Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

The Red Wings monster afternoon news post of doom, full of audio, video, Lidstrom and Suter stuff

Updated 8x with one more interview at 6:13 PM: ESPN’s Craig Custance offered intriguing takes from Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson, Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher and Red Wings GM Ken Holland about the “seeds” for potential draft day trades possibly planted during the NHL’s general managers’ meetings in New York on Wednesday in an Insider-only blog...

But Custance’s main thrust involves the fact that it is incredibly likely that the teams which hope to sign Ryan Suter or Zach Parise will have to pony up draft picks, and perhaps pretty damn good ones, to acquire the players’ rights at or before the draft if said players are unable to come to terms with their current rights-holders. I can’t quote much of the paywall-protected article, but let’s just say that you and I know this already:

With the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom, the Red Wings need a new franchise defenseman and have the cap space to make a huge splash in free agency. They also have a GM in Ken Holland willing to do whatever it takes to get that chance. He said trading for free agent negotiating rights is something the Red Wings will pursue.

“If they’re available. You can’t force things,” Holland said on Thursday. “I’m back to planning, sitting here with our people and making our plan, putting things on our board. Are we prepared to acquire somebody’s [negotiating] rights at the draft? Yeah, absolutely. If the price is right and it’s a player we’re interested in.”

As Custance notes, the Red Wings will be holding their organizational meetings starting during tomorrow’s Tigers game, and Holland, Jim Nill, Ryan Martin, Jimmy Devellano, Chris Chelios, Kris Draper, Mike Babcock and the team’s pro scouts will formulate their off-season strategy and move forward after the meetings wrap up on the 5th. I can’t imagine the Wings being anything other than the most aggressive we’ve seen the front office operate since the 2001-2002 off-season, when Dominik Hasek, Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille were brought in. Those kinds of players aren’t available on the free agent market this time around, but the Wings will probably add at least three pieces (top-pair defenseman, top-six forward, possible second top-four defenseman, probably a back-up goalie and possibly a fourth-line winger with size and snarl).

Update: Hell with it, consider this your “afternoon news” thread. The Hockey News’s Adam Proteau weighed in on the Wings’ potential status as “in trouble” via a mailbag question:

Hi Adam,

Now that Nicklas Lidstrom has retired, what is going to become of the Red Wings? Nobody can replace what Nick brought to the table and this seems like a team that doesn’t have the young talent to compete with the NHL’s best teams anymore. Do you think rough waters are ahead for them?
Melanie Rogerson, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Hi Melanie,

Given that the Wings are considered the NHL’s model franchise, you bet against them at your own peril. They’ve got more than $28.5 million in unused salary cap space for next season (though a new CBA could change that number) and assuredly will pursue Predators defenseman Ryan Suter and Devils winger Zach Parise with a furor.

But even then, they’re likely to also lose blueline veteran Brad Stuart (whose family issues could cause him to sign with a team in California) and will have to use a sizeable portion of that cap space if they wish to retain the services of unrestricted free agent center Jiri Hudler.

Complicating matters further is the fact the other teams in Detroit’s division don’t appear to be getting any weaker. The Blues and Hawks have tons of young talent; the Predators always make lemons into Lululemon yoga pants; and the Blue Jackets will be able to re-stock their system with the rewards from a Rick Nash trade.

So yeah, GM Ken Holland is not going to face an easy task in coping with Lidstrom’s departure. Fortunately for Detroit boosters, if there’s any management team that’s up to the challenge, it’s the Red Wings’.

• You can also read Lyle “Spector” Richardson’s Zach Parise rumor roundup if you wish;

• Michigan Hockey offers a slate of Tweets from around the web regarding Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement;

• Via RedWingsFeed, 97.1 FM’s mike Stone wants you to know that Bobby Orr was better than Nicklas Lidstrom…

I stated on the air that I felt that Orr was the best of all time and I was stunned at the feedback. Some, not all, Red Wing fans that I was nuts in not having Lidstrom ahead of Orr. I am sorry, I not only think Orr was the best defenseman ever, I feel he was the best player ever.

Lidstrom wins on the longevity angle, but it’s not Orr’s fault that he played in a time where they did not have arthroscopic surgery to fix his knees. Lidstrom was amazing; he was the best positional player to ever play the blue line. He was great on the power play and the penalty kill but Orr changed the game. Bobby Orr could do everything and was the most dominant player in the game, not just the best defenseman. He was the first defenseman to use offense as a weapon. How good would Phil Esposito have been without #4? He scored, passed, hit, fought, and played great positional hockey.

