The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/13/12 at 06:44 PM ET
Updated 3x with exciting Parise video at 6:26 PM: I was out of the office for an intolerable period of time today, so I’m not exactly surprised that New Jersey Devils forward and captain Zach Parise did not in fact tell reporters, as Red Wings fans had perhaps dreamed, that his skates were out the door and that he was packing his bags to go to Motown.
During his locker room clean-out day comments, he told the Newark Star-Ledger’s Tom Gulitti and NHL.com’s Dan Rosen that he wants to remain a Devil, and I’m not sure what else he could have possibly said. Does that mean he’ll stay in New Jersey? Not necessarily. It’s June 13th, and he, Ryan Suter and all the players who have yet to sign with their current rights-holders tend to at least find out what other teams might offer them after 11:59 AM EDT on July 1st appealing, but it’s a coin flip, statistically speaking, and it’s up to him.
Devils captain Zach Parise repeated today his desire to re-sign with the team and said even if he does hit the unrestricted free agent market on July 1 there is “no way” he’d sign with the rival Rangers.
“I like the people here,” he said of his remaining a Devil.“I like the staff, my teammates. I like the area. There’s a lot of good things about this place.”
Parise was asked twice about the idea of signing with the Rangers and shot it down both times. “Don’t try to get a headline out of it,” he warned. Too late. He also said “no” when asked if he could envision himself playing for another organization.
“But we’re going to keep all that stuff between Lou and I as we always have,” Parise said. “
There still have been no contract talks, though.
“Not that I know of,” Parise said.
Parise said having stability behind the bench with head coach Pete DeBoer certain to come back is “great.”
“I think this is the first time in five, six years that we know who is going to be here next year, so I think everyone likes that,” he said.
“I like the people here. I like the staff and my teammates. I like the area,” Parise said. “There’s a lot of good things about this place. I have always liked playing here, that’s never changed. We’ll see where this takes us right now, but this is a great place to play and I love playing here, I love being here.”
Of course, what Parise said Wednesday and what happens by July 1 or after can be different completely. He made a point to mention how the Devils were less than 48 hours removed from a 6-1 season-ending defeat in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, so he hasn’t had much time to think about his future in the great detail that it requires.
“And that’s the truth. I’m not just giving you lip service,” said Parise, who had 31 goals and 38 assists in the regular season, plus eight playoff goals, tied for the League lead. “I know what is ahead, the decision making. I guess we’ll have to get the conversations going pretty soon.”
There were indications throughout his session with the media that Parise not only wants to return, but expects to be back. For instance, when asked about the hunger he has now after getting within two wins of the Stanley Cup, Parise said, “I think all of us are going to come prepared next year and be ready. It [stinks], so we’ll try not to have that happen again.”
When asked about his leadership style in his first year as a captain, Parise said he learned a lot going through the experience with all of the media attention in the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final, and added, “I think that alone will help me for next season.”
Parise also noted how having stability behind the bench with coach Peter DeBoer is important because, “We know who is going to be here next year.”
Whether Parise is might come down to the advice of his agent, Wade Arnott. While saying the decision on his future is one he will have to make alone, Parise did note that he will trust Arnott as he goes into this process because, “That’s why you have agents. You respect their advice. They have done this before, so I guess this is one point where you have to listen to them and take their advice. It’s my first time doing it, so I’ll see what they say.”
MLive’s Ansar Khan also took note of Parise’s comments...
The New Jersey Devils met the media today as they cleaned out their lockers at the Prudential Center and captain Zach Parise said he wants to remain with the organization.
That’s not surprising. You wouldn’t expect him to say otherwise.
It’s more interesting to note that he told reporters, in no uncertain terms, that he will not sign with the rival New York Rangers, one of several clubs reported to have interest.
“I like the people here,” Parise said in the Bergen Record’s Fire and Ice blog. “I like the staff, my teammates. I like the area. There’s a lot of good things about this place.”
