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Larkin at the track, part 2

Dylan Larkin was busy at the Michigan Grand Prix on Belle Isle today...

And the Free Press's Helene St. James touched base with Larkin regarding his experience at the World Championship and his sporting endeavors since coming home:

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Mid-day news: Twitterrama, a prospect traded and Lidstrom’s role changing with Vasteras IK

Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

1. In the historical news department:

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Duff confirms Wings’ Radulov interest, talks about Cleary’s future

Some of you will find irony in this. The Windsor Star's Bob Duff penned an article in which he confirms the Wings' interest in Alexander Radulov, who one might argue is a re-tread of sorts...

While some hockey sources are citing the Wings as the leaders in the sweepstakes for free-agent forward Alexander Radulov, their offer might not be enough to lure him to Detroit.

According to an NHL source, the Wings, wary of Radulov’s reputation as a bad apple, aren’t willing to offer him more than a one-year deal somewhere in the $4-5 million range.

Radulov is reportedly seeking a multi-year deal but with his history of discipline problems, the Wings are reluctant to commit long-term until they are certain he has outgrown the petulant ways of his youth.

And then Duff spoke with someone Wings fans see as a problem in Daniel Cleary, who attended the Bob Probert Memorial Classic golf tournament on Friday. Cleary told Duff that rumors of his return to Grand Rapids, apparently as a player-slash-coach, are incorrect:

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TSN’s Dreger via The Score: Wings trying to move Datsyuk’s contract

This comes from The Score's Josh Gold-Smith:

The Detroit Red Wings are reportedly keen on taking a run at Steven Stamkos this summer, and general manager Ken Holland is apparently already trying to clear cap space to do it.

"(They're) most definitely looking at Steven Stamkos as an unrestricted free agent option, but in order for the Red Wings to get into that game, obviously they're going to have to move out the money of Pavel Datsyuk," TSN's Darren Dreger reported on Friday's edition of "Insider Trading."

Datsyuk, who has one more year remaining at a cap hit of $7.5 million, has received an offer to play in the KHL with SKA St. Petersburg, but won't decide on his future before meeting with the Red Wings later this month.

"Ken Holland ... is actively trying to move that one year, the remaining year on his contract," Dreger said Friday. "Maybe there's a team out there that needs that $7.5 million to get to the (salary cap) floor, but the Red Wings know in order to move it, they're going to have to sweeten it."

Gold-Smith continues, and Dreger states that the Wings may have to move Teemu Pulkkinen or Tomas Jurco in addition to the contract to "sweeten the deal," which we've heard before...

Update: Gold-Smith also reports this from Dreger regarding Alexander Radulov:

"The belief is the Red Wings are comfortable (with) a one-year deal at around four million, but a couple of NHL sources have indicated he wants two years at $7.5 million per (season)," Dreger reported Friday.

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Draper, Cleary discuss playing with Probert

From the Windsor Star's Bob Duff, via RedWingsFeed:

To most of the skaters who took the ice at Tecumseh Arena in Friday’s Bob Probert Classic charity hockey game – people like Detroit Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin, New Jersey Devils forward Adam Henrique and former Windsor Spitfires Trevor Murphy and Hunter Smith — Probert is merely a legendary name.

To the two fellows who served as the night’s coaches [Kris Draper and Daniel Cleary], Windsor’s Probert, who died of a heart attack in 2010, was a friend and teammate.

“When you think of Bob Probert, you obviously have got to think of a fight and the one fight I’ll never forget is him and Marty McSorley,” remembered Kris Draper, who played alongside Probert with the Detroit Red Wings. “I just remember that it seemed to go on for like two minutes and that is a long, long hockey fight. The Joe was absolutely rocking. It was unbelievable and it was just Probie doing what he did — sticking up for a teammate, getting in a fight, bringing the fans out of their seats.

“I believe it was at the end of the period because they both didn’t go to the penalty box, they went to the dressing rooms and as Probie’s skating by the bench, he just says, ‘Probie’s done.’ He said that, talking in the third person. It was classic Bob Probert.”


Update: Here's more from Duff, writing for Hockeybuzz:

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Kris Draper still recalled as Crosby’s most dangerous faceoff foe

This story involves a person that Red Wings fans love to hate, but I believe that its mentions of a player who was nothing less than a beast on faceoffs balances things out. USA Today's Kevin Allen spoke with Logan Couture, Sidney Crosby and one Kris Draper regarding the concept of "cheating on faceoffs."

Draper, who used every trick in the book to win faceoffs--using his feet to kick pucks away, his hands to bat pucks back or forward (which is now illegal), stick-slashing, hacking opponents, you name it--is fondly recalled as Crosby's most difficult faceoff foe:

“Everyone cheats on faceoffs,” [Couture,] the San Jose Sharks center[,] said. “I cheat. Jumbo (Thornton) cheats. That’s how you try and win draw. (Crosby’s) one of the best at it, and he wins a lot of faceoffs.”

