The Malik Report
When I think about the fact that the Winnipeg team has yet to choose a name for itself, and has been more than willing to sell season tickets, bring in the team’s presumptive captain and trot around the NHL’s deputy commissioner without doing so much as offering a hint as to whether the beloved Jets name will return, I’ve got to admit that the whole concept is a very Manitoban one. Never rushing, the team’s building its identity from the front office on out, restructuring, and in many cases, making fresh starts and clean breaks from the Atlanta Thrashers’ franchise. I think that the team will probably be quite happy to absorb most of the Thrashers’ up-and-coming players, but at the same time, it seems pretty likely that a free agent or two will join the team’s ranks without donning a team jersey as this team’s displaying a Nicklas Lidstrom-like level of refusal to be rushed.
If anything, they’re all but repeating their ownership’s decision to slowly and steadily court a franchise while keeping their cards in their vest pockets, and in a way, it’s impressive as hell to watch the team be embraced while its management takes shape and asks its fans to simply wait to know the face of its object of affection.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was in Winnipeg on Thursday, and he told the Winnipeg Free Press’s Ed Tait that True North Sports and Entertainment isn’t anywhere near making a decision as to the mail order bride’s countenance…
Bold-but-tenative prediction from Ottawa: Red Wings assistant coach Paul MacLean likely to join Sens
Oh, Ottawa. I really hope that if current Red Wings assistant coach Paul MacLean’s skin is as thick as his moustache, because if Senators GM Bryan Murray, who did give the nod to MacLean as Mike Babcock’s hand-picked assistant coach way back in the day when Babcock helmed the Mighty Ducks, he’s got quite the press corps to deal with. The Ottawa Sun’s Don Brennan frames his suggestion that MacLean will probably get the nod as the Sens’ coach with a bold proclamation’s worth of bluster, before hedging his bets like nobody’s business:
Paul MacLean is going to be the next coach of the Senators.
Now, I’m not 100% sure of this. I would not bet my truck. But of the candidates uncovered by the Sun in recent weeks, MacLean seems to be the most logical choice.
Of course, that is if the decision really is with GM Bryan Murray and not owner Eugene Melnyk. Let’s believe it is, if only because the boss says so.
Brennan proceeds to survey the six likely finalists for the position, offering this take on MacLean
Updated 4x at 2:30 PM with more of Lidstrom’s comments: Per the Red Wings’ Twitter account:
Nick Lidstrom will join ‘The Jungle’ with Jim Rome at 1:00 P.M. (40 minutes) You can listen to the interview here: http://bit.ly/lsNaHf
That link goes to Jim Rome’s website and a pay-to-listen media player, but WDFN AM 1130 simulcasts the Jim Rome show, and you can listen to it via their Flash player. I doubt that Nick will say anything about his future, but it’s worth a listen.
Update: Nick’s asked if he’s decided yet and he says no, he’s spoken to Ken Holland and that he could wait till July 1st to make up his mind, and he’s going to take his time and consider what he wants to do, he’s still healthy but he’s got to figure out whether he’s committed to off-season training and for him it’s about finding the motivation to take part in off-season training and prepare for another year. It’s a little bit harder as you get older because you have to train harder to stay at the level you want to be at and he has to train harder to be at the level he wants to be at.
By most teams’ standards, the changes the Red Wings are likely to undergo in terms of personnel are pretty much a yearly event. Losing Brian Rafalski to retirement, possibly facing the departure of Jonathan Ericsson via free agency, saying goodbye to Brad McCrimmon and probably Paul MacLean behind the bench, and turning the page on Mike Modano (who may continue playing elsewhere), Ruslan Salei, and possibly Chris Osgood and Kris Draper, all while waiting on Nicklas Lidstrom’s decision…
Well, okay, these changes are pretty darn significant by any standard, but given Detroit’s belief that roster continuity and folding in young players slowly but surely to stay cap compliant and reload instead of rebuilding, having to replace one or two (hopefully not three) significant players on the foundation of the team, the blueline, swapping out one or two assistant coaches and possibly saying goodbye to two players who’ve won three and four Stanley Cups in Detroit, respectively, in Osgood and Kris Draper…
If you weren’t already aware of the KHL’s status as a de-facto political entity—its president, SKA St. Petersburg GM Alexander Medvedev, happens to be the deputy chairman of the board of Gazprom, the world’s largest natural gas provider, and Gazprom Export, the KHL’s biggest sponsor, is controlled by the Russian government. Add into the fact that Vladimir Putin, Russia’s prime minister, is from St. Petersburg and brought many of his pals from the St. Petersburg KGB along to Moscow, including former chairman of Gapzrom’s board and current president Dmitry Medvedev, and that Putin happens to be a big hockey fan, and sprinkle in the fact that the old Soviet sport bureau chiefs still play a big role in the Russian oligarchs’ big boys’ toys that are KHL franchises, and you’ve got a political entity that happens to exist as a sports league.
