Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings overnight report: covetousness and/or avarice

This weekend's entries involve something of a theme. Saturday's overnight report involved "rumors and speculation," and this morning's involves what I suppose we'll call "covetousness," or perhaps, more plainly, "avarice."

I find it more than a little amusing that the same Wings fans who wanted the team to do nothing more than promote Grand Rapids Griffins players and "play the kids," even at salary cap and 23-man roster and CBA-rule-bending expense, now want the Wings to maximize their salary cap space (see: Capgeek's Wings organization chart, your should-be-bookmarked friend) by loading up on as many marquee unrestricted free agents as possible this summer (see also: Capgeek's list of UFA-to-be forwards, defensemen and goalies), even if doing so throws multiple wrenches in the team's "youth movement."

It happens--as "our" (yours and my, given that we are Wings fans) ever-stubborn and too-honest GM pointed out, people tend to "fall in love with everybody who isn't here" (and yes, Ken Holland's end-of-season remark video is still relevant here, as is Mike Babcock's), and perhaps that focus shifts from prospects to the best available players that can be had for only the price of their contract (not named Jiri Sekac?).

It's here I need to add an addendum:

While the vast majority of you are familiar with the concept that hockey's roster rules aren't easily bent, never mind broken, there's always that minority of Wings fans who believe that management can "release" players (see: football's non-guaranteed contracts), buy players out at any time without penalty, demote everybody they wish to (which ignores the NHL's amendments regarding not burying a player's entire contract, the balancing of a team's NHL and AHL priorities, and of course the whole, "That's just not going to happen" dynamic), or easily trade players that nobody else wants ("Samuelsson, Cleary and a 1st for [top prospect]!").

I suppose that when we start talking about free agents, too many of us Wings fans have the tendency to assume that the Wings are going to out-bid and out-entice another 29 teams' worth of bidders.

That pre-second-lockout mentality certainly seems to prevail when we start talking about throwing restricted free agent offer sheets at the PK Subbans of the world (interesting fact from the CBC's Elliotte Friedman: lockout 3.0 = "no more file for arbitration yields protection from offer sheets" scenarios; see also: Montreal is a super-high-revenue team and won't be out-spent), and we do tend to assume that Mr. Ilitch's pizza dough is worth more than other teams' bucks. That's to be expected.

But free agency ain't what it used to be, especially this summer, as the aforementioned Friedman suggested...

Teams needing change don't like what's available in free agency, with one exec calling it, "the weakest group we've seen." So, they're going to be aggressive in trades, hoping they can address their issues in advance.

We'll get the Ryan Kesler watch, the Jason Spezza watch and the Joe Thornton watch. We'll get so many watches you can open a Fossil store.

(If you recall, Kesler's list of teams to which he'd approve a trade included Detroit, but the Anaheim Ducks, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins were the only serious bidders last time he was available)

And over the course of Friedman's 30 Thoughts, he noted that one of the Wings main targets' rights were traded from San Jose to the Islanders (I don't expect Boyle to sign there, though stranger things have happened):

13. The Islanders made a sharp move getting Jaroslav Halak and signing him. Dan Boyle hoped for a two-year deal in San Jose, and it wouldn't be a surprise if New York was willing to do that. However, the question is what else Boyle would like. He won a Stanley Cup in 2004, but wants another shot. Can he be convinced the Islanders have a shot in that span? Boyle is another guy -- like Thomas Vanek -- who hasn't been through this process before and may want to see how it goes.

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan addressed this summer's free agency situation as applied to the Wings in more direct terms Saturday evening, suggesting that, "NHL free agency isn't the candy store it used to be":

Free agency used to be one way to build a team. An exciting, headline-grabbing, expensive way to construct a roster. But, two lockouts and a stringent salary cap later, those days are gone.

Let it finally sink in. July 1 is slightly busier than the normal off-season day in the NHL. But heckuva a lot less busier than in the early 2000s.

"There's this perception that on July 1, there's this hockey store, this fantasy league, and that we can go get superstars," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. "Those days are over. That was the league prior to 2005 (the first lockout). Those days are over."

They are, indeed.

In case you haven't noticed, teams are re-signing their franchise players to long-term contracts that pretty much tie them for the majority of their careers. Superstars don't make it to the free-agent market anymore. Teams sign their own, get them a little cheaper right before they're eligible for free agency, than someone in the open market. Plus, they know these players and have already invested so much time and money in them.

"This is a league now where you have to draft and you've got to develop," Holland said.

Kulfan continues, and he points out that the Wings' record of free agent fall-back plans might make you and I suggest that Holland needs to remember that bringing back alumni players tends to remind you why you let 'em go in the first place more often than not, as Holland had to admit to some extent during locker room clean-out day:

"You can have some cap space, but I'm not going to spend money just for the sake of spending money so six months later people can say, 'The decisions we made in July were no good. How can they get rid of that guy?’”

