The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/23/13 at 03:33 AM ET
I didn't have a good evening or night. When you're starting out and trying to establish yourself as a writer, you work very hard to earn the respect of your readers. When you've "arrived," even if you're a mid-market, mid-level "kind of sort of somebody" like me, you worry much more about your readers respecting each other, and that didn't happen on Thursday, so I was going to tell y'all to calm the hell down and leave you with this from Phantogram...
But I've learned that part of this job involves understanding that, to some extent, a blogger is a zookeeper in a zoo where all the cages don't have locks, and sometimes the inhabitants like to have a good fight.
That's incredibly upsetting and unnerving at times, if not disturbing, when you think that you may or may not help represent a community, and it turns out that on occasion, the community wants to do nothing more than find an excuse to turn on each other.
If the zookeeper get dinged in the process, that's just part of the risk inherent to the position, and if people lose respect for you based upon what you say...
Shit happens, and they can always go somewhere else to talk about hockey, but the author can't, and there's simply no point served in disrespecting one's readers further by withholding services, if you will, out of spite or anger.
I hope that Pavel Datsyuk will be able to clarify what he meant when he's on the safer side of the Atlantic, if he's not absolutely terrified that clarification will harm his ability to work in kids' hockey back home when he's done playing.
People in public positions who've spoken out against the Russian government and its policies, from "socialite" Ksenia Sobchak and would-be blogger Alexei Navalny on down, have faced very real and very stark consequences for their actions, and I really get the feeling that what Datsyuk did was to throw a bodycheck that would get people off his back...
Especially that he and his fellow Russian Olympic orientation campers are supposedly meeting Comrade Putin himself today in Sochi, and Sport-Express's Andrey Kuznetsov reports that the Russian Hockey Federation, the Russian Olympic hockey team's coaches and the Russian Ministry of Sport are all going to have a powwow today and then meet with the media tomorrow.
I do know that religious belief and agreeing with everything your church believes in are two very different things.
While Datsyuk stated that he's Orthodox, and we all know that the Eastern Orthodox church endorses the Russian anti-homosexuality laws, so does the bloody culture, and we simply don't know, and may never know, if Datsyuk was saying that he tacitly endorses the law and endorses discrimination against and even violence toward homosexuals, or whether he was saying that he may have a moral objection to homosexuality based upon his religious beliefs, but that has nothing to do with the laws, or whether he simply doesn't give a flying *#$%@& who somebody's attracted to, because he really and truly wasn't allowed to answer that question in any other way than an affirmative one.
He tripped and fell on the deke. But based upon his track record as a human being, it seems a little less than certain that Datsyuk would explicitly approve of laws that target a minority group for very literal legal prosecution based upon their state of being, never mind their behavior, because his church tells him to do so.
Sportbox also reported that Datsyuk will be taking part in a charity hockey game in Tver (northwest of Moscow) on Sunday, alongside Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexei Morozov, and the whole damn reason he was in Moscow on Thursday to begin with--in front of about 50 fans and media folks, with cameras rolling--was to pick up the Kharlamov Trophy, which Sovetsky Sport awards to the player it deems to be the best Russian hockey player in the world.
Sovetsky Sport did post a video of the first half of a two-hour ceremony in the Q and A with fans, but unless you speak Russian, you're not going to get much out of this.
Sovetsky Sport posted a photo gallery from the event as well.
You may not get much out of the quips that Sovetsky Sport posited, either, as they're essentially garbled Google-translated Russian, and I don't have the colloquial knowledge to improve them, but I'm gonna post them anyway, starting with the Q and A that was posted sans the controversial remark...
Forward "Detroit" Pavel Datsyuk won the award "Kharlamov Trophy", which the newspaper "Soviet Sport" annually awarded to the best Russian player of the National Hockey League.
At the ceremony, hockey answered questions from reporters, fans and well-known coaches.
(About the Prize "Kharlamov Trophy")
- I am very pleased. I immediately began to congratulate all. Especially in a year when the movie came out. Very nice gift for my birthday.
(About Valery Kharlamov)
- Valery Kharlamov, for me it is a teacher, which, unfortunately, I did not communicate. But I'm trying to learn his game. He was a slight increase in earned respect around the world. There are people to whom we seek. For me - it Valeri Kharlamov.
(On the film "The Legend of number 17)
- I wanted to see "Legend number 17" in the movie. But came to Yekaterinburg, and the film does not show. But my friends have organized viewing. Liked the movie. It seemed there was just a little imagination. But the experience is good.
