The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/05/12 at 07:00 AM ET
The Red Wings have at least three personnel moves to take care of before the team reassembles for training camp and the exhibition season (whenever that may be): the team needs to address Tomas Holmstrom’s future, the Wings need to re-sign Justin Abdelkader, and the Wings’ front office needs to decide whether it will attempt to make a trade for a top-pair defenseman prior to the beginning of the regular season, or whether it wants to apply a free agent band-aid to the blueline. As the Free Press’s George Sipple notes, the free agent pickings in terms of offensively capable defensemen are relatively slim, and as such, he’s tossing an unfamiliar name into the mix:
Among possible free agents the Wings could roll the dice on are Michal Rozsival, Brett Clark and Carlo Colaiacovo.
Rozsival, who turns 34 on Sept. 3, has been plagued by injuries the past few seasons. He has 64 goals and 196 assists in 756 career games with the Penguins, Rangers and Coyotes. He had 13 goals and 25 assists in 80 games with the Rangers in 2007-08, but he had only one goal and 12 assists in 54 games last season with the Coyotes.
Clark, 35, played in all 82 regular-season games last season and led the Lightning with 199 blocked shots. He also chipped in two goals and 13 assists, but was minus-26. He has 45 goals and 140 assists in 681 career games with Montreal, Atlanta, Colorado and Tampa Bay.
Colaiacovo, 29, had two goals and 17 assists in 64 games last season with the Blues. He has 30 goals and 109 assists in 370 games with Toronto and St. Louis.
Again, other available players include Pavel Kubina, Jaroslav Spacek, Chris Campoli, Scott Hannan, Milan Jurcina, Cam Barker and Matt Gilroy.
If you subscribe to the Free Press’s Helene St. James’ suggestion that the Wings may be better served by finding a “safe” partner for Niklas Kronwall, Hannan and Kubina seem more logical candidates to sign than the offensively-minded Colaicovo, Rozsival, Spacek, or the “wild card” reclamation projects that are Campoli, Barker and Gilroy, but if you really believe that the team needs another Stuart-type defenseman, Clark, Steve Eminger and even Colin White could be added to the mix.
As Sportsilne’s Adam Gretz suggested, however, the crop of available free agent forwards definitely fall into the “bargain bin” category, but there are more forwards with solid offensive chops available, so if the Wings do plan on adding at least a borderline top-six forward and then plan on pawning one or more of the 16 forwards the team has under contract off in a trade for a defenseman, Petr Sykora, Andrei Kostitsyn, Jason Arnott, Jochen Hecht, Kristian Huselius and a reclamation project/wild card in Eric Fehr are all available.
“Right now I’m doing everything I can to stay [in Phoenix] and that’s kind of my goal,” Doan said in an interview with TSN. “At the same time, I’m having to do some due diligence, now in the fact that the longer it takes the more likely and the harder it seems to be to get a deal done in Phoenix.”
2012 Free Agency
Doan, who became an unrestricted free agent July 1, has put off signing with the Coyotes while the team’s future ownership is determined. Doan reportedly has visited with the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. Nashville Predators general manager David Poile said this week his team also has interest in the forward but would not require a visit.
Doan spoke while signing autographs at an appearance in Georgetown, Ontario, TSN reported.
“It’s one of those things. that I understand the fluidity of the market and the way that the market moves, but like I said I’m going to try to give Phoenix every chance I can,” Doan said. “For me it’s going to be about my family and the right situation for us and the right situation for me as a player to have a chance to win and enjoy the game. And I think that’s a big part of it is being in the right spot and enjoying it. There’s obviously a few teams that fit that.”
The Wings have repeatedly expressed their interest, even in the face of the rumors that Doan wants a 4-year, $30 million contract—and while that may be a “rumor,” its staying power and employment by members of the media who have nothing to gain by spreading untrue scuttlebutt speaks to a solid level of probability—but the Predators are at least making an in-the-media play, and the New York Post’s Larry Brooks seems to believe that the New York Rangers should address the holes left in their roster from the Rick Nash trade by signing Doan, who Brooks claims does indeed expect a 4-year contract.
I’m a bit baffled as to how Brooks knows the identity of Doan’s “finalists,” however:
[T]he Rangers remain keenly interested in signing free agent winger Shane Doan, who will turn 36 in early October and is seeking a four-year deal as he confronts the separation issues that will accompany his departure from Phoenix, his home for the last 16 years.
Doan, who understandably wants this to be the last move he makes, is believed to have narrowed his sights on Manhattan, Pittsburgh and Vancouver. It’s unclear if Rangers general manager Glen Sather is willing to go four years, but if he does, Doan is more likely than not to become a Blueshirt.
