The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/11/13 at 03:57 AM ET
Paul noted that Daniel Alfredsson told the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch that he will in fact hold some sort of press conference this week, but the balance of Garrioch's article involves Senators owner Eugene Melnyk repeating his talking points from his Friday conversation with the Ottawa Citizen's James Gordon, though Garrioch paraphrases much of it.
By now, it's the official story: Alfredsson wanted too much money for the Senators to both re-sign him and acquire Bobby Ryan, the team has a budget and no player's above it (intonation: not even a "franchise player" in the twilight of his career), and hopefully the Senators are a "better" team than the Wings. Cue the, "Well, I've moved on, and you should too" pandering...
“I have moved on but that’s me,” said Melnyk. “I remembered the good times and the tough times. Now I am excited about the future ... big time. We have the youngest team, some serious stars and the package is there.”
As the Sun has reported for the last six weeks, sources say Alfredsson’s initial ask was for a two-year deal worth $6 million per season when agent J.P. Barry met in New York before the NHL entry draft in late June. The Senators were caught off-guard by the demand,
The reasoning from the Alfredsson camp was simple: He was going to be able to get that kind of money on the lucrative free agent market on July 5. It was later decided in negotiations that it was best for both sides if Alfredsson signed a one-year deal.
Melnyk said the organization didn’t expect Alfredsson to ask for that kind of money.
“I was obviously surprised and disappointed,” said Melnyk. “In the end, I respect his decision.”
People are waiting with bated breath to hear what Alfredsson has to say. He hasn’t spoken publicly since July 5 when he signed the one-year, $5.5 million deal with the Wings. Melnyk said he had a tough time with the departure and knows some fans aren’t happy.
“Everyone is different,” said Melnyk. “And you simply have to allow everyone to deal with it in their own way. I’m a fan. I hope I am the biggest fan. I have to deal with it from that perspective, parking (the fact he owns the) business.”
And the line that the Senators are allowed to add a body at the trade deadline to put them over the top--as long as they're only a rental that the team doesn't have to re-sign:
“If it takes another addition to get the delivery of the Stanley Cup to Ottawa, I will be committed to doing that,” said Melnyk.
As the Ottawa Sun's Tim Baines notes, the "official story" has changed over the last month, and that hints that...
Let's say that the relationship between owner/general manager and player didn't just magically sour between Thursday, June 28th, when agents and front office types all gathered in New York before the draft (the Board of Governors met on Thursday the 28th) in Newark, June 30th, when the draft actually occurred, and July 5th, when Alfredsson signed with Detroit.
It is contrary to what Murray said more than a month ago -- on July 5, the first day of NHL free agency. The GM said he discussed a possible Ryan trade with his captain. He wanted to have both Alfie and Anaheim's four-time 30-goal scorer in his lineup.
"I told (Alfredsson) we were trying to make the Bobby Ryan trade and do a couple of other things," Murray said at the time.
There was another option that didn't include Ryan, who the Senators ended up getting from Anaheim in a deal for Stefan Noesen, Jakob Silfverberg and a first-round draft pick.
"Our targets (on July 5) were signing David Clarkson and Daniel Alfredsson," Murray said.
So the GM had his sights on both a frontline forward and Alfredsson. But according to a newspaper report Saturday, Melynk said he told Murray at the time: "We won't be able to spend that kind of money, so don't promise that we're going to bring anybody else in other than filling a hole that was there."
Say what? So if Murray got Clarkson, who signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs for a whopping $36.8 million over seven seasons (with a salary cap hit of $5.3 million each of those seasons, he couldn't keep Alfie? Or if he wanted to go out and get Ryan, who has a $5.1-million pricetag each of the next two seasons, he couldn't if Alfie was returning?
Signing Alfredsson was and should have been a priority, but somehow it got screwed up.
Baines continues, and duly notes that its not every day that someone who's played with a team since the 1995-96 season decides to uproot himself, his wife and FOUR kids for a one-year one-shot deal with the Wings (although, obviously, the Wings hope that Alfredsson will want to spend more than one year in Detroit).
I've tried to keep my nose out of this bullshit, mostly out of respect for Senators fans.
I don't want to know what it's like when your captain pulls a Ray Bourque. Or a Chris Chelios.*
I also don't believe that it serves a Red Wings blog's audience to play, "Let's dissect this shit to oblivion" regarding a topic that most Wings fans just plain old don't care about (no offense, Senators fans, we may "feel your pain," but we're not generally types who "get off" on others' pain, or at least I'm not).
