The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/13/12 at 04:23 AM ET
After the last couple of days’ worth of heavy discussion about a potential lockout and the media’s perception of and/or pandering to fans, I’m going to keep the rhetoric short and try to keep the focus of this morning’s report on the content thereof…After the first tidbit, anyway:
• According to Dagbladet and Allehanda’s Andreas Haggstrom, Peter Forsberg’s Icebreakers defeated Visby Roma 6-1 in their second charity game on Sunday, and over the course of Saturday and Sunday, Forsberg, Henrik Zetterberg, Gabriel Landeskog and a long list of Swedish NHL stars raised 750,000 Swedish Krona, or approximately $111,500, for “sick and disabled children and young people” in the Swedish province of Vasternorrland.
That’s not bad given that the Globe and Mail’s Sunday editorial did its best to paint the NHL and NHLPA with the same brush in suggesting that both the owners and players have been “emboldened” to stage a lockout, offering the following take on the fact that the two sides are essentially arguing over $3.3 billion of fans’ discretionary incomes:
To Canadians and Americans suffering through turbulent economic times, the sight of millionaire players and multimillionaire owners haggling over how to divide the hard-earned dollars of their considerably less affluent supporters is a decidedly unseemly one. And the fact that the league’s employees can afford to miss an entire year of work only serves as a reminder of their comfort. How many other unions, and how many other employers, would have such a luxury?
If fans expected athletes to be working-class heroes, or even people to whom they could relate, professional sports would have lost their followings a long time ago. That doesn’t mean it’s wise for the NHL to continue rubbing its alternative reality in fans’ faces, by refusing to do the one thing that is expected of it.
Ah, yes, the old media adage that we can’t expect to harbor any sympathy for professional athletes who want to be treated fairly by their employers because their incomes are so disproportionate to ours. Shame, shame on people who earn a disproportionate wage compared to the rest of society displaying any dismay for being asked to give a quarter of their wages back!
We totally can’t relate to how people like Zetterberg or Niklas Kronwall have balanced paying attention to their union’s activities with using their power and influence to raise money for charities, or how new Wing Jordin Tootoo’s tried to win fans over by continuing to put his “money” where his mouth is in terms of helping as many charities as possible. What cads.
Look, I know that we’re reaching a point in American politics where it seems as the candidates either want to “penalize success” by paying for economic initiatives on the backs of the few who’ve managed to make a way for themselves or their businesses by telling ‘em “it sucks to be you,” or tell people who find themselves sick, disabled, old or in minorities that it’s their own damn fault for finding themselves in their situations, and that it’s a social safety net that taxpayers can no longer afford…
But even at times like this, there’s something to be said for showing some bloody sympathy for people who are in the position to get screwed, regardless of whether we can “relate” to them via shared experiences other than those of the sporting kind, and regardless of whether we agree with their politics, if you will.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: in this lockout, fans aren’t exactly in a position to influence the course of events, but it’s not as if the players are the ones who want to keep the doors locked and skip playing for the sake of resetting the economic bar in a more favorable manner.
The NHL’s the party doing the screwing over here, and while I may never be able to afford season tickets, never mind a BMW 760 and a McMansion, I can understand the concept of taking the necessary time to suggest to one’s employer that the entirety of their thrust for more economic stability should not be solely borne upon wage give-backs and placing stronger restrictions upon player mobility.
• In a different sort of “job creation,” from the Vancouver Province’s Glen Schaefer:
Vancouver actor and long-time hockey fan Michael Shanks is heading to Winnipeg for his dream job - the lead role as hockey legend Gordie Howe in the CBC biopic Mr. Hockey. The 41-year-old Shanks (Saving Hope, Stargate SG-1), who heads to Winnipeg in late August for four weeks of filming, played midget rep hockey as a teen and spent some time on the University of B.C.‘s junior varsity team as a student there.
“This is the most exciting thing I’ve done in a while,” he said last week. “I get to go back to my old hockey roots, I’m pumped.”
The movie, which focuses on the hockey legend’s return to the ice at age 45, is being directed by Andy Mikita. Mikita directed many episodes of Stargate SG-1 when Shanks starred on that Vancouver-filmed series.
“We used to play hockey together for the Stargate team when we would play pick-up hockey locally,” Shanks said. “Andy and I get to make our hockey movie, and I hope we don’t do a disservice to Gordie and his wife.”
The movie’s screenplay was written by Malcolm MacRury, one of the creators of Shanks’ current TV series, the Toronto-filmed medical drama Saving Hope.
“We had a few conversations about hockey when I was there,” said Shanks. “It’s a dream come true for me - I’d almost rather I didn’t love hockey so much, because there’s already enough pressure.”
• Also in the alumni department, DetroitRedWings.com’s Andrea Nelson spoke to former Wing and Maple Leaf Boyd Devereaux about his ecclectic post-hockey career in another “Dual Citizenship” article:
“I was a Red Wings’ fan growing up so coming there via free agency, I was so excited that they were interested in signing me that actually after I signed the deal I couldn’t quite believe it,” Devereaux said. “I got down to Detroit and it was just such a wealth of experience and a challenge.”
The Red Wings won their 10th Stanley Cup in Devereaux’s second season on the roster. After brief stops in Phoenix and Toronto, Devereaux took his talents overseas to play for HC Lugano of the Swiss National League. But a hard hit in Switzerland’s Spengler Cup in 2009 left Devereaux with a fractured vertebrate and an early retirement.
