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Red Wings morning report: on prospects, free agents and alums

Of Red Wings-related note on a very bleary-eyed morning for a blogger running on…Two or three hours of sleep:

Following up on last night’s slate of observations from the Red Wings summer development campers’ scrimmage, the Free Press’s George Sipple offers articles about Landon Ferraro’s particularly strong performance in the scrimmage, as he registered a goal, an assist and a shootout goal of the top-shelf variety:

Exactly how I wanted to start off,” Ferraro said. “I’ve been talking to you guys the last few days and saying the last couple years I’m feeling confident. I wanted to finally show I’ve made some strides. I’m putting my work in. I want to get going for this coming season. This is the first time I could show and just happy I could show.”

Ferraro had nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points in 56 games his first full season with the Grand Rapids Griffins this past season.

“I missed the last two weeks of the season with my left knee, but that feels strong,” said Ferraro, who still wears a brace. “I feel really confident right now going into next year.”

Ferraro didn’t escape the scrimmage without having to be looked at by the medical staff. He needed five stitches to close a cut on his face after getting hit with a stick in the first period.

“A little unlucky stick the second shift in the middle of the summer doesn’t feel too good,” Ferraro said. “I was going behind the goalie and I saw the stick it hit. When I took my hand off my face I just saw a big ol’ bump right in front of my eyes.”

I’ll let Sipple tell you why Ferraro may be in some trouble with a very important hockey dad because he wears his visor like a doofus (so does Almqvist)...

And Sipple also spoke to the Wings’ brass regarding Thomas McCollum’s future…

“I don’t know if it’s make or break, but it’s a big year,” said Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill. “Eventually you’ve gotta grab a starting job. He had a great finish to the year last year and looked like the guy that we had expected, and he just needs to keep that going now.”
Goaltending coach Jim Bedard has shared with McCollum that people once doubted whether Wings starter Jimmy Howard would ever progress beyond Grand Rapids.

“This is a tough gig and by no means have we given up on Tommy McCollum,” Bedard said. “Big guys take longer and he’s still a young man.”

After Howard had a 2.83 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage in his third season with Grand Rapids, the Wings drafted McCollum 30th overall in 2008. Howard improved the next season, going 21-18-4 with a 2.54 GAA and a .916 save percentage in Grand Rapids, then won the starting job with the Wings during the 2009-10 season.

In three seasons with the Griffins, McCollum is 27-44-4 with a 3.45 GAA and an .885 save percentage. He went 11-16-0 with a 3.49 GAA and an .891 save percentage in 28 games with the Griffins last season and 6-6-2 with a 2.62 GAA and .909 save percentage in 15 games for the Toledo Walleye of the East Coast Hockey League.
Said Bedard: “I just think it’s a process of maturing mentally. In the end, I’ll take a guy who tries too hard over a guy that’s just too casual. He cares a lot and has a big heart. He’s done everything I’ve ever asked of him. If anything, he’d sometimes work himself into the ground and go too hard. We want him to just find that net where he’s comfortable in the net and things are slowing down for him.”

And as Sipple notes, McCollum wasn’t thrilled with giving up three goals during the scrimmage, but he didn’t let the goals bother him.

“I thought I played pretty well, a couple rebounds I could control a little better. For the summer, it’s not anything to cash checks on.”

• The Left Wing Lock’s Sarah Lindenau is leaving Traverse City today, but she posted one final photo gallery from the scrimmage as well.

• And I don’t have a link for this yet, but the Traverse City Record-Eagle’s James Cook reports that Bryan Rufenach Day went very, very well (from the paper’s e-edition):

Ann Reeves was “absolutely overwhelmed” Tuesday afternoon after she received a couple more donor checks supporting the Bryan Rufenach Memorial Skills Camp in Ontario. Rufenach, a Detroit Red Wings prospect, died tragically last month while touring in Switzerland.

To honor his memory, Reeves, director of the Red Wings Skill Development Camp here, helped organize Bryan Rufenach Day at Centre ICE. The fund-raising effort, culminated by a prospects scrimmage before 800 fans Tuesday night, raised $2,400. Reeves presented Rufenach’s family — who drove nearly 10 hours from Lindsay, Ontario to be here — with a check for that amount to help fund the skills camp, which Rufenach started in his hometown.