(On the NHL)
- Why did you decide to stay in the NHL?
- It said many times. I think that the NHL - at present a strong league. As long as I have the strength, I'll play there. The main differences from our North American hockey? The level of hockey and related to hockey.
- Are there any rituals before a game?
- We stop drinking. But do not stop smoking. And the second - stop reading newspapers.
(On the Olympic Games in Sochi)
- I do not care, I'll be the captain of the Olympic Games or the water I'll be carrying. The main thing is to help the team.
(About the idea to organize a hockey reality show)
- There was a desire to make a show similar to the project in which the stars were skaters. I would like to come up with something similar about hockey. But it is not up to it. I have until the circus.
(The fact is he ready to play in the Russian national football team)
No. Everyone has to do their job. In general, I and so many people laugh.
Here's the Q and A he engaged in with fans who submitted questions to Sovsport.ru...
Fan of with the nickname Zabnin: - In the Yekaterinburg there are rumors about your desire to build a new arena. And the else are you somehow are participating in the fate of of the local "Motorist». This is the so?
- I am a do not I have the attitude to the «Motorist». This is a professional team of, thither I do not climb. People are themselves know, than are engaged in.
In the rest - been involved in the construction of real estate in Yekaterinburg. And the there is a project, about the which we collect the information. Want to construct a a hockey the arena of with the school in the city. Moreover optionally, a that the she will be named the my name.
Lazy_ocean: - We choose the hobby into a depending on the addition, the that does not suffice in the mainly the form of a of activity. What same there is in the fishing trip, that is not present in hockey?
Chervyakov. And, probably, tranquility. The possibilities to retire, to be alone or with friends. Are real the fishermen do not talk to, do not are drinking, as show in the films. And the is still important Russian nature, of the lake. And there are no of houses around, the as in America.
Lazy_ocean: - In this season of the NHL sweaters with your name have entered into a three of the most sold. And in the past year you were only ninth. With the than is linked take-off?
- I am a has adjusted of delivery to Ekaterinburg.
AbSeam: - In the 90-x in Detroit was cut short career is defender of of Vladimir Konstantinova. What are the you have a relationship? As it includes those in the club?
- Of Vladimir are brought to the the game. He walks own but with a help of a special fulcrum. In this season of Konstantinov has visited at the matches of four as well as at the games plej-off of. Comes in a the locker room before the meeting, him sit a few minutes with the team. He is led off back in and are planting on a tribune. And the before the season of «Detroit" is sometimes organizes the charity tournament to him in the help.
Maklaud: - You will be interested, if the Fabio Capello personally will invite you to take part in a workout national team of Russian on football?
- Everyone should be engaged his own business. This is interesting, but refuse. I am a and the so-a lot of the people of Veselov. Still and football? This is too ...
- What is the question you a seemed to the most interests you?
- About Konstantinov,. Pleases, that people of his do not forgotten about.
PS Fan of AbSeam receives a a cap, t-shirt and the ball «of the Soviet of sport" with the autographs of of Paul Datsyuk's.
So Datsyuk gave the "best question" designation to the one about Konstantinov...
For the record, Datsyuk met with one of the lyricsists of the rap song, "The owner of two golden hands: Pavel Datsyuk" as well. If you want to read a much longer version of the Q and A, Sovetsky Sport's Pavel Lysenkov provides one, and Datsyuk's every word was captured even as he worked through a line of autograph-seekers.
Sportbox noted that Datsyuk addressed the rumors that he was going to sign with CSKA Moscow...
Forward "Detroit" Pavel Datsyuk said there was a possibility of his move to CSKA Moscow, during which he played during the lockout.
- The temptation to accept the offer CSKA actually was. But I realized that it is more logical and more useful for me to stay in the "Detroit". NHL - is the strongest league today, and while I have the strength, I'll play there.
- Is it difficult to make a choice between CSKA and "Motorist" in 2017?
- We already had the 1917 was - who thought that it happened (laughs). So far not anticipating, it is necessary to live before him. God willing, so even ten years will sign a contract with "Detroit" - said Datsyuk.
So the long story short is that in 2017, he at least claimed at the presser that he'll sign another contract with the Wings...
R-Sport took note of his comments about the Olympic team not taking to the ice...
