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Red Wings overnight report: Uncertainty regarding Nicklas Lidstrom’s future remains the bottom line

Thursday was a pretty good day to be a Red Wings fan. The Hockey News named the Red Wings the league’s best franchise, Mickey Redmond found out that he’ll join the Hockey Hall of Fame thanks to his bingo-bango work as a broadcaster, and it at least sounds like Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller and even Joey MacDonald will reprise their roles next season.

Perhaps the biggest news of the day regarding the team’s future, however, came in the form of continued uncertainty as Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom paddle-boarded to Belle Isle alongside Chris Chelios and Kid Rock, hopped onto shore and revealed why he’s got to be the team’s best poker player, addressing his playing future with a steely gaze, as noted by the Free Press’s George Sipple:

“I still haven’t made a decision yet,” Lidstrom said.

Chelios, executive adviser to Wings general manager Ken Holland, had invited Kid Rock to go stand-up paddle surfing with him and Lidstrom. Kid Rock decided to incorporate the activity into his Comerica Park announcement.

“To actually be a part of the announcement kind of took me and Nick by surprise,” Chelios told the Free Press. “We couldn’t have asked for a better day to paddleboard right up to the beach. I thought it went great ... beautiful shot of the city in the background. For paddleboarding, you’re not going to get a better situation on the river, that’s for sure.”

Chelios said he never discussed hockey with Lidstrom on Thursday.

“We did not talk 1 second about hockey,” Chelios said. “Nick’s a real smart guy. He’s coming off a great year. I hope he comes back, obviously, being a friend of his. I played as long as I could, and that advice came from Wayne Gretzky. I told Nick the same thing: ‘As long as you’re enjoying it, play as long as you can.’ “
“It’s not a question of whether he can play at a high level,” Chelios said. “It’s just a matter of whether he wants to.”

Via the Red Wings’ website, here’s Lidstrom’s poker face:

Lidstrom reiterated that he’s got until July 1st to make up his mind, though, depending on who you believe, Lidstrom will either decide whether he wishes to continue to play either by the time the NHL Awards roll around on the 22nd or when the NHL Entry Draft begins in Minnesota on the 24th.

Until then, we’re not quite sure what’s going to happen on the blueline—and the fact that the St. Louis Blues re-signed Roman Polak, who I can best describe as a “poor man’s Brad Stuart,” to a five-year, $13.75 million contract extension (that’s an average of $2.75 million for a defenseman who’s a #4/5 guy and doesn’t have any real offensive abilities whatsoever), screwing up the marketplace as Ken Holland attempts to retain Jonathan Ericsson’s services, didn’t help.

The Ottawa Citizen’s Ken Warren and, this morning, the Ottawa Sun’s Don Brennan confirm that Senators GM Bryan Murray has interviewed Paul MacLean as one of the team’s coaching candidates, and that list now includes another former Red Wing in Saint John Sea Dogs coach Gerard Gallant. Murray had this to say to the Ottawa Sun’s Brennan:

“Not many, if any,” Murray stated, when asked the number of applicants he still needs to meet for first interviews. “I’ll go back over a couple of guys maybe, then go forward. Hopefully, in a short period of time, a week or two, I’ll make a decision. My objective is to try to get it done, sooner than later. Whatever that means, I’m not sure. It doesn’t have to be done before the draft, but for my sake, as well as the coach’s sake, it would be nice to do something before the draft.”

Known in his day as a tough winger who could score, Gallant has a history with Murray, for whom he played three seasons (1990-93) as a Red Wing. In his first season as bench boss of the Saint John Sea Dogs, the 47-year-old native of Summerside, P.E.I., guided the QMJHL team to a 53-12-3 record, then the Memorial Cup championship over Dave Cameron’s Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors. Leading Gallant’s team was Jonathan Huberdeau, a highly touted centre it’s believed the Senators would like to draft by trading up a few notches June 24 in Minnesota. Gallant also coached the Blue Jackets for the equivalent of almost two seasons, from 2003-2006.

