The Malik Report
As an FYI, per DetroitRedWings.com’s Rick Bouwness:
PRELIMINARY LINEUP FOR HOCKEYFEST ANNOUNCED
… Superstars Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg Highlight List of Players Set to Appear at Fun-Filled, JLA-Staged Event …
Detroit, MI… The 2011 edition of Red Wings HockeyFest, co-presented by 97.1 The Ticket and Fox Sports Detroit, is set to take place at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday, September 10 (11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.), providing citizens of Hockeytown with an unforgettable day of fun, family-friendly activities as well as the chance to meet some of their favorite players. A preliminary list of Red Wings set to attend this much-anticipated event can be found below alongside their designated appearance times. Additional current players as well as members of the Red Wings Alumni Association will be added to this list at a later time.
What might be this morning’s most pertinent Red Wings-related news comes in the form of words issued by a Wings analyst regarding a Stanley Cup won 20 years ago—Pro Hockey Talk’s James O’Brien noted that the Pittsburgh Penguins are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their 1991 Stanley Cup championship, and Fox Sports Detroit analyst Larry Murphy and Grand Rapids Griffins assistant coach Jim Paek are taking part in the festivities.
It’s Murphy’s comment to NHL.com’s Alan Robinson which might temper what’s sure to be Wings fans’ imminent annoyance at the cavalcade of NHL predictions which will insist that the Red Wings are finally too old, too slow, too soft and too likely to finish in the bottom half of the Western Conference standings to be called Cup contenders anymore:
Updated 4x at 7:59 PM: Hello, earthquake survivors! The Hockey News’s Rory Boylen offers a somewhat typical late-August discussion-maker in questioning what defines a “dynasty” in the modern-day NHL, suggesting that the Wings may or may not qualify as such…
[D]oes the NHL have a current dynasty? The first team to look at would certainly be the Detroit Red Wings. From 1992 until now, the Wings have 14 division titles, reached eight conference finals, won the Cup four times and lost in the final twice. Dynasty?
Type “Sports Dynasty Definition” into Google and the first response you get is: “A sports dynasty is a team that dominates their sport or league for multiple seasons or years.” That would pretty much sum up the Wings, wouldn’t it?
The Red Wings posted a lineup of players who will be taking part in their “Hockeyfest” event at Joe Louis Arena on September 10th via Twitter, and let’s just say that the list of participants taking part in Q and A’s or autograph sessions is impressive:
Players at Hockeyfest on 9/10 include Lidstrom, Bertuzzi, Holmstrom, Miller, Abdelkader, Eaves, Zetterberg, Cleary, Howard and Kindl.
Nick, Bert, Holmstrom, Miller, Abby + Eaves will be on hand from 11:30-2:30. Hank, Cleary, Howard + Kindl will show from 2:30-5:30.
If you’re in Troy, Michigan this week and have a free minute to head to the Troy Sports Arena, Red Wings special assist…hockey op…erm, executive Kris Draper’s Core Sports Fitness center is holding its annual youth hockey camp this week, and the Troy Patch’s Kevin Elliott reports that both Draper’s Grind Line teammates and a few other Wings will be making appearances as they filter back into town:
The official Red Wings Grind Line will take the ice this week with about 130 youth skaters at the Troy Sports Center for a four-day hockey camp for kids ages 6-13. Former Detroit Red Wings Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby and Darren McCarty are back on the ice to deliver a hockey school. Draper, who has been hosting the hockey school for the past three off-seasons with CORE Fitness, is co-owner of the fitness company, along with Dr. Jeff S. Pierce.
During the camp, a few surprise guests from the Red Wings typically come on the ice to work with the skaters.
“I started talking to Maltby about it during a round of golf,” Draper said in a news release. “He wanted to do it, and then we wanted to include Mac as well, sent him a text and he was on board right away. We talked about how much fun the three of us have had playing for the Red Wings and the friendship we’ve created, and thought it’d be pretty neat to put a hockey school together.”
