The Malik Report
Thanks to my ISP clunking out after some severe thunderstorms rolled through the Metro Detroit Area, this is essentially an “overnight report” in belated fashion…which is annoying as all hell get out for someone who wants to remain on top of the news. It could have been much worse, however, so my apologies for the delay.
Anyway: Jonathan Ericsson talked about his desire to remain a member of the Red Wings in Swedish on Sunday, and the Free Press’s George Sipple basically offered an English equivalent of his interview this morning:
When the Wings’ players cleaned out their lockers for the season a couple weeks ago, Ericsson made it clear he wasn’t all that excited about testing the waters as an unrestricted free agent. “I really like it here, and my first choice is to be here,” Ericsson said then.
And until he hears from his agent, he said he planned to be back in his native Sweden working on a new summer home.
Via a tip from Chris from Too Many Men on the Site, the Red Wings have signed Andrej Nestrasil to a 3-year entry-level contract. Nestrasil’s agent, Robart Spalenka, tells Hokej.cz’s Vaclav Jachim that that the Wings and Nestrasil’s North American agent, Don Meehan, spent an extended period of time negotiating the deal, but now that it’s done, Nestrasil will attend the Wings’ rookie camp this July and then turn pro with Grand Rapids in the fall.
Spalenka also believes that the Wings will sign Ottawa 67’s goaltender Petr Mrazek to a contract next season, and he tells Jachim that Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer played a huge role in mentoring Nestrasil.
I’d provide a full translation, but aside from Spalenka comparing Mrazek to Marc-Andre Fleury (not quite), talking about the Czechs’ performance at the World Championships and pointing out that the Grand Rapids Griffins are a first-class organization…Czech does not translate well.
Update: Capgeek.com has Nestrasil’s contract details. He has a cap hit of $585K at the NHL level but will earn $50,000, $55,000 and then $57,500 at the AHL level over the next three seasons, and he’s earned salary bonuses of $58,334 for the 2011-2012 season and then $58,333 for the 12-13 and 13-14 seasons.
Update #2, 8:37 PM: The Grand Rapids Press confirms
Aside from the usual international press whopper (Brad McCrimmon will coach Lokomotiv Yaroslavl next year), this morning’s crop of Sunday columnists’ conversations offers good discussions of the respective states of the Red Wings’ blueline and crease going forward—including Jonathan Ericsson talking about his desire to remain with the Wings, albeit in Swedish:
Wings GM Ken Holland spoke to the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson about the Wings’ belief that their blueline should survive Brian Rafalski’s departure because it’s time for Niklas Kronwall to truly shine—and as such, Holland tells Matheson that the Wings might look for a solid #3 guy instead of a top-two defenseman on the free agent market:
“We’re not going to find a Brian Rafalski on the open market but I think we can move (Niklas) Kronwall up to take Brian’s spot on the power play. We haven’t let him be Brian Rafalski for the last four years. Any time we had a No. 1 power play out popped Brian and (Nicklas) Lidstrom. Late in the game, out popped Lidstrom and Rafalski or four-on-four. Those situations now, Kronwall will be there. Nik’s only 30 years of age. He might not be quite the puck-mover Brian was, but he’s got a physical dimension to his game that Brian didn’t,” said general manager Ken Holland.
Lokomotiv is a perennial contender with superb ownership and sponsors who are committed to spending money to win.
Their website confirms the news.
Update: Sports.ru notes that no terms have been released for McCrimmon’s deal as of yet.
Anyway, aside from the fact that the Swedish media still needs a bit of a refresher regarding the NHL’s CBA (Expressen’s Tomas Bjorklund makes it sound like Calle Jarnkrok’s agent’s polite declining of the Wings’ qualifying offer to retain Jarnkrok’s rights—and the fact that teams have to submit qualifying offers to prospects they have yet to sign to retain their rights is news to many people in hockey, including Hakan Andersson—was choosing to “say no” to Detroit and stay with Brynas), it’s been a quiet day…
But the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan cranks up the Sunday columnist machine by discussing the fact that Detroit remains a place where free agents want to play, which is very important given the retirement of Brian Rafalski and the possible conclusions of Chris Osgood and Kris Draper’s careers:
A week ago today, Ian Jenkins’ coach, Mike Hamilton, contacted KK to inform us that the London Knights prospect and Detroit Honeybaked/Belle Tire goaltender, who had suffered a severe head injury, was still fighting for his life at the University of Michigan Hospital. By Monday morning, I received a short text message from Mr. Hamilton, stating that Ian had passed away at 7:54 AM. The family gave Ian two lasting legacies in donating his organs and starting the “Big E” Foundation, and today, Plymouth Whalers director of communications Pete Krupsky reports that Jenkins was laid to rest, and then remembered in a charity hockey game:
he hockey community cares, especially in times of tragedy.
That is the overriding theme of the Ian Jenkins Charity Hockey Game, held Saturday at Compuware Arena in Plymouth Township. Nearly 800 people and players attended the event, which featured games of junior-aged players to 1998 birthdays and younger over a four-hour period.
