The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/14/11 at 01:40 PM ET
Updated at 15x at 7:34 with Babcock on Modano: Via the Detroit Red Wings’ official Twitter account, as of noon EDT, the team’s taken its team picture and its players are addressing the media as they prepare for a long summer:
Rolling out the red carpet for the team photo. http://yfrog.com/h4ho4gcej
Lidstrom said he expects to make a decision on next season by July 1.
...Modano taking off the skates. He will take his time to decide as well. http://yfrog.com/h3wdrnuj
Modano talked about not being able to predict the injury, but pointed out that he had a lot of fun the first two months.
Cleary speaking to the media. He said he didn’t believe he would have been cleared to play a Game 1 in Vancouver.
Cleary: We had a good season. It was a great series. Obviously you don’t want to put yourself in that hole, but I was proud of the responded
Cleary: The teams are very close. There is not a lot that separates one and eight.
The stall of an immortal. http://yfrog.com/gyza7elj
Justin Abdelkader plans to take a few summer classes at Michigan State. Business classes in his major.
Zetterberg talking to the media. http://yfrog.com/h82tszwj
Jimmy and Ozzie taking the equipment off. http://yfrog.com/gyqfkbvj
FM 97.1 the Ticket is providing Twitter updates as well, and I’ll obviously continue to post them as they roll in:
Mike Modano says he’s 75 percent to 25 in favor of not coming back.
Nick Lidstrom claims he doesn’t know in his mind if he will retire or come back yet. He claims he will think about many factors to decide
Chris Osgood said he still has the desire to play and thinks he can still play but he had to talk to Holland before anything happens
Modano thinks this team doesn’t need too much in order to get past the 2nd round.
Somewhat ironically given the talk of the Wings needing a goal-scorer or a forward up front during last night’s off-season discussions, MLive’s Ansar Khan threw a curveball at Wings fans by suggesting that the Wings should focus upon upgrading their defensive corps instead. Khan notes that Jonathan Ericsson turned down a one-year, $2 million contract earlier this season, and as such, he believes that both Ericsson and Ruslan Salei will depart. Add in the fact that Jiri Hudler’s all but gone and, Khan argues, you end up with the kind of salary cap room necessary to make a significant tweak:
The Red Wings’ biggest need is a top-four defenseman. Forget about Shea Weber. He’s going to re-sign with Nashville, in all likelihood. In any event, the Red Wings don’t make offers to restricted free agents. And if he doesn’t sign with the Predators, the Red Wings would be more apt to pursue him in 2012 when he’s unrestricted. Perhaps they’ll try to acquire Zach Bogosian of Atlanta, but only through a trade, not an RFA offer sheet. They talked internally about that possibility prior to the trade deadline but apparently decided it wasn’t worth breaking up the core of a Cup contending team.
If the Red Wings move a forward, Jiri Hudler is the most likely candidate. He struggled after returning from a one-year stint in Russia. But his poor season and $2.875 million contract would make him tough to deal unless the Red Wings take another team’s baggage in return.
Would the Red Wings consider moving the enigmatic Filppula? He continues to show flashes of brilliance. He can be a high-level player with his speed, passing and defensive ability. But he is too inconsistent and probably won’t reach that 70-point plateau that seems to be the team’s annual goal for him.
He also makes an eyebrow-raising comment about the Wings’ options in goal:
The options include Chris Osgood, who wants to play another season after missing the second half following sports hernia surgery, journeyman Joey MacDonald and perhaps one-time prospect Daniel Larsson. He bolted for Sweden last season but the Red Wings still own his NHL rights.
Larsson would only come back if he’s guaranteed a spot in the Wings’ lineup, and the fact that he was both unseated as HV71’s go-to goalie in the playoffs, didn’t play particularly well and hasn’t matured physically (he chose to go back to working with his old goalie coach, who encouraged the rake-thin Larsson to remain in his crease instead of challenging shooters)..It’s possible, but he’d have to come cheaply, and he can make much more money in Sweden at this point.
Khan also discusses Jimmy Howard’s maturation, the respective progressions of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk into at least more widely-regarded elite players and Ken Holland’s take on the team’s comeback attempt:
Holland was left wondering how the series would have unfolded had his team won one of the first three games.
“The thing I’m most proud of is the heart and determination our guys showed throughout the year, but especially (in this series), being down 3-0 and even (Thursday) being down 2-0 after one period,’’ Holland said. “When they scored to make it 3-1, we made it 3-2 and were pushing until the end. That’s a world-class team over there. I thought the last two periods we had them on their heels, but we couldn’t quite tie it up.’’
For the record I’d mentioned that Farjestads BK’s GM, Thomas Rundqvist, had suggested that Wings prospect Dick Axelsson might return to the team next season, but he’s now telling Aftonbladet’s Daniel Greifve that Axelsson will probably play for another team, presumably remaining in the Swedish Eliteserien (though Axelsson threatened to head to Russia to chase petro-dollars in the KHL).
