The Malik Report
Well, Red Wings fans, if you ever wondered whether the team's ownership or front office supports the lockout, VP Jimmy Devellano sprung to Gary Bettman's defense while speaking to the (Victoria, British Columbia) Island News's Scott Harrigan--before suggesting that the players' rejection of the owners' CBA proposal is nothing less than an "ungrateful" gesture, and mocking the NHLPA's solidarity given that players have headed to Europe to continue playing hockey.
It's a shocking interview if you aren't familiar with Devellano's rather militant anti-labor/player leanings, and my goodness, does he ever issue warm fuzzies regarding the Chairman (and the bolding/italics are Harrigan's)...
"I think it should be clear up front that Gary Bettman works for the owners, not the players, and he is now entering his 20th year doing this. The owners direct him on what to do. I was at the meetings last week and I'm here to tell you when there was a call to vote for the lockout, it was 30 to NONE in favour by the owners. So I ask you Scott, why is that Gary Bettman's fault and not the owners?"
During the last lockout, I was part of a message board called the Hockeytown Center, going by a handle some of you might still know, "Homersonic." By mid-September, 2004, I was already well aware of the fact that the NHL's battle for a salary cap had jack and squat to do with lowering ticket prices, and everything with ensuring every-year gains in franchise equity due to theoretically capped player costs (if not for the recession, the NHL might suggest that the CBA would still be "working," because teams would likely still be increasing in bank value regardless of their profits or losses), but I felt like a voice in the wildnerness as the vast majority of hockey fans bought the Levitt Report hook, line and sinker, and were quoting from NHLCBANews.com's pack of lies spun by Gary Bettman and Bill Daly like they were gospel.
This time around, I have a voice, and it's highly likely that you do, too, thanks to Facebook and Twitter, and as the Globe and Mail's Bruce Dowbiggin suggests, while fan sentiment probably won't affect the course of CBA negotiations, fans voicing their opinions about a lockout that's all about owner greed and treating the people who truly form the backbone of a $3.3 billion industry like walking dollar signs has yielded an audible din of rancor, anger and plain old dissemination of information among the masses, making sham PR campaigns like NHL CBA News or another Levitt Report impossible:
The Red Wings' two top prospects, Gustav Nyquist and Brendan Smith, had assumed that they'd be spending this weekend in Traverse City, MI before attempting to stake their claims upon significant roles with the Wings this season, but instead of taking steps forward at the NHL level, they're heading to the AHL to reinforce some fundamentals and continue to develop as players as members of the Grand Rapids Griffins. Via RedWingsFeed, Nyquist and Smith spoke to the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner regarding their respective changes in focus:
"It's tough," said the 23 year old [Smith]. "I love Grand Rapids, love the fans and love my time there. But on the other side, Detroit - every kid grows up wanting to play for the Red Wings. So, to have that possibility maybe taken away kind of sucks, but I understand."
Smith, the Red Wings top pick in 2007, considers himself fortunate that he has the simple option of either Detroit or Grand Rapids compared to others "who are just skating and waiting." And, if he does end up in Grand Rapids, he sees ways to improve.
"It's like what I saw in Nick Lidstrom," Smith said. "No matter the day, no matter how he feels, he's a pro. I totally want to emulate him. So that's something I can work on and maybe grow into more of a leadership role in Grand Rapids."
This afternoon's crop of Red Wings-related news almost entirely involves European news:
- Czech Extraliga team HC CSOB Pojistnova Pardubice officially announced its signing of Wings defenseman Jakub Kindl, as confirmed by Tyden.cz, Hockej.cz and Sportovni Noviny;
- Tomas Tatar has signed a short-term deal with SHK 37 Piestany of the Slovak Extraliga, and Tatar engaged in Q and A interviews with Sport.sk, Hokej.sk, CAS.sk, Pravda.sk, and Hokejportal.net;
From the Red Wings' PR department:
WINGS LAUNCH OPEN SKATE PROGRAM AS PART OF ONGOING ‘HOCKEYTOWN THANKS’ INITIATIVE
… Fans Able To Hit The Ice At JLA During Lunchtime/Evening Sessions Next Week;
Admission Is Free While Discounted Concessions Items Will Be Available …
Detroit, MI… The Red Wings today announced a new open skate program at Joe Louis Arena that will afford local hockey enthusiasts the opportunity to experience the thrill of skating in the same rink as the 11-time Stanley Cup champs.
