The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/25/11 at 09:12 AM ET
Boston Bruins goaltender and Davison, MI native Tim Thomas brought the Stanley Cup to his hometown on Wednesday, and the New York Times’ Jeff Z. Klein, the Sporting News’s Craig Custance, NHL.com’s Dan Rosen (via an article as well as blog entries and videos), the Free Press’s Perry A. Farrell and of course the Flint Journal’s Brendan Savage (with multiple video offerings from Thomas’s trip to Davison High School) all covered the blue-collar goalie’s journey back to his blue-collar roots in tremendous detail…
And today, Bruins defenseman Steve Kampfer will bring the Cup to Yost Ice Arena from 11 AM till 1 PM and then Darryl’s Downtown Jackson from 7:30-9:30 PM to allow the public to take pictures with the Stanley Cup, and in both cases, we’re talking about “hometown boys done good” and, as Custance notes success stories, especially in Thomas’s case (he’ll have a second day with the Cup in early September) that we need to hear in a region that has no concept of the supposed “double dip recession” because we’re just starting to get back onto our feet as we prepare to climb out of the crater…
But they aren’t Red Wings players or prospects, and as this is a Wings blog, I’ll point you toward the pertinent articles I can find, but they aren’t Wings and our Wings want what the Bruins are celebrating this summer. I hope as many of you as possible get to see the Cup today and I hope that our Wings give Michigan more than three days’ worth of visits with the Cup next time at this year…
It’s my job to tell you about what’s going on with the Wings, however, and while the news comes mostly in tidbit form, that’s what I’ve got for you this morning.
• As the Hockey News’s Ryan Kennedy and the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle have noted, two Red Wings prospects—Brendan Smith and Thomas McCollum—are taking part in the much-heralded BioSteel pro hockey camp in Toronto, and EDJ pointed out that their filmographer gave Brendan Smith a supporting role in their “Day 2” video:
• When the camp ends, Smith will remain in Toronto as he’ll take part in the NHLPA’s Rookie Showcase, a media-only event which is more or less a photo shoot for Upper Deck and Panini America, the NHL’s two trading cards rights-holders;
• Last weekend, Smith, McCollum and several other Wings took part in a charity game for Grand Rapids Griffins strength and conditioning coach Aaron Downey’s House9 foundation in Shellburne, Ontario, and the Orangeville Citizen’s Brian Lockhart provides a kinda-sorta recap of the game…with the emphasis on “sorta”:
The House9 Stars who played in the charity game against the Shelburne Relics at the Centre Dufferin Recreation Complex on Friday, August 19, probably didn’t bring their best game to the ice. After all, the pro line-up that stepped onto the ice in the Friday game were there in support of the House9 Hockey Foundation and just their presence on the ice was enough to bring out fans to watch them play.
There was no need for the pros to unleash their regular season talent on the Relics. But it was a fun game to watch with 13 National Hockey League players taking part to support the program that helps young players participate in organized hockey regardless of their financial situation.
Players included Colby Armstrong of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Mark Bell of the Anaheim Ducks. Kyle Quincey of the Colorado Avalanche. David Clarkson of the New Jersey Devils. Daniel Carcillo of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Scott Thornton from the Los Angeles Kings. Boston Bruins’ Jamie Tardiff. And Aaron Downey, Brad May, Cory Emmerton, Jakub Kindl, Brendan Smith, and Thomas McCollum, of the Detroit Red Wings.
The team’s played two twenty minute periods of friendly hockey followed by an autograph session in the lobby were fans could meet the stars.
• While we’re talking about prospects, we already know that Tomas Jurco isn’t taking part in the Saint John Sea Dogs’ training camp as of yet as the organization’s allowing him to rest up for the Red Wings’ prospect tournament in Traverse City, and the Charlottetown Guardian’s Charles Reid suggests that former PEI Rocket forward Andrej Nestrasil simply isn’t taking part in the Rocket’s training camp because he’s turning pro with the Grand Rapids Griffins this season, but the Everett Herald’s Nick Patterson says that Landon Ferraro will skate with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips after Labor Day to prepare for the Wings’ prospect tournament and what is highly likely to be his first pro season in the AHL;
• And on the other side of the Atlantic, Aftonbladet’s Lasse Anrell reports that Dick Axelsson sat out Modo Ornskoldsvik’s second exhibition game after yelling at a referee and being benched during their first game. Expressen’s Henrik Sjoberg confirms that Axelsson sat out Modo’s 4-2 loss to Skelleftea, and if you ever wondered whether the Swedish press is as reserved and composed as you might imagine the Swedish media to be, try again: after two pre-season losses, Expressen’s Mattias Ek is already writing Modo off as a playoff team and suggesting that Ulf Samuelsson will surely fail as Modo’s coach.