Update #1: Off we go, via the Wings:
Zetterberg plans to head back to Sweden at the end of June. Admitted that he probably wouldn’t be able to watch the rest of the playoffs.
Update #1.25: Via 97.1:
Zetterberg says he won’t watch the remainder of the playoffs, its too hard!
Kris Draper says he has to meet with Holland to figure out his future. He would not talk about if he would play for another team if not DET
And the Wings:
Babcock: I want him (Lidstrom) to come back.
Babcock: If Nick decides he wants to stay, he’ll be playing on a good team with an opportunity.
Babcock said he’ll have a lot of input on player decisions, but Ken Holland will decide.
Babcock: I thought San Jose had to beat a real good team to advance. We were right there with them.
Babcock with praise for the way Modano handled himself through adversity. ‘A real inspiration for our guys.’
Babcock: Just like you expect Abby and Helm to get better, we expect Big E to get better as well (Ericsson)
Babcock: The bottom line is the final four is moving on and for the second year in a row, we aren’t involved.
Babcock said Osgood and Draper are special people because they are invested in the team. Credits them for Helm, Abby, Howard development.
Babcock said he had no idea on Bertuzzi’s status. ‘I know he’ll be ready for next year.’
Update 1.5: Via 97.1:
Draper days he will do whatever is best for his family and they have made so many sacrifices so that’s what he thinking about
Babcock think Lidstrom will be back because the Wings will be a good team next year
Update 1.75: L and or O L via 97.1
Babcock says Hudler is going to change his training in the offseason in hopes of being quicker next year
Update #2: Via 97.1:
Babcock said that Hudler is 27 and that is when a lot of players come into their own. He mentioned Danny Cleary as being like that.
Babcock is happy Modano came to the Wings and was amazed at the class he handled his situation
Babcock told Jacub Kindle that next season he has to become an everyday player
Babcock said guys like Osgood and Draper are so special because of what they do for the company….with Howard, Helm and Abdelkader
Update 2.5: The Wings just posted pictures of the locker room clean-out on their Facebook page:
Update #3: Via the Free Press’s Helene St. James, Mike Modano suggested that his season with the Wings ended up being a nightmare:
“No, not really,” he said. “No one would have ever guessed what happened. As far as the injury, I think once that happened and I was told that timeline of return, I knew I was in trouble. I knew I wasn’t going to be easy coming back from that and even when I did, it was going to be tough playing. Couldn’t have been worse timing and unfortunate the way things happened throughout the course of the year. But, the first two months were fun.”
Asked what his future holds, Modano, 40 was pensive.
“The answer is, I don’t know,” Modano said. “But I have a lot of thoughts. I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Your knee jerk reaction is to kind of walk away considering the way things ended, and not give it a chance, but I think you need to give it a fair assessment and a long thought process and then hopefully I can come up with answer. But I don’t think it’s going to be very drawn out.”
Modano plans to return to Dallas. He was with the Stars’ franchise for 19 seasons, co-owns a restaurant with former teammate Brett Hull in the area, and considers the place home. The Stars told him he didn’t fit into their plans any more last summer, but he may chat wit general manager Joe Nieuwendyk regarding a spot in the front office.
“I think that depends on the ownership situation,” Modano said. “But I’ll head back there and then at some point probably re-connect with him and see their direction and then figure out what I’m going to do as far as playing and make that final announcement and move onto something else.”
Update #4: Here’s MLive’s Ansar Khan’s initial report, which focuses on Kris Draper and Chris Osgood’s futures:
“I still want to play. I’ll meet with Kenny (general manager Holland) and sit down and go from there,’’ Draper said.
Osgood said he needs to speak with Holland before deciding what to do.
“I’ll talk to Kenny, work things out on my own,’’ Osgood said. “First, if I want to play again. Second, what my role would be and if they even want me back. I’ll talk to my wife and see what she thinks. If I should keep going or be around the house a little more than I have been in the last while.’‘
—Mike Modano said he is 75 percent leaning toward retirement.
—Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, an unrestricted free agent, said he still wants to re-sign with the Red Wings but his future is uncertain.
—The concussions Danny Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi sustained in Game 7 against the San Jose Sharks apparently are not long-term injuries. Cleary said he probably could have been ready to play during the middle of the next round. Coach Mike Babcock said said he’s not sure how serious Bertuzzi’s injury is but that he will be ready at the start of next season.
Update #4.25: Via the Associated Press:
Nicklas Lidstrom says he’ll decide by July 1 whether he’s returning to the Detroit Red Wings for a 20th season or if he’ll retire at the age of 41.
Lidstrom’s teammates and coaches say they hope he comes back.