Kulfan says that his email inbox is full of suggestions that Thomas Vanek, Matt Moulson and Paul Stastny are in fact the players that the Wings need to target come July 1st, and I can't deny that I've read the same talk.

As far as I'm concerned, and as I said last night, the Wings won't benefit from signing a Ray Sheppard II (that's what I think of Vanek's ability to break open a game on his own--he doesn't have much of that ability at all); instead, given the team's status as having an abundance of smaller-but-speedy forwards (though Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco need to use their 6'2" heights and 210-ish weights to help the cause) and bigger puck-moving defensemen either in the system, having recently graduated from the prospect pool or on the verge of doing so...

I want to see the Wings move the puck up the ice faster and I'd suggest that the Wings would benefit from another puck-moving defenseman far more than they'd benefit from adding another forward to a crowded roster picture up front.

This morning, the Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa's notebook focuses on the theory that the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks' offensive machines are largely powered by moving the damn puck up the ice in a speedy and expedient manner, allowing the teams to sustain puck possession from the moment their defensemen gain possession and control of the puck. I tend to agree with his theory:

There are many reasons why Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Montreal advanced to their respective conference finals. The Kings had a 1-2 center punch from Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter. Henrik Lundqvist was an ace. Patrick Kane submitted game-changing performances. Carey Price and P.K. Subban fulfilled their roles as the Canadiens’ best players.

The most important reason, however, was how rapidly the teams transitioned from defense to offense. It is a matter of common sense. Minimal time spent in the defensive zone reduces the possibility of bad things happening. Positive results occur with increased shifts in the offensive zone. You can cycle. You can force opponents to chase and take the hooking and holding and tripping penalties that sometimes follow. You can get a lucky bounce. You can tire out teams and keep them from making changes. You can score.

None of that takes place unless you can get there. The Blackhawks are the best in the business. Duncan Keith, who skates like he’s been slurping espressos instead of water, sprints back for pucks and triggers the breakout with a rush or a crisp pass. Keith has company. Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya, and Nick Leddy are smart, mobile defensemen.

The Kings bested the Blackhawks and grabbed Games 1 and 2 against the Rangers because they were just as good at retrieving pucks and going the other way. They submitted a puck-retrieving masterpiece in the third period. LA allowed only three New York shots. That’s because the Rangers rarely had the puck.

I also like Shinzawa's suggestion that the foundation of good puck possession hockey begins with a system by which teams provide strong support for their defensemen, allowing defenders to retrieve dump-ins or disrupt opponents' offenses without getting the snot checked out of them:

Doughty is LA’s chief retriever. There is no better three-zone defenseman in the league. Doughty’s pivots are tight. His passes are sharp. He pushes the puck from his end into the offensive zone with power and a plan. But Doughty has help. Matt Greene is LA’s only stay-at-homer. The others (Jake Muzzin, Slava Voynov, Willie Mitchell, Alec Martinez) move well. They’re swift to jump on pucks. Then they go.

“It’s just being quick in our zone,” said Muzzin, Doughty’s left-side partner. “Quick in our zone leads to us being quick in the transition through the neutral zone. It allows us to get pucks deep and create opportunities. If we’re slow in our zone, we’re slow in the rest. It goes from there. The big thing is being clean and quick in our zone.”

What the Kings do better than anybody else is support the retriever. Doughty is a one-man breakout. He doesn’t need much reinforcement. But the Kings come back to provide outlets to their other defensemen. They don’t look for home-run stretch passes like the Blackhawks, Rangers, or Canadiens. They prefer short passes and chips up the wall. Then they attack with numbers and speed.

This starts defensively. The Kings keep tight gaps. They gum up the neutral zone because their defensemen are up in the play and their forwards are committed to backchecking. The Rangers learned this the hard way in Game 1. When they approached the neutral zone, the Kings had roadblocks everywhere. This created two things: turnovers and ineffective dump-ins.

Cue Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire complaining that the Red Wings' forwards "throw picks" and "subtly interfere" with opponents, even though we're talking about forechecking or backchecking forwards skating hard and gaining body position on their opponents to be "on the inside" of puck battles, which is totally legal.

I might also suggest that the Wings' litany of injuries up front, especially to their defensive stalwarts in Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Helm, et. al. prevented the team from providing sufficient support for their defensemen, allowing opposing forwards to more readily predate upon a young defense and a Kid Line that did a lot of "learning" via lackadaisical backchecking which helped opponents steal pucks in the corners below the goal line, shovel those pucks into the slot and find unchecked forwards awaiting snipe-and-score opportunities.