On Murray’s list, he joins Craig MacTavish, Paul MacLean, Kirk Muller, Cameron and, when the AHL final is over, Kurt Kleinendorst.

MacLean joined Mike Babcock’s staff when Bryan Murray managed the Ducks, too, so take that for what you will…

So right now it appears that the NHL’s best overall franchise won’t know whether it needs to hire one assistant coach or two, and might not know whether it needs to pursue one unrestricted free agent defenseman or two or even three, until sometime around the Entry Draft. That’s a couple weeks’ worth of squirming for you and me, and it’s not particularly comfortable.

Also of Red Wings-related note this morning: If you missed the extra pictures from the Chelios-Rock-Lidstrom shindig (including a wallpaper-sized image from the Detroit News) and news about Darren McCarty and Claude Lemieux teaming up again, once for charity and once to pad their wallets, check out the evening report;

• I’ve got to admit that, lack of Visine use in April and May included, I have to disagree with the Chicago Tribune’s Bob Foltman’s belief that the NHL must return to a divisional playoff format;

• As the Toronto Star’s Damien Cox reiterates, even Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas agrees that Zdeno Chara’s no Tomas Holmstrom when it comes to screening goalies effectively;

• And I don’t know what to make of the comments regarding the funding effort to try to get my butt up to Traverse City for the Wings’ prospect camp from July 7th-14th other than to say:

1) Thank you;

2) Paypal seems easiest for everybody because it’s international and you can use ye olde credit card as far as I know, and as I said previously, seriously, the $10 and $20 donations paved the way, and there’s no “deadline”—if I get anything over my expenses, if it’s OK with you, I’ll put it toward the training camp fund.

3) No funds will be used for anything other than gas, lodging, cheap food (groceries, fast food) and probably buying myself lunch on the way up and down at the Lone Pine Inn in Grayling, which has the best onion rings in the world, and thus requires me to bring a double order home for the mom and aunt.

4) Here’s my other idea: just as it worked during training camp, your comments and questions will of course shape the way in which I cover the event. I’ve got a sound recorder and a new camera (the zoom is crappy but it’s my first digital camera, and it does take some video, and I do have a cell phone as well) so there will be some multimedia, and over the last…

S***, three years…I’ve really enjoyed the fact that my coverage of any Wings-related event has involved making sure that I tailor the analysis, player evaluations, and questions to players, coaches and the front office based on what you want to hear and what you want to ask the prospects.

That’s going to continue and if you want to even do something like have one day out of seven where I only ask TMR reader, Facebook (if you’re a Facebook person, I have a TMR Facebook page that you can subscribe to for updates) and Twitter (@georgemalik), and of course .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Georgemalik at kuklaskorner.com)...That’d be pretty cool.

4) It’s embarrassing to do this because there are some people who hate to both talk about themselves and/or ask for help, but here we go:

I believe this button will ask you to use my personal email for this and it’s rtxg at yahoo dot com.

I know it’s campy but my old Hespeler goalie sticks (just like the ones my goalie idol, Kirk McLean, used) had “RTXG” stamped on the shaft and that’s why I picked it, and I’ve had the email address for something like sixteen years. My KK address forwards stuff to that account anyway. I’m such a hockey equipment nerd that I actually bought myself an old pair of circa-1998 Hespeler hockey gloves as my delayed “bonus” for joining KK recently, and they’re…ridiculously amazing.

So please, thank you, and can we talk about something else now? I couldn’t find any Swedish, Finnish, Czech, Slovak or Russian Wings news this morning, and I looked at my, um…I think there are 40 websites. No luck.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink



So please, thank you, and can we talk about something else now?

Now that I’ve clicked the button and added my 2ยข, yes. smile

Posted by BobTheZee on 06/03/11 at 03:36 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar


cool smile

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 06/03/11 at 05:09 PM ET

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About The Malik Report

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.