The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/07/12 at 12:54 PM ET
Updated 3x at 4:40 PM: Continuing a theme from the overnight report this morning, MLive’s Ansar Khan offers one more slate of reminisces and recollections of the Red Wings’ 1997 Stanley Cup win from a slightly different cast of characters, including then-GM Jimmy Devellano, Fox Sports Detroit analyst Larry Murphy and Wings exec Kris Draper:
“I remember the first (Cup) very (vividly) because it happened at the Joe,” Lidstrom said. “I’m out there with Vladimir Konstantinov; you’re just hoping you can keep the puck in the corner. He falls on it and we’re all just waiting for the buzzer to go. That feeling when that buzzer goes, the crowd went nuts, the players went nuts. The city’s been waiting 40-some years for it. That moment, when you’re winning it all and all the players are hugging your goalie, celebrating, is something special.”
It was a moment that had been building for years. The Red Wings had promising teams that were upset in the first round of the playoffs in 1993 (vs. Toronto) and ‘94 (vs. San Jose).
They were poised for a breakthrough during the 48-game lockout-shortened 1995 season but were swept in the finals by New Jersey. They appeared invincible the following season, recording an NHL-record 62 wins, only to be ousted in the Western Conference finals by Colorado. After some growing pains, they finally discovered the winning formula.
“It was a joy, but for me it was a big relief because we finally did it, for our fans, for the ownership,” said club senior vice president Jimmy Devellano, the team’s general manager from 1982-90. “We made so much effort in our drafting to get good players, we brought in (coach) Scotty Bowman (in 1993). The whole intent was to win the Stanley Cup.”
Continuing another theme from the overnight report, Fox Sports Tennessee’s John Manasso offers variations on the, “Nashville press continues to believe that Ryan Suter’s incredibly unlikely to test the free agent waters” theme while discussing the Predators’ decision to not retain Alex Radulov’s services:
A decision on Radulov is just one of many that Nashville must make this offseason. All-Star defenseman Ryan Suter will be an unrestricted free agent as of July 1 and fellow All-Star defenseman Shea Weber, a finalist for the Norris Trophy (top defenseman) for the past two seasons, will be a restricted free agent. Other players such as defenseman Hal Gill and veteran energy player Jordin Tootoo will be unrestricted.
[Predators GM David] Poile said he has engaged in lots of discussions with all of his various players. He said he is not pessimistic about the Suter situation but that he would have liked to have had him signed by now. As for Weber, he said the team is in something of a holding pattern until the Preds know the amount of dollars they might have to commit to Suter, who would be the top free-agent defenseman on the market if he chooses to test it.
• In an insider-only blog entry, ESPN’s Craig Custance takes note of the status of a Philadelphia Flyers defenseman who probably represents the back-up target for teams targeting Suter…
The most interesting potential UFA in Philadelphia is defenseman Matt Carle. GM Paul Holmgren expressed optimism after the season ended that he’d be able to get a deal done with Carle but if he hits free agency he may be a solid Plan B for teams that miss out on Ryan Suter. A team like Detroit would certainly be interested if Carle hits free agency and the Red Wings can’t lure Suter north.
And Custance notes that Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon has a new contract of his own in his back pocket, and if Tallon has his way, two other attractive free agent targets—Jay Garrison and Scott Clemensen—won’t be available on July 1st, either:
When we spoke recently, he remained optimistic that he’ll get a deal done with defenseman Jason Garrison. On Thursday, he told the Miami Herald that he made contract offers to Kris Versteeg and backup goalie Scott Clemmensen. He also said he’s interested in bringing back Mikael Samuelsson. The wildcard to Tallon’s offseason is Roberto Luongo. Tallon has shown in the past he’s not afraid to be aggressive in acquiring big contracts and Luongo would presumably welcome a return to Florida. Even with the talented Jacob Markstrom on the way, it could make a lot of sense to acquire Luongo if the price is right.
