The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/12/11 at 12:14 AM ET
While we’ve been talking about Chris Osgood’s future given that Joey MacDonald’s been re-signed today, and we know via the Windsor Star’s Jim Parker that we should put ourselves on notice as Ken Holland plans on determining both Osgood and Kris Draper’s fates with the team this week, I’ve been doing…
Let’s call it double duty, watching the Red Wings’ prospects take part in their summer development camp. The fact that today’s on-ice sessions were canceled due to coolant issues with their rink—for the second year in a row—was a relief to the players and allowed me to watch the off-ice drills the players who weren’t on the ice were doing while the skaters had my attention, so you can thank a certain Paul Kukla for telling his blogger to stay at the rink instead of heading back to the hotel to nap.
All day long, however, the at-the-rink activities and the MacDonald signing have prevented me from sitting down and translating an article from SVT.se and TT’s Anders Wallin on Nicklas Lidstrom, and now that I’m reading through it, I’m glad I didn’t say, “Sorry, too busy, can’t work the day job, cover the camp and translate.” The Swedish used is a little archaic, so this “rough” translation is going to be anything but smooth—quite honestly, it’s the hardest Swedish I’ve had to translate in a good six months, so it’s going to sound particularly “funny”—but instead of revealing an out-and-out bummer, because we already know that Lidstrom’s leaning toward moving back to Sweden (I sure as hell hope the Wings can convince the would-be youth hockey coach to do stay Stateside), so it should come as little surprise that he’s building a house there…
Mostly, however, it’s a really refreshing look at the decision-making process that led Lidstrom to continue playing for at least one more year, as well as his outlook and routine.
The only silly part of the article is kind of obvious as you read it, because the author seems to believe that the reason Lidstrom’s lasted as long as he has is because he’s supposedly eschewed an “American” life for a Swedish one in Novi, a.k.a. Little Sweden:
Lidas’s recipe—Swedish home cooking
Good food, good genes and luck with injuries is Lidas’s recipe. A well-maintained body is behind his decision to continue and play for a 20th year in Detroit.
“I want to be the leader of the team and a mainstay who plays over 20 minutes in every game,” he says.
Nicklas Lidstrom’s been looking at residential lots outside Vasteras for a long time. But it’s only in the summer, and architectural drawings will result in a house where he, his wife Annika and their four children will settle when his NHL career is over. But when he’ll move in is uncertain.
Just days before the NHL’s awards gala in Las Vegas, the now-seven-time James Norris Trophy-winner met with Ken Holland, Detroit’s general manager, and agreed on a new one-year contract worth $6.2 million , or approximately 40 million Swedish Kronor.
“I thought back and forth during the season, but finally chose to postpone my decision until our season was over,” says Lidstrom.
“When I started up training again, I wanted to see whether the training would go well—whether I had the energy mentally and emotionally to take it. So it took quite a while for me to come to a decision.”
What played into the 41-year-old’s decision, however, was a little more complex than the positive result’s sentiment.
Aside from some casual talks with teammate and car-pool partner Tomas Holmstrom, Lidstrom got his family—from even his little seven-year-old, Lucas, to his wife Annika—together to share their opinions before he placed his signature on a contract’s packet of paper.
The reason he’ll play another year in the NHL is still mostly due to a well-maintained body—both physically and mentally—who’s lived an ordinary Swedish-structured life on American soil since 1991.
‘When I’m home I’m focused on my children’s activities. All four play hockey, and two of them also play soccer, so there’s a lot to do in that regard. Lots of driving back and forth. But it’s nice to get away from myself and be with my family,” says Lidstrom.
To keep his body in shape, he’s chosen to stay away from the easy American lunch and possible dietary additions and, instead, eating customarily Swedish foods.
“I can still eat junk food, like hamburgers and pizza, but I have to eat well before and during game days. On these occasions, I have to eat properly and that’s usually my wife’s Swedish home cooking—everything from meatballs to fish,” says Lidstrom.
When his season ended on May 12th, Lidstrom took two weeks off without exercising before beginning with a little tennis, running and biking. Now—at the same time that he’s spending his summer vacation in Sweden and building a house outside Vasteras—his off-season training has ramped up and his preparations for his 20th year in the NHL have continued to intensify.
“I don’t know if there’s any big secret, but summer training is very important, and the longer I’d wait, the harder it would be to get going again. At the same time, while I’m pretty
[edit/update: easily trained], I think it’s because I have good genes,” says Nicklas Lidstrom.
I couldn’t figure out the word I’ve replaced in brackets—lättränad—because, depending on where you break the compound word up and depending on whether you think it’s a spelling mistake, it could mean anything from well-built to excitable to irritable—so that’s the best I can do.
