The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/18/12 at 08:03 PM ET
Updated 8x at 8 PM: I tend to trust MLive’s Ansar Khan about these things, but in case you weren’t almost totally completely certain that Khan’s report about the Red Wings hosting a Winter Classic, at Michigan Stadium, against the Toronto Maple Leafs, in 2013 is all but a done deal, TSN, Sportsnet and the Toronto Star’s Kevin McGran want you to know their side of the story—the Maple Leafs are probably going to play some team at a very big stadium in Michigan, giving the [sarcasm] underexposed and overlooked Maple Leafs the recognition they so badly need [/sarcasm], the Detroit News is tossing off the predictable “no comments” and assurances that Michigan-based colleges will take part in some sort of outing at Comerica Park as an olive branch to the Ilitches…
John Dellapina, NHL vice-president of communications, refused comment on Wednesday.
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon told The Detroit News this week that discussions were ongoing between U-M and the NHL about hosting the game at Michigan Stadium.
Michigan Tech AD Suzanne Sanregret also told The Detroit News that school officials would be meeting with Olympia Entertainment Group soon to discuss the possibility of moving the GLI from Joe Louis Arena to Comerica Park. Michigan Tech is the host school for the GLI.
“We know the concept is out there,” Sanregret said of moving the GLI to Comerica Park. “We’re always looking to find new, exciting ways to promote the GLI. We’ll be analyzing it to see if it’s a possibility. We’ll know more in another couple of weeks.”
And the Free Press’s Helene St. James confirms that the deal is done and will be formally announced when the Wings return from their West Coast Swing at the beginning of February (which is quite convenient as the Wings will be back at the Joe three days after the Superbowl):
A source has confirmed to the Free Press that the Detroit Red Wings will host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 1, 2013, at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. The Red Wings won’t get to announce that they’re hosting the Winter Classic until next month, but that’s only because logistics won’t allow it.
The Wings asked to host the game right after participating in the 2009 game against the Chicago Blackhawks at Wrigley Field. Detroit was an easy selection for the NHL and NBC, which broadcasts the game, because of the rich history of the Wings and Detroit’s wintry location. But it remained to be negotiated whether it would be held at Michigan Stadium, which can hold a record-setting crowd topping 110,000, or at Detroit’s Comerica Park, property of Wings owner Mike Ilitch.
The appeal of setting an attendance record—along with the fact that players prefer the rectangular setup of a football field versus that of a baseball stadium—made Ann Arbor a logical choice.
It’s official, next season’s Winter Classic will be at Michigan Stadium and it will pit two Original Six teams – the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. The Detroit Red Wings won’t officially confirm the deal is in place, but a source within the organization told The Macomb Daily that the deal is finalized.
The game will take place Jan. 1, 2013.
An official announcement will come sometime in early February at Comerica Park and Michigan Stadium after the Wings return him from an extended road trip after the All-Star break. Detroit ends the road trip on Feb. 6 in Phoenix before returning home for six straight games beginning Feb. 8 against Edmonton.
The source also said the organization originally wanted the game at Comerica Park, but league had a hard time passing up a chance to draw a record crowd over 110,000 to attend the game.
In order to make it work, the league has agreed to setup a second rink at Comerica Park that will host events leading up the Winter Classic. That would include the alumni game, which is normally played the day before, and perhaps the Great Lakes Invitational. This past GLI had Michigan, Michigan State, Michigan Tech and Boston College participate with the Wolverines beat the Spartans in overtime.
“It would be really cool (at the Big House), for sure, get the home crowd, too,” Tomas Holmstrom said last week. “It would be awesome to do it one more time, for sure.
Yahoo Sports’ Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski tosses off some of the positives about this event, including the cross-border appeal on TV and otherwise, but I can’t help but admit that I’m terrified of the concept that, a year from now, the CBC, TSN and Sportsnet’s tendencies to show Brian Burke cheering or booing after Leafs goals or goals against will seem like fleeting glances.
• Shifting gears, ESPN’s Scott Burnside suggests, via an insider-only blog entry, that the NHL, NHLPA and its fans ought to remember that the last lockout claimed the careers of Mark Messier, Al MacInnis, Brett Hull (mostly), Scott Stevens, Ron Francis, and maybe even Steve Yzerman to some extent, and should the league lock the players out again, we could be witnessing the premature conclusions of some very important players’ careers, including one who’s very special to you and me:
Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings—Lidstrom has shown no signs of decline this season after winning the Norris Trophy in 2010-11. He has consistently said he will continue playing if he can compete at an elite level, which he’s been able to do in Detroit this season. He has nine goals this season—only Florida’s Jason Garrison has more among defensemen. He has helped rekindle partner Ian White’s career, with White leading all NHL defensemen with a plus-25. Lidstrom is at plus-22.