But this is where I'm gonna talk about it once, and then I'm going to shut the *#$%@& up, because this ain't my wound, and as someone who has a Daniel Alfredsson Ottawa Senators jersey hanging in his closet because he was my favorite non-Wings skater until he came here...I'm neither going to tread upon others' pain nor plain old prevent myself from being very happy that "Alfie's here."
There are at least some of us who have read your press corps' clippings for long enough to know that the media of one country's capital city that doesn't happen to be its largest city has a) a chip on its shoulder about being "less important" than the cities it's sandwiched between, and tends to over-dramatize its inferiority complex and b) tends to try to make a Watergate (or Harper-every-damn-day-gate) out of every little bit of sports conflict because the media is by nature hyper-politicized.
That, and I've thought that Melnyk's been a dick from the get-go, and that Bryan Murray and John Muckler before him have been thinking about the budget over the team since the day they picked Wade Redden over Zdeno Chara, if not the day the team thought that Marian Hossa wanted "too much" and flipped him to Atlanta for Dany Heatley.
Long story long, what happens next?
Alfredsson will make himself available to the media. He'll bob and weave past the questions about Melnyk's statements. He'll probably present more of a stiff upper lip than any sort of teary-eyed sympathy-inducing shenanigans, and he'll probably continue to say that he made the decision, that it's not personal, and he'll add, "I'm sorry" to the, "It was a selfish decision" line. That's how these things tend to go.
By sports standards, he's bending over backwards to make himself accountable in an era where it is perfectly acceptable for franchise players to not only leave in the summer, but also tell their former team's beat writers and fans, "Screw you, I'll address it during one and only one scrum during training camp, and not before then."
Alfredsson's not doing that. And he's going to be his patient self when he ends up meeting the media, even if we hear the same tinge of anger that we did during his conference call.
There's a part of me, the part of me that has a Daniel Alfredsson Senators jersey hanging in the closet as he is my favorite non-Wings skater, that wants Alfredsson to tell Melnyk to go *#$%@& himself, but that's not Daniel Alfredsson.
*Long story long, this reminds me much more of the Chris Chelios situation. Chelios thought that he was going to be a Blackhawk for life, but at some point in either late 1998 or early 1999, he was told that the Hawks were entertaining the thought of trading him. He thought about it. Whether or not the ownership's position changed, Chelios felt like he was being disrespected, and when he was told Detroit might be interested, despite his dislike for the team, he saw a team coming off of consecutive Cup wins--while the Hawks were slowly but surely letting the Belfours go and trading the Roenicks of the early-90's juggernaut Blackhawks team because the lock on Dollar Bill Wirtz's wallet got particularly rusty toward the end of his reign--and Chelios was intrigued.
Eventually, Chelios decided that, should he be asked if he'd be traded again, he'd say yes.
Somewhere along the way, long before he let his guard slip and said that he didn't think his Senators team was good enough to rally against the Penguins, his agent, J.P. Barry, most likely broached the topic of a contract extension, especially given the $1 million he earned this past season, and was told about the almighty budget and Melnyk's desire to bid for a casino to help offset the team's status as a non-money-maker. He was low-balled. Told even his future wasn't secure if he wasn't willing to put the team first. And things tend to go downhill from there.
Team captains don't pull up stakes over the span of five days after spending 17 seasons with a franchise, after raising a family in that city, after going through the ups and downs and two lockouts and watching the team rise, fall, rise, fall and rise again...
Only to hear that the youth movement was going to be the way of the future because the big-money savior who bought a big boy's toy in a sports team decided that this whole commitment to winning at personal expense thing wasn't any fun anymore.
Between Melnyk's declining commitment to the team, getting low-balled after all those years of service, anth hafinth to dealth with Bryan Murrayth lispth (no, I haven't forgiven him for the damn Essensa trade), long-term relationships can sour.
I doubt we'll hear much insight as to how that happened when Alfredsson does meet the media. It won't stop the media from trying to figure things out, even if certain members thereof end up making shit up along the way (hi, dude who blocks me on Twitter), so don't expect any real answers, just personal blame-taking. That tends to be how these things roll.
