The Malik Report
NHL.com's Pete Jensen penned a lengthy column discussing the "Fantasy Questions" facing NHL teams, and he reminds us that the decision regarding Pavel Datsyuk's future is nigh:
The Detroit Red Wings' outlook hinges on Pavel Datsyuk 's decision to either stay for the final season of his contract or retire from the NHL and head back to Russia. The Red Wings are on the hook for his salary whether he stays or goes, putting them in a predicament if they lose their longtime center. Datsyuk played more games this season (66) than he did in 2014-15 (63), yet finished with 16 fewer points. He had no points on 18 shots on goal in five playoff games.
It was an up-and-down year for Datsyuk and Red Wings that saw them extend their playoff streak to 25 straight seasons but exit quickly in the first round. Datsyuk's fantasy value would be lower than we've become accustomed to seeing if he stays in the NHL. If he leaves, the Red Wings likely would turn to their loaded prospect pool, which includes rising sophomore Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou or 2015 first-round pick Evgeny Svechnikov to fill the center void in their top six. Datsyuk's decision this month will have ramifications on Detroit's lineup entering free agency and training camp, so this situation is worth monitoring throughout the summer to see which of these high-upside forwards could be fantasy sleeper candidates.
I don't think that Svechnikov is ready to step into the NHL, but you never know.
Update: Sportsnet posted the entire eulogy:
The Free Press's Helene St. James, the Associated Press and Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples penned article about Murray Howe's wonderful eulogy to his father:
As he neared the end of his eulogy for Gordie Howe, son Murray Howe brought forth laughter.
Murray spoke for nearly a half-hour as he memorialized the Detroit Red Wings legend who was known simply as Mr. Hockey.
"I asked my dad a few years ago what he would like me to say at his funeral," Murray said during the service today at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit.
"He said, say this: 'Finally, the end of the third period.' Then he added, 'I hope there is a good hockey team in heaven.'
"Dad, all I can say is, once you join the team, they won't just be good, they will be great."
As we await Gordie Howe's funeral today at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament...
- The Windsor Star's Bob Duff penned a fine article surveying the comments made by the hockey royalty that came to pay their respects to Howe yesterday, noting that Mark Howe simply said, "This is what dad would have wanted";
- The Detroit News's Al Willman, Holly Fournier, Ted Kulfan and Mark Hicks shared fan remarks;
- MLive's Brendan Savage penned a lengthy article sharing Wayne Gretzky's comments, including his desire that the NHL retire #9;
- The Macomb Daily's George Pohly paid tribute to Howe and his contemporary in sincere superstardom in Al Kaline;
- The Oakland Press's Pat Caputo listed, "The 5 best things about Gordie Howe"...
- The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness spoke with Kirk Maltby and Kris Draper regarding Howe;
- The Canadian Press's Gregory Strong penned a story about the visitation and another about Gretzky's comments;
- NHL.com's Dave Stubbs did a lovely job of sharing Scotty Bowman's many memories of Howe;
- Fox 2's Roop Raj filed a report on the Howe visitation this morning...
Update #2: In text form, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan confirms...
Howe's family members were happy to greet each and every fan who came to pay their respects Tuesday, even though that meant a day that lingered past the 12-hour mark.
Murray Howe, the chairman of Toledo Hospital's radiology department, said the turnout, estimated at more than 15,000 fans, was even more than he expected.
"It's mind-blowing," Murray Howe said. "I am just so humbled by the incredible show of love and support. It's unfathomable and I know that my dad is watching from above and saying, 'Wow, I didn't know I was that loved.' It's just really amazing to see.
"I guess it doesn't surprise me just thinking of who the fans are in Detroit and just how much they love hockey and love my dad. I guess I'm not so surprised because I just know how much they love him. But it's wonderful to see. It's incredible to see."
Growing up, Murray Howe said he had a front-row seat watching his father's love affair with Red Wings fans.
"My whole life has been a Cinderella story of being able to watch my dad make people's day," Murray Howe said. "It's just been incredible."
