The Malik Report
Joe Louis Arena isn't too long for this world. The Wings' follow-on facility will all but ensure that the Joe will be demolished at some point to either add to Cobo Hall's convention space, or perhaps the City of Detroit will sell an incredibly valuable piece of riverfront real estate to a commercial or residential developer who wants to take what is really a "dead zone" of the city and revitalize it.
Put bluntly, Joe Louis Arena's footprint is far more valuable than the aging facility, and one way or another, its exit sign from the Lodge Freeway and perhaps some relics will join the "Olympia Stadium" exit sign looming unseen by the public on the Joe's ground floor.
A TMR reader kindly sent me toward an article that got lost in the follow-on-facility shuffle, and it matters because it was written by both a resident of the city and someone who's had a unique perspective on the rickety rink's lifespan in Huffington Post columnist Ashley Woods (whose father, Paul Woods, is the Wings' radio color commentator):
MLive's Ansar Khan's penned his second "free agent focus" article, following up a summation of David Clarkson's pluses, minuses and asking price with a profile of a player whose "upside" is vast and whose injury history is downright scary. Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton's a 6'2," 229-pound, 28-year-old winger who's proven himself to be a 20-goal-scoring, 50-to-60-point-registering player (mostly)...
But he's also battled concussion issues, and now everybody but the Boston Bruins themselves will acknowledge that Horton's got some sort of left shoulder injury that probably needs surgical repair--though, somewhat ironically, Horton spending 3 or 4 months on a team's long-term injured reserve list probably allows teams with less cap space than more (like the Wings) to make a $5-to-6-million bid for Horton's services (if Horton's worth that much to begin with).
Here's Khan's profile of Horton:
It's hit-or-miss this time of year. The past week and even Saturday yielded oodles of chatter about the shape of the Red Wings' roster to come, on Sunday, Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea revealed that the vast majority of the public funds for the Red Wings' follow-on rink will be paid for by those who can afford to contribute in Downtown Detroit's biggest corporations, the third annual Bob Probert memorial ride took place on Sunday afternoon, and if you missed it, you do have viewing options despite the fact that Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final will not air on WDIV this evening.
We're a week away from meeting seven new members of the Red Wings organization as the draft takes place next Sunday in Newark; free agency kicks off a week from Friday, and it will be preceded by cap compliance buy-outs and trades. The Wings' summer development camp begins on July 9th and runs until the 17th, and after a few short weeks of foreign-language news in late July and early August, we'll be talking about the Wings' players returning to Metro Detroit and taking part in informal skates in Troy and at the Joe.
This morning, however, it's quiet, and after surveying 40-some international sources, we've got to head all the way to Australia for news about Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey, who took part in a three-game series of exhibition games to help raise money for concussion awareness in Melbourne and Sidney. IIHF.com's Trevor Allen reports that the "U.S. vs. Canada" exhibition games were a success...
The first Bob Probert Memorial Ride took place less than a year after the former Red Wings and Blackhawks enforcer's passing, and it was an incredibly emotional event. Three later, the annual motorcycle ride to raise funds for Windsor's Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital's angioplasty and cardiac programs soldiers on a little more quietly, though it's incredibly well-attended and always studded with former NHL stars.
The Windsor Star's Emma loop reports that Doug Gilmour and ride captain Tony Amonte led a gigantic crop of riders through Windsor and Essex Counties...
Detroit, the state of Michigan and the copyrighted marketing term "Hockeytown" have been openly mocked because our NBC affiliate, WDIV, is not airing Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Here's the simple explanation as to why that's happening: on Monday night, as part of the "River Days" festival celebrating Canada Day on the Windsor side of the border and Independence Day in Detroit, the Ford Fireworks are taking place. The fireworks display is one of the largest displays in North America.
Generally speaking, about a million people attend the Fireworks on the American side of the border, and another half a million-or-so folks head to Windsor to watch.
