The Malik Report
Every once in a while, the Detroit News’s Jerry Green probably cracks the arthritis out of his knuckles and pens a column about the Detroit sports scene, offering the perspective of someone who really was an “ink-stained wretch” who likely spent his time hunched over typwriters, chain smoking his way toward beating a deadline.
I respect the hell out of his, “Old school? I’ve literally been there and did it!” perspective (I work for someone like that, and his insights are remarkable), but he is also something of a…Curmudgeon of the Stan Fischler school. So it comes as little surprise that, in discussing the retirements of Detroit Tigers slugger Magglio Ordonez and Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom, he compares the Red Wings’ captain to a player who definitely mirrored Lidstrom’s playing style in Red Kelly, and petitioning for Kelly’s #4 to be raised to the rafters of Joe Louis Arena despite his acrimonious split with the team, which is spot-on…
Green insists that Lidstrom paled in comparison to the real McCoy:
In recovering from a sixty-plus hour…Three-day work week…One needs to hear some comforting news as the aches, pains and spring allergies take their toll. I haven’t even had time to truly wrap my head around the fact that Nicklas Lidstrom, my favorite favorite Red Wing, has retired, but, via RedWingsFeed, I’m hearing something that I desperately need to be told right now, more than any hopeful overnight or Saturday afternoon talk about free agency or draft hopes, and definitely more than watching a team that’s not Detroit compete for the Stanley Cup.
Instead, the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan spoke to one of Lidstrom’s successors, Niklas Kronwall, about the concept of the Red Wings’ opportunity to begin the post-Lidstrom era, period, as the CBA is set to expire in September. Kronwall has represented the team as its NHLPA representative, and he at least believes that we’re not likely to have to endure another lockout, at least if the players have any say in the proceedings. Is he worried?
The Wings may not have a 1st round draft pick thanks to the Kyle Quincey deal, but the Wings still have six picks (starting with the 49th overall pick and continuing with the 20th pick in the 3rd through 7th rounds), and their amateur scouts have every intention of making hay despite their predictably limited and low-round resources.
Updated 3x with free agency scuttlebutt at 1:45 PM: As noted this morning, Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom received quite the feting at last night’s Red Hot Chili Peppers concert, and as RedWingsFeed points out, Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith is something of a Wings fan.
If you’re willing to deal with some audio blips and a significant number of f-bombs from Smith, Ology.com’s Brett Warner found a lovely little cell phone clip taken by Dominic the Al Katib of Nicklas Mother****ing Lidstrom being introduced by Smith and speaking to the crowd at the Joe:
Red Wings overnight report: Nicklas Lidstrom’s Tiger/Chili Pepper evening, and calm before the storm
Perhaps for the first time in his career, Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom received the full celebrity treatment on Friday night. Lidstrom began his evening by delivering the Tigers’ lineup to some photo-happy umpires (per the Free Press’s Julian Gonzalez’s gallery) prior to the Tigers-Yankees game, of course flanked by one Tomas Holmstrom...
One more: Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji launches into a lovely column about Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom’s genuine humility and all-out-niceness, which perhaps proves that, occasionally, nice guys do finish first, with the following…
Having covered sports for almost 17 years in Detroit, I have had the privilege of meeting and interviewing some of the top athletes, coaches, managers and general managers in the four major sports and in college sports as well.
Many of them are down-to-earth, humble, kind people. Others are, well, a little more enthralled with themselves than they should be.
Lidstrom is, without question, the most patient, generous and down-to-earth of all of them, especially when you consider all of his accomplishments.
Very few professional athletes win four championships, a playoff MVP, Olympic gold, a world championship, seven trophies for being the best at his position, and make 12 All-Star teams. Lidstrom did all of that and more and never seemed to read his own press clippings, as the saying goes.
And then she speaks to Danny Cleary, Kris Draper and Chris Chelios about Lidstrom, recalls her own attempts to give Lidstrom a “plug,” and…Reminds us all that we are losing someone who was everything we wanted him to be, and more, simply because he was himself.
Updated 3x with an Albom interview at 8:37 PM: I’ve posted a ridiculous amount of Lidstrom multimedia today, never mind over the past two or three days, but Hockey Webcast on YouTube did a fantastic job of combining TSN’s tribute to the Red Wings’ captain and a video from the Wings that…Well, it makes me cry:
I’ve been covering “my” captain’s retirement for about 45-50 of the last sixty-some hours, so I’m going to have a quiet evening…And yes, he really did tell 97.1 the Ticket’s Stoney, Bill and Sara that when people call him “LinDstrom,” it doesn’t bother him. Not here and not in Sweden.
Give the interview fom the Ticket a listen. What’s he going to miss the most about Metro Detroit? Well, you’ll have to find out for yourself, but it’s pretty remarkable:
The monstrous afternoon post now includes a very rough translation of Tomas Jurco speaking to sport.sk about joining the Red Wings and playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins this fall, but if you’re wondering why the Wings haven’t officially signed Jurco—
despite the fact that they still hold his rights for another season
The lack of a transfer agreement between the International Ice Hockey Federation and the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation is delaying the Detroit Red Wings’ signing of forward Tomas Jurco, their top draft pick in 2011 (35th overall).
Today was the deadline to sign Jurco, but it has been extended indefinitely, until the transfer agreement is reached, which should be fairly soon, Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill said. Once the transfer agreement is official, Nill said there will be no problem getting Jurco signed to a three-year entry level contract.
Jurco just completed his final junior season with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL. He will begin his pro career with the Grand Rapids Griffins next season.
Update: And this is why Khan’s a pro: the Wings apparently do have to sign Jurco this year, for a simple reason:
Nill said because of Jurco’s late B-Day (12-28), they have to sign him this year.
From DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose:
Newly retired #RedWings captain Nicklas Lidstrom will throw out tonight’s first-pitch prior to #Tigers game vs. #Yankees at Comerica Park.
Between the media appearances and endless interviews, I’d imagine that Lidstrom wants to have something he hasn’t enjoyed in some time: a day off sometime this weekend.
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:
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.