That's an issue the Wings have to correct in a big way this upcoming season, regardless of how youthful their lineup might be--the speedy forwards need to focus harder on "gapping up" and, as Babcock likes to say, providing a solid "F3" (3rd forward's presence in the defensive zone to serve as both a backchecker and an early "outlet" for his defensemen).

I happen to believe that the vast majority of the Wings' "slippage" in terms of wavering from their fundamental systems of play and puck possession blueprint can be addressed by good coaching and better execution by the players who are already on the roster and/or in the system.

Even if the Wings were to do absolutely nothing up front in terms of free agency, and Daniel Alfredsson were to retire, I would be perfectly comfortable with the team's forward mix (see: Stephen Weiss, unknown quantity, and Landon Ferraro and Mitch Callahan battling for jobs instead of watching Samuelsson, Cleary, Legwand et. al. either get injured or fade down the stretch. As much as I adore Todd Bertuzzi's presence as a nuclear deterrent, I felt that his chronic back injuries really affected his ability to get the defensive job done as the 13-14 season progressed, too).

On defense, however, I firmly believe that the team needs reinforcements, in the form of a strong puck-mover (be it a Matt Niskanen as a marquee signing, a Dan Boyle as a "bridge" between the vets and youth movement, Tom Gilbert as a poor man's band-aid, or somebody via trade) and the coaching staff and management allowing the team's quintet of offensive defensemen (Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul, Mattias Backman, Alexey Marchenko, and perhaps Nick Jensen; if Adam Almquist is still in the mix, that makes it a "sextet") "steal" Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff's jobs over the course of training camp and the exhibition season.

In terms of holding any long-standing grudges with the management group (it is a group, again, not just Ken Holland playing Dungeons and Free Agent Dragons, rolling a 1D20 to determine how badly the team's damaged by yet another "reunion"), doofy alumni signings excluded (hey, Jordin Tootoo was the closest player to managing to skate well enough and have enough puck-moving abilities to address the team's toughness issues, and Babcock's been trying to fill that hole since he employed Brad Norton as a forward during the 06-07 season)...

I really never got over the fact that the team swung so hard on Ryan Suter without having a back-up plan in terms of utilizing free agents to smooth Nick Lidstrom's eventual retirement. After Suter turned down a visit by Mike Babcock, Holland, Chris Chelios and Mr. Ilitch himself--thanks to Zach Parise's dastardly, "Let's both play in Minnesota!" plan--the Wings watched Matt Carle and Sami Salo sign with Tampa Bay, they didn't pitch for a player who was decent at the time in Jason Garrison, and they didn't use the 11-12 season's trade deadline, nor the 2013 season, to do anything but bring Kyle Quincey back (at the expense of a draft pick who turned out to be the Lightning's brightest goaltending prospect in Andrei Vasilevskiy).

I never understood the whole, "Well, we tried, let's deal with what we've got" logic, and I really believe that the strategy set the team back a year or two, especially given that Nick Lidstrom decided that playing with a broken foot and having human mobility was more than enough reason to hang 'em up while he was still an elite defenseman (that damn game against Colorado on February 25th, 2012 was the beginning of the end).

All of this "stuff" is just one man's take on what's "best" for the team, however, and you and I both know that fellow fans' belief that signing 3 or 4 unrestricted free agents-to-be (at any available position) will serve as a better upgrade than the whole, "Stick with the plan and bolster the defense" idea, which is not nearly as enticing as a couple of press conferences in July.

This morning, the Free Press's Helene St. James continues her look at unrestricted free agents-to-be by examining the "fit" of a player who I don't believe is going anywhere in Boston Bruins forward Jarome Iginla (who is 36 going on 37, and earned $6 million this past season):

After a long career as the face of the Calgary Flames, Iginla has, over the past two years, chased an elusive Stanley Cup, first with Pittsburgh and then Boston. Neither team delivered, but Iginla did, providing the Penguins with 12 points in 15 playoff games in 2013 and contributing seven points in 12 playoff games with the Bruins this past spring. (Two of five goals came in the first-round series against Detroit; one of them was a game-winner.)

Iginla, 37 in July, has a rich history of productivity and durability. Since turning 30 in the summer of 2007, he has missed eight games over seven seasons. He’s a former 50-goal scorer and a consistent 30-goal scorer who reached that benchmark again last season. Imagine how he’d thrive playing next to Pavel Datsyuk. Iginla is incredibly smart, shoots right, would be a huge asset to the power play, and also brings tremendous leadership.

Now, the Wings are waiting to hear from Daniel Alfredsson on whether he wants to play another season. If something works out there, there’s less likelihood of Iginla also being signed. However, if Alfredsson retires, Iginla is well worth pursuing. The Bruins got him for $1.8 million in base salary, and Iginla collected $4.2 million in bonuses for a total of $6 million. Good for Iginla, bad for the Bruins, fiscally speaking, because that translates to an approximate $4.5 million penalty towards next season’s salary cap. Given the restricted free agents Boston has to sign, keeping Iginla will be tricky.

