The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/16/11 at 05:29 PM ET
Of very brief Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
• According to DetroitRedWings.com’s Rick Bouwness, the Wings will continue sending prospects to the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye…
The Detroit Red Wings today announced that the Toledo Walleye (ECHL) will remain the club’s official AA-level affiliate for the 2011-12 hockey season. The Walleye have served in this capacity since the team’s inaugural 2009-10 campaign.
“We’re very excited to have the Walleye back as part of our organization for the upcoming season,” says Red Wings Assistant General Manager Jim Nill. “Toledo’s been a great partner for us over the years and they’ve proven to be a strong ECHL franchise since reentering the league. We look forward to watching our prospects continue to develop in a city with a strong minor league hockey tradition.”
Which the Walleye have confirmed:
The Toledo Walleye are pleased to announce that they have reached an affiliation agreement with the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League for the 2011-12 season.
Under terms of the agreement, Detroit will assign contracted players to the Walleye.
With an emphasis on player development, the Walleye will serve as the Red Wings ECHL affiliate. The Walleye will also work and develop prospects with Detroit’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins.
“We’re very excited to have the Walleye back as part of our organization for the upcoming season,” says Red Wings Assistant General Manager Jim Nill. “Toledo’s been a great partner for us over the years and they’ve proven to be a strong ECHL franchise since re-entering the league. We look forward to watching our prospects continue to develop in a city with a strong minor league hockey tradition.”
Walleye Head Coach and Director of Player Personnel Nick Vitucci said, “I am thrilled to once again have the opportunity to work with and developing future Detroit Red Wings players. Toledo and Detroit have had a long history together and we are very excited to continue this through the 2011-12 season.”
Walleye President/General Manager Joe Napoli added, “The Detroit organization is well respected within the hockey community and they are first class in every aspect. They visit Toledo often, which in turn, helps Nick Vitucci recruit talented players, and they send the Walleye quality players as well. We are very pleased with the partnership and look forward to another great year.”
And the Grand Rapids Press’s Michael Zuidema believes that this is a sign of things to come for the Wings and the Grand Rapids Griffins:
The Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League are the Red Wings’ primary minor-league affiliate. Their agreement is set to expire after this season, but both sides have indicated that the relationship will continue in the future.
• In very different news, per Bouwness again...
In an exhibition of unabashed domination, veteran Red Wings forward Danny Cleary emerged victorious from the latest round of voting in the team’s ongoing Operation: Bobblehead campaign. The 32-year-old winger will now have his likeness emblazoned upon a 6½ inch polyresin figurine set to be given away to the first 7,500 fans in attendance at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday, January 12 when Detroit plays host to the Phoenix Coyotes.
Cleary received over 90% of the votes submitted at DetroitRedWings.com and took home half of the ballots cast via Facebook this past week after aggressively promoting his bobblehead candidacy throughout a variety of media outlets in Michigan and abroad. The Carbonear, Newfoundland native joins teammates Pavel Datsyuk (Oct. 13), Henrik Zetterberg (Nov. 3), Johan Franzen (Dec. 8) and Nicklas Lidstrom (Apr. 5) as players to be featured in the Red Wings’ season-long Bobblehead Thursday promotion.
With five of the six Red Wings bobblehead spots now set, citizens of Hockeytown are invited to have their voices heard and select which remaining member of the team will round out the promotional giveaway lineup in 2011-12. Fans can visit DetroitRedWings.com and Facebook.com/DetroitRedWings from now through midday Monday to vote for who they’d like to see featured on the fifth Bobblehead Thursday of the season, which will take place on February 23, 2012 when the Western Conference Champion Vancouver Canucks pay a visit to JLA. The top three vote-getters in this week’s round of balloting will advance to the Operation: Bobblehead Finals, which will be held during the final week of August. More information on this campaign can be obtained by visiting DetroitRedWings.com.
Red Wings’ 2011-12 Bobblehead Giveaway Schedule
Thursday, October 13 vs. Vancouver – PAVEL DATSYUK
Thursday, November 3 vs. Calgary – HENRIK ZETTERBERG
Thursday, December 8 vs. Phoenix – JOHAN FRANZEN
Thursday, January 12 vs. Phoenix – DANNY CLEARY
Thursday, February 23 vs. Vancouver – Winner of Fan Vote #4
Thursday, April 5 vs. New Jersey – NICKLAS LIDSTROM
(NOTE: all games begin at 7:30 p.m.)
• The Wings are also reminding fans about Hockeyfest…
• And the day after Hockeyfest, the Plymouth Patch’s Nicole Krawcke reports that the Wings will be loaning out the rink for a charitable endeavor:
Chill at the Joe is what Theresa Bizoe, First Step’s assistant director, calls the best family deal in town.
For just $20 per person, families get all you can eat at the concession stands, can explore Joe Louis Arena — including the Red Wings’ locker room and skate on the ice.
“It’s the best family entertainment deal in metro-Detroit just because everything is included,” Bizoe said. “Food, games, crafts… just a whole variety of things and you can also tour the locker room.”
The day will also include spin art, an inflated bounce house, crafts, games and entertainment. New this year is a hockey game set to take place between Red Wings alumni and various members of Wayne County’s police departments.
“We’re asking each police department to provide an officer that plays hockey to play the Detroit Red Wings alumni,” Bizoe said. “We’ll have about an hour of a hockey game during the event.”
• Erm…from MegaLidas on YouTube, here’s Henrik Zetterberg talking about the 2012 World Championship and the Wings, in Swedish:
• And NHL.com’s EJ Hradek gets this answer to a mailbag question right:
How many years does the best 171st draft pick ever, Pavel Datsyuk, have left in him?—@Deathbeast69
It is always tricky to speculate about how long someone is going to be able to compete in the NHL or any professional sport. Datsyuk, who turned 33 last month, seems like one of those guys who’ll be able to play late into his 30s, barring any significant injuries.
The elite Detroit star could probably get by for a good while on just his smarts and hockey sense. Like I say, you never know what’s going to happen with a player, but I hope he’ll be around for many years to come. The guy is among my very favorites to watch.
I’ve got a family emergency to take care of so I’m crafting this rather randomly before heading out the door. I will see you when I see you.
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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.