Here is one of my favorite personal Bobby Orr stories. In 1973 we took my grandfather to his first hockey game. The Flyers were playing the Bruins. My grandfather was not much of a hockey fan; it was all baseball, basketball, and football for him. After ten minutes of the game, he said, “Michael, I don’t know much about hockey, but that number 4 guy in black is ten times better than anyone else on the ice.” One only had to have eyesight to see the obvious, there never was and never will be another Bobby Orr and being second to him is pretty fricking impressive.

If you don’t believe me, watch Mike Babcock compare Lidstrom and Orr below.

• And I have an update regarding Tomas Jurco, who does not need to be signed until a year from today, from NHL.com’s Brian Hedger:

@georgemalik what is Jurco concern about? Holland said yesterday paperwork from Slovakia simply hadn’t processed yet.
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@georgemalik Holland didn’t sound concerned about it at all. Sounded like Jurco likely in GR next year, reading between lines.
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@georgemalik no prob. Meant to tweet that yesterday but was swamped with Lidstrom stories.

 

Update #2: Via RedWingsFeed, the Score’s Justin Bourne looked at Nicklas Lidstrom’s stats in comparison to each and every defenseman drafted ahead of him in 1989, and the tale of the tape is a scary one;

• Regarding Ryan Suter, the Hockey News’s Lyle “Spector” Richardson pondered his availability to Detroit…

Money won’t be an object for the Red Wings. Once they re-sign restricted free agents such as Kyle Quincey, Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader, and promote promising young players Gustav Nyquist and Brendan Smith, Khan estimates they’ll have roughly $50 million invested in 21 players. That would give them plenty of cap space not only to sign Suter, but also take a run at Suter’s close friend, New Jersey Devils left winger Zach Parise.

The Red Wings, however, won’t be the only club in hot pursuit of Suter July 1, as the Philadelphia Flyers, NY Rangers and Minnesota Wild could also jump into a bidding war for his services.

Most assume it’s a fait accompli Suter will join the Wings, but it’s by no means a certainty. [The Tennessean’s Josh] Cooper recently reported Suter’s agent would meet with Predators GM David Poile this week to open contract discussions, a positive step in the club’s efforts to re-sign him.

If Suter does join the Wings, he will face considerable pressure to fill Lidstrom’s skates in one of the most demanding markets in the league.

Cooper also noted the Predators appear to have more long-term potential than the aging Red Wings, who the Preds eliminated from the first round of the playoffs. This could have an impact on Suter’s plans. 

Money won’t be the only determining factor for Suter. He would prefer to play the remainder of his career wherever he signs his next contract, plus he also wants to ensure his family’s happiness. If the Wings fail to land Suter, they won’t find much in the UFA market to fill the void left by Lidstrom. Among the notables are Washington’s Dennis Wideman, Philadelphia’s Matt Carle, Ottawa’s Filip Kuba and Florida’s Jason Garrison.

• ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun offered an update on Suter from Predators GM David Poile and Suter’s agent, Neil Sheehy:

“I think there’s good progress, we talked about some of the same things, also some new things,” Poile told ESPN.com Friday. “He’s not saying anything that makes me feel that he doesn’t want to play in Nashville. I think we’re all on the same page. But he has to make a decision. He wants to talk to his family and to Neil Sheehy some more. The process will just continue.”

Suter is the headliner of the 2012 UFA class along with New Jersey winger Zach Parise. Poile flew to Suter’s home in Madison, Wis., on Wednesday evening following the GMs meeting in New York.

“We talked about many issues,” Sheehy told ESPN.com Friday. “Both sides were candid with each other. What we agreed to do is to continue our dialogue. Ryan, it’s no secret, loves Nashville. Ryan is just considering a lot of things. But David gave us more things to think about.”

Two years ago, Poile traded away the rights to UFA-to-be blueliner Dan Hamhuis at the draft when it became clear he wasn’t going to re-sign. Many expected Poile might do the same with Suter’s rights at this year’s draft if he remains unsigned, but the veteran GM indicated otherwise Friday.

“Based on the conversations, I do not feel that’s going to happen, no,” Poile said. “I don’t want to speak for Ryan, but there’s nothing that indicates that there’s anything that’s negative with him re-signing with Nashville,” Poile added. “The conversations are always pro-Nashville, our city, our team, his role ...”

But obviously, the clock is ticking towards July 1 when he officially becomes an unrestricted free agent.

“He knows my feelings as to how it would be certainly in the Nashville Predators’ best interest to sign sooner rather than later, but I’m also well aware I don’t control that,” Poile said. “That’s the right that he’s earned to become an unrestricted free agent, whether he takes that opportunity or not, I don’t know the answer to that yet.”

