Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings ISP issues report: Babcock ‘selling’ MacLean? On realignment and other tidbits

No internet service and no TV make George something something…So my apologies for the delayed “overnight” report. We’ll kick off this little round-up of Red Wings-related news from the last 16 hours with an eyebrow-raiser from the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, who suggests that Red Wings coach Mike Babcock’s encouraging a scenario in which he’d have to replace both assistant coaches:

Saw Sportsnet’s Ian Mendes in Vancouver last Tuesday and asked him who he thought would get the coaching job in Ottawa. He said, “Paul MacLean.” Think Ian’s nailed this one. And, just like Mike Babcock helped sell Guy Boucher to Steve Yzerman, he’s selling MacLean to his old boss, Bryan Murray.

At this point, educated guesswork would point the Wings’ coaching search toward Bob Boughner (if he’s interested) and probably promotion from within, with video coach Keith McKittrick in the running for a job as he does quite a bit of on-ice work. I’m not sure if the Wings would consider promoting Jiri Fischer, Griffins coach Curt Fraser or Griffins assistant coach Jim Paek given how superbly they guide the Wings’ prospects toward the NHL.

Today’s other big story involves the obvious via the Oakland Press’s Pat Caputo: if the Red Wings hope to out-compete the Nashville Predators or Columbus Blue Jackets in the three teams’ attempts to successfully lobby the NHL’s Board of Governors to move them to the Eastern Conference over the next year or so, the Wings will need more than Jimmy Devellano and Ken Holland simply working behind the scenes to get the job done…

As a Wings move would leave Chicago as the only Original Six team in the West and would no longer provide easy sell-outs for Western opponents who get a ticket boost from the Wings’ visits, Detroit owner Mike Ilitch will have to very aggressively and very publicly lobby for said change:

This is where Ilitch must speak out if necessary. Loudly. If it doesn’t work through normal protocol, he has to take it a step beyond and discuss it publicly.

Ilitch has owned the Red Wings since the early1980s. He has taken plenty of hits for the so-called “good of the league.” But enough is enough. Time to turn up the public pressure on Bettman. And it may have to come from Ilitch himself. Bettman is deaf to any concerns of hockey fans in Detroit. This spring, it was ridiculous the way the league reacted to octopi being tossed onto the ice. The league completely takes its strongest American franchise for granted.

It has been that way from the beginning of Bettman’s too-long tenure.

What is the worst thing Bettman could do? Fine Ilitch for speaking out? It’s not going to be anywhere close to the cost in extra jet fuel he has to pay each season for the Red Wings’ western road trips.

Red Wing fans understand the inequity of their team playing in the Western Conference. Anybody holding their breath Gary Bettman does? Time for Mike Ilitch to stand up for them — and make Bettman listen.

I don’t believe that it will ever happen, but Caputo does his best to make the case for the Wings’ move East in both his column and via a video discussing the issue:

I’m assuming that the Red Wings’ assistant GM, Jim Nill, doesn’t spend his time doing much lobbying at the boardroom level as he’s busy getting the team’s scouts on the same page regarding the team’s NHL Entry Draft strategy and speaking to Griffins GM Bob McNamara about building the Wings’ AHL affiliate at this time of year, but I had to snicker when I read these quips from the Hockey News’s Mark Malinowski’s “Getting to Know” column about Mr. Nill on Sunday evening:

Nickname: “‘The Goose.’ I’m from Hanna, home of the Canada Goose. So they call me ‘The Goose.’ Paul MacLean gave me that one.”
Funny Hockey Memory: “Some I can’t tell (laughs). I remember being with the Olympic team. Glenn Anderson would always take the dollar bill out with the fishing line. It was in the airport. Back then, we didn’t charter; always commercial flights. We’d always have time between flights. And he’d have the fishing line and the dollar bill. Hangin’ out, he’d put it on the floor somewhere and people would walk by, go to grab it, he’d pull the dollar bill away. He’d hang it in the air, people would jump at it, he’d pull it away. So that would be some of the funnier moments.”

And who knew?

Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: “Quite a few. Golf and flying airplanes.”

Regarding the draft, I’ve found that attempting to discern the Red Wings’ first-round pick is usually a futile exercise, but the Free Press’s George Sipple did a nice job of rounding up the Wings’ would-be picks via “mock drafts”:

The Red Wings have the 24th overall pick in the draft.

Among those who could be available when the Wings pick are Saginaw Spirit forward Brandon Saad, Swedish defenseman Jonas Brodin of Farjestad, Swedish center Victor Rask of Leksands and Tyler Biggs and Rocco Grimadli of the U.S. National Team Development Program.

Here’s a look at who the Wings could end up with, based on various mock drafts.

The Hockey News mock draft by Ryan Kennedy has the Wings selecting Brodin. Kennedy writes that Brodin “sounds like a classic Wings pick; great stride and puck skills.”

At http://www.nhl.com three, different mock drafts are posted with three different selections for the Wings. Adam Kimelman has the Wings taking defenseman Joseph Morrow of the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League, Mike G. Morreale has them taking Plymouth Whalers forward Rickard Rakell and Steven Hoffner projects forward Niklas Jensen of Oshawa (OHL) as the pick.

