The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/27/12 at 01:58 AM ET
Updated with more “overnight report” type stuff at 4:44 AM: On a tumultuous day for Red Wings’ fans collective and individual emotional well-being, I’d usually stuff this into an overnight report, but we might as well shake the bad news out of the bad news tree while it’s giving: MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that Aaron Ward’s suggestion that the Red Wings have chosen to step out of the bidding for Shane Doan is indeed true, but it’s true for the right reason:
An acute and consistent case of CBA insanity preying upon the minds of general managers and owners who seem to believe that they can spend as much as they want for the few top-flight free agents out there because they’ll claw a quarter of it back from the players (as Pro Hockey Talk’s James O’Brien noted, Jim Rutherford dropped $7 million on Alex Semin after sitting in on CBA negotiations).
Anyway, here’s Khan’s last bit of bad news for the day:
The Red Wings, according to a source, likely are out of the bidding for the power forward because his price is too high and “teams in the East have offered him ridiculous amounts of money.’’ One Eastern Conference club reportedly has a four-year, $30 million offer on the table. The Red Wings were hoping to sign him for three years at between $4.5 million and $5 million.
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland couldn’t be reached for comment.
Doan’s agent, Terry Bross, said he couldn’t confirm if the Red Wings are out of the bidding because he hasn’t spoken to Holland in a couple of days.
“Ken made an offer, but we haven’t countered or had much negotiation,’’ Bross said Thursday night. “We haven’t eliminated anybody.’‘
That’s great, Terry but are you planning on taking the Shane Doan Grand Tour to Detroit after stops in New York and Philly, and a TBD visit to Montreal?
Bross said no meeting with Detroit has been scheduled.
So the Wings appear—and perhaps have appeared since they lost out on Suter—to not want to overpay via free agency (Doan is 35 and is asking for big money and long term—and let’s not ignore the fact that he’d prefer to stay with the Coyotes, or, as it appears, sign with an Eastern Conference team—and Semin would have gotten Nick Lidstrom money) or trades to simply be a cap team for the sake of being a cap team with an uncertain set of business parameters to come and Valtteri Filppula, Danny Cleary, Drew Miller, Ian White and Jimmy Howard qualifying for unrestricted free agency next year, and Gustav Nyquist, Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl, Jan Mursak and a host of prospects becoming RFA’s in what will certainly be a more, ahem, restricted contract environment…
As much as the Red Wings would like to add a top-six forward, they are prepared to head into the season with what they have up front. Once they sign Justin Abdelkader, they will have 16 forwards under contract. That includes rookies Damien Brunner and Gustav Nyquist, both of whom they have the option of assigning to the Grand Rapids Griffins without clearing waivers.
The Red Wings need a defenseman. There isn’t much left in the free-agent market, but Detroit has some interest in Carlo Colaiacovo, who has shown some offensive ability in four-plus seasons with the St. Louis Blues but has been injury-prone. Other available free-agent defensemen include Pavel Kubina, Michal Rozsival, Milan Jurcina and Scott Hannan.
I’ll toss the forwards into the mix again, per Capgeek: The Mike Knuble story is great, but Petr Sykora put up 44 points, there’s always the wild card that is Andrei Kostitsyn, Jason Arnott and Jochen Hecht can score and Eric Fehr would be a classic reclamation project, and on the blueline, Colaiacovo, Kubina, Rozsival, Jurcina, Hannan Jaroslav Spacek and three equally wild cards and/or reclamation projects in Matt Gilroy, Chris Campoli and Cam Barker are out there.
Now none of those players are going to sell jerseys, but they can help. Especially given that a) the free agent marketplace is more or less picked over; b) the Wings clearly want cap flexibility; c) the Wings may indeed be going forward seeing what their “kids” can do, as Brian Hedger suggested; and d) put simply, between potential cap trouble for their freer-spending rivals and inevitable roster gluts come training camp and the exhibition, especially on the blueline, it might be most logical for the Wings to wait out the CBA, watch other people pay excessive, “Fill one hole on your roster by creating another” prices for Bobby Ryan, Keith Yandle and/or Jay Buowmeester, and then find out which players are available when the season starts and the team has more leverage.
The Wings clearly need to make a blueline signing—or two—they need to decide whether Tomas Holmstrom is going to get the opportunity to try out for the team, and when Ken Holland turns his phone on, he needs to let Wings fans know that there is a plan. SOON.
