The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/22/11 at 07:03 AM ET
Red Wings GM Ken Holland may be relatively satisfied with the composition of his team’s roster as it applies to both its present and future, but Holland doesn’t want the fate of a long-time Wing to remain uncertain going forward, either, as he told the Windsor Star’s Jim Parker—via a late-breaking addendum to Parker’s conversation with Holland:
Wings GM Ken Holland expects a decision on the future of free agent centre Kris Draper to come in the next week.
“I’m talking to him in the next couple of days,” Holland said Tuesday from Vernon, B.C.
Draper was limited to 47 games last season as Detroit tries to infuse more speed and youth into the lineup.
“His role is not as important as it was two or three years ago,” Holland said. “He wants to stay a Red Wing, but we have 13 or 14 forwards.”
That sounds a little ominous to say the least, but if Draper is essentially forced out by the team’s youth movement in Cory Emmerton and Jan Musrak, he’s likely to remain with the team and remain in the area…
And as we know about the Wings’ latest front office recruit, goalie mentor Chris Osgood, the Plymouth Observer’s Tim Smith expressed some concern about Osgood’s future as a resident of Plymouth, Michigan, but Mrs. Osgood put the kibosh on any concerns that he might move back to Western Canada (and I didn’t know that this was an issue to begin with!):
Jenna Osgood said they’re not going anywhere. In addition to Osgood remaining with the Red Wings, Jenna is part owner of The Yoga Room in downtown Plymouth and the couple has three young children. Daughters Mackenzie and Sydney are still attending school in the area and son Max was born in March.
“I’d never give up my yoga or give up on the people that we created the business for,” said Jenna, contacted Thursday by telephone.
“Chris has never been treated any differently there, he’s been treated like a regular person, which we really like,” Jenna continued. “It’s very good for our kids to have a normal lifestyle. We still are alotted privacy and there’s just tons to do in the town of Plymouth…. We can walk downtown any time we want to. It’s just an awesome place to raise your kids.”
The man who helped Osgood revamp his game during the lockout, Bandits Goaltending coach Stan Matwijiw, also reflected upon his famous client’s legacy…
“I’m extremely honored that I was part of his career, at least a little bit,” he said. “And I am extremely happy for him that he accomplished his goals. To get 401 wins and win three Stanley Cups, there’s not a whole lot of guys who can say that.”
His credentials as a candidate for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame three years from now…
“I hate to hear people say ‘Well, he had such great teams in front of him.’ You know what? Every goalie that’s won Cups has had a great team in front of him,” he emphasized. “Yes, the Red Wings have done an incredible job since the early ‘90s of having excellent hockey teams. But some of that credit has to go to Chris himself.”
And Osgood’s new role as a mentor for the team’s goaltending prospects:
“I think he’s going to do terrific (as a consultant) because he’s so well-liked,” Matwijiw said. “(Current Red Wing goalie) Jimmy Howard really respects him a lot. I know Jimmy respected what Chris had to say and he’s going to be able to teach these guys a lot more than technical aspects out on the ice. I think that’s going to go a long way, with all the experience he has in dealing with all the different things he had to deal with as a player here in Detroit, the good, bad and the ugly, I think he’s going to be very successful.”
One of those prospects has standing invites from several universities’ medical schools, but 24-year-old Jordan Pearce, who’s competing with Thomas McCollum to become Jimmy Howard’s eventual back-up, told the Free Press’s George Sipple that he’s willing to delay pursuing one professional goal to achieve another after signing a 2-year contract extension with the Wings…
“I’m still excited about going to medical school and becoming a doctor,” Pearce said Thursday. “But it’s awfully exciting to pursue a childhood dream of playing hockey. I think as long as I keep progressing and enhancing my career and keep going up, I’ll pursue it as long as I can.”
And while Pearce essentially stole the Grand Rapids Griffins’ starter’s job from McCollum during Joey MacDonald’s absence to spell the injured Osgood, Holland believes that the fact that Pearce and McCollum will compete for playing time behind MacDonald is a pleasant problem for the organization to deal with:
“It’s a funny the way it goes,” said Wings general manager Ken Holland. “The injury to Chris Osgood gave Joey MacDonald an opportunity at the NHL level. It also gave Jordan Pearce an opportunity at the American league level. He probably last year stole Thomas McCollum’s job away from him. In once sense, we want Thomas McCollum—because he’s a first-round pick—to beat people out, but pro hockey is about competition and delivering performances, and I think Jordan Pearce did that last year. Now obviously he’s got to come to camp and back it up. But his play last year earned him another contract.”