I spoke with Lidstrom about the biggest physical challenge of playing in the league at 41 years old. “It’s the wear and tear on your whole body,” Lidstrom said. “Whether it’s the groin sometimes or the back or sometimes the shoulders. Over the years, you’ve had different injuries on different parts of your body. Sometimes they’re aching a little in the morning. That’s what I noticed the most.”
Lidstrom says that to Swedish reporters, too, and we may hear the same rhetoric on his NHL 36 spot—his willingness to train during the summer, deal with the bumps and bruises and his family’s wishes will dictate whether a man who clearly feels that he can still play to the fullest extent of his abilities is willing to continue competing at his elite level.
• In the self-promotional vein, Paul posted a link to a remarkable article about Gordie Howe from Sportsnet’s Dan Robinson, and Paul appeared on Greg Wyshynski and Jeff Marek’s radio show, as did Fox Sports Detroit’s Darren Eliot;
• In the other-promotional vein, non-charitable version: the gents at Fake Henrik Zetterberg have aired a touching second season finale…
• In the other-promotional vein, charitable version, per Red Wings community relations manager Christy Hammond:
The Detroit Red Wings are teaming up with actress Erin Cummings to collect mittens and gloves for her Mittens for Detroit charity at their home game during the game on January 21 when the Wings host the Columbus Blue Jackets at 7:00 p.m.
Fans are encouraged to bring new mittens and gloves to Saturday’s game. Volunteers from Mittens for Detroit will be on hand at each entrance of Joe Louis Arena to collect mittens and gloves along with monetary donations, which will be used to purchase additional mittens and gloves.
“We are so excited to partner with the Detroit Red Wings,” Cummings said. “The Ilitch’s and the entire Red Wings organization have given so much to the City of Detroit and we feel fortunate to be working with such a generous organization. We truly hope Wings fans will help us and bring a pair of gloves to the game which will be provided to a Detroiter in need this winter.”
Fans who donate a new pair of mittens/gloves or make a monetary donation will receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win an autographed, game-used Johan Franzen stick on Saturday. Fans must be present to win.
Who: Detroit Red Wings, Actress Erin Cummings and Mittens for Detroit
What: Mittens for Detroit Collection
When: Saturday, Jan. 21, vs. Columbus at 7:00 p.m.
Where: Each of the Four Entrances to Joe Louis Arena
• In off-day news, the Free Press’s St. James notes that the Wings received a day away from practice after their 3-2 shootout win over the Stars on Tuesday, but Wings coach Mike Babcock isn’t thrilled with his team’s defensive play:
“We’re averaging 1.7 (goals) against at home, and we’re averaging 2.8 on the road,” he said. “You can’t win without checking. It’s impossible. It doesn’t work like that. You can’t outscore your mistakes. You’ve got to be diligent without the puck if you’re to have success.”
The Wings disappeared for stretches of the first period Tuesday, and while that’s common for teams playing a second straight night, it also has been a common sight in road games, be the Wings fresh or not. They’ll next get to test their resolve to be more aggressive Thursday, when they play at Phoenix. The Wings are able, at times, to pull out victories when they play comeback hockey (though all they ever trailed by Tuesday was one goal), but they make it much easier on themselves when they command the game early, like at home.
St. James also mentions Ty Conklin’s intermittent workload making his job—and winning the confidence of his coach, team and fans—a little more difficult, as well as the following:
The Wings are dominating everyone’s favorite controversial statistic: the plus/minus. (It can be used to prove how good a player is at both ends of the ice or dismissed as a stat that doesn’t make sense because four guys can get a minus from one guy’s mistake.) Defenseman Ian White is tied for third-best in the NHL, at plus-25, forward Johan Franzen is in the next group, at plus-24, defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom (who won the Norris Trophy last season after finishing minus-2) is at plus-22, and forward Todd Bertuzzi is at plus-21, one ahead of Pavel Datsyuk. Of today’s top 13 plus/minus players, defending Stanley Cup champion Boston has six, while the Wings have the above quintet.
Also from St. James, via Twitter:
My colleague at USATODAY is tallying votes in power rankings poll asking which player we’d pick first at ASG. Guess who’s already got five?
