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THN’s Campbell recalls Datsyuk’s draft year as proof of an ‘inexact science’

The Hockey News's Ken Campbell duly notes that the NHL's 1996 draft served as proof of the incredibly "inexact science" that is drafting 18-year-olds and projecting their NHL careers going forward.  The best player in the '96 draft was picked 171st overall, and his name is Pavel Datsyuk:

Even the man who discovered Pavel Datsyuk has no idea where ‘The Magic Man’ was playing during the 1995-96 season. That’s because Hakan Andersson never even laid eyes on Datsyuk until two years after that.

If you’re ever looking for more proof that drafting young athletes is the most inexact science in the world, consider Datsyuk. Then look at the 1996 NHL draft. It’s generally regarded as one of the weakest ever. To be sure, it has its share of first-round clunkers. But its status would have been enhanced had people thought to scout a skinny 18-year-old kid in Yekaterinburg, a city on the border of Asia where Czar Nicholas II and his family were slaughtered by the Bolsheviks in 1918.

Datsyuk was eligible for that draft 20 years ago, and if we only knew then what we know now, Ottawa would have undoubtedly taken him first overall. As it turns out, Datsyuk was taken 171st in 1998. That’s 557 picks and two years after the Senators took Chris Phillips No. 1. Nobody could have known that Datsyuk would become one of the best two-way players ever, since he was about 150 pounds at the time. Andersson, who watched him play for the first time two years later, wonders whether people in Russia even knew about Datsyuk.

“That was my biggest concern that year,” Andersson remembered. “I saw him play, and I really liked him, but I thought that if he got picked by the world juniors team, then everybody would know about him. He worked really hard at both ends, and he was good with the puck.”

Campbell continues with a list of comments about the NHL's then 26-teams' first-round picks, as well as a re-draft.

Quick note: Hakan Andersson appeared on HockeySverige.se's "PowerPlay" program, but he did so speaking about his job and his best picks in Swedish.

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Sunday afternoon Gordie Howe stories

Among today's Gordie Howe-related articles:

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Red Wings’ organizational meetings, Datsyuk discussion pushed back due to Howe funeral

From the Free Press's Helene St. James:

[Detroit's] front office staff had been scheduled to gather starting Tuesday, but will delay until Thursday to pay respect to Gordie Howe. The man known as “Mr. Hockey” passed away Friday at 88. The Howe family, which includes Mark Howe, the Wings’ director of pro scouting, will be at Joe Louis Arena Tuesday for public visitation. Gordie Howe’s funeral service is Wednesday.

General manager Ken Holland marshals his front-office colleagues and pro scouts every June to discuss how to improve the team. Players who will hit free agency on July 1 are evaluated, as are possible trade targets.

The Wings, who were eliminated five games into the playoffs in April, are looking to bolster their defense, and acquire a scorer. They will also look at options for a backup goaltender, with a view to trading Jimmy Howard.

Continued, and from the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:

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Albom on Howe

From the Free Press's Mitch Albom:

Who really follows Gordie Howe? Nobody can. Nobody will give us stories like that, or memories like those, not 25 years with a single team, not five decades of hockey, not a standing ovation at Joe Louis Arena as a white-haired, 51-year-old All-Star.

You lose athletes like this, and there’s a hole on the shelf forever. Nobody slides over. Nobody fills the space.

A TV anchor asked me Friday what other Detroit athlete’s death was equal to Howe’s? I had no answer at the time.

All I know is that this was seismic. Gordie Howe was the Babe Ruth of hockey. And you’d expect that Babe Ruth’s death would be felt most strongly in New York, right?

The world should expect no less from Detroit. Howe’s passing on Friday morning came on the same day as Muhammad Ali’s funeral, and while the nation can lament two towering sports figures dying in the same week, there should be no criticism (as there was in some corners) for Detroit focusing its attention on Howe, even at the expense of Ali’s funeral service.

All sports are, at their core, local. It’s why players wear the name of cities (or countries) on their jerseys, and why fans root based on their geography.

Gordie Howe was one of ours. He was “Detroit” and “Red Wings” with capital letters. His departure from this earth was always going to be our biggest story of that day. No apologies. None needed.

Since then, and with plans now for a memorial viewing at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday, people around the country have asked what it’s been like in Detroit since the news spread. The answer: It’s as if a top has been lifted from a boiling cauldron and an explosion of marvelous memories have shot into the sky.

Continued at extended and extensive length...

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Howe family wins a $3.2 million lawsuit

This is incredibly upsetting given what happened on Friday, but it's not surprising. The Detroit News's Mike Martindale reports that Gordie Howe's family won a $3.2 million lawsuit against former business managers the day before Gordie passed away:

The day before hockey legend Gordie Howe died last Friday, the Michigan Court of Appeals quietly affirmed a $3.2 million jury verdict against his former business managers for destroying priceless memorabilia previously ordered returned to Howe years earlier.