Today, our faith has been tested, big time, and even I will admit that I’m scared about the Wings. Faith shaken, stirred and topped with a cherry.
But I’m bolted to the bandwagon, come hell or high water, and I know that it’s not just Holland making the decisions, but also Jim Nill, Ryan Martin, Kris Draper, the team’s pro scouts and of course the coaching staff in Mike Babcock, essentially a secon coach in Tom Renney and Bill Peters, and of course people like Jimmy Devellano, Chris Chelios, Chris Osgood and obviously the ownership are privy to what’s going on.
What do I recommend doing in the interim?
Well, if you don’t believe two sources, believe three, because the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness makes it three, and I had always been taught that three sources makes it legit:
Just a little over a week ago, the Wings were going to wait out Shane Doan. Now it appears the wait is over. And it’s all because a bidding war on Doan has ensued.
According to a source, Detroit seems to be out of the bidding for the power forward because the asking price is too high.
“Teams in the East have offered him ridiculous amounts of money,” the source said.
One team in the Eastern Conference has reportedly offered Doan a four-year deal with an average salary cap hit of $7.5 million a season. That’s a far cry from what the Wings were hoping to sign Doan for, looking for three years for no more than $5 million a season. Doan’s agent, Terry Bross, would not comment on whether or not the Wings were out of the running for his client.
“I haven’t spoken to Ken (Holland) in a couple of days,” Bross said. “Kenny made an offer but we haven’t made a counter-offer or had much negotiation. We haven’t eliminated anybody,” Bross continued. “We’re waiting to hear from the Jamison group tomorrow.”
There are two Wings bloggers on Kukla’s Korner right now. The Chief is more charismatic and is recommending self-medicating.
This one already tossed off a, “Vent your anger here” thread and admittedly tried to wrap Aaron Ward’s Doan news in the softest pillow that brick through the window could be wrapped in via advocating for the return of Mike Knuble (which I still would like to see, though I’m not sure if the roster numbers allow it to happen).
Otherwise, I’m gonna try to see to do what I can do about getting something from the Wings, and instead…
I’m gonna say this, especially if this is a de-facto overnight report:
Thursday’s news has ensured that the Wings are out of the bidding for the leftover Swedish Meatballs at the free agent casino buffet, and will instead be plucking from the salad bar.
And I hate salad.
But there has to be a master plan at work here, and financial and term-related considerations that the free agents the Wings have been pursuing have exceeded in terms of demands, and in addition to the fact that we already know that the Wings have worked some angles we didn’t know existed (Rick Nash offer, Shea Weber offer sheet consideration), well…
It’s nearly August. We may have to wait until the regular season to see what unfolds. That sucks, and it’s scary, really scary, downright terrifying. Coming fro someone with an anxiety disorder, calling something “terrifying” is not a word I use lightly, because everything scares me. Everything but writing what I’m writing right now (hey, I’m an idiot, but maybe I’m an idiot savant at that).
This is a scary summer for Red Wings fans, and for the Red Wings.
The team has a crater on its blueline that no free agent available can do anything other than attempt to patch over. Even with a band-aid or two, the Wings still have a slightly poorer man’s Brad Stuart in Kyle Quincey, and will be placing quite a bit of hope in and responsibility upon Niklas Kronwall, Ian White, Quincey, Jonathan Ericsson, Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl.
The team has numbers on the forward lines, especially given that even the Wings seem to have given Patrick Eaves the, “Tell us how you feel in September” line regarding his concussion issues, and between Mikael Samuelsson essentially replacing Jiri Hudler’s point production, frustration and status as a scapegoat, and Jordin Tootoo, for better or worse, giving the Wings even more forechecking ability and some un-Red Wing-like abrasiveness.
And the Wings’ goaltending is pretty solid between Howard and the reclamation project that is Jonas Gustavsson, with Petr Mrazek and Tom McCollum appearing to be ready to split time in Grand Rapids, and the Wings more or less “stuck” with Joey MacDonald until they can trade him and/or replace him with a veteran back-up to mentor Mrazek and McCollum in Grand Rapids.
But the team has lost Jiri Hudler, has lost Brad Stuart, has lost Nicklas Motherf***ing Lidstrom and may be bidding farewell to his carpool buddy in Tomas Holmstrom, and even by my optimistic assessment, until the team makes a meaningful trade—again, probably during the regular season or just before it begins—the band-aid or band-aids applied to the blueline from the free agent reject bin will still leave a deeper, grittier and much younger Wings team a bit worse off.
