Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings overnight report: the aggressive pursuit of all available options for improvement

The difference between a general manager and Red Wings fans like you and me is that Ken Holland can’t afford to be frustrated by, or, given by this blog’s comments section of late, join Wings fans in either attempting to break his ankles jumping off the bandwagon or impale himself upon the nearest sharp object simply because the Red Wings have yet to land their big fish.

Zach Parise was probably headed to Minnesota from the outset, but the Wings made their pitch. Ryan Suter at least listened to an in-person offer from Mike Ilitch, Chris Chelios, Ken Holland, and, according to Mike Babcock, Mike Babcock, but Suter was swayed by Parise. The Red Wings did their best to go after Rick Nash, unlikely as their status as Columbus’s self-styled “arch-rival” made any potential deal with Columbus to be, but the Blue Jackets didn’t want to move him to Detroit.

And now we’ve found out that while the Wings didn’t engage in trade talks with the Nashville Predators, they sure as hell were keeping very close tabs as to whether Weber would be interested in inking the kind of front-loaded offer sheet the Flyers threw at him. Weber preferred going to Philly, so the Wings stood back and watched the Flyers stomp on Nashville’s toes instead.

All of this happened while Holland and the Wings’ management were telling the press and people like me that they were “happy with what they have” and would simply sit, wait on Shane Doan, and possibly consider adding a free agent defenseman to the mix while waiting out this summer’s crop of second and third-tier unrestricted free agents who are still asking for July 1st, “Plan B” prices when the reality of their situations is that the remaining players are mostly teams’ plans “C” and “D.”

We can also assume that, should Mark Gandler have been telling the truth when he told Sovetsky Sport’s Sergei Bergishev that his client’s priority is to remain in the NHL, the Wings are likely interested in what Alex Semin might command, and as Holland, Jim Nill, Ryan Martin, Kris Draper and even Mike Babcock continue to work their phones, it’s hard to imagine that the Wings will do anything else than knock on every door, check the asking price of every free agent and every player who might possibly be on the trade market (see: Keith Yandle, Jay Bouwmeester, and yes, even Bobby Ryan) as the summer progresses.

That’s how the Wings roll. Holland has always explored every avenue that could avail him of an opportunity to improve his team, regardless of whether the Wings are in the sweepstakes for Player X or not, and at this point, the Wings are just checking names off a very long list of targeted assets.

None of the players they’ve been interested in have reciprocated Detroit’s advances, for either their own reasons or because their franchises wouldn’t do business with the Wings—and let’s be honest, here, if it was Detroit and not Philadelphia, there would be no discussion as to whether the Flyers would match that massively front-loaded offer, the Predators’ owners would simply swallow hard and eat that $56 million in salary and lockout-proof signing bonuses over the first four years of what is $110 million, or approximately 22 million Hot and Ready pizzas—but that can’t deter the management from continuing to move purposefully and aggressively to improve the team.

They can’t get frustrated. They can’t get discouraged, lament the futility of their attempts thus far, throw their hands up and say, “F*** it, I’m gonna turn my phone off and golf till September!”

With all of that being said, I was surprised by the level of fatalism MLive’s Ansar Khan and the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness employed in describing the Wings’ unsuccessful attempts to improve their roster thus far, to the point that I started to wonder whether The 19 had written their articles instead.

Khan sounds downright bummed out by the way the Weber sweepstakes unfolded…

After missing out on unrestricted free agent Ryan Suter, the Detroit Red Wings turned their attention to his former Nashville defense partner, restricted free agent Shea Weber, in their effort to fill the gaping hole on their blue line. The Red Wings contacted one of Weber’s agents, Kevin Epp, and had numerous conversations, but the talks did not reach the stage where they were able to tender a formal offer. Weber reportedly visited Detroit, San Jose, the New York Rangers and Philadelphia. He chose to pursue a deal with the Flyers. Philadelphia, on Wednesday, signed Weber to a 14-year, $110 million offer sheet.

Once again, the Red Wings tried to reel in a big fish but were left lamenting the one that got away. Add Weber to the list that includes Suter, Zach Parise and, in all likelihood, Rick Nash, as there appears to be little chance Columbus will trade its franchise player to Detroit. The Red Wings remain in the hunt for power forward Shane Doan, but he’s hoping to re-sign with Phoenix.

Big, talented and tough, Weber, a finalist for the Norris Trophy the past two seasons, would have been the best possible replacement for Nicklas Lidstrom, even better than Suter. Now, Weber likely will never be a Red Wing.
...
Trading for Weber was never a viable option for the Red Wings, contrary to a TSN report. The Predators had no intention of dealing him to their Central Division rival and no trade talks took place. Detroit’s only options of landing Weber were to sign him to an offer sheet, with the hopes Nashville would not match, taking the compensation instead (up to four first-round draft picks), or hope that Weber signed a one-year deal with the Predators and became unrestricted in 2013.

But, the new CBA could feature a lower salary cap, a limit on the length of contracts and an increased age for unrestricted free agency. So Weber was wise to get his mega deal while he could.

