably Todd Bertuzzi. Tootoo can also relieve Bertuzzi as the guy on the team who drops the gloves when needed, a role that really doesn't suit Bertuzzi at age 37. As a nice bonus, Tootoo gives the Wings another option up front who shoots right.
In terms of another player who hopes to make an impact, my Slovak's terrible, but Red Wings prospect Tomas Tatar spoke to Cas.sk about his goals for the 12-13 season, and he states the following:
- First and foremost, he believes that there will be some sort of lockout, and he believes that the season will start in December;
- In terms of lockout plans, Tatar reveals that SKA St. Petersburg, which "drafted" his rights a couple years ago, asked him to sign a contract that would presumably pay him much more than the Red Wings could after his strong World Championship performance for Slovakia, but he turned them down. He would, however, like to play for SKA--if his agent can convince the Wings to release him--during the lockout;
- And his main goal for the season is an obvious one: he wants to do his damnedest to not only win a full-time job with the Red Wings, but also serve as something of a replacement for Jiri Hudler.
I could see Tatar scoring 20 goals and 50 points one day as he's a better skater and is much grittier than Hudler, but I'm not sure if the 12-13 season is "his time" given the Wings' current forward depth.
It's also worth noting that Tatar was much more willing to suggest that he'd be trade bait during his Reebok photo shoot a week ago, but he's backed off that line of thought.
In other prospect news, again, if you find yourself in Etobicoke, ON this morning, Tomas Jurco will be taking part in Upper Deck and Panini's "NHLPA Rookie Showcase"photo shoot at the MasterCard Centre rink (starting at 9 AM). According to Upper Deck's Twitter account, Jurco did his picture-taking on Monday, but the NHLPA's website reports that the players in attendance will scrimmage at the end of Tuesday's shoot, and the PA's Twitter account's posting quips and pictures, and their Facebook page has posted a couple of pictures of Jurco in its Monday photo gallery;
In much more somber terms, the Belarusian Telegraph Agency reports that Vityaz Chekhov defeated Dynamo Minsk to capture the initial Ruslan Salei Memorial Tournament;
And Jnytt.se's Donald Sandstrom reports that Jonkoping, Sweden's city government has chosen to not take a formal role in the memorial ceremony for Stefan Liv on September 7th outside of HV71's home rink, Kinnarps Arena, but one of HV71's corporate partners is opening its clubhouse on the southern bank of Lake Vattern before fans are encouraged to light Thai Lanterns and release them into the sky at 8:30 PM.
Jonkoping's airport is going to close itself to air traffic between 8 and 9 PM local time so that the lanterns are the only lights in the sky.
In a very different category, via RedWingsFeed, Adam from The Octopi Garden spoke to Wings equipment manager Paul Boyer way back in June, during the Wings' annual equipment sale at Hockeytown Authentics, and he saved his interview for a rainy day--a.k.a. late August. Amongst Boyer's comments:
Walk us through what a typical home gameday is like for you and your staff.Depends on what happens the night before. If it’s a practice day and I got the skates sharpened, I won’t have to be in til 8 or 8:30 AM. If I don’t, I get in there about 6 AM and start sharpening for morning skate. Then I wait for players to get in and start handling the needs of the players when they get in. Normally the salesmen that come in like the Bauer rep, the Warrior rep, the Easton rep I deal with them and react to whatever they need. If there’s any big emergencies I’ll stick around and do it, if not I sneak out for a quick bite to eat, pick up my kids from school and I’m back around 4 PM.That’s the best time to meet, the afternoon before a game. With players, the reps, as equipment manager I’m in charge of handling what the reps need.I’ve always said there’s three days in hockey; gameday, practice day, and a day off. Your routine depends on what kind of day it is.Could you discuss the challenge that back-to-back games pose for an equipment manager?It’s just two games, depends on whether it’s two home games back-to-back, which is pretty rare. It depends on how many games you go for. It’s a routine, like waking up in the morning. You just know that after the game you have to line up the sticks…the players know the routine. They know the routine. We’re in constant communication with them. We’ll tell them it’s this many games, you need this many sticks. My staff will pull the duffel bags, and the guys come in and drop their stuff right in the bags. Then we load them onto the truck and it’s off to the airport....What do you see as the single greatest advancement in equipment since you started working in hockey?The composite stick. It has to be the composite stick. It allows players to pass faster, harder. It’s brought everything to a new level. Off-ice it’s guys being educated. The players are bigger, stronger, faster. That’s a change nobody really sees. You can’t wrap your hands around a workout. You most certainly can see what it’s doing to the guys. They’re bigger, stronger, faster, and they move easier. I see guys working with skating coaches here in Detroit. You can see they want to get better.
And finally, I can only shake my head in amusement as CBA negotiations resume today, because the Sun-Sentinel's sports business expert, Craig Davis, via Sportsnet's Chris Nichols, SportsBusiness Journal's Abraham D. Madkour and even the Score's Ellen Etchingham, who offers advice to fans who might want to "pick a side" in terms of the war between the NHL and NHLPA, well...
Each and every one of 'em admits that the NHL's failing in terms of capturing hearts and minds in the PR, and failing miserably because they have no PR strategy other than to expect that fans will swallow a "work stoppage and come back in droves. As many of you have suggested, when Gary Bettman tossed off that, "We'll be fine because we have the World's Greatest Fans" line, he in fact put both feet in his mouth, swallowed them and proceeded to twist himself into a Mobius strip of hypocrisy.
Not that I have a problem with that or anything...
