The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/27/12 at 07:01 PM ET
Updated 7x with outside analysis at 11:48 PM: Update precedes the rest: Mike Babcock made a brilliant comment about the deadline to the Free Press’s Helene St. James:
More #RedWings Babcock: The price for other pieces wasn’t what we were willing to pay, or teams weren’t willing to trade them to us.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke to 97.1 the Ticket’s Mike Valenti and Terry Foster about his decision to only jettison Mike Commodore at the trade deadline, and 97.1 the Ticket posted a superb summation thereof…
“In most cases, in all cases, the players that were moved, we were aware of, in some cases, we made offers. Ultimately, obviously, we couldn’t, didn’t offer enough or they didn’t like what we were offering,” Holland said, adding that he “would have liked to make a move or two today.”
He added that he was disappointed in the lack of moves, but “there wasn’t anything there that fit.”
97.1 The Ticket’s Jeff Riger reported earlier that Detroit dealt defenseman Mike Commodore to the Lightning for a conditional 7th round draft pick. Commodore played in just 17 games with Detroit, registering two points, and was never really able to make a positive impact on the coaching staff to get consistent playing time, Riger said. Co-host Terry Foster told Holland many fans were disappointed a big move wasn’t made, asking, “Is this team capable of winning the Stanley Cup?”
“I think anybody that makes the playoffs is capable of a Stanley Cup run, history has shown that since 2005,” Holland responded. Holland talked about the Wings’ depth at goaltender, saying the team added Kyle Quincey five days ago.
“We’ve made the playoffs for 20 straight years,” Holland said. “Sometimes you pick high in the first round, we’re trying to hang onto our draft picks since 2005, it’s time to make some good deals, but if the good deals aren’t there, don’t do anything.”
Did Ken Holland speak to Scott Howson about Rick Nash? Kinda.
“I did talk to Scott [Howson] and his name came up, we haven’t had many conversations,” Holland said, adding he didn’t know if Detroit was “on that list.”
“The bottom line is we like our team,” Holland said. “Would I like to be on this call (saying) we added two or three players? Yes. We’ve got some young kids. The young kids are going to be our depth.”
Here’s his interview:
Biggy update: Here’s more on Lidstrom, Quincey and why the Red Wings chose to jettison Mike Commodore via the Free Press’s Helene St. James...
Smith has been called up from Grand Rapids and will play Tuesday when the Wings are at Columbus, to offset the loss of defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, who is out a month with a wrist injury. General manager told the Free Press defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom is “bruised, and is day-to-day” and that Kyle Quincey “has a sore groin, also day-to-day.
“We’ll see how Nick and Kyle feel in the morning.”
If one can’t go, Jakub Kindl will take his place. If neither can play, the Wings will need to call up another defenseman, probably Doug Janik, from the minors.
Holland said he had several conversations with colleagues around the NHL leading up to the 3 p.m. trade deadline regarding a forward, but the Wings ultimately opted to go with what they have up front, as their depth extends to Gustav Nyquist in the minors.
The Wings get a conditional seventh-round pick for Commodore. Commodore became extraneous last week when the Wings acquired Quincey. Commodore was signed last summer to a one-year, $1 million deal last summer for his size, but he never was able to become a regular in the lineup. He played just 17 games, registering two points.
The Wings are, on the other hand, very high on Smith, their 23-year-old, first-round pick from ‘07. He has two assists in the three games he’s played for them this season.
“I was in Grand Rapids a couple of times this week,” Holland said. “Brendan Smith was on the all-rookie team last year in the American league. He’s got 10 goals. Obviously a tremendous college career. To think that Mike Commodore can play 20 games in the NHL - he’s played 17 - and then go into the Stanley Cup playoffs? That’s pretty hard. So, Smith is playing. Kindl is a 25-year-old. They’ve got younger legs.”
Aside from trading defensemen Mike Commodore to Tampa Bay for a conditional seventh-round pick, the Red Wings stood pat as the trade deadline passed.
They weren’t able to acquire the depth forward they were seeking, but feel good about what they have. Holland said there were about four players who were traded today that they had interest in but they weren’t close to a deal.
