The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/09/13 at 03:51 AM ET
At this point I feel like a little bit of a broken record, but that's the way July tends to go...And as such, we're going to be talking about the incredibly high probability that Brendan Shanahan and Chris Chelios will named part of the Hockey Hall of Fame's 2013 induction class today at 3 PM EDT, we'll talk about free agent signings, a bit about the summer development camp, and we've got even more Daniel Alfredsson talk.
To switch things up, we'll start with the Free Press's Jamie Samuelssen's assessment of the Red Wings' free agent signings as compared to the moves made by the Detroit Pistons:
In terms of winners, the Wings are the clear winners here. As the season and the playoffs grinded along, it was obvious that the Wings were better on defense than we originally thought. And it was just as obvious that they struggled to score goals. Detroit scored just five goals in the last three games of the second-round playoff loss to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks. Another goal anywhere along the way, particularly in the Game 6 loss at Joe Louis Arena, and hockey history would look a lot different.
So on Day 1, GM Ken Holland addressed that need by signing Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss. The Weiss signing is a gem. He averaged nearly 60 points in the past four full seasons playing for a lousy team in the Florida Panthers. Imagine him on the ice with the likes of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist going forward and the Red Wings offense should pick up the pace dramatically.
And with strong players coming up through the system from Grand Rapids, Holland now has some trade chips to work with to acquire depth on defense and perhaps another NHL-level goal scorer.
But more than the actual moves, I think the first day of free agency kind of re-established the Red Wings as a player on the league-wide level. Last summer was a disappointment in every way. The Wings missed out on their targeted players, and they ended up settling for players who had little to no effect on the team this season. Was Detroit still a draw? Did the appeal of an Original Six team no longer carry the weight that it used to? Were players scared off at the notion of playing for a disciplinarian like coach Mike Babcock?
Who knows which of those factors are true and which aren’t? The bottom line is that Alfredsson, one of the most respected players in the game, said he wanted to play for Detroit because he felt they gave him a chance to win a Stanley Cup. Some Red Wings fans view this as a team in transition. I know I do. But some of the powers in the game still view them as the same old Red Wings. Perhaps that transition was faster than anybody imagined.
I hate to say it, but Babcock's "sometimes you need to be reminded" phrase seems appropriate as the Fitchburg, Massachusetts Sentinel-Enterprise's Nick Mallard reminds us that the Wings' biggest offseason move didn't involve bringing Alfredsson or Weiss to Detroit, all while following the, "Crowning the off-season's 'winners' and 'losers'" theme:
The Detroit Red Wings. Never write this team off. After the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom before the start of last season, many authorities thought the Wings could be in for a rough campaign. But Detroit made
its annual pilgrimage to the postseason and then bolstered a solid and young lineup through free agency.
The Red Wings acquired longtime Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson and Florida standout Stephen Weiss through free agency, adding veteran savvy and skills. But more importantly, Detroit re-signed Pavel Datsyuk to a long-term deal, keeping the dazzling center in red and white for years to come.
Datsyuk's three-year extension and status as a Red Wing for four more years matters much more than bringing in Alfredsson or Weiss. Much, much more.
Regarding Chelios and Shanahan's extremely likely Hall of Fame-induction-naming, the Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby reflects upon Chelios's career...
The question wasn’t if Chris Chelios would make the Hall of Fame, but whether he’d sit in the stands long enough to become eligible.
The only man to match Gordie Howe’s 26 seasons of NHL service and the second-oldest person to suit up behind Mr. Hockey finally hung up his skates three years ago. And with the wait period complete, he’s expected to lead the class of 2013 at Tuesday afternoon’s vote.
Chelios played 1,651 regular season games in all, breaking in when there were just 21 teams and American stars were still fairly new to the NHL stage. But through a colourful career with three Original Six teams in Montreal, Chicago and Detroit, Chelios had almost 1,000 points, three Stanley Cups and a World Cup. He won the Norris Trophy three times, finishing second in voting twice.
If he didn’t hurt you on the scoreboard, he would rattle you on the ice. Chelios had 423 penalty minutes in playoffs alone, which will make him one of two Hall members in the top 10 of that department with Glenn Anderson. He had more than 3,000 combined PIMs when he retired.
In the late 1980s and early ’90s, half the NHL seemed to either be in fear of him or want his scalp, with Flyers goaltender Ron Hextall going after him with that intent in one memorable playoff game.
Quotable on and off the ice, Chelios could get carried away. During the 1994-95 lockout he suggested commissioner Gary Bettman should be worried about personal and family safety in case a frustrated player or fan took matters into their own hands. Chelios quickly apologized before Bettman hire bodyguards.
The Canadian Press's Stephen Whyno spoke to one of Chelios's former teammates regarding his legacy...
