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The Malik Report

Red Wings mid-day tidbits: Running lean

Three weeks from today, the first slate of practices at the Red Wings’ prospect tournament will be wrapping up, but this morning’s crop of Wings news was so incredibly lean that I couldn’t cobble together an overnight report, and this one yields a barely coherent set of tidbits, too.

NHL.com’s John Kreiser kicks off the proceedings by suggesting that the Red Wings believe Ian White should slide into the #2 defenseman’s role, which isn’t quite accurate given that the Wings are assuming that it’s Niklas Kronwall’s time to shine:

Ian White, Red Wings—The Wings took a hit when defenseman Brian Rafalski, one of the NHL’s most underrated players, unexpectedly announced that he was going to retire with one year still left on his contract. Detroit GM Ken Holland got a good look at White during the Wings’ second-round loss to San Jose and was impressed enough to sign him to a two-year deal. White doesn’t have the three Cups on his resume that Rafalski did, but the Wings are expecting him to be able to step in and serve as a second offensive defenseman behind Nicklas Lidstrom.

Um, kinda sorta? The Wings view White as a #3/4 defenseman who can post 35 points and provide assistance in terms of replacing Rafalski via a committee consisting of White, Kronwall, Brad Stuart and Jonathan Ericsson. He’s not going to be expected to simply slide into Rafalski’s spot and offer 50-point level of production or remarkable adaptability.

Otherwise, erm… Paul already posted this, but Nicholas J. Cotsonika’s story about Brendan Shanahan’s attempts to provide both transparency as the NHL’s new disciplinarian and his close working relationship with the NHLPA’s most active and visible presence, fellow Wings alum Mathieu Schneider, is a helluva read—and it’s tremendously important to know that the NHL and PA plan on actually teaming up to bolster player safety while eliminating the “wheel of justice” factor from the disciplinary equation…

• In the promotional department, as previously mentioned, the Wings are partial sponsors of an attempt to stage the world’s largest dodgeball game today on Belle Isle at um, 1 PM? I guess this is an, “If you’re in the area” note, then…

• We know now that while Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas won’t be placing the Stanley Cup on public display when he brings it to Davison, MI on August 24th, Tim Kampfer will display the Cup at Yost Ice Arena from 11 AM-1 PM on August 25th, and will then allow the public to take pictures with it for a $10 donation to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital from 3:30-6:30 PM at Daryl’s Downtown in Jackson, MI…

And both Thomas and Kampfer’s days with the Cup will be preceded by Bruins goalie coach Bob Essensa’s showing thereof in East Lansing, MI on Tuesday the 24th, as the Flint Journal’s Mark Spezia notes:

On Tuesday, one day before Davison High School graduate and Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas is scheduled to appear with the Cup in Davison, Bruins’ goaltending coach and former Detroit Red Wings’ netminder Bob Essensa will bring it to Oxford.

Essensa, Boston’s goaltending coach the past eight seasons, resides in Oxford during the offseason and will appear with the Cup at 9 p.m. at 24th Street Sports Tavern (13 S. Washington St.).

Unlike when Thomas brings the Cup to Davison High School next Wednesday, fans will be able to take photos with the Cup for fees ranging from $10-15, according 24th Street owner Viktor Paljusaj.

• In foreign-language news, part 1: Eurohockey.com posted a translation of the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation’s release regarding NHL players committing to play in the World Championships in Stockholm and Helsinki next spring, and as is the habit of hockey players, Henrik Zetterberg stated that the Tre Kronor keeps its potential charges apprised of news regarding the team via text messages (which don’t leave the paper trail of emails, Facebook messages, etc.);

• In foreign-language news, part 2: Sports.ru’s Igor Eronko’s tribute to Chris Osgood actually holds up pretty well in translation;

• In foreign-language news, part 3: This is just bizarre. According to Hockeysverige.se, former CSKA Moscow GM/president and former Russian minister of sport (and former Wing) Slava Fetisov ripped into the structure of Russian hockey while talking about Team Russia’s loss to Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament (for under-17-year-olds), suggesting that Russian players’ agents have to pay bribes to get their players onto the national team…

And that players whose families can’t afford to shell out bribes are “forced” to leave Russia to play Major Junior hockey in Canada, where Fetisov insists that players’ careers and confidence go to die, with players returning home with “mental problems.”

