The Malik Report
The 2010-2011 NHL season ended in the strangest way I’ve ever witnessed an NHL season end in a Nicklas Lidstrom’s career’s worth of years—19 and counting. The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in a dominant Game 7 performance, defeating the Vancouver Canucks 4-0, but this morning’s sports pages across the world (I can verify this in terms of at least Swedish, Russian, Finnish, Czech, Slovak and English) contain fewer images of the Boston Bruins lifting the Cup than images of downtown Vancouver in flames due to the actions of morons who even the Detroit area morning news—and I’m old enough to remember the post-Tigers looting and pillaging in 1984—insist were the result of Canucks fans’ anger.
As for what happened on the ice, the only thing I can say as an American is that it puzzles me to no end that there’s a sense that Canada has been shut out and lost “its” Stanley Cup to America again. Once your team has lifted the Stanley Cup, no matter where you live or where you’re from, you believe that its “home” is in your team’s hands, in your team’s city and your favorite players’ hometowns. If anything belongs to hockey fans, it is the Stanley Cup, and while I heartily congratulate the Boston Bruins this morning, if you’re a hockey fan that’s witnessed your team lift the Cup in your lifetime, and you’re not a Bruins fan, you don’t think it’s “home” today.
In any case, here’s a brief survey of the hockey world (as the boss will hopefully sleep in for the first time in forever), and I’ll eventually get my way to discussing some Red Wings stuff:
Now things get “interesting” for Red Wings fans. The Free Press’s Helene St. James’s report was titled to suggest that the Red Wings would not bring back Chris Osgood or Kris Draper, but if you get into the actual comments from Ken Holland, here’s what he told St. James:
“Right now, we owe it to ourselves to wait till July 1,” Holland said. “I’ll talk to both players, but so much is unknown right now. We don’t know who is going to be on the market July 1. Is there somebody out there we think brings something we’d like to our team? We owe it to ourselves to look at options. The torch has to be passed. If 40-year-olds aren’t passing the torch, we aren’t going anywhere.”
This suggests that after the Wings, whose braintrust just wrapped up its organizational meetings, find out what Nicklas Lidstrom has planned next week (as reported by the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan), they’re going to wait a bit to decide whether or not to bring back Osgood or Draper, and that’s what Holland told MLive’s Ansar Khan:
updated 2x at 7:45 PM w/ Babcock audio via video: Via RedWingsFeed, the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan reports that Red Wings GM Ken Holland and the Red Wings’ brass wrapped up their organizational meetings today, and Holland says that he expects Nicklas Lidstrom to inform the team of his future plans prior to next Wednesday’s NHL Awards:
“Nick said he’ll have a decision by then,” said Holland, who is also traveling to Las Vegas to attend the show.
Lidstrom, 41, is a finalist for the Norris Trophy (best defenseman), Lady Byng Trophy (sportsmanship) and Mark Messier Leadership Award. Holland met briefly with Lidstrom earlier this week but Lidstrom offered no answer to a possible return.
The Wings concluded two days of organizational meetings Wednesday. Potential unrestricted free agents and trade targets were identified by Holland and his pro scouts. Holland said defense will be a primary need for the Wings on July 1 when unrestricted free agency begins, and the Wings also might target several backup goalies.
Holland said he’ll continue to talk to goalie Chris Osgood and center Kris Draper; both would like to continue playing. Holland also said he’d like to have both assistant coaching positions filled by next weekend’s draft. Coach Mike Babcock is sorting through potential candidates
Update: The Free Press’s Helene St. James reports that it’s highly unlikely that Osgood and Draper will be brought back, barring free agent losses:
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock’s interview with WDFN’s Art Regner, as pointed out and partially transcripted by MLive’s Phillip Zaroo, treded upon some of the topics that Babcock mentioned while speaking to NHL on XM Radio on Tuesday, but offered slightly different spins on several topics which are worth the time it takes to transcript an interview (which takes much longer than you’d think), as well as a near-priceless bit of banter at the end of his interview:
Very briefly, with “more to come”:
• Regarding the Jagr-to-the-Red Wings rumor from Denik Sport’s Zdenek Janda, as noted this morning, here’s all you need to know about the legitimacy of a, “Jagr’s pal, Jaroslav Zidek, says Detroit would be a good fit” line—none of the other Czech hockey websites are so much as mentioning this “report.” Not one. It’s just a pal of Jagr’s making a suggestion and a website plastering a picture of Jagr and a Red Wings logo to generate web traffic (now Expressen’s report that Niclas Wallin’s left the NHL to play for Lulea, that one’s true);
Red Wings overnight report: On Boughner, a Babcock transcript and a significant Ilitch Holdings move
Updated with a Jagr-to-Detroit rumor: As the Red Wings’ brass wraps up its organizational meetings today, it’s becoming readily apparent that we probably won’t hear definitive news as to whether the team plans on bringing back Chris Osgood or Kris Draper, we probably won’t know whether Nicklas Lidstrom wishes to return for one more season until at or after next week’s NHL Awards, if not the NHL Entry Draft, and we’ve received no news as to how the team’s negotiations to retain the services of unrestricted free agents-to-be Jonathan Ericsson, Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves are going.
We may not know who Mike Babcock wishes to tap on the shoulder as his assistant coaches for a while yet, either, and while we can guess, the Wings’ draft tendencies make it all but impossible to know who they’re targeting at next weekend’s Entry Draft, nor are we certain which defenseman (or defensemen) they’ll target on July 1st.
