The Malik Report
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.
Updated 6x with video at 8 PM: The Red Wings’ organizational meetings on June 15th and 16th may determine whether Chris Osgood and Kris Draper have to play hockey somewhere other than Detroit if they wish to continue their careers. Wings GM Ken Holland has already stated that he’s not sure whether the team should bring back Osgood, and today, the Detroit Free Press’s Paula Pasche fired off several Twitter posts which suggest that the team faces quite a conundrum regarding keeping Draper at the expense of Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller and/or Jan Mursak:
Kris Draper at #Lions said Holland would sign him if he saw today’s workout. Expects to know in 7-10 days if he’ll rturn next season.
Kris Draper at #Lions said won’t sign 2-way contract like Maltby did. Wants to play another year w/ #Wings.
As the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan suggests via an email-answering column, the Wings are in a bit of a pickle:
Updated at 8:25 AM with pretty cool charity news: We’re reaching pretty much the zenith of our summer as Red Wings fans here. With the Stanley Cup Final underway and, as Ken Holland has suggested, no real pressure on players or agents to get down to the business of deciding their futures and preparing for the personnel moves to come, this might as well read as “Azimuth A” of the Wings hockey desert, with the other being the middle of August, right before players return from their off-season homes.
I’ve been on the other side of, “You are your own sports desk, so you do the research,” and having your team in the Cup Final while you’re trying to catch everything that’s said or written about your team is nothing less than exhausting and insane, whereas this, especially with Nicklas Lidstrom’s decision weighing heavily upon the franchise’s course of action…This is like watching and waiting for a water heater to explode on Mythbusters. You know the big boom’s going to happen, but you don’t know when, so you stare more and more intently, with more liberal measures of anxiety and near paranoia, worried that you’re going to miss the scoop of scoops…
Via Fox Sports Detroit, Art Regner sat down for a timely interview with former Red Wings forward Darren McCarty:
Exactly 14 years ago Tuesday, Darren McCarty’s highlight-reel goal in the second period secured a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers at Joe Louis Arena and a four-game sweep of the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals.
It was the Red Wings’ first Stanley Cup title since 1955, setting off a celebration in Detroit that culminated in a parade that drew more than a million people downtown a couple of days later.
FOXSportsDetroit.com’s Art Regner on Tuesday had lunch with McCarty, who vividly recalls that Cup run, which got an early start—March 26, 1997 vs. Claude Lemieux and his Colorado Avalanche.
Regner’s video interview with McCarty is over 35 minutes in duration!
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo, you can add Todd Richards’ name to Bob Boughner as one of the candidates to replace Brad McCrimmon behind the Red Wings’ bench:
The Wild has made it clear to NHL teams that they have permission to speak to the former Wild coach, who has one more year left on his Minnesota contract. Richards has begun to be contacted by NHL teams seeking assistant coaches.
According to multiple league sources, Richards has interviews lined up with Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock and Columbus Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel within the next week. Detroit is looking to replace Brad McCrimmon, who stepped down, while Columbus is looking to replace Bob Boughner, who also stepped down.
Most interesting though: According to sources, the Winnipeg franchise has already reached out to Richards and plans to interview him in the near future for an assistant coaching position. This would lend further credence to reports that Manitoba Moose coach Claude Noel, Richards’ mentor from their days together in Milwaukee, could soon be replacing Craig Ramsay as coach.
My gut still tells me that, somewhere along the line, the Wings will both consider simply promoting Keith McKittrick, the team’s video coordinator…and I have to believe that Babcock’s attempted to get permission from the Phoenix Coyotes to speak to his old pal Dave King…
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.