The six-time Norris Trophy winning defenseman was in the team’s photo Saturday, two days after the San Jose Sharks eliminated Detroit in Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinal.
Mike Modano says he’s leaning toward retirement. The 40-year-old Modano, who leads U.S.-born NHL players in goals and points, says maybe he’s been grasping at something that isn’t there by extending his career the past couple of years.
Fellow free agents Kris Draper and Chris Osgood say they want to play next season for the Red Wings.
The Wings’ website’s also posted a video thanking fans for their patronage and support:
Update #4.5: The Wings’ website posted a 21-image gallery from today’s clean-out;
Update 4.75: Per WDIV’s Katrina Hancock:
No word from today’s RW locker cleanout about the future of Osgood, Lidstrom, Draper, or Modano. Babcock had high praise for all of them.
Update #5: Apparently so, suggests ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:
“I think Mike Modano is a phenomenal guy,” Babcock said from Detroit where his team cleaned out its lockers Saturday. “He brought a lot to our team. Part of his legacy will be what a great example he was for our young players even when he wasn’t in the lineup. He had a great attitude through it all.”
Modano, 40, desperately wanted to play in these playoffs. That he appeared in only two games crushed him. But he didn’t let his personal situation affect the rest of the team, continuing to work hard in practice and encouraging his teammates.
“It’s how you handle yourself every day in good times and bad that shows what kind of man you are and Mike Modano is a heck of a guy,” Babcock said.
The Wings’ website also posted clips of Modano addressing the media…
And a YouTube clip of Modano, Lidstrom and Osgood speaking to the media:
Update #5.25: The Free Press posted a gallery of the locker room clean-out as well.
Update #5.5: Here’s Danny Cleary speaking to the media:
Update #6: Here’s Justin Abdelkader speaking to the media…
The AP’s Larry Lage updated his story with quotes from Lidstrom...
“Before July 1,’’ he said Saturday, two days after the San Jose Sharks eliminated Detroit in Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinal.
“If I was Nick, I’d come back and I’d keep coming back,’’ said Mike Modano, who is leaning toward retirement. “If he gets the Norris, he has a chance at history of catching Bobby Orr.’‘
“You take everything into account,’’ Lidstrom said. “How you feel. Motivation. Family situation.’‘
“I think he’ll come back,’’ Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s a good player and he’s on a team that has good opportunity.’‘
“If our team was no good, I think Nick wouldn’t consider coming back,’’ Babcock said.
And Kris Draper and Chris Osgood eighed in on their futures as well…
“This is home,’’ said Draper, who has played for the Red Wings since 1993. “That’s what make it that much tougher. That’s all my kids know.’‘
“[My daughters] play 20 soccer games, I see maybe two or three of them,’’ Osgood said. “You don’t get a chance to see them and all of a sudden they’re 10 and 7.’‘
And, for the record, the Oakland Press’s Pat Caputo weighed in on the Wings’ possible “tweaks”:
There are a lot of Red Wing fans who are conjuring up this dream that somehow Detroit acquires Nashville’s rugged defenseman Shea Weber, using Lidstrom’s salary to entice him. Weber is a restricted free agent. It’s not as simple as the Red Wings offering him Lidstrom’s money. Weber has come out publicly and strongly stated he will stay in Nashville. The Predators won a postseason series for the first time in franchise history. Weber becoming a Red Wing is a pipedream. I understand the fascination with Weber. He is already a terrific player and just entering his prime. My point is, that as promising as his future might be, it’s doubtful he will ever become another Nicklas Lidstrom, who is easily one of the top five defensemen ever. He does rival Bobby Orr for No. 1.
And Lidstrom only helped the Red Wings this postseason. Without him, the Red Wings would be much worse off.
The idea for the Red Wings is to tweak their roster. They could use a little more muscle upfront, somebody who can keep up with the play - and still drop the gloves if necessary. A Dallas Drake type. He played a very prominent role the last time the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in ‘08. He’s never fully been replaced, although the emergence of Justin Abdelkader has helped.
The Red Wings defense got ripped this season for giving up too many turnovers and goals, but it had more to do with their style of play. Detroit’s defensemen pinch in and take chances. They can buckle down when necessary. Also, Niklas Kromwell and Brad Stuart are very good together. On virtually any other team, they are the No. 1 pairing. Detroit has depth defensively, too, with Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith.
The Red Wings have a lot of pieces to work with - and very few holes. They will open next season as one of the top handful of favorites to win the Stanley Cup championship. They figure to be that way deep into the future. If they had gotten by the series with San Jose, which was close as it could be, I think they would have won it this year.
That is not a reason to overreact. It’s more a cause of patience. It will be a long summer for the Red Wings. But it seems unlikely it will be this way in the future.
