The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/22/11 at 11:16 PM ET
Sure, I go on the pre-vacation haul that is the, “Accompany the parent to banking and then clothing, provisional and grocery shopping” trip of doom and the internet nearly blows up because of the usual, and here’s what I have to say about it:
If the Red Wings’ resident internet stalker has chosen to go off on Chris Osgood as not only no Hall of Famer-in-waiting, but also as a supposedly terrible, horrible, no good, very bad goalie…I don’t care. When you’re talking about somebody who lives to piss off Wings fans to the point that it’s creepy, man…You cannot argue with the infidel, never mind one who lives on lapping up your sweet, sweet tears of protest. Osgood probably won’t get in the Hockey Hall of Fame on the first ballot, but he’ll probably get in one day, and when that comes, it doesn’t matter what people who hate the Wings for a living think. 400 wins. 3 Stanley Cups. The people’s goalie. The rest is debatable.
There are more important things to talk about right now, like the gorgeous tribute to Winnipeg’s aviation history and the Canadian Forces that is the Winnipeg Jets’ logo, or the fact that Ken Holland’s reiteration to MLive’s Ansar Khan that his team is basically finished making moves save determining Kris Draper’s future has gotten particularly grim in tone regarding the fact that there just might not be a roster spot for #33, as Holland told the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness:
“He’s a Detroit Red Wing and he wants to stay a Detroit Red Wing,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He he loves Detroit, but we have 13 or 14 forwards.”
“I’m talking to him in the next couple of days,” Holland said. “I think we’ll have a decision by next week.”
“We have cap space, but it’s really about a roster spot,” Holland said. “If he plays another year his role will be diminishing. We need young players to push for ice time and eventually take over older player’s jobs,” Holland added. “If that’s not happening, we’re not doing our job.”
“Our talk is going to focus on whether he’s comfortable on having an even more diminished role,” Holland said. “We have to take a look at some of our younger guys up front. We want to look at Jan Mursak as well as Cory Emmerton and maybe a Tomas Tatar.”
As we all know, Draper doesn’t want to come to camp on a try-out contract, a la Kirk Maltby, but it’s becoming clearer and clearer that he’ll all but have to do so as Holland’s no longer willing to lose someone like Emmerton on waivers because he believes the team needs to get younger (and faster):
“We need to continue to work more young people onto the team,” Holland said. “You have to draft, develop and stick to the plan. Our plan is to slowly move more and more young people onto the team. I always hear about the old Red Wings and how we have older players. We’re not the old Red Wings.”
Of the 14 forwards projected to make the team, which includes Emmerton and not Draper, the Wings average age is just over 25 years old. Eight forwards are 27 or younger.
“You don’t do it in one summer,” Holland said. “Two years ago, we transitioned from Chris Osgood to Jimmy Howard. You’re starting to see the seeds of that. We’ve got some really high-end NHL players in the prime of their career. You need to peck away. It’s a move at a time, but we think we have pretty good depth. There will always be change,” Holland added. “It’s necessary. It’s good. We want an older element to our team. If you want to contend for the Stanley Cup, there has to be an older element.”
That older element, however, is diminishing, and at this point, it sounds like Draper’s reached the end because the CBA no longer allows the Wings to keep prospects in Grand Rapids for the extra season which bought most of the team’s veterans at least a swan song.
Nowadays, if you’re running your team well, you’re forcing players with hockey left in them to either leave the organization or retire because the team’s younger, cheaper players are developing into affordable NHL-level talent on a yearly basis.
Otherwise, this evening news comes mostly in tidbit form:
• The Grand Rapids Griffins’ ticket sales department was named the AHL’s best;
• In charitable news, on this side of the state, per PR Newswire...
Ilitch Charities today awarded $12,500 in scholarships to five student athletes from the Little Caesars AAA Hockey program and the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League (LCAHL). The students were honored at a ceremony at Hockeytown Cafe in Detroit emceed by Ken Daniels, play-by-play announcer for the Detroit Red Wings on Fox Sports Detroit television. Ilitch Charities Chairman Christopher Ilitch presented the scholarships to the following honorees:
Noah Bohl of Adrian, Mich.