• And now we move back toward actual Red Wings who may become alumni in one Tomas Holmstrom, who continued to reveal probably less than flattering secrets about his pal to MLive’s Phillip Zaroo…

“He’s always mad at me,” joked Holmstrom. “I’m a bad listener, though, so I don’t listen much.”

OK, but kidding aside, there’s got to be some quasi-negative comment you can make ... some half-hearted criticism, no?

“He’s so superstitious, we all know that,” Holmstrom said, after giving it some deep thought. “It’s driving me nuts, so I try to screw him up all the time, moving stuff around. And I got him a bunch of times, but he always gives me that look and ‘Ha-ha.’”

So there you have it, folks. It just goes to show you can’t hide any secrets, no matter how hard you try.

In this day and age, all it takes is a camera, a computer and the will to do some heavy detective work, and even someone as “perfect” as Lidstrom can be exposed as ... superstitious.

• Holmstrom also spoke to DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose about a more serious subject, his future…Which will be with Detroit or Detroit:

“No, I’ll never go anywhere else, I’d rather retire before that,” said Holmstrom, who has played in 1,026 games with the Wings.

Holmstrom’s career has been filled with years of pain that he carries around in both knees, something that he’s learned to deal with since his playing days in Sweden. He had two series of Synvisc injections last season meant to lubricate and cushion his knee joints.

Yet, even in the offseason he has is days where he must cope with the pain and discomfort of grinding knee joints, while giving deliberate thought to his playing future. On Thursday, Lidstrom said that he no longer had the energy and motivation to put his body through the rigors of off-season training that is paramount to preparing for a long and grueling NHL season. Holmstrom finds himself battling a similar dilemma.

“Some days it feels like yes, some days it feels like no,” Holmstrom said about retiring. “It’s achy and painful. I don’t take painkillers to hide the arthritis. … We’ll see if it works out. I’ll figure it out soon.”
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“It’s probably coming soon,” he said. “I have to figure it out and I really don’t know right now. I go back and forth and try to figure out my body.”

Regardless of what the final outcome is for his future, playing alongside his friend and teammate for so long, winning four Stanley Cups, has been a tremendous ride, Holmstrom said.

“It’s been so much fun, it’s a sad day, but he’s had a great career and he’s played against all of the best players for 20 years, but it’s come to an end,” Holmstrom said. “Detroit has been fortunate to have him here, and everyone is fortunate that he put on the Red Wings jersey for 20 years.”

• The Free Press’s Helene St. James also duly noted that Chris Chelios nearly stole the show at Lidstrom’s presser…

While discussing his mid-week attempt to woo Lidstrom back for one more season by taking him paddle boarding on Orchard Lake, Chelios brought up the first time he took Lidstrom on such an excursion. It was seven years ago, near Chelios’ off-season home in Malibu, Calif.

“I took him paddle boarding on the ocean the first time,” Chelios said. “I wanted to see him fall out of control. Even when he fell, it was in total control. Other guys were throwing their paddle. Nick just went down real nice and slow, and started over again.

“It was crazy. I was like, ‘Goddammit, I still didn’t get him.’ Like, it was rough out there, and a bunch of us went to my house, and it wasn’t the greatest conditions, and they all wanted to do it. And I’m watching Nick 40 yards away, and I’m not coaching him, because I want to see Nick fail at something, and he still wouldn’t. And that’s a true story.”

What else? Oh, just a doozy dating to April 14, 1995, when Chelios, then with the Chicago Blackhawks, engaged none other than Steve Yzerman in a fight.

“Well, I jumped him, basically,” Chelios said, smiling at the memory. “That was one of my regrets. That’s what I said to him after. At least he dropped his gloves, which some skill guys, they wouldn’t do that. Yzie, that’s the grit he had.”

• And then we come back to Lidstrom. Via RWF, the video doesn’t work in the U.S., but the audio will be up soon, and Lidstrom spoke to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos, Darren Millard and Doug MacLean a few hours ago;

• And finally, MLive’s Ansar Khan pondered Lidstrom’s future with the Wings:

“A lot of our ex-players remain in the organization, and he told me he would love to have some affiliation with the Red Wings,’’ general manager Ken Holland said. “Nick should be affiliated with the Red Wings. He’s been a big part of what’s gone on here. He’ll do things as a representative for the Red Wings.’‘

Holland would like Lidstrom to appear at special events.

