The Malik Report
According to the Detroit Free Press’s Helene St. James, Red Wings GM Ken Holland would prefer to hold off on deciding whether to offer Chris Osgood and/or Kris Draper contracts until the team’s coaches, management, professional and amateur scouts sit down for their pre-draft and pre-free agency powwow on June 14th and 15th—and at this point, Jonathan Ericsson might have to wait till then to find out whether the Wings seriously want to bring him back, too:
“I want to hear what everyone has to say,” Holland said. “We know Kris wants to play another year. Ozzie hasn’t said anything about his future, but if we were interested in him, I’m certain he’d have interest in playing. Both have been around here a long, long time. I can come up with lots of reasons why we should have them on our team, and also reasons why not. It’s going to be a very difficult decision.”
Draper, 40, is coming off a good season, but the Wings have 10 forwards signed for next season, have prospect Jan Mursak set to join the lineup and are interested in keeping either or both Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller. Osgood, 38, missed the second half of the season recovering from sports hernia surgery.
St. James also reports the following regarding the Wings’ attempts to replace Brad McCrimmon, quite possibly, Paul MacLean:
The Wings have talked with assistant coaching candidates but probably won’t make a hire until Dallas, Florida, Minnesota, New Jersey and Ottawa fill their head coaching positions. One club has interviewed Wings assistant Paul MacLean for its top job. The Wings parted ways last month with assistant Brad McCrimmon.
Also: I’ll have more about this in the overnight report, but the Grand Rapids Griffins are offering 30 prizes for current and future season ticket-holders, and they’re of the unique variety.
Continuing today’s talk about the Red Wings possibly moving to the Eastern Conference, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside offer differing opinions as to whether it would even be possible for the Red Wings to leave the West for the 2012-2013 season, a year’s worth of Detroit, the Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets vying for support among the NHL’s Board of Governors included:
LeBrun: The obvious realignment to me is this: Detroit goes East, Winnipeg into the Northwest, Colorado into the Pacific, Dallas into the Central.
But a league source told me recently that the reason realignment is being delayed a year is that the league wants to properly canvass all its governors and get everyone’s feedback on what is always a contentious issue. The Red Wings desperately want to move east. They’re tired of playing most of their games outside of their time zone, and it’s brutal for TV ratings when you’re asking your fans to stay up late to watch most of your road games. Having said that, many Western Conference governors will oppose losing Detroit because of the Wings’ gate power. So then, what to do? I think the league will examine all kinds of possibilities, perhaps use this opportunity to revamp the entire division and conference setup, not just plug in one team for another. There will be lots of talk and ideas leaked in the next 12 months.
Burnside: I think a simple swap of Detroit for Atlanta/Winnipeg is short-sighted and would be a significant blow to the two-conference setup that has, I think, worked pretty well. You could lose the divisions, as far as I am concerned, especially given that they have no bearing on the playoff seeding. You play an unbalanced schedule that includes six games against each division rival, then throw that out the window come playoff time and seed one through eight based on points.
But here’s the thing that many people are forgetting as we imagine what the new NHL will look like post-Atlanta: A year from now, we might be having this exact discussion about the Phoenix Coyotes. All the City of Glendale did was buy another year of uncertainty in the desert by anteing up another $25 million of taxpayer money to cover the team’s losses this season. If the city can’t nail down an owner by midway through the 2011-12 season, the NHL will be looking for a new home for the Coyotes. Could it be Retreat North Part Deux with a new team in Quebec? Doubtful unless the arena plans there get fast-tracked. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly raised the idea of Seattle recently, saying there are potential owners interested there. The bottom line is that Winnipeg might not be the last of the upheavals the league will be confronting.
Ah, yes, the Coyotes…the discussion continues...
Update: No foolin,’ via USA Today’s Kevin Allen:
If ever there was a reason to grab a cup of Tim Horton’s coffee, tyhe Red Wings offer a reason for fans across North America to buy a cup (I hope tea counts, too):
Wednesday, June 1 is Tim Hortons Camp Day! Camp Day is the one day each year when every penny from coffee sales at Tim Hortons Restaurants across Canada and the United States will be donated to the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation.
