The Malik Report
from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,
Jimmy Howard looked out upon the gathered media scrum and blinked a couple of times.
“Haven’t seen you guys in a while,” Howard said.
Likewise, we’re sure, was undoubtedly uttered by the 4,500 or so who came to the WFCU Centre Saturday night for the Rock Out The Lockout NHLPA charity game.
The final score saw Steve Ott’s Team White drub Dan Cleary’s Team Black by a 17-11 count in the NHLPA charity game that benefitted local childhood cancer foundation Sparkles From Above, but this was never about the game as much as it was about the event.
Via Paul, broadcast executives from Comcast Sportsnet Chicago, the CBC and Fox Sports Detroit here in Michigan spoke with the New York Times' Micheline Maynard about the difficulties their respective networks face in attempting to fill their hockey broadcasting voids. Fox Sports Detroit's Greg Hammaren suggests that the Detroit Tigers' successes over the past two seasons have cushioned the blow left by the Red Wings' absence, but the FSD is still being hit hard by the lack of NHL hockey as a revenue-driving force:
“It’s frustrating,” said Greg Hammaren, the senior vice president and general manager of FoxSports Detroit, the television home of the Red Wings.
In Michigan, the average Red Wings game is viewed in more than 100,000 households. Hammaren said about 65,000 of them are in the metropolitan Detroit area, which has earned the nickname Hockeytown.
To fill the vacancies left by canceled games, FoxSports Detroit has shifted telecasts of the Pistons from its high-definition channel to the main FoxSports channel. It is also planning to run more college hockey games, and it is talking with the Red Wings about showing games played by the Grand Rapids Griffins, the American Hockey League team owned by the N.H.L. club.
“People want live hockey again,” Hammaren said.
Yoost offering a little "for further reading": this came from Dustin Penner's Twitter account, and as you know. I'm the CNBC of bloggers when it comes to being a NHLPA liberal here, so this ain't exactly "fair and balanced" territory, but I would highly suggest that you read this dated article from the Nation's David Zirin (yes, they are very politically liberal. If it matters, I'm a non-partisan "squishy centrist") regarding Proskauer-Rose, the law firm which the NHL, NFL, MLB NBA have employed as their outside counsel whenever they negotiate collective bargaining agreements.
Regardless of which side you support in the lockout, if you support any at all, and even given that this article has a pro-player bent that makes people like me sound objective (ha!), it's a must-read nonetheless. It might also yield a little insight as to why Gary Bettman, Bill Daly and the ever-present P-R representative, Bob Batterman, seem to have decided that this is no longer about negotiating a collective bargaining agreement, but instead, a crusade to crush Donald Fehr:
Until I can ask him whether my hockey gut is right, I'm sticking to my guns in suggesting that the Detroit Red Wings' departing captain, Nicklas Lidstrom, may have displayed his uncanny knack for anticipating the course of events to come, both on the ice and off, by choosing to make his inevitable move back home to Sweden before an inevitable lockout that would have demanded eight, twelve or more months of engaging in the off-season training for which Lidstrom found little remaining appetite.
Especially given that Red Wings fans were also robbed of a prior season-and-a-half of Lidstrom's grace and poise, as well as a season-and-a-half without Steve Yzerman, a season absent Brendan Shanahan and now a season-and-a-third (and counting) with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk playing for teams other than the Wings...Well, let's just say that I read the Hockey News's Brian Costello's list of the ten players who played the most games with one and only one organization wondering, "What if?":
Via RedWingsFeed, Jimmy Howard and Danny Cleary spoke to ESPN's Craig Custance about the wackiness that happened on Thursday, and both spoke about experiences that fans have shared with them, at least viscerally speaking...
"It kind of made me sick to my stomach. It really did," Howard said. "This emotional roller coaster of getting excited, getting amped up -- it feels like the wind getting knocked out of you."
Cleary was getting text message updates from Oilers forward Shawn Horcoff, one of the group of players in New York trying to finalize a deal. Even those updates didn't prepare him for the unraveling that played out on the television screen in front of him.
"I was blown away. Everybody was, trust me," Cleary said. "The fans must be going insane. If you're a fan watching this unfold for the last 72 hours -- especially yesterday. What's going on here? Last night, the drama that unfolded was soap opera-ish."
So what happens now that, if you're a PA supporter, you believe Howard's suggestion that the NHL intentionally pulled the carpet out from under Fehr and the players, or, if you're leaning toward the owners, you believe that the players scuttled the ship by demanding to have Fehr in the room to sign off on the deal?