The Red Wings have ample salary cap space (roughly $13 million) but have not yet been able to fill their primary needs – a top-four defenseman and a top-six forward. Options are extremely limited. The Red Wings, under general manager Ken Holland, have never tendered an offer sheet to a restricted free agent. They have no team policy against it, but seem to feel it does nothing but inflate prices for others and is pointless (of the six previous offer sheets tendered to a restricted free agent since the lockout in 2004-05, only one team did not match – Anaheim took three draft picks from Edmonton for Dustin Penner in 2007).
...
But, times have changed in the parity-laden NHL. That is why the Red Wings explored the possibility of signing Weber to an offer sheet. Once again, they believe they gave it a good shot but were left with nothing to show for it.

I’m impressed with what a “team source” (Jimmy Devellano, is that you?) had to tell the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness…

According to a source, the Wings had expressed interest in Weber and had “numerous conversations” with his agent. The Wings seemed to do everything they could to engage Weber to try and find out what he was looking for in a deal, but never were able to entice his camp into negotiating.

“If you’re not the No. 1 team, it doesn’t matter,” the source said. “We explored, but we could only get to a certain level.”
...
The source also denied reports that the Wings had been in contact with Nashville about possibly trading for Weber. Had Detroit given Weber an offer sheet it would have been a first under general manager Ken Holland’s watch. The Wings have really never had to because they’ve had rosters with the likes of Nicklas Lidstrom, Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Brett Hull and Chris Chelios.

“Times have changed,” the source said.

Holland said prior to the start of free agency that he would do whatever it took to improve the team in the offseason.

The Wings are still in need of a top six forward and a top four defensemen, which there are none left on the open market and therefore a trade may need to be made in order to fill that void. It’s just another chink in what once was the luster of playing for the Detroit Red Wings.
...
Weber adds to a growing list of players the Wings have either been rebuffed by or are currently awaiting word on where they’ll play next season. Detroit continues to wait on whether Phoenix forward Shane Doan will return to the Coyotes or sign with another team.

“We’ve been in contact,” Holland said earlier in the week. “We’ve talked about what we’re thinking of. They know we have interest.”

[sarcasm] You’ll have to excuse me for a couple of minutes while I go burn my Red Wings jerseys, t-shirts, hats and memorabilia in a huge bonfire in the condo complex’s parking lot. [/sarcasm]

It doesn’t surprise me, either, that a TMR reader told me that 97.1 the Ticket’s Mike Valenti and Terry Foster were declaring the Red Wings’ offseason a “disaster,” and that they went into full seppuku mode when…

Well, first, they went into seppuku mode when they found out that they had to talk about the Red Wings at all, and then they doubled down when they found out that the Wings couldn’t land Weber, either.

I can at least confirm via the Valenti and Foster podcast page that, barring a Bobby Ryan trade, described the Wings’ offseason as a “disaster,” and that Valenti suspended his, “Lions, Lions, Lions, Lions, Tigers, Lions, Lions, Wal-Mart Wolverines suck! Lions Lions, Tigers Tigers, Michigan/Michigan State, Tigers, Lions, Lions” talk to lament the terrible, horrible, no-good very-bad ineptitude of the Wings’ management:

Download file

Is this Wings fan being a Pollyanna?

I don’t know.

Frankly, if I am pissed off about anything, it’s that the Wings lost out on Sami Salo’s services (he wanted 2 years, the Wings gave him 1) and also missed out on Matt Carle (he and Salo both signed with Tampa Bay) and Jason Garrison (who signed with Vancouver) while sitting on their hands waiting for Ryan Suter to make up his mind. In this laptop GM’s opinion (I own neither an armchair nor a proper desk), even with the Wings clearly looking to add a top-six forward who can score at least 20 goals, I would have doubled down on defensemen and ensured that one of the back-up plans didn’t go by the wayside while playing the waiting game, but the Wings aren’t exactly alone in the Missed Out on Carle alumni club, Salo’s kinda sorta made of glass and Garrison had suggested that he was going to Vancouver from the outset, so I’ve basically got one beef with KH & Co.

Otherwise, the Red Wings are clearly moving much more aggressively than they’ve let on, and will likely continue to doggedly pursue every option and opportunity they can explore and/or exploit to improve the team going forward, and while I am very much so a recovering pessimist…

The fact that this team did indeed employ Mike Ilitch’s private jet to bid on Parise (Babcock and members of the team’s brass were turned away from Parise’s agents’ offices in Toronto) on July 1st, added Mr. I himself to the mix while bidding for Suter, attempted the impossible in simply attempting to work out a trade with Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson at all, never mind making a serious attempt to acquire Rick Nash in the process, and the fact that this team was actually considering going nuclear on Nashville with an offer sheet, never mind that the Wings are being mentioned as one of the “favorites” to land Shane Doan, should he choose to leave Phoenix between now and half a decade from now…

Despite the team’s inability to score star players via the free agency, trade or offer sheet markets, the Wings’ brass is clearly employing the style of managerial play eschewed on the ice by today’s birthday boy, Pavel Datsyuk, offering “more shoot” and “more shoot” on top of that.

