The Malik Report
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."
Updated 2x at 12:19 PM: Per Sovetsky Sport's Pavel Lysenkov and Sport-Express's Igor Larin, Red WIngs forward Pavel Datsyuk ended up signing a lockout deal with CSKA Moscow, and the Free Press's Helene St. James is both confirming Jakub Kindl's statement about playing for Pardubice of the Czech Extraliga and she rounds up the Wings' European signings--or the lack thereof...
Kindl sent out a tweet this morning saying, "Looks like deal is done for now going to play in Pardubice."
Pardubice is the hometown of Wings great Dominik Hasek.
Cory Emmerton also is trying to play overseas. Damien Brunner has a deal with EV Zug of the Swiss league, but he plans to come back and play in Grand Rapids next month, when the Griffins' season gets under way.
With Pavel Datsyuk's KHL destination a mystery, disinformation and rumors rampant about Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson's playing plans and Cory Emmerton's destination unknown, following the Wings players' European playing options has felt like tiptoeing through a minefield. Thankfully one player pressed the "easy button" as Jakub Kindl shared his employer's identity with everyone via Twitter:
This lockout sure as hell feels like a line Mel Brooks uttered while playing "Yogurt"--Spaceballs 2: the Quest for More Money!--but in that sense, the Red Wings don't have a horse in this dogfight, save perhaps in increasing their profit margins. As the National Post's Guy Spurrier poitns out, the Wings are making a very sizable operating profit from ticket sales, and as the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan notes, the Wings have been able to convert their cachet (or prestgious reputation) into excellent sponsorship deals, including a $20 million-a-season broadcasting deal with Fox Sports Detroit, "presenting" sponsorships with Amway and Belle Tire, and as members of the NHL, chunks of the NBC and CBC broadcasting deals (to the tune of somewhere between $7-10 million).
Trying to figure out Pavel Datsyuk's lockout playing destination has involved more feints than a Datsyukian deke. First he was supposedly going to sign with the Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL, and then he wasn't...On Tuesday, Sovetsky Sport's Pavel Lysenkov reported that Datsyuk would end up playing for CSKA Moscow or Dynamo Moscow, and Lysenkof offered the following in Russian (roughly translated)...
Agent Gary Greenstin, who represents Datsyuk, let me know that he's negotiated and prepared a contract offer. Now the puck's on Pavel's side. And if he gives consent, then the deal will be announced.
Greenstin himeslf is now in Moscow, so it's logical to assume that Datsyuk will return to Dyanmo, which won the Russian championship in 2005.
"On the topic of Datsyuk, I won't comment!" said Dynamo GM Andrey Safronov. But there's no fire without smoke: so negotiations are underway.
Well that might not be the case after all, if we are to believe Allhockey.ru (again, roughly translated):
Three members of the Detroit Red Wings--and two who still remain in North America--can't practice with their teammates when the locked-out Wings resume practicing next week. Damien Brunner, who's headed back to Switzerland for a bit, Gustav Nyquist and Brendan Smith have all been assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins, and thanks to the NHL's lockout policies, the gents have to find their own places to skate and train until the Griffins' camp opens on October 1st.
While Brunner's essentially a pro player who needs to find out whether he can hack the pace and intensity of North American hockey, and Smith defines the term "overripe," Nyquist may actually benefit from working on his strength, conditioning and shooting in the AHL, as he acknowledged to MLive's Ansar Khan:
“It’s a great place, and we’ll get (former Red Wings assistant coach) Jeff Blashill as the coach now,'' Nyquist said. “It worked for me last year, and it’s a great group of guys there, so I’m just excited to start playing.''
Nyquist is doubtlessly right up there with Teemu Pulkkinen and Calle Jarnkrok as the jewels in the "next generation of Red Wings star forwards" crown, but as he's undersized and still inexperienced, which has Wings GM Ken Holland both excited about his Nyquist's potential and is a little concerned about his
With Aftonbladet reporting that it'd cost Djurgardens IF of the Swedish Allsvenskan $730,000 a month to insure Niklas Kronwall's contract, and NT.se reporting that 1st division team Vita Hasten would be faced with a $500,000-per-month insurance premium on Jonathan Ericsson's contract, it would seem that the vast majority of the Red Wings' players are going to be staying in North America unless this lockout drags on for half a season or more...
But ESPN New York's Kate Strang, via RedWingsFeed, reports that the NHLPA is offering a very differnt kind of contract insurance--with the PA ensuring that the players and their families receive something Americans are arguing about as a right and/or privilege in basic health insurance:
The NHLPA has stepped in to cover the premiums for players during the lockout, a union source confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com. The measure was taken after the NHL asked insurers to cancel all coverage for players once the lockout began, according to several reports.
According to the union, the league's request was not a surprising one considering it made a similar one during the past two lockouts in 2004 and 1994. The players' association anticipated it would happen again when the current bargaining agreement expired last Saturday and has since made sure to devise a plan to suit its constituency.
Amongst this afternoon's somewhat sparse crop of Red Wings-related news, I believe we still have to take this rumor of a Datsyukian European playing option with salt...
And I would suggest the same regarding NT.se's Ulf Strahle's reiteration that Jonathan Ericsson wants to play with his brother Jimmie on Skelleftea AIK, a Swedish Eliteserien team that can't sign NHL players at this point. Strahle reports that Ericsson's option to play with vita Hasten of the Swedish first division, two steps below the Eliteserien, would also be prohibitively expensive given the cost of insuring his salary:
Via RedWingsCamps on Twitter, and per the Red Wings' website, the Wings are all but certain to cancel training camp over the course of the next day or two, but they plan on at least holding a youth hockey camp at Centre Ice Arena this weekend, and assistant coach Bill Peters, former Wings Chris Chelios and Chris Osgood, video coach Keith McKittrick and goalie coach Jim Bedard will be taking part in said camp:
The Detroit Red Wings will hold a free youth hockey clinic presented by ITC this Saturday, Sept. 22, at Centre ICE Arena in Traverse City, Mich., as part of the Detroit Red Wings' ongoing ‘Hockeytown Thanks' initiative. More than 200 young hockey players between the ages of seven and 14 will have the chance to take hockey instruction from members of the Red Wings' coaching staff and former Red Wings players.
"The Centre ICE management and staff is very excited the Detroit Red Wings organization and ITC are offering this free youth hockey clinic to our hockey association and the Grand Traverse area," Centre ICE Executive Director Terry Marchand said. "After sending out the word of this free clinic, we filled it within hours."
Updated 2x at 4:42 AM: I've been saying this for a while now, and I'm sticking to it: while a good third to 40% of the Red Wings' roster probably plans on playing overseas at some point during the lockout, the younger, more interchangeable and most importantly cheaper-to-insure are the only ones who will find gainful employment, at least with a Datsyukian KHL exception. Jakub Kindl kind of let it slip that he's heading over to play for Oclari Trinec of the Czech Extraliga on Twitter...
Though he had quite the adventure on the flight over...
But ESPN's Pierre LeBrun offered a fine example as to why the same recession that has the NHL demanding a "retrenching" makes it prohibitively expensive for players on long-term contracts to find work:
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