“That’s usually how it goes with a big hit,” Devereaux said. “It just kind of comes out of nowhere. It was a big hit and it ended up being a more serious thing and I never experienced a feeling like it. I thought it was a stinger or something but I felt a weird sensation down my arm and back and then we learned later that I had fractured the vertebrate.”
Devereaux didn’t have any trouble starting his post-hockey career back home in Canada. He had already co-founded an independent music label with Joe Greenwald, a friend he had met after signing with the Wings.
“Joe did really act as a big brother passing his musical knowledge on down to the little brother a little bit,” Devereaux said. “I’ve always loved music but he really set me on the path of some underground that got my wheels turning. I was very passionate about it and started devouring it.”
Elevation Recordings focused on releasing limited edition music from a variety of bands. Even though the label has been inactive for a few years, Devereaux applied his love for music to his newest endeavor: video production. His second company, Waking Sound Productions, combines music and film to produce sports movies. After releasing a successful 30-minute documentary about Mats Sundin’s retirement from the Maple Leafs, Devereaux is eager to see what the future holds for his company
“We have some ideas for some really cool stuff and talking to various teams and the NHL and the NHLPA, trying to put some ideas out there,” Devereaux said. “It certainly helps when our body of work has gotten larger so now we can show what we can do and what we’ve done to these companies and teams.”
• At the other end of the career spectrum, my Slovak is terrible, so here’s a summary of Tomas Jurco’s conversation with Sport.sk’s Michal Carnoky (and the story was pointed out by Matias Strozyk and RedWingsFeed):
• Jurco actually signed his contract with the Wings in early June, so he’s very relieved that he’s officially signed by the Wings, and yes, he was worried about the fact that it took until August for the NHL and Slovakia to work out a transfer agreement;
• For the moment, he’s not focused on making the NHL—he just wants to have a strong first season in Grand Rapids, and as such, he’s been working out with two personal trainers in Kostice, Slovakia since returning home (after the Wings’ prospect camp; he stayed in North America after the Memorial Cup, only heading home to pick up the Pavol Demitra award as Slovakia’s best player under 20 years of age at the “Zlaty Puk” awards), and he’ll try to get back on the ice in about two weeks;
• He’s as concerned about a lockout as anyone else, but understands that he’s going to be heading to North America in September to begin the season with Grand Rapids in October;
• As it turns out, he’s a picky eater who’s not all that thrilled with American and Canadian cuisine, so one might think that having Tomas Tatar around might help him find some tolerable fare in Grand Rapids;
• And he insists that his statement to DetroitRedWings.com’s Andrea Nelson about being an actor wasn’t meant to be taken that seriously.
• Speaking of the Wings’ website…
Thanks to everyone who voted in Round 2 of— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) August 12, 2012
#OperationBobblehead! The winner will be announced tomorrow and Round 3 will begin Tuesday at 12.
• In the multimedia department, We All Bleed Red on YouTube posted four clips of Petr Mrazek dazzling in the Czech Republic’s net at the World Junior Championships…
He posted two clips of Teemu Pulkkinen playing at the World Championships, including one of Pulkkinen and fellow Wings prospect Mattias Backman tangling…
As well as a clip of a famous Vladimir Konstantinov goal from the 1995 Western Conference Finals…
And two particularly appropriate videos of Ted Lindsay talking about the start of his career…
And his attempt to start a players’ association:
• In hockey art for hockey art’s sake, Stevie Roxelle’s newest installment of Biscuit Fox is out;
• And, uh…
I’m not sure how to broach this topic. It’s August 13th, which means that, if the Red Wings do hold a prospect tournament, I will be heading to Traverse City in approximately a month, and including any presumptive training camp, I’d be staying in Traverse City until the 24th or 25th. That would yield a $1,250 (plus taxes) hotel bill and another $350-500 in food and gas, and as I’m one of those “worried about the social safety net issue” types, a fundraising drive.
I don’t know whether it’s appropriate to start it, and whether you’d prefer that I do so via Paypal (which is a little easier for most people, but takes quite a chunk out of donations) or Kickstarter (which requires an Amazon account, but is more transparent).
Including the, “Hey, here’s some extra money, spend it on whatever you want” donations, I ended up with exactly enough left over to purchase a Kindle Fire or Google Nexus tablet to do my job in September. I don’t make any “profits” off of the fund drives, this and if there’s any unused $, it’s saved for very specifically reinvesting in doing my job.
Kickstarter might make it a little easier to refund your buckaroos in the event of a personal or family illness, but I’ll have to do some more research regarding that aspect of a fundraising drive, and it is regrettably part of the process given the anxiety and depression, but tossing a lockout into the mix makes things more complicated as I’ve heard that the prospect tournament may or may not take place if there is a lockout—and that it may take another week or two for the Wings to decide whether to hold said tournament as it would be impossible to hold during the regular season for Major Junior, minor pro and European teams—and if there is a lockout, I’d suggest that the odds of training camp simply being held in Detroit instead of Traverse City would be 50-50, and the odds of a Detroit-based training camp being held open to the public would also sit at 50-50.
I’m also thinking about registering a domain name so that I could share a URL with people that would send them to this site as http://www.kuklaskorner.com/index.php/tmr is not exactly a catchy or easy-to-remember website address, but that’s another story for a different day.
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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.