The management team continues to move aggressively in its attempts to improve the team, much more aggressively than they’ve let on, and while the team didn’t engage in the same propaganda policy as the Wild, who unleashed former North Stars GM Lou Nanne upon the Minnesota airwaves to insist that the Wild would not be out-bid on Parise or Suter (and it should be noted that the Wings did indeed match the Wild’s $90 offer for Suter, and that Parise was the one who wanted that extra $8 million tacked on at the very end of the process so that the pair would be paid the same amount), the team’s track record thus far speaks to a kind of aggressive mentality that we’ve never witnessed from the Wings before, and if player agents and general managers weren’t paying attention before, the, “They tried to go after Nash? And they were serious bidders for Weber, too?” kind of buzz the wake of the Wings’ attempted moves creates will perk up ears toward potential signings or trades in a way that only substantive and substantiated action can going forward.

This team may have been “happy” with what they had in the lineup after signing Jordin Tootoo, Jonas Gustavsson and Mikael Samuelsson and re-signing Darren Helm before he became a RFA, as well as re-signing Kyle Quincey prior to arbitration, but Holland & company are probably equally “happy” with their shooting percentage thus far, too.

As a partisan Wings fan, I’m not thrilled by the results, but the team’s level of effort, intensity and attention to detail has exceeded my expectations, and I have to believe that at some point this summer, it will deliver more than some sort of Petr Sykora and Pavel Kubina = good enough band-aids answer to fans’ questions as to how the team can best address its needs for a 20 goal-scorer and a top-four, if not top-pair defenseman.

 


Regarding Mr. Doan, he’s in a “holding pattern” until the Coyotes’ prospective owners find out whether the lawsuits surrounding ballot proposals to nix the team’s sale work themselves out in the courts, as he told NHL.com’s Dan Rosen...

“I’ve made no bones about the fact that I want to go back to Phoenix if the situation works out,” said Doan, who was in New York on Thursday attending the collective bargaining session between the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association. “I understand at some point I’ll have to probably make a decision without knowing all the information, but until I get as much information as I can, I’m going to try to wait.”

Doan said he would have liked to already have his decision made, but instead he finds himself trying to avoid the temptation of signing a contract before he learns as much as he can about Greg Jamison’s bid to buy the Coyotes. Doan has spent his entire career with the same franchise, including the past 16 years in Phoenix. He has been the Coyotes captain since 2003.

“I want to make (my decision) as soon as I can,” Doan said. “I’ve got four kids and my wife getting ready for the upcoming season. My kids are older. They’re all in school. They’ve got different things they like to do, whether it’s dance or hockey or volleyball or swimming. To get into a new city and find stuff like that is sometimes tough, so obviously my wife would like it to be sooner than later.”

Doan said the Coyotes came to him right away to talk about a new contract, but it didn’t get discussed much because he is still seeking information on the ownership situation. Jamison has been approved by the NHL as the buyer for the franchise and is attempting to work through the process of completing the purchase.

Doan said he has been in regular communication with Jamison and Coyotes general manager Don Maloney.

“They’ve been great as far as keeping me informed of what they think is going on,” Doan said. “The hardest thing is nobody really has an idea. It’s just being pushed further down the road. I think that’s disappointing for them very much as well as it is for me. It’s disappointing that it hasn’t been dealt with and done a while ago.”

And he reiterated his talking points to ESPN New York’s Katie Strang:

“I want to make it as soon as I can,” Doan said Thursday outside NHL offices in Manhattan, where he and other NHLPA members gathered to participate in the latest round of labor discussions.

Coming off a 50-point season, Doan said he has received varying degrees of interest from several teams but does not want to mislead any about his first priority: to remain with the organization for which he has played for the past 16 years.

“I’ve made no bones about the fact that I want to go back to Phoenix if the situation works out,” he said.
...
“Teams have been great about being patient with me, and I appreciate it so much because I know the fluidity of the market and the way that it moves,” Doan said. “The teams have been so kind to my family and understanding the situation we’re in. That being said, eventually I have to make a decision, and it’ll have to probably be without all the information.”
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“The hardest thing is that no one really has any idea. It just keeps getting pushed further down the road,” Doan said.

When asked specifically whether he’d consider playing for the Rangers, who are believed to be interested, Doan responded: “I’ve got a few teams that you look at and that you’re serious about. That being said, I’ve also talked with some teams that I didn’t think I was [serious about], but that kind of made their case. When it comes down to it, I’ll really make my decision. I don’t want to put anybody in a situation where you feel like, you know, if you impress me, I’ll come,” he said. “Until I make my decision, I don’t want to force anyone’s hand.”

 

 

Regarding player who will remain with the Wings given his production, barring something extraordinary, DetroitRedWings.com’s Zack Crawford offers a “By the Numbers” look at Valtteri Filppula’s 2011-2012 season:

23: Scored 23 goals during the regular season, which marks his personal-best and the first time that he has reached the 20-goal plateau during a single season.

43: Number of assists he had during the regular-season, his personal best. Eight of those assists came on the power play. Was third highest on the team for assists, behind Pavel Datsyuk (48) and Henrik Zetterberg (47).

400: Played in career game No. 400 on Jan. 7 against Toronto. He finished the season having played 442 NHL games. Only seven players on the current roster have played more games in Detroit.

18: The center finished the season with a plus-18 rating, his single-season career best.

