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Welcome to Canada’s Detroit? Not exactly, but reputation-wise, Winnipeg’s close

I’m still hoping that the Thrashers stay in Atlanta. I don’t think it’s fair for any hockey fan to feel the pain of “losing” their team because their owners are morons.

That being said, if you’re a Red Wings fan, you’re familiar with the concept that those outside of Detroit think that the Red Wings play in front of a crowd that’s just come in from post-industrial-wasteland blighted and battered terrain, probably without their wallets, which have been pilfered ten feet from Joe Louis Arena’s doors by roving gangs of thugs, and you want to, well… Bop the people who harbor such opinions on the head and explain to them that yes, Detroit, its metropolitan area and the state are still struggling mightily, but just over five million people live in an incredibly diverse and rich Metro Area and region basically bounded by Flint, Chelsea and Monroe, and that the Wings’ Alumni Association is teeming with both one-time Wings and plenty of guys who’ve never played for the team but have chosen to settle in—gasp-Metro Detroit!

In terms of demographics, Winnipeg, Manitoba is more like Green Bay, Wisconsin—so the Ottawa Sun’s Chris Stephenson isn’t off by suggesting that the NHL’s taking a “step back” in leaving the media, technology and population-drawing mecca that is Atlanta for a comparative speck on the TV ratings map.

That being said, Ilya Bryzgalov and Alexandre Burrows’ portraits of Winnipeg aren’t quite right, either. Yes, it’s Calgary or Edmonton cold, gets as much snow as Montreal and isn’t a particularly big city, but as the Toronto Star’s Paul Hunter suggests, should an NHL team find its way to “Winterpeg,” it’s got its own charms (and parks!)

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Devellano talks about Red Wings “tweaks” with Custance

Red Wings vice president Jimmy Devellano tends to share his (and, usually, Ken Holland’s) plans for the Wings’ summertime changes at this time of year, and this time around he does so via a conversation with the Sporting News’s Craig Custance. Custance begins his article by noting that Brad McCrimmon chose to leave the Wings’ organization with nothing but the utmost praise for the team’s ownership and commitment to winning…

“Their pursuit of the Stanley Cup never changes,” McCrimmon said. “It’s every year.”

And as such, whether it’s Holland or Devellano, you’re going to hear the same thing: the Wings don’t plan on tanking to “rebuild,” nor do they plan on making major revisions to their roster:

“I think it’s very close,” senior vice president Jimmy Devellano told Sporting News. “It’s pretty hard to knock a team that gets over 100 points or be dissatisfied and we aren’t. It was good year overall. Like always we’re going to try and improve.”

Amongst those potential “tweaks,” one involves hoping for the status quo from the Wings’ captain…

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Ken Holland gets busy outlining the Red Wings’ future; Dick Axelsson heads to MoDo

Updated 5x with Chelios on WDFN at 5:35 PM: Between yesterday’s interview on WDFN and speaking to the Wings’ press corps, Red Wings GM Ken Holland has begun to outline his thoughts about and plans for Detroit’s roster going forward, but as Holland told the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan today, he doesn’t expect to make any major decisions about the Wings’ search for a new assistant coach or its unrestricted free agents until at or around June 1st, when his exit meetings with players end and Holland’s powwows with his pro scouts (to prepare for unrestricted free agency) and amateur scouting staff (to prepare for the NHL Entry Draft) begin.

Right now, his biggest concerns, aside from the status of Nicklas Lidstrom, involve hearing back from Kris Draper and Chris Osgood as to whether they’re rock-solid in their desire to continue playing:

[Kris] Draper, who’ll be 40 on Tuesday, told Holland he’d like to play another season. [Chris] Osgood, 38, will give Holland an answer on either retirement or his desire to continue playing within the next two weeks. Holland said he’s open to having Draper return to the Red Wings for an 18th season, but wants to see how the rest of the roster shakes out.

“It’s not even June 1 yet,” Holland said. “It’s a process. We’ll continue to work through these decisions.”

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Red Wings roundup: Brad McCrimmon’s scooting; Chelios, Boughner won’t replace him +TC prospect stuff

When fellow Red Wings fans ask me about Brad McCrimmon and why I’ve been somewhat defensive regarding the Wings’ now-departing assistant coach, I’ve never really explained my reasoning, but I’ll admit two reasons now that the Red Wings and McCrimmon have mutually agreed to part ways so McCrimmon may pursue other opportunities:

1. First and foremost, McCrimmon was set up to fail in fans’ eyes. Unless the Red Wings brought in someone who could adequately replace both Todd McLellan’s coaching chops and Jay Woodcroft’s acumen as the team’s video coordinator, he was consigned to Alain Johannes/Jason Newsted bassist territory—how exactly do you replace someone with truly unique musical, vocal and charismatic chops while garnering adequate fan support? You don’t, and McCrimmon become something of a scapegoat almost immediately. In terms of fans’ perspective, the Wings were replacing Mike Babcock’s right-hand man with someone possessing Niklas Kronwall-sized shoes (size 6). He never had a chance, even if the Wings’ penalty-kill roared along at 99% throughout his tenure.

2. He was Nicklas Lidstrom’s first partner on defense, along with Brad Marsh. Lidstrom turned pro back in 1991, and that was the first year I followed the Wings (I was a late-bloomer), so I’ve got warm fuzzies for the McCrimmons, Burrs, Ysebaerts and Cheveldaes of the hockey world.

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Thrashers to Winnipeg: it’s a done deal???

