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Red Wings mid-day news: on Operation Bobblehead, booing Fedorov and an unpolished gem

Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

• From the Wings:

KRIS DRAPER VICTORIOUS IN OPENING ROUND OF OPERATION: BOBBLEHEAD – ALUMNI EDITION

… Online Balloting Recommences Tomorrow at http://DetroitRedWings.com

Detroit, MI… The ballots have been tallied and Hockeytown fan favorite Kris Draper has emerged victorious from the opening round of voting in Operation: Bobblehead – Alumni Edition, an ongoing campaign charged with determining which former Red Wings greats will be immortalized in the form of a collectible 6 ½ inch polyresin figurine during the upcoming NHL season. Draper’s bobblehead will be distributed to 7,500 lucky Joe Louis Arena patrons at a select 2012-13 Red Wings home game.

Round 2 of Operation: Bobblehead – Alumni Edition will begin on Tuesday, August 7, at 12:01 p.m. Fans are able to vote by visiting DetroitRedWings.com and casting their ballots via a special form accessible through the site’s Fan Zone. Red Wings alumni in contention to have their likeness adorn a bobblehead in 2012-13 include Kirk Maltby, Vladimir Konstantinov, Sid Abel, Dino Ciccarelli, Alex Delvecchio, Terry Sawchuk, Ted Lindsay, Darren McCarty, Joe Kocur, John Ogrodnick, Luc Robitaille, Chris Chelios, Larry Murphy, Mark Howe, Igor Larionov, Brendan Shanahan, Brett Hull, Chris Osgood, Scotty Bowman and more. Write-in candidates are also encouraged.

None of the ballots cast during last week’s voting session will count towards players’ second round totals. There is no limit on how many votes fans are able to cast each week. Twitter users, meanwhile, are invited to champion their favorite player’s bobblehead candidacy by using the hashtag #OperationBobblehead throughout the duration of this campaign.

• Regarding one of the write-in candidates, Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Regner touches on a sore subject with Wings fans in Winter Classic Alumni Showdown participant Sergei Fedorov. Regner believes that the Fedorov vs. Yzerman factor must be addressed in terms of coming to acceptance with the reasons why Fedorov left Detroit:

it’s much simpler than that—Fedorov is not Steve Yzerman, and that’s always been the rub. Whatever Fedorov achieved, it was never good enough because he wasn’t STEVIE. Fedorov felt it, and Yzerman knew it.

Yet, together they were an untouchable duo. Fedorov and Yzerman, who played together for 13 seasons, were two of the top-five centers in the entire world, and they thrived off one another. With Fedorov and Yzerman in the lineup, it was “pick your poison” because it was impossible to stop both of them. Even though they weren’t the best of friends, they respected each other enough to put everything aside when they stepped onto the ice. Without each other, they might never have reached their Hall of Fame numbers.

Fedorov is far from perfect, but when he was on, his game was as close to perfection as you could get on the ice. On separate occasions, Yzerman and Wayne Gretzky told me that Fedorov is the most talented player they’ve ever seen.

Whatever your feelings are on Fedorov, you will have the opportunity to see him wear a Red Wings sweater again this winter. He’s accepted the team’s invitation to be part of the Winter Classic festivities, which is a large step in repairing his tarnished image.

Many in the Wings organization wrote Fedorov off as if he had died when he became a Mighty Duck. They were adamant that Fedorov’s betrayal ensured he would never be welcomed back into the Red Wings family. Seems time has lessened the hurt and bitterness some high-ranking team officials felt towards No. 91. And that’s good.

For his entire life, Fedorov has been searching for acceptance. Maybe it has to do with growing up in the oppressive Soviet Union.

Whatever reason, it’s time to welcome Fedorov back home and celebrate his Red Wings career. He deserves the complete acceptance of fans here because he is and always will be one of the greatest Red Wings ever.

That desire to be “The Guy,” Fedorov’s unwillingness to harness that natural talent and his search for more than acceptance…They’re all reasons why a fantastic career never quite lived up to the expectations Fedorov was sometimes happy to shoulder and sometimes suggested he didn’t deserve to be saddled with.

• Perhaps along the Winter Classic lines, Detroithockey.net’s Clark Rasmussen offers another Winter Classic jersey concept;

• Regarding a different kind of fan participation, via RedWingsFeed...

Here’s hoping that the Wings do indeed hold their prospect tournament…

• One of the prospects who should take part in said tournament possesses tremendous natural gifts in terms of size, strength and snarl, but MLive’s Brendan Savage notes that 2012 draft pick Mike McKee may like piling up penalty minutes being mean and nasty, but that’s not going to help him acquire the kind of skill set necessary to keep up with the Wings’ system. McKee happily, well, shoulders the responsibility of being a tough guy, but regardless of whether he’s going to spend another season with the USHL’s Lincoln Stars or whether he’s (probably) going to head to Western Michigan University, he’s got to work on developing his skating and puck-moving skills:

Like it or not, fighters can still a fill a vital role for an NHL team and the Red Wings system isn’t loaded with tough guys, which is one reason they drafted McKee. Some players who fill that role fight out of necessity and others do it because they like it.