“I don’t know if the prices were high, at the end of the day there just wasn’t a fit,’’ Holland said. “Tried to make a couple of moves. Sometimes our picks weren’t high enough because our team’s too high in the standings, sometimes we didn’t have the young players.
“There wasn’t a lot of rentals today. It has a lot to do with how many teams are in the hunt for a playoff spot.’‘
They were interested in Buffalo center Paul Gaustad, but the price was too high. He was traded to Nashville for a first-round pick.
And a fourth-rounder….
And here’s 5:38 of Ken Holland speaking to the media on the Wings’ website…
As well as a 4-minute interview with Mike babcock
Update #2: Here’s a little double posting from the Per the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff:
#redwings Holland: “I don’t know if the prices were high, but at the end of the day there just wasn’t a fit.”
#redwings Holland: “Sometimes our picks weren’t high enough because our team’s too high in the standings.
#redwings Lidstrom: “I took a puck to the ankle the last game and it was very swollen yesterday, but it’s gotten a little better today.”
#redwings Holland: “We made a move five days ago. Would we have liked to do something? Yes. But there wasn’t a fit.’‘
#redwings Holland: “We like our team, I like our depth. So we’ll see.’‘
#redwings Holland: “Some teams are bigger, they don’t have our skill. Let’s play.”
#redwings Holland: ” I don’t know that there was a move today that we could have made that could have gotten us bigger.”
#redwings Holland: “There was 3-4 players we would have liked to added . . . (con’d)
Holland (con’d) “. . . but ultimately, we either didn’t offer enough or they didn’t like what we were offering.’‘
And more from the Free Press’s Helene St. James:
#RedWings Babcock on deadline: It’s like going shopping - when the coat you want is 3,000 bucks, I’m too tight for that. (continued)
(continued) #RedWings Babcock: “That’s just the way I am. Pretty tight. So, I’ll keep wearing what I got.”
Update #3: In the unsolicited comments department, from CBS Detroit’s Eric Frost:
It’s okay to be disappointed. There is no blockbuster trade coming to the Red Wings this year. Fans who had deluded themselves into saving up for the Rick Nash jerseys sporting the winged wheel have been left wanting. Wings fans were in froth for something to happen. It’s kind of like inviting all of your friends over for a fireworks show and after the fuse sparks into the cylinder nothing happens. Now we all stand around staring at our Twitter screens and figure out what to do next.
The Red Wings have done an admirable job. Detroiters are talking hockey in February. That is a feat itself. Jimmy Howard became an All Star this year, the streak even made parts of January relevant, and Joey Mac was a local version of Rocky. All of this drama and intrigue, along with the spectre of Rick Nash making an entrance, has spoiled us. We were probably thinking there would be a splashy move because there has been so much splash so far in the NHL this year. Detroiters feel within striking distance of Stanley and maybe the Wings are one piece away.
Not so fast. The Red Wings can absolutely win the cup this year but it has nothing to do with the lack of forward depth. The Wings can score even though they are currently in a drought. They are only going as far this year as Jimmy Howard can take them. The good news is that the third year goaltender has been phenomenal. Despite a recent respite of losses. 35 has had an amazing season. He has played well in those recent defeats with the blue line evaporating into mist and leaving Howard vulnerable. The fact that your Twitter feed was nothing but a collection of dancing tumbleweeds at the trade deadline has absolutely no bearing on the ability for the Red Wings to get a championship this year.
Red Wing law states that you might be disappointed but in the end it will be the right move. I know that is a total analysis cop out but it’s also the truth. No organization in hockey has been as successful as the Ken Holland administration and to question its moves at this point is unnecessary.
Here is the good news: there really wasn’t anything that happened in NHL trade deadline. The Blackhawks are getting no help and Rick Nash is staying in Columbus. The Blue Jackets wanted a king’s ransom for Nash, a player that they will lose any way to free agency in the summer. Paul Gaustad heading to the Preds so Nashville is looking more dangerous. The Rangers acquired John Scott from Chicago in their continuing effort to resemble a UFC cage fighting team.
