The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/24/12 at 12:53 PM ET
As we await comments from the Red Wings’ players, coach and GM on the day the team’s cleaning out its lockers, and a third of its players are preparing to head to Stockholm and Helsinki to play in the World Championships, Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji summarizes the likelihood of any comments quelling Wings fans’ discontent with their team’s first-round ouster:
Not expecting big news out of #Redwings picture day today.
As we await updates and I settle in for an uncomfortable day of offering you Wings postmortem discussion, MLive’s Ansar Khan tides us over with a slate of player assessments minus grades…
Valtteri Filppula: He finally experienced that breakout season the team was waiting for, with career highs in goals (23) and points (66). He took the puck to the net, playing less on the perimeter, and didn’t defer as much as he has in the past. Much better on the wing, supporting a player like Henrik Zetterberg, than at center. The playoffs, however, were a disappointment (no goals, two assists).
Contract: One year remaining at a cap hit of $3 million.
Johan Franzen: A player whose statistics (team-leading 29 goals) don’t tell the entire story. Too inconsistent, he goes on hot streaks and then goes weeks without skating hard. He would be their most viable trade asset, but it’s unlikely they will go that route. His offense would be hard to replace for his reasonable cap hit.
Contract: Eight years remaining at a cap hit of $3.95 million.
Jiri Hudler: He rebounded from a disastrous 2010-11 (10 goals) with a career-high 25 goals. Despite his lack of size, he went to the net and didn’t avoid taking a hit, fitting in well on a line with Zetterberg and Filppula. But he could get more in free agency than the Red Wings are willing to pay.
Contract: Unrestricted free agent.
Jonathan Ericsson: He’s never going to be that bruising, physical presence like some expect because of his size (6-foot-4, 221). But he has shown steady progress the past two seasons and spearheaded the team’s late-season improvement on the penalty kill.
Contract: Two years remaining at a cap hit of $3.25 million.
Kyle Quincey: The club traded a first-round pick to reacquire him and envisions him as the top-four D-man to replace Brad Stuart. But he struggled with the transition and did not play well down the stretch or in the playoffs. A fresh start could help.
Contract: Restricted free agent.
Continued, of course…
Nyberg spoke to Tomas Holmstrom about the World Championship (he asked if he could play but was told there wasn’t a spot for him), his plans at present (he’s enjoying being a hockey dad to his three kids), his plans regarding his future (he’s not sure if he’ll retire, but he says he won’t play for another NHL team) and the season which just ended (he says that he had an incredibly difficult time getting into a rhythm receiving scant ice time on the fourth line and power play, acknowledging that he had a tough season), as well as his future plans residency-wise (which involve staying in the U.S. for the foreseeable future and maybe moving back to Sweden eventually);
• 97.1 The Ticket posted a link (and an amazing wallpaper-sized image of Nicklas Lidstrom in my favorite pose, shooting the puck) toward the Sports Xchange’s last Wings roster report of the season, which states the obvious:
—Was Friday’s game the last in Nicklas Lidstrom’s remarkable career? Lidstrom turns 42 on April 28 and struggled down the stretch and in the playoffs following an ankle injury (deep bone bruise) that he never fully recovered from. But he said health won’t be a factor in his decision because he anticipates a full recovery. Lidstrom said he’ll take a few weeks to make his decision.
—Wings rookie Gustav Nyquist has the skills to be a regular contributor in the NHL next season. But he must get stronger in the offseason. The talented forward is good at hanging onto the puck and finding open teammates, but he his 5-foot-10, 169-pound frame made him a target for physical play and he lost a lot of puck battles. Nyquist, 22, is learning from Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, not just moves they make and how they play, but how they train and prepare.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“Everyone in here believed we had a good team, that we could do something this year and we didn’t. It is tough, it’s frustrating for everyone; definitely wasn’t anything we expected.”—Wings center Henrik Zetterberg.
While NBC Sports Network was setting a post-season high with Penguins and Flyers, CNBC was doing the same with a hockey game of their own.
Game 5 of the Red Wings/Predators Western Conference Quarterfinal on the money channel drew 543,000 viewers. That marked the second-best ratings for the series on cable (after Game 4, which was on NBCSN and drew 628,000). It’s easily the best numbers for a Stanley Cup Playoff game on CNBC so far, but only 14th-best overall by our current numbers. It does show that hockey fans are finding the channel in time for exclusive second round action, which the network will have a bit of.
A total of 1.6 million viewers were watching Stanley Cup Playoff hockey on Friday on the networks of NBCUniversal.
• And finally, the Port Huron Times-Herald’s list of community events for Wednesday includes the following:
Bone Marrow Donor Registration Drive, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. In honor of Shawn Burr, former Detroit Red Wing and St. Clair County resident. For ages 18-55 in good general health. St. Clair County Community College, 323 Erie St., Port Huron. (810) 989-5767.
Update: From the Grand Rapids Griffins:
The Grand Rapids Griffins’ annual youth hockey camp will offer players the chance to improve fundamental hockey skills under the guidance of several Stanley Cup champions from July 30-Aug. 3 at Griff’s IceHouse at Belknap Park (30 Coldbrook NE, Grand Rapids).
Griffins assistant coach Jim Paek will again serve as the lead instructor, while Detroit Red Wings center and Muskegon native Justin Abdelkader and Washington Capitals right wing and Kentwood native Mike Knuble will each make a one-day appearance during the camp. Children ages 6-16 will be separated into groups by age and will participate in a variety of drills to improve their skills, learning basic stride development and advanced skating techniques while practicing stickhandling, shooting and passing.
The camp runs from 8:30 a.m.-3:15 p.m. each day, comprising a total of 12 hours of ice time and 12 hours of dry-land training and off-ice video sessions. The cost of $300 per child includes a camp jersey, t-shirt, hat and a daily lunch provided by popular local eateries such as Peppino’s, Subway, McDonald’s and Hungry Howies.
For more information and a registration form, please click here. Questions can be directed to Kelly Pawlak at (616) 774-4585 ext. 3025 or Bob Kaser at ext. 3027.
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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.