Q: Do you follow your own stats? Datsyuk: “I only follow the stats of my bank account.” #RedWings (via SovSport)
Datsyuk on @malkin71_ leading the League: “I’m happy for him. Great he’s ahead and I’m catching up. It’s better to lay in ambush.”(SovSport)
Update: Strange, but amusing, per the Detroit News: Meet Nick Place:
Red Wings fans marveling at the astonishing, historic, 15-game home winning streak currently being enjoyed by their team are probably wondering who to thank. Jimmy? Lids? Pav? Babcock?
Well, no. Actually, you have to thank me.
You’re welcome. But I should probably explain.
As the Wings set the record Monday against the Sabres, I was unable to ignore the fact that every one of those wins has come since my two sons and I left Detroit.
Seriously. Since the day we left Detroit.
But it’s worse than that. You see, I live in Melbourne, Australia. Almost exactly half a world away; about as close to Antarctica as Detroit is to the Arctic. Right now, we’re enduring 100 degree-plus days in the height of summer, as Detroit shivers through winter. In other words, I am a long way from Motor City.
• Strange but, well, strange: DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose wants us to look ahead to the Wings-Blues match-up on Monday:
The Red Wings and the surprising St. Louis Blues will take center stage this Monday with huge Central Division ramifications on the line at Joe Louis Arena. With fewer than 1,000 seats remaining for what will surely be a terrific game, tickets for this Central Division clash will be a premium.
And what’s not to get excited about? While the Blues have scored the fewest power-play goals on the road and their penalty-kill is in the middle of the pack, they continue to flirt with the league’s best teams, corralling 60 points – just one behind the Western Conference-leading Red Wings, who have won 15 straight at home.
Since coach Ken Hitchcock replaced Davis Payne in early November, the Blues have undergone a revitalization, instilling some toughness in a team that is 21-5-6 since the coaching move was made.
And like the Red Wings, the Blues also have a top-flight goaltender headed to his first All-Star game later this month. Brian Elliott has enjoyed a phenomenal season, posting a 15-5-0 record and ranks second in the NHL with a 1.62 goals-against average, a .940 save percentage, and five shutouts, which ties his career-high. Meanwhile, Jimmy Howard continues to churn out one win after another for the Wings with his league-leading 27 wins and spectacular 1.98 goals-against average.
The Central Division championship will likely be a highly-contested battle down the stretch with four of the five clubs – including the Wings and Blues – currently among the top six teams in the Western Conference standings.
The Wings and Blues have already played four times this season with the home teams earning two wins each with three of the games determined by one-goal. The Wings have outscored the Blues, 9-7, with the strength of Pavel Datsyuk, Jiri Hudler and Niklas Kronwall, who have garnered three points each in the season series. Drew Miller, Valtteri Filppula, Justin Abdelkader and Johan Franzen have collected two-points each in the four-games thus far.
“It’s been a battle, all four games have been back and forth,” said Howard, of the Blues. “Now we have to figure out a way to win one at their building, so we’ve won both here and we have to take it on the road.”
• Strange, but give me a f’ing break given that I was at Hockeytown Authentics while ferrying the parent to an appointment today, and I know all about the fact that HTA and the Joe place the equivalent of 10-point font-sized numbers on 12-point font-sized backs of jerseys, but don’t complain about it (though I wouldn’t buy one): Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshynski isn’t talking about jersey fouls today (I’m looking at you, people who have Brendan Shanahan or Pavel Datsyuk jerseys with a “1” that has a crescent-shaped indentation like a diagonal parenthesis sign’s “)” instead of a proper 45-degree diagonal and straight “/” line), but he does believe that there should be a rule forbidding teams from hoisting regular season division/conference championship banners to the rafters.
I don’t care how “stupid” they are. If a team wants to celebrate a supposedly trivial accomplishment that actually takes a good deal of hard work, good for them. If the Wings win the Central this year, hell yes, I’d love to see a banner atop the Joe when I attend games there next season. When you win something you win something.
Update #1.5: Hey, I didn’t know that! The Coyotes are playing the Anaheim Ducks in Anaheim tonight and will fly back home to play the Wings, who are either golfing, swimming or sleeping right now, tomorrow night at 9 PM.
Update #2: This ticks me off: the AP will post articles that have no quotations or citations and then throw up completed ones a few hours later to ensure that news aggregates pick them up. Here’s the AP’s Larry Lage’s article about Jimmy Howard the All-Star, bare bones version:
Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard has played his way into the All-Star Game later this month in Ottawa.