As a hockey equipment nerd, I know that Tim Thomas wears something its creator, Sportmask’s Tony Priolo, calls a “Mage”—a hybrid of a “helmet-cage” mask and a conventional goalie mask—and as Priolo’s always done a fantastic job of making top-quality goalie masks, I think that it’s very cool to see the Thomas’s “Mage” and Don Beaupre-inspired cage receive spotlighting via a Conn Smythe Trophy-winner’s endorsement. The Toronto Star’s Dan Robinson spoke to Priolo about Thomas’s mask, and it’s a good read:
Adecade ago Thomas, then relatively unknown, walked into Tony Priolo’s custom goalie mask shop in Oakville. The burly minor-league netminder wanted a new mask that would give him better vision than the sleek design that most goalies wear.
“He asked me about a whole bunch of crazy stuff,” Priolo recalled on Tuesday. “He wanted some crazy ideas. So I said, well, I definitely can do it.”
Thomas, as you may know, is anything but typical. The 37-year-old has flopped and flailed his way into NHL lore. In Thomas’s run to a likely Conn Smythe trophy, his play has shown similarities to a legendary goalie of equally criticized aggressiveness — Dominik Hasek. It’s a deeply rooted connection. When Thomas came knocking at Priolo’s door in 2002, he asked specifically to design a cage similar to that of the ever-unique Czech.
The best thing I can say about Paul MacLean’s tenure with the Red Wings is the worst thing I can say about his tenure with the Red Wings: it was a quiet one. In Detroit, assistant coaches decide whether they want to talk to the media, not the other way around, so while Todd McLellan was outspoken and engaging, we knew that Paul MacLean had a laugh as hearty as his moustache was thick and that he got along very, very well with his players and coach during a six-year run alongside Mike Babcock in Detroit, but we never really got to know him.
It’s just not how things are done around here. If an assistant coach wants to just work behind the scenes, he’s given a wide berth, and the fact that MacLean didn’t seek out the media doesn’t besmirch his character at all. It just means that we’re learning more about the coaching philosophies of MacLean as the Ottawa Senators’ new head coach than we did via his execution as (usually) the man in charge of the Wings’ forwards, and it should come as no surprise that, via the Canadian Press, when MacLean was introduced in Ottawa today, he suggested that his team would employ an up-tempo, Red Wings-like offense:
“I don’t know if we’re going to play the Red Wing way, but we’re going to play a game that’s going to be played with some pace and tempo,” MacLean said. “You’ve got to play 200 feet (of ice), you’ve got to be able to skate and if you have the puck, you can dictate what’s going on.”
MacLean also emphasized engaging his players in a Mike Babcock-like level of communication…
Per MLive’s Ansar Khan, the Red Wings are not, in fact, offering guarantees as to Nicklas Lidstrom’s future with the team, but the Wings’ brass finally sat down and spoke to Lidstrom during the team’s organizational meetings, and they believe that Lidstrom’s strong season, the fact that he could play in his 20th season in Detroit and the fact that the Wings will be a contending team after their summer makeover all point to a relatively certain bet that Lidstrom will return:
Holland met with Lidstrom on Tuesday, following the first day of the club’s pro scouting meetings, but said he doesn’t know yet whether the team captain will play next season or retire. Holland said they will talk again at the NHL Awards Show on June 22 in Las Vegas.
Babcock is convinced that Lidstrom will return, though he hasn’t heard it from him.
“I’m 100 percent optimistic,” Babcock said Tuesday. Asked why, Babcock said, “Why not? He’s too good. And our team is too good for him to quit.”
Khan also reports that Ken Hitchcock is simply not in the running to replace Paul MacLean and Brad McCrimmon as an assistant coach:
Updated 2x with Ilitch Holdings news at 3:09 PM: The Ottawa Senators officially introduced former Red Wings assistant coach Paul MacLean as their new coach this morning, first issuing Ye Olde Presse Release prior to MacLean’s presser…
“Paul brings a weath of experience as both a coach and teacher of the game,” said Senators general manager Bryan Murray. “He has been a winner during his coaching career and comes to Ottawa from an organization that has a history of both success on the ice and in developing players. He is a competitive person and we expect that our teams will display that same trait night-in and night-out.”
Prior to joining Detroit, MacLean was hired in 2002 by Murray, who was then the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim’s general manager. MacLean spent two seasons as an assistant to Babcock, the Mighty Ducks’ head coach at that time. In his first season in Anaheim, the club made its first Stanley Cup final appearance and posted a 69-62-19-14 record (.521) during MacLean’s two seasons behind the bench. In his last eight seasons of coaching, MacLean has been part of a team that has reached the Stanley Cup final on three occasions.
“Paul represents a big part of the change we needed to bring to our hockey club,” said Senators owner Eugene Melnyk. “The fact is we are a very different looking hockey team compared to a year ago. Bryan and I agreed it was important for him to bring in someone who is a solid communicator, can easily build a strong rapport with our players and has a proven track record of winning NHL games and Stanley Cups. Paul represents all of this, and I’m pleased to welcome him to Ottawa and the Senators organization.”
And MacLean emphasized the need for his Senators to get on the same page as their coach while speaking at his presser, as noted by the Canadian Press…
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.