The highly skilled Parise would be the premier forward available in the free-agent market on July 1 if he doesn’t re-sign with the Devils. He said contract talks have not yet begun. Even if Parise truly wants to remain in New Jersey, the financially-strapped Devils might not be able to afford him.
Parise and Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter are at the top of the Detroit Red Wings’ free-agent wish list. They have the salary-cap space, roughly $20 million, to sign both.
And he points us toward this report from Pro Hockey Talk’s Mike Halford:
On Tuesday, Minnesota hockey icon Lou Nanne appeared on KFAN Sports Radio to discuss what players the Wild might target this offseason.
For Wild fans longing for Zach Parise, it was a very interesting interview. Nanne suggested that New Jersey — due in part to financial troubles — would be unable to re-sign Parise, which would then set the stage for Minnesota to make a play. A big, big play.
“I had dinner with [Wild owner] Craig Leipold on Wednesday night,” Nanne said. “I know Chuck Fletcher and Leipold really want Parise, and what Craig told me is how hard he’s going to go after him, and the kind of money he’s going after him [with] — I don’t see how Parise’s not coming here.
“I can tell you this: No one is going to outbid the Wild. So if Parise goes somewhere else, you can bet he’s going for less money. What I said is, ‘the kind of money that they’re going to offer him, he might as well just come here and own the team and in his later years, win the Stanley Cup as an owner.”
When it came to actual dollars, Nanne wasn’t ready to reveal what Leipold told him, but suggested the offer is going to be huge.
“In confidence of him, I’m not going to say the figure — but it’s going to be plenty. It is going to be a lot more than I ever expected and you will find out, because once July 1st comes, you’ll be aware of the numbers. It is going to be so substantial that I cannot see Zach Parise turning it down.”
The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan simply reacted to Parise’s comments by suggesting that the “Devils sound like the favorites to re-sign Parise…
Free-agent winger Zach Parise, considered a coveted target of the Red Wings, might re-sign with the Devils, might sign with some other team. But one thing appears certain: Parise said Wednesday there was “no way” he would sign with the Rangers.
Parise’s comments were reported by NorthJersey.com, IIn addition, Parise sounds content with the idea of returning to the Devils.
“I like the people here,” he told NorthJersey.com. “I like the staff, my teammates. I like the area. There’s a lot of good things about this place.”
He added: “I’ve always like playing here. That’s never changed. We’ll see where this takes us right now, but this is a great place to play and I love playing here. I love being here.”
That’s swell and all, but I remember Marian Hossa sounding similar notes about how “awesome” it was to be a Red Wing, and how much he’d learned from Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, etc. before choosing to test the market and landing with Chicago.
Look, I have no frickin’ clue whether Parise will test the market at all, whether the Wings will get him, whether the Wild, Flyers, Blackhawks, Rangers, Ak Bars Kazan or the Djibouti Camel Dung Gatherers may sign him if he does test the market, I don’t have a clue about any of it, but statistically speaking, half the time, if not a little more than half the time, players test the market, if only for “shits and giggles.”
It’s up to them, not us.
We’re only into Day 2 of conjecture during this current edition of free-agent frenzy. This much we know: The Red Wings intend to be aggressive in their pursuit of Parise and Nashville Predators defenseman Suter. But their best shot might be to trade for their rights if New Jersey and Nashville each come to the realization that each star player is on the outs by July 1, when free agency begins.
The NHL Draft will be held on June 22-23 in Pittsburgh on the heels of the NHL Awards, which will be presented two days earlier in Las Vegas. Everybody in the league will be in the same location for nearly a week. This is when we’ll probably get a clearer picture of where Parise and Suter are heading. If their rights are traded, conventional wisdom says that the deal will be done sometime during the draft. Even though they don’t have a first-round pick, this year’s draft could profoundly shape the Red Wings for the next dozen years.