Update #6.5: Here’s Zetterberg speaking to the media:
Update #7: Here’s Kris Draper speaking to the media…
And the Detroit News’s Ted Kuflan’s clean-out report, which focuses on Kris Draper’s future:
“Obviously this season didn’t start the way I wanted to, getting injured,” Draper said. “But physically everything felt good (as the season wore on).”
Still, Draper realizes he’s at the point in his career where the end is near.
“Every athlete never wants to face with that choice (retirement), but you know it’s going to end and it’s coming to an end,” Draper said. “I’m closing in on that. I just want to do what’s right. I want to do what’s right for my family, number one, and for myself and for what’s right for this organization which I respect so much. I want to have a good meeting with Kenny and go from there. We’ll see what happens.”
“This is home,” Draper said. “This is all my kids know. I want to do what’s best for them. I don’t want to be selfish. All the sacrifices that my wife and kids have made for me, the travel the road the rips, me missing ice shows and stuff going on at the school like Christmas concerts. Usually it’s just Julie (his wife) sitting there and dad isn’t there, and that’s something why I have to do what’s right by them. I want to put them first and they deserve it at this point in my career and their lives.”
Also coming out Saturday’s clean-out day:
* Potential unrestricted free agents Jonathan Ericsson, Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller all said they’d like to re-sign with the Wings.
Update #8: Mike Babcock:
Update #9: Here’s the Free Press’s George Sipple on Osgood...
“I would definitely miss playing if I wasn’t,” he said. “That’s another factor, too, whether I’d miss it or not and I do want to play, but it goes beyond that.”
Osgood earned his 400th career victory this season but ended the season on injured reserve after having sports hernia surgery. He was 5-3-2 in 11 games with a 2.77 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage.
“I feel real good,” he said today as the players cleaned out their lockers at Joe Louis Arena. “That’s something, probably the only thing I know is a for sure, I feel real good. I feel I can come back 100 percent. If I couldn’t, then I definitely wouldn’t consider coming back. That’s something that I feel real good and that’s not a factor in my decision.”
Osgood said he wasn’t sure when he’d meet with Wings general manager Ken Holland.
“I’m here for a while and I see him in the summer,” he said. “but I would have to imagine there would be a certain date set up for me to decide or them to decide what they’re going to do.”
And the Detroit News’s John Niyo Weighs in regarding Lidstrom:
“I hope I’m not naïve,” said Jimmy Devellano, the Wings’ senior vice president. “He’s too good, he’s had too good a year, and I think he loves leading the Red Wings. It’s only a gut (feeling) — I could be wrong — but I believe that he’ll be back.”
“Well, I think he’ll come back,” Babcock said. “I mean, he’s a good, good player, and he’s on a team that I think has a good opportunity. …I think if our team was no good, I don’t think Nick would even consider coming back. But I think having the kind of year he did and the kind of playoffs he did and the kind of playoff our team did, it makes me pretty confident he’ll be back.”
“Obviously, he proved to himself (this season) that he’s a top-one defenseman,” forward Danny Cleary said, laughing at his own impromptu designation. “It’s hard to retire when you’re the best. So, I don’t know. I hope he comes back for our sake, and for everybody’s sake.”
Lidstrom himself said that he made a tough decision last spring in returning, and that he expected this decision to be no less difficult to make, but he also sounded like someone who’s got a little more in the tank…
“It was tough,” he said Saturday. “Especially as you get up there in age. That’s why I’m taking it one year at a time and not rushing into anything. That’s the same approach for me this year.”
“I think it’s everything,” he said. “You take everything into account. How you feel. Motivation. Family situation. You just take everything into account before you make a decision.”
“I felt I played better than I did last season, and that’s something I wanted to do,” said Lidstrom, who finished second among NHL defenseman in scoring with 62 points in the regular season, then added four goals and four assists in 11 playoff games. “I wanted to have a stronger year than I did last year. I thought I did that.”
Update 9.25: Here’s the Detroit News’s locker room clean-out photo gallery.
Update 9.5: The Detroit News’s Chris McCosky reports that Pavel Datsyuk, who invited Derek Boogard to his hockey school in Yekaterinburg for the past two summers, did address Boogard’s passing:
Datsyuk said: ‘I can teach him to use hands. He teach me to use fists.’ Gone way too soon
And Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji’s fired off the following Twitter updates:
#redwings Niklas Kronwall on Nick Lidstrom: If I had to guess, I think he’s coming back. Or maybe it’s because I hope he does so much.
#RedWings Kronwall on Lidstrom: No one can play like him. It’s just as simple as that. He’s so much smarter than everyone, position-wise.
#RedWings Babcock on #Lidstrom: I think he’ll come back. He’s a good, good player and he’s on a team that has good opportunity.
#Wings Babcock: Having the kind of year he did,the kind of playoff he did,the kind of playoff our team did makes me confident he’ll be back.