Here are two other numbers about Filppula: he’s 28 and will be paid $3.5 million this season in the last year of a 5-year contract that has a $3 million cap hit.

 

 

Speaking of numbers, when I checked out Filppula’s player page on the Wings’ website by looking at its roster page, the website reveals some “secrets” for those of you who are interested in buying jerseys:

• Jordin Tootoo will indeed wear #22 and Mikael Samuelsson will wear #37;

• Jonas Gustavsson’s slated to wear his customary #50;

• Damien Brunner’s slated to wear #24;

• And as of yet, Gustav Nyquist, who wore #89 in college, is still slated to wear #14.

 

 

And in your daily CBA update, there’s some irony in the fact that, as the New York Times’ Jeff Z. Klein notes, the NHLPA was planning on very specifically speaking to the NHL about the nuts and bolts of its initial offer to the players, so it was very convenient that incredibly hawkish owner Ed Snider tossed the 14 years and $110 million that he did at Shea Weber given the league’s desire to eliminate contracts longer than 5 years, burying year-by-year increases or decreases in salary in averaged cap hits over the lifetime of the deal, and especially given the NHL’s desire to cut the players’ share of revenues from 57% to 46% while redefining what constitutes hockey-related revenues, yielding at least a 22% pay cut to start:

Donald Fehr, the executive director of the players association, said the subject of Weber’s offer sheet and Suter’s contract came up briefly during Thursday’s negotiating session, in which the two sides discussed how the owners’ proposal would affect individual players’ contracts.

“When you see an offer sheet like that, it represents how the player and the club feel about what an appropriate contractual relationship is,” Fehr said of the Flyers’ offer to Weber.“That includes length, that includes dollars, that includes payment terms and all the rest of it.”

Such offers and contracts “speak for themselves,” he said. “You’ll have to ask them why they want to modify the system to prevent that kind of choice.”

Fifteen N.H.L. players attended Thursday’s negotiating session. One, Shane Doan, said he found nothing objectionable about the Flyers’ offer to Weber.

“Philadelphia’s trying to do everything it can under the current C.B.A. to get one of the finest defensemen in the world,” he said. “We don’t mind the whole offer-sheet thing.”

Doan, the Phoenix captain, also said he was awaiting the outcome of the Coyotes’ arena situation before deciding whether to re-sign with the team or sign with another.

Bill Daly, the N.H.L.’s deputy commissioner, said the Weber offer was mentioned “in a lighthearted way” during the collective bargaining negotiating session. He said there was nothing unusual about the Flyers’ offer.

“We have a collective bargaining agreement that doesn’t expire until Sept. 15, and clubs are operating their businesses consistent with the current terms of our collective bargaining agreement,” Daly said. “That’s the way it should be.”

Fehr told the Sporting News’s Jesse Spector that the NHLPA can’t truly respond to the NHL’s offer until they understand how it will work on a group-by-group and per-player basis:

“If you have something that says we’re going to change the entry-level system, we’re going to change salary arbitration, we’re going to modify this, we’re going to change that, you can identify individual players and say, in the old system, this might have happened, in the system you’ve proposed, something else might have happened, and in a third system we might envision something else might have happened,” Fehr said. “What you’re engaged in, if you represent players, is sort of two things. You want to know what the aggregate produces, but you also want to know how it affects individual players.”

There were 15 players in the room for the latest negotiations, at various stages of their careers. The group included Coyotes captain Shane Doan, who stands to benefit from the current CBA as an unrestricted free agent this summer. Doan’s preference is to remain in Phoenix, but uncertainty over that franchise’s future has led him to negotiate with teams all over the league. At the age of 35, Doan would be a sought-after free agent regardless of the CBA, but he also understands how the owners can seek changes even while handing out megadeals left and right.

“As a player, you understand that you play within the rules that are put in front of you,” Doan said. “Right now, the rules of hockey have changed drastically over the last 10 years. They want to change the rules again on the CBA, and until the rules are changed, there’s nothing wrong with it, and it’s completely within the element of the game.”

The players’ questions about how current scenarios would change the owners’ proposal was both to get a better understanding of the NHL’s plan, and to push negotiations forward.

“We feel like we are making progress,” Vancouver Canucks center Manny Malhotra said. “If we want to know what to counter with, we have to know where they’re coming from, and why they’re coming up with these certain aspects of their proposal. It’s wanting to understand their proposal a lot more, and perhaps shape our counter.”

The league and union will meet again on Friday, most likely for a similar session. A counterproposal from the NHLPA might then be expected during the next round of talks.

“That’s part of the process, and you hope to get to that stage and hope you get to it in a timely manner,” Daly said. “You work toward that. … I hope (the initial proposal) provides a framework for moving forward. … I think there’s more than enough time to reach a deal. We just have to keep at it, and hopefully we keep moving forward, and hopefully we can get there.”

Ahem, per ESPN’s Katie Strang:

“We met for two hours, give or take, and spent most of the day discussing the owners’ proposal mostly as it related to how their proposals could change player contracts and would have meaningful effects,” NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said outside league offices in midtown Manhattan. “And it’s fair to say that discussion focused in no small part on what would happen to players if the scenario of their proposal was adopted.”