Vancouver is clearly thinking about going for a cup this year, trading rookie Cody Hodgson for Zack Kassian. Time will tell if Vancouver will get better from that move, but at first sniff it looks like precisely what the Wings did not do. The Vancouver trade looks a little panicky, as if there a number of tweaks separating Lord Stanley’s return to Canada.
The NHL will remain largely frozen for the rest of the year and that’s good for the Wings. Status quo has been pretty good to them as long as they are playing in downtown; the focus now shifts to securing home ice throughout the playoffs. In years past home ice has mattered little in the playoffs but this year provides a major psychological advantage.
I imagine the real free agency heat happens this summer. Holland has a lot of cap room to play with and will be poised to make some moves. It sounds like the instances of overvaluing players and asking for the ridiculous was ubiquitous at the sound of the trade horn. Vancouver may have over reached but Detroit left itself in a good position for this year and next.
As soon as Datsyuk gets healthy and the blue line plays better they can compete for home ice. It would have been a mistake for Ken Holland to overreact to the recent good fortune, trading away valuable role players and prospects for a big name. But let’s face it, that wasn’t going to happen anyway.
And here’s the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan’s deadline report....
“There wasn’t a fit,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said of Monday’s inactivity. “We tried to do a couple of moves, but either our (draft) picks weren’t high enough because our team is high in the standings, or we didn’t have the young players (other teams wanted).”
The Wings were reportedly in the hunt for Buffalo forward Paul Gaustad, but the Sabres were able to deal the big center to Nashville for the Predators’ first-round pick — something the Wings didn’t have anymore after trading for Quincey. Florida forward Mikael Samuelsson, a former Red Wing the organization would have liked to add, was not traded by the Panthers, who kept all their prospective unrestricted free agents for a playoff push.
“There was not a lot of rentals,” Holland said. “It was a matter of how many teams are in the hunt for a playoff spot.”
Holland was not frustrated by the lack of a trade, however.
“We’re second overall and we have a good team,” Holland said. “We made one move today. We think Brendan Smith is real close (to being an NHL regular) and it’s not fair for Mike Commodore to be here and be passed over by Brendan Smith. Our depth is internal. We made our move five days ago (Quincey). We’d like to have made a move, but there wasn’t a fit.”
Very, very, very well said, per FSD’s Art Regner (this is update #4) and his deadline report:
“We tried to make a couple of moves, but sometimes our picks weren’t high enough because our team is too high in standings or we didn’t have the young players,” Red Wing GM Ken Holland said of his team’s quiet day. “If somebody offers a second-round pick, we’ve got to offer a first-round because of where we sit in the standings. So ultimately there wasn’t a fit.”
Holland seemed to be a little disappointed but likes the depth of his team, saying that the Red Wings’ move was made last week, when they acquired defenseman Kyle Quincey from the Lightening for a first-round pick. Many pundits believed that the Wings were seeking a big veteran forward to shore up their third or fourth line. Speculation is that coach Mike Babcock is apprehensive to use some of the Red Wings’ younger forwards during the playoffs because they lack size and experience.
“In order to get bigger, we’ve got to reduce the skill level,” Holland said. “I think that’s something that has to happen over time, over two to three years. You can’t sit here and think, in one day, you’re going to change your team from a skill team, that we’re going to eliminate skill and add size.”
The Wings are who they are, and that’s fine with Holland. He’s more than happy to take this current roster and let them play the year out. Depending on how they do will determine what direction the team will go during the offseason. Trade-deadline day use to be a free-for-all, a trade being announced every 30 seconds. Holland said that those days are long gone.
“It’s a draft-pick and prospect league,” Holland said. “What I mean by that is that a lot of your team has to be homegrown.”
Parity is also an issue. So many teams are still in the hunt for a playoff spot that there are many more buyers than sellers. Term and length of contracts also plays into the mix.
“We’re committed to a retool, a rebuild,” Holland said. “We like some of our kids. That was part of the Commodore trade today. We want Brendan Smith to play. (Gustav) Nyquist is a young player we like, and there are some others. We didn’t want to do anything foolish today and sacrifice a whole bunch of future pieces for a one-shot run.”