“I’m sure it’s going to be the same process as last year, I don’t think it’ll be that big of a difference,” said Lidstrom, who finished the regular season as a finalist to win his seventh Norris Trophy with 16 goals and 62 points before scoring 4 goals and 8 points in two playoff series. “You take everything into account. How you feel. Motivation. Family situation. Take everything into account before you make a decision.”
“He’ll do what’s best for his situation, but he definitely has more hockey in him,” forward Henrik Zetterberg said. “You want to give him time to decide that, but we all (want) him to stay. He’s such a big part of this team, this organization and this city. You don’t want to see him leave.”
His oldest son, who’s 16, attended a hockey academy in Lidstrom’s native Sweden for the first time this past season, and Lidstrom made sure there was a support network of family and friends in place there before deciding to come back for 2010-11. That’s the kind of off-ice situation that makes deciding whether to play one another season so tough—not necessarily the pain of the Game 7 loss in the Western Conference Semifinals to the San Jose Sharks or how Detroit is positioned for success next season.
“I don’t think it’ll have a whole lot to do with my decision,” he said of the stinging loss to the Sharks in Game 7 on Thursday. “It’s more how I feel—if I feel I can do it again and if I’m motivated to do it. It’ll be the same process I went through last year. I’m going to have my sit-down with (GM) Kenny (Holland), as all players do at the end of the year. I’ll have a discussion with him and go from there. I’m sure he wants to know before July 1 what my thinking is.”
“I felt I played better than I did last season, and that’s something I wanted to do,” Lidstrom said. “I wanted to have a stronger year than I did last year. I thought I did that. Me aside, looking at this team, there is great potential here. We have star players; we have the support group that I think are one of the best in the league. I believe this team is going to be strong for years to come. I like the team even without me in the lineup.”
Update 10.25: From DetroitRedWings.com’s Michael Caples:
“Every athlete doesn’t want to b faced w that choice. But u know that its always going to end…I know that I’m closing in on that.” #Draper
“Does you gut tell you anything?” “It tells me I’m going to the baseball game today.” Gotta love #Osgood interviews. @DetroitRedWings
And the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff re-posted his article about Lidstrom.
Duff’s also posting some Twitter updates:
Cleary on if he was lobbying Lidstrom: “I’d be an idiot not to be.” #redwings
Kronwall on Sweden at worlds: “48 shots for a Swedish team? That’s unheard of.” #redwings
Update 10.5: Hmmm, per Caples:
“I really like everything about this organization, players. There’s nothing really bad about this place. Obviously I want to stay” #Ericsson
“I’m not sure what I’m going to do,” Modano said. “Your knee-jerk reaction is to walk away considering the way things ended and not give it a chance. You need to give it a fair assessment and a long through process.”
“You just kind of keep grasping on to something that maybe isn’t there,” Modano said. “You talk yourself into that there’s a little left in the tank and possibly one magical season left in you.”
“You keep thinking that there’s that chance of it still happening,” he said.
At some point he’ll go back to Texas, have a conversation with Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk and see if there’s a fit with the Stars. Maybe work for the team in some capacity if his playing days are truly finished. He said he has no regrets about leaving the franchise he was so closely identified with in Dallas to play for his hometown Red Wings. Not much went right this season, but playing in front of family and friends was still special. Even if it wasn’t how he pictured it in his head. There were a lot of gut feelings shared in Detroit on Saturday. The gut feeling is that Modano will retire. It’s the opposite for Lidstrom.
“I hope I’m not naïve, he’s too good. He’s had too good a year,” Red Wings senior vice president Jimmy Devellano said of the Red Wings captain. “I think he loves leading the Red Wings, (but) it’s only a gut. I could be wrong. I believe he’ll be back.”
Update #11: Here’s a great quip from Lidstrom via Wakiji:
#RedWings #Lidstrom: You feel like you’re doing the team picture way too early. You’d rather do it in June with smiles on your faces.
And DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose posted his clean-out day story:
“I thought we were competitive in the playoffs. I thought San Jose beat a good team,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Last year when they beat us, I didn’t think they beat a good team. I thought they had to beat a real good team to advance this year. We were right there with them. It all comes back to little things. At the end, they got five power-play goals in the series, and we got four. If you flip that around, that’s how tight things were. We also felt that the team who won that series was going to have a legitimate opportunity. The bitter disappointment is also a driving force. I know we’ve had it before, with a good year the following year, and that’s our goal and our focus.”
The Wings’ locker room seemed to be split on whether or not they believed Lidstrom would be back. While all of them want him back – and many are believed to be lobbying hard to keep him in the fold – defenseman Brian Rafalski said he wouldn’t be surprised if Lidstrom retired. Still, others believe he’ll be back for a 20th season.
