The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/11/11 at 09:00 AM ET
It’s not exactly time to bring out the Sharpie that one might bring to the Gibraltar Trade Center in Taylor to get Darren McCarty and Claude Lemieux’s respective signatures (among others) today, nor is it time to use one of my beloved Pilot G2 pens, but I think it’s at least safe to use a good-old #2 pencil to fill in Paul MacLean’s name in as Ottawa Senators’ next head coach.
On Thursday, both the Ottawa Sun’s Don Brennan and Sportsnet’s Ian Mendes suggested that the current Red Wings assistant coach is the favorite for the Senators’ job, and this morning, the Ottawa Citizen’s Ken Warren frames the candidacy of the man who just won the AHL’s Calder Cup, Binghamton Senators coach Kurt Kleindorst, in, “Well maybe MacLean will have to hire him on as an assistant” terms:
While Kleinendorst was originally considered a longshot given his limited NHL experience — it’s believed longtime Detroit Red Wings assistant coach Paul MacLean is a front-runner and has already received a second interview — Murray has first-hand knowledge about what the Binghamton Senators coach has done for the organization.
During the NHL season, Kleinendorst provided the big-league Senators with a ready-made, steady supply of well-developed minor leaguers to capably fill holes: Bobby Butler, Zack Smith, Colin Greening, Erik Condra, Andre Benoit and Derek Smith. Then came the past seven weeks, when the coach dodged serious injury problems to lead the American Hockey League team to the Calder Cup, giving a championship-starved town its first taste of winning.
However, as Warren suggests, Kleindorst isn’t exactly a wily veteran coach with oodles of NHL games under his playing belt:
His NHL experience is limited to the 2001-02 season when he served as a New Jersey assistant and, despite an outstanding college background and lengthy minor-league career as a player, he didn’t play a single game in the big leagues.
Kleinendorst, 50, is also handicapped by optics. Former Senators coach Cory Clouston made the jump directly from Binghamton to Ottawa. It will be difficult for Murray to sell a new head coach who followed the same path as Clouston. It’s believed Murray will lean toward a head coach with NHL experience, such as MacLean, or, perhaps, Craig MacTavish.
But how about this? What if Friday’s discussion between Murray and Kleinendorst included the possibility of the Binghamton coach coming to Ottawa as an assistant? What if Murray hired MacLean on the condition that he include Kleinendorst on his staff?
That could happen, and in any case, it at least appears that MacLean has all but sewn up the head coach’s job for himself, leaving the Wings facing vacancies to fill on Mike Babcock’s left and right shoulders.
Otherwise, the Red Wings-related news goes as it usually does while the Stanley Cup Final is underway—it comes in chunks, and while Thursday and Friday morning were relatively meaty, RWC’s prospect rankings included, this morning’s news comes in scrape-and-scrap form.
The Detroit Free Press’s George Sipple duly notes that, yes, Chris Osgood will head to Scotland to play golf with several teammates as he cashes in on his 400th-win-mark gift from his teammates, taking fellow potential retiree Kris Draper in tow…
Both players know one thing for sure—they’re going golfing together next month in Scotland and Ireland with some teammates. Players from last season chipped in last February to give Osgood the European golf trip in honor of him reaching 400 career victories. Osgood became the 10th NHL goalie with 400 wins. He tied a career high with 46 saves in a 4-3 win over the Avalanche to reach the milestone Dec. 27.
“We’re going July 2, so we’ll arrive in Scotland July 3,” Draper said this week of the trip. “We’re playing 10 rounds in seven days. We’ve got a total of 16 guys going over.”
Jimmy Howard and Dan Cleary also are going to make up a North American foursome of Wings. They’ll be met in Scotland by Valtteri Filppula, Niklas Kronwall, Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg.
If you’re interested in familial or geographically Red Wings-related news, the Kingston Whig-Standard’s Patrick Kennedy spoke to two generations of the Wilson family, which of course produced Wings defenseman Johnny Wilson and Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson, and the Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa spoke to Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas’s friends in Flint...
In the programming department, the NHL Network will air a big Wings high and a terrible low this weekend…
Hockey fans in the United States can tune in this weekend to see the last four Stanley Cup-clinching games on the NHL Network.
The action starts at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday with Game 5 of the 2007 Final between the Anaheim Ducks and the Ottawa Senators at the Honda Center, with the Ducks winning 5-2 to earn their first championship. At 3:30, it’s Game 6 of the 2008 Final between the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena, a game that saw the Wings earn their fourth Stanley Cup in 11 years.
The Wings and Penguins are featured again on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET when the NHL Network airs Game 7 of the 2009 Final from Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, a 2-1 Pittsburgh victory that featured one of the most exciting endings in hockey history. At 3:30, it’s Game 6 of last year’s Final between the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers from the Wells Fargo Center, with Patrick Kane’s OT winner ending the Hawks’ 49-year Stanley Cup drought.
In the statistical vein, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Chris Osgood’s been matched by Roberto Luongo in one category…
Roberto Luongo recorded his second shutout of the Cup finals, the first to do so since Chris Osgood in 2008. Luongo is also the first goalie to record a pair of 1-0 victories in the Cup finals since Frank McCool of the 1945 Toronto Maple Leafs.
But unless you’re willing to take a gander at Bruce Boudreau’s rambles to the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff and the Roger Neilson Coaching Clinic, I can only shake my head and offer this closer: no, Red Fisher, this isn’t going to happen:
The Winnipeg Whatevers have brought out a broom preparing for their return to the NHL.
General manager Rick Dudley, who put a new face on the Thrashers in Atlanta this season, won’t be retained despite signing a four-year extension in January, and what that almost surely means is that coach Craig Ramsay also will go.
Too bad. Both are good people. Dudley was the busiest GM in the league heading into this season and surely would have wanted to continue building his team in Winnipeg.
“That’s the only frustrating thing,” Dudley told Minnesota writer Michael Russo. “You get tired of building things and not being there. This is one I really believe in. I believe this is a wonderful hockey team that’s just a couple pieces away from being an elite team.”
It’s particularly frustrating for Dudley because he’s been there, done that before in Tampa Bay, where a team he helped build won the Stanley Cup in 2004 and with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010.
His replacement in Winnipeg is Kevin Cheveldayoff, who takes over a team that has missed the playoffs the last four seasons. It’s a daunting challenge, but I’ve got an idea for Cheveldayoff if he wants to make an immediate impact. He should hire the current consultant with the Blackhawks who knows something about what it takes to win. Name of Scotty Bowman.
Uh, no. Scotty only left the Wings to work with his son, Stan, and there’s no way in hell that Scotty, who spends half of his season in Sarasota, Florida, anyway, will hop from the Hawks to chase the next big thing. His job with the Blackhawks will be his last in hockey.
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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.