On Camp Day, when guests buy a coffee and participate in the various fundraising activities, they will help send more than 14,000 kids on the camping adventure of a lifetime. Campers aged 9-12 years attend a 10 day summer camp session, or a seven day winter camp session at one of the Foundation’s six camps. All children who attend camp are selected by Tim Hortons Restaurant Owners who work closely with local youth organizations and schools to identify kids who would most benefit from an experience at camp.
Continued, and three Red Wings Alums are signing autographs at local Tim Horton’s locations:
John Ogrodnick at Lincoln Park location (1360 Southfield Rd ) from 6-7 a.m.
Eddie Mio at Sterling Heights location (37121 Mound Rd) from 8-9 a.m.
Jason Woolley at Troy location (3331 Rochester Rd) from 9-10 a.m.
Bloggers shouldn’t usually say that they get “yelled at,” so I’d prefer to say that Red Wings fans offer passionate debate when it comes to the theory that the Red Wings might move to the Eastern Conference after the 2011-2012 season. With the announcement that the Winnipeg Jets…I mean Manitoba Moose…let’s just got with True North Sports and Entertainment…has in fact purchased the Atlanta Thrashers, the hottest topic this side of Nicklas Lidstrom’s playing future for now, and probably aside from the Wings’ likely roster and bench overhaul, what will transpire with the team going forward is best summarized by the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:
With the Atlanta Thrashers officially moving to Winnipeg — the news conference will in Winnipeg at noon Eastern on Tuesday — speculation of realignment will begin. And the Red Wings figure to be in the middle of the discussions, with their hope of moving to the Eastern Conference.
There won’t be any changes soon. The schedule for the 2011-12 season is nearly complete and it’s too late in the process to change. So Winnipeg will simply stay in the Southeast Division for this season but most likely switch to the Western Conference’s Northwest Division in 2012-13.
Jimmy Devellano, the Wings’ senior vice-president / alternate governor, said during the playoffs the team would prefer to be placed in the Eastern Conference. But there’s been talk of possibly Nashville — like the Wings, also in the Central Division — being switched into the Southeast Division, or possibly Columbus being placed in the Eastern Conference.
In the land of jittery talk, MLive’s Rob Otto “worries” about the concept that the Predators or Blue Jackets (and it’ll probably be Columbus) might precede the Wings in the move-to-the-East pecking order:
The heavy-hitters are Tweeting that NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly’s in first class on a flight from Toronto to Winnipeg this morning, and that the NHL will make its announcement regarding the Atlanta Thrashers heading to Winnipeg at 11 AM CDT, presumably at The Forks, regardless of whether the paperwork between the Atlanta Spirit’s dysfunctional family and True North Sports and Entertainment is done.
Given my personal ties to Winnipeg (adopted family, having spent six months of my life there and nearly marrying a Winnipeg gal), you’d think that this adopted Winnipegger would be thrilled that, fifteen years after the Jets were ripped from the hearts of Manitoban hockey fans, an NHL team will return to the Peg.
Instead, I feel awful. The NHL and Gary Bettman have spent millions and millions of dollars of revenue-sharing dollars litigating the hell out of Phoenix to ensure that the Coyotes didn’t head back to Winnipeg despite the fact that Phoenix’s NHL future remains uncertain at best—and boy howdy, even as a Jets fan and die-hard Red Wings supporter, the last two years’ of playoff battles against the Coyotes have more than proven to me the tenacity of Coyotes fans…
The, “It’s quiet, too quiet” comment summarizes the crop of Red Wings articles this morning—as we shift toward “Nicklas Lidstrom watch,” aside from the news that the Wings signed Andrej Nestrasil and that Jonathan Ericsson reaffirmed his desire to remain a Red Wing, we’re reiterating the same old, same old regarding the Red Wings and possible realignment, via the Free Press’s Helene St. James—the Wings don’t know whether the NHL will possibly move them East (not for the 2011-2012) season, and the Tennessean’s Josh Cooper’s repeated the Predators’ take on the situation:
“I think we should at least explore it,” [Predators GM David Poile] said. “I think, now we’ve built up 13 years of strong division rivalry. I think our fans identify strongly with teams in our division, but tell me Detroit is going to the East, then that changes things.”