“He knows that we want him back and everyone wants him back. But now it’s up to him,” forward Henrik Zetterberg said. “But he definitely has more hockey in him.”
“I’d be an idiot not to be,” Cleary said. “I think he proved to himself that he is a top-one defensemen. It’s tough to retire when you’re the best. I hope that he comes back for our team’s sake, for everybody’s sake. His presence is what we’d miss.”
Regarding Kris Draper…
“This is home,” Draper said. “That’s the one thing that probably makes it that much tougher, for the fact that I’ve been here so long. This is all my kids know. A lot of people, when they get to this point in their career, they’ve been to different places. They’ve gone to different schools. They’ve had different friends, and they’ve moved on. For me, that’s not the case, for being here as long as I have. All of those things are certainly going to come into play, and that’s why I say I want to do what’s best for my family first. I mean that.”
And Patrick Eaves wants to stay, but acknowledges that being an unrestricted free agent-to-be leaves his future uncertain…
“This is the not-fun part,” said Eaves, who finished with 13 goals and seven assists in 63 games. “I don’t like the business part, but it is what it is. In the end, it is a business, but that’s why I have an agent.”
Update 11.25: Via Duff:
Derek Boogaard helped #redwings Pavel Datsyuk run his hockey camp in Russia. “He comes to my town. A nice guy. It’s so shocking.”
#redwings Datsyuk on whether he’ll need more wrist surgery: “No, no. I hope not. I’m OK. Thanks for asking.”
#redwings Modano on his future: ““I think you just kind of keep grasping on to something that really isn’t there.”
#redwings Draper on his future: “You know its always going to end, it’s got to end. I know I’m closing in on that.”
Update 11.5: Here’s DetroitRedWings.com’s Michael Caples talking about Chris Osgood and Kris Draper’s respective futures with the Wings’ franchise:
“This is home,” Draper said. “That’s the one thing that probably makes it that much tougher, for the fact that I’ve been here so long, this is all my kids know, a lot of people, when they get to this point in their career, they’ve been to different places, they’ve gone to different schools, they’ve had different friends, and they’ve moved on. For me, that’s not the case, for being here as long as I have. All of those things are certainly going to come into play, and that’s why I say I want to do what’s best for my family first, I mean that. I want to do what’s best for them. I don’t want to be selfish at all. All the sacrifices that my wife’s made, my kids have made for me - the travel, the road trips, me missing ice shows, stuff going on at the school, Christmas concerts, you name it. Usually it’s just Julie sitting there, and Dad’s not there. And that’s something why I have to do what’s right by them, and that will all come over within, I’ll know a lot more when I meet with Kenny, and then we’ll go from there. But that’s kind of the way I’m thinking right now, is that I want to put them first, and they deserve it, at this point in my career, and at this point in their lives.”
Yet both Draper and Osgood believe that when it comes down to their productivity on the ice, they can still contribute to the Wings’ roster.
“I don’t think it’s a matter of me thinking I can’t play,” Osgood said. “I know I can still play, and that’s something that will definitely go into it too. That would be a ‘Yeah, I’m going to come back’, because I know I can still play. But there are a lot of other things that go into it too. It will take me a while, but there will definitely be a day where I’m going to have to decide, and it will probably be sooner than later.”
Decisions will be made later this summer, after both players meet with Holland – a busy man at this time of the year. Draper and Osgood are just two of nine free agents from the Wings’ every-day roster that Holland will have to make decisions on. However, Wings coach Mike Babcock said it is going to be tough for his boss to decide on the two veteran players, because they mean much more to the team than just their on-ice abilities.
“It’s uncertain every year when you get to a certain age,” Babcock said. “Drapes was fantastic for us this year. Ozzie obviously had a tough year, just injury-wise. But those are special people in that they are invested in the company. How we perform each and every day matters to those guys. Their role with Jimmy Howard and their role with (Darren) Helm and (Justin) Abdelkader are things we can’t measure, but we know we can’t do. We’re not in this locker room. We’re not in the weight room, we’re not managing those things. They are. And that’s what has made their legacy as players here in Detroit even bigger and stronger because of what they’re willing to do for the company. To me, that’s why you win for long periods of time. So those guys are valuable, valuable resources to us as coaches and management, and to the players. Those are hard decisions for them, and hard decisions for us.”
Neither player would reveal which way he is leaning at this point. When Osgood was asked what his gut feeling is, he didn’t even answer about hockey.
“It tells me I’m going to the baseball game today,” Osgood said, holding up tickets to Saturday evening’s Detroit Tigers game. “That’s all I know right now.”
Update #12: Technically speaking, Jerry Green, blah blah blah, Red Wings versus Lakers, blah blah blah;
And NHL.com’s Brian Hedger took note of Babcock’s comments during his end-of-the-year presser:
“The bottom line is the Final Four’s going on and this is our second year in a row we’re not involved,” Babcock said. “Last year, we weren’t even close to being involved. This year, you had to like where our team was. Those things are going to happen some years or not, but the reality is we have to get better.”
