The Malik Report
This afternoon's crop of Red Wings-related news falls into the "lists and information" category, but this summer's still been eye-opening for me in terms of the new reality that there simply is no such thing as an offseason any more.
If you've been down to Joe Louis Arena in the summer, you'll see that the parking lot is still 3-quarters full and that the hockey operations departments are in fact quite busy, so the Wings' announcement of the details of this year's HockeyFest, their revealing of a new menu for the Hockeytown Cafe and Ayron letting us know that they're designing this year's bobbleheads presently, the community relations department getting us ready for Breast Cancer Awareness night...
It's not hiring an assistant coach and video coordinator, but the Big Red Machine never sleeps, whether we're talking about the PR department, ticket sales (potential season ticket-holders have probably visted possible seats at "ice level" today), game operations, promotions, merchandising, food services, maintenance, all departments keep humming along in June, July and August, and I think that's fascinating.
In terms of today's actual news, the Tri-City Herald penned a "blurb" about Jim Hiller's hiring as the Wings' second assistant coach...
From the Red Wings:
RED WINGS 2014 HOCKEYFEST TICKETS ON SALE WEDNESDAY
… Autographs, Interactive Games & Locker Room Tours Highlight Fun-Filled Event Scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 14 at Joe Louis Arena …
DETROIT – The Red Wings today announced that tickets for the 2014 HockeyFest at Joe Louis Arena set for Sunday, Sept. 14 (11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.) will go on sale Wednesday, Aug. 6 at 10:00 a.m. This year’s HockeyFest, presented by Coke Zero and Meijer, features an unforgettable day of hockey-related activities, including a chance to meet current players, Red Wings Alumni and FOX Sports Detroit television personalities. General admission adult tickets for this family-friendly event are priced at $20 apiece, while kids tickets (12 & under) are available for $10 each.
I know that the hiring of assistant coaches doesn't strike most as "big news," but I was both very satisfied with and hugely relieved by the news that the Red Wings had indeed hired Jim Hiller as Babcock's second assistant coach and Andrew Brewer as the team's video coordinator.
Between a seasoned NHL hand with head coaching experience in Tony Granato, an "analytics-friendly" WHL coach looking to cut his teeth in the NHL in Hiller and a 28-year-old with significant international experience in Brewer, Mike Babcock's found himself a superb set of assistants who provide a good combination of "new voices" and strong resumes--as well as "bad cop" (the Penguins' "bad cop" at that, and a "bad cop" who's going to be coaching Dylan Larkin at the U.S. World Junior summer camp next month) a "players' coach" (who might rejuvenate the Tom Renney Power Play) and someone who's familiar with Babcock's methods and the Hockey Canada system of play (which isn't far removed from the Wings' style of play).
If Babcock and Holland could get down to talking contract extension turkey before training camp, I'd feel more comfortable with the situation as a whole, but especially given the later-in-the-summer timeline Babcock had to work with, he can go back to "the lake" in Saskatchewan knowing that he's built a strong coaching team.
Updated at 2 PM: The Red Wings confirmed the "little birdie's" report and hired Jim Hiller and Andrew Brewer as assistant coaches today. The Wings' beat writers Tweeted out some Hiller conference call highlights (as and Brewer Tweeted, too)...
The Red Wings have filled their assistant coaching and video coordinator's positions in Jim Hiller and Andrew Brewer, respectively, but MLive's Brendan Savage (via RedWingsFeed) reports that we'll have to wait until the fall to find out whether Mike Babcock will ink a contract extension (before the start of the regular season):
"I think face-to-face is best," [Ken] Holland said. "Mike's out in Saskatchewan 'til the middle of August. I'm out in B.C. (British Columbia) for a week or 10 days. I don't think anything will happen on Babs' front until August or September, until we're able to get into Detroit and start gearing up for training camp and we're able to sit down and talk."
Holland told Savage that the Wings were going to fill in their assistant coaching and video coordinator's positions shortly, and he also told Savage that the team's coaching brain drain isn't a concern:
The Red Wings did indeed name Jim Hiller the team's second assistant coach today, and Andrew Brewer's apparently familiar to Babcock as well as the 28-year-old has been Hockey Canada's video coordinator since 2011, when Brewer left an assistant coaching position at the University of New Brunswick to join Hockey Canada.
Brewer has been to two World Hockey Championships and three World Junior Hockey Championships since starting with Hockey Canada in late 2011, but his first Olympics tops them all.
“It’s way more than just a hockey event, it’s a truly international sporting event. It’s just on a completely different stage than I had ever seen,” Brewer said. “You forget how big it is. When you see TV numbers afterward and 15-million Canadians watched the Canada-US semi final game, you’re just like ‘Oh wow, that’s half the country watching the hockey game for the team I’m working with.’ You kind of forget how much we’re united, even if you’re not a hockey fan, you still follow the Olympics.”
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today announced that they have hired Jim Hiller and Andrew Brewer as assistant coaches. In accordance with club policy, additional details will not be disclosed.
I've been allowed to Tweet this stuff, so:
Hiller was indeed Paul Coffey's roomate back in 1993, and he didn't last very long in the NHL, but the 45-year-old native of Nelson, BC spent three years at Northern Michigan University, and as soon as his playing career ended, he became an assistant coach for Tri-City. He spent one year as the head coach of the BCHL's Port Alberni Bulldogs, and then he went on to coach the Chilliwack Bruins for 3 seasons, and he spent the past 4 seasons with Tri-City, taking them to the WHL final in 2009.
The Tri-City Herald's Anne Fowler covered the circumstances of Hiller's departure from Tri-City in early May...
Among this morning's Red Wings-related stories, and after one busy day (Abdelkader suspended, Samuelsson to Sweden, mid-day chatter, Holland on the radio, Mattias Backman profiled...Can the Wings maybe slow down a little so that I don't have to freak out about going on vacation starting Saturday, or at least get inking DeKeyser and lining up some assistant coaches done?) and ahead of another one:
The Slovak news media's been a little preoccupied with Tomas Tatar's personal life lately (to quote Kermit the Snitch, "That ain't none of my business"--and it isn't), so Tatar gave an interview to his official website regarding his new 3-year contract extension.
The interview, conducted by Valerian Lukacko, is straightforward-enough to roughly translate, and it reflects the Slovak media confusion regarding "restricted free agency" that's been present from the start:
Mattias Backman gave a superb interview to Corren.se's Andreas Pettersson yesterday (six-and-a-half-minute-long Swedish video interview included), and in a lovely little coincidence, the Red Wings posted a video profiling the stringbean defenseman this afternoon:
If you missed the interview, here's a rough translation of Corren's Pettersson's chat with Backman:
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.