The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/24/13 at 06:18 AM ET
It's hit-or-miss this time of year. The past week and even Saturday yielded oodles of chatter about the shape of the Red Wings' roster to come, on Sunday, Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea revealed that the vast majority of the public funds for the Red Wings' follow-on rink will be paid for by those who can afford to contribute in Downtown Detroit's biggest corporations, the third annual Bob Probert memorial ride took place on Sunday afternoon, and if you missed it, you do have viewing options despite the fact that Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final will not air on WDIV this evening.
We're a week away from meeting seven new members of the Red Wings organization as the draft takes place next Sunday in Newark; free agency kicks off a week from Friday, and it will be preceded by cap compliance buy-outs and trades. The Wings' summer development camp begins on July 9th and runs until the 17th, and after a few short weeks of foreign-language news in late July and early August, we'll be talking about the Wings' players returning to Metro Detroit and taking part in informal skates in Troy and at the Joe.
This morning, however, it's quiet, and after surveying 40-some international sources, we've got to head all the way to Australia for news about Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey, who took part in a three-game series of exhibition games to help raise money for concussion awareness in Melbourne and Sidney. IIHF.com's Trevor Allen reports that the "U.S. vs. Canada" exhibition games were a success...
There's no such thing as a friendly game when players from the U.S. and Canada face-off – even when they're playing half a world away in Sydney, Australia. There were plenty of battles and goals to please the sell-out crowd at the Allphones Arena, as the Canadians won the deciding game three of a series of exhibition games, the International Ice Hockey Australian Tour, by a score of 9-6 to win the Douglas Webber Cup.
The teams were comprised of NHL, AHL, ECHL and European-based players including Erik Condra, Kyle Quincey, Taylor Beck and the Colorado Avalanche's Ryan Wilson, who gave the 21,000 passionate Aussie fans a quality exhibition of hockey. Zenon Konopka, who captained the American selection, was forced to miss game three with a leg injury. The attendance was the biggest ever for a sporting event in the arena.
The game was the perfect introduction to new Aussie fans, who were thrilled by the heavy slapshots and stick-handling of the players, as well as the agility and reactions of goalies Jimmy Spratt and Andrew D'Agositini.
The Canadians jumped out to an early 4-1 first-period lead, and held a comfortable 7-2 advantage after the second period. But the Americans clawed their way back and forced a pulsating final five minutes, but were unable to make up the difference.
And Quincey, who captained the Canadian team, had an excellent time, as did Konopka:
“There is a rivalry,” Konopka said. “Two of our guys broke their hands and couple lost a few teeth. It got intense rather quickly, but that’s Canada versus U.S.!”
The players also had a chance to unwind after tough seasons in their respective leagues, and toured the sights of Sydney and Melbourne.
“We’ve been received very well,” said Quincey. “It’s been a good surprise to see 20,000 people show up.”
I looked very hard for coverage of the event, but could find little other than the International Ice Hockey Australian Tour's website's limited photo gallery from the tour, and all I can tell you is that Quincey is keeping his visor on in terms of game action.
When the players were in Melbourne, Quincey and his teammates attempted to explain the game to the Queanbeyan Age's Will Brodie (who reported that all went well during the Melbourne games, and as he notes, there is a nine-team Australian Hockey League)..
Detriot Red Wings NHL star Kyle Quincey says players aim to get off the ice after 30 seconds, before they are fatigued, enabling their team to rotate a roster of 19 or 20.
"So you’re always in the game. You’re only off the ice for a minute or so. In other sports you’re on defence or offence, but you’re always on both in hockey, so there’s not really any time to rest."
Former NHL first round draftee Ryan O’Marra says any time a team of Canadians plays a team of Americans, sparks fly, even if many are friends or teammates.
"It’s because you play with these guys and you know them and there’s a lot of pride on the line. For Canadians it’s our game, it’s the game we do best, so we take a lot of pride in being the best at. That’s why games like this, despite us all being friends once the puck drops, we want to win."
He says fans might not experience the "bone-crushing hits" that would be in evidence at an Olympics or world championships, but on the evidence of last weekend, fans thirsty for fisticuffs will not be disappointed.