“I have to tell you, this has been an emotionally charged experience for me,” Reeves said. “Bryan, meeting him four times, left a very deep impression. What a wonderful person he was. He started a skills camp for kids in his hometown. It was for house hockey kids, not travel kids, so they wouldn’t have to pay. That’s what he did after his first contract. Then, tragically, he passes away. All these volunteers you see here today felt compelled to do something. We reached out to the family, and to the Red Wings. The Red Wings jumped on board. The Toledo Walleye jumped on board. The Grand Rapids Griffins jumped on board. It’s been amazing.”

Rufenach, drafted in the seventh round in 2007, signed a professional contract last season after four years at Clarkson University. He played for the Griffins and Walleye.

“He was just a great young man,” said Jim Nill, Detroit’s assistant general manager. “He always had a smile on his face. He was always happy. He played the game hard. He was a good player. He’ll be dearly missed, but we know he’s looking over us.”


In free agent news, TSN went a little ape about the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline’s revealing of Rick Nash’s acceptable destinations list, lamenting his lack of possible Canadian destinations:

If Rick Nash makes his way out of Columbus this summer, it likely won’t be to a Canadian NHL franchise.

The Columbus Dispatch reported on Tuesday that there are six teams he would be willing to be traded to - the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks.

The news ends any speculation at this point that he could go to a Canadian team like the Vancouver Canucks or Toronto Maple Leafs. The Ottawa Senators were reportedly interested in acquiring Nash earlier this month

• And of Sportsnet’s list of the top UFA’s still available, we might want to familiarize ourselves with the defensemen’s names:

6) Carlo Colaiacovo

Age: 29

Position: Defenceman

2011-12 salary: $2.1 million

2011-12 team: St. Louis Blues

2011-12 stats: 64 GP, 2 G, 17 A, 19 P, 22 PIM

Possible fits: Blues, Oilers, Penguins

Breakdown: Proved last season he can play in the top four on a playoff team, but the veteran defenceman still has injury questions and turns the puck over too much.
10) Michal Rozsival

Age: 33

Position: Defenceman

2011-12 salary: $5 million

2011-12 team: Phoenix Coyotes

2011-12 stats: 54 GP, 1 G, 12 A, 13 P, 34 PIM

Possible fits: Coyotes, Oilers, Islanders

Breakdown: Rozsival still offers strong play in the defensive zone but struggled with injuries last season. He would be a decent addition for any team in need of depth on the blue line.
12) Pavel Kubina

Age: 35

Position: Defenceman

2011-12 salary: $3.85 million

2011-12 team: Tampa Bay Lightning/Philadelphia Flyers

2011-12 stats: 69 GP, 3 G, 12 A, 15 P, 15 PIM

Possible fits:Oilers, Stars, Wild

Breakdown: Kubina doesn’t offer much in terms of offence, but the hulking defenceman offers a big shot, power-play ability, and needed size on the back end.

The fact that Sportsnet went with ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers’ suggestion that Tomas Holmstrom could play for Chicago—which he never will—just pisses me off:

15) Tomas Holmstrom

Age: 39

Position: Forward

2011-12 salary: $1.87 million

2011-12 team: Detroit Red Wings

2011-12 stats: 74 GP, 11 G, 13 A, 24 P, 40 PIM

Possible fits: Red Wings, Blackhawks

Breakdown: Holmstrom has been a staple during the Red Wings’ era of dominance, but he now lacks the mobility he once had. Still can cause trouble in front of the net and be a big body on the power play.

No, no possible fit in Chicago. Just Detroit.


In alumni news, iSport is reporting that Dominik Hasek wanted to return to the Buffalo Sabres, but they turned him down, but Hasek isn’t necessarily ready to retire just yet (what follows is very roughly translated):

He was unable to reach a deal with the American team he was courting. “I have been focusing on one thing for a long time, the one team (Buffalo). But they decided otherwise. A pity that I didn’t know before,” Hasek said, sadly.

