The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/05/12 at 01:51 PM ET
Updated 3x with Niklas Kronwall talking about Jarnkrok at 4:37 PM: Amongst this morning’s addendums to the overnight report:
• Red Wings executive Chris Chelios has spent the past three-and-a-half days taking part in the team’s organizational powwow at Joe Louis Arena, but before he headed into the Wings’ de-facto bunker with Ken Holland, Jim Nill, Ryan Martin, Kris Draper, Jimmy Devellano, Mark Howe and pro scouts like Kirk Maltby and Mark Howe, he spoke to MLive’s Brendan Savage about his of subbing in goal to play to play hockey with a certain “perfect human’s” offspring as opposed to a former teammate’s trying to knock his block off when Chelios volunteered to play goal in Montreal:
Chelios was talking about how much he likes Lidstrom’s children and how they would often take the ice at Joe Louis Arena to fire shots at Chelios, who would borrow some goaltending equipment from a teammate and step between the pipes for a little fun. That reminded Chelios of when he started facing shots during his days with the Canadiens.
“It goes back to Montreal when I was a young kid. We’d have Sunday’s off and I throw on Patrick’s stuff,” Chelios said in reference to former Canadiens’ goalie Patrick Roy. “I’d have 15-20 kids out there (while) playing goal – and that idiot Claude Lemieux, of course, shooting at my head – and it just carried over to here. I thought it was great. I had two boys who played – even my girls played – and they just loved Nick’s kids. I love their family and wish them the best.”
Chelios and Lemieux both spent their first seven seasons in the NHL – from 1983-90 – playing together in Montreal. Lemieux was traded to New Jersey just before the start of the 1990-91 season while Chelios was dealt to Chicago three months earlier.
Apparently, they weren’t BFFs in Montreal.
• In news tangentially related to Red Wings GM Ken Holland’s comments to the Windsor Star’s Dave Waddell and the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan over the past 18 hours, focusing on his team’s free agency strategies, Kulfan posted a 26(!)-image gallery of free agents who might help the Wings’ cause, and in one of those pesky, insider-only articles, ESPN’s Craig Custance suggests that the New York Rangers will attempt to fill the void created by Marian Gaborik’s shoulder surgery-induced absence by targeting Zach Parise, Rick Nash and/or Alexander Radulov. Here’s what he had to say about Parise:
1. Zach Parise, New Jersey Devils—Even in the midst of an incredible playoff run, there’s still concern inside the Devils organization that Parise could walk as a free agent. There’s no doubt Parise considers himself a Devil, and sees the appeal of sticking with the team that drafted and developed him. But the ownership instability in New Jersey mixed with an opportunity to seriously cash in during free agency while also hand-picking from a number of established, winning franchises could be enough to make Parise seriously consider leaving New Jersey.
The salary cap continues to climb, although likely won’t remain at the projected $70 million number once a new CBA is agreed upon, since it’s widely expected that the league will fight hard for a smaller revenue cut for the players. The Rangers are an organization that regularly finds a way to land the top free agents, as the luring of Brad Richards and Gaborik proved. If he can stomach signing with a New Jersey rival, Parise would be an incredible fit and would instantly make New York the Eastern Conference favorite.
If the Rangers miss out on Parise, they’d do well to target another American forward who might be available in Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan, if the Ducks opt to move him this summer.
• In terms of targeting players at the NHL Entry Draft, the Orange County Register’s Eric Stephens reminds us that there was a time called “teh mid 90’s,” where the Wings’ drafting was somewhere south of perfect:
Even the Detroit Red Wings, who managed to grab Nicklas Lidstrom and Johan Franzen in the third round and unearth the likes of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom from deeper, had their own first-round strikeouts in Yan Golubovsky (1994), Maxim Kuznetsov (1995) and Jesse Wallin (1996).
• DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose penned an article about Dick Axelsson’s performance at the Inline Hockey World Championships on Monday, and as Axelsson’s Swedes battle Slovenia in the Quarterfinals right now, IIHF.com’s Martin Merk penned a profile of Axelsson which includes some frank comments about his “lost season” with Modo Ornskoldsvik:
The tall forward arrived in Ingolstadt after a tough first year with his new club MODO Örnsköldsvik. The second-round draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings had spent most of the last three years with Färjestad Karlstad before joining MODO.
“It was a disappointing season for me,” Axelsson said. “I was injured two times and played only 36 games. It was tough, but there’s a new season coming next.”
Axelsson is also a national team player in ice hockey where he has represented his country in 26 games, most recently in the preparation camp before the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship on home ice. But until now he has never made it to a World Championship or Olympic Games.
“I’m not that good,” he replies with a smile, “but I work on it every day. I hope I’ll make the team at some point, but there are many good players in Sweden, so it’s hard.”
Working on his skills is also one reason, apart from the fun and winning component, why he’s here. He hopes that playing inline hockey at this level will help his development as a player.
“I hope it will make me a better player. I try to work on a lot of things here like stickhandling,” he said.