“You sit in that room, you work the phones, all your staff is there,’’ Holland said. “A phone call comes through, a name comes up. You look at everybody (and say), ‘Here’s what it’s going to (take).’ Everybody’s nodding ‘No, no, no, it doesn’t make any sense.’ You pick up the phone and make a (counter) offer and the other guy comes back and says, ‘No, no, no, we don’t like what you’re offering.’ Well, that’s all we really got to offer.’‘
And so the Red Wings did not acquire that decent-sized depth forward they were seeking. They made offers for a few players, including Buffalo center Paul Gaustad, but the price was too high.
“There wasn’t a fit, so we weren’t close on anything,’’ Holland said. “We like our team, we’ve played at a high level. There were 3-4 players we would have liked to added but we either didn’t offer enough or they didn’t like what we were offering.’‘
“I think it’s the standings,’’ Holland said. “You look in the West, so many teams close. If somebody offers a second-round pick, we got to offer a first (rounder) because of where we sit in the standings. Ultimately, either we didn’t have the assets or they weren’t the type of players we were looking to add to our team.’‘
“I thought we did a real good thing, trading a first-round pick, and got Quincey,’’ Babcock said. “We really felt we needed depth at that position.’’ He added “you can always hope for a whole bunch of players. It’s like going shopping. You want to buy a lot,’’ Babcock said. “But when the coat you want is 3,000 bucks, I’m too tight for that. So I keep wearing what I’ve got.’‘
We’re probably not a big team. In order to get bigger, we got to reduce the skill level. That’s got to happen over time, over two and three years. You can’t think you’re going to change your team from a skill team and add size at the deadline.’‘
“I think we do have the depth up front and we added Quincey,’’ Lidstrom said. “And I know Kenny is real high on the depth that we have in the minors. So I feel confident with the team we have.”
“We’re sitting in second in the West with who we are, we might as well continue to be who we are, see where it leads,’’ Holland said. “Reassess in the summer time.’‘
And Holland told Khan that he was not amused about the Stuart rumor:
“Somebody is sitting at a computer and making up stories, playing general manager,’’ Holland said. “And in this world today, when you got one person playing general manager, the whole world jumps on it and runs. On one hand it’s amusing, but on the other, it’s real people, (and) there’s absolutely zero truth.’‘
Holland, who told Stuart six weeks ago that he wasn’t going to be traded, said he had a brief conversation with Rangers GM Glen Sather three weeks ago, but it wasn’t about Stuart.
“I have no idea how a rumor like that starts,’’ said Holland, who called it “ludicrous.’’ He added, “I think the players also understand it’s a different world today and rumors run rampant.’‘
Stuart will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Red Wings approached him about extending his contract, but he said he will decide on his future after the season. The club is not optimistic he will return. Stuart’s family lives in San Jose and can’t relocate for personal reasons, forcing the defenseman to make long commutes a few times during breaks in the schedule. He might seek a deal with a team closer to home.
“To think that Mike Commodore can play 20 games in the NHL, this year he’s played 17, and then go into the Stanley Cup playoffs, is pretty hard,” Holland said.
“You can’t play 20 games and be ahead of guys on the farm team,” Holland said. “Mike wanted to play. It’s an opportunity for Mike and it’s an opportunity for us, too I didn’t feel right bringing up Brendan Smith and having Mike Commodore being passed over by Brendan Smith,” Holland added.
“Smith was on the all-rookie team last year in the AHL, he’s got 10 goals, tremendous college career,” Holland said. “We’re very high on Smith, he’s young but when the playoffs start, we expect to have Jonathan Ericsson healthy, we think our seventh and eighth defensemen are going to be Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith, also got two vets down there in Doug Janik and Garnet Exelby. When you start getting into your 10th and 11th and 12th defensemen, we’re as deep as anybody. Part of the puzzle of going for a long playoff run is health.”
Commodore, 32, was injured in the preseason so fell behind early. He played only 17 games and has no goals, one assist and 12 penalty minutes.
“It would have been nice to see this thing through here,” Commodore said. “They’ve got as good a chance to win as anybody else, but this is probably better for me. I get an opportunity. I never really got an opportunity here, was in and out.”
