The Malik Report
To keep you busy in case watching the Penguins-Sharks Stanley Cup Final pains this blog's Red Wings-rooting partisans (see: two Stanley Cup Final engagements and four playoff series):
1. Of note from Gary Bettman's state-of-the-game speech, from the Toronto Sun's Mike Zeisberger:
2. The Free Press's Helene St. James issued a Memorial Day remembrance of a different kind...
With today's start of the Stanley Cup Finals between Pittsburgh and San Jose, let's look back 8 years to when the Detroit Red Wings had a game on Memorial Day.
On May 26, 2008, the Wings hosted the Penguins at Joe Louis Arena in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. (The Wings also played on Memorial Day in 2013, but that was a second-round game because the lockout pushed the playoffs to a late start).
Two days earlier, the Wings had opened the series with a 4-0 victory. The best way to follow up on a shutout in Game 1?
How about a shutout in Game 2.
3. Ted Lindsay made an appearance in the Saint Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade;
4. On Twitter...
Michigan's Upper Peninsula was actually a hockey hotbed in the late 1800's and early 1900's as the lumber industry flourished and copper mining hit paydirt. Local lumber and mining companies sponsored some of the first professional hockey teams in the world throughout the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and "Viceland's" Vice World of Sports will be airing a special about Calumet, Michigan's Gibson Cup this Wednesday at 11 PM EDT:
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. This story is not what you'd expect from Joe Thornton, but NHL.com's Nicholas J. Cotsonika relates a surprising tale about the one time Thornton's seen the Stanley Cup awarded on NHL ice...
It was 1997, and he was 17, a top NHL prospect. Agents Mike Barnett and Eddie Mio had an office in Detroit and season tickets in the lower bowl behind the net at Joe Louis Arena. Mio said he thought it would be a good experience for him to see the Red Wings face the Philadelphia Flyers in the Final.
He went to Game 4 with his brother John, a huge Steve Yzerman fan and the reason he started wearing No. 19. They witnessed the Red Wings end their 42-year championship drought, arena rocking, confetti falling. They saw Yzerman -- the guy critics had said couldn't win, the guy the team had almost traded -- lift the Cup for the first time at age 32.
John said they were "bawling" at the sight of it.
"I didn't know his struggles or anything like that at the time," Joe said. "I just thought, 'This guy's the man, and he won it.' That's all I thought, 'Wow, that's Stevie Yzerman, and he's hoisting the Cup. What a special moment.' "
2. And this comes to us via the Red Wings Redditors on Reddit: Dylan Sadowy gave a short interview to CTV Barrie, and both Sadowy (Sad-o-way) states that he went to the same high school with Andreas Athanasiou, he thanks the Barrie Colts for his time with them, and he looks forward to beginning his pro career.
Question time for Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Q: What's your take on the defense? I feel we could shed some significant salary if we brought up Sproul, Ouellet and (Nick) Jensen followed by dumping Big E (Jonathan Ericsson) and Smith. Why aren't these guys up yet?
A: They weren't up because the club didn't believe they were ready or were better options than what they had.
Despite Ericsson's struggles, they like having a big body on defense, even though he doesn't play physical. I think it would be difficult to move his contract (four years remaining at a $4.25 million cap hit and a modified no-trade clause).
They have a decision to make on Smith before next season's trading deadline. He's entering the final year of his contract and can become an unrestricted free agent in 2017. They'll either lock him up to a long-term deal or move him. They've had other UFAs walk (Jiri Hudler, Valtteri Filppula) because they kept them for the playoff push, but I don't think they'll risk losing Smith for nothing.
Q: We all know the Wings need help on defense but we also have to get tougher up front and put up more points. What do you think the chances are the Wings trade for a defenseman like Kevin Shattenkirk (of St. Louis) or pick up a tough, gritty goal-scorer at a reasonable cap hit in a guy like Jamie McGinn?
A: Shattenkirk, by many accounts, will be moved. The question is whether the Red Wings can acquire him without moving Larkin, who is untouchable.
If you're going to deal a valuable asset to get Shattenkirk you're going to want to make sure you have him locked up to a long-term deal. He'll be entering his final season at a $4.25 cap hit and eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2017.
A highly skilled, right-shooting puck-mover, Shattenkirk is the type of player the Red Wings need.
McGinn is a free-agent forward option, maybe a Plan B or Plan C type. I think players like Andrew Ladd and Troy Brouwer are at the top of their wish list. If the Blues are unable to sign David Backes, he would certainly shoot to the top.
many more questions and answers...
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. The Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with Red Wings goaltending coach Jeff Salajko regarding the progress made by Jared Coreau given the team's likelihood of trading Jimmy Howard.
While Salajko believes that Coreau needs a little more time in Grand Rapids, he also told St. James that Coreau is likely the team's long-term solution behind Petr Mrazek:
Coreau, 24, has been in the Wings’ system since 2013, when he was signed after his third season at Northern Michigan (he was an undrafted free agent). At a time when big goaltenders dominate story lines, Coreau appeals as he’s around 6-foot-6, 220 pounds. He’s coming off his best season since turning pro, going 29-15-2 with a 2.43 goals-against average and .922 save percentage that earned high marks from Jeff Salajko, who earlier this month was promoted from goaltending coach in Grand Rapids to Detroit.
“He had a really good year for us in Grand Rapids,” Salajko said. “He took the job there for a while, while Tom McColllum had a bad ankle, played something like 21 of 22 games, and he wasn’t used to playing a lot of games in college.”
Coreau has been called up to Detroit in a reserve capacity, but is yet to see action in an NHL game, so he isn’t ready to serve as Mrazek’s backup. Another good season in the minors (Coreau is a restricted free agent this summer, and the team plans to re-sign him) would serve as persuasion he’d be ready for a bigger role in the future.
