The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/17/12 at 05:28 PM ET
It’s dangerous to call any news day a “slow” one, but thus far, today’s Red Wings news is…sparse. We’ll start this roundup with this quip from the Red Wings…
• And I would rather not get into this, but it’s a “for the record,” via Sportsnet’s Luke Fox:
Add Pittsburgh to the list so Coyotes Captain Shane Doan has received confirmed offers from LA, SJ, Vancouver, Detroit, Buffalo & Pittsburgh— John Gambadoro (@Gambo620) July 16, 2012
The Free Press’s Helene St. James suggests that Shane Doan’s become the reason why teams are twiddling their thumbs—again…
Until Shane Doan domino falls, #RedWings in waiting mode. He’s what they need, they won’t do anything else (other than take care of RFAs).— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) July 17, 2012
Regarding Shane Doan’s age - recommend looking up how many games he’s been hurt/suspended last 7 seasons (it’s under 25).— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) July 17, 2012
• Along the Doan/Alex Semin lines, I can only state that I find it incredibly frustrating that the best writing of mid-July remains locked behind a paywall. Yesterday, ESPN’s Craig Custance discussed the state of the Wings’ defense and their top prospects with Jim Nill, and today, he’s wondering why teams are waiting on Doan given that he’s probably going nowhere...
On Monday, one GM set the chances quite high that Doan will return to the Coyotes, saying he is “90 percent sure he is going back.”
Phoenix is the only franchise Doan has ever played for. He is the captain of a team he helps overachieve every single season despite all the uncertainties in ownership. Outside of hockey, he’s invested in the area with a stake in Ice Barns, a stable that allows people to share ownership of horses, like a timeshare. It would be a pretty big culture change for someone from Western Canada who grew up on a horse ranch to suddenly up and move to Buffalo or Detroit to wrap up his career.
If that 10 percent comes true and the future in Phoenix looks too bleak for him to return, the franchise that signs Doan will likely be one on the verge of winning a Stanley Cup with him in the lineup, giving an edge to teams like the Canucks or Penguins.
And regarding Semin? His status as a head-case, and his agent’s status as a total loon, have less to do with teams’ “coolness” toward the streaky forward than more conventional issues do:
When asked why Semin was still on the market, one GM broke it down quite succinctly: “[He] wants too much money.”
As much as Semin has been criticized by analysts for the way he plays, there is plenty of interest in a player who is capable of scoring 30 goals next season and is still just 28 years old. His decline in scoring from 40 goals two seasons ago to 21 this past season is troubling, and it’s also why he should expect a pay cut from the $6.7 million he earned last season. Right now, there appears to be a difference in opinion of what that salary should be.
In an e-mail on Monday, Semin’s agent Mark Gandler declined to comment on Semin’s timeline to get a deal done, but it could end up being connected to Doan. If teams like the Penguins and Red Wings still feel like they have an outside shot at Doan, they may not be inclined to spend that money on Semin. And if Doan leaves Phoenix, suddenly the Coyotes have to spend $12 million just to get to the salary cap floor (that likely won’t exist in its current form in a few months), which means they might be willing to spend money on a scoring winger. The KHL is always an option for Semin as well, but his strong preference is to play in the NHL.
For the moment, as Ken Holland has suggested, there’s just no urgency for teams to go after the warts-and-all players remaining on the market who are demanding the kinds of salaries that younger and more complete players (i.e. those who didn’t hit the market to begin with) would command in early July…So we’ll have to wait until August and/or until CBA negotiations start to take a more definitive shape before the Pavel Kubinas and Carlo Colaiacovos of the market find gainful employment:
“There was that push for three or four days with the big free agents,” said one Western Conference executive. “Now it’s very quiet around the league.”
• Shifting focus back to a player who will definitely be part of the Wings’ future, the Left Wing Lock’s Sarah Lindenau penned her last development camp article, speaking to Mitchell Callahan about embarking upon his second pro season having recovered from a concussion (due to a late-season fight) as he learns how to develop into an agitator and all-round pain in the ass who doesn’t necessarily need to punch above his weight, just like, well, Jordin Tootoo…
“In the next couple of years he can be a mentor to me,” Callahan said. “We play the same style. He likes to get under peoples skin and he’s a smaller guy fighting the bigger guys. Hopefully he can give me some tips on what to do against the bigger guys. I think it will be awesome to have him around.”
The 6-foot, 190 pound winger is coming off his first professional season with Grand Rapids of the AHL. Callahan was limited to just 48 games of action due to injuries as well as sitting a few games as a healthy scratch. He managed to scored 6 goals and 9 points while also registering 103 penalty minutes.
“For my first year I thought I played well and I learned a lot,” he said. “Of course I had my ups and downs and I was a healthy scratch for about five games. You don’t ever want to be a healthy scratch, but it makes you work harder so you don’t get pulled out of the line-up.”
“Fighting in the AHL was a little different than fighting in junior,” he said. “In junior I was the stronger guy, but now I am fighting against men. I was fighting outside my weight class a lot and when [Greg] Amadio was traded I had to do it more. I just had to step it up.”
