The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/06/12 at 02:12 PM ET
Updated 2x at 5:14 PM: Given the staccato nature of the Red Wings news cycle, I’m guessing that as soon as I head out the door for a 90-minute appointment, I’m going to miss a big story, just as penning that, “well, there isn’t much going on right now” overnight report gave way to news about Darren McCarty‘s personal life, the Wings’ decision to sign Max Nicastro...
And, later in the morning, confirmation from MLive’s Ansar Khan that the Wings will consider trading for the rights of free agents-to-be at the draft, as well as adding a note about Tomas Holmstrom’s inevitable conversation with Holland coming this Friday.
As of the time I’m writing this entry, it appears that we’re looking at a slow news day, and, via RedWingsFeed, the Detroit Free Press offers the only “new” content thus far, reminding us almost painfully that the Red Wings won their first Stanley Cup of the modern era 15 years ago via a column from someone who used to care about hockey while receiving unparalleled access to the Wings he once covered in one Mitch Albom:
You get into this business of writing about athletes, and the deal you make is you never gush, you always keep a cool and distant attitude. I may break that tonight. Steve Yzerman, one of the true gentlemen left in sports, came to Detroit not long before I did in the mid-1980s. We have known each other since he was single, since he was too young to legally drink, since he lived in an apartment, since we both had enough hair to wear it in bangs.
Now he is married, a father, building a new home. He is 32, working on what’s likely his final contract as a player. He has got more scars, less hair and is much more familiar to Detroit than he was as that shy, speedy 18-year-old draft choice out of the Ottawa suburbs. In fact, it seems like we’ve seen Yzerman in every possible pose, except one: We have never seen him happy on the last day of hockey season.
Tonight, sometime before midnight, that could finally happen. And when it happens for The Captain, it happens for all of us.
There was a moment Thursday night, before Game 3 of these Stanley Cup finals against Philadelphia, when the Wings were introduced and the sellout crowd at Joe Louis Arena lost control. It was when Yzerman’s name was called. The noise was deafening, it rattled the roof and cascaded down to the ice. Even the announcer had to wait before he could be heard over the loudspeaker system.
“I really wasn’t expecting anything like that, ” Yzerman said Friday. “The only way I can describe it is if you have children, and you’ve been away for a while, and you come home and the dog is barking and the kids run at you and they’re all excited?”
“Like coming home?” I said.
“Yeah, it was like coming home, ” he said.
The story continues, of course, and the parallels Albom pens between what Wings fans felt about Steve Yzerman finally winning his first Cup in 1997 and the comments espoused by Wings fans regarding another man who earned the title of “the captain,” Nicklas Lidstrom, gave me serious pause.
The Free Press promises that it’s going to commemorate the 15th anniversary over the next day or two, and this picture from “CTRL Studio” also gave me pause as we are only a week removed from a much sadder anniversary:
Retired Detroit Red Wings grinder Darren McCarty and his wife of two months obtained personal protection orders against four of McCarty’s former friends, saying the friends were harassing and threatening the lives of the couple, angry that Darren McCarty will no longer drink and party with them.
The McCartys sought the orders May 31 in Oakland County Circuit Court in Pontiac. Judge Mary Ellen Brennan ordered the four to stay away from the McCartys and to not contact them in any way.
The four, including two women from Clawson, a Royal Oak woman and a man from Macomb County, formerly partied with McCarty, who has struggled with alcohol and gambling issues. McCarty, who retired from the Red Wings in 2009, underwent rehabilitation and no longer drinks, according to the complaint.
Sheryl McCarty, in asking for the personal protection orders, wrote in her complaint, “the four-time Red Wing Stanley Cup legend no longer hung with them and closed bars every night and no longer did drugs with them, and that made them crazy.”
Regarding potential future Wings, Yahoo’s Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski made sure to repost the New York Post’s Larry Brooks’ notion that half the frickin’ league will be trying to sign Zach Parise if he reaches the open market…
There is no other forward on the market comparable to Parise, who has steadfastly refused to engage in discussion about his future. One can expect up to a dozen teams to make serious inquiries on the left wing, who has spent his seven-year NHL career as a Devil.
