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The Malik Report

Rocking the social media vote and a few other Red Wings tidbits (Red Bird III included)

Updated 4.5x with Stanley Cup appearance news at 4:52 PM: August must translate to “multiple personality disorder” in the hockey dictionary, because this morning we were talking about Ian White the x-factor and whether the Red Wings’ new team plane can fly to San Jose without refueling (answer:

probably not

[edit: See below, because the answer is apparently yes!]) and this afternoon, the Red Wings’ “Operation Bobblehead” campaign and fan voting takes a strange turn as Todd Bertuzzi’s sent some jabs at Danny Cleary’s via the Wings’ Twitter account, and Jake Duhaime posted an interview Kris Draper conducted with 95.5’s Mojo in the Morning which revealed the following:

1. Chris Osgood will essentially be known as the team’s assistant goalie coach;
2. Draper will “share an office” with Chris Chelios as Draper begins his managerial career;
3. These guys are making sure that they take maximum enjoyment out of razzing the hell out of each other:

Download file

Via the Wings’ Twitter account, here’s Cleary’s latest campaigning video (methinks that he’s down at the rink to speak to the training staff as the coaches are either at the Under-18 Five Nations Cup or the Ivan Hlinka tournament):


While we’re talking about social media, Duhaime posted the finalists of his “Dream Team” fantasy hockey GM competition, and, via RedWingsFeed, Chris from Nightmare on Helm Street is paying close attention to Mike Commodore’s comments from his Twitter account…

As for what we might call harder-hitting news, the Free Press’s Helene St. James’ article on White provoked a pair of reactions from other websites that continue to pump out content in August, starting with Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski...

Remember when the San Jose Sharks acquired Ian White to replace the retiring Rob Blake as a top four defenseman, and then didn’t bring White back? Not it’s the Detroit Red Wings’ turn. [Freep]

And continuing with Pro Hockey Talk’s James O’Brien’s take on what White’s signing means in terms of Jonathan Ericsson’s future with the team:

At one point, Ericsson seemed like the next great Swedish diamond in the rough for the Wings’ vaunted European scouts. It’s stunning how far his stock has plummeted in the last year or two; I’d guess there are at least a few Red Wings fans who shudder at the idea of Ericsson getting a significant increase in ice time.

The Red Wings have a tendency to extract the best out of most of their players though, so it wouldn’t be shocking if White and/or Ericsson play a bit over their heads. It seems like White might have a slight edge at this point, but it could be an interesting battle to follow during training camp and next season in general.

Take the first: the Wings’ expectations for White aren’t unrealistic. They don’t expect him to “replace” Rafalski alone—Niklas Kronwall, Brad Stuart, Ericsson and even Jakub Kindl and Mike Commodore have to help, too—and the Wings are probably expecting 30-35 points and some PP help from White, not a stride-for-stride swap-out;

Take the second: this is definitely Ericsson’s make-or-break-it season, especially given his contract, and while Ericsson’s the Wings’ fan base’s resident whipping boy, Mike Babcock finally instituted his preferential defensive rotation in attempting to give each and every pair close to 20 minutes a game, and I think that he’s going to rotate the three pairings just as he rolls four lines once again this season. That means lots of ice time for both Ericsson and White and a rather arbitrary definition as playing on the “second” or “third” defensive unit depending on the situation.

To me, the bigger questions involve the fact that the Wings’ “top three” on the power play include Nicklas Lidstrom, Kronwall and White, and that fourth defenseman’s spot on the second pairing is up for grabs, with Ericsson and Stuart as the probable finalists (barring something wacky like Babcock choosing to employ a forward on the point), and the fact that Ericsson or White’s status as a “top four” defenseman might be determined depending upon which player ends up earning more PK time given that Lidstrom doesn’t kill penalties anymore.

Otherwise, while the Hockey News’s Adam Proteau isn’t just talking about the Red Wings in an article discussing the fact that teams with solid identities sell the most tickets, but the Wings are his prime example thereof…

In 2010-11, the road teams with the highest attendance numbers all had distinct personalities to them. The Red Wings were the league’s highest-drawing road team, with a stunning 99.9 percent of tickets sold. Fans in 29 other NHL cities know what they’re getting when Detroit is in town – an abundance of skill, speed and no mindless, goon-infested gong shows – and they respond to it.