St. James argues that Iginla is a "perfect fit," but I don't know if you remember that Iginla's list of 5 teams to which he'd be traded two years ago did not include the Red Wings. I've always had the feeling that Iginla feels the same way about Detroit that Peter Forsberg did--that too many playoff battles yield a rival that one doesn't want to join--and I happen to believe that the Bruins will find a way to keep Iginla.

The Bruins' cap situation is complicated: Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski, Reilly Smith, Jordan Caron and Justin Florek are restricted free agents-to-be, and Iginla, Shawn Thornton and a few other guys are unrestricted free agents-to-be (they probably won't retain goalie Chad Johnson or defensemen Andrej Meszaros or Corey Potter), and Capgeek estimates that the Bruins have all of $9.1 million in cap space, but Iginla loves it in Boston, and it's just hard for me to imagine him coming to Detroit, especially given the Wings' roster overflow and Alfredsson's situation.

The free agent avarice going around does not limit itself to players, of course: for the fourth or fifth day in a row, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Dave Molinari reminded us that the team may or may not sign a long-term replacement for Dan Bylsma given that Mike Babcock has yet to sign an extension with the Wings (and boy, do the Penguins' beat writers ever believe that the Penguins can somehow bend NHL rules into a pretzel to snag Babcock, or that the Wings will simply step aside and allow Babcock to leave with a year left on his deal because, as they continue to insinuate, "Pittsburgh is just better." Their talk reminds me of certain Wings fans' theories regarding trading, demoting or simply "releasing" veterans):

One guy who could have been an intriguing possibility to replace Bylsma, Jeff Blashill, was taken off the market recently when he signed a three-year contract extension with Detroit.

Blashill coaches the Red Wings' minor league team in Grand Rapids, Mich., and holding onto him gives Detroit some quality insurance in case current coach Mike Babcock decides to look elsewhere for work when his contract expires in 2015.

I respect the hell out of Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika, but he happens to believe this particular narrative, too, and he spoke with KDKA 93-7 The Fan's Bob Pompeani on Saturday morning, addressing the theory:

“Is he going to sign an extension? The Red Wings would like to sign him to an extension. If I’m Babcock, they would have to make me an offer I couldn’t refuse because if he’s a free agent after next year and he has the pick of any job in the league, that gives him a lot of options and a lot of leverage. Would he like to coach Sidney Crosby? I think he probably would,” Cotsonika said.

Cotsonika doesn’t understand why the Penguins would wait around for Babcock after saying they wasted a year by not making the front office moves in 2013.

“If you have Sidney Crosby in his prime and you have Evgeni Malkin in his prime and every year is precious, I don’t know that you wait around for Mike Babcock and hope for something like that,” Cotsonika said.

Cotsonika told Pompeani that it’s not a deep coaching pool.

“When the Toronto Maple Leafs kept Randy Carlyle, a big reason they did that was because they felt there wasn’t anybody that they were excited about who was available,” Cotsonika said. “I don’t know that this Scotty Bowman clone is going to come in right now. That’s why everybody’s talking about Mike Babcock and a year from now.”

I managed to fiddle with 93-7's code well enough to snag the MP3...

And if you want to hear the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Rossi insist that, well, as he said to KDKA's "Starkey and Mueller" yesterday...

"Pure conjecture on my part, but I think if anybody thinks that the Pittsburgh Penguins are out of the running next year for Mike Babcock, I don’t think there’s any question in my mind that they are going to try and negotiate some sort of way to get Babcock out of Detroit before next year because everything I’ve heard about the next coach they want screams Mike Babcock.”

Babcock remains under his current contract with the Red Wings, but that expires after next year, and there has been much speculation that the Pens would be interested in trying to lure him away from Detroit.

“I don’t know if they’ll be successful,” Rossi cautioned. “I think that’s the guy they want coaching this hockey team, and I think they know that it’s a bad idea to go hire a guy and then try to wait on Mike Babcock, so I think they’re going to try and figure out if they can do that, and Jim Rutherford will be at the GM meeting this week, and I would imagine he’s going to have a conversation with (Red Wings General Manager) Ken Holland about that, what’s it going to take.  And you know what, until Mike Babcock commits to another year, I’m not going to believe anything anybody says because remember, three weeks ago, the Penguins told us that Dan Bylsma had a shot to keep his job and the new GM came today and said basically he listened to the advice of ownership and Dan Bylsma wasn’t retained for that reason.  I’ve maintained from the very start, I think the Penguins want Mike Babcock, and I think they’re going to go try to get him.  Doesn’t mean I think they’ll be successful or that they will be successful, but I think that’s the guy they want coaching their hockey team.”