“It’s both for me,” said McKee, who turns 19 on Aug. 17. “I have no problem doing it. The biggest thing is when a guy is blessed with natural skill and guys take cheap shots at him. That can’t be happening. I’ll step in there as many times as it takes. I’m not afraid to mix it up. I’m kind of unique for the style of play I bring in here. They don’t have too many guys like me around here.”

Before spending last year in the USHL, McKee played two seasons of prep school hockey in Connecticut. He thought he made enough of an impression there to catch an NHL team’s eye after the 2010-11 season and attended the draft in Minnesota with his mother and agent. But when every NHL team passed on him, McKee was so disappointed he didn’t attend this year’s draft in Pittsburgh or even follow the proceedings on TV or the Internet. He wasn’t expecting to be selected and then he got the phone call he’d been dreaming about.

“I was content to be a free agent going through college,” said McKee, who was among 41 players at last month’s Red Wings prospects camp in Traverse City. “I didn’t talk to many teams. I didn’t talk to the Red Wings. I was taking my sister over to the grocery store (on draft day). We were doing a little shopping.  I was sitting in the car and I got the phone call. I just broke down and started crying. It was a dream come true. They called me (and said), ‘Congratulations, you’re a member of the Detroit Red Wings.’ I was at a loss for words. I always felt like I could play with these guys.”
...
And although he was a defenseman last season, McKee said he’ll have no problem moving to forward if that’s what the Broncos and/or Red Wings ask him to do.

“I played forward growing up when I was younger in Canada,” said McKee, a native of Newmarket, Ontario. “In prep school, they threw me on ‘D.’ I can play either way. I have no problem going back and forth. Whatever is best for the team. I have no preference. If they need me to play forward, I’ll play forward. If they need me to play ‘D,’ I’ll play ‘D.’ If both goalies get hurt, I’ll put on the pads. I’m not too much of a skill guy. I go straight up and down the ice and bang bodies. I’m going to work as hard as I can and keep doing what I’m doing.  Whenever God and the Red Wings think I’m ready to move up, I’m ready for that journey.”

As wonderful a first impression as McKee made upon me and the Wings in Traverse City, hard work will determine when McKee is ready to move up.

• And as I’m still recovering from a long drive and re-immersion into pollution, I haven’t been on Twitter enough today, so Pro Hockey Talk’s James O’Brien offers an update on a player the Wings will definitely be interested in should his grievance against the New York Islanders comes to pass:

Arthur Staple reports that the NHL still hasn’t scheduled an arbitration hearing for Lubomir Visnovsky‘s grievance with the Anaheim Ducks.

The speedy defenseman is attempting to block a trade to the New York Islanders, claiming that they essentially ignored his no-trade clause.

The Ducks (seemingly) sent Visnovsky to Long Island for a 2013 second-rounder on June 22. The unusual news broke regarding his grievance almost a month later on July 23.

Visnovsky’s contract actually could theoretically benefit both lower-budget teams because his cap hit ($5.6 million) is significantly higher than his $3 million salary in 2012-13.

Beyond those money concerns, “Lubo” is just a season removed from an outstanding 68-point season that attracted some Norris Trophy buzz in 2010-11. He joined the Ducks via a trade with Ryan Whitney.

The reason for the holdup is unclear. One might lean toward how unusual the situation is or point out that the NHL is busy with the CBA negotiations, though.

 

Update: Whoops, I plum forgot:

 

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Comments

SYF's avatar

Always a great read regarding McKee, George.  The guy already has NHL size, but obviously the Wings would like him to build an all-around game.  He does seem to have a proper head on his wide shoulders.  Along with Sproul, I cannot wait to see him in a Wings sweater.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 08/06/12 at 03:42 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I don’t buy the argument that fans can’t forgive Fedorov for “not being Yzerman”.  Not in the least.  Because Fedorov gave fans enough reasons on his own.  Truthfully, Fedorov did nothing to hurt the notion that Russians can be talented but are moody, whiny, etc.  He only fed it.

He created his own problem, not the fans and franchise.

Posted by Primis on 08/06/12 at 03:49 PM ET

calquake's avatar

He created his own problem, not the fans and franchise.

Fine.  Now it’s time for everyone to forgive and forget.  The fans, the franchise and Federov.  I believe he has taken the first step towards that as has the franchise.  Now it’s our turn.

Posted by calquake on 08/06/12 at 04:28 PM ET

cowboycoffee's avatar

^EXACTLY. It’ll be pretty fricking embarrassing if he hits the ice to boos.