"He was probably the most competitive player I have played with," said Eric Weinrich, who played defence with Chelios with the Chicago Blackhawks. "He was an underated offensive player, because he was such a tenacious defenceman. Cheli played just as hard during the lockout against the men's league guys. He always wanted to win. I learned about competing every night watching him practise and play. Cheli should be remembered as one of the greatest ever."
And the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson suggests that Chelios, Shanahan and Scott Niedermayer are shoo-ins, but that the Hall of Fame's selection committee has some hard choices to make regarding Eric Lindros, Jeremy Roenick and several other players merit induction and in the "builders'" category, there is no doubt that both the late Fred Shero and the late Pat Burns should be inducted...But the selection committee's been pretty dickish in passing them over:
They’re shouldn’t be a lot of soul-searching when the 18 guys charged with Hockey Hall of Fame selection sit down Tuesday in Toronto to talk the merits of players. Chris Chelios, Scott Niedermayer and Brendan Shanahan should easily get the 14 required votes for a plaque in the HHOF. Maybe there will be sentiment for Eric Lindros and Jeremy Roenick too–they can vote in a maximum of four players per year– but the first three are slam-dunks in my mind.
If you are wondering here is who is on the voting committee it’s an eclectic group. Once again they will not let us know who came close but didn’t make it, a major bone considering baseball voters, of which there are way more than 18, lets us all know who didn’t quite get the 75 percent required, but the HHOF doesn’t believe in transparency. The voters might not care but the Hockey Hall does.
Pat Quinn, who has close to 700 wins but isn’t in as a coach is the chairman of the HHOF selection committee which includes Scotty Bowman, Brian Burke, Colin Campbell, David Branch, Jim Gregory, Peter Stastny, Igor Larionov, Lanny McDonald, Serge Savard, Mike Gartner, Anders Hedberg, Bill Torrey, John Davidson and four media folks– Mike Emrick, Eric Duhatschek, Marc DeFoy and Michael Farber. They are all in the media wing of the HHOF.
Chelios is the best American-born player ever, just a cut above Mike Modano. He was still playing defence at 46 with three Norris trophies and three Stanley Cups on his resume. Fellow blueliner Niedermayer won everything (four Stanley Cups, Memorial Cup, world junior, world championship and Olympics). Shanahan, the only NHLer with at least 600 goals and 2000 PIMs, should be automatics; don’t even quibble about any of them.
Chelios played 1651 league games (fifth overall)and more playoff matches (266) than anybody else. He had to be dragged away from the ice; his off-season workouts in saunas were famous stuff. Niedermayer was the smoothest skating defenceman outside of Bobby Orr and Paul Coffey. He could take a player out of harm’s way by just angling him away from the net without ever hitting the guy or taking a penalty. Shanny, who now works for the NHL handing 0ut discipline, should have gotten in last year in his first kick at the cat but somehow didn’t get en0ugh love from the voting panel. He could fight and he could score. Wonderful power forward.
Chelios, who now works as an advisor for the Wings and Niedermayer, an assistant coach in Anaheim, are first-time eligible. Shanahan is in his second year of eligibility.
If you want to read biographical blurbs regarding more eligible players, the National Post has you covered there.
I actually found some "good" news this morning the Daniel Alfredsson front: while the Ottawa Sun's Don Brennan thought that the world needed to know whether Alfredsson's #11 would be retired as of July fricking 8th, 2013...
The Ottawa Citizen's Ken Warren suggested that fans will come to terms with their grieving process at some point--not discounting the concept that, you know, fans might actually be intelligent human beings...
Overall, behold a fan base mature enough to deal with No. 11′s departure. After all, the community has experienced more than two decades of NHL business in which this town’s team has survived: record-setting road kill status (38 straight losses!), bankruptcy proceedings, multiple ownerships and arena names, plus the Dany Heatley fiasco (I want out of here, but forget sending me to Edmonton).
Where does the Alfredsson departure rank among the hardships? Pretty high at the moment, but history shows that hockey fans and organizations love to set out a red carpet of welcome for fete-worthy Prodigal Sons.
He lists Scott Niedermayer, Mats Sundin and of course Ray Bourque among examples before concluding with the following...
Given the 18 years and 17 seasons of dedication to the Senators cause, Alfredsson has done more than enough – on and off the ice – to earn the honour of being the club’s first legacy player. This one cuts both ways. In honouring this longtime captain, winner of the Calder Trophy, King Clancy Award, and Mark Messier Leadership Award, the Senators create a little bit of the storied history and tradition the Original Six teams so readily flaunt and Ottawa so desperately craves.
Whether Alfredsson wants to once again make his home in Ottawa and be part of the Senators organization when his playing career is over is a different story, but there will be an Alfredsson Day, and a place on high for No. 11.