Otherwise...This has absolutely nothing to do with the Wings, but Hockey's Future's Chad Vo penned an article about 2015 draft prospect Kyle Connor, and he summarized Detroit's minor hockey program status perfectly--we may not have the high school tradition that Minnesota does, but our private schools and private developmental programs, like Belle Tire, Detroit Honeybaked, Compuware, Litle Caesars, the National Team Development Program, the Whalers, Saginaw Spirit and Windsor Spitfires draw players from all over the country, and they provide local players with a competitive advantage:

The state of Michigan may be famous for being the birthplace of the automotive industry, but aside from cars, the state also produces many of the top hockey players in the world. When the Detroit Red Wings began play in 1926, it helped nudge a budding grassroots hockey movement in the right direction.

Fast forward to today and the Detroit area is home to some of the most esteemed minor hockey programs in the country, including the Belle Tire hockey club.

Kyle Connor, born in Shelby Township, MI, about 30 minutes north of Detroit, played for the Belle Tire organization for his entire minor hockey career, including two years with the Belle Tire midget program. A highly skilled forward with a knack for scoring, Connor put up 12 goals and 18 assists for 30 points in 31 games as a 14-year-old playing against older players, some as old as two years his senior.

The next year, Connor led his team in scoring with 53 points in 40 games. 39 of those points came from assists and highlighted his playmaking abilities. At just 15 years of age, Connor committed to the University of Michigan for the fall of 2015.

“Growing up, that was my dream school,” said Connor. “I’m a Michigan football fan and Michigan everything, even my parents are big Michigan fans. When I heard they offered me the scholarship it was a no brainer.”

Connor chose the USHL route to retain his NCAA eligibility, and the USHL is the one thing that Metro Detroit wasn't able to support--the NTDP technically plays in the USHL, though they play in their share of international games, and instead, the Muskegon Lumberjacks are the "local" team--but there are more than enough private programs (and prep schools, like Cranbrook, Catholic Central, etc.) to develop a boatload of talented Michigander hockey players around here. It's just a different kind of culture.

At the other end of the spectrum, I'm not proud about following up on this story, but I kind of have to: I mentioned the whole Sergei Fedorov-Pat Brisson-terrible-horror-movie spiel a week ago, and Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples picked up on it, as did the Free Press's Steve Schrader (via RedWingsFeed), and Yahoo Sports' "Eh Game's" Neil Acharya spoke with "Super Agent" Brisson regarding The Gracefield Incident...

Brisson describes the film as an "exciting thriller". The two-and-a-half minute trailer gives the viewer a sneak peak at what starts out as a fun cottage weekend in Gracefield, PQ., but takes a horrific turn when a fireball blazes through the sky and crashes into the nearby woods. When the group goes to inspect - paranormal activity ensues.

Currently there is no official release date for The Gracefield Incident as it is in the last phases of post-production. Brisson expects that they will know something more concrete in the coming months.

"In the next 60 days to 90 days we will have a lot more information as to what is the next step," Brisson said. "The project is done except for a few tweaks here and there. Mathieu is talking to different studios right now."

As well as Brisson's (and Fedorov's) ability to branch out into the film industry thanks to CAA Sports' status as a sports and entertainment agency:

"I am not an investor in projects, I have always been told not to invest in movies and I don't see myself expanding into the movie business," he says. "I saw an opportunity to get involved with someone really talented that I believe in.

"Being at CAA we sure spend time with different divisions and learning from them so if I am going to take it somewhere of course it would be the first stop. The experience I have gathered over 26 years in the business has really helped me on deciding how and why I should be involved with Mathieu on this level. I am sure its going to lead to some positive results - if it is of interest to the experts on the movie side then fine."

I will point you toward the trailer with a warning about its status as having NSFW language and questionable (crappy) content. I'm not embedding that damn thing again.




In charitable hockey news, from Eric Jennings on Twitter...

You can find the event's Facebook page here...



And finally, I'll say this about Mitch Callahan: he's certainly honest on Twitter, and I appreciate it:

Meanwhile, in post-Soviet Datsyukian Russia, Pushkin meets Wolverine?

I hope that this will be the last of my "talky" entries for a while. Tomorrow, I'm starting the official Summer Development Camp and/or Prospect Tournament and/or Training Camp fundraiser. I hope you've at least been entertained by me rambling for three hours' worth of writing each weekend night.



Update: As it's 6:30 AM and I've been up all night, you're going to get the Google-translated Russian version of Pavel Datsyuk's interview with Sovetsky Sport's Pavel Lysenkov. He doesn't talk about the Wings very much, so the Google-garble should suffice:

The correspondent of "Soviet Sport" took an unusual interview with a famous hockey player Pavel Datsyuk, trying not to ask a single question about hockey.

