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The Malik Report

Red Wings evening stuff: Matrix Homer, MacLean news and keeping Big E just got tougher

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.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


german_wing's avatar

still hoping for mandatory visors. and still can’t understand why so many guys refuse to wear one ... the argument of “it impairs my vision” sounds to me like a guy complaining about that a seatbelt impairs his movement.

i’ll bet a years’ salary that manny malhotra won’t take the ice again without a visor.

i’ve never played d or f professionally, only goalie, so all i can do is wince when some player complains about something obstructing his vision ... think a goalie’s mask doesn’t do that? of course it does ... but your own security should be rated higher. kinda hard to have good vision with just one eye.

love stevie y for the fact that he’s gonna ask all of his players to put on visors from next season on.

and also reminds me of the discussion about helmets ... there were quite a few guys who refused to wear one before they became mandatory, and that just sounds ever so stupid by now.

Posted by german_wing from Toronto, Canada on 06/03/11 at 01:28 AM ET

Speedy's avatar

Noora Raty is the best looking to me of the 3 George,all are very skilled players

Posted by Speedy on 06/03/11 at 01:42 AM ET

Nate A's avatar

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.

If that’s even close to what it’s gonna take to sign Ericsson, I’d rather we just walk away.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 06/03/11 at 01:43 AM ET

Chet's avatar

i think of roman polak as a thick-but-short, slow, marginally-useful defender on a bad team.

so, in my mind the only differences between him and 52 are that he’s shorter and on a bad team. i guess in fairness polak takes the body a bit more than 52, really.

the problem with not resigning 52 as i now see it is in a year or two at most, detroit’s going to have only stuart and kronwall left from this quote-unquote era, with stuart likely slowing down a bit as he ages. smith and kindl will likely be NHL’ers by then but are by and large a pretty unknown quantity, meaning the big club still needs 2-3 NHL-ready defensemen of varying calibers. this is an argument for keeping 52, plus god knows he may yet have some upside.

on the con side, there will be plenty of free agents each of the next two summers (some better than others admittedly), and we’ll have a nice amount of cap space to sign what’s needed as needed. however, if we sign 52 for something like $2.5-3M averaged out over i’m guessing 2-3 or even more years in term, we’re handicapped from picking up someone better, or as good as him but cheaper. and if he fails to develop any further than he has to this point, we’re stuck with a guy who, it can at least be argued, has NHL size with KHL skills for three or more years. not good!

luckily, i don’t get paid to make these decisions, but if i did, i’d be looking around the league at blue-chip d-men coming into free agency over the next 2-3 years while thinking about what i want to do with big E.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 06/03/11 at 01:44 AM ET

blammo's avatar

I went to the opening game of the Oilers/Sharks series when the Oil went on their run to the SCF.

Watched in awe as Smyth stood in front of the net at the end of warm-up while pucks flew by his ears at 90 miles an hour and he coolly bobbed and weaved and batted most of them down into the net. Then he scooped up a bunch of pucks and tossed to them to fans over the glass.

Very cool.

Posted by blammo from Vancouver, BC on 06/03/11 at 05:01 AM ET

DetCapC19's avatar

$13.75M/5 years = $2.75M cap hit.

Given that its expected that Ericsson will sign for between $2.25-2.5M, this seems right on par with what we’d want.

If Polak is a comparable and E is willing to take a discount, I think we can still get him signed to a contract worth $2.25-2.5M.  Term might be an issue for some, but if he wants 5-years, we can probably get it closer to the $2.25M mark.

I think this is a good thing (if you think signing Ericsson to a cap hit of $2.25-2.5M is a good thing).

Posted by DetCapC19 from Vancouver, BC on 06/03/11 at 01:47 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

but as there are members of my audience who consider both Lidstrom and Chris Chelios to be “Eye Candy,”

You know my daughter?

Posted by RWBill on 06/03/11 at 03:56 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

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:

This demonstrates why the Blues are the Blues.  If Ericcssson’s eyes see nothing but $$$ he’s welcome to follow them to St. Louise.

Posted by RWBill on 06/03/11 at 04:08 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Yeah, it’s a Blues being the Blues move, big time. And no, I don’t know your daughter, but I’m familiar with the “Nick is Dreamy” crowd, as well as the slightly older, “Cheli’s still hot” crowd. Sometimes it’s good to cater to them.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/03/11 at 04:12 PM ET

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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.