The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/10/11 at 05:51 PM ET
Updated 4x at 4:16 PM with aviation news: I’m not even sure what I’m supposed to say about the fact that, according to Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski, the Tennessean’s Josh Cooper and many others, former Red Wings defenseman Brett Lebda went from boasting that he was playing in the “real” Hockeytown and would prove his doubters wrong while establishing himself as a top-four defenseman in Toronto to becoming a now bought-out punchline within the span of a year.
Let’s go with, “Ouch” and leave it at that, because he earned $1.5 million last year (with a $1.45 million cap hit) and will be paid, per Wyshynski and Hockey Night in Nashville, another $478,500 for the next two years to go away, and even in August, I can state the obvious:
1. Defensemen are always in demand in the NHL, even if they’ve got a dozen omelets’ worth of egg on their faces;
2. And I’m sure there are more than a few teams in Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Switzerland, Russia and even Italy and France that would play up Lebda’s signing to the extent that Expressen’s Henrik Sjoberg is essentially stating, “Wow, Modo Ornskoldsvik signed Robbie Schremp!, can you imagine how awesome he’ll be as Dick Axelsson’s center on the first line?”
Lebda will never find himself in the Hall of Fame debates ESPN’s regional outlets are conducting while mentioning Mike Modano in Dallas and Chris Chelios in Chicago as nothing less than parts of the cities’ sports fabric (hey, it’s an extended metaphor trying to add some extraneous content into the equation, work with me here), but he’s going to end up with over, per Capgeek, $2,457,000 to be a punchline.
That’s a helluva payday to be known as the man who Lebda’d up his NHL career.
Mike Commodore’s trying to do his best to be known as more than just a fantastic Twitterer, as suggested by both the Hockey News’s Adam Proteau and the Production Line (which offered a survey of the must-follow Wings Twitter accounts today; RedWingsFeed has an officially Twitter-sponsored list of the Wings’ players and prospects who have Twitter accounts as well), and ESPN’s Scott Burnside suggests that Commodore merits mentioning among the Jaromir Jagrs and Evegeni Nabokovs of the hockey world as someone who’s on the comeback trail:
Mike Commodore, D, Detroit Red Wings: We chatted with Commodore moments after he signed a one-year deal with the Wings in early July, and excited didn’t quite cover it for the big defenseman who was banished to the AHL last season by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Plagued by injury and expectation after signing a big four-year deal in 2008, Commodore will be asked to come into Detroit and provide good, tough-nosed defense for head coach Mike Babcock. Nothing more, nothing less. A Cup winner in Carolina and a member of a Calgary team that went to the Cup finals in 2004, Commodore should fit in nicely with a talented Detroit team that still has Cup designs in spite of the departure of guys like Brian Rafalski, Chris Osgood, Kris Draper, Chris Chelios and Kirk Maltby over the past couple of seasons.
Perhaps at the other end of the spectrum, after a morning’s worth of talk as to whether Johan Franzen can redeem himself, Sportsnet’s Mike Brophy offered a list of the NHL’s best and/or most consistent graybeards, and it should come as no surprise that the Red Wings’ captain topped his list:
1. Nicklas Lidstrom, defence, Detroit Red Wings: Lidstrom bounced back from what seemed like a step-back season the year before by winning his seventh Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenceman. With 16 goals and 62 points in 82 games, Lidstrom ranked second in defenceman scoring in the league to Anaheim’s Lubomir Visnovsky who had 68. Never an overly physical player, Lidstrom continues to get it done using his high level of skill and unbelievable smarts. If the Red Wings are to make a charge at winning the Stanley Cup next season, then Lidstrom will need to continue to play at the same high level that has made him a sure-fire Hall of Famer.
If we’re going to talk about establishing or sustaining one’s legacy in a very different way, the interweb offers us serious fodder in that regard this afternoon. Wyshynski posted a link to a list of NHL teams’ jerseys “reimagined” as soccer uniforms, the Wings included, and Pro Hockey Talk’s Joe Yerdon’s series on the “best and worst” jerseys of each and every NHL team rolled around to the Wings today (sort of like NHL.com’s season previews, with Dan Rosen talking about the Wings this morning), and Yerdon suggests that there are worse things than essentially wearing the same jersey, minus some logo alterations and tweaks to trim, numbers and player names, for the vast majority of the team’s NHL history:
Classic at all costs: It’s incredible that the Wings have kept the same look for over 70 years and haven’t deviated off and introduced a new logo or a third sweater at all through recent years. The Wings fan base is big enough so that introducing something like that could mean even more money for owner Mike Ilitch and given how good the Wings have been for nearly the last 20 years having third jerseys with the names of Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom, or Henrik Zetterberg would be huge sellers.
Instead, the Wings keep it real and the only different sweater they’ve worn at all came in the 2009 Winter Classic when they threw on the franchise’s original Detroit Cougars sweater for the day.
Assessment: This original six franchise just keeps doing things right on and off the ice and keeping a classic look unencumbered by ad wizard-enhanced new logos, shoulder patches, or third jerseys keeps the Wings sweater looking old school and classic at all times. It’s up there with Chicago as one of the best looking teams in the NHL.
