The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/22/12 at 08:32 AM ET
The biggest Red Wings news on Monday will run into something of a wall today: the widely-reported coverage of and speculation about SportsBusiness Journal’s Don Muret’s report that the Wings and/or Ilitch Holdings has hired an architectural firm to design Joe Louis Arena’s follow-on facility is definitely intriguing, but between the self-imposed gag organizational “no comment” policy’s laid over a foundation of secrecy so tight that governmental agencies should be jealous of how well the Wings and Ilitch Holdings are keeping information on a need-to-know basis.
Unless somebody comes out and drops an expertly-timed hint or two, we’re not going to hear much more about the design of the rink, so we’ll turn to Crain’s Detroit Business’s Bill Shea, the person possibly most dialed into the behind-the-scenes dealings regarding the Joe’s follow-on facility, for a refresher course as to why and where the organization plans on making what could be close to a half-billion dollar investment in what remains an economically cratered situation in the City of Detroit, Wayne County and the State of Michigan.
The Ilitches are thought to be looking to build on land they own in one of three locations: the area near the Fox Theatre, between Grand River and Cass avenues south of I-75 or west of Woodward Avenue north of I-75.
They want a new arena because its luxury boxes and amenities would boost the Red Wings’ bottom line, which was estimated by Forbes.com in November at $16.3 million in operating income on $127 million in revenue for the 2010-11 season.
A new arena could generate $5 million to $8 million annually in additional team revenue, sports industry insiders have told Crain’s in the past.
The Ilitch owned management company Olympia Entertainment Inc. announced the nonrenewal of the Wings’ team-friendly Joe Louis lease on June 26, 2009, and it expired June 30, 2010. Otherwise, the lease would have renewed automatically for 20 years.
The Ilitches and the city have been in talks for four years on a new lease, one that’s expected to allow the team an easy exit for a new arena when the time comes.
A new 18,000-seat hockey venue is expected to cost $300 million to $400 million. The family has discussed potential public financing with the city and with Wayne County and is also thought to have approached the state about possible aid with the project.
The other big news of Monday dropped in the evening, with the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan reporting that the team will wait until their organizational meetings on June 2-4 to determine the fates of Tomas Holmstrom and Jiri Hudler, as well as whether the Wings will wait for Brad Stuart to tell the team whether he’s going to return or just move forward without him, and MLive’s Ansar Khan confirms that strategy while stating the obvious about the most important decision that isn’t in the team’s hands:
[Red Wings GM Ken] Holland, back from the World Championships in Helsinki, Finland, said he hasn’t spoken lately to Nicklas Lidstrom, who will decide next month whether to return or retire. The team needs to know before the entry draft on June 22-23.
“Whenever Nick is prepared to make a decision, I’m prepared to receive it,’’ Holland said.
Whatever Lidstrom does, his close friend, Tomas Holmstrom, might follow suit.
“I told (Holmstrom) a couple of weeks ago we won’t decide anything until after the pro scouting meetings,’’ Holland said. “We want him to decide if he’s healthy and if he has the passion and the energy to play another season. It’s not strictly his call. We have to look at our team and decide what we’re doing.’‘
Holland had a brief conversation with the agent for forward Jiri Hudler a couple of weeks ago and anticipates more dialogue in the upcoming weeks.
Holland also needs to know defenseman Brad Stuart’s intentions by the draft.
We also know from Khan that Wings assistant GM Jim Nill confirmed that the team will sign Teemu Pulkkinen, Calle Jarnkrok and Tomas Jurco to entry-level contracts before June 1st, and while Iltahleti and Ilta Sanomat are kinda freaking out about Nill’s comparison of Teemu Pulkkinen to Brett Hull, Pulkkinen and Jarnkrok will remain with their respective international teams (Jokerit Helsinki for Pulkkinen and Brynas IF for Jarnkrok).
