The Malik Report
DETROIT, Mich. (May 20, 2016) – A hometown hero and one of the brightest rising stars in the National Hockey League (NHL) has been named Grand Marshal of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix for Saturday, June 4. Detroit Red Wings star center Dylan Larkin will participate in activities throughout the day on Belle Isle, including giving the famous command “Drivers, Start Your Engines” before the start of the first Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans Verizon IndyCar Series race that afternoon (3:30 pm ET on ABC).
Of very, very disparate (i.e. different from each other) Red Wings-related note:
1. Mitch Albom's new play, Hockey: The Musical opened at the City Theatre inside the Hockeytown Cafe on Thursday, as the Free Press's Marlowe Alter notes:
The musical, written by Albom and directed by his younger brother Peter, details the journey of five “pure souls” called upon to save the sport from abolition after God deemed the sport expendable.
“It’s all about laughter and having fun,” Albom told the Free Press before the show’s debut. “A lot of the things that I’ve created on a large scale … have had some serious overtones to them or life lessons. But this, from the very beginning, was just for laughs and so to do something just for laughs, you find that you wind up laughing a lot.”
As you can imagine, the musical was hockey-themed, with video appearances by Red Wings legends Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Darren McCarty, one half of the “Bruise Brothers” in Joey Kocur, current star Pavel Datsyuk, famed coach and broadcaster Don Cherry and Detroit R&B singer Kem.
It was the Free Press columnist’s first play since the widely successful “Ernie,” which will be running for a sixth year this summer. But Albom said the shows are different.
“Other than we’ve turned a sports story in a theatrical piece, other than that there isn’t much connection at all,” Albom said. “If you like Detroit and you like underdogs that part is similar.”
2. In news regarding a racehorse with Gustav Nyquist's name, from NHL.com's Pat Pickens:
From the Windsor Star's Bob Duff:
It wasn’t at all shocking that the Wings were given permission to talk to former Columbus coach Todd Richards, because Richards is the name at the top of Blashill’s list.
Two separate NHL sources indicated that the job was Richards’ to lose, if he is indeed interested in filling the position.
The trouble is that currently, Richards is a little busy. An assistant coach with Team USA at the world championship, a team that includes Red Wings center Dylan Larkin, the Americans advanced to the semi-finals Thursday via a 2-1 quarter-final verdict over the Czech Republic.
Duff continues, and he notes that Red Wings GM Ken Holland has this to say about the reports that he's not going to re-sign Brad Richards or Kyle Quincey, period:
“Not true,” Holland said. “What I said was I’m not re-signing them before July 1. I want to hit the open market and explore what’s out there and then make a decision. I’m not doing anything with them prior to July 1. It doesn’t mean I won’t sign them and it doesn’t mean I will.”
Holland is currently speaking with the agents of two of Detroit’s other impending July 1 UFAs, forwards Darren Helm and Drew Miller.
“I’m talking to them,” Holland acknowledged. “We’ll see where it leads.”
BayToday.ca has learned that [Brampton] Battalion Assistant Coach Ryan Oulahen will be named the new head coach of the Flint Firebirds on Friday.
The news comes three days after the Ontario Hockey League named longtime OHL GM and coach George Burnett as the team’s new General Manager.
Oulahen has been with the Battalion as an assistant coach since 2011.
The 31-year-old former Battalion captain was a fifth round choice of the Detroit Red Wings in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. However, while playing for the Red Wings AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids, Oulahen sustained a career ending injury in March of 2009.
The Columbus Dispatch's Aaron Portzline posted a profile of new Red Wings goalie coach Jeff Salajko:
Jeff Salajko attended nine NHL training camps with San Jose, Chicago, Toronto and Edmonton from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s. He was called up from the minor-leagues on a few occasions to be a practice goaltender, most notably in 1994 when he was a “black ace” during the San Jose Sharks’ playoff run.
“But I never got into an (NHL) game,” Salajko said. “That’s a regret of mine.”
The sting of that regret was lessened this week when the Detroit Red Wings named Salajko — a former Columbus Chill goaltender (1996-99) and a Worthington resident since 2005 — their goaltending coach, replacing longime coach Jim Bedard.