Fehr also confirmed that recent contracts would be prohibited in such a proposal. For example, the 14-year, $110 million offer sheet that restricted free agent Shea Weber signed with the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night came up in the discussion.

“I will tell you this: That was a subject that did come up briefly today, not at length,” Fehr said. “I’ve always viewed that as long as there’s no collusion or anything involved, that, taking into account the system, the contract speaks for itself, in terms of what people should be doing. You’ll have to ask them why they want to modify the system to prevent that kind of choice. I’ll let them speak for themselves.”
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“Each side had interesting views and theories and projections and predictions, and we hashed it through,” Daly said. “That’s what bargaining is about, and I think it was a good discussion.”

When asked about the limited amount of time to strike a deal before the current CBA expires Sept. 15, Daly expressed optimism a new agreement could be forged.

“I think there’s more than enough time to reach a deal,” he said. “We just have to keep at it.”
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The two sides will meet for a third consecutive day Friday, although the NHLPA is not expected to make a counter proposal before the meetings head back to Toronto next week.

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Comments

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yreland's avatar

Thanks for being positive George.  I just can’t manage to be myself.  Thoughts of Ken Holland being slightly overrated are creeping in.

Posted by yreland from Hockey's black hole South Carolina on 07/20/12 at 08:19 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Pollyanna is a strong word, and you’ll notice it only coming from Chicken Littles.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/20/12 at 09:08 AM ET

Avatar

Thank you. I enjoy reading your posts. I hope one day you know the joy of owning an armchair.

Posted by Brad from Michigan on 07/20/12 at 09:44 AM ET

Avatar

Thank you for your positive spin on things….that part of burning my red Wings shirt came pretty close…I am pretty sad and upset…but thank you smile

Posted by Nat on 07/20/12 at 10:01 AM ET

Mandingo's avatar

I wouldn’t call this offseason a “disaster”, but looking at what they aimed to accomplish, it’s unquestionably the biggest disappointment of Ken Holland’s career.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 07/20/12 at 10:53 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Big, talented and tough, Weber, a finalist for the Norris Trophy the past two seasons, would have been the best possible replacement for Nicklas Lidstrom, even better than Suter. Now, Weber likely will never be a Red Wing.

Really Khan?  Are you really that disappointed that the Goon who shoved Hank Zetterberg’s head face first into the glass isn’t going to wear the Winged Wheel.  I don’t care about his size or his talent.  His “toughness” was used to try and seriously injure one of the Wings’ MVPs.  I don’t want him.  No way.  No how.  (I don’t believe he ever apologized either.)

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 07/20/12 at 11:04 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

I’m not reading many comments in many places these days precisely because I knew the hanging in effigy of Holland would begin as soon as Suter landed elsewhere.  Two things:  1) We can’t always get what we want, kiddies; and 2) Holland isn’t done yet.

But know what?  Even if the Wings don’t land anyone else, we still have a pretty damed good team and I hope the players we have are not reading all the gloom and doom from the (thanks, J.J.) “Chicken Littles.”

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 07/20/12 at 11:11 AM ET

Avatar

Wings fans cannot be chided for holding the Red Wings accountable for expectations the Wings themselves created, cultivated and continue to nurture.  Right?

Posted by beelza on 07/20/12 at 11:53 AM ET

YzermanZetterberg's avatar

But know what?  Even if the Wings don’t land anyone else, we still have a pretty damed good team and I hope the players we have are not reading all the gloom and doom from the (thanks, J.J.) “Chicken Littles.”

Posted by MsRedWinger from Homer’s Office on 07/20/12 at 10:11 AM ET


Agreed. As of today…

Franzen - Datsyuk- Bertuzzi/Nyquist
Brunner/Nyquist - Zetterberg - Filpulla
Cleary - Helm - Samuelsson
Tootoo - Abdelkader - Miller

Eaves (?)
Mursak
Emmerton

Kronwall - Ericsson
Quincey -Smith
Kindl - White

Howard
Gustavsson

Not 1997, 1998, 2002 or 2008, but not terrible either.

Granted there are some unproven “X factors” in there (e,g,. Nyquist, Brunner, Smith), but if they don’t get an opportunity how can they ever prove themselves? And Bertuzzi really isn’t a 1st line guy at this point, but he works pretty well with Datsyuk. If the Wings were to get any combination of Doan, Semin, Ryan and/or a top four D-man, that would throw things into even more of a state of flux, with an absolute need to move some bodies off the roster. Not that I’m against that…just that I don’t think it’s the end of the world if they start the season with this roster and see how it pans out moving toward the trade deadline.

Posted by YzermanZetterberg on 07/20/12 at 12:02 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I think the point is that being mad at Ken Holland is perfectly ok, but being mad at other fans for not being mad at Ken Holland is silly.

Of course, being mad at fans for being mad at Ken Holland is equally silly.

That’s why I’m only mad at people who are mad at people for either being mad or not being mad at Kenny Holland.

... I think.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/20/12 at 12:03 PM ET

Avatar

It doesn’t surprise me, either, that a TMR reader told me that 97.1 the Ticket’s Mike Valenti and Terry Foster were declaring the Red Wings’ offseason a “disaster,”

Well, objectively it HAS been a disaster.