And the Victoria Harbour Times' Michael Simmons reports that the players held a hockey clinic last week:
Four National Hockey League players impacted in the lives of Willunga High School students on Tuesday, June 18.
Kyle Quincey from the Detroit Red Wings is one of the superstars of the number one hockey league in the world and is a $7.5 million two year contract player, Ryan Wilson from the Colorado Avalanche, Zenin Konopka from Minnosota Wild and coach of team USA against Canada on this tour and Erik Condra from the Ottowa Senators were all available to impart their knowledge.
The players had 130 students from the Ice Factor Program, the only School Ice Hockey program in Australia at Thebarton for a two day training and meet the player program.
Fourteen schools are involved in the program and seven were invited.
The Willunga Raiders attended and trained and were presented to the players in an official opening ceremony.
We move shift our focus back to hockey in Detroit in a very, very different vein. The Detroit News's Louis Aguilar points out that the new rink and related real estate development's footprint will encompass most of the Cass Corridor, and as I said a couple of days ago, it's still a scary place to be--and it's a desolate landscape at present:
The Red Wings arena will anchor a 45-block area that city officials and the Ilitch organization envision will pulse with retail, office and residential space, as well as a hotel and parking facilities. It roughly reaches from Grand Circus Park to Charlotte between Woodward Avenue and Grand River. If similar sports developments in other cities are any guide, imagine a sleek new arena surrounded by chain restaurants and pricey loft apartments.
Much of that area today is one of the poorest neighborhoods in one of America’s poorest cities. With an annual median household income of $9,347, the Cass Corridor is dominated by blocks of blighted buildings, empty lots, a few liquor stores and low-income housing.
Many residents of the corridor, in the days after last week’s announcement, seem resigned that the massive new entertainment district — if it comes to pass — will obliterate what’s left of their neighborhood.
“So do it,” said [Rayfus] Gee, who makes a little money flagging fans into a nearby parking lot for Tiger games. “There is not enough here no more.”
There is some history there, but it's been impoverished for such a very long time...
Once a bourgeois residential neighborhood with Victorian, Neogothic, Romanesque, Arts and Crafts, and Art Deco architecture, the Cass Corridor has struggled with poverty — and the social baggage, such as crime, that travels with it — for 50 years. But it has a rich cultural history.
It was a hotbed for artists starting in the 1960s. It had a Chinatown area that died when the last Chinese restaurant closed in 2000. In the late 1990s, the Gold Dollar dive bar was the center of a revived garage-rock scene — the White Stripes played their first gig there in 1997. The Gold Dollar closed in 2001.
And as such, the neighborhood's going to change, and while it's mostly for the good, those who call it home wonder what the changes may yield:
Just across the street from the northwest border of the arena is the Temple Bar, which first opened during the Depression. It’s a well-kept, gay-friendly bar that attracts an artsy, bohemian crowd. That’s likely not the clientele that would follow the Red Wings from Joe Louis Arena to a new home in the neighborhood.
“It’s good, but it’s kind of sad,” said bartender Larry McCloud. “It’s good because all the investment is great for the city. But there were still great things in this neighborhood. Does that stay here, too?”
We're going to change subject matter rather dramatically here. The Red Wings have little to no hope of retaining Valtteri Filppula's services as he probably will command over $5 million per season as an unrestricted free agent, and the Wings simply can't afford to pay an incredibly inconsistent 29-year-old playmaker that kind of money.
The Wings are hoping to retain their restricted free agents and goal-scorer Damien Brunner, they want to add a goal-scorer with some size and strength. Filppula is a speedy forward who cedes territory like nobody's business and fires blind passes toward teammates and opponents alike, and as such...
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose began his "By the Numbers" reviews of the Wings players' 2013 season statistical performances by spotlighting Ian White and now Filppula. The Wings will miss certain aspects of Filppula's game...
61.2: His home game winning percentage in the faceoff circle led all Red Wings' centermen. His .554 winning percentage (179-of-323) was his single-season best in six years.
4: His longest point streak of the regular season, which was wrapped around a seven-game absence when he suffered a shoulder injury in late February. He collected two goals and two assists as the Wings went 3-1 during his point streak.