• In terms of plain old strange overseas news, the Red Wings aren’t satisfied with Curt Fraser’s playoff-less record as the Grand Rapids Griffins’ coach over the past three seasons, but he remains a lock to coach the team because he’s a fantastic player mentor. Sport-Express reports, however, that Fraser told Goals.by’s Andrei Stepanov that he’d be interested in coaching Team Belarus again if offered the position;
• In the, “Bloggers rarely get out of the house” category, The Red Wings are hosting a free social media mash-up at the MotorCity Casino on June 30th, and I’m assuming that several Wings alums will make appearances at the event;
• And I must regrettably post “the button” again as your incredibly kind donations have me about 1/10th over the way to affording the $1,200-1,400 hotel bill to attend the Red Wings’ summer prospect camp in Traverse City. Hotel rates are ridiculous because the Cherry Festival is taking place at the same time as the Wings’ camp:
You’ll have to use my personal email address, rtxg at yahoo dot com, to donate, and if you want to aid the cause by some other manner or means, I can always start a Kickstarter account (which would allow you to track my progress and pay via Amazon.com accounts), and I don’t mind sharing the mailing address of my secret blogging lair via my other email address, georgemalik at kuklaskorner dot com.
Quickie update: We All Bleed Red posted a lovely tribute to Nicklas Lidstrom from Sportsnet, accompanied with some Motown-sounding music…
And TSN’s Craig Button, who’s a master of understatement, gushed about Lidstrom in a TSN tribute:
Update #1: DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose provides injury updates regarding Danny Cleary (knee surgery) and Darren Helm’s (lacerated tendons in his right forearm) recoveries from their respective injuries:
“Knee feels great,” said Cleary, who finished the season with 12 goals and 21 assists in 75 games. “My ability to be able to function as a normal-type of guy, walking, stuff, feels great. Just rahabbing it, It’s been three weeks since my surgery, I’m really happy.”
Seven weeks after his emergency surgery in a Nashville hospital, Helm is feeling like a new man since the cast was removed last Wednesday.
“The strength is coming back, the movement is pretty good. Doctors are saying I should make a full recovery,” said Helm, who produced nine goals and 17 assists in 68 games last season. “I’m starting to do more therapy on it, where I can do different strength activities. (Wednesday) was really the first day outside of the cast, so doctors took a look at it and said it’s ahead of schedule, they thought.”
There was some thought that Helm’s injury could have been career-threatening. As was the cast with Mike Modano a season-ago, severed tendons require a delicate surgery with no guarantees. At first glance, Helm’s injury looked innocent enough. While killing a penalty, the Wings’ center delivered a hard body-check to Predators’ Alexander Radulov along the boards. The hit knocked Radulov back and as the Preds’ forward fell his right skate came off the ice as Helm simultaneously fell forward. The skate blade cut Helm between the glove and elbow pad. The recovery has been a tedious thing, but Helm is confident that he’ll be ready for the start of the 2012-13 season.
“Got a few more months before camp,” he said. “I should be working out hard in a couple of months and get back and ready for camp. Should be ready for the start of camp; I’ll be ready for Game 1.”
As for Cleary, he’s looking forward to getting back on the ice in July, but for now, just some of the simple things that he usually takes for granted are a pleasure.
“It’s a huge difference,” he said. “To be able to walk normal – to be able to get out of your car – and walk normal, since November it’s been (hard). It’s amazing how your body functions differently when you’re hobbling. Everything is off, your groin is sore, your glut is sore. I’m really happy about it. If camp was in July I’d be ready. I feel great, ready to go. I got a lot of time to make sure I do it the right way.”
Update #2: No Dick in the World Inline Hockey Championship semifinals! Axelsson scored two goals in the Swedes’ 4-3 loss to Slovenia of all countries, and that’s that for Sweden, which was eliminated in quarterfinal play for the second World Championship in a row.
The box score’s available here, and here’s a highlight clip from the game:
• In perhaps less than hard-hitting news, Johan Franzen just missed out on Sports Illustrated’s cuts of the best Johans in sports;
• And while we’re doing the free agent speculation thing, Sportsnet’s Patrick Hoffman offers a list of the 10 best goalies available via free agency or trades, and I believe that the Wings will be interested in five netminders on Hoffman’s list:
3. Josh Harding, Minnesota Wild, UFA, $750,000 previous salary
Before the trade deadline, the Minnesota Wild’s backup netminder was rumoured as a man on the block.
This will more than likely be the case this off-season as the Wild appear to be set in goal with Niklas Backstrom as the starter and youngster Matt Hackett primed and ready to be the team’s No. 2.
In 34 games last season, Harding went 13-12-4 with a 2.62 goals against average, a .917 save percentage and two shutouts. While there’s no doubt that Harding is talented, he is also injury-prone and has not played more than 34 games in six seasons with the Wild.
The financially flush Detroit Red Wings will be looking for someone to support netminder Jimmy Howard next season, and Harding’s name is one that came up as someone who could fill that role for the Red Wings.
6. Johan Hedberg, New Jersey Devils, UFA, $1,250,000 previous deal (one year)
When you’re the backup for the New Jersey Devils and are playing under future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur, you probably know that you will not see a ton of action.