He was a healthy scratch for 30 games.
“I have no idea why,” Commodore said. “You’d have to ask (Babcock). The D core is really good here. I don’t even want to speculate. I’m fine,” Commodore added. “It just didn’t work out. It’s not the first team where it didn’t work out. It’s time to move on.”
Not surprisingly, Pleiness says that Holland and Lightning GM Steve Yzerman hashed out the deal when Kyle Quincey became a Wing…
And as the Windsor Star’s Dave Waddell suggests, letting Commodore leave more or less gives Commodore a fighting chance to salvage his career:
“They got as good a chance to win as anybody else, but this is probably better for me,” Commodore said “I played 17 games, was a healthy scratch for 30 games, that’s not going to cut it. Hopefully, I get a better opportunity in Tampa Bay.”
Wings coach Mike Babcock played the realist Monday when asked about the team’s inability to acquire a physical forward.
“It’s like going shopping. You want to buy a lot,” Babcock said. “But when the coat you want is 3,000 bucks, I’m too tight for that. That’s just the way I am. I’m tight, so I keep wearing what I’ve got.”
“I thought we did a real good thing, trading a first-round pick and got Quincey,” Babcock said. “We really felt we needed depth at that position. We acquired the depth we needed.”
However, finally having the 23-year-old Smith in Detroit certainly seemed to lift his spirits. The six-foot-two, 199-pound Smith has 12 goals and 32 points in 63 games for Grand Rapids this season.
“He came on the West Coast with us (last fall), he was good enough to play on the team at that point,” Babcock said. “We felt the minutes in the minors were important. We felt he’d be on the team by the end. He could’ve probably played all year, probably could’ve played last year. Actually, if the truth be told, the coaching staff wanted him, the general manager wanted to make sure he got some seasoning.”
The Wings’ players also said they were fine heading into the post-season with what they already have.
“I think we do have the depth up front and we added Quincey and traded Commodore today to add to the depth,” Nick Lidstrom said. “I know Kenny is real high on the depth that we have in the minors as well, so I feel confident with the team that we have now.”
“When the playoffs start we expect to have Jonathan Ericsson healthy,” Holland said. “We think our seventh and eighth defencemen are going to be Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith. “When you start getting into your 10th and 11th and 12th defencemen, we’re as deep as anybody. “Part of the puzzle of going of going for a long playoff run is health.”
The Free Press’s Helene St. James provides a superb overview...
Ken Holland kept coming back to the same phrase as he assessed why the Red Wings were quiet on trade deadline day: There wasn’t a fit. They wanted to add a forward, but not at the prices charged by the few NHL teams that were sellers before Monday’s 3 p.m. closing bell. The Wings made the one move they considered vital last week when they beefed up their defense by acquiring Kyle Quincey, trading their first-round pick in June to do so. Quincey’s arrival, in fact, prompted the one small deal the Wings did make Monday, which was to ship extraneous defenseman Mike Commodore to Tampa Bay for a conditional seventh-rounder. They turned around and called up highly touted prospect Brendan Smith, who will be in the lineup tonight against Columbus. So the deadline came and went for the Wings. Critics will bemoan they should have done something — especially after Western Conference rivals Nashville, Vancouver and Chicago all did — but Holland isn’t the panicky type, and doesn’t buy into having brawn over brains.
“I like the skill,” he said Monday afternoon, standing in the middle of the Wings’ locker room at Joe Louis Arena. Within sight was the NHL standings board, which showed Detroit second overall in the league.
“Some teams are bigger,” Holland said. “They don’t have our skill. Let’s play. I don’t know that there was a move today that we could have made that would have gotten us bigger. The bottom line is, if you are going on a long playoff run, the top half of your roster for the most part has got to be healthy. You can have the odd injury. Part of it is matchup, part of it is luck.”
Wings coach Mike Babcock offered a savvy analogy for what went down around the league: “It’s like going shopping. You want to buy lots, but when the coat you want is 3,000 bucks, I’m too tight for that. That’s just the way I am. Pretty tight. So, I’ll keep wearing what I got. You can always hope for a whole bunch more, but the price for other pieces wasn’t what we were willing to pay, or teams weren’t willing to trade them to us. That’s just the way life is.”