We're sorry for your loss, Senators fans, but we're hoping that Alfredsson gets his measure of revenge in Metro Detroit, not the other way around. And it's not that I don't respect your team--I respect the hell out of your team. I just think that your owner's a complete and total asshat.
That's all I have to say about that.
In actual Red Wings-related news, ST.nu reports that Captain Carl Henrik Zetterberg scored two goals, but Timra IK's 1999-2000 team lost to the current club 8-6 in a for-fun game;
And in the prospect department, Anthony Mantha was scratched (after positing 3 assists over the course of 2 games) and Jake Paterson gave up 5 goals on 25 shots as Team Canada's World Junior Evaluation Camp team lost to the U.S. WJCECT (not a terrible acronym, as it turns out) 5-1 (and again, Wings assistant GM Ryan Martin attended the Lake Placid camp).
This was Paterson's only start and Canada's 3rd and final game of the WJCEC (not bad, again).
NHL.com's Adam Kimelman, Team USA's website, Team Canada's website, the Canadian Press and the Toronto Sun's Terry Koshan all provide recaps, with Koshan reporting that Canadian coach Brent Sutter wasn't exactly crushed by the loss (Koshan also penned a slightly different recap):
The final result wasn’t what Brent Sutter had in mind. But the point of Canada competing in USA Hockey’s world junior exhibition camp for the first time was to get a grip on the kind of team he will coach in Sweden this winter, and to that, mission accomplished.
“The whole week was great, and yeah, we lost a hockey game, but you get a better feel, a better read of the guys,” Sutter said after Canada lost 5-1 against the United States on Saturday afternoon at the Herb Brooks Arena. “They are an elite group at this point. We’ll see where everybody’s level of play is come Christmastime.”
In three games, against Finland, Sweden, and the U.S., Sutter learned that the hand-wringing over the state of Canadian goaltending at the junior level might be a bit over the top. Jake Paterson didn’t get a lot of help on Saturday, not when his teammates beat a steady path to the penalty box. Earlier in the week, Eric Comrie was solid in a victory against the Finns and Zachary Fucale stoned the Swedes time and again.
If nothing else, the three will be reminded between now and the selection camp in December that whether a medal is won at the world junior can be decided on one shift, if not a period. There’s a big difference than playing in a long playoff series, a fact that has been drilled into Canada in the past four years, when gold has been elusive.
Koshan also notes that the Canadians got into penalty trouble:
The U.S. didn’t have a good scoring chance until there were five minutes left in the first period, when Andrew Copp and Hudson Fasching banged away at a loose puck, to no avail, in front of netminder Jake Paterson. From there, Canada got into penalty trouble, as the Americans scored two 5-on-3 goals in the final minute of the first -- the only scoring they would need.
When Canada coach Brent Sutter assessed his three goaltenders here at the national junior evaluation camp, he said Eric Comrie, Zachary Fucale and Jake Paterson were starting on an even playing field. However, Paterson does have one advantage on the competition -- he's the only one of the three to have played on a world junior championship team.
Paterson, a 2012 third-round (No. 80) pick of the Detroit Red Wings, was the third goaltender on Canada's WJC team that finished fourth at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship. While he never dressed for a game, he said he did learn something from going through the process.
"It's how tough the tournament is to win," he said. "It's a one-game elimination. I learned last year you have to be at your best every single game."
He might not have been at his best Saturday, allowing five goals on 25 shots in a 5-1 loss to the United States, but Sutter said no result one way or the other in August was going to sway his decision on the final roster he'll lead at the 2014 WJC in Malmo, Sweden.
Paterson will return to his club team, the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League, knowing what's really important is how he starts the 2013-14 season.
"The biggest thing is trying to develop my game as much as I can and try have a good start to the season," he said. "It [WJC] is going to be in the back of anyone's head, that someone might be watching you. You're trying to make the team through the first four months of the season. I'm just looking forward to having a good start and everything will take of itself. Canada is filed with a bunch of good goaltenders so I know it'll be tough, but I'm looking forward to it."
USA Hockey did post a highlight clip of the game:
And I can't embed it, but TSN did post a 2:22 highlight clip, and you'll hear some cliches from Paterson at the 1:15 mark. He's a bit of a cliche machine (seriously, he's hard to interview).
Because I've blathered so much and gotten so "serious" in this entry, I think that I need to finish up with some amusing Tweets from Wings prospects...
And a not-so-random parody video which made me laugh:
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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.