And Metro Ottawa's Joe Lofaro found Ottawa's mayor receptive to the concept that Alfredsson should be honored at some point for his dedication to charitable cause:
“I’m in the camp firmly that we should respect the work that he’s done,” said Mayor Jim Watson Monday. “We shouldn’t be angry. I know emotions come out of these things. He gave us 17 years of his best years in hockey.”
Still, the news has left a bad taste in the mouths of Sens fans across the city who praised their beloved ‘Alfie’ for his work both on and off the ice. But the mayor is moving on and wants to find a way to properly honour Alfredsson, a native of Goteborg, Sweden, in the nation’s capital.
“I have a couple of ideas, but we’ll let the public have their say first and I think there’s an opportunity for us to honour him in some way,” said Watson. “What I’d like to do is honour him for not so much his hockey skills, but his community skills and those were quite remarkable.”
He commended Alfredsson for his contributions to the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Foundation, the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, the Ringside for Youth program, and his visits to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.
“He is a true community leader and he’s going to be missed,” said Watson.
If you're interested in a from-elsewhere dissection of the Alfredsson-Senators divorce, the Edmonton Journal's John MacKinnon provides that, too.
In the head-shaking department, we're all well aware of the fact that former members of the Wings' coaching staff and front office do take pages out of the Red Wings' coaching and management playbooks, but they also work with what they have and trust the staff and players who are already in place in their new places of employment, so Fox Sports Southwest's Rick Gosselin's suggestion that Jim Nill is simply trying to turn the Dallas Stars into the Detroit Red Wings south, head of amateur scouting Joe McDonnell accompanying Nill there included, seems a little...simplistic...
Gosselin: “I think (Jim Nill) realized that this team cannot have status quo, and he’s building this team in the image that the Red Wings were. He’s got four Stanley Cup rings. He’s trying to copy the Red Wings’ formula. They got strength at the center position. They won because of his Russian influence, his first draft pick was a Russian. Everything about this is a blueprint of how the Red Wings won. He needs a dynamic center, that allows him to move Jamie Benn, his best player, back to his natural wing position. These are pretty good common sense moves. I think (Tyler) Seguin can be a bell cow.”
1. Every team wants to have strong centers;
2. The Stars picked Valeri Nichushkin because they believe that he's an NHL-ready player, not because he's Russian;
3. Jim Nill is not the Dallas Stars' coach. Lindy Ruff is the man who decides where players play.
In the prospect department, the Red Wings development camp roster now has numbers attached to the names of the players attending, but the Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindenau suggested that DetroitHockey.net's Clark Rasmussen's reading of the numerically-assigned tea leaves may be a bit premature:
If that's equimpent manager Paul Boyer's rule of thumb, it's the rule of thumb...
And given the fact that Red Wings prospect and Saginaw Spirit goaltender Jake Patterson will be sharing the net with...Free agent try-out, uh... Jake Patterson (with two t's)...Yielded a helpful "who's who" article from Yahoo Sports' Neate Sager:
One had to really be paying attention to have noticed, but it happened. When the Detroit Red Wings used their third-round pick on goalie Jake Paterson at the NHL draft in 2012, the montage of video highlights that were played on the scoreboard in Pittsburgh were actually of the London Knights' Jake Patterson.
Easy enough mistake; one had to feel for the video editor who was probably pleased as punch for tracking down game footage of Jake Patterson, who appeared in only six games for London in 2011-12 while one-T Jake Paterson played in 54 regular- and post-season contests for Saginaw. Ontario Hockey League fans have learned to sort out The Two Jakes, but it might be a little confusing since the Wings are bringing both goalies to their summer development camp.
in an effort to be helpful, here's a quick tale of the Ts. Best of luck to each of the Jakes.
One-T Jake Two-Ts Jake
Team Saginaw Spirit London Knights
Date of birth May 3, 1994 June 18, 1994
Height 6-foot-1 6-foot-1
Weight 183 lbs. 191 lbs.
Sault Ste. Marie connection Played for Soo Thunderbirds It's his hometown!
Imagined archnemesis Bo Horvat, who beat him for a last-second game-tying goal during OHL playoffs Bo Horvat, whom he faces regularly during practice
Head-to-head record in '12-13 1-0 0-1
2012-13 highlight Member of Team Canada, world junior championship Backed Knights to Game 7 win in OHL championship
Do you ask him if he knows Nathan MacKinnon? YES; they were team Canada teammates NO; Halifax dinged him for 5 goals on 11 shots at the Memorial Cup
Stats 25-18-3, 3.53 GAA, .901 save pct. 19-6-1, 2.61 GAA, .913 save pct.
And finally, I'm headed up to Traverse City today...A little late due to circumstances beyond my control. But I'll be up there this evening, and as such, Paul will cover the Hall of Fame announcement and whatever else pops up in the morning and/or after 2 PM.
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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.