The Malik Report
Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke with Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery and Darren McCarty today, discussing Mike Babcock's decision to join the Maple Leafs, Jeff Blashill, the imminent opening night against Toronto and the Daniel Cleary situation:
Updated 3x at 1:12 PM: Per the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa:
2/2 holland spoke to me yesterday about cleary's "passion for the game," & cleary's interest in management/player issues.
The Free Press's Helene St. James confirms...
Daniel Cleary not reporting to minors, according to Red Wings general manager Ken Holland
Ken Holland said it is between club and Daniel Cleary whether he gets paid salary, even as he told Wings he's not reporting to minors.
As does WXYZ's Brad Galli...
Dan Cleary is not reporting to Grand Rapids. He informed the Red Wings he has no intentions to play for the Griffins this season.
Ken Holland said Cleary told the team yesterday. The $950K he signed for? "That's between the club and Cleary," Holland said.
MLive's Ansar Khan...
Updated 13x at 3:14 PM: FTR: Tim Peel and TJ Luxmore will referee tonight's game, with Matt MacPherson and Don Henderson working the lines.
The Maple Leafs' morning skate is still underway ahead of tonight's game between Detroit and Toronto (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/Fox 2/Sportsnet/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), but articles are already hitting the wires from the Wings' portion thereof.
Jeff Blashill addressed the media regarding his take on his official coaching debut, as CBS Detroit's Ashley Scoby noted...
Jeff Blashill, the new head man in Detroit, will lead the Wings against the Toronto Maple Leafs Friday, who is coached by Mike Babcock. Babcock left Detroit for the new gig last year, and the teams actually played each other last week in the preseason.
“It gave everybody a chance to ask some questions and gave us a chance to kind of work it out,” Blashill said about the dynamic of the Wings playing against their former coach. “It’s not as abnormal. Babs and I get along great. It was good to see him this week and good to see him a little bit here this morning.”
In the two-game preseason series last weekend, the Red Wings won both, 4-2 on Friday and 2-1 on Saturday.
But even though he has a full preseason of coaching this team under his belt, Blashill said he is still a little nervous about the season opener at Joe Louis Arena.
“I think when you step on the bench at the beginning of any season, at the beginning of any time you take a new job – anybody that’s taken a new job understands what that’s like,” Blashill said. “So I’m sure I will tonight, and I’d say most games I’ll have little butterflies to start.”
MLive's Ansar Khan confirmed the Wings' lines...
CBS Sports' Chris Peters goes out on a limb to suggest that the Red Wings will defeat the Maple Leafs tonight:
Toronto Maple Leafs at Detroit Red Wings, 7 p.m, ET
It's hard to imagine a more perfect opening night matchup for the Detroit Red Wings.
Not only is it the official start of the Jeff Blashill era as the team's newest head coach, but they're also taking on an original six rival when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs. Who just so happen to be coached by Mike Babcock, the man that stood behind the Red Wings bench at Joe Louis Arena for the past 10 years and compiled one of the best coaching resumes in the league, taking the team to two Stanley Cup Finals and winning the whole thing in 2008.
And now he's back behind the other bench.
I cannot deny that this article from the Free Press's JC Reindl and James Jahnke made me smile:
Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, was given the 2015 Goodfellow of the Year award this morning at Cobo Center. Also in attendance were his parents, Mike and Marian Ilitch, who own the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings.
The younger Ilitch stopped to answer a few questions about his family's sports ventures:
• On the Red Wings: "I think you can expect a very exciting team, a very competitive team. We're super excited about our Detroit Red Wings this year. We think we're going to be a very competitive team, and it's going to be a lot of fun to watch."
From the Red Wings:
WHAT’S NEW AT THE JOE
UPDATES AND IMPROVEMENTS SET TO TAKE PLACE AT JOE LOUIS ARENA FOR UPCOMING RED WINGS SEASON
... Clear Bag Policy, ‘Experience the Upgrade,’ Mobile Ticketing, Free High-Speed Wi-Fi, Hockey Hall of Fame Nights and Much More Highlight Recent Changes at Joe Louis Arena ...
