The Malik Report
Red Wings evening news: weighing in on the coaching shuffle, a Griffins re-signing and prospect talk
Upated 3x at 11:45 PM: I was out this afternoon, so I managed to post this afternoon's coaching news but not follow up on it. As such:
1. I liked Tom Renney, despite his inability to turn the power play around (it's been iffy since Todd McLellan left in 2008), and despite the Wings' offseason moves, I got the sense that Renney's experience coaching the youthful Oilers helped Babcock come around to giving "the kids" a fair shot--and he seemed to play a very strong "good cop" to Babcock's "aggressive cop," too. I hope that Renney does well with Hockey Canada.
2. I like the Tony Granato hiring (though it's not official), too, because it essentially forces Babcock to go out of his way to find a "players' coach" to replace Renney. The equally-aggressive Granato has head coaching experience in Colorado and assistant coaching experience with both Colorado and Pittsburgh, and while the team has a "meh" track record in terms of bringing back alumni, the team's player personnel has always seemed to find missing ingredients by assimilating "enemy" players or coaches. Might as well bring some of that Pittsburgh puck possession know-how into the fold.
Babcock told the Free Press's Helene St. James (who reports that the Wings are securing Granato's release from Pittsburgh) and MLive's Brendan Savage that he's happy with the hiring, and Savage pointed out that Babcock and Granato have butted heads before (video via Savage):
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock wants an extension done by fall, or else he'll wait for spring. Winter is not a time to talk — which makes sense.
Babcock has been busy looking for assistants — he just got word that Tony Granato will be joining him with the Wings. There has been less work done regarding Babcock's own future in Detroit, as he enters the last year of his contract.
The 2014-15 season will be Babcock's 10th season behind the bench in Detroit. Such anniversaries usually are a cause to give something made of tin. Or in pro sports, a raise.
Babcock reiterated today that he doesn't anticipate talking about his own future, so long as general manager Ken Holland also is in the last year of his contract. (Holland, however, has one year plus an option year that, thought a club option, can become vested depending on what happens this season.)
Babcock also made one thing clear: "We get it done by fall, or I won't bother. I'm not doing it during the season."
Hockey Fest offers family action and chance to help beat Autism
Fans can meet Detroit Red Wings Alumni, play interactive games and enter to win prizes at Michigan Avenue Canton Kroger store, Saturday, July 19
NOVI, Michigan – Kids and adults can experience the thrills of a fast-paced hockey game and help support autism research and local treatment programs during the sixth annual Hockey Fest scheduled for Saturday, July 19 at the Canton Kroger store parking lot. The event, sponsored by Kroger, WNIC 100.3 FM, and WDIV/Local 4 ClickOnDetroit, kicks off at 11 a.m. and continues until 3 p.m.
Detroit Red Wings’ own Ted Lindsay will sign autographs between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., with other Red Wings alumni attending. Event proceeds from food, memorabilia and raffle will benefit The Ted Lindsay Foundation. Jay Towers from WNIC’s Jay Towers in the Morning will greet guests and sell raffle tickets from 1-3 p.m.
Admission to Hockey Fest is free, with the event featuring the following:
Updated 3x at 5:27 PM: Well this escalated quickly. First, TSN's Darren Dreger reported that Tom Renney's officially leaving the Red Wings to become Hockey Canada's president, and now he's reporting that former Colorado Avalanche and Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato will join the Wings as one of Mike Babcock's assistants:
The Pittsburgh Penguins had a handy-dandy bio of Granato up prior to his firing, and he possesses a very solid resume:
The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness and MLive's Ansar Khan reported that the Red Wings expect to lose associate coach Tom Renney's services to Hockey Canada, and TSN's Darren Dreger reports that Hockey Canada will officially announce that Renney will president Bob Nicholson in short order:
Update: Make it Tuesday...
Update #2: In text form:
For the first time in five days, this afternoon's crop of Red Wings-related stories kicks off with something not involving the Wings' free agency signings or performance.
