The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/05/11 at 08:39 AM ET
One generally should take comments regarding possible player personnel moves by the Ottawa Senators, as suggested by one Bruce Garrioch, with a wee bit of salt (a fifty-pound bag of rock salt is a good start), but both Garrioch and the Ottawa Sun’s Don Brennan believe that, despite Senators owner Eugene Melnyk’s desire to promote Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors coach Dave Cameron to Ottawa’s NHL job (Melnyk owns St. Mike’s), Bryan Murray will ultimately choose Red Wings assistant coach Paul MacLean as the Ottawa Senators’ next coach:
Even if Murray likes Cameron best, hiring him will look like he’s only following the owner’s orders. And if he doesn’t think Cameron is the best candidate — which is more likely the case — Murray says no to the guy who gave him a three-year extension a couple of months ago? He’ll do it, but it’s not a situation he should have been put in.
Along with Cameron and [Binghamton Senators coach Kurt] Kleinendorst, the list of candidates includes Paul MacLean, Kirk Muller, Craig MacTavish and Gerard Gallant.
The guess here, at this moment, is that it will be MacLean, the longtime assistant of Detroit’s Mike Babcock, Murray’s proudest hiring. No doubt Murray talked to Babcock about MacLean, who would have been highly recommended by his current boss.
I’m just guessing, too, but given that Murray was subtle as a brick as the Red Wings’ general manager in the early 90’s, remained the same when he hired Babcock and MacLean when Murray helmed the Mighty Ducks, and keeps Garrioch in business because he’s all too willing to surrender leverage by publicly stating that he’s talking trade turkey and/or wants to or doesn’t want to re-sign certain players…MacLean’s a pretty safe bet.
As far as I know, per the much-better-connected Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson, Craig MacTavish and Kirk Muller are more likely to land jobs with the Minnesota Wild or Dallas Stars, and regarding said Stars, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun revealed that a surprising candidate was interviewed by the Senators…
The Dallas Stars have interviewed four candidates so far in their head coaching search: Kirk Muller, Peter Horacheck (Preds assistant coach), Ken Hitchcock and Glen Gulutzan (Stars AHL coach). The Stars front office will meet Monday to discuss whether they should interview anyone else or just focus on these four candidates.
The Ottawa Senators’ coaching search has yielded interviews with Bob Boughner, Craig MacTavish, Paul MacLean, Kirk Muller and Dave Cameron, we were told Saturday. Binghamton Senators coach Kurt Kleinendorst is also in the mix but is tied up with the AHL finals right now.
Red Wings VP Jimmy Devellano also issued a brick-subtle suggestion that the Wings wanted to convince Boughner, who’d supposedly left the Columbus Blue Jackets to spend more time with his family, to join the Wings, filling Brad McCrimmon’s assistant coach’s spot.
The best educated guess here is that Devellano, Babcock and the Wings will have to replace both McCrimmon and MacLean right now.
I do not believe, however, that the Wings are in the running for Brad Richards, as LeBrun also suggested:
We updated the Brad Richards’ situation on Thursday. Some further notes on the matter: While the whole world knows the New York Rangers will be in the mix for him, we’re told the Blueshirts also have interest in Florida’s Stephen Weiss should the money and terms to get Richards get out of hand. In other words, Weiss would be an appealing Plan B.
The Detroit Red Wings, meanwhile, are an intriguing team that has some interest in Richards, but only for a short-term and cap-friendly deal. The pitch from Detroit would be to come and win a Cup. Richards will certainly be fielding more lucrative offers in terms of term and money. Expect the Los Angeles Kings and Toronto Maple Leafs, among other teams, to be in the mix.
The Wings would have to short-change their spending to replace Brian Rafalski and possibly Jonathan Ericsson (the Roman Polak signing by St. Louis really screwed up the market because the Blues chose to pay a 3rd-pair, stay-at-home defenseman an average of $2.75 million over the next five years) and go with cheaper alternatives…
And the Wings’ franchise blueprint involves building from a puck-moving blueline on out. If you believe the Edmonton Journal’s Matheson, Richards is headed to New York, and if you believe the New York Post’s Larry Brooks, Richards wants a 5 year deal at an average of $7 million, which might be too much for the Rangers’ blood. Between that and his concussion history, I don’t see the Wings having any real interest in Richards—though I’m certain that Ken Holland’s kicked the tires.
Holland kicks the tires with just about every marquee free agent because he has to find out whether any and every player available might be willing to help his team. It doesn’t mean that he does more than give ‘em (or in Richards’ case, take) a courtesy call.