Posted by cowboycoffee from San Francisco, CA on 08/06/12 at 04:48 PM ET

Avatar

Fans still want to boo Fedorov after all these years but Sergei’s the one who’s moody, whiny, etc.

Grow up.  Its pretty darned cool he’s coming all the way over here to do this with in the middle of the KHL season.

Posted by ryan on 08/06/12 at 05:07 PM ET

red_wings_49's avatar

I personally can’t wait to boo Osgood.  smile

Posted by red_wings_49 from Mad Heights, MI on 08/06/12 at 05:20 PM ET

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Fine.  Now it’s time for everyone to forgive and forget. 

Yes, because that’s what fandom is all about: short memories.  Why, even though it happened years and years ago, I’m sure we’ve all forgiven Claude Lemieux and have nothing but respect for the Colorado Avalanche as a franchise.

In other words, come on.  Holding grudges or favorites in spite of time, distance or subsequent events is just about 90% of what fandom is all about.  Fedorov, through a number of things that were not precisely his fault as well as quite a few things that most certainly were, is a guy against whom a whole lot of Wings fans have a grudge.

So be it.  That’s life as an athlete, and that’s how fans are going to be.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/06/12 at 05:28 PM ET

Avatar

It was disapointing the way things ended with Federov, but I’ll be glad to see him back in a Wings uniform and it’s silly that anyone would still hold a grudge against him.  One thing I think Federov gets a bad rap for though is that he was so good and did things so effortlessly, it often looked like he was coasting or lacked intensity and I think that really effected people’s perceptions of him.

Posted by henrymalredo from Lansing on 08/06/12 at 05:35 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Bygones are bygones as far as I’m concerned with Fedorov.  Yes, he left in dubious circumstances, but the fact that both the Franchise and Fedorov have reconciled?  We could learn a thing or two.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 08/06/12 at 05:54 PM ET

YYZerman's avatar

That desire to be “The Guy,” Fedorov’s unwillingness to harness that natural talent and his search for more than acceptance…They’re all reasons why a fantastic career never quite lived up to the expectations Fedorov was sometimes happy to shoulder and sometimes suggested he didn’t deserve to be saddled with.

Can you say Ovechkin?

Posted by YYZerman from Detroit, Michigan on 08/06/12 at 05:59 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Eh I’m over Fedorov.  I think it comes across as petty to boo him at this point.  Hopefully his dad can stay out of it this time.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/06/12 at 06:16 PM ET

Cal's avatar

  Holding grudges or favorites in spite of time, distance or subsequent events is just about 90% of what fandom is all about.

Sounds more like a description of “wifedom” (without the “favorites”)

Posted by Cal on 08/06/12 at 06:20 PM ET

Chet's avatar

meh. fedorov was around for three stanley cups. maybe he should’ve retired as a wing, but he didn’t. people make decisions in life; nobody’s ever going to make them 100% correctly. i hold no grudge.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 08/06/12 at 06:23 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

LOVE the attitude of McKee.. LOVE IT.  Seems like hard-work is engrained in that kid, that wont hold him back at all.  Hopefully he’s got enough skill in there to round out his game enough to not be a liability while bringing an assertiveness that’s usually lacking on the Wings.  Seems like the perfect teammate.


As for Federov and the Boo’s.. I kinda feel like every writer is taking a stab at their personal take/disection of the situation and the “correct” course of action that what once might have been a non-issue might actually BRING OUT the people who they keep trying to tell not to boo.

Maybe the NHL should have Detroit pass a law to out-law booing at games too wink  I always get weirded out when people start telling their readers HOW to react.  Not to mention this whole saga being rehashed keeps sounding more and more like Real Housewives or some shit.

Rub some dirt on it and move on and we’ll see how the fans react when they’re there.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 08/06/12 at 06:31 PM ET

SYF's avatar

LOVE the attitude of McKee.. LOVE IT.  Seems like hard-work is engrained in that kid, that wont hold him back at all.  Hopefully he’s got enough skill in there to round out his game enough to not be a liability while bringing an assertiveness that’s usually lacking on the Wings.  Seems like the perfect teammate.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 08/06/12 at 04:31 PM ET

I just might have a mancrush.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 08/06/12 at 06:38 PM ET

RorSchach's avatar

So.. Let me understand.. Fedorov wanted to become the man, left for fame and to be the superstar and it never panned out for him. So we should boo him for eternity.. Right?

Hudler left for the Mulah.. How many times was he Boo’d at the Joe

Like him or not (Fedorov) You can argue the fact that without him on the team, the Cups from 97,98, and 02 just might not have happened. Hell, it was a Decade ago anyways..