In news with a Swedish flair, I fully believe that Nicklas Lidstrom has no desire to take on heavy hockey lifting as a potential executive, but we can expect the Swedish press to milk that angle in earnest given that Expressen’s Daniel Hultqvist and Aftonbladet’s Jonathan Ekeliw report that Swedish national team GM Johan Garpenlov has chosen to leave the Tre Kronor;
• And Wings prospect-of-a-sort Dick Axelsson scored a goal as the Swedish Inline team avoided relegation from the top division at the Inline Hockey World Championships, with the Swedes defeating Great Britain 7-2.
Almost no TV money on the line = tons of highlights and no “geo-blocking” from the IIHF, so here’s a highlight clip from the game:
And finally, the Sports Exchange’s Red wings report, via 97.1 the Ticket an RedWingsFeed, offers little in the way of new information, but it does provide something of a reminder about the Wings’ forward depth given the discussion of Mike Knuble possibly returning to Detroit as a free agent:
“He’s got to take somebody’s job away (to earn a spot on the roster). (The NHL) is a hard league to be good at when you’re 21, unless you’re a superstar. He’s got to continue to mature as a player. He needs to come to camp and keep developing. He competes hard, has good hands. He needs to get quicker in terms of leg strength.”—Wings general manager Ken Holland, on forward prospect Tomas Tatar.
Immediate frickin’ update: From the Wings’ PR staff:
DRW EXPERIENCE PRESENTED BY COKE ZERO TO APPEAR AT 2012 WYCD DOWNTOWN HOEDOWN
… Red Wings Alumni Joe Kocur and Mickey Redmond Signing Autographs; Event Patrons set to Enjoy Interactive Games and Enter-to-Win Raffles …
Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings Experience presented by Coke Zero will be a part of the 2012 WYCD Downtown Hoedown at Comerica Park ’s expansive grounds from June 8-10 as the popular country music festival celebrates its 30th anniversary. Set to be stationed near the stadium’s main entrance at the corner of Elizabeth and Witherell Streets, the Red Wings’ mobile entertainment complex will allow visitors the opportunity to test their hockey skills via interactive games such as Top Shot Challenge while also trying out the latest edition of EA Sports’ NHL franchise at the Experience’s video game center.
Red Wings alumni Joe Kocur and Mickey Redmond will be signing autographs for fans at Comerica this weekend. Kocur will be appearing at the DRW Experience presented by Coke Zero on Saturday from 3:00-5:00 p.m. while Redmond will be appearing on Friday from 5:00-7:00 p.m. and again on Sunday from 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Members of the Volunteer Energy Red Patrol will also be on hand for the 2012 WYCD Downtown Hoedown, distributing various giveaway items to event patrons. Furthermore, a miniature ball hockey rink will be erected and enter-to-win raffles will be held for Red Wings tickets, apparel and memorabilia. The Detroit Red Wings Experience presented by Coke Zero will be open during all three days of the festival: Friday from 5:00-11:00 p.m., Saturday from 2:00-11:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 2:00-11:00 p.m.
Performers at the 2012 WYCD Downtown Hoedown will include Chris Young, Josh Gracin, Dierks Bentley, Hunter Hayes, Miranda Lambert and Montgomery Gentry. Tickets to this multi-day concert ($25 in advance, $30 day-of-show) are on sale now and can be purchased at OlympiaEntertainment.com, the Joe Louis Arena and Fox Theatre box offices, Hockeytown Authentics in Troy and at all Ticketmaster (800-745-3000, Ticketmaster.com) outlets. A portion of the ticket proceeds from this event will benefit Beaumont Health System’s Healthy Heart Check student heart screening program. Additional information on the WYCD Downtown Hoedown can be obtained by calling (313) 471-6611 or by visiting http://wycd.cbslocal.com/.
• And the Hockey News’s Lyle “Spector” Richardson offers a reprise of the latest scuttlebutt on Zach Parise’s future:
New Jersey Devils fans may hold out hope captain Zach Parise re-signs, but league-wide speculation is he’ll become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The New York Post’s Larry Brooks doubts the Devils can afford Parise, unless team owner Jeff Vanderbeek finds a benefactor willing to pony up the millions needed to re-sign him.