Henrik Zetterberg’s take on watching the playoffs as a spectator…
“It’s tough watching the playoffs when you’re done,” said Zetterberg, who missed Detroit’s first-round sweep of the Phoenix Coyotes with an injured knee. “So, I won’t watch a game. I won’t.”
And quite a bit of contractual news:
Veteran goalie Chris Osgood, 38, and forward Kris Draper, 39, both of whom have spent the bulk of their long careers in Detroit, are also UFAs. There’s a chance neither will be back, based on what Holland decides. Prospects such as forwards Jan Mursak, Cory Emmerton and Tomas Tatar are waiting in the wings, as is top defense prospect Brendan Smith. Joey MacDonald, 31, also played well as Howard’s backup in goal while young Red Wings like defenseman Jakub Kindl and forwards Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm will be expected to play bigger roles. Unrestricted free agents Drew Miller, Patrick Eaves and Jonathan Ericsson are also young and could be factored into the mix—but it remains to be seen whether any or all will be around next season. Ericsson said there’s no other team he wants to play for, and it’s just a matter of finding a contract that suits both sides.
“First priority,” he said of negotiating a new deal. “I really like it here. I like everything about this team, this organization. I would love to stay here. I’m not worried at all what’s going to happen. I really like it here.’‘
Miller and Eaves echoed those comments, but the reality is they might not get the opportunity. That was one of the biggest motivating factors into why the Red Wings made that three-game deficit disappear—they knew they’d have a different look next season.
“You’d rather not think about it,” Zetterberg said. “Some guys will leave and you’ve just got to remember the good memories you had together. It will be tough.”
“You want to play longer than we did and it was definitely fun the last three games that we tried to come back—even in Game 7 all the way to the end, we had chances,” Zetterberg lamented. “We didn’t give up, kept going, kept battling, but still ... we’re not playing. We’re done. We wanted to play for another month.”
Update 12.25: Tigers skipper Jim Leyland apparently went out on Thursday to watch the Wings-Sharks game, as he told the Daily Tribune’s Matthew B. Mowery:
“I actually went out (Thursday) night for a little bit. It was kind of a neat experience for me. I watched the last period at home, but it was kind of neat to see how the people get fired up. We stopped at a couple different little sports places, and it was really neat. And I assume that’s the way it was when we were in the World Series, and playoffs — I assume. But it was neat,” Leyland said. “We weren’t out long. We just went out to see what it was like, see what the atmosphere was like. I thought it was fantastic. I loved it. They had everything from some kids eatin’ to little old ladies in Red Wings shirts ... I enjoyed it.”
He got almost as excited when he relived it the next day as he had when it was happening. Giggling about Pavel Datsyuk’s backhand goal. Shaking his head at the ability it takes to make tape-to-tape passes while skating at full speed. And marveling at how he felt Jimmy Howard had kept the Wings in the series. In short, he got caught up in the moment.
“I did. Oh, man. I watched every faceoff. I tell you what: I never saw a team play any harder than they played. It was unbelievable. I know they’re not happy today, but the way they were skating and flying around there, it was unbelievable,” he gushed. “I don’t know anything about hockey, but I know when a team’s playing like maniacs, and they were. They were playing like wild men. I was really proud of them, as I’m sure Mike (Babcock) was.”
Update 12.5: More about Draper from the Free Press’s Sipple:
“What do I hope? I still want to play,” Draper said today at Joe Louis Arena as the Wings met to take their team photo and clear out their lockers.
He said he’ll sit down with Holland and talk about what’s best for everyone. Draper, who won the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward in 2004 and four Stanley Cups (1997, 1998, 2002, 2008) with Detroit, said he realizes his career is coming to an end.
“I’m closing in on that,” he said. “I just want to do what’s right for my family, No. 1. What’s right for myself. What’s right for this organization as well, which I respect so much. That’s why I want to definitely have a good meeting with Kenny and talk with him.”
Asked if he would consider playing for another team if the Wings decided not to bring him back, Draper said: “That’s pretty early to talk about that. This is home, that’s the one thing that probably makes it that much tougher. I’ve been here so long. This is all my kids know. A lot of people, when they get to this point in their career, they’ve been to different places, (the kids) have been to different schools, they’ve had different friends. For me, that’s not the case.”
Coach Mike Babcock said longtime Wings like Draper and Chris Osgood are “vested in the company” and decisions about their future would be “hard decisions for them and hard decisions for us.”
“How we perform each and every day matters to those guys,” Babcock said. “Their role with Jimmy Howard and their role with (Darren) Helm and (Justin) Abdelkader) are things we can’t measure, but things we know we can’t do. We’re not in the locker room. We’re not in the weight room. We’re not managing those things. They are. … Those guys are valuable resources to us as coaches and management and obviously to the players.”