Trailing the Wings for top spot are the Chicago Blackhawks (97.4 percent) and Pittsburgh Penguins (97.2 percent). Like Detroit’s, their images have been bolstered by a recent Stanley Cup victory, but again, we’re talking about teams predicated on quickness and superior talent.

And again, via RedWingsFeed (hey, Pitea’s Tidningen can’t provide us Tomas Holmstrom interviews twice a day), I happened to enjoy this dig at the Wings from the Score’s Rick Moldovayni, who suggests that the NHL’s Research, Development and Orientation camp might want to test out some additional rule tweaks:

Create a special “Detroit Red Wings room” in the Hockey Hall of Fame and induct every player who played with the team since 1995 or so into the Hall. This will eliminate the constant “Should this player make the Hall of Fame?” conversation we have every time a Red Wing retires.

Not exactly, but I do think that it’s up to the Wings to ensure that the contributors to its 20-year playoff run, 4 Cups and 6 Stanley Cup Finals appearances are recognized on a more permanent basis. The Wings need to establish their own Hall of Fame and at least “honor” special players’ legacies and numbers, a la the Toronto Maple Leafs, if only to ensure that an appearance on the Jumbotron isn’t the only thing a retired Wing who misses out on a front office job can look forward to…

But it’s also very likely that if the Wings were to tap into their Alumni Association for signings and appearances that are cross-promoted with a Hall of Fame, jersey “honoring” or any other sort of Wings function, they’d sell more merchandise and more tickets than they already do, and when the team’s making money by very justifiably milking its past, everybody’s happy.

There ain’t a thing wrong with a fan ordering a Ciccarelli or Draper jersey from Hockeytown Authentics or Fanatic U because the Wings recognized them in a special ceremony or employed them as team “ambassadors” for a meet-and-greet with the general public every now and then.

Update: Via the Wings, here’s a video tour of N812ME, a.k.a. Red Bird III:

Update #2: According to Chuck Shipp, Olympia’s senior pilot, the aircraft won’t have to stop to refuel going out West, it’s got WiFi inside the cabin (the cabin’s been renovated with multiple displays and a WiFi network, as I suspected) and it’s, well, newer. Shipp says that Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch picked out the interior and red-and-blue exterior (it’s a little more incognito) as well as the 68-passenger layout.

I’m starting to wonder whether Modano grumbled to the press on purpose, for the sake of giving the Wings a little more oomph in the player-recruiting department by noting that the team’s essentially replaced its team plane with something newer and better every 10 years, and that this one’s got longer “legs,” is state-of-the-art technology-wise and of course includes a flight and cabin crew that’s familiar with its passengers, so in addition to never flying commercial airlines when you’re a Wing, the flight attendants know what your preferences are and will have whatever you need to feel comfortable ready to go before you’ve boarded the plane.

That’s quite a perk to have and it’s very representative of how well the Wings’ players are treated by their ownership.

Update #3: Via RedWingsFeed again, Expressen’s Linus Hugosson posted a photo of Henrik Zetterberg speaking to Viasat Hockey after a charity hockey game.

Update #4: Per a Twitter pal whose account is friends-only, Boston Bruins defenseman Stephen Kampfer just announced the following:

For all my Jackson/Michigan followers. The Stanley Cup will be at Darylls Downtown in Jackson on August 25th from 4-6 for pics. So come out
And help enjoy the cup!! Look forward to seeing you all there!

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MsRedWinger's avatar

Fans in 29 other NHL cities know what they’re getting when Detroit is in town – an abundance of skill, speed and no mindless, goon-infested gong shows – and they respond to it.

I love this quote!

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 08/11/11 at 04:35 PM ET

Norskirama's avatar


Posted by Norskirama from Lincoln, Nebraska on 08/11/11 at 04:51 PM ET

hdw's avatar

Did some quick research after the info on Red Bird III and found that in standard config and max load it could almost reach anywhere on the west coast non-stop. And since this bird isn’t carrying anywhere near it’s max load it shouldn’t be an issue.