Were they close to making a deal? “Not very close at all,” Holland said. “Talked to a lot of teams. We made some offers. There were three or four players we would have liked to have, but either we didn’t offer enough, or they didn’t like what we were offering.”
The Wings didn’t want to move any of their regular players. Prospects like Smith and forward Gustav Nyquist were off limits. It really came down to offering draft picks, and because the Wings finish so high season after season, they pick low — meaning that if most teams offer a third-rounder for someone, the Wings would need to use their second-round pick to compete. Ultimately they decided to stick with the players who’d had won a league-high 41 games — in the West’s toughest division, no less.
“We like our team,” Holland said. “We’ve played at a high level. I’m not going to move a bunch of future pieces for one shot at a run. There either is a fit, or there isn’t a fit. There wasn’t a fit. Are we a big team? No. I can’t do that in one day. In order to get bigger, we’ve got to reduce the skill level, and I think that’s something that’s got to happen over time. You can’t sit at the deadline and in one day think you’re going to change your team from a skilled team, and add size. We’re in second in the West with what we are. We may as well continue to be who we are, and see where it leads us.”
The one thing Holland was pissed off about? The bogus Stuart to the Rangers rumor, as the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness noted. Stuart was all smiles when the media came to his locker telling him the word was that he’d been traded, politely playing it off with a grin as opposed to panic given that he knew the Wings were keeping him…
“I’ll have to go check my phone,” Stuart said. “I really don’t know what’s going on. That’s kind of funny. It’s an eventful day,” Stuart added. “A lot of it is sitting around and watching nothing happen. You definitely pay attention around you unless you’re on the ice practicing. You have no control of it, you just have to wait and see what happens.”
Holland found it a bit amusing as well.
“Somebody is sitting at a computer and making up stories, playing general manager,” Holland said. “And in this world today, when you’ve got one person playing general manager, the whole world jumps on it and runs.”
Holland said six weeks ago Stuart, who’s an unrestricted free agent after this season and may not re-sign, wasn’t going anywhere.
“I haven’t talked to Glen Sather in three weeks,” Holland said. “We’ve had one brief conversation and I haven’t talked to anyone with the Rangers and my conversation with Glen had nothing to do with Brad Stuart. I have no idea how rumors like that starts,” Holland added. “If you’re Brad and you’re sitting there, it’s a ludicrous rumor, I don’t know how it starts, he’s got a family, but I think the players also understand it’s a different world today and rumors run rampant.”
And that’s exactly what several Wings players talked about when speaking to the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff, either today or over the past four or five days as I recall some of these quotes from last Thursday and Friday:
“I don’t know what I’d do if I had to go somewhere else,” Kindl said, spying the blank space where Commodore’s nameplate once hung. “Probably freak out.”
The frothing of the mouth in anticipation, and hand-wringing frenzy at its conclusion, conceal a stark reality about trade-deadline moves. This isn’t fantasy sports, These are real deals, involving real people.
“It changes people’s lives,” Detroit defenceman Niklas Kronwall said.
That’s the part of hockey that you never know,” Wings forward Jan Mursak said. “Most of the hockey players switch a lot of teams during their careers.”
“One of the guys asked me today if I had my cellphone on vibrate,” Kindl said.
Mursak was struck by the reality of the situation.
“You never know when will be the last day with some of the players here,” he said.
“The whole hoopla of the day, it’s kind of funny to watch, but it’s not really ever that much fun to be part of it,” Emmerton said.
In terms of the actual reality of the day for the Wings’ players, Pleiness notes that the Wings were and are more concerned with the health of Nicklas Lidstrom, who will probably play tomorrow despite a sore ankle, and Kyle Quincey, who probably won’t due to a sore groin, and both injuries happened to occur during the Wings-Avs game which took Jonathan Ericsson out for the next month:
“The puck came hard around and kind of skipped and hit me right in the ankle,” Lidstrom said. “I hope the swelling goes down so I can put my skate on, that’s been the problem getting the skate on and tying my skate, so we have to wait and see how it is in the morning.”