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today announced several new updates and improvements set to take place at Joe Louis Arena for the upcoming 2015-16 Red Wings season.
“While the team on the ice looks to qualify for its 25th straight playoff appearance, we’re committed to everything taking place off the ice to make sure our fans have the best possible experience when visiting Joe Louis Arena,” said Tom Wilson, President and CEO of Olympia Entertainment. “As we celebrate our final two seasons at The Joe and prepare for an exciting new chapter in the Detroit Events Center, we’re always looking for new ways to improve and show our fans how much we appreciate their continued loyalty.”
Updated 12x at 12:51 PM: The Red Wings took to the ice at Joe Louis Arena ahead of tonight's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs (7:30 PM on FSD/Fox 2/Sportsnet/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), and they were watched by an eager observer:
The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness also took note of the visitor...
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. The Wings posted a superb video in which the Red Wings discuss the privilege that is being a Red Wing:
Tatar will lead the team with 35 goals
After leading the team with 29 goals in 2014-15, Tomas Tatar will top the 30 mark in his third full season, meshing with center Brad Richards.
With his nose for the net, good hands in tight and willingness to go to the hard areas, Tatar will become the "go-to guy" that coach Jeff Blashill wants him to be.
3. Brad Richards spoke with the Charlottetown Guardian's Jason Malloy about his imminent debut as a Red Wing:
The Detroit Red Wings open their regular season as they host the Toronto Maple Leafs this evening (7:30 PM on FSD/Fox 2/Sportsnet 1/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), kicking off a set of back-to-back games for Detroit.
Before ceding the sports stage to the Toronto Blue Jays, the Maple Leafs stated that they hope to assuage Wednesday's 3-1 loss to Montreal by earning their coach a win in his official return to Detroit, as they told the Toronto Sun's Rob Longley...
“It would be nice for him to get his first win as a Leaf in Detroit,” said [Matt Hunwick]. “Very fitting.”
It will be a somewhat muted return for the 10-year coach of the Wings, winner of their last Stanley Cup in 2008. He’s not exactly returning with a powerhouse team and he’s played the Wings twice already in pre-season, including a week earlier at JLA when he got a feel for the visitors’ bench.
““It might be a little anti-climactic for him, but now it’s the regular season and it means something,” Leafs centre Peter Holland said. “We definitely want to get this one for him.”
Friday might see a scoreboard acknowledgement of Babcock, who did get a nice offer to stay. But he’d rather the clock show his team leading at the final horn.
“I really enjoyed my time there, but I’m thrilled to be here,” Babcock said. “But I understand it’s going to be a process. I know it will be fun going to Detroit, but we need the points.”
And the Globe and Mail's James Mirtle, who played up the "prodigial coach" angle:
The Free Press's Mitch Albom spoke with Brendan Shanahan regarding his successful pursuit of Mike Babcock, and the conversation is blunt, sometimes amusing, and a little revelatory:
"When this all started," Shanahan says, "I called Kenny Holland (the Wings GM) and said, 'I don't know if there's a good time or a good way to ask this question, but if and when Mike (Babcock) can talk to other teams, I'd like to be first in line.' "
Was that hard to do?
"No. ... I knew if I was out of line he would have told me to go (bleep) myself."
Instead, when the time actually came, Holland informed Shanahan, and the ex-Wing went after Babcock hard. "I pursued him around the globe," he admits, even trailing him to the World Championships in Prague.
But in the end, after offering eight years and a stunning $50 million, he took his foot off the gas. "You make your offer, and that's it," Shanahan said. "There's no bullying Mike Babcock. I let him decide, and I waited until the phone rang. And then he called."
What did he say?
"He said, 'You still want to do this?' "
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