And this Tweet from Fox 2’s Jennifer Hammond is plain old amusing:
Mike Babcock says Jiri Hudler needs to spend summer working on his speed, no truth to rumor that he will train with the (Dunkin) Donut.
Update #13: DetroitRedWings.com’s Caples spoke to Dany Cleary about his concussion:
“It would obviously been nice to play that last period and given it one last chance,” said Cleary, who was relegated to the Red Wings’ locker room following a hellacious second-period collision with teammate Jiri Hudler.
Neither Cleary, nor forward Todd Bertuzzi were around for the final outcome of the Wings’ 3-2 loss to the Sharks at HP Pavilion. Both forwards suffered concussions. Bertuzzi was injured when he was hit in the face by Dany Heatley’s helmet in the first period. Cleary was injured when both he and Hudler were going after a loose puck in the defensive zone when they accidentally collided.
“It was a little scary there for a little bit,” Cleary said. “I didn’t remember anything, really. So it took a few hours to get back.”
Cleary needed to be helped off the ice by teammates, and appeared to be very shaken up from the hit. He was immediately tested for a concussion, and said he will have a follow-up exam this week.
“I have to go do that again on Tuesday,” Cleary said. “I have to take the neuropsych test. I don’t think I would have been cleared for the beginning of the (next) series.”
Perhaps most importantly, here’s Nicklas Lidstrom’s end-of-the-season presser:
Update 13.5: Here’s Chris Osgood’s end-of-the-season presser:
Update #14: Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji noted what both Patrick Eaves and Jonathan Ericsson had to say about their respective futures…
“I really like it here, I’d like to stay here, but I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Eaves said. “I haven’t really thought about it.”
If Holland can get Eaves and Miller, also 27, for the right, salary-cap-friendly price, they’ll both likely return. According to capgeek.com, Eaves made $750,000 and Miller $650,000 this past season. Ericsson is an interesting case in that he’s 6-4, 220 pounds, and another team might make him an offer he can’t refuse, even if his preference is to remain in Detroit. Capgeek.com had Ericsson’s 2010-11 salary figure at $900,000.
“I might make more money somewhere else, but I want to stay,” Ericsson said.
She also noted that Pavel Datsyuk was stunned by the death of Derek Boogard…
Pavel Datsyuk said his wrist was fine and would not require surgery. Datsyuk was saddened to hear about the death of new York Rangers forward Derek Boogaard.
“I know him a little bit,” Datsyuk said. “He comes to my town a few years ago. He comes to Russia. I got to spend some time with him, hung out with him. A nice guy. It’s so shocking.”
And while the Wings feel that they’re still contenders despite the fact that they’re at the top end of a tightly-packed Western Conference…
“It’s such a tight league now,” Zetterberg said. “It’s not like it was 10 years ago when you had four or five teams that were really good. Now look at the Western Conference. You have 10 teams, 12 teams that battled for playoffs and pick a winner from the eight teams that go to the playoffs. It’s hard.”
Lidstrom put it best regarding the early end to the Wings’ season:
“You feel like you’re doing the team picture way too early,” captain Nick Lidstrom said. “You’d rather do it in June with smiles on your faces. It’s disappointing being knocked out in the second round. I thought we battled hard, we fought back, we just didn’t have enough in that last game.”
And, regarding Lidstrom’s future, from Detroit Hockey Weekly’s Paul Harris:
Everything points to Lidstrom’s return. But Rafalski isn’t so sure As Red Wing players cleaned out their lockers on Saturday, Rafalski was asked if it is hard to fathom Lidstrom not being back.
“No. Everyone makes their own choices, their own decisions,” Rafalski said. “I respect whatever choice he makes. It’s something that I think is an internal family decision. That’s the way it should be.”
“You take everything into account,” [Lidstrom] said. “How you feel, motivation, the family situation. Just take everything into account before I make a decision.”
Lidstrom has won six Norris Trophies. Only Doug Harvey (seven) and Orr (eight) have more. One thing for sure. If Lidstrom does decide to retire, there is absolutely no replacing him.
“No one can play like him. It’s as simple as that,” fellow defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “No one can play as good positionally like him.”
Henrik Zetterberg will likely inheri the “C” whenever Lidstrom calls it quits. And, for what it’s worth, he seemed to take on a more prominent role in dealing with the media late in the season.
That’s all fine and dandy, but I’m starting to wonder whether Rafalski was thinking about the fact that he may be going into the final season of his career, or at least the final season where the Wings rely upon him as a top-three defenseman. Lidstrom’s blunt honesty about the fact that it’s hard for him to decide whether he wishes to retire is more a reflection of the realities of life than it is an indication as to where he might be leaning.
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