My uneducated guess is that the Wings would have no trouble taking Rackell or Alex Khokhlachev, but you never really know.

Also of Red Wings-related note this afternoonTSN’s Play of the Year final does not include Pavel Datsyuk. Jordan Eberle’s first NHL goal beat out a Datsyukian deke vs. St. Louis;

We’ll go back to Elliotte Friedman for a wise remark about the Wings’ newest Hall of Famer-to-be:

I don’t know if there’s a city in the NHL whose fans love their TV analyst like Detroit loves Mickey Redmond. And what a timely honour for Terry Jones, who was pulled off the Vancouver/San Jose series for chasing down Daryl Katz the night the Oilers and the city of Edmonton reached a tentative arena deal. (Apparently, he was supposed to focus on the game. Whatever.) Two very deserving Hall of Fame Inductees.

• Detroit Hockey Weekly’s Paul Harris also took note of Redmond’s induction;

• In the “probable alumni” department, DetroitRedWings.com’s Dave Burke looked at statistical milestones achieved by Ruslan Salei (hint: not many of them involve scoring);

• Ignore the moron talking about MacLean and Todd McLellan in the same breath;

• And as a follow-up, I mentioned that Evgeny Artyukhin had been offered an NHL contract from the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the big goon’s turned it down and will remain with SKA St. Petersburg.


Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


MsRedWinger's avatar

Bettman is deaf to any concerns of hockey fans in Detroit.

My pick for understatement of the year.

Sorry about your internet problems.  Glad you’re back!

cool smile

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 06/06/11 at 03:50 PM ET

monkey's avatar

I know you said to ignore the moron, but traitor?  Seriously?  Who considers Hot Toddy a traitor?  We snicker at him behind his back and sometimes pity the poor fool, but “traitor” is far too harsh a word.  Actually I miss the bastard.  Wings defense has not been the same since he left.

Posted by monkey from Prague on 06/06/11 at 06:33 PM ET

cowboycoffee's avatar

Ryan Lambert sux donkey peni

Posted by cowboycoffee from San Francisco, CA on 06/06/11 at 07:39 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I miss McLellan, too.

My mother kindly brought a nasty virus back from work (she’s a nurse), so I’m both pissy about having no internet and I’m sniffly…

And after that slag-fest disguised as a “eulogy,” I feel the same way about Lambert that I do about Bettman: if I get to be in the same room with him, I will punch him in the face.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/06/11 at 10:02 PM ET


The off-seaon, it’s like dying a slow death.

Posted by gt500x from Detroit on 06/06/11 at 11:38 PM ET


Bettman is the worse commissioner in sports. While the other three are also stooges for the system, Bettman has done little for the Red Wings and tried his best to promote the Crosby/Ovechkin angle. Bettman is a little man that does not understand, the Red Wings are the best organization in sports period. The face of the NHL should be represented by quality role models like Lidstrom and before him Yzerman. They have class, soft-spoken and show the young people how to conduct yourself as gentlemen.

He’s had chances but missed them everytime. Example: the 2002 Red Wings probably had the greatest talent ever assembled on one team, 10 Hall of Famers were on that team, when all is said and done, plus the GM and coach. This will break the record held by the 1956-7 Montreal Canadians. Already in: Yzerman, Robaitelle, Brett Hull and Igor Larionov. In the future we will see: Sergei Fedorov, Brendan Shanahan, Chris Chelios, Dominik Hasek, Nick Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk. Since the President’s Cup was introduced in 1985, the Red Wings have won 6, the next best team has won 2.

What about international prowess at it’s highest level, the Gold Club: Players who’ve won the Stanley Cup, World Championship and Olympic Gold, 24 men are in this exclusive club: 8 are current or former Red Wings, again, most of any team, Colorada is second with 5. Viacheslav Fetisov former Red Wing, has won 11 total: 2 Stanley Cups, 2 Olympic Gold and 7 World Championships, tops of anyone, 2nd is Igor Larionov another Red Wing has 9.

The advent around 1990 of the big infilitration of European players was pioneered by the Red Wings with their famous Russian 5: Fetisov, Larionov, Kozlov, Fedorov and Konstantinov. The evolution of the game to a swift skating, puck possession with precision passing is part of what makes the game great today. This is the Red Wings legacy along with so much more. How about 20 straight years in the playoffs, the longest in North American sports!

The game is now at it’s height with the influence of great hockey players from the European nations. It is time Bettman understand that the Detroit Red Wings are the centerpiece of the NHL and it would serve him well to recognize the achievements, influence and profound impact the Red Wings have had on the NHL and made it the most watchable playoff system going.

Someday, I would like to see Niklas Lidstrom as the commissioner of the NHL. Now, that would be something to see and then we would all see what the NHL could really be!

Go Red Wings and thank you for all you’ve done!

Posted by Quixzotek from Florida on 06/09/11 at 12:00 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.


Notify me of follow-up comments?


Most Recent Blog Posts

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.