Brooks believes Parise will command a heavily front-loaded deal akin to the nine-year, $60-million contract Brad Richards signed last summer with the New York Rangers. Brooks listed the Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and (of course) the Rangers among the potential suitors for the left winger’s services.
If Parise does hit the open market, the Red Wings and Rangers stand the best chance to land him because, as Brooks indicates, they have both the cap space and the willingness to spend.
Of those two, the Red Wings should have the edge. They have $5 million more in extra cap space compared to the Rangers, Parise has stated his admiration for the Wings and their first line center, Pavel Datsyuk, and they’re located closer to his home state of Minnesota.
Update #2: The Grand Rapids Griffins have revealed the details of this summer’s “Put a Lid on it” campaign…
Two hundred local children will receive a new bike helmet at no cost when the Grand Rapids Griffins and Safe Kids Greater Grand Rapids host the fifth annual “Lids at the Library.”
The event will take place on two separate days at branches of the Grand Rapids Public Library and the Kent District Library. GRPL’s Yankee Clipper Branch (2025 Leonard St. NE, Grand Rapids) will be the site on Tuesday, June 12 at 2 p.m., while KDL’s Plainfield Township Branch (2650 5 Mile Rd. NE, Grand Rapids) will host the event on Tuesday, June 19 at 2 p.m.
Volunteers from the Griffins and Safe Kids will be on hand to properly fit these free helmets for the first 100 kids at each location. Helmets for kids ages 1-12 will be distributed (subject to availability), and a parent or legal guardian must be present for a child to receive a helmet. Griff will be on hand to entertain patrons, and a variety of information from the Griffins and Safe Kids will be available for pickup.
“Lids at the Library” represents the start of the ninth summer of the Griffins’ award-winning “Put A Lid On It!” (PALOI) helmet safety program, which is presented by Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Since the program’s founding in 2004, the Griffins have worked with countless local organizations – including police departments, pediatricians, schools, libraries, bike shops and sporting goods stores – to encourage helmet usage during wheeled sports, prevent head injuries, and reward kids who wear their helmets.
• And Sportsnet’s Ryan Porth offers a list of his top 12 unrestricted free agents-to-be:
1. Ryan Suter, Nashville Predators
2011-12 salary: $3.5 million
Remember when Ilya Kovalchuk was the NHL’s biggest free agent—ever!—in 2010? Suter, 27 years old and entering his prime, is the defensive equivalent to that. In Nashville he’s the Robin to Shea Weber’s Batman. On any other team, Suter would be battling against Weber for all-star bids and Norris Trophy nominations.
Suter, coming off a career-best 46-point campaign, says he wants to finish his career with the team he signs with this off-season. This is his one chance to cash in big in free agency—he will earn upwards of double his salary from this past season—and many believe he will test the free agent waters on July 1, which puts the Predators in a tough spot.
2. Zach Parise, New Jersey Devils
2011-12 salary: $6 million
As for Parise, he may be the best free-agent forward since teammate Kovalchuk signed his 15-year, $100 million contract with the Devils two summers ago. Despite coming off major knee surgery, Parise scored 31 goals in 2011-12—his fifth 30-goal campaign since the lockout—and was a factor in getting the Devils to their first Stanley Cup final since 2003. Some pundits doubt the Devils have the goods to match any contract offer Parise would receive in the frenzy. Like Suter in Nashville, it comes down to Parise’s commitment level to the Devils, the only organization he has ever known. Parise is the captain of the Devils and the heartbeat of the offense, but money speaks volumes.
3. Alexander Semin, Washington Capitals
2011-12 salary: $6.7 million
One of the more intriguing names on the market this summer will be Semin. The Capitals winger is the definition of an enigma; some nights he’s nonexistent, others he sets the world on fire. His ups and downs and supposed lack of dedication could steer a lot of general managers away from signing Semin, who has seen his goal total drop in each of the last two years. But as they say, all it takes is one GM to think Semin can be a difference-maker—which he can be when he’s on his game.