WWJ posted an interview with White Construction founder W. Bernard White, and W. Bernard offered a peek behind the curtain--if only a quick peek--regarding the follow-on rink's construction:
“We worked on Comerica Park, we worked on Ford Field and now we are slated to work on the hockey arena,” White said. “We’ve achieved the hat trick.”
White’s company is even lined up to build the 20 stations planned for the M-1 rail project in Detroit.
“The shovel is not in the dirt, but it will definitely be going in the dirt. That’s going to be one of the nicest hockey arenas, if not the nicest arena in the United States in my opinion,” White said. “I’m so excited to be working on that.”
We return to the inevitable, however, as CBS Sports' Brian Stubits reviewed the "offseasons" of Atlantic Division teams. Stubits points out that even after the free agency strikeout, the Wings' front office has some loose ends to tie up:
Warning, warning, this entry includes a video which may or may not auto-play!
Red Wings fans have been gloomier than a Kristen Stewart Tribute Artist convention of late, so let's try and flip the script for five sec...
Oh, wait, it turns out that 97.1 the Ticket/the Detroit News's Bob Wojnowski, 97.1 the Ticket/the Free Press's Jamie Samuelssen and Fox 2's Woody Woodriffe summarized the whole Cleary signing phenomenon perfectly, and they also discussed the Red Wings' free agency swings and misses (as if they regularly watch hockey games, what a concept!) while appearing on Fox 2's Sportsworks on Sunday evening:
I finally crashed after a week-and-a-half's worth of prospect fun and then Cleary-re-signing-delight, and Paul did a fantastic job of filling us in regarding the Wings' assistant coaching search, a certain Anthony Mantha's confidence (he's not quite as borderline arrogant as Andreas Athanasiou is [and Andreas has backed it up, too], but Mantha knows he's good), Dylan Larkin's local TV sports show debut, and in KK Hockey, we found out, not-so-shockingly, that the Hockey News's Matt Larkin's"controverisal pick" in terms of teams missing the playoffs is probably going to be the "controversial pick" to miss the playoffs in most every other prognostication-inclined hockey yearbook.
Today, NHL.com's Dan Rosen examined the free agency moves made or not made by the Atlantic Division's teams, and he looked on the bright side of this whole going-with-the-known-quantity and/or signing-someone-not-based-upon-merit thing:
The Red Wings so far have struck out this offseason, even with approximately $9.5 million in cap space to use and an obvious need for a right-handed defenseman.
They tried to get Dan Boyle, Matt Niskanen, Stephane Robidas, Stralman and Christian Ehrhoff but each signed elsewhere. The best the Red Wings have done since the free-agent market opened is re-sign Quincey.
They still want to add players through a signing or a trade and Alfredsson will either return to Detroit or retire. But the Red Wings right now appear to be the same team they were last season, minus some veterans whose roles depleted toward the end.
That may not be a terrible thing considering the emergence of Gustav Nyquist, Tatar, Sheahan, Luke Glendenning and DeKeyser, plus the fact that they played half of last season without Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk and still made the playoffs.
For whatever reason, WXYZ's "7 Sports Cave" chose to poke the bear...
Detroit's first round draft choice Dylan Larkin joined Channel 7's Sports Cave this morning.
You can watch the interview below...
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
So despite being the club's No. 1 prospect – one whose arrival is more anticipated than perhaps any other player in the Red Wings' storied history – Mantha is destined to begin his first pro season in Grand Rapids and could spend the entire year in the AHL to gain more experience....
Mantha is ready to play for the Red Wings now.
"If you ask me, I think I am," Mantha said during last week' s development camp in Traverse City. "At the end of the summer, I'll be a few pounds heavier. I think I can play there. But as I mentioned, it's (about) coming to camp, being ready and we'll see.
"I need to keep working, keep getting stronger – on the ice, off the ice. At main camp, I need to be ready mentally so if they give me a chance I need to take it right away. I'll come over here with the best thinking and we'll build off that.
"The skill level is there. I'm a tall, big guy. I think I can play there but obviously I need to be ready next year."
For their part, the Red Wings say Mantha will be given every opportunity to make the big club when he reports to training camp in September.
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.