Jurco’s likely to turn pro with the Grand Rapids Griffins, and his team, the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs, are still playing, and they evened their Memorial Cup record at 1-and-1 via a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. Jurco registered an assist on the 4-2 goal, and the Sea Dogs’ website, Sportsnet’s Patrick King (highlights embedded within only work if you live in Canada, thanks Sportsnet), the Edmonton Sun’s Terry Jones and Robert Tychkowski, the Canadian Press, Memorial Cup website and Yahoo Sports’ Neate Sager (three star selection included) all provide recaps, with Sager explaining why the four-team tournament’s four teams’ 1-and-1 record yield some very “fuzzy math” going forward as each team has a game remaining in their round robin series (Saint John plays the host Shawinigan Cataractes on Wednesday):
If London and Saint John win — The Knights would get the bye to Sunday’s final, since they beat the Sea Dogs. The Sea Dogs would qualify for the semifinal on Friday. London has the tiebreaker edge thanks to its win over Saint John. Edmonton would finish third and thus have last change in a tiebreaker game against Shawinigan, although the crowd would be 98 per cent pro-Cataractes.
If London and Shawinigan win — The Cataractes, by virtue of their win over London, would go directly to the final. The Knights go to the semifinal. Saint John gets last change in a tiebreaker game against Edmonton.
If Edmonton and Saint John win — The Sea Dogs get first place and the Oil Kings will be home team for the semifinal. Shawinigan would finish third and have the last change against London.
If Edmonton and Shawinigan win — The Oil Kings go straight to Sunday night with the Cataractes qualifying for the semifinal. London would be designated the home team in the tiebreaker against Saint John.
You’ll be more interested in Yahoo Sports Cam Charron’s feature story about the friendship between Jurco and Washington Capitals forward Stanislav Galiev. Jurco apparently speaks Russian, so the two have hit it off in a big way over their past two seasons, and as they’re 19-year-old athletes…
As you’d expect, the two spend much of their interview talking trash about each other:
“We can help each other,” said Jurco. “We can talk after the game and stuff. We’re on the same line so we just talk about what we have to do better on the ice and it’s pretty good when there’s two Euros who speak almost the same language.”
When speaking together, the pair tend to joke around a lot, offering deadpan, sarcastic responses. Separately, they’d discuss the importance of playing alongside a teammate they can trust, but together, they can take the time to mock each other without fear. About their on-ice play together, Jurco could swear that: “I got to do all the dirty work and then he just shoots from everywhere”.
Galiev, on the other hand, responded by saying “he’s a YouTube sensation, so it’s pretty hard to play with him. He’ll just take the puck and try to beat everyone, so it’s kind of boring to play without the puck.”
“Then I find him and I pass it to the open net, and he’s the superstar because he scored, but no one sees that I went all over the ice with the puck,” said Jurco.
The expectation next season is for the two to make their way in the American Hockey League, Jurco with Detroit’s affiliate in Grand Rapids and Galiev with Washington’s in Hershey. “He doesn’t want to tell anyone, but he’s going to KHL next season,” Jurco said for a few post-practice yuks.
Galiev himself responded simply by bringing up that Jurco himself had been drafted by Avtomobilist of Yekaterinburg, the Russian league’s second-worst club last season. He also suggested that Jurco won’t play for the Red Wings if he’s in Detroit next season, “he’ll play for the Tigers, maybe. Baseball.”
“It’s going to be probably Grand Rapids, the Red Wings like to keep their players in the AHL so it’s probably going to be there,” Jurco said. “But maybe if I won’t be playing with Galiev any more I’ll be scoring more goals.”
In the participatory news category, today is the second-to-last day to vote for Pavel Datsyuk as EA Sports’ NHL 13 cover athlete in his semifinal battle against John Tavares…
And the Free Press’s James Jahnke reports that the Detroit Sports Commission, which is promising to offer fans who pony up for a $60 membership fee pre-sales and discounts on tickets to all of Detroit’s sports teams’ games, apparently needs a name for its mascot;
If you’re interested in that sort of thing, because it was apparently a hit on Puck Daddy, yes, there are more than enough incriminating photos (as well as some formal ones) of the Slovak national team celebrating their World Championship Silver medal in Bratislava, and yes, there are incriminating videos of the team partying as they got off their team plane, danced on stage at a public rally, and rode through town on a double-decker bus.