“He’s living in Sweden, so it’s not like he’s going to be here day-to-day,’’ Holland said. “I would love to have him come over 3-4 times a year, whether it’s the draft, development camp, training camp, whatever fits his schedule. I’d like him to come to the Winter Classic (Jan. 1 vs. Toronto at Michigan Stadium), even if he doesn’t play (in the alumni game at Comerica Park), just to be around.’‘
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“I have to sit down with Kenny and see what they’re thinking,’’ Lidstrom said. “I think it’s good to get away from the game for a little bit and I think this summer’s going to help in doing that, just to start thinking about what you want to do before jumping into something right away.’‘

The Red Wings have a strong bond with their alumni. Ted Lindsay frequently visits the dressing room, and fellow legend Gordie Howe stops by occasionally.

The team acknowledges former Red Wings during each game on the Joe Louis Arena scoreboard. The front office is full of ex-Detroit players, from scouts Mark Howe, Glen Merkosky and Kirk Maltby to advisors and player development personnel like Chris Chelios, Kris Draper and Jiri Fischer to assistant general manager Jim Nill. Holland even played three games in goal for the team in 1983-84. And former Red Wings Mickey Redmond, Paul Woods and Larry Murphy are TV/radio broadcasters for the club.

“It’s pretty neat when you walk into the locker room and Ted Lindsay, Alex Delvecchio or Gordie Howe is around,’’ Holland said. “You want Nick to still be around, be a presence for the younger players to see him.’‘

Update #2.5: If you care what Jamie Baker, Sharks commentator and Wing-killer, had to say about Lidstrom, enjoy;

• The Red Wings’ website, via RedWingsFeed, has posted videos of Danny Cleary…

Wings coach Mike Babcock…

 

And Justin Abdelkader speaking about Lidstrom:

 

• And the Grand Rapids Griffins’ Twitter account posted a link to Brendan Smith and Brad Marsh talking to TSN’s Off the Record about various topics, including Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement…

And “OTR” posted clips of Igor and Alyonka Larionov recalling the 2002 Stanley Cup win…

As well as Lidstrom’s interview from yesterday…

• The Free Press tried to cobble together a Lidstrom YouTube highlight reel, too;

• And finally, here’s Lidstrom speaking to The Fan 590:

 

Download file

As noted on Sportsnet:

One day removed from his official retirement, famed Detroit Red Wing Nicklas Lidstrom joined Daren Millard, Nick Kypreos and Doug MacLean on Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Hockey Central to talk about what’s up next.

Lidstrom said he planned to spend his first day of retirement in a hockey rink. “I’m actually on my way to the hockey rink to watch my son play,” he said.

Despite feeling his career was “an amazing ride”, Lidstrom is happy to be spending his time in the stands rather than on the ice.

Lidstrom said he knew before the season that it would be his last year in a Wings jersey. “I knew I couldn’t come back and play at the level I’ve played at,” he told Hockey Central.

Update #4: Three more videos: Here’s Tomas Holmstrom speaking to the media about Lidstrom, from the Wings’ website…

Ken Holland discussing Lidstrom’s retirement and his future plans for the team…

 

And Kris Draper talking about another teammate from the 4-Cup run joining his ranks:

 

• I’m going with no comment on selection number five.


Update #5: Even more videos from the Wings:

Drew Miller…

 

And Niklas Kronwall:

 

 

Update #6: As it turns out, all is well with Tomas Jurco, who spoke to Sport.sk’s Michal Carnoky about his past season and beginning his career with the Wings. This is incredibly roughly translated, but I’ll giver ‘er a go:

Tomas Jurco on his move to the NHL: “Anything can happen”

7:50 PM Saint John. Tomas Jurco, one of the greatest talents in contemporary Slovak hockey, we hope, and in recent years, a star of the Canadian junior hockey team the Saint John Sea Dogs, has finished his season.

The Sea Dogs won the QMJHL title, but they weren’t able to defend their Memorial Cup title, with the team falling to the Shawinigan Cataractes. Tomas Jurco starred, registering 100 points in 68 CHL games. But now he’s packing his bags to leave Canada, and in September, he will come to a farm team, the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.

“After the season, I had a week off, which I mostly used for recreation, and I was in Saint John for that, and said goodbye to everyone. I spent three good years there and I will miss it,” said the 19-year-old Kosice native in an interview with Sport.sk. On Saturday, he’ll fly home to Slovakia.

Tomas, the season ended a little earlier than expected for you, and not the way you planned.

“Yes, the Memorial Cup defense didn’t work. We did what we could, but nevertheless, I think we can be satisfied with our season. We won the league championship and we played well all year long. Even in the playoffs we were pretty good, but in the finals, we didn’t play like we had hoped, and that ultimately cost the Memorial cup. It happened, and now it’s about forgetting it and I must look forward.”

It ended an intriguing era in your young career, and what will you miss from this?