Given that Fetisov is also the chairman of the KHL’s board of directors, and that the KHL uses both petro-dollars and money that comes from the budgets of Russian provinces to pay professional hockey players to come to Russia and bolster the ranks of a league that could never survive on its own, Fetisov’s allegations of corruption and unfair practices being used to undermine Mother Russia’s stead in the hockey world…

They reek of corruption at best and tell you how far removed Fetisov is from the player that stood up in opposition to the Soviet hockey system (many of the Russian Hockey Federation’s executives and coaches are holdovers from the communist era) to demand better treatment of and legal freedoms for hockey players to play wherever they please. Fetisov now stands as one of the greatest and most influential supporters of and advocates for the system he once opposed, and that system truly hasn’t changed a bit.

He’s gone over to the “dark side,” if you will, and when you look at where his former teammate and fellow anti-Soviet iconoclast Igor Larionov has ended up—in opposition to the KHL and the Russian Hockey Federation’s practices after attempting to help the KHL and SKA St. Petersburg out, now bringing players to the OHL or QMJHL so that they can be given better opportunities to further their professional hockey dreams and simply be treated like human beings instead of pawns in the KHL and FHR’s power plays while playing in the KHL-established Russian junior leagues…

That tells you all you need to know about who knows what’s going on and who’s simply tossing off more BS because it’s a convenient, face-saving excuse.

As this is a pretty sorry crop of news and most of you are still talking about the whole Jiri Hudler situation (does he stay or should he go?),  I hate mentioning pulling out the Paypal button, but I’m three weeks away from paying an average of a hundred bucks a night to stay at the damn Howard Johnson for 15 days in Traverse City (the Hojo’s nice and all, but believe me, it isn’t the Park Place Hotel, so that should tell you everything you need to know about how expensive it is to stay in Traverse City) for the prospect tournament and main camp.

So here I am begging that if you can toss $5 or $10 my way, it’d be huge.

You’ll have to use my email address, rtxg at yahoo dot com, to donate…please and thank you and this makes me feel really uncomfortable.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


stonehands-78's avatar

Thanks, GJM.
(love the spot in the Bab’s vid with Pasha & Zata discussing “game strategy”)
About camp: enjoy!



Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 08/20/11 at 03:32 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

George, I wonder if all the “#2” talk about Ian White comes in the context of seeing him as a potential partner for Nick Lidstrom.  There are those - and I am among them - who would love to see Kronwall and Stuart reunited on a regular basis, so I’d be happy if White could be a credible partner for Nick.  That would, in some fashion I guess, make White the “#2” but who cares?  I just want to see three great pairs rolling out there.  For me, the big question mark is who will be on pair #3?  Can’t wait to read your impressions of Brendan Smith from camp, because I can envision all kinds of things happening on that third pair…

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 08/20/11 at 07:31 PM ET


I agree with MsRedWinger. Ian White should play with TPH if he fits well enough, TPH loves playing with a right handed shot. Plus Stuie and Kronner play great together. With those two pairs I would assume the third would be Riggy ****box and Commie. Although I would prefer Kindl and Commie on the third pair I realize that is unrealistic considering Rigs new contract.

Posted by manOfTheHills from regrettably Wisconsin on 08/20/11 at 08:02 PM ET

SandysWingingit's avatar

Let me add my vote for the Stuart/Kronwall reunion. I could see White pairing nicely with Lidstrom, too. As for the third pair… Big E better be showing he’s ready to earn his new contract by the trade deadline (regardless of his partner), or it could be hasta la vista, baby.

Posted by SandysWingingit on 08/20/11 at 08:30 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I think that the Wings are hoping that White can play with Nick as the Stuart-Kronwall pairing allows Kronner to really step up offensively and let Brad Stuart do the staying-at-home work—and it’s time for Kronner to have that 55-to-60-point season—but I don’t think that it’s realistic to assume that White will post 45 points, and like MsRW, I believe that Babcock will try to rotate 3 pairings for 20 minutes a night if at all possible.

The third pairing? Well it’s Ericsson and To Be Determined, and I’m very intrigued to see whether Kindl can push Commodore from #6 to #7 status.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/20/11 at 08:32 PM ET


that system truly hasn’t changed a bit.

Cranking up the rhetoric a bit, aren’t we?  I haven’t heard of any Sergei Fedorov-like human smuggling defections since about 1993.

Posted by jkm2011 on 08/21/11 at 12:37 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

If Fetisov is to be believed, that might very well be the case. It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens in the legal realm with Nail Yakupov, Mikhail Grigorenko and Alex Galchenyuk going forward as KHL teams theoretically own their pro rights, and as such, I’m guessing that the Russian Hockey Federation will raise a stink when the gents are drafted. The KHL still wants to establish a per-player transfer market with soccer player-sized “fees” changing hands.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/21/11 at 12:48 PM 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.