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Red Wings overnight report: Winter Classic pricing emerges, sort of, and a free agent tease

If you didn’t happen to see it yesterday afternoon, Winging it in Motown offered the initial pricing info regarding the Red Wings’ Winter Classic Alumni game at Comerica Park, as well as the main event at Michigan Stadium, and if you don’t feel like heading on over to the Wings’ website which provides images of the “pricing,” they’re available after the jump cut (you can access bigger images by clicking on the 500 pixel-wide ones, and many thanks to Steve for the heads-up):

This is how ticket prices break down for the Winter Classic Alumni game, which the Wings are controlling access to…


And this is what the pricing breakdown will be for the main event, with ticket prices having been set by the NHL, not the Wings:


Depending on who’s received what initial information, at this point, it sounds like Red Wings, Maple Leafs, Grand Rapids Griffins and Toronto Marlies season ticket-holders will get first dibs to the events, with tickets to one of the Great Lakes Invitational games required to snag a Winter Classic ticket, and in terms of the general public’s access to said tickets?

Again, depending on who’s receiving what information from their ticket representatives, there may not be any public sale of tickets to the Winter Classic itself, though it’s more likely that an incredibly limited number of tickets will go on sale to the public later this summer—after the aforementioned STH groups and the Wings,’ Leafs’ and NHL’s sponsors have been appeased—probably at a slightly higher cost.

I can’t deny that I’m incredibly disappointed that tickets to the Winter Classic itself may be the hardest sporting event’s ducats to land since the Wings were in the Stanley Cup Finals three seasons ago, but again, it’s not the Wings who get to decide how the tickets are distributed and which groups get access to the event first—they’re compensated for a home game’s worth of hockey-related revenues, and then the NHL takes over—but I’m not surprised that we might be talking about the general public battling for ten or twenty thousand tickets once the Wings’ assured 40,000 tickets, the Leafs’ assured 40,000 tickets and the Griffins/Marlies season ticket-holders and then sponsors and VIP’s receive their access to seats…But the average fan is almost never the NHL’s highest priority when it comes to marquee events, and they can turn 113,000 seats into next to nothing at nothing less than an incredible rate…

And neither you nor I have the full picture yet as to how many tickets will be actually sold to the general public, at what price points they’ll be sold, or when what are essentially “leftovers” not gobbled up by the VIP’s and MIPTU’s (“more important than you’s”) will become available to the general public.*

If you haven’t seen it, the full schedule for the “Hockeytown Winterfest” does ensure that there will be other events that Metro Detroiters and visitors alike can take part in if they can’t score tickets to the “big game” on the primary or secondary markets:

DEC. 15-26: Celebration of Hockey featuring amateur games, corporate outings and open skates. Information on booking ice time can be obtained by visiting http://DetroitRedWings.com/icetime


DEC. 27-31: Outdoor Festival featuring interactive games, autograph signings, face painting and ice sculpture exhibits as well as musical performances and entertainment.

DEC. 27-28: Great Lakes Invitational featuring the Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans, Western Michigan Broncos and Michigan Tech Huskies all competing for the 2012 MacInnes Cup.

DEC. 29: Ontario Hockey League doubleheader featuring the Windsor Spitfires taking on the Saginaw Spirit, and the Plymouth Whalers battling the J. Ross Robertson Cup champion London Knights.

DEC. 30: American Hockey League Game featuring the Grand Rapids Griffins and Toronto Marlies, AHL affiliates of the Red Wings and Maple Leafs, respectively.

DEC. 31: Red Wings-Maple Leafs Alumni Showdown featuring legendary players from two of the National Hockey League’s most storied franchises going head-to-head.

[JAN 1: George would like you to know that he’s filling in the, “Um, duh, Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium” part.]


In terms of an event which may grant you access to one Red Wings goaltender, the Wings and Lions announced that Jimmy Howard and Dominic Raiola will serve as Grand Marshals for the “Quicken Loans 400” at the Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, June 17th. From DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose:

For the second time in three years, a player will represent the Red Wings during a NASCAR event at the Michigan International Speedway.

Goalie Jimmy Howard will serve as the grand marshal, giving the command for drivers to start their engines, at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at MIS on Father’s Day, June 17.

Joining the Red Wings’ goalie will be Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola, who will wave the green flag as the race’s honorary starter.

“It is great to have two professional athletes synonymous with Detroit to join us at MIS,” track president Roger Curtis said. “Their records and accomplishments speak for themselves as they each lead their respective teams and are true superstars. Howard and Raiola are each truly two of the greats in their leagues, and we are honored they could join us for the Quicken Loans 400.”