Competition will be fierce again in Grand Rapids as the Wings have Pearce, McCollum and MacDonald fighting for playing time next season.
“We hope it’s a logjam,” Holland said. “The more competition we’ve got, the deeper we are in goal, short term and long term.”
In the charitable news department, the Windsor Star offers the following...
The Circle of Seven will host the 2011 Celebrity Golf Classic at the Essex Golf & Country Club Sept. 11-12. A reception will kick off the event Sept. 11 at Caesars Windsor with the tournament being held the following day.
The event will honour former Detroit Red Wings forward Bob Probert, who died of a heart attack last year.
Several sports celebrities are expected to play in the tournament, which begins at 9 a.m. Proceeds from the tournament will benefit Windsor Regional Hospital’s Acquired Brain Injury program and Circle of Seven charities.
Also of charitable note, albeit if you happen to find yourself in Umea, Norrkoping or Nykoping, Sweden on August 10th, 11th or 12th (respectively), Allehanda.se’s David Jiglund reports that Henrik Zetterberg will take part in Peter Forsberg’s “Icebreakers” charity hockey games;
And in less charitable but no less nostalgic news, per WXYZ’s Bob Kuszynski:
If you remember “The Barn,” you also remember that Olympia stadium was the home of the Detroit Red Wings. And, now you can cash in on a memory.
Some of the seats from the old Olympia stadium have been rediscovered in a storage room at Cobo Hall. Seats that you will be able to buy.
Detroit City Sports has some of these seats and will be offering a limited supply. The cost is $125 for a single seat. But. you’ll also be able to get a set of 2, 3, or 4 for a discount. These seats were found in a storage area during recent renovations at Cobo where they’ve been collecting dust since 1979 when the Olympia was closed.
The warehouse sale will be “first come, first serve” Saturday, July 30th, 10am to 4pm.
The seats range from about $125 for a single seat to $300 for four (with options to purchase 1, 2, 3 or 4 seats), but there is no delivery option—they can only be picked up at Twelve Oaks or Lakeside Mall.
If I’m going to talk about a Wings-related website that would like to offer you a product to purchase, the Wings have launched an incredibly slick website to encourage fans to buy partial or full season-ticket packages, and the video which serves as an introduction to the website’s at least worth a cursory click.
Statistically speaking, NHL.com’s John Kreiser penned a list of records which he believes will remain intact throughout history, and he offers one achievement by Gordie Howe which will probably remain unchallenged:
Most consecutive top-five finishes in the scoring race: Gordie Howe, 20
To watch clips of Howe on the NHL Network today doesn’t do Mr. Hockey justice. From 1949-50, when he was a 21-year-old in a six-team League dominated by defense, through 1968-69, when he was a 40-year-old in an expanded 12-team League, Howe was one of the NHL’s top five scorers. Every year. It’s a record of consistency that no player in hockey—or any other sport—figures to match any time soon.
Howe won five scoring titles, the last in 1962-63. But he still had six more top-five finishes in him—including the best season of his career, a 103-point performance as a 40-year old in 1968-69, when he finished third. He “slumped” to ninth in the League in 1969-70 with 71 points in 76 games—at age 41.
As brilliant as Wayne Gretzky was, his streak of top-5 finishes ended at 13. No one else since Howe has even come close to matching his brand of consistent brilliance.
In the “prospects who didn’t pan out for the Wings but remain in the pro ranks” department, the Niagara Gazette’s Bill Hoppe notes that one of the Grand Rapids Griffins’ all-time “good guys,” Matt Ellis, signed a two-way contract extension with the Buffalo Sabres this week, and like Joey MacDonald’s deal, it becomes a one-way, NHL-salary-only contract for the 2012-2013 season…
And as a reminder: I’m heading on my first vacation in two years from July 24th till August 3rd, and I might or might not have wireless internet access where I’m heading. I’ll try to check in several times a day, but I’m not going to be very good at covering breaking news during that time.
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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.