But these kinds of performances were few and too far between...
6: The number of shots he registered in a two-goal performance that lifted the Wings to a 4-1 win over Dallas on Jan. 29. It was just the second time in his career that he fired at least six SOG in a game. The first time was Feb. 3, 2010.
And as such...
29: The number of seconds that were trimmed off his average ice-time from the previous season. Filppula logged 17:46 in 41 games, which was down from the 18:15 average that he skated in 2011-12.
I've heard rumors that Filppula could go to Dallas, Columbus or Toronto, but who knows at this point. All we do know is that he'll join the long list of Wings graduates from the Griffins during the last lockout who've left town (see: Jiri Hudler, Brett Lebda, Tomas Kopecky) to pursue free agent paydays elsewhere.
Perhaps Filppula serves as a hard reminder that not every prospect pans out as the Wings or their fans would hope, and that it really is very hard to "keep everybody."
Otherwise, the Detroit Free Press scared the shit out of me by talking about the elimination of shootout spin-o-ramas with the headline, "Bertuzzi's shoot-out spin moves might be stopped - permanently" (me: oh, *#$%@&, is his back still bothering him?)...
Darren Dreger of TSN tweeted last week that the NHL could ban spin-o-rama shots from shoot-outs next season.
He expanded on the story on TSN.com: “They talked about it at length on Wednesday. The reasoning behind it is that it’s hard on the officials to truly determine the direction of the puck and if it’s moving forward and is there contact with the goaltender.”
Dreger added that the issues would require ongoing dialogue this summer and the league expects push-back from the players.
Fellow TSN hockey insider Pierre LeBrun weighed in as well: “If you’re going to have a shoot-out, the players can do what they want as far as I’m concerned. My own preference? Cancel the whole thing and go to three-on-three overtime. And I know I have a bunch of general managers on my side on that one.”
In light of the report, Sporting News decided to look at some of the best spin-o-rama goals, and Bertuzzi made the list with his shoot-out goal from Jan. 19, 2012, against Phoenix. There are a few more of his spin moves on YouTube, too.
This definitely ain't bad, and the Coyotes commentators' grumbles are wonderful:
I posted this a couple of weeks ago, but in light of the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch's lament about Daniel Alfredsson not being invited to the Swedish Olympic team's pre-Olympic confab in Stockholm--which will take place in August--the Windsor Star's Bob Duff took a look at the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation's invite list and mentioned the Wings' participants on Twitter:
Jimmie decided to remain with Skelleftea AIK after being offered only two-way contracts.
Staffan Kronwall is not on the list despite captaining the Swedish World Championship to a gold medal.
I don't know if you knew about this bit of Wings alumni news, however:
This happened a couple of months ago. Lilja spent the 2013 season bouncing between the AHL's Adirondack Phantoms and the Philadelphia Flyers, and at 37, he's always promised that he'd end his career playing in Sweden, so he signed with the Allsvenskan team.
The team's official website posted an interview with Lilja, who's wanted to move back to Helsingborg for a while now, last week, so that's probably how Duff came by the information.
And finally, 1. I will be gone for a significant chunk of Wednesday to ferry the mom to an appointment;
2. And a couple of incredibly generous donors greased the wheels big time on Sunday, but I'm still about a third of the way to my goal of raising enough $ to get up to the Wings' summer development camp:
I would like to attend the Red Wings' summer development camp from July 9-17 in Traverse City, MI, but I am a blogger. My paycheck is not very big, and due to health crap, this is the only job I've got. As such, I do not have the funds to pay for gas to get me to Traverse City or 11 days of a hotel stay.
During previous years, I've asked you to lend a hand and you've come though in a big way. I need to ask, if it is at all possible, that you might consider tossing a few bucks into the Paypal tip jar. I've generally found that the smallest donations, $5, $10, stuff like that, end up paying for gas and a huge chunk of my stay, and anything more is a bonus.
So if you want to donate, that's awesome, if you don't want to donate, that's cool, and one way or another, I hope to get up there and provide you with in-person, every-day coverage.
My "ID" is my personal email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, and you'll need to use that as the person you're sending $ to.
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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.