In any case, in addition to continuing to ask you what you think about me attempting to start some sort of fundraising drive to attend a potential training camp and/or head to New York or Toronto to yell at the little midget in person, whether your comments come via Facebook's TMR page, Twitter, my email, firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments section (I promise, it's no big deal to sign up, we do nothing with your personal information, no spam, no selling of data, nothing, we just ask people to register to deter spammers and trolls, that's all), I'll tell you that four days of CBA negotiations to come aren't going to be pretty, but by the end of this week, we should have a better idea as to whether there's going to be a training camp on September 21st...
And in the interim, I've got to start journaling again, because this kind of stuff leaves me with very little humanity, sympathy for anything and it definitely leaves someone whose coping mechanism is hockey a little "aggro," and adding both parties' political conventions to the news cycle mix yields a cake of BS-spewing hot air that will not go over particularly well.
At least with the political stuff, I can just read the silly headline and move on. This hockey business...Is personal, and I don't like that the Chairman, Board of Governors and owners are *#$%@& with the sport that is my hobby, my job, my passion and my biggest and best coping mechanism, all for the sake of out-and-out greed instead of any sort of earnest attempt to address the business problems which plague the 30-team model which will remain in place for the foreseeable future--and I'm guessing that many of you feel similarly.
Update: via RedWingsFeed, Wings prospect Calle Jarnkrok engaged in a 5-minute interview with Expressen's Magnus Nystrom...
And here's a rough translation of Nystrom's take on Jarnkrok:
He Will Be the Biggest Shining Star
Gavle. Calle Jarnkrok is a SwedishEliteserien champion and is already ready to play for the Detroit Red Wings next season.
It's clear that I'm impressed with this star. Most of all because he isn't cocky about anything. He's not just happy with his life, but is eager and wants to do more. Therefore, he'll become the Eliteserien's biggest star this season.In the live interview I did on HockeyExpressen.se yesterday I asked:
Calle Jarnkrok replied: "No, I really don't. He was our big star. He should have a lot of attention."
"The Whole Team has to be good"
Obviously, he meant what he said. He obviously won't begrudge his friend Jakob Silfverberg the attention. At the same time, Calle is ambitious and he wants to be the big star just like Jakob Silfverberg.
Calle finished the answer above by also saying: "But when you win, then the whole team has to be good."
I remember a playoff game last year, when I stepped into Brynas' dressing room and was greeted by Jarnkrok, who said to me: "Looking for Jakob, right?"
And I was. This winter, it will be Jarnkrok's turn. It is also visible in him that he wants to take the lead now.
A fire lit in his eyes
It's not that he feels neglected in any way, but there's a natural shfit in power and atmosphere in Brynas, where Nicklas Backstrom was replaced by Jakob Silfverberg, and now it's time for Calle Jarnkrok to take over.
He is a player who wants to take responsibility. Who wants to be the best. Who doesn't shrink from demands and expectations. Who's a talent far beyond the ordinary.
Someone named "Pelle P" asked: "Do you feel extra excitement for this season, to show everyone including yourself that you can produce just as well without the great Jakob Silfverberg by your side?"
There was a fire that kindled in Jarnkrok's eyes. And no, I'm not exaggerating. He replied: "Yes, we'll see. I want to get better with each season that goes by. Every day that goes by. I grow all the time, and want to do more for the team."
Praise-but sawed himself
He showed his class as early as last year, when he was one of the Eliteserien's best players, and one of Brynas' key players, and he deservedly had his World Championship debut in the spring.
Something he isn't stuck upon. Instead, he thanked the reader that said he was good at the World Championships, but then sawed himself in half, as well as the Tre Kronor and the entire World Championships when he described his feeling after the World Championships with the words: "...But to hell with it, because we were eliminated."
Calle Jarnkrok is happy to be praised, happy that he's already won the Eliteserien title and has already signed a contract with the Detroit Red Wings. He wasn't lying when he said he's not yet thinking about the NHL at all.
He thinks about the next game. About how he'll get better. Be the best of all. And how Brynas can become Swedish champions again.
That's what matters to him. If you want to know the real feeling about Brynas's season, he summarized it very well in one sentence: "We still have many players left who know how to do the job it takes to win, and we have them with us now."
Update #2: Grumble. Sniffly thanks to doc's office flu that's lasted for a week. Spent two hours with the 70-year-old, helped her buy books and re-set her e-reader in the middle of the damn night. internet issues (do not recommend. See: "aggro"). So I'm grumpy. Anyway, here's another blurb of note if you find yourself in Winnipeg this week, from the Winnipeg Free Press:
A hockey icon and a horror icon are getting camera time in a pair of movies shooting in Winnipeg in the next few weeks.
Gordie Howe is the subject of a CBC biopic titled Mr. Hockey, which begins shooting in Winnipeg on Tuesday according to the Directors Guild of Manitoba website. The telefilm stars Vancouver actor Michael Shanks (Saving Hope) as Howe and concentrates on the hockey legend's return to the ice at the age of 45.
The script was written by Malcolm MacRury and will be directed by Andy Mikita, who worked with Shanks previously on the series Stargate SG-1.
The horror icon is none other than Chucky, the homicidal children's doll, first seen in the 1988 thriller Child's Play. Designated for the home video market, Curse of Chucky will be the sixth entry in the franchise, which will again feature the voice of Brad Dourif as Chucky, the spirit of a malevolent serial killer trapped in a seemingly innocent toy. The film will be written and directed by Don Mancini, who has written all the Chucky movies and directed the last entry, Seed of Chucky.
This movie is reportedly going to veer away from the campy direction of the last few films for a more serious horror entry in which a wheelchair-bound woman realizes members of her family are being systematically killed after she has taken delivery of a mysterious doll.
The film is being produced by Universal Home Entertainment in conjunction with local production company Original Pictures.
You can't make this stuff up, folks. Not at this time of the morning...
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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.