The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/21/12 at 02:44 PM ET
Updated 5x at 4:13 PM: If you are taking part in the Pure Michigan commercial being filmed at Joe Louis Arena today at 3 PM, the Red Wings offered a few more snippets of interest/usefulness:
If you’re coming to The Joe today for the— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) August 21, 2012
@puremichigan commercial around 3, parking will be available in the Riverfront Lot across from JLA
Pure Michigan is running early, so please make sure to BE AT JLA NO LATER THAN 3 PM- See you in a bit!— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) August 21, 2012
Fox 2’s Murray Feldman stated that the commercial will make its debut on YouTube on September 5th, and that it was part of a day-long shoot that was making stops at the Detroit Zoo and Fox Theatre, among other locales. The shoot itself will start at 4 PM, too, so be prepared for rush hour traffic on the way home…
The Wings also offered a new twist to a two-day-long battle:
For the record, from Monday:
(1/3) HELP US BEAT THE BLACKHAWKS! We’re working AGAINST the— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) August 20, 2012
@nhlblackhawks to see who can get more Twitter followers by next week.
And fro the NHL, a few hours ago:
In other news of local activities, again, if you are in the Troy area today, tomorrow or Thursday, Kris Draper’s youth hockey camp is taking place at the Troy Sports Center;
• The Windsor Star’s Bob Duff is currently covering Los Angeles Kings enforcer Kevin Westgarth’s day with the Stanley Cup in Amhertsburg, Ontario…
— Bob Duff (@asktheduffer) August 21, 2012
#kings Kevin Westgarth on Stanley Cup: “It’s a beautiful thing”
— Bob Duff (@asktheduffer) August 21, 2012
#kings Westgarth had Cup & coffee at breakfast table with his parents this morning.
And the Windsor Star has already posted a few quick videos of Westgarth’s day with the Cup:
• And if you’re interested, the latest round of Operation Bobblehead: Alumni Edition voting is underway on the Wings’ website.
In the coming attractions department, sort of:
• In his daily “Shaved Ice” update, Michigan Hockey Now’s Michael Caples stated that he’d been attending Michigan State University’s pro hockey camp, and in addition to showing us a picture of pro stocks which include Shawn Horcoff, Justin Abdelkader, Mike Weaver, Jeff Petry, Trevor Nill, Jim Slater and Torey Krug, I’m guessing that the Reebok 11K’s belong to Drew Miller;
• Via Paul, Igor Larionov was in Edmonton to shepherd Nail Yakupov during his rookie debut as an Oiler, and he confirmed that the aforementioned Draper will be holding a “training camp” for Winter Classic Alumni Showdown participants:
Larionov will be playing in the old-timers Toronto Maple Leafs-Detroit Red Wings game on Jan. 1 if there is a Winter Classic. “(Teammate Kris) Draper has already started a camp, so we’re ready for Toronto,” said the chuckling former Detroit centre.
• And Marie Hallman will be posting a “Marie Moter” (Marie Meets) interview with Niklas Kronwall on her blog over the next day or two, but she shared a sneak preview of Kronwall’s answers regarding the wacky way in which he wears his visor, whether he feels ready to step into the skates of Detroit’s #1 defenseman, what he thinks about predictions suggesting that the end is near for Detroit’s 21-consecutive-season playoff run and what his plans are if there’s a lockout:
— Marie Hallman (@hallmanmarie) August 21, 2012
@georgemalik Kroner laughed a lot when I brought up the helmet question ) In sweden is by the way 2 min penalty at showing back the helmet
the way he does but he said he had heard the question before ha ha.He was very glad to hear about the support though!— Marie Hallman (@hallmanmarie) August 21, 2012
— Marie Hallman (@hallmanmarie) August 21, 2012
@georgemalik he dismissed the critics and explained why he thinks D is a SC contender and said he did not mind being nr 1 defenseguy but
said no one can be like Nic, the all had to chip in to fill his shoes. Ill sit down and put it all on paper (computer) now. )— Marie Hallman (@hallmanmarie) August 21, 2012
— Marie Hallman (@hallmanmarie) August 21, 2012
@georgemalik regarding lockout its a tricky issue. IF he goes home Djurgården is the choice but there are so many factors to bring in the
— Marie Hallman (@hallmanmarie) August 21, 2012
@georgemalik picture before de decides wether to stay in D or going back home
In much less cheery news, via RedWingsFeed, Danny Cleary isn’t the Wings’ NHLPA player representative (that’s Niklas Kronwall’s job), but he’s attended CBA negotiations, as has Kyle Quincey, and now that DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose reported that Henrik Zetterberg is back in North America, he’ll slot into the NHLPA’s negotiating committee in short order.