Going forward, as Callahan told both Lindenau and myself, Mitch has to focus on both getting “bigger and stronger” and continuing to improve his on-ice skills as he and the Grand Rapids Griffins hope to rebound under Jeff Blashill’s guidance:
“I need to get stronger,” he said. “I don’t want to be a guy that other players just throw around. I also want to work on my skating and my puck skills so I can be more comfortable with the puck on my stick.”
The Whittier, California native is excited for his sophomore season with the Griffins and he has high hopes for this years edition of the team. Callahan, who is planning on rooming with fellow Californian Max Nicastro in Grand Rapids, believes that the teams three year playoff drought could finally come to an end this season.
“If you look at it now we have one of the best rosters on paper coming into the season,” he said. “But we need to go out there and show it every night and fight for that playoff spot. I have never played for a team that didn’t make the playoffs until last year. It was hard and I don’t think anyone liked missing the playoffs so that will only motivate us more coming into this year.”
In the promotional news department, from the Griffins:
On Saturday, July 28, kids can receive a free bike helmet from the Grand Rapids Griffins and race their bikes over the cobblestones and through the streets of downtown Grand Rapids!
Registration is open for the 2012 Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Kids’ Race, part of the 6th annual Herman Miller Grand Cycling Classic. All children 9 years old and younger are welcome to participate, and parents are encouraged to take advantage of advance online registration at GRCyclingClassic.com. Registration is free.
Helmets are required to participate, and the first 100 registrants will receive a free helmet courtesy of the Griffins’ “Put A Lid On It!” program and Safe Kids Greater Grand Rapids. In addition, every kid who participates will receive a special prize from the Griffins: a voucher good for two free tickets to a Sunday home game during the upcoming 2012-13 season!
• And in the promotional department, from the Wings, I can only shake my head at the following:
The Detroit Red Wings will give citizens of Hockeytown the chance to create their own Production and Grind Lines for the 2012-13 season with the interactive Build-A-Plan ticket program. Fans can simply log on to DetroitRedWings.com to construct their own 10 or 20 Game Plan from a list of pre-selected home games, including Original Six matchups as well as Eastern and Western Conference rivalry games.
Fans electing to take advantage of this offer will be able to choose from three rounds of pre-selected home games to create a First Line, Second Line and Third Line. All plans also include a preseason game(s) and the Oct. 12th home opener vs. Nashville. Once the 2012-13 game lineup is created, fans may then choose their desired seat location and price point, allowing for a seamless purchasing process.
Starting at $290, the Wings 10 Game Plan affords savings off of box office prices and the ability to purchase playoff tickets before the general public. The Wings 20 Game Plan, starting at $560, offers all the advantages of the 10 Game Plan, plus the chance to secure a ticket package to the 2012 Sirius XM Hockeytown Winter Festival™ and 2013 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®.
For more information on Red Wings 2012-13 partial plans or full season tickets, fans may visit DetroitRedWings.com or call the Ticket Sales and Service Office at (313) 396-7575.
As far as I can tell, the NHL’s provisioned the tickets for the Winter Classic so poorly—40,000 for the Wings, 40,000 for the Leafs and the rest for itself and its sponsors/corporate partners/VIP’s, with season ticket-holders being given access to up to 10 (10!) extra tickets per STH account—that there may be no public sale of Winter Classic tickets at all (it’s still possible that there will be a lottery sale of tickets to the public, but who knows at this point), and as someone in the income bracket of the kind of “average fan” who can’t afford even a partial season-ticket package, I think that’s disgusting, though I’m not surprised per se.
That being said, if you’re as pissed off about it as I am, make sure to steer your anger toward the NHL: once the league paid the Wings for a regular season game’s worth of revenues, it takes total control of the event, and the league tends not to care very much for those who aren’t season ticket-holders. It’s going to find one way or another to rake in bucks despite the cost of staging the event.
So if you’re an “average fan,” expect to pay a boatload of bucks per butt on the secondary market—one of the eBay Wings equipment sellers I get email alerts from is charging $1,000 per seat—but again, it’s the NHL’s fault here…
But the Wings are in charge of the alumni games, and if they choose to not make any tickets available to the public, that’s going to be another story given that the alumni game(s) will likely be the “consolation prize” game Wings fans who can’t afford to buy secondary market Winter Classic tickets are focusing on.
Also of Red Wings-related note:
• With Sportsnet’s Mark Spector already trumpeting the owners’ line regarding the CBA, it appears that Sportsnet’s got another pro-owner columnist in Mike Brophy, who suggests that lifetime deals, no-trade clauses and no-movement clauses are unfair and must be abolished in the new CBA (because they’re also bad for the column-writing business, don’tchya know)...
So it’s nice to see the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman offering a level-headed take on the NHL’s opening salvo:
t’s difficult to take the NHL’s offer very seriously because it doesn’t really propose any solutions to the real problem—the huge disparity between the league’s strongest and weakest markets. For argument’s sake, let’s say the players actually agree to have their share dropped from 57 to 46 per cent. Well, if the league continues to send out press releases celebrating record growth and the Canadian dollar holds at current rates, how exactly are things going to get better for the poor sisters of the NHL world?