"THAT'S a dream come true"

- You recently flew for the final Champions League football. Start Here.

- One of my dream trips. Long dreamed of going to such a final. Now I can delete it from your wish-sheet.

Especially since we were given a bonus - we played with friends on the training field, "Benfica", attended by Nuno Gomes. Very famous Portuguese striker, who has achieved much. He warmly welcomed us, talked with guests. Nice man.

- You are sick in the final for the "Madrid team" or "club from Madrid?"

- I'm rooting for the soccer. Match "Real" - "Atletico" was very exciting. Was struck by how "real" equalized a minute before the end. But this all went.

- Soon begins the World Cup. You and your friends will be betting on that team that wins the final?

- No this will not do. I'm not a gambler. But we certainly will have a small tote.

- Four years ago, you bet on Paraguay and Spain.

- Then everything went successfully - world champions became just the Spaniards. But here's Euro 2012 I lost. So I have a bad experience and have.

Generally we do not choose our teams, and divide them into groups and throw lots who will get what. So I do not know who now fall into my pool.

- The Russian national team - a tidbit?

- Everyone would like to get it. She will get some one. But together we'll be rooting for the guys.

"The morning begins not with the site"

- A few days ago you opened a personal website Datsyuk13.com. Why?

- I had long been established, we just changed the design. Not much is advertised. But anyone can go there and read about me.

- Will communicate with the fans?

- I help to make the microblogging on Facebook and Twitter. Just on the site will reflect them. And social networks can I ask a question or submit an interesting photo.

- Do you like to read comments about yourself that under the news about Datsyuk simple leave fans?

- I do not have much time to even read the article. But if you can, then look no comments. Attitude fans, their opinion - it's worth a lot. We must not forget for whom you play hockey.

- And which sites you start your morning?

- To be honest, my morning begins not with the sites. News rarely look. And especially try not to go to the Internet. Maybe I had a long sleep?

"We can only dream HOLLYWOOD"

- This season, you acted in the movie Detroit rapper Mike Posner. Hit called «Top of the world» - «Top of the World." Good song.

- Thank you, I'll tell him.

- But in the clip you did not sing. And just stood and looked at the camera.

- I sang "Kalinka Malinka". Cut out, probably.

- Is it true that Posner came to support you at the Olympics?

- Not quite right. Mike came to Sochi, but rooting for the home team (the U.S. team. - Comm. Ed.).

- You are not in the movie name?

- Hollywood we can only dream. Various proposals have. But not everything is implemented. And not all fit me so that I direct so eager to participate in this.

- You are now releasing her own clothing line. Sami style develop?

- I'm involved in this, of course. But everyone has to do their job professionally. And if I - hockey player, he must play good hockey. But I have ideas in design. I bring them to the people with whom we work. If they come, we will use them.

- Now playing sweaters - as a feather. And in what year you had the heaviest sweater?

- In the childhood, when we knit sweaters grandmother. They get wet, dragged to the ground and rarely erased. But the sweater heavier so makes us stronger.

- Who invented the image on the shirt - take out a white rabbit out of a black top hat magician, and the inscription: "Datsyuk - a magician?"

- It was not my. Himself a magician do not call. But this shirt approved.

- Some fans say simply: "Datsyuk - God."

- I am very grateful to the people that they refer to me as. But realize that I - hockey. Same as everybody else. I have a lot to prove.


- How have you changed life with the birth of a second daughter?

- This warm paternal feelings. Very nice to be back in that was 12 years ago, when Lisa was born. I think this will not stop. I want to experience these feelings are still many, many times.

- Bruce Willis has become a father for the fifth time. And - my daughter. He said he would go to the sixth circle, because he wants a son. Do you have the same goal?

- As God wills. I want a son. But even if there were such a wonderful daughter like me - I will be glad.

- And how did you choose the name Vasilisa? Who voted for whom?

- Dad took a very large part in the vote, and his mother supported his opinion. And in the next dates when the daughter was born, in the birthday party was Vasilisa.

- You love to collect tweeted thoughts of great men. For example, from the latter: "Do not let someone who has not done anything to tell you what to do."

- In general, do not remember the quote. But when something interesting catches my eye, I try to share it with subscribers.

- What book are reading right now?

- "How to raise a daughter." Instructions for use. This I now always on the table. If you love a child, it will and understanding in the family. Grow a good, quiet girl. But there are people who have already passed it. I am interested in their advice. Reluctance to make mistakes, especially in your child.


- Do you have a favorite episode?

- Unfortunately, there is no time series. Over the past seven months for the first time went to the movies with my daughter.

- What was the movie?

- "X-Men."

- What kind of food book in a restaurant?

- After a long time I had been in America, of course, ask for the menu of Russian cuisine.

- A drink?

- Compote or juice.

- What are your plans for the summer? Do not fly to South America?