Two years ago, recently retired Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom served as the honorary pace car driver for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at MIS (SEE VIDEO ABOVE). Lidstrom paced the 43-car field in a 2010 Ford Mustang GT pace car, a job usually reserved for NASCAR’s Brett Bodine.

“I’m a NASCAR fan,” Howard said, “so I’m thrilled to share Father’s Day with my dad at the Quicken Loans 400 at MIS.”

The Free Press’s George Sipple snagged some quotes from Howard as well:

Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard and Lions center Dominic Raiola will help start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 on June 17 at Michigan International Speedway.

Howard will serve as the grand marshal and give the command for the drivers to start their engines. Raiola will be the honorary starter and wave the green flag.

Howard earned his first All-Star appearance this past season. He went 35-17-4 with a .920 save percentage and 2.13 goals-against average. Howard, the first goaltender in Wings history to win 35 or more games in each of his first three full seasons with the team, is making a special trip to Michigan to celebrate Father’s Day. Howard usually spends his off-season in Maine, where he went to college.

Howard’s father, James Howard II, will join him for the command.

“My father and I are going to make a weekend out of it,” Jimmy Howard said Friday by phone. “We’re going to play golf on Saturday and then hang out together on Father’s Day.”


In the inevitable category of free agent speculation, we’ve kind of scaled down talk from the Parises, Semins and Suters of the world to one player destined to play for the Griffins who wants to return in Fabian Brunnstrom and one who may not in, according to Hockeysverige’s Uffe Bodin, Chris Conner, whose European agent, Pontus Noren, suggests that his client’s in demand in the Swedish Eliteserien…

And while ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun delivered a late-afternoon “warm fuzzy” for Wings fans who hope that Ryan Suter will test the unrestricted free agent waters…

No news on the Ryan Suter front in the wake of his daylong meeting [with Nashville Predators GM David Poile] in Madison, Wis., on May 31. But here is what I believe is going to transpire: UFA-to-be-Suter goes to July 1 and explores what’s out there on the market while keeping Nashville in the mix. Two years ago, Ilya Kovalchuk did this with New Jersey and ended up re-signing with the Devils.

Whether the Predators could match the kind offer Detroit is likely to lay out there, well, that’s another question.

We all know that the crop of unrestricted free agent defensemen after Suter drops off precipitously, with perhaps the exceptions of Matt Carle, Dennis Wideman and Jay Garrison…

So it’s a little ironic that I’m writing an entry about tickets Wings fans will be hard-pressed to get their hands on when University of Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves, Patrick’s dad, spoke incredibly glowingly of a certain Wisconsin alumnus while speaking to the Windsor Star’s Dave Waddell.

Eaves is taking part in the Roger Neilson Coaching Clinic at the University of Windsor, and when he was asked about defenseman Justin Schultz, who probably won’t sign with the Anaheim Ducks for the sake of landing what may be the last “rookie cap max” contracts of this CBA cycle, he got downright gushy:

Badgers’ blue-liner Justin Schultz, who looks like he’ll become a free agent unless he signs with Anaheim in the next couple of weeks, is considered by many the best pickup available this summer after Zach Parise and defenceman Ryan Suter.

“The thing about Justin is, on a day-to-day basis, he’s wired to be the hardest working player out there in practice,” said Eaves, who is also visiting his father Cec who still lives in Windsor. He’s flying every drill, jersey flapping. He’s also a competitive kid. He’s an overachiever, but one with great skill. He’s has a good chance to be a good NHL player.”

Eaves credited Schultz’s good friend Jake Gardiner (Toronto Maple Leafs) with influencing him to play a third year of college hockey.

“His buddy Jake told him he could skate and had the skills, but he’d playing against real strong men,” Eaves said. “The NHL is a man’s league. It was important he got bigger and stronger and learned to dominate without the puck against the younger guys first. He did that this season.”

The Wings definitely have the cap space to toss what would be—including bonuses—a $3.8 million “rookie cap max” deal at the 21-year-old right-shooting defenseman, but Schultz is probably looking for a guaranteed spot on the roster of whichever team ends up signing him, and the Red Wings simply don’t offer those kinds of assurances to players who haven’t skated a shift in the NHL.

The usually-named favorites in the Schultz sweepstakes, like Toronto, Edmonton or maybe Vancouver, can do that, but the Wings simply have no need to do so when they can spend that kind of money on an established NHL’er instead of pushing an unproven player into full-time duty. Ken Holland hates the concept of potentially ruining players who aren’t quite ready for the NHL by making such assurances, so while I hate to offer guesses or percentages, I’d suggest that before we’d see Schultz in Detroit, it’d be much more likely that the Wings would end up signing Parise, Suter, Semin and Betty White to contracts on July 1st, with Betty earning that $3.8 million rookie cap max deal.