Between reading USA Today’s Kevin Allen talk up Phoenix Coyotes prospect Andy Miele, an undrafted free agent who tried out at the Wings’ summer development camp in 2010, and recalling a gander at the Wings’ hot-key-labeled laptop containing the keys to the XOS video capture software mentioned in the Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa’s notebook on Sunday (I chose not to take notes as to what the stickers on the keys said) at last year’s training camp, I’d started thinking about the “ones who got away,” but RedWingsCentral’s Sarah Lindenau was a step ahead of me.
On her Left Wing Lock blog, she notes that while the Red Wings have tended to reap the benefits of signing undrafted free agents who perform well at the team’s summer camps and annual prospect tournament—which is only three weeks away—the Wings passed on at least two players whose services have benefited the Wings’ rivals, including one who the team may have wanted to sign to bring a little size and grit to their forward lines:
In theory, the weekends bookending the NHL’s Research, Development and Orientation Camp are the twin fulcrums upon which the NHL’s news cycle pivots and more or less re-sets itself. European hockey teams’ training camps and exhibition seasons are underway,* Major Junior teams are, for the most part, either going to get on the ice this week or next week, and we’re under three weeks from the start of most NHL teams’ prospect tournaments, but last week, European NHL’ers were wrapping up their summer vacations and giving their final interviews to the local press corps, and this week’s going to mark the start of the informal gatherings of players who are filtering back into their NHL cities of employment from summertime vacation spots all over two (or in Pavel Datsyuk’s case, three) continents.
Soon we’ll be awash in season previews and initial reports of players skating together and management gathering to perform any final tweaks on their roster and begin to pluck the few remaining free agents off the pro hockey unemployment line.
Three weeks from today, the first slate of practices at the Red Wings’ prospect tournament will be wrapping up, but this morning’s crop of Wings news was so incredibly lean that I couldn’t cobble together an overnight report, and this one yields a barely coherent set of tidbits, too.
NHL.com’s John Kreiser kicks off the proceedings by suggesting that the Red Wings believe Ian White should slide into the #2 defenseman’s role, which isn’t quite accurate given that the Wings are assuming that it’s Niklas Kronwall’s time to shine:
Ian White, Red Wings—The Wings took a hit when defenseman Brian Rafalski, one of the NHL’s most underrated players, unexpectedly announced that he was going to retire with one year still left on his contract. Detroit GM Ken Holland got a good look at White during the Wings’ second-round loss to San Jose and was impressed enough to sign him to a two-year deal. White doesn’t have the three Cups on his resume that Rafalski did, but the Wings are expecting him to be able to step in and serve as a second offensive defenseman behind Nicklas Lidstrom.
Updated with more tidbit-style news at 6:23 PM: Because three tidbits of Red Wings-related news and a reference to the overnight report are better than nothing on what seems to be shaking up as a quiet day news-wise:
• Let’s just say that when Lyle Richardson suggests that the Red Wings have a player who’s already a “candidate” to be traded if he struggles, it’s not hard to figure out which player he picked:
Jiri Hudler, Detroit Red Wings: A year ago, the Red Wings were looking forward to Hudler’s return from the Kontinental League, anticipating a possible career-best performance. Instead, he put up the worst numbers of his NHL career since 2006-07, with only 37 points. Hudler will be expected to rebound from that poor performance, but a recent report out of Detroit suggested if he struggles early, he’ll end up on the trade block.
As the Free Press’s Helene St. James has wound through an astonishing set of ten sets of expectation-stating articles about the Red Wings’ key performers for the upcoming season, we’ve gone back and forth between lock-step agreement and disparate discourse regarding realistic expectations of and roles for certain players to take.
I don’t think any of us are going to disagree with her assessment of Darren Helm, who posted 12 goals and 32 points while maintaining his status as the team’s best defensive forward not named Datsyuk or Zetterberg:
Offense is a secondary part of Helm’s role, however. His main job is to provide speed and energy, be physical and to kill penalties. Helm does a much better job in the latter area than the Wings’ overall penalty kill (82.3% in 2010-11) indicates, as he’s often able to get control of the puck and then carry it all the way up the ice, eating valuable seconds off the clock. He doesn’t convert those breakaways into goals very often (though his two shorthanded goals last season did lead the team), but he’s working on that.
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.