Update: Whoops, wrong blog. It happens. Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews may or may not have been concussed when hit by Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk...Let's say "up high"...But TSN's Darren Dreger reports that the NHL deemed that no futher punishment was necessary:
The Chicago Tribune's Chris Kuc both confirms and throws a wrinkle into the scenario:
When getting down to brass tacks regarding the details surrounding and sources of funding for the Red Wings' follow-on rink and real estate development in sum--there's a 56%-private-funds-44%-public-ones split--the most controversial part of the dollar picture came at the beginning, when the State of Michigan legislature approved the diversion of $12.8 million in taxes collected by the Downtown Development Authority to fund the project.
Now the whole, "This money is coming from schools and children!" line was BS from the start, and Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea (who's been following the scuttlebutt surrounding Joe Louis Arena's follow-on facility for over half a decade now) confirms that fact, but he also reveals that the biggest public contributors to the rink will in fact be downtown businesses like General Motors, DTE Energy, downtown casinos, Quicken Loans and, well, Compuware:
[edit/update: I wrote this and plain old forgot two points of my argument: 1. With the cap going down this summer (to $64.3 million from $70.2 million and 2. Given the Wings' comments about their youth movement, I've tended to believe that the "go with the kids" philosophy is in fact a two-year plan, not a one-year plan. Just my theory /end edit] I've spent the last...Oh, six weeks talking about the concept that the Red Wings' track record over the past three to five seasons--if not longer--provides the best indication of their future plans.
I've suggested that the vast majority of the Wings' roster changes will come from within, i.e. via the maturation of Joakim Andersson, Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Danny DeKeyser and Brian Lashoff; that the Wings' cap situation and free agency record tends to indicate that the team may re-sign Daniel Cleary, will probably re-sign Damien Brunner, almost certainly will not retain Valtteri Filppula's services, and that once the Wings lock up their RFA's (add Brendan Smith to Nyquist and Andersson), the team will probably simply go after a free agent forward to bolster their goal-scoring ranks, if not off-set Filppula's departure...
Updated at 7:57 PM with the Detroit News's John Niyo demanding a big move/free agent signing: As noted last night, Red Wings GM Ken Holland suggested to the Windsor Star that the vast majority of the Red Wings' roster changes will involve Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Danny DeKeyser and Brian Lashoff joining the Wings on a full-time basis, and he both reiterated those points to the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness and expanded upon them, suggesting that all five players will be full-time Wings on a team that will indeed have to utilize trades or buy-outs to alleviate a roster crunch designed to accommodate the "youth movement":
“I’m pretty comfortable saying that none of them are going through waivers. Someone will claim them, which means that we either have to have him on this team or we have to make some moves. We started the year with 23 players and you add those five, that’s 28, so we probably have 27 or 28 players."
Beware the lure of free agency? That's what Holland told Pleiness...
Nine days removed from the draft and thirteen from the start of free agency, it's easy to read the Free Press's Helene St. James' report about the Wings' desire to move some bodies up front and/or use some cap compliance buy-outs, to think about the progress made by the Grand Rapids Griffins' players during their Calder Cup run, and to start letting our minds wander.
Two buy-outs, three trades, four free agents signed and eleven kids promoted next year! The roster's going to be completely different! (and surely, we can clone TSN Player of the Year finalist Pavel Datsyuk's competitor, Pavel Datsyuk!) Right? The elevendy twelve signed forwards and eight defensemen mean the Wings have to make tons of moves right away!
It's at this time of year, when TSN's Scott Cullen pens his "Off-Season Game Plan" for the Wings (it''s a great read but it doesn't translate well to a blog entry), that Wings fans tend to head over to Capgeek and build radically different Red Wings rosters, ignoring what Ken Holland told the Windsor Star's Bob Duff--that the vast majority of the changes made to the Red Wings' roster this summer will involve the players that the Wings sent down to the Griffins to bolster their ranks (and Tomas Tatar) joining Detroit's lineup on a full-time basis:
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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.