Here’s what I do know in the free agent market, and it isn’t Wings-related: Sport-Express Mikhail Zislis says that a Canadian team’s offered 6’5” goon Evgeni Artyukhin a one-way contract, and I’ll give you one guess as to which team might want to pay the 28-year-old $1.5 million or more for his “truculence.”
In case you missed it: I’ve been changing up the script of saving stuff for the “overnight reports,” so I’ll ask you to pardon a little repetition as I posted both the Matheson on MacLean news and a pair of notes from the Free Press’s George Sipple about both the 28 prospects(!) who the Wings interviewed during the Draft combine in Toronto…
“The guys we’re interviewing are probably going mid- to late-round and they might go early- to mid-second round,” [Red Wings assistant GM Jim] Nill said.
Nill said none of the players interviewed took themselves out of consideration with their responses.
“Of the 28 we interviewed, they are among the best in the world,” Nill said. “These guys have all, the last five years of their life, gone all over the world and lived on their own since they were 14 or 15. It’s amazing how mature they are now.”
As well as the Wings’ status in terms of attempting to re-sign Drew Miller, Patrick Eaves, Ericsson, Joey MacDonald, probably Nicklas Lidstrom and possibly Chris Osgood and Kris Draper, all while attempting to formulate a plan as to which players they want to bring in to mentor the prospect-heavy Grand Rapids Griffins:
Nill said there was nothing to report as far as potential signings. “Kenny’s touching base with most of the guys,” Nill said.
Nill said he planned to sit down this week with Griffins general manager Bob McNamara to discuss the Wings affiliate’s roster and what potential free agents they would pursue to help stock the American Hockey League club.
• I also created a post discussing the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan’s article noting the return-friendly comments made by Miller, Eaves, Ericsson, MacDonald and Salei, who at least has some sort of chance of returning now that Ericsson might be out of the picture:
Salei signed late last summer with the Red Wings, and kept his family back in Southern California (his wife was pregnant). He saw the family on two trips through Anaheim and a few other open spots in the schedule.
“That was tough,” said Salei, who would change things next season if the Wings choose to bring him back. “We’ll see what happens, but I think if I were to sign here, my family would move here with me. I would definitely consider that.”
On to new stuff in the, “Of Red Wings-related note” category: The Wings’ website re-posted NHL.com’s profile of Victoriaville Tigres center Phillip Danault as part of its series looking at players who might be available to the Wings when they pick 24th overall in the first round of the Entry Draft;
• According to ESPN Boston’s Joe MacDonald, Mark Recchi broke Igor Larionov’s “Triple Overtime” record, sort of, by scoring a goal on Saturday:
On Saturday Recchi became the oldest player to score a goal in a Stanley Cup final. The previous oldest was Igor Larionov at 41 years old in Game 4 of the 2002 final for the Red Wings at Carolina.
• Even though the Detroit Pistons are Tom Gores’ team, Mike Ilitch’s motives in bidding for the Pistons continue to receive flak, with the Detroit News’s Vincent Goodwill suggesting the following:
When Red Wings and Tigers owner Mike Ilitch had exclusive negotiating rights with Karen Davidson, many fans rejoiced at the prospect of Ilitch taking over the Pistons. They were familiar with his track record of success with the Red Wings, but largely ignored his stewardship of the Tigers (one playoff appearance since taking over in 1992).
Not to bash Ilitch, but it was clear he had no real interest in the Pistons as a competitive entity. They would’ve been a pawn to leverage the city into financing a new downtown arena to house the Pistons and Red Wings.
That’s inaccurate. Ilitch wanted to do much more than build a new downtown rink—he wanted a de-facto monopoly in terms of entertainment events and concerts, which he would have gained by purchasing the Palace, DTE Energy Music Theatre and Palace Sports & Entertainment, and he did want to do a solid job of making the Pistons a winner.
• No comment on the Detroit News’s Lynn Henning’s suggestion that Miguel Cabrera’s approaching Nicklas Lidstrom territory;
• Alanah posted this one on Saturday afternoon, but when it comes to strange food eaten from the Stanley Cup, I’d like to think that The Daily Meal’s suggestion about Tomas Holmstrom’s gastronomic adventures misses out on the good stuff:
After winning the Stanley Cup in 2008, Tomas Holmstrom of the Detroit Red Wings brought the trophy to his hometown Piteå in Sweden that summer, where it was used in the baptism of his niece… and also as a serving dish for pitepalt, Swedish stuffed potato dumplings.
I thought Holmstrom’s use of the Cup to hold blood bread—which is made of exactly what the name suggests—took the, “Okay, Homer, you are in fact a Laplander” cake, if you will;
• And finally, I’m supposed to plug the donate button post. I don’t want to, but I can’t get to TC if I don’t. Sorry. And thank you. And sorry.
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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.