"I liked the decision not to hold in Sochi ice workouts - Datsyuk said at the award ceremony," Kharlamov Trophy "established by the newspaper" Soviet Sport. "- I am glad of it, because with age I try not to go on the ice until September, I was in the season lack of ice. Requires this collection? This fee is necessarily necessary, in the course of the season we do not have much room to talk, because all are in different cities. in Sochi, we will be able to communicate with the management, the coaches, the players something to discuss with each other and draw conclusions - in front of us because there is one problem. "
As well as his Olympic expectations as a whole...
"For me, the Olympics - it is a big responsibility - said Datsyuk told reporters. - The whole country wants gold, all my friends and family want us to win. I'm ready for the pressures that will be provided by us. closer to the Olympic Games, the it will be stronger and stronger. On the home team is always a lot of pressure, we saw how it was with the Canadians in Vancouver. They coped with the pressure, we also need to learn. whether I dream about the role of the captain? I have a dream to help the team. I'll be captain or not - does not matter. "
At the 2013 World Championships , the Russian team reached the quarter-finals with a score of 3:8 where the team lost to the United States.
"To experience the World Championship because it's too late now to change nothing. But the conclusions we have to do. Will the game our team in Sochi depend entirely on the guys from the NHL? Hard to say. Everything will depend on the team. Think that the press would not be share the national team for players from the NHL and the players from the CHL . We all dress a sweater if we single entity, and well prepared for the tournament, we have a very good chance, "- said Datsyuk.
"Do not look at the other team. Problem is not in quantity but in quality," - said Datsyuk to the question of why an expanded Russian team included only 35 players, while the list of Canadians, employs 47 people.
Sports Day by Day noted that Datsyuk feels that he can make a difference in terms of working in youth hockey after his career is over...
Datsyuk also commented on the state of children's hockey in Russia.
- Now all bad. Parents of children squeeze, demand too much from them. And for 12 years they do not get pleasure from hockey. It is necessary to change it. After a career is unlikely to become a coach. It's very hard work. But to lead your school would like.
Sportbox.ru's Alexei Shevchenko confirmed that Datsyuk wants to work as a coach when he's done playing...
Do you see yourself hockey functionary after his career? Or coach?
- Coach - is unlikely. It's very hard work. But to lead your school would like.
And he did try to make some jokes, as RBK Sport's Yuri Nesterenko noted:
- What is the difference between the American and Russian hockey?
- The main difference - and this is related to the level of hockey.
- Tell us your three components of the preparation for the Olympics?
- The main thing is to stop drinking, smoking, do not stop. Less than read newspapers - it's bad for the head.
- How much influence your new contract for the bankruptcy of Detroit?
- I'm ashamed to admit it, but probably a big influence.
On this side of the Atlantic, USCHO's Paula C. Weston spoke with Torey Krug and Justin Abdelkader at Michigan State University's Pro Camp on Thursday, and Abdelkader discussed both MSU's shift to the Big Ten conference and his own pre-season preparations...
Abdelkader, who has been with the Detroit Red Wings since 2008, was a big hit with the fans in attendance. People outside of Michigan may not appreciate what a favorite he is locally, and in spite of his megastar status here, he’s as unpretentious as he was when he was a Spartan.
Abdelkader said that MSU’s Pro Camp helps him prepare for the upcoming NHL season. “More than anything, it’s just getting on the ice and skating. It’s always fun to come back to Munn here. It brings back so many memories here in the locker room and going through the hallways and seeing so many familiar faces. More than anything, I’m getting ready for [Red Wings] camp, but at the same time, it’s fun, too.”
And as life at the home office was not enjoyable at all on Thursday, the most fun I had not uttering four-letter words over the past 24 hours involved listening to the interview Chris Chelios gave to The Fan 590's Damien Cox and Jeff Blair.
Chelios discusses his status as an Olympic hockey analyst for Fox Sports One, his Hockey Hall of Fame induction, his pride in working for the Red Wings, why he would NEVER work for the NHL, his favorite defenseman, the "Red Wings Way" and Daniel Alfredsson's addition to the team, all while going on for nearly fifteen minutes:
Chelios will apparently be signing autographs in Toronto on Saturday, too.
In predictive news, via SI's Allan Muir, if you missed it, the Sports Forecaster's "Hockey Forecaster" made a bold prediction regarding the 2013-2014 season's Stanley Cup winner, as noted by the Ottawa Citizen's Allan Panzeri...