Wednesday's Red Wings player moves require something of a recap, so here it is:
- Jakub Kindl signed with HC CSOB Pojistnova Pardubice of the Czech Extraliga;
- Pavel Datsyuk signed with CSKA Moscow of the KHL;
- Valtteri Filppula signed with Jokerit Helsinki of the Finnish SM-Liiga;
- With the Red Wings' blessing, Tomas Tatar is about to sign with a Slovak team which Hokejportal.net and SITA report will remain nameless for now (there's a bit of a PR war going on, so the reports that his signing with Dukla Trencin were a done deal became, "Dude, there's no way he's signing there" while I was writing this), and he'll remain there until the AHL's regular season begins;
Updated with some miscellaneous stuff at 5:56 PM: As noted in the post about Valtteri Filppula signing with Jokerit Helsinki of the Finnish SM-Liiga, the Slovak press caused something of an uproar by announcing that Red Wings prosepct Tomas Tatar was about to sign a lockout contract with Dukla Trencin of the Slovak league.
According to the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness, all reports suggesting that Tatar will be suspended or is otherwise in hot water for doing so are simply inaccurate as the Red Wings have given Tatar their blessing to play for Dukla Trencin or any other Slovak team until the AHL's regular season begins...
The Wings have been talking with Tatar’s agent about possibly assigning him to a club in, possibly HKm Zvolen where he played before joining the Grand Rapids Griffins for the 2009-10 season.
“He wants to play in Slovakia until the American League starts,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said.
Well, that iddn't take long,a nd you can consider training camp canceled. The Red Wings released the NHL's statement regarding canceling pre-season games...
NHL ANNOUNCES CANCELLATION OF PRESEASON SCHEDULE THROUGH SEPT. 30
NEW YORK (September 19, 2012) – The National Hockey League announced today the cancellation of the 2012 preseason schedule through Sept. 30. In addition, the 2012 Kraft Hockeyville preseason game, scheduled for Oct. 3 in Belleville , Ontario, has been postponed to 2013.
The cancellation of the schedule was necessary because of the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players’ Association and the NHL.
While the Kraft Hockeyville game has been postponed, many of the scheduled celebrations in the winning community of Stirling-Rawdon, Ontario, will proceed as planned beginning on September 30.
And MLive's Ansar Khan confirms that that four home games for the Red Wings, their ushers, concessions staffers, broadcasters, security personnel, etc. have been canceled as part of the equation:
Updated 3xx at 2:29 PM: According to Iltahleti, Helsingin Sanomat and Ilta Sanomat (which broke the news), Valtteri Filppula has been practicing with Jokerit Helsinki since this past weekend, and he'll sign a contract with them shortly.
Update: I find this incredibly hard to believe, but hokej.sk claims that Slovak team Dukla Trencin is trying to negotiate a lockout contract with Tomas Tatar, who has to play for the Grand Rapids Griffins...Hokejportal and Sport.sk are reporting this fluffernutter, too. If Tatar does choose to sign with a Slovak team, the Wings will suspend him.
Update #2: Via TDfrd on Twitter, SME.sk is reporting that Tatar would sign a short-term deal with Trencin, and would be required to return to North America on October 10th--or the start of the AHL's regular season--like Damien Brunner.
Update #3: Via RedWingsFeed, ESPN's Craig Custance confirms the Filppula signing...
Excellent news from the Free Press's Helene St. James, especially given the number of NHL teams that are laying waste to their front offices: the Red Wings will continue to employ their entire front office and hockey operations staff:
John Hahn, senior director of communications, said this morning that they "don't have any plans to lay anyone off."
Al Sobotka, the team's well-known Zamboni master, "will do what he does during the off-season," Hahn said. "He'll find some building projects to do."
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