If that’s too convoluted for you, per Sports.ru’s Artem Zyryanov, Putin spoke to his official blog, “Epicenter,” about the KHL, stating that the league was his creation, and was and is designed to be a counterweight to and direct competitor of the NHL. What follows is a rough translation of four points from a 20-questions style interview:
I don’t know what to think about this, per the Free Press’s Helene St. James: former Red Wings forward Mike Modano is still leaning toward retiring, but he’s a little more insistent than he was a month ago about wishing to continue playing:
“I don’t think I’ve completely shut the door on that,” he said Wednesday. “I’ll think about it the first two weeks of July, see if anybody calls. If not, then I’ll say that’s it. But it depends where and with whom—what the opportunity is.”
Modano, who turned 41 on Tuesday, spent the past season with the Red Wings. The Wings wooed him last summer, seeing him as an especially valuable player come playoff time, but that picture dimmed when Westland’s Modano suffered a lacerated right wrist in late November. By the time he recovered from surgery and returned it was late February, and he struggled to make an impact. He was a healthy scratch during a home game against Minnesota—leaving him one game short of 1,500 by the end of the regular season—and then he was a healthy scratch most of the playoffs.
After the playoffs, Modano said his initial thoughts “were just to get away from the game, be done with it.” But now that he has had time to put things in perspective, “you think about how you want one more shot at it, one more chance, how you want to go through that experience again. It would be fulfilling.”
This doesn’t have a lick to do with the Wings, save their performance against the Phoenix Coyotes and one Ilya Bryzgalov in the first round, but as Mr. Holland and the Wings are quite familiar with this man per his representation of Dominik Hasek and Marian Hossa, among others, I could not help but smile when a man whose client is looking for near Brad Richards money from the Philadelphia Flyers had this to say to Fox Sports Arizona about his client:
“When you judge a player you judge the body of work, not three or four games,” he said.
Winter said the Red Wings’ speed, experience, the fact that they were well-rested while the Coyotes had exhausted so much energy just to get into the playoffs all played a factor in the team’s disappointing playoff showing.
“I’m sure Ilya would tell you those weren’t his best four games,” Winter said. “But how many of those goals he allowed did he see?”
Winter reiterated his great respect for Coyotes general manager Don Maloney, coach Dave Tippett, goalie coach Sean Burke and Bryzgalov’s Coyotes teammates.
“He got all the support he could have asked for,” Winter said. “That’s a situation you don’t want to leave. If the building had been full and the team had an owner, things would be different.”
“They have some (salary) cap issues to resolve, but they seem determined and the situation is incredible,” Winter said. “He’s going right into the fire, and if you know Ilya Bryzgalov, you know he loves the competition.”
Continued, and Winter is an absolutely fantastic agent. Thank the hockey gods that he’s not representing a high-profile Wing this spring, because he drives an incredibly hard bargain.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland and NHL executive Rob Blake spoke to the CBC’s Ron MacLean in a special Satellite Hotstove on Wednesday night’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, explaining both the tweaks to the head-shot rule, Holland’s role in some of Colin Campbell’s rulings and the game’s hybrid American/European status, physicality included:
The NHL’s expanding of the rule is still bloody confusing—according to the Toronto Sun’s Mike Zeisberger, Aaron Rome’s hit on Nathan Horton was and is, by the NHL’s standards, a legal hit, but too late for the, “Keep your head up” clause to apply, but it’s interesting to hear two articulate gentlemen attempt to explain what the NHL’s trying to do to curb hits to the head as the game evolves.
No news is no news (?) Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom’s status according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, who spoke with Wings GM Ken Holland at the general managers’ meetings in Boston:
The Red Wings still await word from veteran defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom on his playing future.
“I haven’t talked to Nick in about 10 days,” Holland told us. “I know he went on a family vacation and he just got back. I’m hoping no news is good news, that’s what I’m hoping.”
This is a bit of a surprise…
There were potential rule changes discussed, but only one got any traction. The GMs like the idea of enforcing an unsportsmanlike penalty for players delivering snow showers on goalies, which was an issue in the Detroit-San Jose series.
“I wasn’t the first to bring it up, but somebody else did and I agree with it,’’ Wings GM Ken Holland told ESPN.com. “I think in a playoff series, it can be a bit of a tactic that, if another team has a good goalie, to do it and try to get him off his groove. When it’s pretty obvious, it’s a tactic. We want to nip it.”
File this one under, “Who knew?” From the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff, when it comes to ratings, Mike Modano’s tenure with the Wings may have brought Detroit a little more name-brand recognition:
According to Nielsen, the company famous for supplying television ratings, this season, the Detroit Red Wings suited up two of the top players in the National Hockey League in terms of public awareness, according to the Nielsen Sports/E-pool N-Scores, which evaluates name, image awareness, appeal and attributes such as sincerity, approachability, experience and influence, all designed to determine a player’s endorsement potential.
Topping the list among current players was Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who posed an N-score of 26. Surprisingly, Red Wings centre Mike Modano (20) rated second, followed by Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin (16). Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom tied with Chicago captain Jonathan Toews for fourth overall, each with an N-score of 14.
Among retired players, Wayne Gretzky was the runaway leader with an astonishing N-score of 203. Next was Red Wings legend Gordie Howe, who scored a 45. Former Wings captain and current Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman polled sixth (20) and ex-Wing and former Windsor Spitfires captain Adam Graves came home 10th overall with an N-score of seven.
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.