Wow, per the Globe and Mail’s Stephen Brunt:

An agreement to sell the National Hockey League’s Atlanta Thrashers to a Winnipeg group which plans to relocate the franchise to the Manitoba capital is done.

Sources confirmed tonight that preparations are being made for an announcement Tuesday, confirming the sale and transfer of the Thrashers to True North Sports and Entertainment, which owns and operates the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League and the MTS Centre arena, which would become the NHL team’s new home.

Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the National Hockey League, is expected to travel to Winnipeg to make the news official.

As far as I know, the “Moose” would remain in the Eastern Conference for the upcoming season….

Update: TSN’s Darren Dreger says otherwise:

There are still significant issues being negotiated according to Wpg and Atlanta sources. Working on it…but deal is not done. More ahead.

Update #2, at 2:52 AM: The Hockey News’s Ken Campbell says that the NHL and the Thrashers’ owner, Bruce Levenson, are still hung up on who gets what out of the $110 million Thrashers’ asking price and the $60 million relocation fee. Campbell believes that the NHL wants to snag all of the $60 million as essentially a “cash grab” that will negate the $15 million the league is losing on the Coyotes this season.

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McCrimmon out, Boughner in for the Red Wings?

Things have gotten interesting and interesting fast regarding the Red Wings’ decision to allow assistant coach Brad McCrimmon to pursue a head coaching job with another NHL team: the PostMedia news (a.k.a. the Canada.com network), in an as-yet uncredited quip likely originating from the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff or Dave Waddell, reports that the Red Wings may pursue Windsor Spitfires owner Bob Boughner, who just left the Columbus Blue Jackets’ coaching staff to stay closer to home:

“Bob Boughner is a young coach that would likely have to be a candidate,” Wings GM Ken Holland said. “Obviously, he’s accomplished a lot as a junior coach. I think he’d have to be a name on our list.”

Boughner became available after he resigned as an assistant coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday after just one season, citing his desire to be home with his family and be able to tend to his main business interest in the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires. On the surface, the Wings assistant’s job would seem to be a good fit for Boughner. He’d get to continue to coach in the NHL, grooming himself for the head coaching job he covets, while still being able to live at home.

“Mike (Babcock) has to put a list of names together first,” Holland said of whether he had started to contact any candidates. “Once Mike knows in his own mind what he wants and nails it down to three or four people we’ll get going. I think that’ll probably be next week.”

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Red Wings’ summer prospect camp shifts to Traverse City

File this one under incredibly short notice, via MLive’s Ansar Khan: the Red Wings have shifted the venue for this summer’s strength and conditioning prospect camp to Traverse City, MI, leaving this blogger in a bit of a financial lurch:

The team’s annual summer prospects camp will shift from Joe Louis Arena to Centre I.C.E. in Traverse City. It will run from July 7-14 and is open to the public.

[Tomas] Tatar, [Cory] Emmerton, Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyquist, Landon Ferraro and Riley Sheahan are among the top prospects who will attend. Nill said 2010 draft picks Calle Jarnkrok (51st overall) and Teemu Pulkkinen (111th) might be there as well.

Oh boy…

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Red Wings GM Ken Holland outlines his off-season plans on WDFN

Updated with a full transcript at 6:55: Red Wings GM Ken Holland appeared on WDFN’s Sean, Terp and Killer show this afternoon, and he outlined his off-season plans in great detail. A transcript is forthcoming:

Download file

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Red Wings fans get wish McCrimmon departs; Nill talks about Griffins’ changes; summer camp in TC

Updated 3x at 9:59 PM: I hope that Red Wings fans who’ve been calling for the man’s head enjoyed today’s announcement that Wings assistant coach Brad McCrimmon has chosen to part ways with the organization. The Free Press’s George Sipple and Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan confirm…

Brad McCrimmon will not return as a Red Wings assistant coach next season. The Wings said he decided to pursue other career opportunities. TSN of Canada, attributing its information to a source, says McCrimmon and head coach Mike Babcock mutually agreed it was time to make a change.

McCrimmon, a defenseman who played for the Wings from 1990-93 in his 18-year NHL career, had been Babcock’s assistant in Detroit for the past three seasons. He also was an assistant for the Islanders (1997-98), Calgary (2000-03) and Atlanta (2003-07).

As does MLive’s Ansar Khan:

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Red Wings overnight report: on Miller, Ericsson, Axelsson, Mac and Claude and Ilari goes home

Updated: Ilari Filppula has re-signed with Jokerit Helsinki: Amongst the Red Wings’ unrestricted free agents-to-be, the best in terms of his willingness to be a “good solider” and fill whatever role the team asks him to, including sitting out games on occasion, has to be Drew Miller. The Free Press’s Helene St. James believes that Miller’s status as a “glue guy” who contributes whenever he plays merits re-signing, even with a bit of a roster glut in the making thanks to the likely re-signing of the indispensable penalty-killer that is Patrick Eaves and Jan Mursak’s graduation from the AHL:

Miller, 27, fits into the Wings’ plans for next year, though as always it comes down to price, and the Wings want to keep Patrick Eaves, another valuable role player. Jan Mursak, who impressed while called up from the minors this past season, is penned in as a regular in Detroit next season. There already are 10 forwards under contract, but the Wings are likely to move at least one as they seek to improve.

Miller’s the guy every team needs in the salary-cap era, a utility man who fits in on most lines. The Wings acquired him in November 2009, claiming him off waivers from Tampa Bay. A sixth-round pick of Anaheim’s in the 2003 NHL draft, Miller spent part of two seasons with the Ducks before playing 14 games for the Lightning in fall of ‘09.

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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.


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