The legion of stories regarding Gordie Howe could take days to peruse, and they may very well be days well-spent as the luminaries of the hockey world came to Joe Louis Arena to pay respect to Mr. Hockey. I'm struck by the ways in which both fans and peers alike were touched so very deeply by Howe's combination of brute force on the ice and nothing less than profound kindness.
The Free Press's Drew Sharp did a fine job of capturing the scene at the Joe today:
It was around 12:30 p.m. and Wings general manager Ken Holland took a peek from behind the curtain. The bier carrying the remains of Mr. Hockey rested only a few feet away from him. Holland marveled at how the procession of mourners hadn’t dissipated since he first arrived a little before 9 a.m.
“Look at them,” Holland said, pointing to the crowd. “How many of those people never saw Gordie play one time? Not one time because they’re not old enough. But there was a strong connection because they know that he was not only a great ambassador for the Detroit Red Wings, but for the sport of hockey overall.”
Holland knew all too well how some people changed their normally busy daily schedules so that they could squeeze enough time to pay homage to their hockey hero. His wife’s doctor told her Monday that he was rescheduling his Tuesday morning appointments so that he could wait in line to pay his respects.
From MLive's Brendan Savage:
TSN and Sportsnet will air the mass in Canada as well.
The funeral begins at 11 a.m. and although it's open to the public, seating is expected to be extremely limited given all the dignitaries in town.
Among those expected to be in attendance are Wayne Gretzky, Steve Yzerman, Scotty Bowman, Al Kaline and several current Red Wings players as well as general manager Ken Holland and coach Jeff Blashill.
Anyone who can't get into the funeral but wants to be downtown can listen to the service outside as speakers will be set up near the church.
Updated 8x at 10:57 PM: As the Gordie Howe memorial visitation winds down at Joe Louis Arena...
- It appears that Fox Sports Detroit will stream the mass remembering Howe tomorrow at 11 AM Wednesday, as will TSN and Sportsnet;
- MLive's Brendan Savage noted that fans and luminaries alike have paid tribute to Howe today, and he spoke with Jeff Blashill about Howe's legacy as a player and person;
- The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa also spoke about the fans and living legends paying tribute to Howe;
- CBS Detroit posted a beautiful gallery from today's event;
- Sportsnet's Dan Robson told stories from Howe's family, and Sportsnets Brett Popplewell penned a long feature about Howes tenure in the WHA and NHL with Houston and Hartford;
- The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness told both touching and sad stories about Howe in his story about the day's memorial;
- ESPN's Craig Custance penned a lovely column about "Gordie Howe's people";
- The Blackburn News's Maureen Revait weighed in with an article and photo gallery;
- The Associated Press's Larry Lage surveyed the scene;
- DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose penned a superb article speaking with Al Kaline and Steve Yzerman about Howe--while taking note of the many visitors to the Joe--and Roose spoke with fans regarding their hero;
- WXYZ Channel 7, WDIV Local 4 and WJBK Fox 2 filed video reports from the event:
Fox Sports Detroit's "The 313" shared a video in which Mickey Redmond recalled a lesson learned from Gordie as well:
from Dan Robson of Sportsnet,
Two young girls ran in carefree circles in front of a statue of an icon, jostling and jumping, giggling and laughing. The man immortalized in bronze behind them would have loved the scene.
In life, Gordie Howe adored them both. Few things brought Mr. Hockey as much joy as time he spent with family. Ella, four-and-a-half, and her two-and-a-half-year-old sister, Lahna, knew their great-grandfather’s love well. The Howe family gathered in recent weeks, knowing the end was near, preparing to say goodbye. One afternoon when Gordie woke up from a long nap in his recliner in the family room, he spent two hours ignoring the adults in the room while making playful faces with the sisters.
On a day of both mourning and celebration—as thousands of fans lined up to pay their final respects to one of the greatest hockey players ever—Gordie Howe’s family lovingly remembered the kind patriarch they called Peepaw.
Standing next to the statue of her grandfather in the concourse at Joe Louis arena, Azia Saubers (mother of Ella and Lahna) didn’t think of hockey—instead, she recalled visiting him at his place in Siesta Key, Florida, with her cousins. Each time the grandchildren made the trek, Howe took them down to the beach to collect seashells for hours.
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.