Let’s just say that their celebrations were much more enthusiastic than those of the Russians...
And I barely need to translate CAS.sk’s interview with Tomas Tatar about said celebrations:
Profit for the silver medal team [which] underestimated its huge success. They realized that the players who gain medals in the team really party. “Celebrations were great, we drank an awful lot of beer and champagne. We lighted a cigar and winning, but we save, to come to Slovakia and to properly party with the fans, “said Tomas Tatar happy.
the good mood, was also in the aircraft which hockey players took on yesterday afternoon from Finland to Slovakia, where thousands of enthusiastic fans waited for them. Boys, however really unleashed the drink in the clouds. “While the aircraft was quite wild, we sang and drank lots of beer and champagne. The celebrations do not end, the party continues,” concluded the happy young hockey player, who enjoyed his fame.
Maybe I’m weird or something (I’m certainly not vanilla, maybe more like blue moon ice cream, kinda in my own category), but my level of interest in this stuff is about as high as it is in Chris Chelios singing karaoke with Eddie Vedder. I can assume that the situation is slightly embarrassing for the athletes, but I already know that they’re human, so I usually take a peek and move on instead of posting them in blog entries.
That kind of stuff, embarrassing Twitter posts, etc., I’m just not interested in them and I don’t think that they constitute “news.” Unless somebody does something incredibly stupid, I’m more than willing to let things pass and you let me know if you want to see that stuff. I can find it, believe me, but it’s just not something I like to spend my time or your time covering.
Otherwise, in terms of international news, Igor Larionov’s stated the obvious to Ilta Sanomat (though the entire interview’s apparently only going to be available in print as this is still 1998 or something): the World Championships are somewhat unfair to teams given that single-game elimination is the norm…
If you want me to follow the Damien Brunner sweepstakes, quite honestly, my level of German competency is decent enough, but I have absolutely no clue as to where to search for news, so if you have any links to Swiss hockey website, ich brauche bitte ein paar Tips…
And content wise, my migraines are back, so I’m gonna try to take things a little easy for the rest of the week. The Worlds burned me out a bit.
Update: Grumble. Another 7 AM column from MLive. Ansar Khan spoke to Ken Holland about the performances of Tomas Tatar, Calle Jarnkrok and, kinda sorta, Petr Mrazek. Starting with Tatar…
The small but skilled left wing (5-foot-10, 186) is expected to spend a fourth and final season with the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2012-13 (he is exempt from waivers an extra year because of his age).
“He’s got to take somebody’s job away (to earn a spot on the Red Wings roster),’’ Holland said. “(The NHL) is a hard league to be good at when you’re 21, unless you’re a superstar. He’s got to continue to mature as a player. He needs to come to camp and keep developing. He competes hard, has good hands. He needs to get quicker in terms of leg strength.’‘
Tatar is an energetic player with good offensive instincts and a decent shot. He skates well and has good one-on-one moves. He scored 24 goals in each of the past two seasons with the Griffins, collecting 58 and 57 points.
“He’s not eating up the AHL, but to get 24 goals, 57 points, is pretty good,’’ Holland said.
Jarnkrok, 20, earned a spot on Team Sweden after finishing second in scoring for Brynas with 39 points (including 16 goals) in 50 games, and then picking up 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) in 16 playoffs games as Brynas won the SEL championship. The Red Wings will sign him to an entry-level contract before June 1, but he will spend another season in Sweden, since he is not eligible to play in the AHL in 2012-13. At 5-11 and 175 pounds, Jarnkrok needs to bulk up before reaching the NHL.
“He’s got to get stronger,’’ Holland said. We think he’s a good prospect. He needs to build his body up.’‘
Petr Mrazek played only 9:12 in relief as the Czech Republic’s No. 3 goaltender, but Holland said just being there was a good experience for the 19-year-old. Mrazek will turn pro and play in Grand Rapids next season.
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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.