The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/29/13 at 04:23 AM ET
Those of you who've been following DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose's Tweets and the Tweets posited from the now-Flagstar-Bank-sponsored Wings themselves know that Brendan Smith, Danny DeKeyser, Jimmy Howard, Johan Franzen, Tom McCollum, Darren Helm and even Daniel Alfredsson have already been skating informally at Joe Louis Arena, but it appears that the rink's been opened to the media as of this morning:
Between the imminent nature of regular goings-on at the Joe (the players are theoretically prohibited from interacting with the coaching and managerial staffs until September 12th, but they share the same office space), the fact that public schools in Michigan get underway the first Tuesday after Labor Day (this upcoming Monday; and yes, private schools' academic years are already underway, so most of the Wings dads' kids are already in school), and the fact that Olympic "orientation camps" are over...
It's time. It's time for the players to get back into their routines, it's time to warm up the groins and knees and backs, and it's time for the players to get used to folks with sound recorders speaking with them before they've gotten a moment to catch their breath. Which is kind of part of their job.
So where are we at content-wise this morning? Standing on the last island of the summer.
The Wings gave us quite the tease...
The Free Press's Helene St. James related a story about Daniel Alfredsson from...2007...
Mickey Morabito, director of travel for the Oakland Athletics, who are in town for a series against the Detroit Tigers, is a huge hockey fan. His passion was stoked even more a few years back when he encountered new Red Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson, then captain of the Senators.
As Morabito recalled today, the Senators were in California for their 2007 Stanley Cup final against the Anaheim Ducks. During an off day, Alfredsson and several teammates decided to see about attending an A’s game.
It’s not uncommon for team personnel to reach out to colleagues across sports, so the Senators’ PR guy contacted Morabito to see if he could leave a few tickets at will call for Alfredsson and friends. Morabito delivered not just any seats, but leftover scouts tickets behind home plate.
“They were all so appreciative,” Morabito said. “Next thing I knew, about two weeks later, I got a signed hat and a hockey stick, signed by Alfredsson. And what was really impressive, a really, really good bottle of wine from some Napa winery. I just thought it was it was interesting that they were so thankful to send me the stick, and the wine was very impressive.”
And Alfredsson happens to be the NHLPA's "Player of the Week" (someone, please hire whoever wrote the following to write all awkward "blurbs" from now on, everywhere):
Hockey players, like people in all walks of professional life, sometimes become eager to take on new challenges and experiences. Some players, after being associated with one team for such a long period of time, become what many fans think of as the face of that particular franchise. It is situations like this that can make moving on a difficult decision for the player and a resentful situation for the fan base. Having spent his entire career, up to this point, in Ottawa, Daniel Alredsson’s decision to leave the Senators as an unrestricted free-agent this summer, certainly falls into this conundrum.
With well over 1,000 games played in Canada’s capital, ‘Alfie’ will always be considered one of the best players to ever suit up for the Senators, playing a key role in many of the club’s highlight seasons and overall success. But after contracts stalled with the Sens this summer, Daniel chose to exercise his right as a free-agent to explore other opportunities, the same way thousands of his fellow NHLPA members have done over the years. The Detroit Red Wings offered Daniel an opportunity to join their organization, write a new chapter in his storied career tale and experience a new challenge as a professional hockey player. At 41 years of age, Daniel is still in great athletic condition and is a capable contributor on both ends of the ice. He will join a team with a mix of veteran experience and an influx of youth and one that will undoubtedly utilize his experience in the Eastern Conference, as the Red Wings make that move due to realignment.
At the end of the day, Daniel’s play and leadership with the Senators will be something that will always be a key part of that franchise’s history. His time with the Red Wings will undoubtedly be shorter than his time with the Senators was, but his commitment to excellence, with a goal of capturing a Stanley Cup title will be as strong in the ‘Motor City’ as it was in Ottawa.
Wow. I kind of went along with it until I read it a second time.
It wouldn't be a warm day in Michigan without yet another "report of a report of a report regarding the Red Wings' new barn funding omgomgomg!" per the Free Press's J.C. Reindl--and hey, Reindl had to follow the story....
State development officials disputed a report today that a key vote on public financing for Detroit’s new $650-million arena district has been delayed.
The Bond Buyer reported that the Michigan Strategic Fund’s 11-member board decided to postpone a scheduled vote — purportedly set for Wednesday — for final authorization of $450 million in 30-year bonds to help pay for the project, which would be anchored by a new arena for the Detroit Red Wings.
But Steve Hilfinger, Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s executive vice president, said there is no such delay and that bond authorization was never on today’s agenda.