“It was a great period of junior hockey, I’ll remember it fondly. I had a hard time, however, coming here alone, and sometimes it’s not as you wish or imagined it. But it’s already over and when I look back, Saint John took care of me very well. I had a great time here, lots of friends, lots of fun, people have always been good to me here. Saint John is like a second home for me, and I’m not leaving it easily.”

But given the team’s style and players, who finished the season with hundreds of points in the CHL…Those kinds of stats don’t make stars…

“This season really went as I’d hoped. We played very well, I played relaxed, and no, it wasn’t like my draft year, but I played under less pressure and felt great all year. All around me, there was an excellent environment, and when a player feels good off the ice, you can see it on the ice. I’m very glad that I had this season.”

Despite your excellent season, you weren’t the most productive player on the Sea Dogs…

“I was an important part of the team, in fourth place in scoring, I missed a few games for the World Championship, and twenty other guys had played 15 more games, so…But we had a great team, a number of great players, so it wasn’t just me who was productive. There was a good level of competition on the team, and I think that helped us all to further our development for our careers.”

Now you’re going to spend a year in Grand Rapids, where Tomas Tatar plays. Are you looking forward to playing with him?

“Yes, TRTO is a very good and promising player, and he has a great future ahead of him, as the World Championships showed. For me, it’ll be a new experience on the farm team. I hope to seize my opportunities.”

The overseas media’s speculated about your future in Detroit. General manager Jim Nill’s spoken very positively about you, so do you see a future for yourself with the Red Wings?

“I caught a few things from the media, but personally I haven’t met with the GM, so I don’t know what to say. First of all, I have to prepare perfectly for the next season. I have to train in the summer, and not underestimate gaining strength, or the transition from junior hockey to playing against men, which is very important. I certainly want to show myself in the best light at the main camp in Detroit. During the season, you never know what can happen, and you never know when you might be called up to the big club. Anything can happen, but I don’t have big eyes. Despite all the publicity, I’m going into things modestly. I want to fulfill my duties on the farm team 100%, above all, and to try to play my best.”

You yourself might not know how to compare it, but how do older players prepare for what it’s like on the farm team? Certainly it’s going to be different than junior.

“I talked with Martin Marincin, for example, who’s played a few games in the AHL. He said it’s definitely stronger and more physically demanding. He also said that more experienced players are smarter on the ice, and I should expect that it will be faster hockey…Even the CHL is played at very fast tempo and hard hockey. I think the transition from Canadian juniors to the AHL is better for me than if I just came over from Europe, and was then playing on the farm. I hope I’ll adapt as quickly as possible.”

While playing for the Sea Dogs in the playoffs, Slovakia paved its way to a silver medal at the World Championship. Did you get to watch it somehow?

“Of course I watched our games during the tournament, but I only saw one game during group play. And that was just the first one against Canada. And then to watch the semi-finals and the finals, we were playing at the Memorial Cup, but there was a room for players made available so we could watch the World Championship. I had to watch just before games because we played in the evening, but I saw some of it and could root for the Slovak guys. I’m very glad that the boys once again made Slovakia visible, if only because I’m here in Slovakia and could take pride in my local team. Slovak hockey is finally back to where we’d all like it to be.”

You’re no longer a junior, you’ve had more experience, and you can’t play at the World Junior Championships, so now you’re opening the door to playing for the farm team. The guys in Helsinki set the bar high…What do you think about an invitation from coach Vladimir Vujtek, especially now that we’ve won silver?

“It would be a challenge and great new experience that I’d be really excited about. Especially right after these successful championships. I’m sure that everyone who plays is going to be even better. It would be great for me. I would like to do that very much. I always try to play my best, work hard through the whole season, but we’ll see whether an invitation arrives. Maybe as early as next season, maybe not yet, but I’ll certainly do everything possible to make it happen as soon as possible.”

How will you spend your summer?

“On Saturday, I’m flying home to Slovakia. I should be at home for almost the entire three months, but from July 6 to 17, I’ll go to Detroit to participate in their camp. I’ll go be there with the young players. It’s the only team duty during the summer, so otherwise I’ll be at home. It was a long season and I feel that I need a good rest. Playing this long is difficult, and I admire the players in Los Angeles and New Jersey, who are just starting the Stanley Cup Final. So to sum it up, first, I’ll rest, and then I’ll begin my hard summer training, go to camp in Detroit, and then in mid-August, I plan on jumping back on the ice.”


Update #7: Okey dokey, one last update.