Devils GM Lou Lamoriello doesn’t have a history of trading players’ rights before they become unrestricted free agents. His counterpoint in Nashville, David Poile, does. Both are excellent executives, in really difficult situations. Letting their star players walk away for nothing would be an extremely tough sell to their fans.
For the Wings, the best-case scenario would be to acquire — maybe for a high-round draft pick and a mid-level prospect — either Parise’s or Suter’s rights (preferably Suter) and have them signed, sealed and delivered to Motown well before July 1.
Reports have been circulating that Parise and Suter could be a package deal. If this information is accurate, having one in the fold would certainly enhance the Wings’ chances of nabbing both of them.
For certain, the Wings won’t make any significant moves until Parise and Suter are off the board. They are paralyzed, have several plans but aren’t really in control.
At this point, I’m leaning toward them getting Suter, then taking a deep breath — along with saying a silent prayer — and taking a risk on signing Washington Capitals forward Alexander Semin, hoping that Pavel Datsyuk can reel in his enigmatic fellow countryman.
Don’t hold me to this, though, because it’s only the beginning. Everything could change in the next minute or two.
Also of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
To Vladimir Konstantinov. This picture is but a small glimpse of how much I loved you. And how much I always will.
But What’s in a picture?
Like beauty, what is in a picture, is in the eye of the beholder. I happen to think this is one of the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen. It’s rather simple really. Just three grown men hugging on the ice shortly after winning the Stanley Cup in 1997. Happens all the time. But if it is true that every picture tells a story, this picture, on this day, could tell hundreds of them.
In this picture I had found my Russian teammates and good friends Slava Fetisov and Vladimir Konstantinov. And they had found me. We had just won the 1st Stanley Cup in 42 years with the Detroit Red Wings. I had a special bond with these two players as well as the other 3 Russians on our team. That was in large part, due to the fact I had spent the previous summer as the Head Athletic Trainer for Team Russia in the inaugural World Cup of Hockey. Being the 1st American trainer in Russian hockey history was not as easy as it sounds. Fetisov and Igor Larionov asked me to go, knowing the medical attention they would get in their motherland would be far below NHL standards. I said yes and got permission from the team.
Well, the Russian Ice Hockey Federation had a MAJOR problem with this, and the players would not budge. I have a Russian newspaper that Igor gave to me with the headline (translated) “Players Threaten to Boycott World Cup if American Physiotherapist is Denied”. The federation relented and I had an amazing 8 weeks in Moscow, Europe and then the tournament in Canada. I have written chapters about those 2 months of my life alone. More importantly, it galvanized the bond I had with the Russian players and Vladdy in particular. They had my back, I would have theirs. Vladdy was not on the roster, as he had torn his Achilles tendon in mid-June. But he would be ever present as we rehabbed his injury, and rooted on his countreymen. We would become even faster friends.
But What’s in a Picture?
In this picture, you can’t see the emotion in my face. But if you look closely, you can see the emotion in my hands. That may sound silly to most, but not to me, having spent most of my life communicating, working, healing, giving and feeling emotion, with my hands.
Vladdy was the toughest player I ever worked with. While he would always play through everything, anytime he got injured, even a cracked fingernail, he would want me to look at it, touch it and tell him what I thought. No matter what I ever said, his answer was always the same: “Okay, I go back and play now. Sank you Johnny”. “But Vladdy, I think you broke your ribs”…”Zis kill me?”...”Well no, but….” “Okay, I go play now, sank you. Sank you Johnny”. And back in the game he went.
But What’s in a Picture?
In this picture you will, unfortunately, see a glimpse of the last few moments of Vladdy on the ice at Joe Louis Arena, or any arena for that matter. What you won’t see is the knowledge in our faces that he had just played his final game. Because that knowledge obviously, wasn’t there. There was no way of knowing that 6 days from this moment, Vladimir Konstantinov would be laying in the Beaumont Hospital ICU fighting for and clinging to his very life.