- Summer for me has not yet begun. Being restored after injury. To the World Cup is not going to. But I wish the players the best of luck. We will see this match, experience. Send their energy back to Brazil. Guys, we're with you!

In July, as always, will gather a group of hockey. This master classes in Yekaterinburg. I hope that in three or four years will start a project in which we will create a school Pavel Datsyuk. Need more time to build. While we are at the stage of the foundation.

And I had planned several fishings in Russia.

- Some NHL players generally act in fishing show.

- I would love to take part in such an event. But you need to prepare your program, something to tell us how to behave with a fishing rod in the water. Act in the genre of stand-up.

- What kind of music you play in the headphones when you catch a fish?

- Do you think, «Rammstein»? Fishing need silence!

"I did not notice that we are in Sochi Chmura went"

Without four compulsory questions for Datsyuk was impossible to avoid. And they - about hockey.

- What you have residue left from the Olympics in Sochi? Maybe guilt to the fans?

- It is hard to feel guilty if we did everything we could. It is clear that everyone remains unconvinced. But all the guys hockey players tried. Personally, I like the captain no one claims.

Yes, somewhere there were mistakes. But without it, there is no professional sports.

- It seemed that the Russian team in Sochi was very compressed, nervous. Do not see the smiles, even when going to the gym. Are all so affected pressure?

- It's hard to argue with you. I did not notice this, that just went all gloomy. And you will not have seen so many guys. Only during operation, when everyone was focused on hockey. And the pressure was, of course. Beneath it would any team on home Olympics, before which put high goals.

- Did you watch the World Cup in Minsk?

- Unfortunately, no. But I know that our guys in the championship were very good. New management team, and it gave the result. The team played bright, spectacular. I am very grateful that the guys were able to finish the season on a positive note.

- You have received an invitation to the World Championships, but did not attend due to injury. How do feel now?

- Housed in a restored tribe. Pleased that the leadership "Detroit" is sympathetic to the situation. I hope that I'll do without the planned operation. And next season I can help the team and clubs.

Question squarely

"I see the field, ball holding, sitting on a bench"

Once I asked Pavel Datsyuk, how much he loves football.

- Generally, I like to play football in the summer. Immediately play football, hardly falls possible, - said Datsyuk. - What is the position? First substitute. Stuck on the bench, trying to scare people. You know, as in the saying? "I see the field, keep the ball, sitting on a bench."

- You had a choice as a child, what to do - football or hockey?

- I thought I could combine. But then I realized that two of the sport no health is not enough. So I chose hockey. And in football, we always play "Detroit" when warming up before matches NHL.

- Who is cooler - Ronaldo or Messi?

- Ronaldo plays beautifully, with enthusiasm. But I like football Messi. I saw a few matches. Respect the guy for the performance, technology, innovative solutions in the field. Try to take away his ball!

Datsyuk TOUGHER Beckham!

Pavel Datsyuk looked a visit to the pavilion «Climalab» company «Adidas», and took part in an unusual test.

Any visitor can measure their warm-bloodedness, comparing it to the famous footballer David Beckham. Englishman took as a reference.

Datsyuk got into the machine, similar to an x-ray, and soon the display shows: "Pasha cooler Beckham."

- Not very valid test - Datsyuk shook his head. - I have not even had no warm-up. We need to once again face off with David. Overall glad «Adidas» gear helps professional athletes. This innovative technology, which you can achieve great results. We depend on it directly.

And ... I would translate «Cooler than Beckham» as "Tougher than Beckham." That's much closer to the truth.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


Chet's avatar

it’s time to ship tatar, dekeyser, and a first to the flames and BRING HOME HUDLER

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 06/08/14 at 07:18 AM ET


Typical straw man argument.  The majority of wings fans want Ken Holland to make traded to improve the roster.  Most fans understand that the free agent class is weak and that even Dan Boyle is not someone to get excited about.  What I hear from wings fans is to play the kids and make strategic trades to add a right handed defensemen and possibly a heavy forward type.  I have not read any fan boards calling for any ufa’s to be signed, in fact it’s the opposite.  So where are all these fans clamoring for free agents?  There really isn’t any out there anyways.

Posted by bababooey on 06/08/14 at 08:49 AM ET

gowings's avatar

Wow…thanks for finding that interview with the magic man smile

Posted by gowings from MTL on 06/08/14 at 09:12 AM ET

awould's avatar

I find it more than a little amusing that the same Wings fans who wanted the team to do nothing more than promote Grand Rapids Griffins players and “play the kids,” even at salary cap and 23-man roster and CBA-rule-bending expense, now want the Wings to maximize their salary cap space (see: Capgeek’s Wings organization chart, your should-be-bookmarked friend) by loading up on as many marquee unrestricted free agents as possible this summer (see also: Capgeek’s list of UFA-to-be forwards, defensemen and goalies), even if doing so throws multiple wrenches in the team’s “youth movement.”