Otherwise, on what is a somewhat “slow” morning:

• My left eyebrow is doing the “Spock” thanks to the Detroit News’s Louis Aguilar’s report that the Michigan Economic Development Fund may send as much as $38 million toward the Masonic Temple and the surrounding area as, well:

The Masonic facility at 500 Temple is in a lower Midtown area, where 22 property deals, often cloaked in confidentiality agreements, have taken place. The prices of some of the publicly disclosed deals have been well above prevailing market prices for an area that is among the poorest in the city.

Some business owners and others in the area say they believe the area near Temple and Woodward Avenue — just east of the Masonic Temple — may be part of the land used for a new Detroit Red Wings hockey arena, which team owner Mike Ilitch says he eventually wants to build downtown.

Temple and Woodward has also been named as a stop for the proposed Woodward light-rail project.

• In news regarding the 15th anniversary of the Wings’ 1997 Stanley Cup victory, Cup-keeper Phil Pritchard admitted to Sportsnet’s Luke Fox that he has taken only one drink from the Stanley Cup, at a Red Wings alumnus’s request:

Have you ever stolen a drink from the Cup?

I have. In 1997. I always swore I’d never do this. I believe you got to earn the right to drink from the Cup. I’m not the biggest fan when players let their friends drink out of it. I understand it, but I wouldn’t do that. But in ‘97, I went with the Cup to Russia for the first time, and it was a historical moment because the big, bad Russians who the U.S. didn’t like in hockey and in life now play in the greatest league and have won the greatest trophy, and they’re taking it back to their families and friends.

I was with Igor Larionov and Slava Fetisov, and they were drinking out of it for the first time on Russian soil. You talk about emotion—this was huge. Incredible. Igor said, “You got to have a drink.” I said, “No, I don’t want to.” He said, “This is so historical, Phil. You’re part of it.” So… you have to. He said, “You were instrumental in getting it here. Have a drink. We want you to.” I said, “Igor, I didn’t…” Finally, he said, “Look, if you don’t drink from it, you’re not going home. We’ll hide you here.” He was joking but he was very passionate, so I had a sip.


Russian vodka, yeah.

• In a sighting of a different kind, the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Chris Chelios spent Friday night attending Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster’s casino night for his charitable foundation in Chicago;

• I just thought this was particularly interesting, but it isn’t Red Wings-related: the New York Times’ Jeff Z. Klein and Pro Hockey Talk’s Joe Yerdon noted that Los Angeles Kings forward Simon Gagne wants to establish some sort of NHLPA-led support group for players who suffer concussions, which is an absolutely brilliant idea;

• And if you need a laugh this morning, if not a little art appreciation therapy, the Red Wings held a contest via their Twitter account, offering a signed Cory Emmerton t-shirt for the best crayon drawing of Emmerton, and the Wings posted some of the entries on their Facebook page.


And finally, and inevitably, here comes the button: Again, if I could afford to pay my own way to Traverse City for this summer’s prospect camp, I would, but I can’t, so if you’re able to lend a hand in terms of affording my stay from July 7-14, during the dang Cherry Festival, anything you can give is greatly appreciated, and if you’re not interested, that’s okay.

You’ll have to use my personal email address, rtxg at yahoo dot com, to donate, and if you want to aid the cause by some other manner or means, and I don’t mind sharing the mailing address of my secret blogging lair via my other email address, georgemalik at kuklaskorner dot com.

Thanks for your support again, tangible or intangible. I do what I do for my audience, and you’re a remarkable lot.


*Speaking of which, the asterisk was there for a reason: we really should plan some sort of A2Y/TMR gathering for the Winter Classic and/or alumni game, especially for those who will be in the area but can’t attend the game itself. Ideas, anyone?

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MsRedWinger's avatar

Too bad about tickets.  I should have realized what would happen and not gotten so excited when I first heard about the event.  TV will be fine, and my living room will be a lot warmer. 

cool smile

No news about Homer, I guess.  Geez, I wish they’d get that over with.

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 06/09/12 at 09:56 AM ET


The comerica pricing isn’t for the alumni game, it’s for the gli. The alumni game pricing will be released later

Posted by Fill fan from Ontario on 06/09/12 at 10:42 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

I don’t know if I’d go to Detroit from out of state without being able to attend the game, although I would consider a reasonable ebay deal for tix.  It would certainly be a cool idea for those who are in the area to get together.  Anything could change my mind, however, and downtown is a pretty cool place to hang out, especially since they demolished the building I lived in and those around it, on the immediate ball park side of Grand Circus Park.

Posted by RWBill on 06/09/12 at 12:03 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.