The Malik Report
No point in waiting for the gravy-here are the interviews with Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill, etc.
I dropped some hints regarding some massive interviews in my mid-day report from the final day of the Red Wings’ summer prospect camp, but halfway into a much-needed afternoon nap I figured that there’s no point whatsoever in asking you to wait for the “evening report” to hear my conversations with Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill, 2011 first-round pick Tomas Jurco, Grand Rapids Griffins forwards-to-be Landon Ferraro and Mitchell Callahan and Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer:
Starting with a continuation of the “overnight report’s” Kris Draper conversation, the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan confirms that the long-time Red Wings forward has no desire to sign a try-out contract and compete for a spot on the roster during training camp:
“Zero chance,” said Draper, an unsigned free agent and the 2004 Selke Trophy (best defensive forward) winner. “I think I’ve proven myself to the Red Wings organization and (general manager) Kenny (Holland) knows what I’m all about after all these years.”
Draper, however, is hopeful he’ll play his 21st season in the NHL, 18th with the Red Wings.
“I’ve been training and preparing for next season as I always have,” said Draper, fresh off a weeklong golfing trip with teammates and friends. “But first I need to talk with Kenny and hear what he has to say, what he thinks is best, and we’ll go from there.”
One of the most virulently anti-NHLPA voices during the lockout belonged to crusty curmudgeon Stan Fischer, and he’s cranking up the “Panic Meter” to 11 by suggesting that Donald Fehr will find a way to screw things up while rambling on about how great the NHL’s revenue-sharing agreement is despite the fact that big-market owners despise handing blank checks to subsidize their opponents:
The revenue sharing agreement brought labor peace [in Major League Baseball] because the large market teams were able to buy off the mid- and small-market teams just enough to keep them happy, while the big-market teams continued to make large profits and maintain their ridiculous competitive advantage. MLB teams are making money. If the small and medium markets were losing money the way the NHL’s small and medium markets were losing money before the 2004 lockout, the small and medium markets would have held out for a salary cap.
The NHL has several low-revenue teams which are struggling to maintain the salary floor while still making a profit. They are vulnerable to be bought off by the NHL large market/high revenue teams the way baseball’s little guys were bought off. And you had better believe that Fehr knows it.
It’s hard to be “bought off” when it’s Gary Bettman’s narrow $15 million payroll range that’s raising the cap floor to nearly unsustainable levels for franchises who’ve learned the hard way that a salary cap based upon league-wide instead of team-by-team revenues is…a mess…
And then Fischler really goes off into insanity land:
Biggy update at 8:07 AM: MLive’s Ansar Khan spoke to Draper yesterday, too, and that follow St. James’ report: As we’ve waited for Red Wings GM Ken Holland and goaltender Chris Osgood to sit down and discuss #30’s future in Detroit, we haven’t heard much regarding Kris Draper’s status, but the Free Press’s Helene St. James suggests that in Draper’s case, there very literally isn’t a spot for him on the roster:
“No doubt he wants to play ... and play in Detroit,” Holland said. “We don’t have any cap issues, but we have to sort out what we’re doing with our 14 forwards.”
Draper, 40, showed last season that he still has something left in the tank. His primary role was as a defensive role player, but he also contributed six goals and 11 points in 47 games, and didn’t complain when made a healthy scratch. He has tremendous value in the locker room, where he sets a great example for younger guys with a relentless training program.
The Wings certainly can fit Draper in financially; they have about $6.5 million in salary-cap space. Roster-wise, however, it’s a hard fit. Thirteen forwards already are under one-way contracts for 2011-12. Cory Emmerton, a second-round pick from ‘06, is on a two-day deal, but he’d have to be exposed on waivers to be sent to the minors, and the Wings won’t risk that.
To put things as subtly as a brick, the Red Wings’ decision to add an eighth day to their summer development camp has allowed them to push their new and returning prospects to the absolute edge of their performance envelopes, and in some cases, very, very purposefully beyond them, and what held true for Wednesday’s morning session remained the case in the afternoon.
For the AHL’ers who’ve been working out, save perhaps a week or two off in May, we’re talking about utter physical and mental exhaustion; for most of the returning prospects, we’re talking about ice bags, time on the trainer’s table and in Petr Mrazek’s case, asking try-out Tyson Teichmann to spell him during the afternoon so that his sore…something (he didn’t tell me and I didn’t ask) didn’t get worse.
In the case of Marek Tvrdon, who’s missed the vast majority of the 2010-2011 season due to reconstructive shoulder surgery, the reason he first left Tuesday’‘s practice, hobbling on one leg and returning after the Zamboni scrape, and then leaving halfway through Wednesday’s session and not returning at all was summarized by Tvrdon himself when I asked him if he had a sprained ankle:
In the feast-or-famine time for Red Wings news that is the middle of July, ESPN’s Scott Burnside provides a few new insights while revisiting the topic that is Red Wings coach Mike Babcock’s decision to hire Jeff Blashill and Bill Peters as his assistant coaches, starting with something we’ve heard before: Babcock was concerned that he started to sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher or any of the adults in the Peanuts cartoons, drowning himself out after six years of the same message:
“The challenge was, how was I going to change that? How was I going to keep the good and evolve and improve?” Babcock said. “That’s what I was looking for. This was the biggest decision I’ve had to make in a long time.”