We’ll get back to Brooks in a little bit, but for now, let’s focus on charitable news, via the Wings’ Twitter account:
Darren McCarty and Mickey Redmond sign autographs at the Joe Kocur Foundation for Children’s Charity Softball Event twitter.com/DetroitRedWing…— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) August 4, 2012
Two of a kind - Mickey Redmond and John Ogrodnick before taking the field at Joe Kocur’s Charity Softball Event twitter.com/DetroitRedWing…— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) August 4, 2012
Hall of Famer Dino Ciccarelli signs autographs before Joe Kocur’s Charity Softball Event today in Highland, MI twitter.com/DetroitRedWing…— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) August 4, 2012
Joe Kocur takes a break to talk to a few kids at his Charity Softball Event today in Highland, MI twitter.com/DetroitRedWing…— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) August 4, 2012
Play ball! Former Red Wings and other retired pro athletes take the field for Joe Kocur’s Charity Softball Event twitter.com/DetroitRedWing…— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) August 5, 2012
Mickey Redmond helped Team White to a 14-7 victory over Team Red with a few singles like this one! twitter.com/DetroitRedWing…— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) August 5, 2012
All for a good cause! The Red and White teams pose for a picture after Joe Kocur’s Annual Charity Softball Event twitter.com/DetroitRedWing…— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) August 5, 2012
• Plymouthwhalers.com’s Peter Krupsky reports that a good time was had by all at the Whalers’ alumni game to benefit the Gleaners’ Food Bank as well;
• And I’m not sure how to take this one, but there’s no reason to panic: Pavel Datsyuk was scheduled to take part in a charity hockey game between Russian stars and the Swiss league’s Kloten Flyers in memory of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, but both Sports.ru and Sport.sk report that Datsyuk did not play in the game.
In an inevitable CBA update, Brooks is rounding into 2004-2005 lockout form in chastising the NHL for its, “If the business model isn’t working for everybody, just ask your employees to give back almost a quarter of their salaries again, lather, rinse, repeat and hope for a national TV deal that will subsidize team payrolls a decade from now” approach…
So the CBA negotiations basically can be summarized thusly: The big-market teams don’t want to pay the small-market teams, the small-market teams don’t want to pay the players, and so, of course, the NHL is stuck in its flawed approach that satisfies both of these constituencies while reaching deep into the athletes’ pockets but doing nothing to generate revenue for cash-poor franchises.
But I’m more than a little surprised that the Buffalo News’s Bucky Gleason, who virulently opposed the players back in 04-05, believes that the NHLPA is doing the right thing by surveying over 100,000 pages of independent audits of the NHL’s 30 teams’ books given that the league wants to cut the players’ share of revenues from 56 to 44% and redefine hockey-related revenues to further claw back its piece of the revenue pie:
NHLPA chief Donald Fehr’s accounting team already began burning up their calculators while combing through the mumbo-jumbo. They’re certain to have questions about financial numbers before the two sides meet again next week. There’s a very good chance their arguments will based on differences in interpretation. All are necessary steps that come with the negotiation process, but once you fight through the complexities and legalese it really comes down to this: The owners believe they’re entitled to more money, and the players don’t believe they should give it to them. The current agreement expires Sept. 15.
“All I’ve said is Sept. 15 is not a magic date unless someone wants to make it so,” Fehr told the Associated Press last week. “There’s nothing that happens on Sept. 15 if we don’t have an agreement, provided nobody says we’re going to go on strike or says we’re going to lock the doors.”
Fehr is right but only to a certain degree. There has been no talk about locking out the players, as owners did seven years ago. The players can’t go on strike because the current CBA expires before this season. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman agreed that there’s plenty of time to reach an agreement. It’s a good sign, but talks aren’t going anywhere until they agree on how revenue should be shared between players and owners and among teams in the NHL. The two sides are expected to meet this week in New York. If they can find common ground in the next month on the biggest issue, revenue sharing, a deal could snap into place.
The players were given 57 percent of the revenue under the current deal. Owners offered a deal that would give the players only 46 percent. They also wanted a 22 percent rollback on current salaries after getting them to surrender 24 percent last time. And they’re looking for unrestricted free agency to begin after 10 years in the NHL rather than seven.
For the most part, the post-lockout CBA was a fair agreement. Certain franchises struggled financially, but in nearly every case it was a result of either poor ownership or poor management. Competitive balance, once their biggest argument for a salary cap, was stronger than ever. Revenues soared in the seven years after the lockout, and both sides walked away with a nice haul.
By the looks of things, owners now want a deal that would combine everything that worked for them before the lockout and everything that worked for them after the lockout, plus a larger share of the revenue and thus a smaller salary cap. More money for the owners means a stronger revenue-sharing package among the 30 teams. The NHL’s proposal, while bold, isn’t going to change no matter how the players’ association interprets the financial numbers. Bettman provided some wiggle room in negotiations, but an 11 percent difference amounts to them wrestling over $350 million based on $3.2 billion in receipts last season.
