The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/19/12 at 08:01 AM ET
After receiving nothing less than a smorgasbord of World Championship coverage from the NBC Sports Network on Thursday, whoever’s in charge of scheduling events decided that one cannot piggyback TSN’s coverage when there are perfectly good reruns of fishing shows which must take precedence over hockey, so hockey die-hards like myself have set their alarms and are preparing to access semi-legal, grainy online streams to watch the last two days of the Worlds, starting with today’s Semifinals:
• 7:30 AM EDT: Russia (Pavel Datsyuk) vs. Finland (Valtteri Filppula)
• 11:30 AM EDT: Slovakia (Tomas Tatar) vs. Czech Republic (Petr Mrazek, not playing for the Czechs)
NBC Sports will televise one of the above-mentioned games at, according to their schedule, 9 PM EDT.
And tomorrow’s Medal round shakes down as follows:
Sunday, May 20th:
• 9 AM EDT: Bronze Medal Game: Semifinal 1 loser vs. Semifinal 2 loser
• 1:30 PM EDT: Gold Medal Game: Semifinal 1 winner vs. Semifinal 2 winner.
NBC Sports will televise the Gold Medal game on tape delay, at 9 PM EDT
Again, one must beware of spyware, pop-ups, ad-ware and plain old annoying skips in streams, but I’ve successfully used justin.tv, livetv.ru/en/, firstrowsports.eu and the like to watch games over the course of the past two-and-change weeks…
And I guess we’re back to the old reliable while we vote for Pavel Datsyuk as EA Sports’ NHL 13 cover athlete, and, for those of you lucky enough to have access to the NHL Network (stupid Broadstripe), take naps after today’s Rangers-Devils games to watch Tomas Jurco and the Saint John Sea Dogs attempt to defend their Memorial Cup title this evening.
If you want to head out to watch a charity hockey game today, the Wings posted this late-breaking press release on Friday afternoon:
RED WINGS GOALTENDER JOEY MACDONALD TO APPEAR AT CHARITY HOCKEY GAME
… Waterford Township Fire Department and Police Department to Faceoff in Third Annual Guns & Hoses Charity Hockey Game on May 19 at 5:00 p.m. …
Detroit, MI… Waterford Township’s Fire Department and Police Department will take to the ice on Saturday, May 19, in the Third Annual Guns & Hoses Charity Hockey Game at Lakeland Tri-Arena in Waterford.
Red Wings goaltender Joey MacDonald will be on hand to drop the ceremonial puck with representatives Jeremy Grundy from the fire department and Ed Ketzler with the police department. Following the puck drop, the two teams will pose for a group photo on the ice with MacDonald before the teams face off for charity.
A $5 donation will get fans a ticket to the game and the ability to participate in the fundraising activities, including a 50/50 raffle as well as a “Chuck-a-Puck” competition. Children five-years-old and under get in for free.
Proceeds from the hockey game will go to help cover FD Captain John Lyman’s medical expenses. Lyman was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is currently receiving chemotherapy treatment at the Cleveland Clinic.
Who: Goaltender Joey MacDonald
What: Ceremonial Puck Drop with Waterford Township Fire Department and Police Department
When: 5:00 p.m.
Where: Lakeland Tri-Arena
7330 Highland Rd.
Waterford, MI 48327
Why: To raise money for FD Captain John Lyman’s medical expenses
MacDonald’s family remained in Nova Scotia this past season, so I’m guessing that he’s back in town for an exit interview.
The last stragglers from the World Championships are probably making their way back to Detroit either this weekend or early next week, as for many of the Wings’ players at the Worlds, they only had time to be cleared to play via end-of-season physicals, grab some gear and clothing and head over to Helsinki or Stockholm…
So the Wings’ participants need to both return for exit interviews and either hang around for the summer—in Niklas Kronwall’s case, he’s building a house in Metro Detroit—or pack up their belongings, speak to the Wings’ management and head to their off-season homes. The only players left in Detroit by Memorial Day weekend will be those with children enrolled in school or those who have tended to spend most of the summer in Detroit of late (see: Danny Cleary, Jakub Kindl). I’m not sure whether Justin Abdelkader’s earned his degree from Michigan State yet, either, so I’d assume that he’ll be in East Lansing to take some summer classes.
“I’ve been taking my time and I haven’t really gotten to that process yet,” said Lidstrom, looking tanned and relaxed after having just returned from a brief Florida vacation with his wife. “I haven’t really gotten any closer to a decision.”
Lidstrom talked with Red Wings general manager Ken Holland during exit interviews and said they planned on touching base when Holland returns from the World Championships. Holland has indicated he’d like a decision around mid-June, before the draft and the start of free agency.
“I’ll have something (in terms of a decision by that time),” said Lidstrom, who played in 70 games and scored 34 points (11 goals) last season. “I know they want to know and I want to be fair to the Wings, too.”