This all but certainly will be the final summer in which, a) players will be allowed to sign front-loaded contracts with huge signing bonuses that this year will also serve as lockout-protection; and b) players will be permitted to sign contracts without term limits.
Indeed, Parise can expect offers modeled after the nine-year, $60 million contract Brad Richards signed last summer with the Rangers, under which the center is receiving $24 million the first two years, including a $10 million signing bonus last July and an $8 million signing bonus due next month.
Parise, who will turn 28 next month, could attract offers of up to 12 years. He will certainly receive front-loaded, bonus-laden offers from the Rangers and Red Wings, who have millions to spend and the inclination to do so.
The Wild will be in, though Parise might want to think more than twice about going home to join a team in which he would be the best player by leaps and bounds.
The Sharks could be in. The Maple Leafs will be, though current general manager Brian Burke doesn’t believe in front-loaded deals. The Bruins could become a serious contender. There will be others.
Given the financial realities in New Jersey, it’s almost impossible to conjure the scenario in which ownership could cut Parise a $10 million check on July 2. And again, that’s even assuming Parise’s first choice is to remain a Devil.
For the record, the Troy Patch’s Jen Anesi posted several photos of Wings alums Jason Woolley and Eddie Mio taking part in the Tim Horton’s Camp Day charitable initiative;
• As Pro Hockey Talk’s Joe Yerdon notes, the Washington Post’s Katie Carrera and the Washington Times’ Stephen Whyno are confirming that an “old goat” who might be ion the Wings’ radar screen in Mike Knuble won’t return to the Washington Capitals;
• And again, via RedWingsFeed, I’ll leave you to read the Score’s Ellen Etchingham’s chronicle of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ comeback from a 3-0 Stanley Cup Final series deficit against the 1942 Detroit Red Wings on your own. I’m not reading it, period, because that one even stings when lived through vicariously.
CSN: You have a home in East Grand Rapids. Would the Detroit Red Wings be a possibility?
Knuble: We are going back that way and we are going to live in Michigan, probably the rest of our lives, or at least until the kids go to school and are out of college. Detroit would be a neat story since I was drafted there. I’ll make no secret about that. That would be a nice way to come back around. You don’t have that luxury, but maybe a team has a hole and I can fill fit for a year until a prospect develops.
Knuble also spoke to WBBL’s Bakita and Bentley about the Kings, Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement and leaving Washington:
The interview is mostly gabba.
Update #1.5: Dick Axelsson scored a goal in Sweden’s 5-4 loss to the Czech Republic, and now Sweden has to win a game against Great Britain on Friday to avoid being relegated to Division I. Here’s the IIHF’s highlight clip from the game:
Update #2: This is the tenth-most important story of the off-season, says the Hockey News’s Adam Proteau:
10. Life Without Lidstrom In Detroit There’s no way the Red Wings can replace everything surefire Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidstrom brought to the organization, but Detroit GM Ken Holland has more than $26 million in available salary cap space with which to work – and if he can snag Predators unrestricted defenseman Ryan Suter and/or Devils winger Zach Parise, the pain of losing Lidstrom won’t be nearly so acute.
These do matter, too:
2. The Free Agency Frenzy As always, there will be a mad rush on July 1 as teams jockey to acquire the top talents available for nothing other than a new contract. Parise and Suter will be the top prizes this season, but there will be another wrinkle added with a new collective bargaining agreement needing to be negotiated. To that end, many want to see whether GMs and teams push hard to sign players to short-term contracts, or whether they throw money around with as little regard as they usually have for long-term repercussions.
1. Looming Labor War Like it or not, the business of the NHL will overshadow most off-season news. And while there’s no sense of full-on collective bargaining Armageddon as there was in 2004-05, there’s also no confidence the 2012-13 season will begin on time. In any case, get used to hearing the names of Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr a lot more in the coming weeks and months.
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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.