Via RWF, here’s Darren Helm speaking about Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement…

Todd Bertuzzi weighed in as well…

 

Chris Chelios also spoke about Lidstrom’s retirement ceremony, saying that no athlete was better, and assuring all of us that the Wings are in good hands leadership-wise…

 

And the Wings’ website posted a second clip of Babcock speaking about Lidstrom:

 

• DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose spoke to Dave Lewis, Joey Kocur, Nicklas Lidstrom and Darren Helm about Lidstrom’s demenaor…

“Maybe I heard him swear two or three times over 20 years,” former Wings center Kris Draper said. “We couldn’t believe it. Nothing from banging his stick, getting frustrated or anything like that. It was amazing how composed he was in all situations. That was that calming effect he had on all of us. When things got a little bit out of control you’d look down the bench and see him sitting there and be like, ‘All right, it’s not that bad.’ ”
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“I don’t know if frustrated was the right word, he never explained his emotion like Steve (Yzerman) would come back to the bench and shatter his stick,” Lewis said. “All the years I coached behind the bench with Nick Lidstrom, I never saw him do that once, so his level of composure was second to none.”

What Lewis did noticed early on was Lidstrom level of commitment to getting better.

“Each year or half-year, you saw growth and improvement,” Lewis said. “That was a big part of his success. He was never satisfied with a certain level. He wanted to push his level to the maximum. It’s one thing to get to the Norris Trophy level, it’s another to stay there all those years.”

The consistency that which Lidstrom played with night in and night out is something that resonates with everyone whoever played with the man, who will forever be considered the best defenseman of his generation.

“As great as he was talent-wise and determination and skill and everything else, he was never put in a bad position,” said Joey Kocur, who played four seasons with Lidstrom. “Even when he didn’t have the puck he controlled where that puck was going; just so much fun to watch him.”
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“Whenever we did two-on-one drills and you pass the puck he was swatting it down every time with that stick,” Wings center Darren Helm said. “Forwards bringing it down the wall, trying to chip it in, he’d just bat it out of the air. His hand-eye coordination was amazing. Getting a chance to play with him you realize how special he was to this team and the city. Amazing player and amazing person. I’m privileged to have had the chance to play with him.”

• And finally, the Tennessean’s Josh Cooper sounds like I did when Marian Hossa was about to leave Detroit. I have no idea what Suter’s intentions are, and assume he’s pretty happy in Nashville, but Cooper’s level of hostility toward Motown is…amusing:

From my understanding the timing of these talks had nothing to do with Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement announcement yesterday. Such meetings don’t happen spur of the moment. The Red Wings were already rumored to have heavily targeted Suter as part of their offseason plans. Lidstrom’s decision should only enhance their interest.

The Predators would probably want to get Suter locked into a contract in the next week — or at least get an indication of his overall plan by then. The Predators simply can’t move forward with their offseason until they know what Suter wants to do.

But it is starting to become clear that Nashville might be the best place for Suter. He appreciates his privacy and a protective market. Nashville offers both. As Hal Gill was quoted, “You really have to be awful to be noticed.” Plus the Predators have at least said they now have the money to spend to the salary cap. They’ve made the playoffs seven of the last eight years, and with Pekka Rinne along with Suter and potentially Shea Weber locked into contracts, they’ll at least be in position to compete for the next 3-5 years.

In regards to other rumored markets:

  • Detroit has a history of success, a deep-pocketed owner with lots of resources and a smart GM, but little in terms of young, talented players on its aging roster. Also, Nashville just beat them in the playoffs.

Terrible team, not ranked as the 10th-best organization by Hockey’s Future, old, slow, too much pressure, and they’re losers? Sure.

And don’t the Predators have 15 free agents to sign, Weber included?

Reality ain’t fun, and sometimes players leave. I don’t know what Suter wants to do, and again, I’m assuming he likes Nashville, but he’s got to be intrigued by Detroit, Minnesota, Philly, you name it, having 29 other teams insist they’ll back up Brinks trucks to his door and make sure he’s well-taken care of for the rest of his career…

The one thing I do take offsense, to, is the concept that Detroit is a fishbowl. It sure as hell isn’t—ask Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg. We’re a Midwestern town and we see our athletes, say hello to them, maybe ask for an autograph, but we also give them privacy and space. Suggesting otherwise is…misinformed.

Update #8: ONE MORE thing…Jeez, I’ve been putting in over 40 hours of work over 3 days, that can’t be good…Here’s hoping this is a “finally” in Nicklas Lidstrom speaking to 97.1 the Ticket’s Stoney and Bill:

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And no, it doesn’t bother him when people say LinDstrom, and he says they do it in Sweden, too. Dear Gord, that’s amazing.