The injury occurred in the second period and didn’t allow him to untie his skates in the locker room before the third.
“I know that I couldn’t do it because it would have swollen up right away,” Lidstrom said. “So I kept it on and waited until after the game and then it got real sore.”
Quincey tweaked his groin in the first period Saturday against his former team.
“It was the first period,” Quincey recalled. “I actually played with a broken skate blade on my left skate, I was almost skating on one leg, which didn’t help the groin any. Then it gradually got worse. I felt pretty good in the third.”
Lidstrom and Quincey also spoke to Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Regner...
“It’s day-to-day,” said Quincey, who had a battery of tests done to make sure the injury isn’t serious. “I hope to get back in the swing of things. It"s frustrating.”
Both Lidstrom and Quincey expect to play Friday night vs. Minnesota. Red Wing coach Mike Babcock told reporters Monday that Smith and Jakub Kindl will both be in Detroit’s lineup against Columbus.
“Injuries are a part of hockey,” said Kindl, who has appeared in 42 games this season for the Wings and has a goal and 10 assists. “I didn’t expect that I was going to be in the lineup this quick. You never want to see a teammate go down, but it happens. I just have to be ready.”
Kindl says the key for him will be to keep his game simple and “show them I can play.”
As for Smith, he has an admirer in Babcock.
“He’s an NHL player, probably could have played this year, probably could have played last year (in Detroit),” Babcock said. “If the truth be told, the coaching staff wanted him, and the general manager made sure he got some seasoning. That’s what we do here.”
Smith, 23, has appeared in 47 games for Grand Rapids and has 10 goals and 22 assists. He’s a plus-7 and has 74 penalty minutes. Smith was named to the AHL All-Rookie team last season. When asked about Detroit’s lack of activity during Monday’s trade deadline, Babcock was somewhat philosophical.
“It’s like going shopping,” he said. “You want to buy lots, but when the coat you want is 3,000 bucks, I’m too tight for that. That’s just the way I am, pretty tight. So I just keep wearing what I’ve got.”
And after offering you an interview WXYT’s Ken Kal gave to WBBL’s Huge Show...
I’ll conclude for the moment with this from Pleiness:
“You sit in that room, you work the phones, all your staff is there,” Holland said. “A name comes up, a phone call comes through, you look at everybody, here’s what it’s going to be, everybody’s nodding no, no, no, it doesn’t make any sense. You pick up the phone and say it doesn’t make any sense, so you make an offer and the other guy comes back and says ‘No, no, no, we don’t like what you’re offering.’ Well, that’s all we’ve really got to offer. It is what it is. We like our team, I like our depth. So we’ll see.”
Update #7: I know that many of you believe that the Wings absolutely lost the Stanley Cup—or something close to it—when the Predators acquired Paul Gaustad and the Wings didn’t, so here are outsiders’ takes on the Wings’ moves:
Here’s ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun‘s assessment of the Wings’ inactivity…
The Detroit Red Wings are a big-time Cup contender. Again. They added defenseman Kyle Quincey last week in what was a solid addition, but weren’t able to fill their other need, bottom-six forward size and grit. They tried on Paul Gaustad but didn’t have what it took to make the deal: a first-round pick, which they dealt for Quincey. They checked on Samuel Pahlsson but didn’t have the pair of fourth-round picks the Jackets wanted. Such is life. I’m not too concerned for the Wings, they’re still a big-time powerhouse and now have all kinds of cap room ($20 million-plus) for the offseason.
And Scott Burnside, who gives the Wings a “stock down” rating:
Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings had significant interest in Paul Gaustad, but having traded their first-round pick in the 2012 draft for Kyle Quincey, Detroit GM Ken Holland didn’t have the resources needed to get a deal done.
In his insider blog, ESPN’s Craig Custance has this to say about Rick Nash...
There will be no shortage of suitors for Nash during the offseason with the Philadelphia Flyers, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Boston Bruins, Sharks and Rangers all potentially making a run at it him around the draft. In the meantime, there will need to be some fences mended. Nash’s agent, Joe Resnick, made it clear that the Nash camp would have preferred to have this situation settled by the trade deadline and now it’s going to drag out until the summer, which isn’t an ideal situation for the Blue Jackets or for Nash.
