The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/06/12 at 08:40 PM ET
Amongst this evening’s Red Wings-related stories, DetroitRedWings.com’s Andrea Nelson provides a recap of the Joey Kocur Foundation’s charity softball game this past weekend, and it sounds like a good time was had by all:
“It’s a small town country thing,” Kocur said. “Everybody comes out here, the kids have something to do, the adults have something to do, we have great raffle prizes, we have great silent auction items. We have so many donations within the community and I’ve lived in this community now for over 20 years and I have some great friends and a great network of people that help me.”
After playing in the NHL for 17 years, Kocur knew plenty of former Red Wings and other professional players who were willing to help. Mickey Redmond, Dino Ciccarelli, Darren McCarty, John Ogrodnick, Dave Lewis and Eddie Mio were just a few of the many familiar Red Wings players suited up for the softball game.
“It’s a fun event with a lot of the guys we used to play with and the community really rallies around us,” Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Dino Ciccarelli said. “This whole event is just a win/win for everybody. We just come out here, the former players and some current players and we just have a good time, have a lot of laughs and we raise money for some great charities around here.”
But the event started long before the celebrities took the field. The 4th Annual Charity Softball Event featured four different games, including a little league game, a sponsor appreciation game and a law enforcement versus fire fighters game. Starting at 11:00 AM, attendees could enjoy food and beverages, participate in raffles and silent auctions or get autographs from their favorite Red Wings all day long. There was also a separate baseball diamond for children filled with fun events such as bounce houses, a dunk take and home run derbies.
The white and red teams of former Red Wings and Detroit-area athletes trotted onto the field to shouts and cheers of the fans braving the 92-degree weather. Mickey Redmond, Manny Legace, John Ogrodnick, Joe Kocur, Jason Woolley, Pat Peake, Cam Fowler, Bryan Smolinski and Wayne Presley made up the white team. George Bowman, Dino Ciccarelli, Darren McCarty, Eddie Mio, Kevin Miller, Paul Ysebaert, Dave Lewis, Scott Lusader, Kraig Nienhuis and Ron Rice donned red jerseys.
With 97.1 The Ticket’s Jamie Samuelsen and Bob “Wojo” Wojnowski providing the commentary, Kocur stepped to the mound for the first pitch. The former Red Wing only gave up one hit to Ciccarelli before it was his team’s turn to bat. Redmond led off for the white team and Smolinski hit a sacrifice fly to center field, allowing Legace to tag at third and score the game’s first run. One inning down, eight more to go. And they could’ve gone a few more.
“I worry about playing too many games and getting these guys too tired or too sore and they just want to play another game,” Kocur said with a laugh. “You get all these old athletes, it doesn’t matter what sport they were in, you see Eric Hipple today tackling people, Ron Rice tackling people. We all just want to help out the community and give back and these guys are amazing.”
• I’m not sure if this person wants to have their identity revealed, but a little birdie told Paul and myself that Wings fans who signed up for Winter Classic ticket alerts received the following email today:
Due to an adjustment in ticket availability, you now have an opportunity to purchase up to four ticket packages to the 2012 SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival™ and 2013 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®!
EACH PACKAGE INCLUDES:
- One (1) ticket to the 2013 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Detroit Red Wings
January 1, 2013
- One (1) ticket to the first day of the
2012 Great Lakes Invitational at Comerica Park™
Michigan vs. Michigan Tech
Michigan State vs. Western Michigan
December 27, 2012
YOUR PURCHASE TIME FRAME BEGINS TODAY AT: 1 p.m.
ENDS: August 8, 1 p.m.
• Via RedWingsFeed, from some guy named Kris Draper:
Thank you for your votes. twitter.com/kdraper33/stat…— Kris Draper (@kdraper33) August 6, 2012
• And the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan is back from his vacation, and he shared several Wings and NHL-related observations with fans on his blog:
I remember nearly every school year, within the first couple weeks, we’d always have to do a paper on what we did during our summer vacation.
I’m just coming off a lengthy one and enjoyed it immensely – except for getting sick.
In keeping with the spirit, and with school approaching, here’s some things I did on this past vacation.
1) Continued to monitor the hockey news, obviously, and wasn’t entirely surprised Rick Nash was traded from Columbus to the New York Rangers. The Rangers seemed to be hot on Nash from the moment he declared he wanted out. But I wonder how effective Nash will be in the Rangers’ structured style, I wonder how he’ll play under the New York microscope, but I also question the relatively meager return the Blue Jackets got in return for an established, star player.