Cleary Sporke to the Saint John’s Telgram’s John Short about CBA negotiations, and he’s worried about the “gap” between the owners and players:
s the NHL getting a point where another work stoppage could lead to a fan backlash, to a point where the ticket-buying public will be more apt to watch the NHL Network in high def at home than pay upwards of $300 for a night out for two at the hockey rink?
“I would say no, it’s not going to matter,” Cleary says matter-of-factly. “And I don’t say that flippantly. Based on what happened with the last lockout, the hockey loyalty and the passion came back with the players. Here we are now and the game has never been better. I remember the last lockout and there was concern about clubs then and here we are seven years later and we’ve grown the business by $1.1 billion. The league is in the best state it’s ever been in, right now, for fans and parity. I mean, the eighth seed wins the Cup. You can legitimately cheer for almost 20 clubs — two-thirds of the league — and you have a good chance at winning. That’s good for the fans. But I am concerned. The last thing we want is a lockout, but the second-last thing we want is contraction. Relocation is okay, but contraction is something we don’t want to get into.”
And yes, Cleary talks about his surgically-repaired knee, and the state of the Wings, too:
Ironically enough, Cleary could probably benefit from a delayed start to the season. He’s entering the final year of a five-year, $14 million contract and he’s coming off knee surgery in early May. Cleary managed only 12 goals and 33 points last season, his lowest point production in his seven years in Motown. Still, the fact Cleary was even able to appear in 75 games was a credit to the 33-year-old veteran, who might be in line for an assistant captain’s appointment whenever hockey resumes, given the retirement of captain Niklas Lidstrom. Cleary had two previous arthroscopic surgeries on his left knee, but last spring went under the knife to repair two torn ligaments which left him skating bone on bone. During the surgery, a ball of fluid the size of a squash ball was removed from behind the knee.
“It was my first invasive surgery, but I’m on the mend. Every time I’m on the ice, my skating is getting better. I’m hoping to be ready to go for camp, if we start.”
Whenever the league gets going, it will be a different Red Wings team to which fans have grown accustomed. First and foremost, there will no longer be the rock-solid Lidstrom, a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer. And reliable Brad Stuart was dealt to the San Jose Sharks in June after requesting a trade to be closer to his family in California. So that leaves Niklas Kronwall as the Red Wings’ No. 1 rearguard, with support coming from former St. John’s Maple Leaf Ian White and Jonathan Ericsson. Others figuring to fill out the blueline are Kyle Quincey, Jakub Kindl and rookie Brendan Smith, a former first-round draft pick.
Red Wings’ GM Ken Holland has been working the phone lines to acquire Jay Bouwmeester from the Calgary Flames or Keith Yandle from the Phoenix Coyotes.
“I don’t know. I’m a little nervous,” Cleary admitted. “I never had that uncertainty before. I know we have an all-star goalie (Jimmy Howard), I know we have talented forwards, and we have a couple of solid defensemen. But there is some uncertainty ... can Smith and Kindl step up and play 18-20 minutes? We have huge minutes to replace in Lidstrom and Stuart.”
I can’t seem to embed it in my entry, but there is a video accompanying the story, in which Cleary talks about holding a hockey school in Torbay, Nova Scotia…
And finally, I don’t usually do this, but…
Regarding the comments made by a certain English-based Wings fan (note to anonymous posters: we log your IP’s and can track your comments over time so that we know what aliases you post as, so you’re never really “anonymous”) using different names (“Regis,” “Stop” and “Reddy,” and I recognize your tone and general commentary from before, so I know you’ve been around on a repeated basis) to criticize my forthcoming nature about my health issues over the past week or so, I will readily admit that I may have veered into the level of “too much information, even for me” during last night’s overnight report, but for the 2% of readers who get their shorts in a bunch about my health disclosures, I know there are at least several dozen readers (as in 25-plus) who have emailed me informing me that my openness helps them feel less stigmatized, helps them understand how people they care about are dealing with mental illnesses, or has spurned them to get some help and has yielded positive results and relief from pain and struggles.
I’ll try to be a little more delicate regarding the, “This is my depressive season and I’ve gotta be careful” thing, but I will remain open, honest and forthright about the fact that I battle anxiety and depression, and if you don’t like reading me discuss my illnesses, there are many other Wings blogs which provide similar information and don’t mention bloggers’ health issues. I suggest that you patronize those blogs instead, because, “I yam who I yam.”