The Wings replaced Hudler and added a-f*cking-nother bottom six forward.

The didn’t add the top-six scoring forward they were looking for and lost the best player of his generation and another top-four defenseman, wihtout replacing either.

I’m not a fatalist and I’m not turning in my fan card, but to say it hasn’t been pretty much a disaster is to be wearing two or three too-many pair of rose-coloured glasses.

Posted by Garth on 07/20/12 at 12:08 PM ET

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Not 1997, 1998, 2002 or 2008, but not terrible either.

Not damn good though.

Not as good as the team that one a single playoff game last year either.

Posted by Garth on 07/20/12 at 12:10 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

Franzen - Datsyuk- Bertuzzi/Nyquist
Brunner/Nyquist - Zetterberg - Filpulla
Cleary - Helm - Samuelsson
Tootoo - Abdelkader - Miller

Eaves (?)
Mursak
Emmerton

Kronwall - Ericsson
Quincey -Smith
Kindl - White

Howard
Gustavsson


I see some good forwards with scoring capability. Not enough punch(and i dont mean fighting) though. I also see some good goaltending as well as 4 defensemen. So yeah, still need leaks plugged in the dam by Sept.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 07/20/12 at 12:28 PM ET

YzermanZetterberg's avatar

Not as good as the team that one a single playoff game last year either.

Posted by Garth on 07/20/12 at 11:10 AM ET

Point taken, but beyond the defense losing TPH (who is obviously irreplaceable) and Stuart (who Quincey will hopefully help pick up the slack for), I would argue that the forward units—and especially the 3rd and 4th lines—are actually in slightly better shape than they were for the playoffs because of:

1. A healthy Helm being Helm
2. A “healthy” Cleary, playing an appropriate role (I know there’s some question here, but all the reports I’ve heard about his recovery have been positive)
3. Samuelsson adding defensive responsibility, some scoring pop and a little grit to the 3rd line
4. Tootoo being Tootoo
5. Nyquist, Mursak and Emmerton not playing roles that they’re not really suited for

Posted by YzermanZetterberg on 07/20/12 at 12:29 PM ET

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So I’m throwing a suggestion out of right field that has a lot of if’s that would need to happen, but it crossed my mind the other day and his name is Chris Pronger. Let’s say Preds don’t match Weber offer and he becomes a part of the Flyers. That likely means there’s no room for Pronger. Now I know he has had concussion issues and I don’t know where he stands health wise, but let’s say he’s able to play and does not want to retire. He wouldn’t be a long term solution obviously, but I still think he’s an asset to a lot of teams even at 37 and the cap hit is manageable. Like many others I’ve always despised Pronger, but wouldn’t mind him being a Wing.

It seems we’ve mentioned every possible option, so I thought I would add another. Obviously if he’s not healthy it doesn’t matter in the end.

Posted by Rob on 07/20/12 at 12:47 PM ET

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“I want to make (my decision) as soon as I can,” Doan said. “I’ve got four kids and my wife getting ready for the upcoming season. My kids are older. They’re all in school. They’ve got different things they like to do, whether it’s dance or hockey or volleyball or swimming. To get into a new city and find stuff like that is sometimes tough, so obviously my wife would like it to be sooner than later.”

School starts here August 8. I don’t see him leaving Phoenix at this point.

Posted by azwinger from Phoenix, AZ on 07/20/12 at 12:48 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Posted by Rob on 07/20/12 at 11:47 AM ET

The likelihood that Pronger will ever play hockey again is slim because of his injuries.  Philly doesn’t have a problem with him on their roster because they can keep him on LTIR and exceed the cap up to his salary commitment by doing so.  It’s a loophole people are trying to figure out how to close because it forces the Flyers to keep Pronger instead of letting (or forcing him to) retire, as his contract is 35+.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/20/12 at 12:57 PM ET

SYF's avatar

School starts here August 8. I don’t see him leaving Phoenix at this point.

Posted by azwinger from Phoenix, AZ on 07/20/12 at 11:48 AM ET

That’s a seriously compressed time schedule, but I’ve read how Mr. I has been able to facilitate transfer issues for his newly arrived players’ children.  The hard part obviously is uplifting and moving the family.  Mr. I wants to make that easier for them.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 07/20/12 at 01:04 PM ET

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I think Ken Holland has lost touch with today’s NHL.  Now he has gotten aggressive?  Bout time!  Sure he made offers to Parise and Suter, but so did every other team with money to spend.  And not tending an offersheet to an RFA, because it’s “not what we do in Hockeytown”!!!  Come on, if it makes your team better, you do it.  And the last big trade KH has done???  Kozlov for Hasek, 2002…10 years ago!!!  But we have Sammy back, Tootoo, and a new goalie, and Homer is probably getting a tryout…yah!  And he thinks that offering trades to teams in your division will go thru?  Where does he think he is, Playstation land?The Wings are nothing if loyal to their players, sometimes to a fault, its time to move on, improve this team, get aggressive 2 weeks ago, take chances

Posted by mrawlings on 07/20/12 at 01:08 PM ET

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I don’t blame Holland for not getting the big fish so far.  I do blame him for sitting on his hands for the last three years & for signing Quincey & E for 7 million plus combined.  Bryan Allen would have been better then Quincey. 