He leads the NHL with 27 wins and is among the league leaders with five shutouts, a 1.95 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.
Howard says he wasn’t motivated by not being on the ballots issued in November. He says he didn’t deserve the distinction because of his lackluster numbers last year.
Detroit, which led the tightly contested Western Conference with 61 points on Wednesday, plays on Thursday night at Phoenix.
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland says Howard has had a lot to do with the team’s success so far and believes the 27-year netminder is entering the prime of his career.
Speaking of 10-point-versus-12-point…The AP’s bare-bones articles are more one-sentence heavy than I am.
Wouldn’t it be annoying if I opened a new paragraph for every ramble I posted?
I think so.
What about you?
Update #3: U of M athletic director David Brandon told the Canadian Press that “discussions are continuing” regarding the Winter Classic. WXYZ’s Brad Galli is among the local reporters confirming the all-but-confirmed news:
According to the source, the Red Wings and owner Mike Ilitch pushed for the Detroit Tigers ballpark to be involved in the festivities. Ilitch, owner of the Tigers and Red Wings, wanted the league to include Comerica Park in its planning to include the city of Detroit in the festivities and maximize his financial opportunity.
The two weeks leading up to the game will feature college hockey games, American Hockey League action and an alumni game between former Red Wings and Maple Leafs players. Each of these events is expected to be held at Comerica Park.
The NHL and Red Wings will also host a series of programs aimed at growing the game of hockey with youth players.
The college teams set to participate have not yet been determined. While it would make sense to include Michigan and Michigan State and perhaps even hold the annual Great Lakes Invitational at Comerica Park, the source said there is no guarantee that either school will participate because both programs have played in outdoor games previously. Currently, the college matchups have not been finalized.
The formal announcement of the 2013 NHL Winter Classic, the events leading up to it and the venue was scheduled for January 24, but according to the source, the Red Wings requested to postpone the announcement until after the NHL All-Star break.
The Red Wings want to include their players in the announcement to make it “an event in itself.”
The Globe and Mail’s David Shoalts more or less reports the same thing:
In response to a report Wednesday morning on a Michigan web site, MLive.com, that a deal was completed, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an e-mail message “if and when anything is a ‘done deal’ regarding the Winter Classic, it will be announced. We have made no announcements yet.”
Other NHL sources said an agreement between the league and the University of Michigan is 90 to 95 per cent finished but a few important issues need to be resolved. One is the fact no alcohol is allowed to be sold at Michigan Stadium and the NHL wants that ban lifted for the game, which will probably be held Jan. 1, 2013.
The NHL also has to satisfy Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch, who prefers the game be held at Comerica Park in Detroit rather than Ann Arbor, Mich., which is about 60 kilometres from downtown Detroit. At this point, the plan is to install a rink at Comerica and hold some events there, such as the alumni game.
Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke said he is aware of the talk about a game at Michigan Stadium but the Leafs have not been informed by the NHL of any agreement.
“We have not yet received a formal invitation from the NHL,” Burke said. “Until we do, this is speculation in my mind.”
• MLive’s Rob Otto wants you to know that the Red Wings offered a “gutsy” performance against the Stars on Monday;
• According to USA Hockey’s Jes Faulkner, the Red Wings were the 3rd NHL team to buy a Zamboni, and I believe Al Sobotka’s is #6,000.
Update #3.5: I’m afraid to translate Pavel Lysenkov’s talk with Datsyuk from Sovsport as it’s very hard to do so—lots of colloquialisms from Datsyuk—but I don’t need to tell you that Datsyuk’s pretty darn funny, as the Grand Rapids Press’s Michael Zuidema suggests;
• And if you lament the fact that the Red Wings brought Joel Ward to training camp but were unable to sign him in 2004, the Montreal Gazette’s Pat Hickey wants you to know that the Washington Capitals forward, who was a pain in the Wings’ side when he played with Nashville, turned down the Wings, not the other way around::
“I had one year to go for my degree in sociology, and I was afraid that if I left school I’d never finish,” Ward said. “I figured I’d play in the ECHL or the AHL and I’d have nothing to fall back on. I figured that I’d play my final season, get my degree, and then I could concentrate on hockey.”
Update #4: Here’s the AP’s Larry Lage’s Winter Classic article….
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon says the school and the NHL are discussing bringing the Winter Classic to Michigan Stadium.