Otherwise, I updated the MacDonald post several times, so you might have missed this part of the story, and I’ll let the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness tell it: Joey MacDonald did have more money on the table from a few Russian teams, and according to Parker, a similar deal from the Chicago Blackhawks, but he chose to remain with the Wings for both himself and his family’s sakes:
“When they called, I was real excited,” said MacDonald, who has spent seven seasons in the Wings’ organization. “Grand Rapids is a great place to play, if it comes to that. It was kind of an easy decision to make.”
“I was really considering (going to Russia), but I hoped it didn’t have to come down to that,” MacDonald said. “It would have been a tough situation keeping everybody back home. That factored into the decision. Some of the offers were for a lot of money, but it’s not the NHL,” MacDonald added. “Getting the one-way in year two was what I really wanted.”
“I’m going to camp and fighting for the No. 2 job,” MacDonald said. “It’s been the same way all 10 years of my career. If not, I’ll go to Grand Rapids and work my way up,” MacDonald added. “You have to be ready for all cases because things can change in a hurry.”
The deal is, again, for $550,000 at the NHL level and $105,000 at the AHL level, and as Pleiness, Parker, Ansar Khan and the Free Press’s Helene St. James have reported, its’ a 2-way deal for the 2011-2012 season, but it becomes a one-way deal for the 2012-2013 season, which means that he’d either have to be sent down to the AHL earning his NHL salary for the entire season or he’d have to clear re-entry waivers to be brought up (and, if claimed, the Wings would be on the hook for half of his NHL cap hit).
As for the wings’ #2 spot, Ken Holland’s going to wait to speak to Chris Osgood personally before deciding on whether the team can trust Osgood’s groin to recover after almost four months worth of constant post-surgical setbacks….
“I want to talk to Chris,” Holland said. “There aren’t a lot of options. There are a couple of guys we have an interest in and there’s Chris Osgood. I want to talk to him before I make a decision.”
And all indications suggest that in addition to knowing Osgood and Draper’s statuses by the end of the week, in terms of the back-up’s position, you can either hang onto your Chris Osgood jersey or bring your Ty Conklin one back out of the closet:
The Wings have also had talks with Conklin, 35, who remains unsigned. Conklin played one season with Detroit (2008-09) and recorded a career-high 25 wins, going 25-11-2 with a 2.51 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage. He played the last two seasons with the St. Louis Blues in a backup role, struggling last year with a record of 8-8-4 and a 3.22 goals-against average and .881 save percentage. Conklin, who was not claimed when the Blues placed him on waivers last February, made $1.4 million last season.
“I expect a decision this week,” said Holland, who will also talk to Kris Draper this week.
Holland also said he’s been contacted by one team that was looking to trade a goalie.
I don’t know what the hell that means, frankly. Holland’s been hinting at making a trade all summer, but nothing’s materialized, and I’d imagine that the price for a goaltender either involves someone who’s making more than Jimmy Howard’s $2.25 million salary or providing compensation for someone who hasn’t done too fantastic somewhere else.
And that guy who charges money for made-up stuff and agents’ fluff? Don’t believe his suggestions that Osgood will play elsewhere (click at your own risk) for a second. Osgood, like Draper, stated that he’s got family concerns as he’s been an absentee dad for a long time now, and he doesn’t plan on playing anywhere else. The concept that the Wings would blow their cap space to acquire a certain Russian sniper who’s on the trade block is equally silly, and I guess it proves that it’s July when I get emails and Twitter questions about that moron’s “rumor” suggestions.
Regarding my “crazy” suggestion of the evening, I know that Matt Saler and others have brought this up, and as WXYT’s Jeff Riger suggests that the Wings should retire Chris Osgood’s #30, maybe we should talk about it:
Given that the Red Wings have only really retired the numbers of iconic players who’ve both spent their entire careers with Detroit, were superstars and were almost genre-defining players, what do the Wings do with Osgood, a grinder like Kris Draper, someone who’s been invaluable and one-of-a-kind but doesn’t have stellar stats in Tomas Holmstrom, or how should they honor players who didn’t spend their entire careers here but won multiple Cups, like Chris Chelios, Brendan Shanahan, and even Larry Murphy? Should the Wings “honor” their numbers, like the Maple Leafs do, take some out of circulation, like Vladdie Konstantinov’s #16, or should they establish some sort of Red Wings Hall of Fame or “Ring of Honor” to pay tribute to said players’ contributions?
I’d like to hear what you have to say.