So, when longtime Wings assistant Paul MacLean took the head-coaching job in Ottawa and veteran NHL defenseman and Red Wings assistant Brad McCrimmon took his skills to Russia, Babcock didn’t merely take the path of least resistance by hiring two people he knew or two former NHL guys that were hanging around. Instead, Babcock talked to literally dozens of people; junior hockey people, AHL people, NHL people ... coaches, non-coaches, players, GMs. Who did they like? What did they think was important about the make-up of a coaching staff?
Well now things get a little…corporate…in the Mike Commodore number-choosing saga. I have no problem with the concept of the Red Wings’ newest defenseman choosing to wear 64 if he wishes, but the person who makes the computer’s modern-retro analogue told the National Post’s Sean Fitz-Gerald that there’s quite a “synergy” developing:
“I can’t even think of words to describe how ecstatic we would be,” said Barry Altman, president and chief executive of Commodore USA.
The Commodore 64 was a ubiquitous presence in North American homes in the early 1980s, reportedly selling as many as 30 million units. Intense competition led to its downfall, and the original company declared bankruptcy in 1994. Altman resurrected the brand last year, re-launching the distinctive platform on April 5 after acquiring the trademarks. The new company – Commodore USA – built a new facility in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and began shipping the units a little more than a week ago.
As far as Altman’s concerned—and this is kinda, let’s say corporate—the Puck Daddy pledge-o-thon and Commodore’s consideration regarding wearing said number is a tribute to, well, his business interests:
On Tuesday, a slightly worn-out set of Red Wings prospects were pushed to their absolute limits during the on-ice sessions at Detroit’s summer development camp, and today the coaches seemed to recognize that the last full day of practices before Thursday’s scrimmage and commute back to Detroit, Friday’s fitness testing, exit intervhttp://www.kuklaskorner.com/korner/index.php?S=0&C=publish&M=entry_form&weblog_id=22iews, and an end-of-camp activity in taking in the Tigers-White Sox game from Mike Ilitch’s suite yielded an opportunity to reinforce fundamentals and encourage some “room to grow” in the self-improvement category, but not much more.
A full week into a grueling slate of on and off-ice workouts, the players are visibly physically and mentally fatigued. Mind you, that’s the entire point of this development camp—to push the prospects to the maximums of their performance envelopes, if you will, to both to teach the new prospects the “Red Wings way” of doing things, to remind the returning prospects that they’ve got a ways to go and to encourage the “veterans” to continue to self-improve on a daily basis as always striving to become a better player and a more physically fit athlete is what separates the Henrik Zetterbergs and Pavel Datsyuks from the rest of the crowd…
A brief Red Wings overnight report: On Osgood, dangers of literal translation and epic an Helm beard
Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland anticipates having a backup goaltender in place by the end of the week. Before making a decision, Holland will meet with Chris Osgood in Vernon, British Columbia, Thursday night. Osgood on Tuesday returned to Detroit from his golf trip to Scotland and Ireland.
“We’re going to have a conversation face-to-face,” Holland said. “Sometime on Friday or Saturday, after talking to him, I’ll probably have a decision on what we’re doing.”
Detroit’s options are limited. They include former Red Wing Ty Conklin and Osgood.
“We explored (free agency). We had some interest in some guys and those chose to go elsewhere,” Holland said. “We wake up after the dust settles, and obviously Chris Osgood is still a legitimate candidate. It all depends what his thoughts are. I want to talk to him and see what he’s thinking. That doesn’t mean if he wants the job it’s his job.”
It’s a bit scary when the Red Wings’ GM admits that even he’s not sure where he or the team will lean regarding bringing back a goaltender who is both clearly the best available netminder in terms of his resume and fantastic working relationship with Jimmy Howard and, at the same time, is a goaltender who couldn’t recover from reconstructive surgery on his groin despite four months of trying…
In theory, anyway, the Red Wings’ prospects who participated in the sixth day of an eight-day marathon that is the team’s summer development camp told me that they’d hit their rock bottom in the physical fatigue department either on Sunday or on Monday, when Centre Ice Arena’s Huntington Rink got a little soupy in 86-degree weather. As Brian Lashoff told me, Grand Rapids Griffins strength and conditioning coach Aaron Downey and Wings prospect mentor Chris Chelios kicked the players’ butts in the gym and the team finally blew off some steam via a team-organized barbecue and beach-front bonding affair on Monday night, so, in theory, the prospects went back to work for their final days of “split sessions” refreshed and recharged.
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.