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The Malik Report

Red Wings overnight report: more content, less rhetoric (mostly)

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…

• 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.

So please let me know what you think I should do, whether it’s via the comments section, on Twitter, the Malik Report’s Facebook page or a little more anonymously via my email address, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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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George, I still have no experience with kickstarter, but it sounds better for you. Maybe an informal poll about who would let an Amaozn account get in their way of donating would help.
I come to sports to escape politics (that’s part of why I’ve purposely tried to ignore the bargaining details), but I’ll say this in response. Why can’t some politician(s) propose some way to not penalize success yet help the weak who can’t help themselves? Why does it have to be either/or? Have we lost our way to the point that we can’t all work together to get America on the rebound?

Maybe I’m too naive for my own good, but I hate this either/or game to try to make the party/candidate stand out, indirectly or directly creating a class warfare state. The pro hockey players above are an example of what we need more. If you earn your money, I don’t want you to pay most of it back—you’ve earned it if you’re at the top of any major profession. Most people at the top have had to sacrifice something(s) to make it to that level. However, the donations, charitable efforts and the efforts to help others in the community show that they care about those who can’t help themselves, and realize they do have the (financial) power to give back voluntarily.

Sorry, off soapbox. I just want the NHL season to be for everyone’s enjoyment—I know, naive.

Posted by Bugsy on 08/13/12 at 09:33 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

I was never really a fan of Boyd Devereaux when he played for the Winged Wheel (for reasons I can’t really explain) but reading this article makes me like the guy a lot (for reasons I can’t really explain). I wish him lots of success.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 08/13/12 at 10:35 AM ET


I don’t think Kickstarter makes sense - it’s supposed to be a forum for “donate money and upon reaching the investment goal you will receive X product upon its production.”  I suppose you *could* say that your great blog here *is* the deliverable, but I think it might be a stretch.

Posted by Josh from Warren on 08/13/12 at 10:44 AM ET

Forlorn in VA's avatar

@Josh - Lots of people do fundraising for things like charities and trips through Kickstarter.  I’m pretty sure they allow it under their TOI.  Unless they’ve changed since The Oatmeal brouhaha. 

George - However you want to do it is fine by me.

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 08/13/12 at 10:54 AM ET

BrendonTO's avatar

Count me in for thinking using Kickstarter this time around is a great idea George.  You definitely provide us with a ‘product’ on these trips, and a very high-quality one at that.

Posted by BrendonTO on 08/13/12 at 12:00 PM ET


More rhetoric:

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!

I know this is facetiousness, but it wouldn’t be too far off if it were the players threatening to lock out if they didn’t get a huge raise. Given that the teams can afford to pay the players’ current salaries (or if they can’t, it’s their own damn fault for offering absurd contracts and building a salary floor into the CBA), trying to cut players’ salaries comes across as just plain greedy. So the players aren’t the helpless victims we should feel sorry for, but the league is clearly in the wrong if it hopes to get what it’s asking.

Posted by bleep bloop on 08/13/12 at 01:08 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

I can’t wait to see Mrazek on the Red Wings roster.

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 08/13/12 at 01:52 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Have we lost our way to the point that we can’t all work together to get America on the rebound?

Apparently so.  Sad, sad day indeed.

Posted by calquake from a.k.a. Uniquake, workin' on my manifesto on 08/13/12 at 05:24 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Yep. That’s why I don’t plan on making any more political statements that involve anything other than the Wings’ rink or lockout politics. This is not going to be a blog that discusses the presidential or any other election. That’s not my job and we’re already too damn divided for words.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/13/12 at 09:02 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I will keep asking about Kickstarter vs Paypal for you going forward. Yes, my service is an intangible one, but I suppose I could always sell t-shirts or something if you really want a tangible TMR product.

I could use a hand regarding realistic methods of registering a domain name as well…

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/13/12 at 09:09 PM ET


As I said above, I’m trying to stay ignorant of the lockout politics, too, and trying to avoid political rhetoric in general. I come here/watch sports to escape the real world. The Olympics, flaws and all, reminded us how sports can unite and excite, and that’s why I hope we’ll be talking about the Wings in October rather than the negotiations.

I don’t have a domain myself, but this column looked interesting.

Personally, when I can donate, I’d rather donate a little extra if I knew how much paypal was taking out of your pocket percentage wise, rather than learn a new system. I’ve donated to other causes through paypal, so I’m used to that system.

Personally, I doubt many people where I live would know why I was wearing a George Malik T-shirt, but I’d be game for one anyway, whether as a thank you or maybe to purchase regardless.

Posted by Bugsy on 08/13/12 at 10:30 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.


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