Johan Hedberg, 39, has been more than solid for the Devils since joining them in 2010-11. Hedberg was especially impressive for the Devils this season as he went 17-7-2 with a 2.23 goals against average, a .918 save percentage and four shutouts.
With Brodeur, 40, leaning towards another year, the Devils will need to have a backup who can play upwards of at least 25 games; Brodeur cannot play all the time the way he used to. It would make sense for the Devils to bring Hedberg back considering how well he has played for the team in two seasons and how reliable and consistent he has been.
7. Martin Biron, New York Rangers, UFA, $1,750,000 previous deal
Playing under starting netminder Henrik Lundqvist the last two seasons, backup Biron has been a real trooper for the Blueshirts.
This past season, Biron, 34, went 12-6-2 with a 2.46 goals against average, a .904 save percentage and two shutouts. In his two seasons with the Rangers, he proved to the team that he could get the job done when it needed him to and that he was a more than reliable in a support role.
The Rangers will more than likely try to re-sign Biron, but if it doesn’t work out, the Red Wings are rumoured to be a good fit for the veteran.
8. Scott Clemmensen, Florida Panthers, UFA, $3,600,000 for three years previous deal
In his seven years in the NHL, Florida Panthers UFA Clemmensen has held both the backup and starting positions with the New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs and, most recently, Florida Panthers.
Clemmensen, 34, played 30 games this season and went 14-6-6 with a 2.57 goals against average, a .913 save percentage and a shutout. His strong play down the stretch was one of the reasons why the Panthers were able to make the postseason this year for the first time in 12 years.
While it is yet to be determined if the Panthers will try and bring him back, other teams might want to take a look at him because he has proven that he is capable of being both a starting and back-up netminder. Clemmensen can play over 30 games a year and would be a terrific goaltending depth move for any club that might need it.
9. Chris Mason, Winnipeg Jets, UFA, $3,700,000 for two years previous deal
While it’s obvious that Jets backup netminder Mason is not getting any younger at age 36, he’s still a netminder that can play in upwards of 20 games and provide stability between the pipes.
In 20 games this season, Mason went 8-7-1 with a 2.59 goals against average, a .898 save percentage and 2 shutouts. He did a good job of relieving Jets’ starting netminder Ondrej Pavelec every once in awhile and was also a good leader in the locker room for the young Jets.
It would be wise for the Jets to bring him back at a reasonable price but if they cannot, a team like the Columbus Blue Jackets could use him to help struggling and young netminder Steve Mason get his game back in order.
Update #2.5: From the Re Wings’ Twitter account:
As a part of Tim Hortons Camp Day, Eddie Mio will sign at the location on Rochester Road in Troy from 8-9.
Brent Fedyk will be signing at the Tim Hortons on Mound Road in Sterling Heights from 8-9 AM as well.
From the NHL Alumni association…
Today would have been Bob Probert’s bday. Let’s celebrate in his honor. @DetroitRedWings @NHLBlackhawks #gonetoosoon http://pic.twitter.com/Eim3N0nY
And from Olympia Entertainment:
@DetroitRedWings fans check out our fb page 4 a chance 2 win a signed poster, including Lidstrom & Zetterberg! http://bit.ly/KYfDQo
Update #3: DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose spoke to Niklas Kronwall about Calle Jarnkrok’s play at the World Championships:
“He’s got so much upside,” Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “Very impressive.”
Jarnkrok played alongside Kronwall, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen and Jonathan Ericsson on the Swedish national team that competed in the 16-team international tournament in Sweden and Finland in May. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound speedster finished with one assist in eight games while skating mostly on the Swede’s second forward line between a pair of Ottawa Senators – Daniel Alfredsson and prospect Jakob Silfverberg.
The telling tourney statistics for Jarnkrok was his performance in the face-off circle where he won 67.1 percent of his 70 draws. Only Norway’s Marius Holtet (68.7 percent), a former Dallas Stars prospect, had a higher percentage of face-off wins during the 17-day tournament.
“He’s got the skill to play with our top guys,” Kronwall said, of Jarnkrok. “He’s still, I think a few more pounds away to being ready, but even at the World Championship there was no way to tell that he was too light or anything like that.He’s so smart that he puts himself in the right positions to cover the puck or win the puck back. Even though he’s not a huge guy he’s still very strong on his stick, with good balance and outstanding hockey sense.”
Though he signed with the Wings, Jarnkrok will likely spend the upcoming season playing for Brynas in the Swedish Elite League. The hope is that Jarnkrok will be granted permission to participate in the Wings’ training camp in September, but either way, Kronwall is a believer in the young prospect.
“I always get impressed nowadays with a kid that’s coming up – they’re 18-, 19-years-old – and they’re ready to go,” Kronwall said. “They don’t need the years in the minors always. A lot of them are ready to go and their bodies are already mature enough that they’re good to go.”
Update #3.5: The Wings’ alums have announced the details of their annual charity golf classic, which will take place on July 8th, on their website. They’ve posted a PDF which details the information regarding the event.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.