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Comments

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Stoney gets this weeks Stonehead:

Lidstrom not only beats Orr in longevity. He beats him in durability. Orr’s last full season was at age 26 yrs old. He played 6 NHL games from that time till he retired at age 30. Then you go onto the 4 Cups vs 2 argument. Today’s athlete’s being bigger, stronger, quicker, and more skilled. Follow that up with today’s NHL athletes come from all over the world. Finally you throw out comparisons of how the careers of Eric Lindros, Pavel Bure, Cam Neely (and Crosby) are viewed in today’s game.

Posted by dca from in Mich on 06/01/12 at 02:58 PM ET

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Forgot to add how Orr would be in trouble with today’s and yesteryear’s game with neutral zone trapping and goalie equipment too.

Posted by dca from in Mich on 06/01/12 at 03:00 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Orr only played in the era he played in, same is true of Lidstrom. It is silly and unfair to criticize either for the differences in era. Both guys were among the best of all time any way you want to slice it.

It’s very difficult not to consider Orr one of the best players of all-time, right there with Gretzky and Howe, for the way all three not just dominated on the ice, but also changed the way the game was played. That’s what, to me, sets those three guys apart.

If we want to be careful with the semantics, I think the best way to classify Lidstrom is as the best “two-way” D in history. His all-around game, health issues and era differences aside, was better than Orr.

But, the thing about Orr is, the top value any skater can contribute to a hockey team is scoring, and Orr was undoubtedly a more dynamic offensive force than Lidstrom, by quite a margin. Six straight 100 point seasons from the blueline really says it all. Don’t get me wrong—Lidstrom is still one of the top 10 best offensive D in history. But the way Orr scored from the blueline is a lot like the way Gretzky scored… it’s that much better than the second-best.

Maybe another way to say it is, Lidstrom is the best defenseman ever, but Orr is the best player ever from the defense position.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 06/01/12 at 03:12 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

and possibly a fourth-line winger with size and snarl).

This is definitely something that’s under Wings fan’s radar (deservedly so with us needing a top line scorer, top 2 dman and backup goaler) but I think they’re going to go hard after a gritty Dallas Drake type guy….. just not sure who that would be. Barch or Konopka maybe? *shoulder shrug*

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 06/01/12 at 03:15 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

and possibly a fourth-line winger with size and snarl)

What about Jarret Stoll. Not gritty enough?  He’s been pretty decent in playoffs.

Posted by MoreShoot on 06/01/12 at 03:53 PM ET

Primis's avatar

My personal take is that Orr isn’t the best… or the second-best… or the 3rd-best…  take aside his era even, and he still didn’t have a long enough career to be considered.  I just wish people would shut up about him.  I realize he had injuries, blahblahblah, whatever… leave him to the delusional Bruin fans who still claim him and the greatest player ever even though they don’t even watch hockey and haven’t for 3 decades until last season.

And even the Era argument can have holes poked in it.  Paul Coffey basically was an Orr clone, and you saw how the game passed him by towards the end once players got bigger, defenses tighter, and forwards more-aggressive.  Coffey never lost his sense or skating late in his career, yet the game got faster and tougher and his numbers dropped, and he became a real liability.

Posted by Primis on 06/01/12 at 04:05 PM ET

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Nick is the best defenseman of his generation as Orr is of his. You can’t compare eras, playing styles, talent, etc. Its all subjective. Both are amazing players who excelled at their position unlike any others and they should both be held in such high reverence.

Posted by Jeremy from Toledo, OH on 06/01/12 at 04:13 PM ET

Keyser S.'s avatar

Who would rather have on your team orr or lidstrom? I’ll take lidstroms 20 year service, un-injured record to orrs career. Orr was an amazing player and if he played in todays era with all the medical advances he would have played more than 6 productive seasons.

Too bad we don’t have that 1st rounder to trade for parise’s rights. That’s probably what it’s going to take to talk to him before july 1. Lots of teams have money and lots of teams want parise.

Posted by Keyser S. on 06/01/12 at 04:39 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

What about Jarret Stoll. Not gritty enough? 
Posted by MoreShoot on 06/01/12 at 02:53 PM ET

Not for me.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 06/01/12 at 04:43 PM ET

thethirdcoast's avatar

Mike Stone completely undermined his own argument with this anecdote:

My grandfather was not much of a hockey fan; it was all baseball, basketball, and football for him. After ten minutes of the game, he said, “Michael, I don’t know much about hockey, but that number 4 guy in black is ten times better than anyone else on the ice.”

Basically, he’s confirming the Orr was the largely the beneficiary of several characteristics of his era. He had a huge gap in physical talent between himself and the majority of the players of that era. There also wasn’t the emphasis on team defense and goalie equipment was tiny during that time. Lidstrom never had any of those luxuries during his years in the NHL.