In case you missed it, Jenkins, considered one of the best 15-year-old goaltenders in the United States, died last Monday morning. He had suffered a severe head injury on May 19 after falling out of the bed of a pickup truck and onto pavement in Milan, according to police.
Jenkins had been drafted by the London Knights in the second round of the 2011 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection and was ready to start another chapter of his career when tragedy struck.
The entire spectrum of the hockey community paid their respects - from Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock and Ontario Hockey League Commissioner David Branch - to teammates of Jenkins. Some families and players came out just to support the event.
Mike Babcock reflects upon the Red Wings’ season on WBBL: Wings need top-6 forward, d-man to succeed
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock spoke to WBBL’s “Huge Show’s” Bill Simonson on Friday evening, discussing the Wings’ playoff run, Brian Rafalski’s retirement and the roster tweaks to come.
Babcock believes that injuries caught up to the Wings in their series against the Sharks, and while he suggests that the Wings’ core remains strong and that the team’s still a Cup contender, he believes that the team needs to both replace Brian Rafalski with a top-pair defenseman, and, unlike Ken Holland, Babcock believes that the Wings must bring in another top-six forward to get over the playoff hump.
Here’s a transcript of the interview:
As SportsBusiness Journal’s Liz Mullen and the Montreal Gazette’s Pat Hickey reported, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly stated that the salary cap could rise to anywhere between $62 to $63.5 million for the 2011-2012 season, but the final figure depends on two factors: first and foremost, the players’ share will increase if the NHL reaches $3 billion in total revenues, and Daly told Mullen and an audience at the Sports Lawyers Association’s convention that the NHL is going to exceed $2.9 billion in revenues, but he didn’t have the final numbers.
The other issues involves escrow withholdings, because the players can either agree to or choose to decline their right to increase the cap by 5%, but as the Score’s Rick Moldovayni and Forbes’ Mike Colligan suggest, the fact that players have been giving around 10-13% of their salaries back to the league because so many teams spend more real-world dollars than the cap limits them to thanks to long-term contracts whose averaged salaries drop players’ cap hits and LTIR exemptions (mostly the former):
Theoretically, the escrow effect of contracts like these will reverse a decade from now on the tail end of the deals when the cap hit exceeds actual salary paid, but a different generation of players will reap the benefits (assuming the same system is in place and the star players haven’t already retired by that time).
In a sense, the escrow tensions have pitted [Canucks goaltender Robert] Luongo and the ‘haves’ against the ‘have-nots’ of the NHL. This leads to an important and perhaps polarizing strategic choice for the NHLPA.
The Mercury News’s Mark Purdy proffers a Sharks-related column with an only ever-so-slightly-marginally Red Wings-related tidbit, but I’m posting it on TMR because, well…This may be the strangest introduction to a column about a team’s performance that you’ll ever read:
Revelations arrive at strange times. I had mine late one night in Detroit during the Sharks’ six-week playoff run. It was a revelation about repetition and how bad it can be for you, even if it makes you feel halfway good. Throughout the Sharks-Red Wings series, a gaggle of hockey journalists tended to gather in a homey, stained-wood downtown bar called The Detroiter. After the clock struck midnight, the proprietor always brought out a free, large plate of bacon for customers.
“This can’t be good for us,” someone would say as the plate was passed around the joint. Then we’d devour some bacon, anyway. And feel bad about it the next day. Then we’d go back the next night for the same thing.
Eventually, I realized that the Sharks have been trapped in the same ugly cycle. They go to the playoffs every year. They keep consuming the same meal—some early-round success—and feel somewhat satisfied until it ends with another too-early elimination. Then they feel terrible. Yet each spring, they keep going back again for another plate.
Updated with news about former Wing Mike Modano making a charity appearance in the Dallas area on Saturday: Via RedWingsFeed, there’s good news on the Chris Osgood front from the the Sporting News’s Craig Custance. The Red Wings’ back-up netminder is apparently healthy and
“He’s 100 percent healthy. He’s never felt better. He was ready to go at the end of the season,” Thompson told Sporting News.
Since the playoffs aren’t an ideal time to return to action after an extended absence, the Red Wings opted to go with Joey MacDonald as the backup behind Jimmy Howard during Detroit’s playoff run. Thompson is planning on meeting with Osgood on Tuesday to discuss his future and play some golf.
Detroit general manager Ken Holland said he expects to hear from Osgood in the next week or two regarding his possible retirement plans.
“He’s going through the internal process to decide if he has the energy and the desire and determination to play hockey again,” Holland said. “In the middle of June, we’ll look at the goalies that are out there, we’re going to try and figure out a way to be the best team that we can.”
As Custance points out, while Holland knows that his team’s youth has to be served eventually, he’s not exactly planning on letting players who Mike Babcock suggests are “vested in the company” go for change’s sake:
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.