6. Jason Garrison, Florida Panthers
2011-12 salary: $700,000
One free agent who hasn’t gotten much publicity is Florida’s Jason Garrison. After going undrafted out of the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Garrison, 27, has been a late bloomer for the Panthers. He had his breakout season in 2011-12, posting career highs in goals, assists and points. If he doesn’t re-up with the Panthers, Garrison’s 16 goals and big shot from the blue line will be sought after on the open market.
7. Matt Carle, Philadelphia Flyers
2011-12 salary: $3.8 million
Like Garrison, Flyers defenceman Matt Carle should be coveted by teams looking for a puck-moving blue-liner not named Ryan Suter. Carle had three solid seasons in Philadelphia, averaging 37.5 points each year and missing just two games total. He’s not a top-pair rearguard, but he’s effective on both ends of the ice.
9. Dennis Wideman, Washington Capitals
2011-12 salary: $4.5 million
Wideman was an all-star for the Capitals last season, capitalizing on the absence of the frequently injured Mike Green. However, Wideman’s second half saw a considerable drop-off from his first half, which could put a seed of doubt in some teams’ minds. He also had a minus-7 rating in 14 playoff games. Still, a thin defence market increases Wideman’s value.
11. P.A. Parenteau, New York Islanders
2011-12 salary: $1.25 million
After bouncing around with different teams over the years, Parenteau found his niche in Long Island. Parenteau, 29, put together back-to-back seasons of unexpected production, recording 53 and 67 points, respectively, in first two seasons with the Islanders. He’d be a good option for teams looking for secondary scoring.
• In the alumni department, from Broadway World:
MotorCity Casino Hotel will welcome the Detroit Red Wings Alumni President’s Ball and Auction Gala to Sound Board on Sunday, July 8 at 6:00 p.m.
The Detroit Red Wings Alumni is the largest alumni organization in the National Hockey League and is among the most respected non-profit alumni organizations in North America. The organization has held numerous charity games and has raised millions of dollars for local charities and minor league hockey. On July 8 the Alumni will host a President’s Ball & Gala with proceeds to benefit The Red Wings Alumni Foundation for Cancer Research, and the Folds of Honor Foundation http://www.foldsofhonor.org Enjoy. cocktails, dinner, and entertainment in the company of Red Wings alumni. Doors open at 6:00pm with entertainment featuring Kraig 9 House Band, Brian Vander Ark of The Verve Pipe, and comedian Dave Coulier.
Tickets ($175.00) are on sale at all Ticketmaster locations and Ticketmaster.com. To charge tickets by phone, call (800) 745-3000. Tickets are also available through the MotorCity Casino Hotel Box Office Friday-Sunday. For VIP Booth Reservations, please call (248) 876-3331.
• As noted last night, “I’ll have Another’s” owner, Paul Reddam, is from Windsor and adores the Red Wings, and Wings GM Ken Holland told DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose that the team’s rooting for Reddam’s steed to win the Triple Crown on Saturday:
“I think everybody follows the Triple Crown every year,” the Red Wings’ general manager said Thursday morning. “What an incredible story, I mean, he’s an underdog, and anytime that you’re staring at history it’s special, it’s hard to do.”
But Holland has a quasi-rooting interest in this weekend’s race, which along with the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, makes up horse-racing’s Triple Crown. You see, Paul Reddam, the owner of the three-year-old Derby and Preakness winner, is a native of Windsor, Ontario, and a humongous Red Wings’ fan.
“They’re my favorite team,” Reddam proclaimed this week.
Reddam, who grew-up on Cousineau Road and graduated from Assumption High School in Windsor, moved to southern California in 1979, and while he doesn’t watch all of the Wings’ games live, he does watch them all even if he has to pre-record them first. No stranger to Red Wings’ Stanley Cup celebrations, Reddam attended Cup-clinching games in 1997, 1998 and 2002. He was also at Game 5 in 2008, which the Wings lost in overtime to the Penguins, only to win it all two nights later in Pittsburgh.
“Just to have some type of an association with the owner of a horse on the verge of making history is pretty neat, it’s pretty special for our team,” Holland said. “And on top of it, having him being a Red Wings’ fan just adds to the intrigue and the passion for Red Wings’ fans from all around North America.”
Continued, of course…
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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.