The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/08/11 at 10:51 AM ET
If it wasn’t from Crain’s Detroit Business’s Bill Shea, who’s doggedly pursued any leads regarding the Wings’ lease on Joe Louis Arena (which has lapsed; technically speaking, the Wings are at Joe Louis Arena via a gentlemen’s agreement with the City of Detroit) and the location and/or funding of an all but inevitable follow-on rink, I’d dismiss this report out of hand…But Shea’s been reading the tea leaves’ worth of a trail left by Ilitch Holdings’ business moves for an extended period of time, and Shea believes that one of the stops on the partially Ilitch-backed M1 Rail line hints at the probable location of the Wings’ new rink:
The recent inclusion of a Temple Street stop—an otherwise low-key location near condos and vacant lots—as part of Detroit’s Woodward Avenue light-rail project strongly suggests adjacent vacant land will be the site of a new arena for the Detroit Red Wings.
The location near I-75 and Woodward has been speculated about for some time as a potential location for a replacement for Joe Louis Arena, and adding it to the rail project is expected to increase rail construction costs. Temple Street is among four stops added by the Detroit Department of Transportation to the nine-mile route plan at the request of private-sector consortium known as M1 Rail that has pledged money to the project, the city’s lead contractor on the effort said.
The Ilitch family has said it intends to build a new arena in the city to replace the aging and less lucrative city-owned Joe Louis, but they’ve declined to talk about locations. Foxtown and land between Grand River and Cass avenues have also been rumored as potential arena locations.
“We have made no requests with regards to specific stops on the (rail) line,” said Karen Cullen, vice president of corporate relations for Ilitch Holdings Inc.
The Red Wings continue to play at Joe Louis under terms of an expired lease while a new agreement and plans for a new arena are worked out.
Matt Cullen, CEO of M1 Rail, declined to comment but did say his organization didn’t negotiate a station-by-station compromise.
“(An arena is) not the definitive reason for a station to be there. It makes sense to anticipate down the road (what could be built there). We wanted density in that area,” he said. “If there is an arena or anything else big there, over time it would be good to not have to re-engineer or redesign (the location).”
We also receive the first report regarding Joey Kocur and the Red Wings Alumni Association’s charity softball game this past weekend in Highland Township, MI, and the White Lake Patch’s Chris Wall prefers to focus upon the impact made by said game as opposed to its run-by-run result…
Joe Kocur’s 3rd annual Celebrity Charity Softball Tournament drew hundreds of people from the area to raise funds for local charities.
Former players from the Detroit Red Wings, like Joe Kocur, and police and firefighters from White Lake, Milford and Highland played a doubleheader entertaining the crowd at Duck Lake Pines in Highland.
Families competed in a hot dog relay eating contest sponsored by the White Lake Leo’s Coney Island, as well as a special autograph session by Red Wing great Ted Lindsay.
The event was expected to raise more than $50,000, according to Kocur.
Kocur also spoke to WCSX’s Jamie Samuelssen on Friday, and Samuelssen specifically spoke to Kocur about his absence from a particularly famous chapter in Hockeytown’s bare-fisted history:
I talked to Joey about the event this weekend and also about his hockey careeer including the fact that he MISSED the famous March 26th, 1997 game against the Avalanche. I figured he’d be crushed about missing that one, but looking back, he thinks it was a good thing.
Shifting focus toward statistics, DetroitRedWings.com’s Dave Burke takes a look at several significant figures from Danny Cleary’s 2010-2011 season with the Wings, and despite the fact that Cleary missed 14 games with a broken ankle, he made the most of the 68 regular season games in which he was able to play:
21: Scored his career high 21st goal of the season on Feb. 22 against the Sharks. Cleary scored 2 goals in the 4-3 loss to San Jose. He finished the season with a career best 26 goals, second highest on the Red Wings.
8: Cleary had a career-best eight game point (eight goals, four assists) streak from Oct. 30 to Nov. 17. And in that span had a career-high six game goal scoring streak from Nov. 5-17.
3: Tied a career high with 3 points (goal and two assists) on Feb. 17 at Tampa Bay when the Wings beat 6-2. It was his 56th career multi-point game.
192: Never one to shy away from shooting the puck, Cleary ranked third on the team with 192 shots on the year. Cleary had a career high seven shots on goal Dec. 13 in a 5-0 loss to Los Angeles.
In statistical news of a very different vein, the Kalamazoo Gazette’s David Drew reports that Wings assistant coach Jeff Blashill’s replacement at Western Michigan University, Andy Murray, will receive more money than Blashill did in terms of financial compensation during his five-year deal with WMU:
Murray’s contract will pay him $300,000 in guaranteed money annually. That includes the same base salary of $175,000 former coach Jeff Blashill was set to make in 2011-12, along with $125,000 for media appearances.
The $25,000 raise from Blashill’s $275,000 annual contract was put in place through fundraising and donors.
You can file this one under, “Things I didn’t know before”: According to the Buffalo News’s Miguel Rodriguez, Buffalo-area prospect R.J. Gicewicz and more than a few of the players participating in the Under-17 Five Nations Cup in Ann Arbor, MI, starting tomorrow, have benefited from taking part in another tournament held by a developmental arm of Gordie Howe’s hockey businesses—albeit at a significant cost:
Gicewicz played in the World Selects Invitational Tournament two years ago, which was run by Selects Hockey — an elite prospect development company owned by Howe Hockey Development, Inc., which was co-founded by Gordie Howe’s grandson, Travis.
While past World Selects participants have made it to the NHL, players’ parents have to pay for inclusion in that event—Gicewicz said. That means there is a slight possibility a kid with the potential to be the next Ovechkin or Crosby may not necessarily play in the tournament due to finances.
And finally, for the moment, anyway, I can’t blame the Detroit Free Press for repeatedly quoting Dmitry Chesnokov’s interview with Pavel Datsyuk to stretch out its content for a few more days’ worth of free headlines. Chesnokov wrote an epically long article and I’d at least encourage you to give it a read if you haven’t already taken it in.
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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.