“We are totally puzzled about where that came from,” Hilfinger told the Free Press.
Later this afternoon, an MEDC official said the organization mistakenly gave the wrong information to a Bond Buyer reporter.
Hilfinger said the bond financing still requires approval from the City of Detroit and its Downtown Development Authority. Final authorization is on pace to occur sometime this fall, he added.
This stuff should be well behind us by...Oh...2020?
I have to say that the Red Wings' "Top 24 Plays of 2013" contest is down to a superb quartet in Jonathan Ericsson's last-second gamer against LA...
Henrik Zetterberg's first hat trick...
Pavel Datsyuk dekeing Logan Couture out of his shorts...
And the obvious winner:
And other than that, as the Wings' European residents are heading back to Metro Detroit, I looked through 40+ foreign-language websites with no luck, I found the Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek re-stating the Babcock ball hockey-at-Olympic-camp story, Babcock's gruff proclamation for would-be Canadian Olympians included (with extensive usage of "Mr.," no less)...
Because so many talented players attended the camp, most of the final roster decisions will be based on how well the players do in the first half of the NHL season.
“We’ve tried to explain it to each and every guy so when they leave here they’ve got three months to do their part,” Mr. Babcock said. “They’re in control of whether they go. If they left here without knowing what it would take, they weren’t listening.”
And if you want to feel warm fuzzies at someone else's expense, InGoal Magazine's Kevin Woodley was at the photo shoot for Reebok's new line of goalie gear (spoilers: like everything else Reebok makes, they've offshored their NHL-level goalie gear to China), and one Jean-Seabstien Giguere was borderline pissed off about the new restrictions in thigh rises:
Jean-Sebastien Giguere knows there will be some who doubt it, but the Colorado Avalanche backup voted in favor of reducing the height of NHL goalie pads.
Still, Giguere was admittedly surprised by how small his new pads looked when he saw and wore them for the first time at the Reebok CCM Goalie Summit in Montreal this week. Delivered straight from the NHL offices in Toronto, where the League’s top goalie cop Kay Whitmore signs off on each piece (literally, his initials are on on every item), Giguere’s new pads were two inches shorter than the ones he wore in Colorado last season.
It’s all part of a 10 per cent reduction in the knee-to-hip allowance of the NHL’s goalie sizing chart, which was approved by the NHL Players’ Association and first reported by InGoal in mid-July but is not yet official – in part because they are still haggling over other reductions. If you ask Giguere, this is enough.
“I am a little bit surprised how much,” Giguere said. “First of all, I voted yes for the change, which probably will surprise a bunch of people, but I think I need to get re-measured because I think it is awfully short.”
The reduced allowance from 55 to 45 per cent of each goalie’s knee-to-hip measurement should create a two-inch reduction in the overall height of the average pad, though not everyone has been affected as much.
He also spoke with new Wings foe Jonathan Bernier (not worried about the gear) and Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (in denial) about the restrictions.
Realistically speaking? Yes, goalies lost an inch here and there, but they're going to adjust their butterflies accordingly over the next month, and while a few goals may squeak in, the empahsis is on "few." As Woodley revealed earlier in the summer, the majority of goalies are now wearing Swiss-made carbon fiber knee pads that are super bulky and super protective, so they're going to be okay there.
The worry comes in regarding the changing of the players' mechanics in terms of squeezing their knees together and twisting their hips to more severe angles to seal their pads shut. We may see more groin and hip issues as a result, but the NHL's reduced the "landing gear" to the point that most goalies have already dealt with what I'd argue is excessive wear and tear on their knees and hips for a while now.
Mostly, I think we're going to see goalies go with stiffer and stiffer pads going forward--to the point that I would imagine that the NHL will mandate a "break" in goal pads sooner than later--to create as much of a "wall" as possible. Remember how the tops of Chris Osgood's Itech pads kept getting taller and taller and bulkier and bulkier as the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 seasons progressed? We're going to see the tops of pads get thicker and wider and we're going to see pads sans "breaks" from here on out.
And yes, even though this one's thin, I'm up against a deadline here, and Paypal takes 4 days to transfer bucks to banks, so I need to keep the, "I need to eat and get gas but hopefully not at the same time" portion of the prospect tournament/training camp fund-raiser going for a wee bit longer.
If you can donate anything--at this point, I'm looking to raise a few hundred bucks and then to call it a day--I'd greatly appreciate it.
I'm sticking with PayPal as folks are familiar with it, and the email address that you use as my "recipient" ID is my personal email address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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.