The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/21/11 at 07:43 PM ET
The Grand Rapids Griffins made it officially official today, confirming that the Red Wings have signed goaltender Jordan Pearce to a 2-year contract extension which Capgeek.com pegs at $525,000 at the NHL level and $85,000 and then $95,000 at the AHL level over the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons, respectively.
Aside from re-signing restricted free agent and fellow Wings prospect Francis Pare, the Wings are probably done making moves for the summer (save the whole Kris Draper issue), and that’s produced a bit of a collective, “Meh” in terms of overnight report comments regarding Detroit’s lateral summertime signings, and the Hockey News’s Adam Proteau, asking “big questions” about every NHL team, is all too happy to push the…concern…button:
DETROIT: Does Brian Rafalski’s unexpected retirement result in Ian White and Mike Commodore aptly filling in for him or will coach Mike Babcock have to empty whatever’s left in Nicklas Lidstrom’s tank that much quicker while their veteran core is still intact?
In terms of the team’s somewhat expected departure, the Detroit News’s Terry Foster places Chris Osgood and Brandon Inge in the same category—players whose legacies fans love to argue about, despite their statuses as athletes who’ve adopted Detroit (and have been adopted, in turn, as de-facto native sons by Detroit sports fans):
On Osgood, you’d get:
—“Osgood was a Hall-of-Fame goalie who won 401 games and was part of three Red Wings Stanley Cups. He was an ordinary goalie who benefitted from the great team of defensemen and forwards in front of him. He was an overrated/underrated guy who got too much publicity while not getting his due as a great goaltender. He was mentally weak because he cried. He was mentally tough because he always seemed to rebound from adversity.”
—“Ozzie deserved the chants of “Ozzie” at Joe Louis. Oh, no he didn’t. Oh, yes he did.”
We became Jekyll and Hyde while describing them. The question is why? Why were we so consumed by them?
When you look at the Red Wings’ championship runs, Osgood played second fiddle to Steve Yzerman, Nick Lidstrom and even Darren McCarty, who lit the Cup fuse by beating up Claude Lemiuex. He was replaced by Mike Vernon, Dominik Hasek, Curtis Joseph and Jimmy Howard in net. Yet, when you were ready to bury the guy after a bad game, he rebounded and made spectacular saves.
Osgood could have gotten a job elsewhere if he really wanted. He did not want to play outside Detroit again and will accept a job coaching the Wings’ young goalies. Inge probably could have latched on with another team in hopes of turning himself around. But he is choosing to stay within the organization.
Athletes say all the time that they want to stay with the team they currently play for — and then bolt when someone else offers $5 more. Inge and Osgood are different. They really loved it here. People loved having them here. People also wish they’d left a long time ago.
Red Wings play-by-play announcer Ken Daniels offers a different take on Osgood via WBBL’s Bakita and Bentley show—and he talks about the Wings’ signing of Ty Conklin, their blueline moves and the fact that they will probably need to add a big forward at the trade deadline:
Regarding the summertime adventures of both alumni and current Red Wings:
• According to the Saginaw News’s Kyle Austin, Darren McCarty is taking part in the Saginaw Country Club Invitational golf tournament…
One name in particular stands out in the brackets for this year’s SCC Invitational. Darren McCarty, the former Detroit Red Wings bruiser, is set to tee off Friday morning in the Medinah flight of this year’s tournament.
McCarty played in 932 games during his 15-year NHL career. Thirteen of those seasons were with the Red Wings. He is slated to play with Brandon Bordeaux, who owned the Flint Generals until they folded last summer.
McCarty is schedule to make an appearance at the July 28 game between the Great Lakes Loons and South Bend Silverhawks at Dow Diamond in Midland, as part of their Red Wings Legends Series.
• Above the green, if you will, Michigan State University’s athletics website avoided the “bomb the Big House” joke while commemorating Justin Abdelkader’s flight with the Blue Angels via a press release and 29-image Flash gallery, and WOOD-TV posted a video of Abdelkader’s adventure:
• And on the other side of the world, the Hockey News’s Rory Boylen focuses on the goaltending aspect of Pavel Datsyuk’s hockey camp in Ekaterinburg, Russia while noting that Datsyuk celebrated a special day on Wednesday:
There was an added spice to Wednesday’s program. July 20 marked Datsyuk’s 33rd birthday, so his stall was adorned with balloons and our dressing room was pasted with some amusing pictures and photos of him handing out hockey sticks to youngsters and carrying around the Stanley Cup.
The guys carried on a running joke from the 2010 camp as well. Last year Valtteri Filppula attended and rather than coming all the way to Ekaterinburg they thought, why not have a VF51 school in Finland? So, this year, Jeremy Clark had a batch of white T-shirts made with a VF51 logo and the motto “The Prettiest Hockey School in Europe.” When Datsyuk saw that, he had a good laugh.
To all you Red Wings fans, he said he feels like Benjamin Button.
From one end of the Wings spectrum to the other, the Detroit Free Press’s Katelyn Abdilla and Aaron Kuhn note that Gordie Howe’s lent his handprints to an exhibit from the Detroit Historical Society…
While 2011 draft pick Ryan Sproul and his Soo Greyhounds defensive partner spoke with the Hockey News’s Ryan Kennedy about Sproul’s attempt to establish himself as a star at the OHL level…
“He’s a very good, mobile defenseman,” said defense partner Gianluca Curcuruto. “He has a great shot and if you give him the puck, he’ll know where to put it.”
It’s funny how quickly things can change in junior hockey. The doormat Greyhounds nabbed another big, mobile defenseman at the draft this year in Darnell Nurse, while Curcuruto was second behind Sproul in defense scoring with 26 points, largely done as a 16-year-old. Now Sproul will be looked upon to provide some leadership on the back end and help Nurse get acclimated.
“A lot of our ‘D’ are pretty young and hopefully we can help him as much as we can,” Sproul said. “He’s going to help our team a lot. We’re a young team and we need guys like that.”
With a 26-year-old wunderkind in new GM Kyle Dubas and a host of forwards recently drafted by NHL teams (Daniel Catenacci, David Broll, Nick Cousins), all of a sudden the Hounds look like an exciting bunch for 2011-12 and a very different franchise than the one Sproul came to late in September.
“I was the seventh ‘D’ at the beginning of the year,” Sproul said. “Guys like Brandon Archibald got traded and it helped me. Hopefully next year it helps me even more.”
Sproul was one of the highest risers on NHL draft charts this past season, clocking in as the 124th-ranked North American skater on Central Scouting’s mid-term list before shooting up to 54th on the final chart. Since goalies and Europeans have their own lists for Central Scouting, going 55th overall meant Sproul continued to rise even higher in the minds of the Red Wings. His attitude likely had something to do with it.
“He worked hard after every practice,” Curcuruto said. “He really focused on getting better and it showed.”
And finally, for the moment, anyway...I’m going to blame the 100-degree heat and having bad allergies for ending on this…unusual note, via RedWingsFeed:
VIDEO: Denise Ilitch Launches Detroit Clothing Line: Denise Ilitch has… http://19FTW.in/c3tXb via @clickondetroit
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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.