The most valiant of hockey warriors tragically, needlessly and horrifyingly had suffered Brainstem torsion, and injury, of the worst variety. His life would never be the same. Many people would be tempted to say “his life, AND OURS, would never be the same”. For me, this type of thinking diminishes just how deeply his life was affected. This type of thinking is selfish. This type of thinking didn’t see Vladdy in the days, weeks, months and years ahead. The battles he waged, the hurdles he got over, while for the most part…most of our lives, did in fact remain the same.
But What’s in a Picture?
I live two blocks south of Beaumont Hospital now. I can’t even walk the dogs without seeing it. In a way, I hate that place. I hated going there every day for 6 months before or after practice. I hated being there and more often than not, sitting, staring, wondering, praying. Praying for a miracle that I knew would never come. I prayed that I could see Vladdy at practice again or play a game, just one more time.
In another way, I love that place because the doctors, nurses and staff there saved his life. I loved how thoughtful and caring they were, always having the time for questions or just to listen to me vent. I love how much I learned from them, from Vladdy, about life. While he was reduced to half the man he used to be, his heart remains the same. He is a talented artist now. He is an inspiration.
We had tried together.
We had lost together.
We had laughed together.
We had cried together.
We had trained together.
We had talked together. As best we could.
Finally, we had won together.
But What’s in a Picture?
Shortly after his tragic accident, I was contacted by the photographer who took this picture, Julian Gonzalez of the Detroit Free Press. He told me he had captured a shot of Vladdy and I that night that moved him. He asked me if I wanted it. Of course I did. When I met him, he handed me the envelope and said “are you sure you want this”? Of course I did.
I am not a man who is afraid to cry. I cried openly the night this picture was taken, in happiness. I cried openly the night of Vladdy’s accident and many times since, in sadness. And when I opened this envelope to see this picture, I cried openly in both happiness and sadness, again. And again…. And again.
For in this picture you CAN see the very first thing that I saw. My left hand cradled firmly at the base of his sweaty head. In the exact same spot I have cradled it so many times since. In the exact same spot…as his Brainstem.
But What’s in a Picture?
Update #1: Via RWF again, Brian Moore reports that Chris Chelios will sing, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” tonight at Wrigley Field;
• Via Paul, the CBC has announced that they’re going to make three films, including the following:
Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story: produced by Brightlight Pictures and Nutmeg Entertainment, the story of how Gordie Howe came back to play professional hockey at age 45, opposite his two sons, aged 18 and 19.
• And the Toledo Blade’s Mark Monroe reports that Bryan Rufenach will be laid to rest this weekend:
Mark Rufenach also said the memorial fund will help cover the costs of transferring the body back to Canada and funeral arrangements.
Visitation will be held on Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. at Stoddart Funeral Home in Lindsay, Ontario. Visitation also will be held on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The funeral mass will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday at St. Mary’s Parish Community Church in Lindsay, Ontario.
Update #1.5: From the Free Press’s Helene St. James:
“@ChadLooyenga: @freepwings awesome thanks! Hear any news on when the Reg season sched will be released? #wannaplanatriptoJLA”/next week
Update #2: Add the Kings to the Parise list for real, from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:
The Cup champs also might try to add this summer. Despite the Carter acquisition in February—and his big contract—I believe the Kings will make an offer to UFA-to-be Zach Parise, whom they just knocked out in the Cup finals.
The Kings have long coveted Parise and will give it their best shot July 1. I’m not sure they’ll have as much money to offer as the New York Rangers or Red Wings, but the fact that they’re Cup champs should count for something.
“I was under the belief that he would have to win the Cup to come to Minnesota until I talked to Craig Leipold last week,” Nanne said. “I’ve gotta tell you, the Wild are going to throw the kitchen sink at him. I think there’s a good chance he ends up in Minnesota, because I don’t see anybody in the National Hockey League willing to give as much to Parise as the Wild are going to be willing to give. So I would not be surprised if Zach Parise came home.”
Nanne went on to say that the Wild will pursue Parise and Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter, who also will be a free agent on July 1.