And this about the Predators’ decision to hang onto Ryan Suter:
In the competitive Western Conference, there won’t be an easy round, so there’s no guarantee Nashville even matches last year’s trip to the second round. If Suter decides he’s not crazy about the future in Nashville, the return for his negotiating rights at the draft in Pittsburgh will be considerably less than what Nashville would have received today.
The Red Wings said they wanted to depth at forward and on defense at the deadline, and were able to make one wish come true with Quincey. The cost, however, was high, with the team sacrificing a first-round pick.
But USA Today’s Kevin Allen believes that the Wings did okay:
7. Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings were quiet on trade deadline day, only moving Mike Commodore for a seventh-round pick, but last week they added Kyle Quincey who will play 20-plus minutes for them. Given the lack of major deals, the Quincey deal looks even more impressive
Sportsline’s Adam Gretz didn’t rank the Wings as a winner or a loser, nor did the Sporting News’s Jesse Spector, but the Hockey News’s Ryan Kennedy tosses us a change-up via his take on the Commodore trade:
ANALYSIS: Looks like we should get used to seeing Detroit-Tampa trades in the next few years with former Wings lifer Steve Yzerman helming the Bolts. In this specific deal, Commodore provides the Lightning with a warm body after several years in the wilderness with Columbus and most recently the Red Wings. The affable veteran gives Tampa size and a spot on a porous blueline that already dealt Pavel Kubina to Philadelphia and lost Mattias Ohlund to long-term injury. With Victor Hedman and Marc-Andre Bergeron also on the shelf, Commodore will be a welcome addition for at least the short term and his $1 million salary is easy to swallow. The big blueliner will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. The conditional draft pick acquired by Detroit is mere gravy; the Wings had little use for Commodore. -RK
The Ottawa Sun’s Chris Stevenson didn’t mention the Wings in his analysis, and the Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek believes that the “winners” will be determined in April and May, Yahoo Sports’ Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski was amazed at the price Gaustad fetched, Yahoo Sports’ Nicholas J. Cotsonika didn’t mention the Wings during his winners/losers column, and…
The Score’s Chris Lund notes that the Wings may have not made many moves, but over 9,000,000 people issued 5,700+ Tweets about the Wings’ activity over the course of February 26th and the 27th up to the deadline itself:
The Red Wings, who figured to play a larger role than they did, were only mentioned 5,742 times. Sure it seems like a lot, but when you compare that to the Predators who were active, picking up Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad, and mentioned 8,888 times, it’s not that much activity. The Red Wings have a much bigger fanbase though, as they had 9 million impressions to the Predators 12 million, despite the big disparity in tweets. Simply put, the Preds fanbase just doesn’t have the social media presence other teams do. Detroit on the other hand was expected to be active on deadline day but simply didn’t pull the trigger on anything. Kyle Quincey was their big acquisition this past week.
Update #7.5: Per Pro Hockey Talk’s Mike Halford‘s take on the top ten deadline day stories:
Motor City silence: If Detroit falls short in the playoffs, Red Wings fans might look back at the deadline and wonder why GM Ken Holland wasn’t more aggressive. Here’s his explanation after doing nothing more than ship out Mike Commodore: “There wasn’t a fit. We tried to do a couple of moves, but either our (draft) picks weren’t high enough because our team is high in the standings, or we didn’t have the young players (other teams wanted).”
Also of note from the Tampa Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson:
“We really think a couple of young players have gone by Mike this year,” Detroit general manager Ken Holland told TSN television. “And Mike has been a real good pro and if he felt there was an opportunity to play here, he wanted to stay.’‘
Holland said he stayed in contact with Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman after the two pulled off the trade that sent defenseman Kyle Quincey to the Red Wings in exchange for a first-round draft pick.
“After we did the Quincey deal I stayed in touch with Steve and told him we might have an opportunity to move Commodore, so we stayed in touch and completed it this morning,’’ Holland told TSN. “(Commodore) really wants to play and try to earn a contract for next year.’‘
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