Brandon said conversations about the annual showcase game outdoors were continuing Wednesday amid reports that the Detroit Red Wings would play the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 1, 2013, at the Big House, which holds 110,000 on football game days.
The NHL said it had nothing to announce about the 2013 game.
Buffalo, Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have hosted the event, though the crowd for a Michigan Stadium game would likely be the biggest: Michigan and Michigan State attracted a Guinness World Record 104,173 people for a hockey game on Dec. 11, 2010.
And here’s his article about Howard with quotes (bonus wallpaper included). Howard says that there’s no way he would have been an All-Star last year, but he’s finally comfortable in the NHL, and it shows:
“Jimmy is really coming into his prime,” general manager Ken Holland said. “He’s a big part of us being in the hunt in the division and conference.”
Detroit, which led the tightly contested Western Conference with 61 points on Wednesday, plays on Thursday night at Phoenix needing to keep up with or hold off Central Division challengers in St. Louis, Chicago and Nashville.
“The Central is tight and it’s probably going to be like this until the final weekend,” Howard said. “We’ve got to get points every single night to try to separate ourselves. Everyone understands the urgency we need to play with.”
The Red Wings kept Howard off the free agent market last summer by signing him to a $4.5 million, two-year contract last season. They liked what they saw from a player nurtured in the minors until he was “over-ripe” as Holland likes his prospects to become before giving them a shot to play in the NHL. Detroit drafted Howard in the second round of the 2003 draft after he starred for three seasons at Maine, and gave him four seasons to develop with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.
“Of course it was frustrating when you’re in the American Hockey League and you see other guys getting called up that you think you’re just as good if not better and it can weigh on your mind,” Howard said. “I’m very thankful that they waited on me and let me progress at my own rate. It worked out for us.”
Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said Howard doesn’t get rattled anymore if he gives up a soft goal or has a poor game. The latest such example came earlier this week when Howard misplayed a puck behind the net and gave up a goal in a win against Chicago, but he didn’t let that affect him the rest of the game.
“Jimmy proves it is a process for a lot of guys to make it at this level,” Holland said. “Some players are able to jump on the scene at 19 or 20 and don’t miss a beat, but for most players it’s a process to get comfortable and to know what you can do in this league. To play in the All-Star game, you have to play your way onto the radar screen unless you’re the No. 1 overall pick and everyone knows you. And, that’s what Jimmy has done.”
Update #5: Pavel Datsyuk was named the NHLPA’s player of the week;
• From the Hockey News, part 1: THN’s panel suggests that Nicklas Lidstrom is the fourth-best defenseman playing in the NHL;
• From the Hockey News, part 2: Adam Proteau suggests that Johan Franzen’s strong season represents the tenth-best comeback story this year:
10. Johan Franzen, LW, Red Wings: The Wings’ power forward went long stretches of time last season without scoring. However, this year, he’s got 18 goals in 46 games and is second only to Ian White on the Wings in plus-minus (plus-24).
• Wise words from Scotty Bowman to the Montreal Gazette’s Ian MacDonald:
Hockey Hall of Famer Scotty Bowman won a record nine Stanley Cups during his NHL coaching career, including five with the Canadiens. Did he ever think the Canadiens would go 18 years - and counting - without winning a Cup?
“There’s absolutely no comparison with the NHL of those years when we won Stanley Cups (during the 1970s, including four straight from 1976-79) and the NHL of today,” Bowman said during a recent telephone interview.
“In the first place, there are so many more teams involved now,” the 78-year-old Montreal native added. “Then, there is the fact players are so much bigger and stronger. The equipment is much better. And they skate at 100 miles an hour now. It’s a totally different game.”
• Pretty darn smart words, from Lyle Richardson regarding those persistent Alex Semin rumors:
Alexander Semin to Detroit. The basis for this seems to be the assumption Semin would be the perfect fit with Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk, because they’re Russian, y’know? Kinda like the reason a team will acquire a Canadian-born star to play with their Canadian-born star, because everyone knows Canadian-born players always, with exception, play well together. Even if the Wings were interested in Semin, he wouldn’t net the Washington Capitals the kind of scoring winger or playmaking defenseman they’d need to secure a playoff berth. The Capitals aren’t sellers at this point, and unless they can get back a quality scoring star of equal or greater value, they won’t move Semin, to the Red Wings, or anyone else.