"We need to step back here a few days, take the weekend and hope cooler heads prevail," Cleary said. "This is too close to burn a season."
Continued, and amen.
The Free Press's George Sipple spoke to some of the players participating in tomorrow's Rock Out the Lockout game (to be played at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, ON), and while the Red Wings' players offered usual notes of union solidarity and disappointment about yesterday's Kabuki theatre and/or CBA breakdowns, they still believe the sides should get back to the table--sooner or later, anyway--and get a deal done.
First, here's the solidarity stuff from the Wings' official labor voice, Danny Cleary...
"They have certain goals in their mind that they have to achieve," Cleary said of the NHL. "So do we."
The players who spoke to the media following a skate at the Troy Sports Center today said they are united in support of union boss Don Fehr.
"I'm not saying that because I toe the line with the PA," Cleary said. I-'ve been on calls with 200 players. Trust me, it's overwhelming. Yeah, you're going to have a few players that say, 'hey, let's just sign a deal.' You're entitled to your own opinion, but I'm telling you Don Fehr is as transparent as it gets. This guy tells us exactly what's going on."
Jimmy Howard offered a question as to why the league doesn't believe the PA's "givebacks" are satisfactory, especially given that everything in this "retrenching" involves the PA surrendering a little over a billion dollars of revenue promised to them under the supposedly legally-binding contracts agreed to under the previous CBA...
From the Red Wings' PR department, it appears that the lockout won't prevent the Wings from engaging in their yearly tradition of competing for kettle bell-ringing bragging rights as the team hopes to give the Salvation Army a big assist:
RED WINGS COMPETE FOR BELL RINGING BRAGGING RIGHTS
… Babcock, Holland and Former Players to Bell Ring on Dec. 11 Across Metro Detroit to Raise Funds for The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign …
Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings will compete for bragging rights on Tuesday, Dec. 11, to see which duo can raise the most money for The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign, as four teams bell ring at different Metro Detroit retail locations. Fans are asked to make a suggested $10 donation in exchange for an autograph at all four locations.
Updated at 11:17 PM w/ Rock Out the Lockout game talk and Cleary on the day's events: Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I've been attempting to slowly but surely crawl out from behind the depressive episode rock I've been under for the last two months. But as I'm in Twitter jail at present (I Tweet too much, imagine that!), here are a few thoughts about this evening's proceedings:
- When Bettman and Fehr exchange chest-puffing presser comments, people go with Bettman for some reason. I don't think either lied per se. Fehr saw progress, saw actual negotiating and how close the sides were, and was like, "Holy shit, we're really close!" because he'd just gotten in the room. Bettman and Daly decided to remind everyone that their offers are not negotiable. That's been the whole God-damned problem. The NHLPA has tried to negotiate, and the NHL is only offering take-it-all-or-leave-it-all deals.
- I still think that we've got about a month till the league puts the kibosh on the season, but I remain, "Hopeful but not optimistic." I think that one way or another, the nuclear commissoner's record speaks for itself, and his owners seem equally committed to crushing the union at all costs.
The announcement that Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch's Ilitch Holdings business organization is backing legislation which would facilitate the construction of a massive "mixed-use" development which will include a follow-on rink succeeding Joe Louis Arena has everything to do with timing.
We should know more about the proposed rink, as the Detroit News notes, the residential space, commercial development which will include the "mall" Mike Babcock conveniently leaked ten months ago and, most likely, a practice facility of some sort over the next couple of days, as the details of said development will slowly but surely find their way into the online print and broadcast media's hands, but the timing of this news involves three critical factors in terms of timing, ease of legislation and fan impact:
from Paul Egan of the Detroit Free Press,
Officials from Mike Ilitch's Olympia Development Company are today outlining to state lawmakers plans for a $650 milllion-dollar mixed use development in downtown, anchored by a "new, state of the art, multi-purpose events center."
Eric Larson, non-executive president of Olympia Development, told the Senate Government Operations Committee the public-private development is expected to annually produce more than 1,000 jobs and $210 million in economic impact.
"The building of an events center district will create over 5,500 jobs for the events center alone and nearly 8,300 jobs for the first phase of the overall events district," Larson said.
He pegged the overall economic impact of the project at $1.8 billion.
Read the press release from Ilitch Holdings.
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.