Grant DeMoss of Battle Creek, Mich.
Cameron Ohrt of Battle Creek, Mich.
Kelsey Summers of West Bloomfield, Mich.
Kyle Tokan of Howell, Mich.
“Little Caesars youth hockey players represent some of the best young hockey talent in the country,” said Christopher Ilitch, who is also president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. “This year’s scholarship recipients are not only talented athletes, but outstanding students and citizens in our community. Through sponsorship of our youth hockey programs we have had the opportunity to help these young athletes reach their goals in the sport of hockey. Now through Ilitch Charities, we are happy to invest in their educational goals as well. At Ilitch Charities we really do put our heart into helping.”
For the past nine years, Ilitch Charities has honored outstanding Little Caesars hockey players with a scholarship toward the college or university of their choice. To qualify, students must maintain a 3.0 or above high school grade point average, be a current member of a Little Caesars AAA or LCAHL team and have plans to attend a college or university within the next two years.
The Little Caesars AAA Hockey program and the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League are two of the country’s most respected youth hockey programs. Nearly 15,000 male and female athletes across the Midwest participate in the leagues. Thousands of players have moved on to play collegiate hockey and more than 100 have played in the National Hockey League (NHL). Michael and Marian Ilitch began supporting youth hockey in the 1960s, shortly after they founded Little Caesars Pizza.
• In non-hockey-sports-multimedia news, via RedWingsFeed, the Wings’ website posted a clip of the “Sorcery” yacht, which the Wings are sponsoring, beginning its trek from Port Huron to Mackinaw City in the “Bayview Mackinac Race”...
• And if you want to talk about Osgood’s legacy and Hall of Fame candidacy—because, as many of you pointed out, it matters to Osgood—maybe it’s better to listen to someone who’s at least marginally rooted in reality in the Hockey News’s Adam Proteau, who has this to say about Osgood’s case:
Adam, now that Chris Osgood has retired, I pose to you one of the toughest hockey questions I have come across: Is he a Hall of Famer? His 401 wins (10th all time), incredible playoff numbers (three Stanley Cups, 74 wins, playoff GAA of 2.09, playoff save percentage of .916) and 50 shutouts scream Hall of Famer.
However, the eye test shows a goalie that was never considered one of the best while he played, a goalie who played for a juggernaut for most of his career and a goalie who has just two All-Star Game appearances, no top-five Vezina finishes and was a year-end All-Star just once (second team, 1995-96). So I ask you for your opinion. Is Ozzie a Hall of Famer?
Prashanth Iyer, Chapel Hill, N.C.
No, he isn’t. As I said on Twitter and THN’s Puck Panel earlier this week, Osgood always reminded me of Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts: You never bought a ticket to a Stones show to see him in particular, but he’s a fantastic professional and was an integral part of the operation.
Same goes for Osgood. You can’t look at his numbers and say he didn’t do his job – but you also can’t say he dominated his position the same way a Martin Brodeur or Patrick Roy did.
Some Red Wings fans may point to a crucial save he made that kept Detroit on course for one of their three Cups or to his resilience in bouncing back after an unfortunate goal. That’s all well and good, but the Hall of Fame isn’t about honoring a collection of individual moments. It is about an athlete’s ability to impose his will on the game over the course of his career. And I just don’t think you can say Osgood did so to the degree necessary to gain Hall of Fame admittance.
Given that Osgood’s one of only three goalies over the last 15 years to successfully have done his job—to win a championship or three while having to play goal for a team that doesn’t give up a quality scoring chance for half a game and then forgets how to play defense—I think he makes it, but that’s just my opinion, and I’d rather talk about Osgood’s case based on passionate debate instead of holier-than-thou stupidity and out-and-out Wings hate. Bullies are lame. Osgood isn’t.
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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.