Look, I’m working my way toward getting my fat ass into the press box, but I’ve bought a ticket to every Wings game I’ve attended thus far, I wear my Wings t-shirts and hats, am lusting after a Lidstrom jersey and I’ve been following this team since 1991, which seems like not a lot of time compared to more seasoned Wings fans.
I love this team, I live vicariously through this team, I’ve been introduced to and become a part of an amazing community of Wings fans because of them, I care about its players and prospects and front office personnel, and tonight, I am afraid of what’s to come given all the uncertainty surrounding a team that’s been either unable or unwilling to land big-ticket players via free agency or trade after losing the face of the franchise.
But I am not losing hope, I am not losing my faith, shaken and ridden with doubts as it may be, and I’m going to keep believing that the good times aren’t yet over until this team’s on-ice performance says otherwise.
For now, we’ve got to take things, as Pavel Datsyuk might say, day-by-day-by-day as fans, accept that we’re going to hear more free agents and trade targets go elsewhere, cross our fingers and hope that the management team, coaches, ownership and personnel have more in store than they’re letting on, and in the interim, well…
We’ve got to cope as best we can. As I said a couple of days ago, no one takes attendance on the bandwagon, we’ve done our best to pad the floor below it so that you don’t break your ankles or impale yourself on anything if you want to get off, and if you want to trade in your Wings stuff or hawk it on eBay because your faith has lapsed, there are other hockey teams, other sports and endless ways for you to find a community of fellow fans to spend your discretionary time, income and emotional efforts with.
I’m staying. I’m hoping that you’re coping, and if some of you are as disturbed as you sound, the Chief may recommend the PBR, but I recommend talking it out.
Here’s hoping that there’s more sense in the Wings’ front office, coaching staff, ownership and roster than we know, and pleasant instead of more unnerving news, signings and performances to come.
Middle of the night update: Also of Red Wings-related note this morning:
• If you missed it, from the Free Press’s George Sipple:
Former coach Scotty Bowman and former assistant Barry Smith will be back behind the bench for the Red Wings during the Alumni Showdown on Dec. 31 during the Hockeytown Winter Festival at Comerica Park.
The Wings announced Thursday that Bowman and Smith would lead Detroit. Pat Quinn and former Wing Red Kelly will coach the Maple Leafs alumni.
Bowman guided the Wings to three Cup titles (1997-98 and 2002). He has more victories than any coach in NHL history (1,244) and has been part of 12 Stanley Cup-winning teams, including a league-record nine as head coach.
Smith was with the Red Wings in 1994-2005 and was part of three Stanley Cup championships with Detroit.
Kelly, the eight-time Stanley Cup winner and first Norris Trophy winner as the NHL’s best defenseman, coached Toronto to four consecutive playoff appearances in 1973-77. Quinn is a two-time Jack Adams Award winner as NHL coach of the year. He led Team Canada to a gold medal in the 2002 Olympics.
• I thought it was spiffy that the Wings’ Twitter account posted the following…
THROWBACK THURSDAY: Bowman and Smith disagree with a call in 1998 Stanley Cup Finals. The Wings swept the series 4-0. twitter.com/DetroitRedWing…— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) July 26, 2012
Justin Abdelkader was at DRW youth camp today, working with the kids on stickhandling, skating, and shooting. twitter.com/DetroitRedWing…— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) July 27, 2012
• But is today really the time to post Zack Crawford’s “Behind the Numbers” take on Jonathan Ericsson’s 2011-2012 season?
16: Finished the season with a plus-16 rating, his personal best since debuting with the team in 2008.
128: Number of hits he levied on opposing players this season, which was the fourth highest on the team and his career best.
200: Picked up an assist and three hits during career game No. 200 against Chicago on Dec. 30. He’s one of seven Swedish-born players who have played their entire NHL careers in Detroit.
• In foreign-language news, Fabian Brunnstrom told Helsinborgs Dagblad’s Linus Ahlin that he signed with the Frolunda Indians instead of a KHL team as his son Alexander is under a year old, and he didn’t want to be separated from his family;
• Iltahleti reports that Jokerit Helsinki GM Jarmo Kekalainen hopes that if there is a lockout, both Teemu Selanne and Valtteri Filppula will play for Jokerit;
• In prospect news, from Tomas Kaszczuk on Twitter, the Penticton Vees have formally announced that they’re bringing Wings prospect Jake De Haas from Ontario to the BCHL, where De Haas will play for one season before heading to Clarkson University:
The Penticton Vees Hockey Club has acquired defenseman James De Haas (94) from the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots, for the rights of forward Mike Sones (92).