I’d find it amusing if you could name more than 2 Wings fans on this site that advocate for that.

Especially this: .. loading up on as many marquee unrestricted free agents as possible this summer

I guarantee not one single Red Wing fan on Kukla’s Korner advocated for this. Nobody.

Posted by awould on 06/08/14 at 12:04 PM ET

Rumbear's avatar

Stanley Cup Finals: I giggle when the Rangers go on the PP.  To think the 19 thought the Wings 2013 PP was bad…...Shame on us!  tongue wink

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, Czech out my recliner..... on 06/08/14 at 12:54 PM ET


Bababooey, go check the comments over at MLive. You’ll find a LOT of people who will be quite bitter if Ken Holland doesn’t make a “big splash” in free agency, whether or not that big splash actually makes sense for the roster or for the cap.

Those people do exist, even if they’re not regulars here.

Posted by Kronwalled55 on 06/08/14 at 01:08 PM ET


I suppose that when we start talking about free agents, too many of us Wings fans have the tendency to assume that the Wings are going to out-bid and out-entice another 29 teams’ worth of bidders.

Is there a single reasonable Red Wing fan remaining who believes we are going to out-bid any other team for a premiere or even second tier free agent? I am not a proponent to go after these players, but it’s safe to assume imo that Niskanen, Vanek and Gaborik will get about $2 mil more per season that KH is willing to pay.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/08/14 at 01:52 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

I don’t expect a big UFA singing by Ken Holland. I do hope for some help on the back end. We will know in three weeks.

Posted by bigfrog on 06/08/14 at 02:45 PM ET

awould's avatar

Those people do exist, even if they’re not regulars here.

Posted by Kronwalled55 on 06/08/14 at 01:08 PM ET

Well yeah, idiots abound. Especially on the internet.

Posted by awould on 06/08/14 at 03:18 PM ET


Has anyone noted yet the uncanny similarities in the Red Wing off seasons the past 3-4 seasons?  Ofcourse I am talking about the types of stories being put forth by the Free Press and News hockey writers, and the annual comments from Holland.  Yes indeed, we have already heard the ”  free agency is no candy store” speech, and the ” you cant go shopping for superstars” speech, or the ” you cant swing a trade like the past ” or build a roster like the past.  Ad infinitum.  And how about those Detroit press articles?  While many worthwhile players abound, as UFAs or trade candidates, that could truly upgrade the Wings,  the articles and the sound bites are the same as the past several seasons.  Always about how great it would be if we could only add some free agent at the end of his illustrious career and over the age of 35. ( Ignila, Boyle this years examples)

Cant we ever have an article from the Detroit newspapers about how great it would be to trade for Kessler or Edler ?  Moulson or Stralman or Byflugien or Penner?  We keep repeating this pattern that its only the ageing veteran that we can ever consider bringing to Detroit via free agency or trade.  Enough already, lets aquire some players with some good years in front of them and with real upside.

Is it not interesting as we watch the Kings and Rangers play for the Cup, we don’t seem to hear Holland mentioning how each of these teams made significant free agent acquisitions and trades in the past two seasons to help them to be where they are today.  And so the remarks continue to ring hollow and seem like a partial cop-out for the failed transactions of Weiss, Cleary, Samuellson, Quincey,  (just to mention a few)

In fact its still possible to make trades and sign UFA’s to build a roster but you can also do so , as the Wings have,  in ways that do not improve the team.  Knowing the difference and being accountable for it makes good hockey sense

Posted by karlander on 06/08/14 at 06:09 PM ET


Cant we ever have an article from the Detroit newspapers about how great it would be to trade for Kessler or Edler ?  Moulson or Stralman or Byflugien or Penner?

After Legwand trade, I do not want even to think what KH may give up for Edler or Kessler.  I personally hope for no trades.
As to Stralman, I honestly never followed him, but he made a very good impression on me during these playoffs. Very solid positionally, more physical than I ever thought and plays both PP and PK. Just does not excel at anything, but will be cheaper than Niskanen.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/08/14 at 07:50 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I’ve always had the feeling that Iginla feels the same way about Detroit that Peter Forsberg did—that too many playoff battles yield a rival that one doesn’t want to join

I have no doubt Iginla may actively not want to be in DET, but… if he does, playoff battles is *not* that reason.  DET and CGY have played exactly TWO playoff series’ during Iginla’s CGY tenure, which they split.  And CGY spent most of that time not making the playoffs at all.

Posted by Primis on 06/08/14 at 11:02 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Great post GM.

Posted by TreKronor on 06/09/14 at 03:29 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.


Notify me of follow-up comments?


Most Recent Blog Posts

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.