Not only will the Senators win the Stanley Cup, they’ll also take the Atlantic Division and the Presidents’ Trophy (for most points accumulated during the regular season).
They’ll succeed despite a heroic effort from Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who will pick up the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP in a losing cause.
Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner will win the Jennings Trophy during the regular season as the Senators allow the fewest number of goals, however.
Crazy? Well, it’s hockey yearbook season and The Sports Forecaster yearbook was the first to hit newsstands today. And yes, everything I just described to you is how the magazine sees this season playing out.
From the magazine:
“The loss of Daniel Alfredsson will certainly be felt in Ottawa. However, the coaching of Paul MacLean, leadership of Chris Phillips, Chris Neil, Marc Methot, plus all-star level performances by Erik Karlsson, Craig Anderson, Jason Spezza and bobby Ryan should ensure plenty of success even without the former captain. This is a true Cup contender.”
Oh, and Daniel Alfredsson’s Detroit Red Wings sneak into the playoffs as a wild card, finishing fifth in the Atlantic Division.
Sportsnet's Chris Nichols essentially posited a "fantasy summary" of the goaltenders Eastern Conference teams will be fielding...
In Detroit, Jimmy Howard was extended with a six-year, $31.8 million deal in mid-April. His cap hit will be just a shade under $5.3 million. The 29-year-old has posted what can only be described as stellar stats in three of his four campaigns as an NHL starter, the last of which he was without Nicklas Lidstrom in front of him and Howard still excelled. The mercurial Jonas Gustavsson, 28, a goaltender with more talent than that for which he is generally given credit thanks to health issues, will perform spot-duty in the secondary role. He’s finishing up a two-year deal which pays him $1.5 million per season.
And ESPN's Matthew Coller and Corey Pronman penned a "summer skate" checking in on the Red Wings' "prospects." If there's more text than usual from an Insider-only entry, it's because my mouse hand slipped (and their "Vukota" evaluation system needs an explanation that you'll have to read on your own):
Once again, the rumors of Detroit's demise were greatly exaggerated. In 2013, the Red Wings not only made the postseason, but were on the verge of the Stanley Cup Final. The combination of an emerging star goalie in Jimmy Howard, coaching, some contributions from young players and the sheer awesomeness of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg all added up to another successful year in Hockeytown.
For 2013-14, Detroit (finally) makes its move into the Eastern Conference. This year, the detractors might be a little quieter as general manager Ken Holland has beefed up his top six. And with Datsyuk and Zetterberg still going strong, this team won't be much fun for its new foes.
Trending up: F Stephen Weiss
Last season: -2.6 GVT | VUKOTA projection: 2.6
What a miserable 2013 season it was for the former No. 4 overall pick of the Florida Panthers. Weiss -- who has long been one of the few talents worth talking about on Florida's underwhelming top six -- had as awful of a 17-game stretch as anyone could have predicted to start the season. Then he got hurt and missed the remainder of the campaign.
But Detroit feels they signed the Stephen Weiss who scored 57 points two seasons ago, not the one who last season only managed four in 17 games and was minus-13. They'll give him every opportunity to succeed, too. The 29-year-old will see big minutes with the Red Wings' best, which might include promising youngster Gustav Nyquist or the legendary Daniel Alfredsson. And he's sure to see a great deal of power play time as well. -- Coller
Trending down: D Niklas Kronwall
Last season: 10.6 GVT | VUKOTA projection: 7.0
The long-tenured defenseman took over the Red Wings' No. 1 role admirably after the loss of one of the NHL's best ever, Nicklas Lidstrom. At age 32, the Swede recorded his highest points per game rate since 2008-09.
Considering he's on the tail end of his prime, and the Red Wings' plan to groom Brendan Smith, repeating that rate might be difficult. Kronwall will still be the go-to guy on the back end for Mike Babcock, but he is likely to drift back somewhat from his terrific 2013. -- Coller
Pronman's Name to know: D Danny DeKeyser
DeKeyser was the top college free agent on the market after winning his second straight best defensive defenseman award in the CCHA and being named a second team All-American. Thereafter, he played 13 games for Detroit in 2013 between the regular season and playoffs. He's a very mobile defenseman with size, physicality and great defensive awareness. He also has decent offensive tools, although that isn't the best area of his game. NHL scouts believe DeKeyser can be a potential No. 3 defenseman, and he might not be too far away from becoming that. -- Pronman
For the fourth straight year, a member of the Detroit Red Wings organization has been invited to take part in the NHLPA Rookie Showcase. This year, it will be goaltender Petr Mrazek representing the Red Wings Aug. 27 in Toronto.