So August isn’t too early to panic in Europe, either…
• Back over on this side of the pond, one never knows: the Toledo Blade’s Mark Monroe reports that the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye plan on inviting at least 5 of the 72 players who tried out for the Walleye to training camp, and they’ll at least draw the eye of the Wings’ minor pro scouts over the course of the season, should they make the team;
• In the confirmed lineup department, the Red Wings’ website has finally posted a roster page for their prospect tournament, confirming RedWingsCentral’s Sarah Lindenau’s roster that was posted way back on August 12th;
Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg are among the Red Wings expected to take part in HockeyFest on Sept. 10 at Joe Louis Arena.
Activities will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., with autograph sessions, photo opportunities and tours of the locker room. There also will be question-and-answer sessions with players, staff and alumni, and a memorabilia exhibition.
Tickets are $15 for fans 12 and younger, and $25 for adults. For autograph guidelines and tickets, visit detroitredwings.com.
These players are scheduled to appear between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.: Justin Abdelkader, Todd Bertuzzi, Ty Conklin, Patrick Eaves, Tomas Holmstrom, Lidstrom and Drew Miller.
Players scheduled to appear 2:30-5:30 p.m. are: Danny Cleary, Jonathan Ericsson, Jimmy Howard, Jakub Kindl and Zetterberg.
• Again, if you find yourself in the Saginaw area, the Saginaw News’s Sean Lutz notes that Barry Melrose, who only has a tangential connection to the Wings as a former player and, mostly, the Adirondack Red Wings’ coach back in the early 90’s, will appear at today’s Great Lakes Loons baseball game;
• If you’re staying at home, the NHL Network will air Game 4 of the Wings-Sharks series tonight at 6 and then 8 PM EDT;
• I can’t embed this, but WDIV posted a clip of Kirk Maltby and Kris Draper instructing young players at Draper’s Core Sports Fitness hockey camp in Troy;
• At the other end of the alumni spectrum, per the IIHF.com’s Henrik Manninen:
He’s Estonia’s best known player and a Detroit Red Wings draft pick. Now big things are expected from Toivo Suursoo in Lyons, a move which should benefit both parties.
“There seems to be a big interest for hockey in Lyons at the moment,” says Suursoo about the challenge that awaits him at Lyon Hockey Club, newcomers in Ligue Magnus, the top ice hockey league of France. “I will also have opportunities to help the coach during practice, which is something that interests me.”
35-year-old Suursoo, who has signed a one-year deal with the team from the Rhône-Alpes region, checked in for the pre-season camp in August with the French season getting underway in September. The Lyon HC, who last season had an average attendance of 2,654 at their 3,200-capacity home rink, Patinoire Charlemagne, is excited to be back in the top division, where the qualities of the versatile Estonian, who’s able to play in both defence and attack, will be a very valuable addition.
“I was looking for a player to manage the young French and Canadian guys I have in the team, and Toivo will be one of the most experienced players we have had in this league, so he will be highly respected by his teammates and will bring top scoring quality to the group,” says Lyon head coach Pascal Margerit.
Suursoo signed a one year, two-way contract with the Detroit Red Wings organization for the 2000-01 season and he headed to the AHL and the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, who at the time were coached by an up-and-coming Mike Babcock. With 26 points in 51 AHL matches, Suursoo soon realized that playing in the NHL was never going to be more than just a dream.
“Maybe if another team had drafted me, it would have been easier to make it over there. To get a place in the first three lines of the Red Wings was impossible at that time, and I am not even the big guy who can fight, so claiming a place like that was going to be hard too.”
Of the Wings’ prospects who don’t quite make the cut, it never ceases to amaze me that so many of them go on to have successful pro careers by any measure of the term, whether in minor pro hockey in North America or over in Europe. I’d like to think that this trend tells you that the Wings tend to draft hard-working players whose time spent with the organization helps them one way or another, but that’s just my theory.
Hopefully all of that made some sort of sense…today’s magical mystery tour took a few turns too many, in my opinion.
In any case, I have to pull out the metaphorical bass case (if there were time in my life for another hobby, I’d learn to play the electric bass) and ask if you can lend a few bucks to the Traverse City trip fund. I’m about erm…Wow, I’m about 75% there. If I can raise another $300-400, I’ll have my hotel bill covered or at least nearly so, and that’s really my goal. Again, the $10-25 donations are really paving the way, so if you can toss a few bucks my way, that’d be fantastic.
You’ll have to use my email address, rtxg at yahoo dot com, to donate, if you can/will/feel like it.
Thanks again to everybody who’s donated and who plans on donating.
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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.