Put another way, if you drop Orr into Lidstrom’s era he probably still puts up Rafalskian numbers and possibly lasts a bit longer due to modern medicine. Alternately, he may have a shorter career due to the much larger, more physical forwards he would be facing.

Drop Lidstrom into Orr’s era with a half decent team around him and you’re looking at a career that approaches Gretzkian status.

Posted by thethirdcoast from Algiers, DZ on 06/01/12 at 07:19 PM ET

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And no, it doesn’t bother him when people say LinDstrom, and he says they do it in Sweden, too. Dear Gord, that’s amazing.

As someone with an easily mispronounced last name (I’ve literally never heard it pronounced correctly on the first try) the only choices are to always get bothered by it or never get bothered by it, and life is much more pleasant when you’re not bothered by it.

And at least Lindstrom is close to Lidstrom.

Posted by Garth on 06/01/12 at 08:51 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

If I had a nickel, not a dollar, but a nickel, for every time someone mispronounced my five-letter last name…I may very well be able to buy a used car. It used to annoy me, but the MAY-lik, mal-EEK, MALK, Malkin, etc…

It’s just not that important. They’re not calling me “Veronica” or anything.

Technically, it’s MAL-ik, with “mal” sounding like “pal,” but even that is a mispronunciation of the Czech “MAH-lik,” and that’s a mispronunciation of the original Arabic Mal-EEK. So it is what it is. smile

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/01/12 at 09:10 PM ET

cigar_nurse's avatar

I finally caught up on your stellar as usual blog George with Lids retirement coverage. I played a hockey game last night after the sad news and a horrendous work day. I felt so down and physically and mentally tired . The legs were just dead and we wound up losing to a team 6-1. I appoligized to my teammates for such a poor performance and didn’t even have any barley pops at the post game tailgate.

Hopefully Mr, Holland will deliver me from this funk with some moves to rival that 2002 summer.

You cannot compare Orr with Lids with the 2 different eras. Orr did get many points and astrinomical plus minus stats due to much expansion during those 6 years. I did see Orr play for the Hawks in his last season and was but a shell of what he once was. Glad will not see Lids go out like that.

Posted by cigar_nurse from Greenville South Cakalakee on 06/01/12 at 11:13 PM ET

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just a thought ....

if Suter isn’t signed by the draft, trade Quincey rights for Suter rights ??

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 06/01/12 at 11:46 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I think we’re going to have to get used to the concept that the Wings may end up with Matt Carle and Dennis Wideman if they can’t land Suter—though I do believe that if he is available at the draft, the Wings will do whatever’s necessary to grab his rights.

The thing about Suter is that it’s up to him. Marian Hossa loved being in Detroit, but he couldn’t resist the concept of having that Brinks truck backed up to his door and being taken care of for life in another environment similar to what the Wings offered him, and as private as Suter might be…

This is Detroit, the only major hockey market where players are treated like it’s a mid-market because we’re generally Midwesterners who give our athletes space, and the TV and print media sure as hell doesn’t give hockey its full shrift.

In Toronto or New York or even Minny, you’re under a kind of spotlight that just doesn’t exist here because we’re more spread out over the suburbs and because we just don’t collect dinner receipts. That and the team expects its players to be quiet private citizens.

I mean, shit, you look at Brad Richards, who isn’t exactly Mr. Personality, and when the Rangers and Tortorella came calling, he went to a big market and is really happy there.

But again, it’s up to Suter, not us, and I’d guess that he’s a coin flip.

I do believe that the Wings will move incredibly aggressively to pursue one or two top-four defensemen—the blueprint remains puck-moving defense = foundation of play—and some sort of top-six forward, with Semin looking much more palatable given the way he played with Pavel at the Worlds if Parise either doesn’t test the market or goes somewhere else.

But I also believe that we’re looking at, at max, four or five new players, a d-man or two, that top-six scorer, a back-up goalie and a fourth-liner with grit, and then the Wings will see what the new CBA brings and continue to add at the trade deadline if things don’t present themselves properly during the draft and free agency period, or they can’t work out a trade.

Whatever happens, however, the Wings will be incredibly aggressive, and we won’t see lateral moves this time around.

And Cigar Nurse, I’m burnt out as hell from all of this, but I’m proud of what I did. Nick was “my” captain and my favorite Wing, and I needed to make sure everybody got full coverage.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/02/12 at 12:54 AM ET

calquake's avatar

I think we’re going to have to get used to the concept that the Wings may end up with Matt Carle and Dennis Wideman if they can’t land Suter

Funny thing… I’m okay with that if that is how it plays out.

Posted by calquake on 06/02/12 at 04:28 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.