We are getting the same news from all connected & need to stay connected.

Posted by Pondrockit from Howell, MI on 07/20/12 at 01:10 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

“I want to make (my decision) as soon as I can,” Doan said. “I’ve got four kids and my wife getting ready for the upcoming season. My kids are older. They’re all in school. They’ve got different things they like to do, whether it’s dance or hockey or volleyball or swimming. To get into a new city and find stuff like that is sometimes tough, so obviously my wife would like it to be sooner than later.”

School starts here August 8. I don’t see him leaving Phoenix at this point.

Posted by azwinger from Phoenix, AZ on 07/20/12 at 11:48 AM ET

Thanks, I was going to go back and copy that in here saying that by now every day that goes by puts him closer and closer back in Phoenix.  With school starting that soon it nearly becomes a lock staying there.  But if he did come to Detroit that would buy him 3 or 4 weeks to get his family settled, and enrolled in a better youth hockey program.  I don’t know when school starts in greater Detroit, probably Labor Day Week Sep 4, or possibly the week before.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 07/20/12 at 01:27 PM ET

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Posted by RWBill from hiding indoors from Virginia heat. on 07/20/12 at 12:27 PM ET

According to state law, public schools in Michigan cannot start until after Labor Day. Good point about the better youth hockey programs!

Posted by SandysWingingit on 07/20/12 at 01:44 PM ET

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The Doans live literally 5 minutes away from The Ice Den in Scottsdale; a really high-end arena. The Wings (and lots of other teams) often practice there when they come to town. I’ve seen him and his family there while I’ve been at the gym.

I’m sure the Red Wings org would do everything they could to make that transition easier but he and his family would be giving up a lot to go to Detroit.

Posted by azwinger from Phoenix, AZ on 07/20/12 at 02:18 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

I’m sure the Red Wings org would do everything they could to make that transition easier but he and his family would be giving up a lot to go to Detroit.

Posted by azwinger from Phoenix, AZ on 07/20/12 at 01:18 PM ET

Yes, and that’s the only home they’ve had.  Doan, being Doan, would have a hard time uprooting his family for just several years for his own career reasons.  He could play in LA without having to move his family.  Not that they wouldn’t adapt and call a new place home, but the older the kids the harder it becomes.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 07/20/12 at 02:27 PM ET

SYF's avatar

The Ice Den.

Twin NHL-sized ice areas.  Impressive facility.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 07/20/12 at 02:28 PM ET

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I’m sorry mr. Malik and I’m sure this will draw the ire of your many followers, but this article is just regurgitated material submitted 4 times over. I know things are slow and weber is big news but you’ve made the same argument over and over. We get it-holland tried, didnt do anything of note, but don’t get frustrated. Put something different out there now. Again I like ur work and appreciate the effort u put forth.

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 07/20/12 at 03:19 PM ET

cementslinger's avatar

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 07/20/12 at 02:19 PM ET

I’m sure if there was anything out there, Wings related, George would be on top of getting it “out there”.  It’s frickin July dude.

Posted by cementslinger from Midland MI on 07/20/12 at 03:39 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Did the usual, “Look at every English-language website I know of, then check 40-something Russian, Swedish, Czech, Slovak and Finnish” website dance last night, like every other night since the World Championships began. Didn’t find much. Decided to be a repetitive sledgehammer on purpose.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/20/12 at 03:50 PM ET

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Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 07/20/12 at 02:19 PM ET

I’m sure if there was anything out there, Wings related, George would be on top of getting it “out there”.  It’s frickin July dude.

Posted by cementslinger from Midland MI on 07/20/12 at 02:39 PM ET

My thoughts exactly.

Posted by WingsFaninCO on 07/20/12 at 03:50 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

I think that Weber is a case of talking instead of acting.

By all accounts, the Wings Brain Trust spoke with Weber and his agent. Also by all accounts, the Wings did not submit an offer sheet to Weber’s agent. Desperate as the Wings are for D, I would have gotten an offer sheet into their hands within seconds of first contact, then continued to work on selling Weber and his agent on winning Cups in Hockeytown with the team that’s won more Cups over the last 15 years than any other.

But the Brain Fart Trust was all talk in the beginning and got beat to the punch by Philly. Would Weber have signed the Wings’ offer sheet if it had been received before Philly’s? Perhaps he would have still signed Philly’s, but by talking instead acting we’ll never know.

Weber was the Norris runner up two years in a row; it would be nearly impossible to overpay for an asset like that. Couple that with the Wings’ space under the cap,  and one can’t help but conclude the Wings could have made Weber and offer he couldn’t refuse (and that Bubba couldn’t match). Brain Fart indeed.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 07/20/12 at 04:09 PM ET

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If The Brain Trust had actually given Weber an offer sheet to contemplate and he signed Philly’s instead, I would cut the Brain Trust a lot of slack for doing all they could. But with what we know of the story (which I’m sure is incomplete), the Wings did not do every thing they could to land Weber.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 07/20/12 at 04:17 PM ET

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But the Brain Fart Trust was all talk in the beginning and got beat to the punch by Philly. Would Weber have signed the Wings’ offer sheet if it had been received before Philly’s? Perhaps he would have still signed Philly’s, but by talking instead acting we’ll never know.

