The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/29/12 at 10:09 PM ET
updated with a remarkable interview Ken Holland gave to WBBL this morning at 8:14 PM: Yes, I know, parallel posts. Promise they won’t last for too long, but for now, there’s a reason that Red Wings GM Ken Holland made the statements that he did about his team’s core supposedly being at or near elite as-is—especially on a night when so many teams have informed the media that they’re letting their UFA’s-to-be to test the market that you’d think the NHL’s initial CBA proposal to the players was three slices of a Hot and Ready Pizza from Little Caesars per ten franchises—as the Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek suggests:
In some ways, this summer represents an important referendum on the Red Wings and their cachet with NHL players.
Detroit, in the person of general manager Ken Holland, has done a remarkable job of attracting and retaining talent for an organization that has made the Stanley Cup playoffs for 21 consecutive seasons.
Four years ago, when Marian Hossa hit free agency, he took a one-year contract from the Red Wings, turning down multiyear contracts worth tens of millions more from other teams, because he figured Detroit represented his best chance to win a Stanley Cup.
As Holland says, the Red Wings can’t sell climate, anonymity, or a state-of-the-art facility to players. Their pitch revolves strictly around the hockey-playing experience.
With Nicklas Lidstrom now retired, the Red Wings have the need, the will and the cash (roughly $20-million in available salary-cap space) to land one or both of Parise and Suter. If they succeed, they can remain part of the NHL elite for another half-generation. If they fail, there’s a chance they could drift back to the pack.
Pittsburgh is similarly positioned in the U.S. Rust Belt, but the Penguins have the extra attraction of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang, all approaching their primes, to help coax free agents into the fold. Crosby and Parise developed a friendship when they were in their teens. (Crosby played a season for Parise’s father, J.P., at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, a U.S. high-school.)
For some players, the chance to win; the chance to play with other great players; or simply the chance to play with old friends or teammates, all become factors in the decision-making process when the cash is going to be limitless anyway.
Continued, and as you’d imagine, during a week where stories become antiquated and no longer reflect current free agent happenings all of ten minutes after they’ve been posted, this one will have some resonance for a good while.
Update: Ken Holland happened to speak to WBBL’s Bakita and Bentley this morning. Here’s the interview:
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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.