While we’re talking about significant decisions, Windsor Spitfires owner Bob Boughner had this to say to the Windsor Star’s Jim Parker about his status as in-the-running for one of the Red Wings’ assistant coaches’ positions:
Boughner said Monday that he did have early discussions with the Detroit Red Wings about one of two assistant coaching positions, which went to Bill Peters and Jeff Blashill Friday.
“I said the only reason I left Columbus is because I wanted to be closer to home and my family and not because I wasn’t happy,” Boughner said. “That’s the only reason (he looked at) the Detroit opening. I did chat with (Red Wings head coach) Mike Babcock about a month ago. I was one of those guys on a long list. As it got shorter, we didn’t talk.”
In the, “Making a big deal out of something that isn’t a big deal yet” category: As Alanah already noted, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr spoke to the National Post’s Sean Fitz-Gerald and now to the Toronto Sun’s Lance Hornby about CBA negotiations with a Gary Bettman-like level of obtuseness (i.e. he said a lot of nothing), and TSN’s posted three or four videos already freaking out about a potential lockout, but given that the NFL and NBA’s lockouts have yet to run their courses, I don’t think it’s time to freak out quite yet;
In the, “Making a big deal out of something that could have been kinda cool until the people doing something cool made it stupid” category, I weighed in on the Puck Daddy campaign to have Mike Commodore choose #64 for the sake of charity (and, apparently, pissing off the Chief), and I don’t think that it’s a big deal—nor do I think that the attacks on the Chief are anything than what Alanah suggested in turning something that’s supposed to be about one thing into a pissing contest, but if you’re interested, the Toronto Star’s Kevin McGran posted an article about players wearing numerically significant numbers, and we’ve gotten to the point that CNET.com’s Jeff Bakalar adds the computer geek’s version of events.
I think it’s cool as someone who used to own a Commodore 64 and I hope that Puck Daddy raises tons of money for charity. As for whether Commodore should wear the number, well, we’re not talking about a superstar here, and moreover, it’s up to him, not us;
If we’re gonna stick with stupidity, the Ottawa Citizen’s Wayne Scanlan managed to mention the aforementioned Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk while whining about MLB All-Star Game no-shows. In case you forgot, Lidstrom was legitimately hurt with a torn tendon in his elbow that happened to require in-hospital treatment during the All-Star weekend, and Datsyuk’s hip flexor injury was so bad that he could hardly walk, but the Chairman chose to suspend the pair for skipping the sponsors’ shindig;
Also regarding Datsyuk, let’s get a little more positive, via NHL.com’s John Kreiser, who suggests that Datsyuk (and former Wing Dominik Hasek) is one of the “most exciting” players to ever play the game…
Pavel Datsyuk (2001-02 - present)
The 1980s had the “Savardian Spin-o-rama.” The 2000s had the “Datsyukian Deke.”
Pavel Datsyuk’s offensive numbers with the Detroit Red Wings won’t match his countryman Ovechkin’s totals with Washington—they are different types of players. But while Datsyuk may not ring up 50 goals, he doesn’t have to take a backseat to anyone when it comes to highlight-reel moments.
Datsyuk is the NHL’s most accomplished thief—he’s led the League in takeaways in three of the past five seasons, losing his chance to repeat in 2010-11 due to injuries that cost him 26 games and dropped him to 11th. He’s also willing to try moves that other players only dream about—such as the one he made in Game 2 of the opening round of the playoffs against Phoenix this spring, when he broke in on the right side, dragged the puck backward between his legs, pulled it around his left leg and fired a puck that goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov managed to stop it with his pad, only to have Darren Helm easily convert the rebound.
Datsyuk also is a wizard in the shootout—his 26 goals in the tiebreaker are second among active players, and his 48.1 shooting percentage is fifth among active players with 15 or more goals. He’s the kind of player opponents never can take their eyes off. Neither can fans—they might miss something spectacular.
And if you missed it in the Day 5 report, I’m gonna re-post these commercials because they’re hilarious:
Kris Draper, Henrik Zetterberg, Danny Cleary and Pavel Datsyuk trust their expensive watch needs to Lucido Jewelry, and you should, too:
The Pavel Datsyuk video includes ubiquitous use of a model and Datsyuk’s frickin’ diamond-studded stick on fire!
That actually trumps the Danny “I love jewelry!” Cleary video:
As a reminder, Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia’s Tim Panaccio notes that the Wings will be playing against the Philadelphia Flyers in an exhibition game in London, Ontario on September 22nd;
And finally, I don’t subscribe to “ESPN Insider,” so if you’re willing to share what Lindsay Berra had to say about the Wings and Blue Jackets possibly moving to some sort of “Eastern” conference when the NHL realigns, let me know if it’s interesting—because it’s something we don’t really need to make a big deal about in July unless we want to.
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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.