Attorneys for Del Reddy, Aaron Howard, and Del’s father, Michael Reddy and their company, Immortal Investments, had appealed the 2013 Oakland Circuit Court jury verdict and sought a new trial.

A 2007 civil case was reopened after the Howe family learned truckloads of photos, CDs, books, and tapes ordered returned to Howe in 2008 had instead been sent off to a Shred-It facility. It is believed that among the items were home movies of Howe and his late wife, Colleen, and also sports legends from hockey and other sports.

A three-judge panel consisting of Donald S. Owens, Stephen L. Borrello and Cynthia Diane Stephens, rejected seven issues raised by the ex-business managers, and affirmed all court actions and jury decisions in an opinion released Friday.

“It’s a sad day today,” said Kellie Blair, one of the attorneys for the Howe family, when reached Friday for comment. “We are all saddened by the news of the death of the 88-year-old Howe. We are, of course, happy that judgments in his and his family’s favor have been upheld. But we always expected nothing less.”

Martindale continues, and the details are stomach-churning.

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Saturday afternoon Howe stories

Updated 5x at 10:42 PM: Among this afternoon's Gordie Howe stories:

Update: ESPN's Craig Custance spoke with Sidney Crosby and Joe Thornton regarding Howe;

Via RedWingsFeed, WXYZ posted a clip of Ted Lindsay recalling Gordie's baseball skills...

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Datsyuk-Holland meeting to take place later due to Howe funeral

From the Free Press's Helene St. James:

The big meeting between the Detroit Red Wings and Pavel Datsyuk has been postponed in order to pay respects to Gordie Howe.

Dan Milsten, the agent for Datsyuk, told the Free Press Saturday that Datsyuk is returning to the Detroit area on Tuesday. Originally the two were to meet with Wings general manager Ken Holland on Wednesday, but that "will be pushed back to next week so Pavel, Ken and I can pay respect to Gordie and attend his funeral scheduled for Wednesday," Milstein said in a text message.


Update: MLive's Brendan Savage confirms:

"The meeting was originally scheduled for Wednesday at noon but now it's been canceled," said Dan Milstein, Datsyuk's agent. "We're going to reschedule after Gordie's funeral. I said 'Let's pay final respects on Wednesday and right after we'll resume conversations.'"

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Detroit Red Wings Announce Visitation Service For Gordie Howe

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings and the Howe Family will hold a public visitation for Gordie Howe on Tuesday, June 14 at Joe Louis Arena from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., honoring Howe’s iconic sweater number while allowing fans to pay their respects to Mr. Hockey and the Howe Family.

Though the Howe Family has made it a priority to allow the public to pay tribute to the hockey legend, the organization would like to emphasize that all media and fans continue to respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time.

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Thoughts On The Wings

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

- There’s a lot of expectation Tyson Barrie gets traded, but would Colorado move him if it cannot add some significant defensive help first? The Avalanche are hot for Jacob Trouba, but that’s easier said than done. Talented, young defencemen are a hot commodity and the price would not be cheap.

Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff proved last season he will be patient until he gets his specific ask. Also, it’s unlikely Colorado would be alone in this pursuit. I could see Detroit thinking about this, too, especially with a local boy. As for Barrie, if the Avalanche can’t find a potential replacement, they could always buy time, going to arbitration and seeing where that lands on a short-term basis.

- Detroit’s meeting with Pavel Datsyuk was scheduled for Wednesday, but has been postponed for Gordie Howe’s funeral.

The Florida Panthers/New Jersey Devils trade involving Marc Savard’s contract removes the Devils from the Datsyuk derby should the Red Wings need to move his deal. That leaves two likely scenarios: Arizona and Carolina.

Knowing the history between Peter Karmanos and Mike Ilitch, will the Hurricanes help the Red Wings?

more including Friedman on Gordie Howe and talk around the league....

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‘Roughly Translated’: Mrazek says his representatives are talking contract turkey with the Wings

Petr Mrazek recently attended a beach volleyball tournament in the Czech Republic to support his girlfriend, Sara, and Mrazek spoke with iDnes's Michael Beren--albeit briefly--regarding contract negotiations with the Wings:

After the season, Mrazek rested with his girlfriend Sarah in the High Tatras Mountains, and how he's focusing on negotiations for a new contract.

"The agents have begun to deal with Detroit's management. Thus far I'm not stressing, I'm more calm, but when it's done, I'll be completely calm," said Mrazek. "Anyway, I don't think I'll be walking away from the team."

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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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