I’m gong to disagree with Yerdon regarding the Wings’ “best look,” however—he digs the white jersey, but I’m a fan of all the wall of red coming toward you. It’s a two-color classic and I want that dominant color to intimidate as much as researchers claim that red does.
According to the Wings’ Twitter account, Danny Cleary spoke to 95.5’s Mojo in the Morning about being immortalized in, well, bobblehead form as the Wings’ “Operation Bobblehead” promotion continues, and you can listen to Cleary’s interview below…
And he must have given his interview from the Joe as RedWingsTV allowed him to campaign for said candidacy as well:
In slightly more serious promotional news, the Wings allowed their partner in their new season ticket-holders’ website to tout their partnership…
Detroit Red Wings Team Up With Sportsdigita to Launch State-of-the-Art Ticketing Portal
NHL’s Original Six team, the Detroit Red Wings, work with Sportsdigita to release their 2011-12 season ticket plan information in a cutting-edge and interactive manner.
Minneapolis, MN (PRWEB) August 10, 2011
The Detroit Red Wings have teamed up with the sports marketing digital creative agency, Sportsdigita, to develop a 2011-12 season ticket plan microsite. Based on the rich tradition of the franchise, the interactive site opens with a thrilling introductory video, preceded by a unique visualization of the top Red Wings stars in 3D motion, followed by an immaculate view of inside Joe Louis Arena from any projected seat in the building. With the innovative site, the Red Wings have capitalized on driving all of their online real estate to the newly released website – the latest interactive trend of viral season ticket sales.
The website, which houses all information pertaining to the Red Wings 2011-12 season ticket plans, allows the consumer to not only explore the full pricing and benefits of becoming a season ticket holder, but also see the actual view from the seat of their choice within Hockeytown’s Joe Louis Arena using DigitAR technology. Fans can interact directly with the Red Wings’ ticket office through a live chat feature, forward the site to friends, and even be directed right to where they can purchase the ticket plans online. Addicted to your smartphone? No problem – the website was built to be mobile-friendly to all phone operating systems, and can be accessed from anywhere. The site can be found at http://redwings.sportsdigita.com.
Season ticket holders are the life of any sports team, and the most crucial revenue source. By creating a cutting-edge and unique viral piece the Red Wings, who worked with Sportsdigita in order to design the marketing campaign and build out the engaging and interactive site, are setting themselves apart from those teams without exciting content to not only attract a larger audience of current and prospective ticket holders than ever before, but retain a consistent flow of leads that the site collects in its backend, all within an online platform that is live and accessible 24/7. “When I was with the Tampa Bay Lightning, we moved our season ticket renewal piece from the mailbox to inbox and received an overwhelming, positive response from our current season ticket holders and fans,” says Sportsdigita’s President and former Senior Vice President and Director of Corporate Communications for Tampa Bay, Angelina Lawton.
Sportsdigita is a sports marketing digital creative agency specializing in the latest interactive technologies, focusing on revenue generation for professional sports teams. Based out of Minneapolis, the agency made up of former sport executives strives to develop and implement new strategies, as well as share best practices from each of the major sports leagues. Sportsdigita provides its clients with integrated and personalized campaigns that involve: web development, social media initiatives, and mobile capabilities to cost-effectively reach their fans, partners and prospects. For more information, please contact Angelina Lawton at 612.801.8111 or alawton(at)sportsdigita(dot)com.
And in more serious news:
1. The Flint Journal’s George Jaska offered a few more details regarding Tim Thomas’s visit to Davison High School with the Stanley Cup in tow on August 24th, but I still don’t know whether there will be any sort of “pose with the Cup” promotion offered;
2. According to Marc-André Mercier, via the Wings, Xavier Ouellet’s been named the captain of the former Montreal Junior, a.k.a. the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, which I can confirm via the Journal Le Courrier and Canoe.ca’s French page, which notes that the announcement was made in conjunction with the introduction of Stephane Matteau as one of the team’s assistant coaches;
3. And Marie Hallman reports that Niklas Kronwall’s busting his hump in Stockholm alongside a host of NHL’ers and Swedish pros, both on and off the ice.
Update: File this under, “Oh Dear Gord No,” from Chris on Nightmare on Helm Street: Chris and Twig ponder the fact that there were at least confirmed rumors that the Wings were considering trading Pavel Datsyuk for Scott Gomez back in 2007. BRR!!
Update #2: Very interesting…the Wings’ Twitter account is confirming via a photo that, as the aviation-minded KK users surmised almost two weeks ago, the Wings have swapped out their DC 9-50 (N682RW) for an MD-81 registered as N812ME at present.
The plane last landed at Oakland County International Airport (per Flightaware.com) in late April, so I’m guessing that it’s being painted and prepped for the Wings and Tigers’ use…
Update #4: Via Jamie Favreau, Crain’s Detroit Business’s Bill Shea believes that the Ilitches may have to tap into their casino revenues to partially fund the construction of Joe Louis Arena’s follow-on facility.
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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.