The Malik Report
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today agreed to terms with right wing Teemu Pulkkinen on a one-year contract. In accordance with club policy, additional details will not be disclosed
The whole concept of "three things" involves tying disparate stories together, in no small part because "three things" tend to pop up in the summertime, and this entry stretches the premise of "three things" about as far as it can gett.
First, while the Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby duly notes that the Toronto Maple Leafs have hired former Wings head coach Mike Babcock, assistant coaches Jim Hiller and Andrew Brewer, strength and conditioning coach Peter Renzetti, and, on Monday, Finnish scout Ari Vouri as the Leafs' Director of European Scouting, a certain Jimmy Devellano's take on Vouri's importance (and he was important) is...reassuring:
Art Regner and USA Today's kevin Allen spoe about the Red Wings and the NHL for 32 minutes this morning on 1130 AM WDFN--on July 20th--and here's the audio(which was apparently just a small part of a three-hour segment):
CBS Sports' Chris Peters pondered what facets of the Red Wings' play might change under Jeff Blashill, and given that the Wings' style of play will remain relatively constant as the Grand Rapids Griffins played an incredibly similar-to-Detroit puck possession system under Blashill, Peters posits the suggestion that we will see fewer veteran players in secondary and tertiary roles going forward, and a greater emphasis (finally) on the youth movement:
It's one thing when it's 2007-08 and the team has the most stacked roster in the league and jobs are hard to come by. It's quite another when the 2014 version of Dan Cleary is getting a preferred spot on the roster while younger players are banging on the door deserving of an opportunity. In a salary cap sport, and especially on a team that is as close to the cap as the Red Wings are with so many big-money players, you just cannot waste prime years of a top prospect like that. If there was a reason to be critical of Babcock's time in Detroit, especially in recent years, this might have been it.
Having coached most of them over the years in the AHL, Blashill is going to be extremely familiar with the younger players on the Detroit roster and they might get more of an opportunity to play more meaningful roles than they did in recent years at the NHL level.
The one thing that some of the younger players have going for them under Blashill is that many of them (Nyquist, Tatar, Sheahan, Landon Ferraro, Luke Glendenning, Petr Mrazek, etc.) won a championship with him at the AHL. He knows he can win with them because he has already done it (even if at a lower level) and that may carry a built-in trust that they may not have had under Babcock.
In the end, players like Datsyuk or Zetterberg aren't going to be losing ice time, and there aren't going to be sweeping changes made to the roster or the style of play, but the guys at the top may not have to carry such a heavy load as they have in recent years.
I've been wondering how one says, "I'm 37, I'm not old!" today.
It's Pavel Datsyuk's 37th birthday, but Datsyu'ks revelation that his surgically-repaired ankle will take more like 4-5 months to heal than the initial 3-4 months shook up a sleepy mid-summer news cycle, and as per usual, the hockey media corps decided that Datsyuk's injury, suffered while blocking a shot, is yet another sign that he's "slowing down" and is "no longer durable."
Datsyuk's under contract to the Red Wings for 2 more years, and he'll have to sign on for a third year if he is to help break in the Wings' follow-on rink. Today, he was busy in Yekaterinburg at his summer hockey school...
George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press answered some questions from Tigers/Wings fans today (mostly Tigers)...
What happened to Z in the second half of the Season? What's his outlook for this season?
I assume you mean the lack of goal scoring? He did have 18 assists over the final 27 games, but only two goals. It wasn't like he wasn't chipping in offensively, but yes you'd think he'd put a few more in the net himself. As long as he's healthy, he'll remain an important player for the Wings, even more so at the start of the season when Datsyuk is missing.
If both players shine in training camp/preseason who is more likely to make the big club this year mantha or larkin?
I don't think there's any doubt that Dylan Larkin is the top prospect in the organization at this point. That said, I don't think there's really any chance that Larkin will start the season with the Wings, barring injury. But, it is entirely possible that if he dominates at the AHL level, he could force them to call him up at some point during the season.
As for Mantha, he's got a lot to prove. He needs to show he is willing to battle more than he did last season. And he has to get stronger, which he's apparently showing more of a commitment to doing this summer.
If Holland were to retire in the near future, do you think Kris Draper would be promoted to GM?
No, don't think Draper is ready for something like that. He might be one day. I can tell you that he gets a lot of credit for the Wings drafting Tyler Bertuzzi.
added 2:27pm, It's summer and I am a dummy. I see George posted this earlier today, sorry for the mess up.
Among this afternoon's Red Wings-related news stories:
First, from the Grand Rapids Griffins:
Second, the Free Press's George Sipple answered some Wings-related questions during a chat on Freep.com...
Free advertising, as it were:
RED WINGS PARTIAL SEASON TICKET PLANS NOW AVAILABLE
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DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today announced that partial ticket plans are now available for the upcoming 2015-16 campaign. Returning this season, the Red Wings are giving the fans of Hockeytown the flexibility to create a custom ticket plan around their schedule by utilizing the Build-a-Plan feature to create personalized 10 and 20-Game Plans starting at just $340.
In cheerier Pavel Datsyuk news...
Join us in wishing the #MagicMan @Datsyuk13 a very happy birthday today!
They keep heading to Toronto...Thus far, Mike Babcock's brought Red Wings assistant coaches Andrew Brewer and Jim Hiller to Toronto, as well as Wings strength and conditioning coach Peter Renzetti. This morning, the Maple Leafs issued a press release stating that the team's also hired one member of the Wings' amateur scouting staff:
The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that Steve Briere has been named the team’s goaltending coach. The Maple Leafs have also hired Ari Vuori as their Director of European Scouting.
Vuori brings nearly two decades of European scouting experience to the Maple Leafs hockey operations department having served as a European scout with the Detroit Red Wings for eight seasons (2007-08 through 2014-15) and with the Los Angeles Kings for 11 seasons (1996-97 through 2006-07). He also held a hockey operations role with TPS of the Finnish Elite League for eight seasons.
As a player, Vuori collected 371 points (167 goals, 204 assists) in 503 regular season games over 13 seasons in the Finnish Elite League. He also spent the 1981-82 season in the Ontario Hockey League with the Belleville Bulls and the Niagara Falls Flyers.
Vuori helped facilitate the Wings' drafting of TPS Turku forward Julius Vahatalo, and he was one of the scouts that helped the Wings snag Teemu Pulkkinen.
This appears to be the extent of the Leafs' "poaching" of Wings personnel, and very thankfully, Hakan Andersson's both under contract and off-limits to speaking with anybody but the Wings' brass.
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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.