“It’s difficult now to find something else, it’s halfway through July. I don’t know but I’m not packing it in by any means. And because I was honestly prepared for a whole year,” he admitted while suggesting that he still doesn’t allow consideration for ending his career.

One of the best goalies of all time, he acknowledged that his higher age hampered his dream to negotiate a return to the game. “I understand that, I thought about it, but they decided to go in a different direction. And that’s not a reaction they had before, I just didn’t know. That’s their thing and I’ve just gotta respect it,” he said.

• In Russia, RIA Novosti is reporting that Pavel Datsyuk, Sergei Fedorov and a slate of Russian stars—and Zdeno Chara—will take part in a charity game against the Swiss league’s Kloten Flyers on August 4th in Kloten, Switzerland;

• On the day the Wings will announce their Winter Classic Alumni game’s rosters, DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose spoke to Mike Foligno, who played for both the Leafs and the Wings, about his time in Detroit:

QUESTION: Do you keep in touch with any of your former Red Wings teammates? If so, who?

FOLIGNO: “Usually if there’s a golf outing, we run into each other and some of the guys. Dale McCourt lives in the same area in Sudbury (Ont.).”

Q. Which of the current Red Wings is your favorite? And why?

FOLIGNO: “Probably (Nicklas) Lidstrom. He’s a very, very accomplished, poised individual, and he’s a very quiet leader and has been for quite a number of years. And you tell in the likes of a Scotty Niedermayer what that kind of player does for an organization.”

Q. What was your favorite memory as a Red Wing?

FOLIGNO: “My first year, rookie year, I scored 36 goals, and having the likes of Ted Lindsay here and just the tradition that was around when you see people like that involved in the game. Just to be a part of that nostalgia was a very proud moment for me. Just so many great memories here; we closed the Olympia and opened up Joe Louis, and then the All-Star Game was here and Gordie Howe played in that game. I was in the stands for that game. Wish I was playing, but that was a lot of fun.”

Q. Which of the guys you played with was the toughest?

FOLIGNO: “There were a few when I played here. We had Dennis Polonich. We had Willie Huber, God bless his soul. We had Reed Larson and Perry Miller, who was another tough guy. We had a pretty good, strong-willed group, and unfortunately we didn’t accomplish as much as we would have liked to, but as far as toughness, we had a lot of tough guys on our team.”

• And I don’t know if this is a good sign, folks. There’s a press release out this morning stating that a website called “Ticket Process” will help fans buy Winter Classic tickets as the only place to purchase them on the primary market as a non-season-ticket holder. Scary stuff:

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman recently announced the highly anticipated specifics of the 2013 Winter Classic, giving hockey fans in Michigan and Ontario reason to rejoice. TicketProcess.com has decided to give the fans even more reasons to be happy by giving them an opportunity to purchase Winter Classic tickets from now until they are all gone. Ticket Process makes several guarantees, but the long-term availability of tickets to the Winter Classic is not one of them. In short, the only way to be sure to secure 2013 Winter Classic tickets is to visit the top-ranked ticket site right now.

The annual outdoor hockey game will feature the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, January 1st. For the first time ever the event will take place at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. Otherwise known as “The Big House,” the stadium holds just over 115,000 fans, which is the most of any football stadium in all of North America. Even so, representatives from the NHL expect Winter Classic tickets to sell out very rapidly over the course of the upcoming weeks.

The concept of playing hockey outdoors in not a new one, but it has been largely unpractical in the NHL, where many teams would be playing in driving snowstorms for the majority of their home games. When isolated to one day and given a flexible start time, the game becomes less of a meteorological risk and more of a celebration of the great sport of hockey in a fun and unique format. The Big House is sure to be rocking on New Year’s Day of next year, and only a small portion of the folks that have dreams of attending the historic event in person will actually have the guts and gumption to act in time.

The Red Wings are perennial contenders in the Western Conference, and by the time the game rolls around it is likely that Mike Babcock will have his boys in contention for another Stanley Cup. Toronto also has a vast and proud fans base, and the heart of the Canadian capital is just a little over 400 miles from the stadium. Thousands of folks from north of the border will certainly be making the trip. The rosters of both squads are filled with a mixture of veterans and youthful players, and each one of them will be full of energy and adrenaline on what is sure to be a magical night. The site also offers great summer events such as tickets for baseball games and National Football League.