They won’t because the proposal contains zero revenue-sharing provisions. And my guess is Bettman and the owners want to see how Fehr is going to attack this issue. (This may actually be the commissioner’s biggest challenge. Some of the men who own low-revenue teams are worth more money than a five-time powerball winner. Bigger-market guys are going to balk at subsidizing them.)
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog about some of the key issues in this negotiation. Afterwards, a person I respect asked why I wrote so much about what the owners want and not so much about the players’ position. My answer was simple: players don’t have anywhere near the same gripes with the system. Sure, they can’t stand the salary cap, but they know it isn’t going anywhere. Otherwise, a structure that was supposed to cripple their rewards has seen the average salary grow to its highest in history.
These guys aren’t stupid. They understand things could be a lot worse. Again, it’s my guess, but that’s probably why Fehr didn’t open with an economic proposal. Why bargain against yourself, especially if you’re not really unhappy with the way things are going?
If there’s one major difference between 2004 and 2012, it’s the communication within the NHLPA. Eight years ago, players were giving interviews the day before the cap arrived saying, “We’re never agreeing to a cap!” According to several players, one of Fehr’s major points of emphasis is eliminating the mentality that every time there’s a new collective bargaining agreement, you must agree to give back something. He’s telling them that the salary lost since 2005 is now in the wealthy teams’ coffers and it’s up to the owners to fix, not the players.
That’s why it wouldn’t be incredibly surprising if the NHLPA doesn’t even offer a counter and maybe just say, “We’re not considering that. What else do you have?”
If that’s too much serious talk for you, I might suggest you read Sean McIndoe’s CBA negotiation parody instead…
• The current CBA contains perfectly reasonable rules around restricted free agents and offer sheets, and it’s just one of those crazy coincidences that no team ever uses them to sign a star player, so could somebody please ask Shea Weber to stop sitting outside our meeting sarcastically shaking a cup at every owner who walks by?
• While we can’t name any names and we’re really not sure what it has to do with the next CBA, one of the NHL’s highest ranking executives just wants everyone to know that the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee can bite him.
• At the end of the day, we all know that the only reason the NHL has become a billion-dollar industry is because of the many loyal fans who support the league and its players, so let’s all work on some really convincing frowny faces for when we lie to them about how bad we feel about all of this
• While it was probably a bad idea to invite the team mascots to the negotiation sessions in the first place, we’d still love to know why Youppi keeps trying to leap over the table and choke Donald Fehr.
• The owners are demanding a face-to-face meeting with those responsible for continually screwing up every new CBA that gets negotiated, so I guess we should demand that someone send us a big shipment of mirrors.
• In another flight of fancy entirely, I have no idea how to react to this fantasy hockey quip from NHL.com’s Pete Jensen:
No. 5 seed: Detroit Red Wings
Jimmy Howard, G
Held Nashville to three goals or less in each of five postseason outings (2.64 GAA, .888 save percentage), but came out on losing end four times. If healthy next season, though, expect a fourth consecutive 35-plus win season for Howard.
Henrik Zetterberg, F
Saw an 11-point regular season drop in production after preseason top-10 overall fantasy ranking. He was inconsistent in the WCQF against Nashville (2 G, 1 A, minus-3 in 5 games), raising more concern for his value entering 2012-13.
Five games. It was all of five games…
• If you are interested, MLive’s Ansar Khan is accepting reader questions as he anticipates writing several Q and A columns later this week;
Modano said he had started working out Monday not with a comeback in mind, but with the thought of “what the heck.”
“I don’t know,” he said. “You look at things and you wonder, ‘What’s the worst thing that could happen?’ I mean, I get in better shape. I don’t know what’s going to happen with the CBA and everything, but I mean, one more year? That kind of intrigues me.”
After 20 years with the North Stars/Stars franchise, Modano played one season with the Detroit Red Wings in 2010-11, but was limited to 40 games due to a wrist tendon severed by a skate blade. He had 10 points in 20 games prior to the injury, but after missing three months, he never found a groove again.
“I’ve never really been able to fully close the door on that deal,” he said. “I think my last year in Detroit was a lot of fun, and I wish it would have ended differently, with the injury and everything. I wish it would have ended better, and there’s a taste in your mouth about leaving the way it was it still haunts me.”
Just because his career didn’t end the way he wanted, however, doesn’t mean he has enough left to come back for one more season. He said he hasn’t spoken to any team about a comeback and believes it would take him several months of full workouts to get himself into playing shape. And even if all that happens, he’s still not sure he can play at the NHL level again.
“I think I’m in La La Land or Dreamland just thinking about it,” he said. “You never know how that would work out, but I can’t really see it happening. I think in the back of my mind, I would love to see something work out where I could go back for a year, but I don’t know … I don’t see it.”
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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.