“They’re going to do everything in their power to get them,” Nanne said. “And I would not be surprised if they got them. I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t get them. But I have to tell you, if they don’t get them it’s going to be confusing to me—especially Parise, because I really believe the Wild will pay more than anybody else for him.”
The Red Wings, Rangers and Penguins also have been mentioned as potential landing spots for Parise, whose father J.P. played with the North Stars.
“I talked to the Rangers and I know they’re going to go after (Parise), but I know they’re not going after him with the same money as the Wild are,” Nanne said. ” ... I also think Pittsburgh’s going to be involved, and I also think the Detroit Red Wings are going to be involved.
“The sleeper team that nobody’s talking about is going to be the Florida Panthers, and I do believe there’s going to be a number of other guys, like the Bruins would want Parise. Everybody’s going to want Zach, and most of the teams out there right now would find a way to fit him under the salary cap at, I would say, the same price, and that’d be in the range from $7.5 to $8.5 million. But I think he’s going to end up making more than that.”
• Also in the free agent department, from Pro Hockey Talk’s Mike Halford, unrestricted free agent-to-be Justin Schultz’s agent, Brian Lawton, confirmed that he expects his client to be guaranteed an NHL roster spot despite having exactly zero games of pro experience, as the Edmonton Journal’s David Staples noted:
Former NHL GM Brian Lawton says that any team that wants this highly-rated, soon-to-be-free agent prospect will have to meet with him in person and guarantee him a roster spot for next season.
“You can rest assured ten teams will guarantee him a spot on their roster,” Lawton told Jason Gregor of the Team 1260. “If you want to compete for these guys you better understand the environment and you better be aggressive. Because there is no time to not be.
“So if you any chance to get a player like this, you’re gonna unfortunately going to be out there on a limb in some uncomfortable positions. Because there are things you don’t want to do like guaranteeing a roster spot to a player who has not played in the league. But guess what? That is the landscape you’re dealing with. If you’re going to sit at home and say, ‘I’m not going to do that,’ that’s great. But you’re not going to get any players either.”
Such a guarantee can’t be enforced by the player or by his agent, Lawton said, but it’s necessary for the GM to have that conversation directly with the player to provide a real assurance. “If the GM gives you his word he’s going to do that, then it’s not good as gold because they can send you down (to the minors) at any time, but you’ll be apt to get more opportunities to play on the team.”
• Jan Mursak earned a mention in NHL.com’s Bill Meltzer’s profile of fellow Slovenian Anze Kopitar;
• Shifting gears about as far as one can, the Detroit Free Press will hold a pre-draft chat with Whalers coach Mike Vellucci at 11 AM on Wednesday, June 20th;
• Here’s another Free Press note, this time from St. James:
“@mwhyte72: @freepwings - When do you think they’ll raise #5? First home game of season?”/Doubt it. With 19, it was early January.
• And here’s an ominous note about the Wings’ pre-season schedule press release, as noted by the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness:
Fans can still lock in great low prices for the 2012-13 season and guarantee the right to purchase tickets to the 2013 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® (Detroit vs. Toronto – January 1 at Michigan Stadium) by becoming a Red Wings season ticket holder. Full season ticket packages as well as the 10 and 20 Game Plans are on sale. Contact the Red Wings Ticket Sales & Service Office at 313-396-7575 or visit DetroitRedWings.com.
• Update #2.5: From Ye Olde Detroit News:
Five teams have better opening odds than the Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup next season.
Keith Glantz and Russell Culver say Pittsburgh is the favorite at 6-1, followed by Boston, the Rangers and Vancouver (9-1), and Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles (10-1).
The Wings are one of four teams with 11-1 odds.
STANLEY CUP ODDS
N.Y. Rangers, 9-1
Los Angeles, 10-1
St. Louis, 11-1
New Jersey, 12-1
Update #3: Via NHL.com, here’s Parise speaking to the media:
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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.