Salajko had worked for the team as Bedard’s understudy for three seasons.
“I joked with my dad that it only took me 41 years to get to the NHL,” Salajko said. “I had some injuries at the end of my playing career, but I had some help in Columbus getting into coaching and it felt like a natural transition.”
“Jeff has that personality … he’s not overbearing, he doesn’t change the goalie’s style, he’s there for them and he works with them,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “And Jeff has the right kind of humility. He understands that they’re the ones playing the game, and they understand that he’s in their corner.”
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson must know something, because this is the second time he's mentioned the Red Wings possibly trading Pavel Datsyuk's cap hit plus one of Teemu Pulkkinen or Tomas Jurco to the Carolina Hurricanes, and the third time he's suggested that the Wings should sign Troy Brouwer as an unrestricted free agent:
• With Pavel Datsyuk, 37, going back to Russia, the Detroit Red Wings need a team to take his $7.5 mil cap hit off their cap books in a trade and it’s obvious they’re looking around for a team with lots of cap room. Maybe Carolina. If I’m a team willing to take Datsyuk’s contract, I have to get a prospect forward not a draft pick along with Datsyuk, who could go and play for Sergei Fedorov’s CKSA team in Moscow. Say Tomas Jurco or Teemu Pulkkinen. One other thing on Datsyuk: He’s a Hall of Famer in my books, almost a point-a-game NHLer..
• One team that will go hard to sign UFA Troy Brouwer this summer is Detroit. Other than Justin Abdelkader, they are painfully small up front. Detroit needs help on the back-end, too, because Niklas Kronwall’s body is beat up. UFA Alex Goligoski (Dallas) is a possibility.
Matheson also mentions this:
• So how much is Steve Stamkos worth now that the Tampa Bay Lightning have won two playoff rounds without him as he works on clearing up that blood clot in his arm? Can’t imagine it would be any more than $9 million. He’s going to see what the Toronto Maple Leafs or maybe the Red Wings offer if Datsyuk’s off the books, but that blood clot would scare the bejeebers out of me if I was trying to sign him long-term as a UFA.
The Red Wings are surprisingly consistent when it comes to signing players that those who have the scoop know about (see: Stephen Weiss, who was talked up for half a damn year, as one of many examples), so you heard it from Matheson first, I suppose. And second and third.
Russia (no goals from Datsyuk) defeated Germany 4-1 and will play Finland in the semi-finals on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Canada beat Sweden 6-0 and will play the USA on Saturday in the other semi-final game.
Game times will be 9:15am ET and 1:15pm but a this point not sure which of the games will be the early one.
added 3:34pm, NBCSN just announced the early game will be Russia/Finland with the late game being USA/Canada. Both games along with the finals will be played in Moscow.
Update: Datsyuk had 2 shots in 15:23 of ice time for Russia; Marchenko had no shots in 14:52 played;
Nyquist had a shot for Sweden in 18:47 played.
At the World Championship's quarterfinals, in the "early" games...
The Teemu Pulkkinen-including (he played as the "extra forward," playing a whopping 0:00) Finns defeated Denmark 5-1 to advance to the semifinal round, where they will play the winner of Russia-Germany (1:15 PM EDT on NBC Sports Live Extra)...
And Dylan Larkin didn't register a goal or an assist, but Team USA defeated the Czech Republic 2-1 in a shootout to advance to the semifinal round, where they will play the winner of the Canada-Sweden game. Larkin had 2 shots in 19:07 played.
NBCSN is going to air Canada-Sweden at 1:15 PM.
Update: Here are the U.S.-Czech highlights:
The Grand Rapids Griffins posted a video thanking their fans for their contributions during the team's 2014-15 season:
At least two players won't be back with the Detroit Red Wings next season.
General manager Ken Holland told the Free Press today that he told "Brad Richards and Kyle Quincey that I definitely won't sign them before July 1, if at all." Both will be unrestricted free agents come July.
Among the other pending UFAs, Holland said he has talked a few times with forward Drew Miller, whose season ended with an injury in January, and wants to do the same with Darren Helm to see whether the sides see a fit going forward.
Update: St. James also spoke with Holland regarding the coaching search:
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