He made a business choice.. It killed his career, but it was his choice. No need to boo him. Just my .02$

Posted by RorSchach from Datsberg on 08/06/12 at 06:52 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Some crazy Twitter trash talking in British ice hockey.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 08/06/12 at 07:57 PM ET

Avatar

Federov was one of the cornerstones of the ‘97 and ‘98 Cup runs. Without 91, the ‘97 and ‘98 Cups don’t happen. Without ‘97 and ‘98, Detroit is not such a hot destination free agents, so no ‘02 Cup.

NO booing.

Though without the ‘97 Cup, Dick Gnida lives anonymously and Vlady wins multiple Norris trophies, so who knows what the hell would have happened. Still, NO BOOing.

Posted by Captain Obvious on 08/06/12 at 08:05 PM ET

Avatar

It’s time to welcome Fedorov back home and celebrate his Red Wings career. He deserves the complete acceptance of fans here because he is and always will be one of the greatest Red Wings ever.

Agree with Regner on this….if we Wings fans can forgive Probie [RIP] for all the distractions his problems caused, then we should be able to forgive Sergei. Life is too short to continue to carry those hard feelings. As many have said, without Fedorov, we might have waited even longer for SC.

Besides, if he has the guts to come here and play knowing how Wings fandom feels then we need to prove how classy we Wings fans are and cheer for him, too. Standing ovation anyone….ok, maybe too much, too soon. rolleyes

Posted by wingsluver4ever from Hockeytown North on 08/06/12 at 08:40 PM ET

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Don’t boo Federov, just applaud when Scotty makes him play D again!

Posted by Jay on 08/06/12 at 09:25 PM ET

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Some people believe that Fedorov leaving when he did cost the Wings at least two or three more years as a super-elite team, 1 year removed from the 2002 Cup as they were.

And that he left not for money (which is bad enough), but for notoriety... which is way worse to some.

And that while he was here routinely gave less than his best effort, even relative to rational expectations of effort for athletes.

And that while he was here he held out on the team for more money, and signed an offer sheet for another team which the Wings ultimately matched.

And that he, in fact, never actually negotiated a contract with the Detroit Red Wings.  He was an RFA and protected until he got the offer sheet he negotiated with the Hurricanes, and when that expired he fled to Anaheim… so it’s not like he ever really showed much loyalty to the town.

So, he gets booed.  Not hate mail, not death threats, not bags full of poo left on his porch every Thursday, not audited by the IRS.  Just… booed.

Really, booing is this awful act?  This unworthy demonstration of… what?

Come on.  If Fedorov gave two craps about who did or did not boo him there were plenty of other things he could have chosen to do.  Oh well.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/06/12 at 09:27 PM ET

wedge56's avatar

George’s profile is rising.  I saw his article hotlinked from a FoxSports.com article.

http://msn.foxsports.com/nhl/story/labor-issue-nhl-donald-fehr-still-time-to-get-deal-done-080612

Posted by wedge56 on 08/06/12 at 09:30 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

We have a content deal with Fox Sports, and I’d imagine that today’s so slow that I popped up by default wink

Beats me. That’s pretty cool, but I already have a naturally bulbous noggin, so it won’t get to my head. smile

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/06/12 at 09:46 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

If they need me to play forward, I’ll play forward. If they need me to play ‘D,’ I’ll play ‘D.’ If both goalies get hurt, I’ll put on the pads. I’m not too much of a skill guy. I go straight up and down the ice and bang bodies.

Inspiring and funny. Ya gotta love a guy like that.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 08/06/12 at 09:57 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71VoA35z1IQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxk9yCg9nu8

Guy can take a punch too.  High high hopes for him, him an Callahan in the lockerroom would be a riot.  I can see him making smaller skill guys feel more comfortable being more aggressive.  Mancrush for sure SYF

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 08/06/12 at 11:04 PM ET

scotts0's avatar

FedOrov, not FedErov.

Posted by scotts0 from New York on 08/06/12 at 11:19 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

A little Smith action, just for fun.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rxnHLnVE8A

Overnight we have Smith, Bert, Ericsson, Abby and Tootoo who’ll all answer the bell.  Just having people willing to brings swagger to the team.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 08/06/12 at 11:22 PM ET

Avatar

It’s a testament toward the greatness of this franchise that fans debate whether or not to boo a person that had a huge part in 2 cups.

Posted by Lord QWZ on 08/06/12 at 11:34 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

It’s a testament toward the greatness of this franchise that fans debate

Posted by Lord QWZ on 08/06/12 at 09:34 PM ET


Bizarre isn’t it?

In all fairness without Franzens 13 goals we don’t win the 08 cup and without his 20+ points in 09 we don’t miss it by the *#$%@& hair we did.  We’re still ready to throw him under the bus.  We’re pretty equal opportunity.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 08/07/12 at 01:05 AM ET

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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.