Update: The Grand Rapids Griffins continue to post summertime videos on their YouTube channel, and this one is cute:
Update #2: Lest I forget, via RWF, Matheson added some lockout rhetoric to what was an article I can best describe as, “Writer Coming Back from Vacation, Rusty.” And when Jim Matheson shows a little human weakness, it makes bloggers everywhere feel a little better about the fact that they do their damnedest to provide top-notch content 100% of the time, but do slip up from time to time, and worry when they do:
So who blinks first if there’s an NHL lockout in less than 30 days? The billionaires or the millionaires? The NHL owners or the hired hands? If we don’t have hockey in October or November or into December, we all know the owners win because they’re not forking over any salaries. But we also know when the NHL home office will get very, very nervous — Jan. 1, 2013.
“I don’t think it’s going past the outdoor game,” said agent Igor Larionov, the Hall of Famer who now represents Nail Yakupov and was in Edmonton the last few days.
With NBC giving the NHL $200 million in that long-term arrangement, the Winter Classic is the league’s great advertising baby to showcase their product to U.S. folks who wouldn’t know Evgeni Malkin was if he was in their soup. This year, the event is at the University of Michigan’s football stadium that seats 100,000-plus, with the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs on the marquee.
So while NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who does the owner’s bidding, says the league is locking out the players on Sept. 15 when the current collective bargaining agreement ends and there’s no new deal with the players, it seems inconceiveable that we’ll get another season where NHL rinks are dark throughout the winter as it was in 2004. In 1994, we got 48 games after another lockout, with players risking life and limb to play about every second night from Jan. 11 on.
The NHL is a $3.2-billion business right now, admittedly about a third of the NFL and less than the NBA (two leagues that recently hammered out new 10-year CBAs).
“The game then (in 2004-05) wasn’t in such a good position as it is now. I’m an optimist, more than some people (that it won’t be long lockout),” said Washington Capitals forward and former Oilers winger Jason Chimera, referring to the season eight years ago when the players flat-out refused to entertain a salary cap before capitulating; also giving up 24 per cent of their salaries in a rollback.
The owners are giving the players 57 per cent of revenue now. They would likely settle on a 50-50 deal.
“We (NHLPA) put together a good proposal where the profitable clubs could help the little clubs (in better revenue sharing; right now the maximum is $10 million per club to the weak sisters) to sustain their spot in the league. It’s good for teams like Nashville and Florida. I’d have to think some of the owners looked at it and said, ‘Yeah, that’s a pretty good proposal.’ We’re still keeping the cap,” said Chimera. “First, the owners have to agree on something (from the players), though, and then maybe things will fall into place. They gave us a proposal where they wanted us to take another 24 per cent off after doing it before. Last time, we kept saying no cap, no cap. This time, there’s things to work off.”
Update #3: MLive’s Brendan Savage penned an article about a player who is, for the moment, anyway, the team’s #7 defenseman in Brian Lashoff. Lashoff hopes to crack the team’s roster during training camp, which, as Savage suggests, is up in the air at this point:
“I’ve gone through a lot of things,” Lashoff said. “Not being drafted, injuries my first year. I’ve dealt with some adversity and I think that’s made me a stronger person and better athlete. If I go back to Grand Rapids, I want to be a guy that’s relied on down there. Have a good season down there and be ready if called upon. That’s my goal.”
And what happens if there’s a new CBA in place by the Sept. 15 deadline and training camp opens on time?
“I’m looking at coming to camp as strong as possible,” said Lashoff, who turned 22 last month. “I’m ready to rock and roll and stay as long as possible. Right now, (the Red Wings’) depth on defense might not be as deep as in the past. It’s a good chance for me to hopefully stick as long as possible. If not, hopefully I get called up.”
The 6-foot-3, 208-pound Lashoff was undrafted after spending four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with the Barrie Colts and Kingston Frontenacs. But he earned a contract with the Red Wings after playing well when he received an invitation to Detroit’s training camp in 2008.
After spending most of the 2008-09 season in Kingston, he earned a late-season call-up to the Red Wings top farm club in Grand Rapids and made the most of the opportunity. He was the Griffins most consistent defenseman in eight playoff games, when he recorded a goal and four assists. That earned him a full-time spot in Grand Rapids the following season.
Unfortunately for Lashoff, he was limited to 37 games as a rookie after separating his shoulder early in the season and then injuring an ankle. Last year, he was healthy for the most part and appearing in 76 games for the Griffins, bagging eight goals and 11 assists to go with 41 penalty minutes.
“Last year was nice,” Lashoff said. “I went into last year and found a role for myself. I was playing on the top power-play unit and played every game. Things are going great here. It’s nice to sign with a team like (the Red Wings). It’s a great organization. They’ve had so much depth for so many years, it’s a tough lineup to crack. You have to keep working.”