Crosby said former Detroit Red Wings center Kris Draper was one of the toughest faceoff artists he ever faced, and Draper told USA TODAY Sports he and Crosby cheated against each other.

“I believe you have to anticipate the drop of the puck, which is probably a polite form of cheating,” Draper said.

Crosby said Draper was strong on his stick. “He had done it for so long, especially when I was playing against him,” Crosby said. “I felt like he just always found a way. He didn’t do the same thing every time. You were allowed to use your hands, too, so he always had his hand in there and scooped it up. He was really crafty.”

When you faced Draper, Crosby said, you knew it would be a war for the puck. “He took it really seriously,” Crosby said.

Allen continues, and I certainly wonder why the Wings don't occasionally bring the special assistant to the general manager out of the stands to school the youngsters in the arts of "cheating" on faceoffs...

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A Little Caesars Arena construction update

From Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea:

The structural steel that will form the bones of the massive retail and office buildings along two flanks of Little Caesars Arena began to rise Friday.

The work represents the latest phase in the $627.5 million project that's scheduled to wrap up in September 2017 as the home of the Detroit Red Wings.

Under the arena's "deconstructed" design concept, the glass-roofed 61,000-square-foot concourse (called the Via), shops, restaurants, offices and other elements are pulled into separate buildings connected — but outside the arena bowl — to make them available when the venue isn't being used for hockey or other events.

The concrete support piers, and the towers for elevators and stairwells, are complete for the four-story buildings that will face Woodward Avenue and Henry Street on the arena site's 12-acre footprint, said Steve Marquardt, vice president of the company overseeing the project, Olympia Development of Michigan. Olympia and the Red Wings are owned by Mike and Marian Ilitch.

There will be 28,000 square feet of retail space — which can be merchandise and apparel shops or restaurants and bars — along the Woodward frontage, and 15,000 square feet along Henry, he said. Between the two streets will be 160,000 square feet of office space (of which about 100,000 square feet will be offices for the Detroit Red Wings and Olympia Entertainment).


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St. James talks dollars and sense in a mailbag feature

Of note from the Free Press's Helene St. James' Friday mailbag feature:

From Twitter user @sully6one: Any scenario where the Red Wings pick up Stamkos, Radulov and make a trade for Shattenkirk?

HSJ: Even if the Wings are able to move Pavel Datsyuk's contract (if he, as expected, leaves this summer), there would not be room to sign both Steven Stamkos (various reports have him rejecting an $8.5 million cap average contract) and Alexander Radulov (who probably would want at least in the $5 million range). Bear in mind that even with Kyle Quincey and Brad Richards coming off the books (a combined cap hit of $7.25 million), the Wings have to re-sign RFAs in Petr Mrazek, Danny DeKeyser and Riley Sheahan, all of whom are due significant raises. As for trading for Kirk Shattenkirk of the St. Louis Blues, the last asking price was Dylan Larkin, which is an automatic no-go.

St. James continues, discussing Steven Stamkos and Tyler Bertuzzi...

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‘Probert Classic hockey game’ to take place today in Tecumseh, Ontario

From InPlay Magazine:

Hockey players will be lacing up for the third annual Probert Classic hockey game taking place on Friday, June 3rd at Tecumseh Arena.

The game features the Suburban Homes Red Wings, coached by Kris Draper Assistant General Manager of the Detroit Red Wings versus the Johnny Shotz Blackhawks, coached by Dan Cleary of the Detroit Red Wings. The team rosters for the event include NHL, OHL and AHL players.

We will be honouring Mike Rohrer with a moment of silence before the game.

The Probert Classic is a fundraising event organized by Bob Probert’s daughter Tierney Probert. General admission is just $5 with all proceeds benefiting the upcoming Bob Probert Ride, taking place on June 26th.

Tickets for the Probert Classic are available at the door. The event will also feature a chuck a puck contest and raffle with great prizes.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m, game begins at 7:00 p.m.


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Custance weighs in on the Radulov rumors

I've stated before that I'm more or less resigned to the concept of the Red Wings signing Alexander Radulov to a contract, and the emphasis is on resignation to the likelihood thereof as opposed to protest or disappointment.

Radulov is a strange fellow, and drama's tended to follow him and his actions in the KHL, especially regarding some heavy hits he's laid out due to his size and strength (6'1" and 210 pounds), as well as his very public issues with the Russian national team's coach, Sergei Znarok, who can't stand Radulov...

But MLive's Ansar Khan and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan's reports regarding the Wings' interest in Radulov sound like the team's aware of Radulov's red flags, and adding a big, strong, mean forward who likes to go to the front of the net and score goals sounds like a decent idea for a team in search of "dirty goals" if it's only on one-year contract terms.

ESPN's Craig Custance weighed in on the Wings' interest in Radulov via an Insider-only mailbag column, and Custance shares the same concerns that many Red Wings fans have regarding the dominant but dramatic forward:

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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.


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