The Malik Report
This isn't Red Wings-related, it's a George's Pet Interest post: Surveying the Russian sports newspapers, you get used to the concept that the KHL's preseason begins in late July, so I wasn't surprised to read the Windsor Star's Bob Duff's report that Michael Leighton had to nix a contract with the Sochi Leopard because Leighton contracted an illness that prevented him from taking part in Sochi's mid-July training camp.
Duff also asked the former Philadelphia Flyers goalie whether his 2013-14 campaign for Donbass Donetsk--the Ukrainian team that's suspended operations because the Eastern Ukraine is currently engulfed in political turmoil--may have given Leighton second thoughts about continuing to play in the KHL...
“Where I was last year, it was fine all year until close to the end of the year and into the playoffs,” Leighton said. As troubles mounted in the area, the Donbass club moved to a base in Bratislava, Slovakia, playing its playoff games on the road. It did get kind of scary, because we weren’t playing at home,” Leighton said. “Teams didn’t want to travel to the Ukraine. When the season was done and I was home, I was happy that I was home.”
(Slovan Bratislava was willing to host Donbass Donetsk's 14-15 season games for a Euro per game, but Donbass chose to cease operations for the year instead)
This evening's crop of Red Wings-related news is a little "scattershot" in nature, but that's the nature of the late-July beast:
First, speaking of "late June," it's not often that a Sunday TV sports show talks about the Red Wings at all, but WXYZ's 7 Sports Cave's" "Fast Five Minutes" led off with Wings talk, and Matt Sheppard, Mike Stone and WXYZ's Brad Galli spent a minute discussing the Wings' likely 2014-2015 season-to-come:
For the second Sunday in a row, a business-related cover story by the Detroit Free Press kicks off the overnight report, but we're not talking about a massive rink and arena district plan this morning; instead, we're discussing a comparison between business entities that the rink project made inevitable.
The Free Press's John Gallagher compares the approaches made by Mike Ilitch and Dan Gilbert toward building and rebuilding the City of Detroit, "Ilitchville vs. Gilbertville" graphic and respective-property photo gallery included, and while Gallagher's willing to compare the old-school business baron and new-school real estate mogul to (whose companies own sports teams and Detroit casinos) to Pittsburgh's Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon, such a suggestion is at least premature:
from Steve Amorose of Fox 17 (western Michigan),
DeKeyser, 24, just finished his first full season with the Detroit Red Wings, scoring four goals and adding 19 assists while being a plus-10 in 65 games. He played in all five of the Red Wings playoff games against the Boston Bruins.
“Obviously wish we did a little bit better and made it a little bit further in the playoffs, but I thought we grew a lot as a team,” said DeKeyser. “Some guys stepped in who nobody really thought could play or didn’t know how they could play, and they really proved a lot of people wrong.”
Now he’s a restricted free agent and is simply waiting to sign a new deal with the Red Wings.
“There won’t be any problems,” said DeKeyser about the negotiations. “It’ll be done before camp. So, no one needs to worry about that.”
read on for a shot video of DeKeyser talking about Mike Babcock...
This morning's crop of Red Wings stories is quite thin, but that happens at this time of year.
First, if you speak Czech, you might get quite a few chuckles out of Tomas Nosek's 9-minute interview with HC CSOB Pojistovna Pardubice's YouTube channel (or website, if you prefer), but I'm linguistically-limited to English, some German and some written Swedish, so...Not so much for me. I know that he references Richard Nedomlel at one point and that he talks about the excitement of taking part in the Wings' summer camp, as well as the fact that he wore Tomas Kopecky's #82 and that Axel Holmstrom wore Tomas Holmstrom's 96, but that's all I got out of it.
Second, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan wrapped up his survey of the Red Wings' forwards (with photo gallery's worth of quips included) and defensemen (ditto) with something of an anticlimactic survey of the team's goaltenders. This time, Ken Holland doesn't make an appearance, and instead, Kulfan focuses on Jimmy Howard's admission that he didn't have a super 2013-2014 season before moving on to Jonas Gustavsson and "blurbs" about Petr Mrazek and Tom McCollum. Quoth Howard:
This isn't Red Wings-related, but it's important to me: nearly every "hockey person" will tell you that Ken Dryden's The Game is by far the best hockey-related book ever, but as far as I'm concerned, Julien Rubenstein's The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts (link goes to a KK Affiliate) blows The Game out of the water.
Rubenstein can't replicate Dryden's near-lyrical prose, but his (mostly) true accout of Hungarian goaltender Atilla Ambrus's discovery of bank robbery as a way to supplement his truly dreadful income as a post-Eastern-Bloc collapse professional hockey player--and his inability and unwillingness to stay away from the high-spending, sleeping-around lifestyle of a slightly bumbling professional bankrobber to get out while the "gettin's good," resulting in incarceration...
It's not the story of a hero or a villain, it's the story of someone who finds himself having to rob banks to get by while his country tries to come to grips with the financial devastation of the first post-Soviet years, and The Hockey News's Jason Kay points out that the anti-hero protagonist is beautifully complex:
Updated 2x at 4:40PM: Amongst today's Red Wings-related stories;
As Paul reported, the Wings signed Landon Ferraro to a 1-year contract extension, and despite "club policy" forbidding the disclosure of salary demands, the beat writers and at-large press announced that Ferraro's deal is a 2-way contract paying $550,000 at the NHL level and $85,000 at the AHL level.
Will Ferraro be plucked off waivers if he doesn't make the team? That's hard to say. His pro stats haven't been overwhelming and he's faithfully listed at 6' and 175 pounds. In the "old days," being a Red Wings prospect on waivers meant that you were going to be plucked off, but dozens of mid-range prospects clear waivers on a yearly basis these days.
CapGeek says $550K, two-way deal.
added 10:33am, Press release is below...
Two days ago, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan offered an analysis of the Wings' forward corps via an article and attached photo gallery, and this morning, he looks at the Wings' defensemen in article and photo gallery form.
The article allows Wings GM Ken Holland to weigh in regarding the team's inability to land what's become a frickin' unicorn in an elite, right-shooting, free agent defenseman...
“We made offers to players,” general manager Ken Holland said. “They signed elsewhere. That’s going to happen with 30 teams trying to win and with the salary cap. We went in looking to add a right-hand defenseman and we felt we made very competitive offers.”
As well as the reality to which we're still becoming accustomed to--the concept that the team's probably going into the season with its blueline as-is--and unless a Mike Green or Tyler Myers becomes available between now and the trade deadline, that the Wings' "kids" will have to both unseat Kindl and Lashoff and provide an offensive boost:
This afternoon's Red Wings-related stories are "ecclectic"--not exactly Mike Babcock's "analytics"-based chat with NHL.com's Dan Rosen--but there's enough here to keep you occupied.
Detroit is celebrating its 313rd birthday today, and as the Detroit Free Press led off its 53-image gallery of "Detroit's 10 Greatest Sports Figures" with Steve Yzerman (Gordie Howe and Nicklas Lidstrom also make their list, and the 97 and 2002 Wings are listed among the Freep's best Detroit sports teams), MLive's Brendan Savage asked readers to weign in as to what might constitute the Wings' all-time best starting lineup:
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.