The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/30/12 at 10:32 PM ET
I’m starting to get nervous as nervous can be about tomorrow. Pretend professional blogger or not, I’m a Red Wings fan, and while the Red Wings’ beat writers have perhaps thankfully kept Detroit fans’ expectations somewhere under Red Bird III’s cruising altitude, emphasizing that the front office met today for the specific purpose—to go over plans C, D, E, F and so on, because the number of players available versus the number of heavy suitors this summer almost guarantees that all but one or two of the dozen-plus teams bidding on two certain American-born players will have landed the market’s “best” players a day or two from now, yielding a statistically small probability that either will land in Detroit, “program selling itself” included…
Well, everybody and his or her uncle’s cousin’s monkey seems ridiculously sure that their team is going to sign everyone they could possibly dream of. For five bucks each.
In light of my obviously low expectations (after all, if the Wings strike out completely, I’ve still got to write about it, so shooting for the moon would yield a blubbering blogger boo hooing over his keyboard)—if the Wings manage to even partially address Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement and their need for a 20-plus goal-scorer without spending all their cap space in the process, I’m gonna be happy—the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan, via RedWingsFeed, helps tide us over to, well, middle of the night stories with some reiteration.
And maybe some amusement. Kulfan spoke to Jiri Hudler’s agent, Petr Svoboda, on Saturday, and especially given how much money a fourth-liner in Paul Gaustad commanded from Nashville (not only does Ken Holland look like a genius for locking up Darren Helm, but his expectations of spending nearly $5 million in cap space retaining Justin Abdelkader and Kyle Quincey’s services seem completely reasonable right now), Svoboda offered the same line he did right before signing Hudler to a 2-year, $10 million contract with Dynamo Moscow.
That’s probably the kind of money that Hudler will be getting, and as such, Svoboda was all but giddy when he spoke to Kulfan:
“Jiri loves Detroit,” Svoboda said Saturday, hours before unrestricted free agency began. “Jiri loves the organization, the city, his teammates. He appreciates everything the organization has done for him.”
“He loves Detroit but you only get the chance to be (an unrestricted) free agent once, maybe twice, in a career,” Svoboda said.
“He’s excited about the opportunity,” Svoboda said. “Jiri has been working out in Montreal, training, getting ready. He’s feeling good. It’s an exciting time.”
Svoboda fired off another, “He would love to return to Detroit,” too, which sounds more and more like Svoboda’s, “Jaromir loves Pittsburgh” comments prior to his signing with the Flyers a year ago.
As for the Wings’ other free agency plans, as Holland suggested yesterday, things will happen fast, so the Wings’ front office has been refining their battle plan:
“We’ll start making our calls (at noon) and be ready to go,” Holland said. “Things can happen quickly. You have to be ready to go from Plan A to Plan B and Plan C.”
With approximately $18 million to spend, the Red Wings plan on being active in the market. Parise and Suter are, and have been, the Wings’ primary targets. But if they go elsewhere, there are other options.
Forwards P.A. Parenteau (New York Islanders), Alex Semin (Washington) Shane Doan (Phoenix), Paul Gaustad (Nashville) are former Wing Mikael Samuelsson (Florida) could be targets. In terms of defensemen, Matt Carle (Philadelphia), Jason Garrison (Florida), Filip Kuba (Ottawa) and Pavel Kubina (Philadelphia) are possibilities.
The Wings will likely go after goaltending insurance, too, getting a third NHL-caliber goalie in case Joey MacDonald’s back acts up again. MacDonald, who is expected to back up Jimmy Howard, missed the end of last season with a minor bulging disc.
Kulfan also notes that the Wings expect that, should everything line up, Damien Brunner will be the first signing the team announces tomorrow afternoon. Nobody can be sure as blick.ch’s Stephan Roth very specifically sent me a Tweet saying that Brunner had not personally confirmed that he would be leaving EV Zug of the Swiss League, and even I can confirm that the main report the beat writers were referencing wasn’t the original—Blick’s article about Brunner actually translates to something along the lines of, “It’s heard from the U.S.A. that Damien Brunner (26 years old) has chosen the Red Wings for himself,” not that Brunner said so…
But it’s a pretty safe guess that Brunner will indeed sign with the Wings.
Speaking of buckaroos, I did indeed make my hotel reservations for Traverse City tonight, and while I got a better rate online than I did by actually calling the hotel, holy shit, going during the Cherry Festival is gonna make me lose money going up to the Wings’ prospect camp from July 7-14. If there is any way that you can squeeze some pennies out of your pockets to help me pay for gas and food, I would greatly appreciate it, but y’all already got me there, so if I’ve got to take a header, so be it.
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, fire me an email at that address or at georgemalik at kuklaskorner dot com.
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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.