Lidstrom, a seven-time Norris Trophy (best defenseman) winner, has been working out regularly, but don’t take that a sign he’s leaning toward returning.
“I would be doing that anyway,” said Lidstrom, 42. “Look at Cheli (Chris Chelios), he’s still working out. Maybe he wants to come back.”
In terms of the team’s brass, we know from MLive’s Ansar Khan that the team’s amateur scouts met this week to prepare in earnest for the NHL Entry Draft…
The Red Wings will hold their amateur scouting meetings Tuesday through Friday in Detroit. They will discuss their game plan for the entry draft June 22-23 in Pittsburgh.
Detroit traded its first-round pick to Tampa Bay for defenseman Kyle Quincey but has each of its selections in the second through seventh rounds.
After the meetings, they will head to Toronto for the draft combine May 28 to June 2. It features the top 100 prospects. They are interviewed by teams and go through off-ice testing.
“It’s a busy planning time the next 3-4 weeks,’’ Nill said.
And while some amateur scouts will head to the Memorial Cup to scout prospects, and others might be dealing with the logistics of bringing players and recruiting try-outs for the team’s summer prospect camp in early July, the pro scouts will likely be meeting over the next two weeks to determine which players they plan on re-signing (see: Jiri Hudler, Tomas Holmstrom, Lidstrom and Brad Stuart), how negotiations with the team’s restricted free agents (Kyle Quincey, Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader) might take shape, putting out agent “feelers” for both the team’s property and potential free agent targets, including the players Ken Holland and Mike Babcock have been watching at the World Championships, and then the brass will head out of town for their summer homes by the time Lidstrom decides what he wants to do, leaving Hockeytown pretty empty for a couple of weeks, at least.
The one factor both players and management will be hedging their bets about is, of course, the CBA, and while the Winnipeg Sun’s Gary Lawless’s take on the NHL’s recent decision to inform the NHLPA that it does not plan on renewing the CBA for the 2012-2013 season is a little…Owner-friendly, some Wings may take part in the negotiating process as Donald Fehr chose to delay said talks to encourage players to participate, and around the Entry Draft (erm, sorry, they’re just calling it the Draft now) in Pittsburgh, Holland, Nill and capologist Ryan Martin will get a firmer idea of what shape the salary cap will take, especially given the fact that the NHL’s going to want to roll back salaries and the “players’ share” of revenues, and from there, it’s off to the races on July 1st.
I should note that while the Wings probably employ proprietary software to keep track of the cap and their payroll, they probably regularly use Capgeek’s Red Wings organization chart to take a gander at the organizational master plan and committed salaries going forward, just like the rest of us.
In terms of prospects playing at the World Championships, Hockey’s Future’s Chapin Landvogt engaged in an interview with Tomas Tatar after the Slovaks upset Team Canada in the Quarterfinals…
Hockey’s Future: You’ve been to a couple of WC’s for several years now. How has your role for Team Slovakia changed in that stretch of time?
Tomas Tatar: You know, when I went the first time, the team was bringing me along slowly and letting me taste that international game at the men’s level. They really gave me a shot to show what I could do and I’m really happy they’ve given me that honor to represent the country on this stage. They gave me that taste at the start and now, when we play big games like the one today, I’m kind of really confident, you know.
Hockey’s Future: How was your season back in Grand Rapids this year?
Tomas Tatar: I think I personally had a pretty good season. I mean, I think I can be way better, but like every hockey player, there were some tough parts in the season. I think without those, I could produce way more, but still, I finished off really well and…
Hockey’s Future: … You got to play with Detroit the year before.
Tomas Tatar: Well, I did, but it didn’t go as well as hoped. I was a bit disappointed with that. I hope that will change though.
Hockey’s Future: What do you hear from the Detroit organization?
Tomas Tatar: Um, not a lot. I haven’t spoken with anybody thus far, having come straight over here for this tournament. Now we’ve beaten the USA and Canada, so I’m really hoping they saw that. I’m now here concentrating on this and playing for a different team. I’m concentrating 100% on what’s going on here.
And while the Wings will leave him with Brynas IF after signing him, Teemu Pulkkinen and Tomas Jurco to entry-level contracts, the still-too-skinny Calle Jarnkrok will prepare for his final season in Sweden knowing full well that, as the Free Press’s Helene St. James notes, Jarnkrok’s performance at the Worlds may very well exempt him from a season in Grand Rapids as he didn’t look out of place playing alongside Daniel Alfredsson and Jakob Silfverberg for the vast majority of Sweden’s Worlds run:
Jarnkrok just finished his third season with Brynas IF Gavle of the Swedish Elite League, producing 16 goals and 23 assists in 50 games. He had an assist in the eight games he played at the world championship, which ended for his native Sweden on Thursday with a loss to the Czech Republic.
