The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/02/11 at 11:53 PM ET
Oh, this is delightful: Zdeno Chara and the Sedins’ tendencies to either stand in front of shots and/or jump out of the way produced a fantastic comment about the league’s best goaltender who knows how to get out of the way of the puck, one Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom, as noted by the Vancouver Province’s Mike Halford:
Question. What are the things that those guys like Holmstrom, Smyth and Byfuglien do that make them the elite, down-low, goalie-screening players?
Tim Thomas: Well, I think I haven’t had that much experience playing against some of those guys because I’m in the Eastern Conference. Having played against Ryan Smyth quite a bit, he’s good at getting his stick in front of your face by accident. It’s kind of like garage hockey, my uncles used to do it to me when I was a kid.
But Tomas Holmstrom, he’s very good at actually getting out of the way of the puck. He gets right in that lane. If you watch him, he’s like the guy in Matrix, if it’s a high shot, he rolls out of the way.
It’s an art and Holmstrom practices it to the point that it’s science for him, for sure.
Shifting focus, no pun intended, the Ottawa Sun’s Ken Warren reports that we’ll at least find out whether Paul MacLean has landed the Ottawa Senators’ head coaching job sooner than later:
New York — Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray says he could have his new coach in place as early as next week.
Murray has already interviewed “five or six” potential candidates, including Montreal Canadiens assistant Kirk Muller and Detroit Red Wings assistant Paul MacLean. Binghamton Senators coach Kurt Kleinendorst will get his face-to-face meeting once the American Hockey League final against the Houston Aeros ends.
“Hopefully, we will make a decision in a short period of time,” Murray said Thursday as he watched Kleinendorst put the Senators’ top affiliate through a surprisingly physical workout in advance of Friday’s Game 4 of the Calder Cup final against the Houston Aeros. “It doesn’t have to be done (quickly) for my sake, but for the coach’s sake. I’m very impressed with a couple of guys. I will be calling some of them back.”
Whomever he chooses, Murray says there are some vital qualities he wants in his new coach.
“A winner,” he said. “A guy that communicates, that can build a good team, but also at the same time, develop young players.”
The Senators’ general manager says it’s important the new bench boss is “comfortable dealing with people,” including the media.
This isn’t necessarily Red Wings-related, but you can bet that it will make Ken Holland’s attempts to re-sign Jonathan Ericsson more difficult than they should be, via the Canadian Press:
The St. Louis Blues inked defenceman Roman Polak to a five-year US$13.75 million contract extension Thursday.
The 25-year-old Polak played in 55 games for the Blues in 2010-11, recording three goals, nine assists and 33 penalty minutes.
Polak will earn $2 million next season, $2.45 million in the second season and $3.1 million in the last three years of the deal.
The six-foot-one, 227-pound Polak, who has eight goals, 41 assists and 143 penalty minutes in 227 NHL games, was set to become a restricted free agent July 1.
More directly speaking, while talking about two former teams he played for and coached, respectively, in the Vancouver Canucks and Atlanta Thrashers, Grand Rapids Griffins coach Curt Fraser spoke to the Grand Rapids Press’s Michael Zuidema about the Wings’ initial attempts to bolster the Griffins’ roster…
Fraser is excited to get the Griffins’ season started—especially since he is aiming to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2008-09, his first year as coach.
“I think this year you’ll see a big difference,” Fraser said. “I’m sure they’ll add a few more bodies to help us out, and hopefully our goaltending will finally find their footing and give us some strong performances. There are going to be lots of new faces and that youth and enthusiasm can go a long way.”
Today’s report regarding Nicklas Lidstrom’s future wasn’t much of anything, but as there are members of my audience who consider both Lidstrom and Chris Chelios to be “Eye Candy,” I’ll point you toward the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press’s galleries of the gents paddle-boarding in the Detroit River (dear Hockey Gods, if they’d fallen…the current in the river is astonishingly scary), while pointing out that the Wings’ Facebook page posted a gallery of the events as well.
In fact, the Detroit News posted a wallpaper-worthy picture of Chelios and Lidstrom flanking Kid Rock…
Hey, I’m allowed to admit that I’ve got a crush on Cherie Piper and consider Sweden-versus-Finland’s women’s hockey teams to be the battle of the goaltending babes in Kim Martin and Noora Raty, so it’s all good…
Also in the event-announcing vein, Core Sports Fitness has posted an itinerary for Kris Draper, Darren McCarty and Kirk Maltby’s GRIND LINE Hockey School 2011, which will take place from August 22-25 at Core Sports Fitness in the Troy Sports Center;
You can thank LetsGoWings for these two reminders:
1. On Friday, June 10th, McCarty and Claude Lemieux will take part in a charity dinner at Detroit’s “Rub BBQ” restaurant;
2. And on Saturday, June 11th, McCarty and Lemieux will be signing autographs again, this time at the Gibraltar Trade Center Taylor...
And I don’t usually like to end on a downer, but all I could do when I read this comment from the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman was say, “Yep” and feel grateful for the fact that the vast majority of the Red Wings’ players believe that there’s nothing un-manly or too annoying about wearing visors:
23. Steven Stamkos scored 96 goals the last two seasons, won a Rocket Richard Trophy and will be a recurring Hart Trophy candidate. But few things will define him as much as returning with a cage after taking a puck to the face in Game 7. First thing I thought of when that happened? Watching his boss, GM Steve Yzerman, frighteningly take one off the eye against Calgary in 2004. Happened right in front of me.
This sounds campy, but I hope that Johan Franzen keeps his visor on. Visors just make sense right now, and it bears repeating that throughout his career, the gent who just retired with three Stanley Cups, one Brian Rafalski, protected his eyes with nothing more than a $20 sheet of Lexan plastic.
Here’s hoping that today’s late-adopter and bit of eye candy will keep wearing one as he mans the Wings’ blueline for at least another year or two. We’re officially on Nicklas Lidstrom watch, folks.
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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.