With the Atlanta Thrashers poised to move to Winnipeg, the Free Press’s Helene St. James checked in with Red Wings GM Ken Holland regarding the team possibly moving to the Eastern Conference for the 2012-2013 season, but no news is no news:
“We’ve been told nothing,” Holland said. “I don’t have any information. I know what I read in the newspaper.”
The Wings would welcome a move to the East, which would greatly reduce the wear and tear of travel and re-ignite dormant rivalries with Original Six foes such as Toronto, Montreal, Boston and the Rangers, teams the Wings see at most twice a season. The only other Original Six team in the West is Chicago.
“I’ve gone on record saying we’d prefer to be in the East, but I haven’t heard anything and I’m just worrying about putting together our team for next season,” Holland said.
Should the Thrashers move to Winnipeg, they would, for the coming season, most likely remain in the Southeast Division because the logistics of creating an entirely new NHL schedule grid this late are prohibitive. Although the schedule won’t be released until late June to early July, it has been more or less set for months.
As we already know by now, there is no pecking order in terms of whether the Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets or Nashville Predators have an edge in their desires to move East, and as it turns out, it’s the Blue Jackets who want to move East most desperately.
Thanks to my ISP clunking out after some severe thunderstorms rolled through the Metro Detroit Area, this is essentially an “overnight report” in belated fashion…which is annoying as all hell get out for someone who wants to remain on top of the news. It could have been much worse, however, so my apologies for the delay.
Anyway: Jonathan Ericsson talked about his desire to remain a member of the Red Wings in Swedish on Sunday, and the Free Press’s George Sipple basically offered an English equivalent of his interview this morning:
When the Wings’ players cleaned out their lockers for the season a couple weeks ago, Ericsson made it clear he wasn’t all that excited about testing the waters as an unrestricted free agent. “I really like it here, and my first choice is to be here,” Ericsson said then.
And until he hears from his agent, he said he planned to be back in his native Sweden working on a new summer home.
Via a tip from Chris from Too Many Men on the Site, the Red Wings have signed Andrej Nestrasil to a 3-year entry-level contract. Nestrasil’s agent, Robart Spalenka, tells Hokej.cz’s Vaclav Jachim that that the Wings and Nestrasil’s North American agent, Don Meehan, spent an extended period of time negotiating the deal, but now that it’s done, Nestrasil will attend the Wings’ rookie camp this July and then turn pro with Grand Rapids in the fall.
Spalenka also believes that the Wings will sign Ottawa 67’s goaltender Petr Mrazek to a contract next season, and he tells Jachim that Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer played a huge role in mentoring Nestrasil.
I’d provide a full translation, but aside from Spalenka comparing Mrazek to Marc-Andre Fleury (not quite), talking about the Czechs’ performance at the World Championships and pointing out that the Grand Rapids Griffins are a first-class organization…Czech does not translate well.
Update: Capgeek.com has Nestrasil’s contract details. He has a cap hit of $585K at the NHL level but will earn $50,000, $55,000 and then $57,500 at the AHL level over the next three seasons, and he’s earned salary bonuses of $58,334 for the 2011-2012 season and then $58,333 for the 12-13 and 13-14 seasons.
Update #2, 8:37 PM: The Grand Rapids Press confirms
Aside from the usual international press whopper (Brad McCrimmon will coach Lokomotiv Yaroslavl next year), this morning’s crop of Sunday columnists’ conversations offers good discussions of the respective states of the Red Wings’ blueline and crease going forward—including Jonathan Ericsson talking about his desire to remain with the Wings, albeit in Swedish:
Wings GM Ken Holland spoke to the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson about the Wings’ belief that their blueline should survive Brian Rafalski’s departure because it’s time for Niklas Kronwall to truly shine—and as such, Holland tells Matheson that the Wings might look for a solid #3 guy instead of a top-two defenseman on the free agent market:
“We’re not going to find a Brian Rafalski on the open market but I think we can move (Niklas) Kronwall up to take Brian’s spot on the power play. We haven’t let him be Brian Rafalski for the last four years. Any time we had a No. 1 power play out popped Brian and (Nicklas) Lidstrom. Late in the game, out popped Lidstrom and Rafalski or four-on-four. Those situations now, Kronwall will be there. Nik’s only 30 years of age. He might not be quite the puck-mover Brian was, but he’s got a physical dimension to his game that Brian didn’t,” said general manager Ken Holland.
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.