“This was a big step for him,” Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill said. “He’s got a pretty big upside.”
Like all young players, Jarnkrok, listed as 5-feet-11 and 165 pounds, needs to get stronger. But he has a way of playing that reminds the Wings of Henrik Zetterberg.
“Calle is a lot like Z in that he’s very tenacious,” Nill said. “He’s always on the puck, has real good hockey sense. He wins all the puck battles.”
The Wings hope to get a closer look at Jarnkrok at training camp in the fall. Because he’s a European player, he either has to make the Wings or be sent back to Sweden, and there’s little chance Jarnkrok is going to crack the lineup. Most likely, he’ll be in Grand Rapids for the 2013-14 season.
“It’d be nice to get him over for training camp, for him just to see where he stands next to NHL players, and then for us to get a look at him, too,” Nill said. “We like him a lot.”
I’m not so sure that Jarnkrok will need any seasoning. The main concern for Jarnkrok is really gaining muscle mass, core strength and stamina. He can more than keep up with the pace of NHL hockey.
And in terms of borderline prospects, the Wings will probably qualify Daniel Larsson (who will play for Skelleftea AIK this upcoming season) and Dick Axelsson, and in a strange twist, the social media-preoccupied Axelsson might, according to Aftonbladet’s Tomas Ros and Erik Karlsson, rejoin Farjestads BK…
And, for the record, Fabian Brunnstrom told Helsingbord’s Dagblad‘s Linus Ahlin that he’d prefer to re-sign with the Wings than pursue greener pastures elsewhere. What follows is an incredibly rough translation of Brunnstrom’s conversation with Ahlin:
Fabian wants to rise to Detriot
Rogle fans can stop hoping. Fabian Brunnstrom wants to earn the chance to gain his Wings in Detroit for one more season.
“They want me back,” he says.
Hockey. Jonstorp native Fabian Brunnstrom meets and shakes hands with a smile. The likeable 27-year-old is back on home turf after spending a first season with his dream team, the Detroit Red Wings, which was intense in several ways.
Now, everything indicates that he’ll return to the Swedish team in a few months.
“I had a meeting with the coaches and the club’s big shots after the season. They said that they want me back, and that there’s a spot for me with the Red Wings. Now it’s up to me to earn it,” said Brunnstrom. “I was a little surprised, considering what the last season looked like, but it appears that management really believes in me.”
Much has changed in the last year. Brunnstrom spent the last summer in the dark, hoping for an NHL offer. After a successful training camp, he received a contract with Detroit, where he played only 5 games.
“I sat on the bench during the first games and came into the game out of tempo. Then I got the chance to play and show myself to the team, but they played a really bad game and lost 7-1 against Washington. It feels like it marked my season—it was wrong from the beginning.”
Instead of playing in the NHL, Brunnstrom played in the backyard, the farm team in the AHL, while his wife Sandy was very pregnant with the couple’s first child.
“The pregnancy was still a concern for me while I began to suffer injuries. Sometimes you’re away for two weeks on a road trip, and the AHL schedule is worse and tougher than the NHL. There’s a lot of time in airports and on long bus trips.”
“Now I’m heading over to play in the NHL, not the other way around,” said Brunnstrom.
To succeed this time he’s changed his summer workouts a little. Last year, he engaged in almost brutal Russian training.
“Everything has its place. I learned more about what my body needs, and have abetter idea now. I will train less ambitiously, but if there are the same number of sessions, that remains to be seen.”
Brunnstrom has played four seasons in North America, but feels he has more to give to the world’s best league.
“I see it as a chance to make another attempt to win myself onto the Red Wings. Had it been another team that wanted me back, maybe I would have thought differently. It makes me a better player all the time, but it might not be possible to see. I’ve needed to think and plan for a while.”
Brunnstrom slurps up his last sip of juice, and says his family had a wonderful time in Detroit. Soon, he’ll sign a two-way contract (which would mean different salaries in the NHL and AHL) to extend over the next season. But first he’ll have a summer holiday with his son, Alexander, who’s learning to know his family and friends.
“At home, I’ve got free time and no obligations. Detroit’s taking its time to write out the contract, but they’re probably at the World Championships with the whole gang, and I have a feeling that there might be a little bit [of a wait]. Then it’s just writing up. I can trust what they say, even though things turn quickly in this business.
That means that Rogle supporters can stop hoping for Brunnstrom’s comeback in the Eliteserien.
“I’ve talked a bit with Rogle, and know that they’re interested. But I’m set to play for Detroit, and until that door closes, I’ll focus on that,” said Brunnstrom.
Update: Axelsson engaged in a Q and A with Varmland’s Folkblad’s Johan Eriksson, and confirmed that he wants to go back to Farjestads BK.
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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.