De Haas played 45 games in 2011-2012, where he collected 10 goals, 29 points and 32 Penalty-Minutes. In 21 playoff games, De Haas accumulated five goals and 12 points, helping the Patriots to a Conference Championship appearance. The 18 year-old was drafted this past June by the Detroit Red Wings in the sixth round, 170th overall. De Haas is committed for Clarkson University, for the fall of 2013.
Vees Head Coach and GM Fred Harbinson says De Haas is someone the Vees had on their radar for a while, “We’ve been hard at work on this deal for quite some time. James has all the tools, size, quick feet and smart puck moving ability. We are very fortunate to add a player with James skill set and determination.”
Clarkson University is located in Potsdam, New York and play in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference in NCAA Division l Hockey. The Golden Knights have made 20 NCAA postseason appearances, winning five ECAC tournament titles and 10 regular-season championships in their 90 year history. Former Vee, Ben Sexton will captain the Golden Knights in 2012-2013. Notable NHL alumni include Erik Cole and Willie Mitchell, both Stanley Cup Champions.
De Haas checks in a 6’3 and 200 lbs. adding more size to the Vees blue-line. The De Haas trade comes on the heels of another acquisition, where the Vees added another sizable defenseman Rob Mann, from the Markham Waxers.
• And you may not think this is a big deal, but this kind of stuff forms the guts of a new CBA: NHL.com’s Dan Rosen noted that the NHLPA talked about more “nuts and bolts” issues during Thursday’s CBA negotiations:
“The Players’ Association made a couple of presentations, one on player pensions and the other on player health care and insurance,” Commissioner Bettman said. “Then there was a pretty good discussion on playing conditions in a smaller group, having to do with things like training camp and ice conditions.”
Mathieu Schneider, NHLPA special assistant to the executive director, said the Players’ Association was seeking to update player retirement issues, including pensions.
“Some of the issues haven’t been addressed since ‘94 or the late ‘90s,” Schneider said. “It’s a process. There’s an awful lot of stuff in that 600-page book and we’re trying to get through all the issues.”
Schneider, who spoke in place of Donald Fehr, the executive director of the NHLPA, said the discussion on training camps covered a wide variety of topics. The length of training camp, testing players must undergo in camp, the number of veterans that are required to play in preseason games, and the number of preseason games were all presented as topics.
“They are all areas for discussion and I think there are a lot of these issues we have the same common goal, and it’s coming to agreement in how we get to that goal,” Schneider said. “That’s a lot of what happened today.”
Schneider added that the negotiating session included “a lot of good, honest, and open discussion,” and that there was a good deal of player involvement.
The Canadian Press makes it sound like fluffernutter, but these issues matter, especially given that the CBA still requires fax confirmation of deals and hasn’t really changed the processes by which traded players are given accommodations, called up players are sent to hotels or how much lunch money the players get, from that to pensions, and if you can knock this stuff off, you can clear the way for bigger issues to be dealt with, so that when the percentage of gross comes on the table, that’s all you have to worry about:
“Today was another good day,” said [Schneider] the former NHL defenceman. “I think we had a lot of good, open discussion and it was certainly one of the days where we had a lot of player involvement and to me that’s the most important thing.”
Schneider adds that benefits have not been updated since the 1990s, while training camp issues include the schedule, player testing and the amount of pre-season games in which veterans would be expected to participate.
“There are a lot of these issues (where) we have the same common goal,” Schneider said. “It’s (about) coming to agreement and how we get to that goal and that’s a lot of what happened today.”
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says both sides want the same thing on a number of the issues discussed Thursday.
“On things relative to the game such as ice conditions, we all want the best ice possible,” Bettman said. “These were really more discussion points than anything else at this stage.”
Schneider says players are taking a keen interest in a number of issues and adds that union members are more involved in the process than in the last round of labour negotiations, which led to the cancellation of the 2004-05 season.
“We’ve had guys that are very interested in the retirement benefits. We’ve had guys that are real interested in supplemental discipline ... (and) the core economics of the game,” Schneider said. “So I wouldn’t say that one thing is specific to all players. We have a wide range of players and a wide range of interests.”
The NHLPA’s website posted a four-minute video of Schneider speaking to the press.
The NHL and PA will meet again on Monday and Tuesday in New York.
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About The Malik Report
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.