“In the big scheme of things, he’ll play in Grand Rapids for another year, but now we know he can play a lot of minutes if needed,” Salajko said. “Jimmy Howard played four years in the minors. We’re not rushing Jared, but he is going to be an NHL goalie, there is no doubt in my mind about that.”
2. DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji looks back at Luke Glendening's 2015-16 season campaign "By the Numbers":
from Keith Gave at The Hockey News,
After helping Russia to a bronze medal finish at the World Championship – and presumably negotiating at the same time with some Kontinental Hockey League clubs while he’s under contract for another season with the Detroit Red Wings – Pavel Datsyuk went on vacation.
But before he causes irreparable harm to his legacy in Hockeytown, Datsyuk would be wise to take a moment and put in a call to Sergei Fedorov, who seems to regret his decision to leave Detroit before his time.
Datsyuk plans to meet with Red Wings GM Ken Holland in mid-June, and in all likelihood make official what has seemed like a foregone conclusion for months – that he will leave the NHL to finish his playing career in Russia. SKA Saint Petersburg appears to be his team of choice, though agent Dan Milstein insists no deal has been consummated and his client may still negotiate with other KHL teams.
No matter when it ends in the NHL for Datsyuk, this much is sure: With two Stanley Cup rings and seven individual NHL trophies on his mantle, he one day will be an Honored Member in the Hockey Hall of Fame, just as Fedorov was in November. But if Datsyuk expects the Red Wings to honor him along with the franchise’s other all-time greats by hanging his No. 13 from the rafters of their new arena, he can forget it.
Just like Fedorov can.
MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with Red Wings assistant GM Ryan Martin regarding the team's presence at the draft combine this week in Buffalo:
Scouts and members of the front office meet with many prospects through the course of the season. The Combine offers a more formal setting with several members of the staff, including general manager Ken Holland, special assistant Kris Draper, director of player development Jiri Fischer, director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright, chief amateur scout Jeff Finley and scouts Len Quesnelle and Andrew Dickson, in addition to Martin.
"In some cases the players are well-rehearsed; most of them seem mature or professional beyond their years because of what they're exposed to and the spotlight that they're under all the time," Martin said. "But it's possible to put players in a little less than comfortable situations and see how they react in answering some difficult questions. I think that's when you learn more about players.
"If a player had some question marks about consistency or perhaps a label as a player that needed to work harder or train harder or maybe he had some issues away from the ice for immaturity reasons or otherwise had gotten in trouble, you get a chance to address that. It's nice to see how they react to that. Are they taking responsibility for their actions? Are they accountable? Are they making excuses? You can pinpoint them on specific areas of concern and force them to discuss those."
From the Oakland Press's Pat Caputo:
On YouTube, you can see dozens of Kocur’s fights. But do yourself a favor. Also check out a couple of his goals, especially the one in Game 1 of the 1997 Stanley Cup finals. Kocur intercepted a clearing pass, faked out Flyers’ goalie Ron Hextall, and roofed a backhander that literally popped the water bottle sitting atop the net into the air. Steve Yzerman couldn’t have scored a prettier goal. It broke a 1-1 tie early in the first period, and the Red Wings were on their way to a four-game sweep and their first Stanley Cup title in more than four decades.
AWood40 has the goal, of course:
“Nothing could beat that,” Kocur said. “Hextall was going one way and I was going another. I probably could have just slid the puck in the net, but I’m glad it worked out the way it did.”
Kocur, who resides in Highland Township, will be inducted into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame on June 23 in Troy. He holds an annual celebrity softball game in Highland Township. It benefits the Joe Kocur Foundation for Children, a non-profit with no paid administrative staff, which helps needy families and supports numerous charitable causes. This year’s event is scheduled for Aug. 27 at Duck Lakes Pine Park.
The NHL's draft combine takes place next week in Buffalo; Red Wings assistant GM Ryan Martin spoke with the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan regarding the importance of the event, which takes over 100 prospects and places them in the same location for sets of interviews and standardized fitness testing:
“Throughout the year, our area chief scouts will have met players at the rink or during an off-day in a much more casual environment,” Martin said. “This is more of a job interview. There’s seven or eight of us, including (general manager) Ken Holland, myself, (special assistant to GM) Kris Draper, scouts, and it can be an uncomfortable situation for some people. So it’s important to see how they react.”
The Red Wings usually interview 50-60 prospects, said Martin, of the 114 invited to the combine. They wound up interviewing half of their eight draft picks last year.
“It’s helpful in that you can address deficiencies in their games, strengths and weaknesses, and what they have to work on,” Martin said. “If there were some character issues, it’s an opportunity to put them on the spot and address those, and it’s interesting to see how the players react.”
Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
Nosek, who made a brief appearance in Detroit this past season, will make $575,000 next season if he is with the Wings, or $175,000 with Grand Rapids (he has one year left of waiver exemption). His salary for 2017-18 is $650,000.
Nosek, 23 - who hails from the same hometown (Pardubice, Czech Republic) as former Wings goaltending great Dominik Hasek - played six games with the Wings post-Christmas, going without a point in a mostly defensive role. In 70 games last season with the Griffins, Nosek had 15 goals and 15 assists for 30 points, below the 34 points he managed in just 55 games his first year in the American Hockey League.
2. The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan confirms Nosek's surprising waiver-exempt status as well; both St. James and MLive's Ansar Khan discussed Nosek and confirmed that the Wings have signed Dylan Sadowy, too, as does the Windsor Star's Bob Duff:
3. Back to Nosek for a moment, from MLive's Khan:
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.