The event was designed to allow the NHL's two official trading card companies to take photos of the league's top prospects in their team uniforms. The pictures will be used for trading cards and memorabilia launches.
Mrazek, who won his NHL debut 5-1 over St. Louis last season in one of two games with the Red Wings, is among 27 players who have been invited to take part in the event.
If you missed it, part 2, while Mike Babcock's going to be helming Team Canada's Olympic orientation camp in Calgary from Sunday the 25th until Wednesday the 28th in Calgary, while Datsyuk will be in Sochi today and tomorrow, and while Jimmy Howard, Danny DeKeyser and Justin Abdelkader will be heading to Arlington, VA to take part in Team USA's orientation camp on the 26th and 27th...
Around here, the Joe Kocur Foundation's charity softball game in Highland, MI is the place to be this Saturday, as the Oakkland Press's Carol Hopkins notes:
The fifth annual Joe Kocur Foundation Charity Softball Series will be held Saturday at Duck Lake Pines Park at 1241 N. Duck Lake Road in Highland. Gates open at 10 a.m. General admission tickets are $10.
The event features a host of celebrities including Detroit Red Wings alumni Dino Ciccarelli, Kris Draper, Joe Kocur, Manny Legace, Dave Lewis, Darren McCarty, Mickey Redmond and Ted Lindsay. Other celebrities include actor Jeff Daniels, former Lions quarterback Eric Hipple, former Tigers Dave Rozema and Scott Lusader and Brian Vander Ark from the Verve Pipe. Milford, White Lake, Highland and Oakland County law enforcement and firefighters will also be attending.
The day will consist of four softball games with Detroit Red Wings alumni and Detroit area sports and entertainment celebrities. Games are at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., and will include local law enforcement and firefighters playing the celebrity team. All proceeds will benefit local children’s charities, Wings of Mercy East Michigan, Far Conservatory, Team Huron Valley Special Olympics, and the Lakeland High School Public Service Scholarship for a student going into law enforcement or firefighting in honor of the late Shannon Gaber Silverthorn.
During the event, attendees can enjoy food and beverage for a nominal charge. Little Caesars Pizza and Leo’s Coney of White Lake will have hot pizzas and plenty of hot dogs. Raffle prizes will be awarded during the games, while those who attend also can join in on the silent auction including signed sports memorabilia, golf packages and gift certificates to local restaurants, spas and services. Between games, the former Red Wings players and local celebrities will be available to sign autographs. Kids will have their own baseball diamond filled with fun events and plenty of attractions from bounce houses and dunk tanks to home run derbies. Various viewing bleachers and tents will be set up along the path near all four diamonds. Organizers recommend bringing lawn chairs as bleacher space fills up with a crowd of around 3,000. Visit http://www.joekocurfoundation.org.
In the prospect department, Pro Hockey Talk's James O'Brien was wowed about the names of players taking part in the Red Wings' fall prospect tournament in Traverse City (starting on September 4th), and while she can't reveal the WIngs' roster yet, the Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindenau let some hints drop on Twitter:
Read: Wheaton, a 2013 draft pick, is still recovering from shoulder surgery, and Jensen's fight with Tyler Bertuzzi yielded a significant shoulder injury...
Though he probably didn't need surgery...
And if you really want to watch Henrik Zetterberg swing a golf club, GP.se posted a clip of Zetterberg taking part in a celebrity golf tournament in Gothenburg, Sweden. He's got quite the summertime beard going:
And you may not like my political or religious views (the former's non-partisan "middle" and the latter's nontraditional, and I'm going to stick with that instead of the five-minute explanation), but I've got a job to do in September, and those of you who're paying my way to the Red Wings' prospect tournament and main camp have come from all sides of the political spectrum.
The hotel's very, very close to being paid for, but the gas, food, dry cleaning, that stuff adds up over two weeks. I'm still kaputski there, and I'm under two weeks from leaving town on September 4th--for two weeks. If there is any way that you can lend a hand and/or spread the word, I would greatly, 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.
Thanks again. At the end of the day, the vast majority of us are on the same team, and we're allowed to disagree with each other.
This was definitely the entry I didn't want to write, and as a "*#$%@& it," I'm sticking with the working title. *#$%@& it. I wouldn't have slept anyway.
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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.