Both sides know players are neither getting 57 percent nor accepting 46 percent. The quest for both while the NHLPA reviews 76,000 pages of financial records comes down to finding the right number.
For the record, Gleason also thinks that Doan’s going to LA due to its proximity to Doan’s home base, if you will…
In decision-making news of a very different kind, Pro Hockey Talk’s Joe Yerdon posted a link to an assessment of the Minnesota Wild’s relatively quiet post-Parise/Suter signing summer from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo on Saturday (no mention of the fact that Wild owner Craig Leipold’s been present for the vast majority of CBA negotiations, nor that he’s essentially asking for Parise and Suter to give back $47 million of their $196 million deals as part of that 24% “rollback”), and Russo offered an intriguing post-script of some significance to Wings fans:
As of now, the Traverse City prospects tournament is a go, but I hear there’s a very good chance that could be scrapped later this month if it appears a CBA is not imminent. This is not a tournament you can just cancel the day before. Teams spend a fortune flying prospects in for the tournament.
The Wild is proceeding like it’s a go, but at some point the Red Wings (host team) will have to make a decision.
Both the prospect tournament and training camp are touch-and-go right now, but even if there’s a lockout, it’s highly unlikely that Major Junior, AHL and European pro leagues would make their players available for a mid-season tournament, so I’d be shocked if the Wings cancel the tournament due to a looming lockout.
• And I hate to mention this, but that guy who makes up rumors and charges people to read his “insider” fluff responded to an early August lull in the news cycle by (click at your own risk of course) suggesting that a) this week is the week the Wings and Tomas Holmstrom will address his future and b) Holmstrom might play in Sweden (presumably for Lulea) if there’s a lockout.
The Wings seem to be willing to give Holmstrom all summer to make his decision if he so chooses, and I have no idea how his game would translate to the bigger rinks and slower pace of game over in Sweden.
The remainder of this entry will focus on the Wings’ attempts to engage fans in social media campaigns, and after a 400-mile drive home and re-acclimating to Southeastern Michigan’s heat, humidity and pollution, I might be a little indelicate regarding the last bit of news:
Remember last season when the Red Wings polled fans to see whose bobbleheads they should give away?
They’re doing it again, except this time it’s Operation Bobblehead: Alumni Edition. The first one will be Steve Yzerman, but the other five will be selected by a fan vote.
And voting on the fans’ first pick ends today at detroitredwings.com.
The players on the ballot: Sid Abel, Terry Sawchuck, Ted Lindsay, Darren McCarty, Kris Draper, Joe Kocur, Kirk Maltby, John Ogrodnick, Luc Robitaille, Dino Ciccarelli, Chris Chelios, Larry Murphy, Mark Howe, Igor Larionov, Brendan Shanahan, Brett Hull, Chris Osgood, Scotty Bowman, Alex Delvecchio, Mickey Redmond and Vladimir Konstantinov.
There’s also a spot for write-in candidates. Like Sergei Fedorov, maybe?
Yes, Steve, there’s a write-in option on the Formstack webpage which serves as the official voting page;
• As an FYI:
SUNDAY TRIVIA! At 1 PM tomorrow, we’re hosting a trivia contest and giving away awesome prizes! Use— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) August 4, 2012
#DRWTrivia when tweeting your answer.
• And as J.J. noted on Winging it in Motown, methinks this will be a bit controversial:
Next season, we would like to introduce a fan club for our female fans. We’re asking you to help us name it. Vote NOW on our Facebook page!— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) August 4, 2012
The “Lady Wings,” “Detroit Cougars,” “Wing Women” and “Ladies in Red” are the available choices…
But I’m with J.J. in hoping that this ladies-only club has nothing to do with encouraging CBC-style “While the Men Watch” fluff-talk.
After my dad—who learned how to follow hockey on the fly—passed away, it was my mom who taught me about the Wings and the game, and in all honesty, I find speaking to female hockey fans a little more enjoyable than talking with guys because there’s no testosterone territory-marking involved, so…
I’ve never believed that female hockey fans are anything other than the equals of their male counterparts in intelligence, knowledge of the game and gravitas of opinions and abilities to skate stride for stride when discussing hockey with either gender.
So what if females get a little eye candy in addition to enjoying a sport? Kim Martin and Cherie Piper aren’t my favorite female hockey players simply because they’re great players, whoopdeedoo.
As such, I’m fine with the Wings starting a females-only fan club if there are Wings fans who want to take a testosterone break, but the concept of gender separation as somehow necessary to legitimize females’ observations and opinions about the sport they love, or any suggestions that enjoying eye candy equals “puck bunny” status for any female with a pulse is stupid.
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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.