And finally, while the press releases and chatter from CBA negotiations have been particularly tame thus far, the Toronto Star’s Kevin McGran got Donald Fehr to admit that the NHL and NHLPA are starting to get into the meat of CBA talk:

Fehr said the talks touched on player safety and travel issues. The sides also exchanged positions on big-ticket items: revenue sharing, team salary floors, free agency, structuring of multi-year contracts, escrow percentages and conference realignment.

Other potential issues include the NHL’s involvement in international play and the Olympics, benefits for retired players, drug testing and the hot-button issue — suspensions for illegal hits to the head.

While there has been pessimism recently about the chances of a lockout, the league’s revenue flow has increased dramatically since the previous shutdown. Revenue is believed to have risen by $1.2 billion annually since 2004-05 (from $2.1 billion in 2005 to $3.3 billion this year) while the average player salary has increased by a million to $2.4 million. NBC signed a 10-year, $2 billion broadcast deal, the latest indicator of good financial health in the league (along with increased attendance and more prominent national sponsors).

Since the lockout, the total cost of player salaries has increased by 15 per cent while league revenue has risen by 50 per cent.

It’s believed the new contract will build on the old one rather than overhauling the business model. The deal that ended the last lockout tied player salaries to revenue, which allowed both sides greater control. Asked if there was reason for optimism that the season would open on time with a new contract, Fehr and Bettman remained neutral.

“The best work that can be done now is at the negotiating table,” said Bettman.

“I don’t make predictions,” Fehr added. “You do the best you can. Yyou listen and explain yourself clearly and hope the other parties do likewise, and that gets you to an agreement. . . . I’m not distressed by these meetings at all.”

Asked point blank about the season opening on time, Fehr said: “I certainly hope we can. . . . I hope we keep negotiating until we get an agreement. All you can do is approach it day-by-day.”


Update: Michigan Hockey just posted Nick Barnowski’s article about Grand Rapids Griffins forward Luke Glendening:

“It’s just good to be around the guys who play in this organization, to see what kind of work ethic they have, to start learning the systems in Grand Rapids and Detroit,” he said. “I’m just trying to enjoy my time and learn as much as I can while I’m here.”

Despite only being on the ice for two hours a day so far this week, Glendening already has made comparisons between Michigan coach Red Berenson’s practices and the Red Wings’.

“I think Red comes up here every year to their training camp in September, so I think he gets a lot of drills and he’s still learning from them,” Glendening said. “I’m sure they’re still learning from him as well. In that aspect it’s kind of been nice, it’s meshed together well. The intensity is high here and that’s what they expect.”

While this is his first time playing with skaters in Detroit’s system, Glendening brings a package of leadership and high work ethic that Red Wings brass looks for in a player. Glendening is one of only eight players to ever be captain of the Michigan hockey team for two years in a row, and he brings a defensive edge to the table, even as a forward – he was named the CCHA’s best defensive forward last season. Despite these qualities, Glendening says there are still some areas of his game that need sharpening.

“I think I need to keep working on my skating, need to work on my hands, whether it’s my confidence around the net or my hands in general,” he said.

The soon-to-be Griffin has no idea where his career path may lead to, but there’s no doubt that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it to the National Hockey League.

“It’s going to take a lot of time and a lot of work,” he said. “I’m going to put every ounce or work into it and see where it goes.”

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


SYF's avatar

The fact that Sportsnet went with ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers’ suggestion that Tomas Holmstrom could play for Chicago—which he never will—just pisses me off:

15) Tomas Holmstrom

Age: 39

Position: Forward

2011-12 salary: $1.87 million

2011-12 team: Detroit Red Wings

2011-12 stats: 74 GP, 11 G, 13 A, 24 P, 40 PIM

Possible fits: Red Wings, Blackhawks

Breakdown: Holmstrom has been a staple during the Red Wings’ era of dominance, but he now lacks the mobility he once had. Still can cause trouble in front of the net and be a big body on the power play.

Ah hahahahahahaa a ha ah ha…that Jesse Rogers sure is a funny, funny guy.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 07/11/12 at 01:11 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.