You’re right, we’ll never know. But I’m sure that the Wings’ management did.

You don’t have an inside track into the minds of NHL GM’s so stop insinuating that things would’ve totally gone our way if only Holland were as clever as you.

Posted by godblender on 07/20/12 at 04:22 PM ET

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If The Brain Trust had actually given Weber an offer sheet to contemplate and he signed Philly’s instead, I would cut the Brain Trust a lot of slack for doing all they could.

That’s big of you.

Posted by godblender on 07/20/12 at 04:24 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

You’re right, we’ll never know. But I’m sure that the Wings’ management did.
You don’t have an inside track into the minds of NHL GM’s so stop insinuating that things would’ve totally gone our way if only Holland were as clever as you.
Posted by godblender on 07/20/12 at 03:22 PM ET

You acknowledge that I said will never know, but then you said I insinuated things would have gone differently. Got logic?

That’s big of you.
Posted by godblender on 07/20/12 at 03:24 PM ET

The Brain Trust is the one claiming they are doing everything they can to rebuild this team. All I said was it doesn’t look like that is true based on available facts. Just a little touchy about anbody criticising the Wings, eh? I’ve been a fan of this team throuh thick and thin for over forty years. No matter how bad they suck I always root for them. But that doesn’t mean I can’t criticise them when it looks like they screw up.

If you don’t want to read opinions that differ from yours, than perhaps an internet fan blog is not for you.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 07/20/12 at 04:39 PM ET

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You acknowledge that I said will never know, but then you said I insinuated things would have gone differently. Got logic?

No, I acknowledge that Ken Holland is better equipped to handle free agent negotiations than you are.

I’ve been a fan of this team throuh thick and thin for over forty years. No matter how bad they suck I always root for them.

Oh yay!!..my favorite argument.
“I’m old. I remember the ‘Dead Wings’ era, do you?! I’m pissed…and old. Those 4 Cups don’t make up for the bad hockey this team subjected me to over two decades ago. I can lambast arguably the most well run professional sports franchise, including their management, because when I read a story that I don’t like I understand that it exposes them as incompetent and unwilling to do their job. Why don’t people in the business of the game agree with me on this?? But I’m a HUGE fan. Go Wings! You suck!”

Yeah. Logic.

Posted by godblender on 07/20/12 at 05:13 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Not sure what the big deal is here.  I very much disagree with Cap’n D on this one, but it’s not my job to imply what he should and shouldn’t be saying about my favorite sports organization. It’s also not my job to care how much slack he wants to give them. Hell, he even went so far as to intentionally set himself up as somebody who agrees he doesn’t know all the facts and, by assumed extension, as somebody who would happily admit that he was wrong in retrospect (while no doubt defending his position as one he felt strongly enough to take based on what information was available to him when he made it wink  )

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/20/12 at 05:26 PM ET

cementslinger's avatar

All I think about this whole summer is this:  The Wings don’t submit offer sheets is total crap when it comes to those that won’t even talk to the Wings for trade offers.  Columbus.  I hope for your sake that you don’t have any good superstars in the making because as soon as they are eligible for offer sheets, I wouldn’t hesitate if I were the Wings.  What do the Wings have to lose?  They don’t even consider the Wings because they’re in the same division.  Okay.  It’s not like there is going to be any special relationship, if you will, that’s going to be ruined. 
And you might as well include Nashville, St Louis and Chicago.  All bets are off when it comes to division opponents.  Offer sheets are a go!

Posted by cementslinger from Midland MI on 07/20/12 at 06:21 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

The whole issue would have been moot had Detroit offered him a sheet because Nashville would have matched it just to keep Weber out of Detroit ( don’t ask me my sources, I don’t have any, I won’t second guess your opinions ), but it would have been funny to see Nashville twist in the wind a bit. 

I agree somewhat with Dennis in that I would have liked to have seen Detroit put big numbers down for probably the best and possibly most feared Dman in the league right now and lock him up for ten years.  We want to be tougher to play against? Put the evil Vlady mentality into a big body who doesn’t care what anybody thinks of ramming another player’s head into the glass in the heat of the moment.  We won, I bitch slapped your best player, what are you going to do about it?  Swagger, Hell yes, Red Wings fans are crying for it.  This is hockey.

We wouldn’t have pried him out of Nashville, but would have been fun trying.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 07/20/12 at 07:19 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

We wouldn’t have pried him out of Nashville, but would have been fun trying.

That’s the problem. We would’ve basically guaranteed he stayed in Nashville. At least this way there’s a decent chance he leaves the division since we cant have him.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 07/20/12 at 07:43 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

this way there’s a decent chance he leaves the division since we cant have him.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 07/20/12 at 06:43 PM ET

I think Nashville will be foolish not to match it, if not they are still way below the salary cap floor.  they’ve got to spend it somewhere, why not to keep the best D in the league?  I’d like to see him go east, yes.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 07/20/12 at 09:10 PM ET

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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.