I also forked out a whopping 49SEK (or 7.50 USD) to watch the charity game between Icebreakers and Vita Hästen. And I can say that it was worth the 1 1/2 beer I could have had at the local pub if just for the giggles wink

The hockey was like expected, it’s a pre-pre-season charity game, and in many cases the first (or second) time on the ice for quite a bit. But on the other hand it featured several players that people on this side of the pond rarely get to see, except in highlights or if we stay awake all night.

As stated earlier, Vita Hästen is Jonathan Ericssson’s alma mater and he had recruited big brother Jimmie, Niklas Kronwall, Patric Hörnqvist and Michael Nylander to add a bit of more charity fun. 

There was some funny quips from various people that I can’t avoid:

Markus Näslund said that he had asked the coach to be moved from Forsberg and Nicklas Bäckström to play with Zetterberg and Daniel Sedin because he needed better linemates.

Daniel Sedin said that brother Henrik wasn’t playing this game but it didn’t matter since he got a better Henrik instead (Z if that wasn’t obvious).

The “between the benches” reported noted that Big E was asking their coach to let him (and Kronner) play against the Z line as much as possible.

The result was 5-4 Icebreakers, but it didn’t really matter, except for some.

Post game Z said that it was fun to play against E and Kronner for once, at least since his side won.

But maybe the best thing of the game, at least if you’re either Swedish or Derek Meech, was to see Nylander back on the ice, playing something at least related to a hockey game.

Posted by hdw on 08/11/11 at 07:33 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I happen to think that the Wings might be ever-so-slightly interested in what Nylander might have to offer, especially if he’s willing to play in the AHL for a little while. He received A+++ grades from Curt Fraser and the Griffins’ players for his professionalism, attitude and, “He’s still got it” skills, and he could be a tremendous low-low-risk, solid-reward signing down the line.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/11/11 at 07:43 PM ET

hdw's avatar

Well, we’ll see, Nyls said postgame that he’s (obviously) has been medically cleared to play at any level, he has been working out quite hard and that he intends to continue to get what practice he can get while looking for employment.

And when asked in NHL or back in Sweden?

He answered directly, “oh, in NHL, that’s the obvious goal”, in my ears it sounded obvious to the point that he hasn’t really considered anything else.

I personally think that he feels that he has some bones to pick with certain people (ie, some people involved with Caps for instance) and on the other hand, I’m quite sure that he didn’t just get some generic public cudos from Griffins, there was some substance behind that, and those who stands behind the Griffins.

And would he be willing to play in the AHL? I think he’s already answered that, a couple of times, he’ll do what it takes to get some payback, and we’re not talking money here.

Now, would he fit with the current Wings? I’m far from certain.

But maybe, with some coaching magic and of course it might work.

Posted by hdw on 08/11/11 at 08:42 PM ET

42jeff's avatar

Chuck Shipp is my hero

Posted by 42jeff from The greater Howard City, MI metroplex on 08/11/11 at 11:32 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Hmm, Jackson on Aug. 25th?  I’m… very tempted.  Very.  I don’t know that the Cup will ever get any closer to me.  But… it’s a Bruin.  Not a Wing.

Stupid moral dilemmas.

Posted by Primis on 08/12/11 at 01:09 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

It’s a Bruin whose favorite player is Nicklas Lidstrom. Three quarters of the people there will be wearing Red Wings or U of M jerseys.

I don’t know if the Wings are interested in Nylander, but given that they telegraph just about every move and given that Ken Holland is always looking for the low-risk one, I think that he’s an intriguing candidate as someone who could bolster the Griffins’ forward lines for a while, prove to the Wings or somebody else that he’s still got top-six talent and go from there. I know that Fraser and the Wings’ prospects dug Nylander and I know that he’d be cheap.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/12/11 at 02:18 AM ET


I wondered why Babcock didn’t use Patrick Eaves and his excellent right-handed shot on the right point of the power play last season while Rafalski was out. We know he isn’t totally averse to using a forward on the point because he used Jason Williams on the right point of the 2nd unit 2 years ago.

Posted by voline on 08/12/11 at 10:12 AM 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.


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