2) Kept waiting for a Red Wings personnel move that never came. I’ve been gone since July 16 and the Wings didn’t make a huge move for their roster the whole time. Not surprising, really. The players available aren’t anything to get excited about. And there’s time before training camp (whenver that’ll begin).
But for all those folks who still want to add a scoring forward, isn’t defense the more critical need right now? Have you looked at that defense lately? The Wings need a warm, experienced body for the blue line.
3) I wasn’t encouraged by talks between the league and players for a new collective bargaining agreement. This may not end well, thereby delaying training camp. And the season.
10) Now, I’m just glad to be back. And counting the days until training camp begins – whenever that’ll be.
I was very surprised regarding my relatives’ take on the Wings. They felt that the Wings wouldn’t be better served by overpaying for Shane Doan or Alex Semin, nor did they believe that the Wings should surrender major parts of the team to trade for a big-name defenseman at this point. Most of them would prefer to see the Wings add a free agent band-aid on defense, see what the kids can do early in the season and then make trades to upgrade the blueline as necessary. They were more or less lockstep in this belief, though several felt that adding a goal-scoring forward from the free agent bargain bin couldn’t hurt.
• And regarding said CBA uncertainty, from the Canadian Press’s Chris Johnston:
Donald Fehr nearly has all his ducks in a row. The globe-trotting head of the NHL Players’ Association is just about ready to counter the league’s initial proposal for a new collective bargaining agreement. He’s likely to make at least part of his pitch during the scheduled talks in New York this week, Fehr told The Canadian Press on Monday.
“I think that there’s certainly a possibility — a reasonable one — that we’ll be in a position to make some further response,” Fehr said in an interview. “Whether we’ll be in a position to make an alternative proposal yet I don’t know.”
It’s been nearly a month since the NHL laid out its vision for the new CBA. The July 13 proposal to the NHLPA included an immediate 24 per cent reduction in salaries, the introduction of several new restrictions on contracts and a redefinition of hockey-related revenue that would see the percentage paid to players each season drop from 57 to 43. The league and union are scheduled to resume talks on Tuesday, with Fehr scheduled to join the four-day session later in the week after making his way back to North America.
He visited Moscow late last week — sitting down with Evgeni Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk, among others — before holding a session Monday in Barcelona that was attended by roughly 40 players, including Henrik Zetterberg, Mark Streit and Jonas Hiller. Naturally, the main topic of discussion has been the CBA negotiations which have been underway for more than six weeks.
“The central purpose of the meetings is to go through ... what’s happened, who said what, what do we expect to happen next, what’s the process we go through and all the rest of that stuff,” said Fehr. “Given what happened in this sport the last time, given the lockouts in football and basketball and given the owners’ proposal that’s made here, clearly (players) are focused and they’re interested and they want to make sure they understand it and they want to make sure they know what it means.”
The current CBA is scheduled to expire Sept. 15. A request to the NHL seeking comment about the status of talks wasn’t immediately returned. After receiving the league’s initial proposal, the union requested audited financial statements from all 30 teams and ended up being delivered some 76,000 pages of information last week. Soon after, Fehr departed for Europe to meet with players.
“I’m at the stage where I could use some nine- or 10-day weeks,” he said.
The NHLPA’s counter-proposal is likely to dictate the immediate direction of talks, especially since the league’s pitch called for numerous concessions from players. The 24 per cent rollback in salary would represent a collective reduction of $450 million from last season while such items as the elimination of salary arbitration and contract limits of five years have also been put on the table.
After a recent negotiating session, Fehr indicated players were “not enamoured” with what was being proposed. Among the items the NHLPA is expected to seek in a new agreement is an expanded revenue sharing system between teams and changes that could make the salary cap more flexible. However, Fehr wanted to consult as many union members as possible before responding to the NHL’s initial proposal. It’s made for a busy travel schedule in the middle of talks.
“We’re a union that operates all over everywhere, but we’ve only got about 725 players,” said Fehr. “I think it’s my job to keep in contact with them — to explain to them what’s going on, to answer all of those questions ... and to make sure that when we negotiate a contract we’re doing it in a fashion which is consistent with what the players want and what they believe is appropriate. There is no substitute to meeting and talking and answering questions.”
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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.