With hockey’s demanding nature and the grueling grind of an 82-game NHL regular season, there isn’t much of an offseason for most players. For a group of former Michigan State Spartans, the annual Pro Camp – held at Munn Ice Arena from Monday to Friday of this week – is the perfect opportunity to not only reunite with old pals, but also prepare for their respective, upcoming seasons.
“It’s always fun getting back here, seeing all the guys and reminiscing on old times,” said Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader. “Obviously, we’re here to get ready for our camps, but at the same time, we’re here to enjoy it and have fun. It’s a fun week, and it’s always good to come back, see the guys, and feel like you’re part of the program again.”
Abdelkader also said he managed to sneak in an “Honorary Spartan” in Czech defenseman and Detroit teammate Jakub Kindl.
“This is his second or third year,” Abdelkader said. “He’s been here a handful of times, so he feels pretty comfortable now, too.”
Kindl wasn’t the only non-Spartan on the ice, either. With Drew Palmisano the only MSU goaltender returning to campus, the group invited Pat Nagle, former Ferris State goaltender and current Tampa Bay prospect, to skate as well.
The camp runs through Friday, culminating in the Spartans’ annual alumni golf outing. All skates (Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to noon) are open to the public.
Kubus offers a roster of participants as well…
And, from DetroitRedWings.com’s Will Posthumus:
Update #5: According to Sport-Express, the first leg of three games Pavel Datsyuk will take part in to raise funds for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl families and other charities will take place on August 26th in Kazan, home of the Ak Bars;
• According to Sovetsky Sport’s Dmitry Ponomarenko, in garbled translated Russian:
In honor of the 40th anniversary of the famous matches between national teams of the USSR and Canada, our stars will play against North American veterans.
The first match will take place in St. Petersburg on September 5, the second - in Yaroslavl on September 7. Meetings are devoted not only the 40th anniversary of the Summit Series-72, but also the 25th anniversary of the memorable Canada Cup-87, where our team in the finals also fought with the Canadians and lost two of three matches with a score of 5:6. Therefore, it is planned that the national team will include players who participated in the tournament.
According to a correspondent of “Soviet Sport” Dmitry Ponomarenko double Olympic champion and hero-72 Summit Series, Alexander Yakushev, will play for Russia, stars such as forwards Pavel Bure, Sergei Fedorov, Valeri Kamensky, Alexei Zhamnov, Alexander Mogilny, defenders Vyacheslav Fetisov and Alexei Kasatonov goalkeeper Vladimir Myshkin and Sergei Mylnikov. Composition Canadian team is specified.
Auf English: There’s going to be an alumni game between famous Russian and Canadian hockey players to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1987 Canada Cup, the 40th Anniversary of the Summit Series, and, most likely, the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl tragedy, but there’s no word as to who will play for Canada;
• And, from the Windsor Star’s Monica Wolfson:
AMHERSTBURG, Ont. – About 1,500 hockey fans packed the United Communities Credit Union complex Tuesday morning to see the revered Stanley Cup, which was brought to the community by L.A. Kings hockey player Kevin Westgarth. The General Amherst graduate said bringing the cup home was like a dream come true.
“This isn’t too shabby,” he said of the throngs packed into the UCCU’s indoor recreation field. “I feel like I’m out there with you. Hockey is about passion and it takes passion to win and that’s what I see here today.”
The crowd gathered early at the UCCU complex to see Westgarth and the Stanley Cup. One man came as early as 5:30 a.m. even though the doors didn’t open until 9:15 a.m. The Cup’s journey started in the parking lot of the Canadian Tire store on Front Road before a caravan of cars travelled to the UCCU complex on Meloche Road. The regular and overflow parking lots were full. The arena was jammed with young and old who came to see Westgarth and the Stanley Cup.
Westgarth’s family, including his grandmother, cousins, aunts and uncles, gathered with pride to help him celebrate his team’s victory. The former Amherstburg Minor Hockey league player graduated from Princeton University as did his older brother, Brett. The brothers played hockey for two years together at the university varsity level. After graduating in 2007, Westgarth, 28, was signed by the Kings and played in the minor hockey leagues for four years. He’s in his second NHL season with the Kings.
“It’s just unbelievable,” said Helen Westgarth, Kevin’s grandmother. “It’s a wonderful turnout. Children can have a role model to go by.”
While Westgarth’s hockey right-wing position is a physical one as the team enforcer, he’s really a down-to-earth friendly guy, his aunt Beverly McEwen said. She’s travelled to nearby Kings games in Toronto or Buffalo to cheer her nephew on.
“He’s one of the kindest, sweetest people you’ll know,” she said. “Hockey is his job. He doesn’t do it with malice or hard feelings.”
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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.