• I feel free to disagree with the Chief’s belief that Ken Holland’s desire to kick trade tires means that Nicklas Lidstrom is retiring. Lidstrom won’t even make those decisions until he sits down with his family this spring;
• Interesting: the Daily Tribune’s Gary Graff reports that Chris Chelios, one of Bowman’s favorites (not really), attended Kid Rock’s 41st birthday party recently;
• Realistically interesting, per the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff:
Back from an ankle injury suffered during training camp, left-winger Jan Mursak now finds himself facing a new battle – fighting for ice time on the deep forward units of the Detroit Red Wings. “It’s not going to be easy to crack the lineup here,” said Mursak, who had an assist and was plus-one while skating 8:03 of ice time during Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout win over the Dallas Stars.
“There’s a lot of good guys, and everyone’s playing really good right now, so I just have to wait for my opportunity. When it comes, I have to grab it and not let it go. I’ve just got to keep working hard in practices and the gym, and hopefully soon I’ll get another chance.”
There is some good news. Mursak no longer feels any concern about the ankle he broke in September. “My ankle doesn’t bother me anymore, so I don’t worry about it anymore,” he said. “I just play the game, try to do the little things good and keep it simple. I had six games in Grand Rapids (of the AHL), that helped me a lot to get comfortable. When I came here I was a little nervous the first shift, but after that felt really good.”
Update #7: The Flint Journal’s Brendan Savage is committing a weekly column on MLive to discussing the Wings’ statuses on various power rankings lists, and as I hate talking about that kind of stuff, I’d suggest reading his take as he very thankfully enjoys discussing the logic or lack thereof in listing the Wings higher or lower than other teams;
And for those of you who wondered, after taking a chain-smoking 62-year old irritated by dry eye syndrome and nervous about her doctor’s appointment to Troy and back (I’ll see you your grumpy 11-year-old and raise), I sat down at my laptop around 4:45 to get this report going. It’s 6:54 now and I am just getting to the point where, after not really checking the net since 6 AM, I’m comfortable walking away from the computer, and this is on a day when the Wings didn’t practice or play. It does take time, energy and effort to find all these articles, put them together and hopefully encourage discussion about them.
As for the boss, you don’t want to know. Sometimes he tells me to go to bed when I’m finishing up recaps at 5 or 6 in the morning, he tends to send me links to highlights when games end at 10 or 11 or 12 and he’s almost always “on” in between. He doesn’t get any “off days,” either.
USA TODAY asked the 12 members of its NHL power rankings panel who they’d pick first if they were an All-Star captain, and Kessel received two votes.
Of course, that might not happen at the real draft in Ottawa on Jan. 26. As Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara noted, the event is for the fans. He and the Ottawa Senators’ Daniel Alfredsson — both were named All-Star captains on Wednesday — would be hard-pressed to name someone from the archrival Maple Leafs first.
Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk received the most votes (five).
“I don’t think there’s a more entertaining player in the game right now,” Detroit Free Press reporter Helene St. James said. “He is just dazzling to watch with the puck.”
Update #9: From the Griffins:
GRIFFINS COMMUNITY EVENTS - JAN. 19-22, 2012
THURSDAY, JAN. 19
1-2 p.m. - Six Griffins players and wives—Doug & Kristen Janik, Jamie & Lisa Johnson, Tom McCollum and Sebastien Piche—will pack sack suppers at Kids’ Food Basket (2055 Oak Industrial Drive).
SATURDAY, JAN. 21 - SUNDAY, JAN. 22
Noon-10 p.m. Saturday - The Griffins will host the 2012 Great Skate Winterfest at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids, to benefit the Griffins Youth Foundation. This celebration of winter in our city features a day full of winter-inspired events, sports demonstrations and family activities, including snowboarding and dog sled rides.
10 p.m. Saturday-10 p.m. Sunday - The event concludes with the 10th annual “Great Skate,” a 24-hour skating marathon during which every Griffins player and coach will skate for at least one hour around the clock, joined by hundreds of fans. For more information and a complete schedule of Griffins skating times, visit http://www.griffinshockey.com/greatskate.
And Yahoo Sports’ fantasy hockey pundit Scott Pianowski has this to say about Todd Bertuzzi:
Todd Bertuzzi, LW/RW, Red Wings: (19 percent): In a world of Ernies, sometimes you have to settle for grumpy old Bert. I can’t promise you this will be a long-term thing; Bertuzzi’s staying power is never a good bet. But with a 6-4-10 line and a plus-10 rating over the last month, why not jump on board? Bertuzzi also offers multi-wing eligibility, and he’s looking good on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen.
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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.