The Malik Report
When Brian Rafalski retired from the Detroit Red Wings in 2011, leaving $6 million in salary on the table, he stated that a religious calling played a large role in his decision-making process. Rafalski made a short comeback with the ECHL's Florida Everblades this past season.
The Fort Myers (Florida) News-Press's Craig Handel reports that Rafalski, who now coaches youth hockey near Naples, Florida, shared some of the reasons that he's hung up his skates for good while speaking at the News-Press's All-Stars Banquet:
“Much of what marketing and media show fans is exclusively the good,” the Sanibel resident said. “Much of the bad is glossed over and ignored. Image takes precedence. Then we’re shocked when athletes make mistakes in their public and professional lives.”
Rafalski starred in the NHL despite being a 5-foot-10 defenseman who didn’t make the pros until age 26. He had to play a year in Sweden.
However, those weren’t his biggest obstacles or trials and tribulations. Without going into specifics, Rafalski talked about being the prodigal son who drifted and indulged in things he should have avoided.
“I failed as a husband and father,” he said. “If I continued on this course, I’d lose my family.”
In sharing why he’d admit his mistakes in front of a room full of strangers, he said, “That’s life – if we’re honest with ourselves. It’s not through joy I do that. It’s very humbling. It’s not something I enjoy but it’s something that’s part of my life and will affect how my life will be in the future.”
Handel continues, and wherever Rafalski's calling takes him, I hope he's found a happier and more fulfilling path.
I've been spending most of my time recapping Memorial Cup games and World Championship games, so this overnight report's a little light, but it's not due to a lack of effort on the Foreurs-Oil Kings recap or any of the Worlds news.
As Paul posted on Tuesday evening, the World Championships' quarterfinals schedule was finalized after Tomas Tatar's Slovaks bowed out of the tournament, Justin Abdelkader scored 2 goals for the U.S. and (I missed this one) Jakub Kindl had an assist in the Czechs' 5-4 OT win over France.
On Thursday, Abdelkader's and Danny DeKeyser's Americans will play Kindl's Czechs at 9 AM EDT (USA Hockey's website reports that NBCSN will air the game on tape delay at 9:30 AM).
The winner of the U.S.-CZE game will play the winner of Thursday's Canada-Finland game in Saturday's semifinal 1, which takes place at 7:45AM;
Also on Thursday, Gustav Nyquist's Swedes will play Belarus at 2 PM (and yes, the Swedish press is already freaking out thanks to flashbacks of Belarus beating Sweden at the 2002 Olympics).
Updated substantially at 2:28 AM: Anthony Mantha had only an assist as his Val-d'Or Foreurs defeated the Edmonton Oil Kings 4-3 in a double-overtime decision at the Memorial Cup, but his linemate, Anthony Richard, scored the game-winner, and the fact that Mantha's getting the snot checked out of him by new opponents is essential for his growth as a player (he has 1 goal, 2 assists and is a -1 in 3 games).
The win assures that the Foreurs won't have to play Thursday's tiebreaker--instead, they'll await the winner of Thursday's Edmonton-London tilt, and whichever team's playing back-to-backs will battle Val-d'Or on Friday, and whichever team wins Friday's game will advance to play Tyler Bertuzzi's Guelph Storm in Sunday's championship game.
Guelph will wrap up its round-robin play against the London Knights on Wednesday evening,
but that game doesn't really count for much of anything as London will have to play in Thursay's tiebreaker--and it turns out that the game means something as a London win = London plays Edmonton on Thursday, and a London loss = the hosts are eliminated.
However, Guelph will get three days off to wait for the winner of Friday's game no matter what happens.
First and foremost, the Oilers' website posted a superb highlight clip:
George asked me to post the starting times for the IIHF World Championship Quarter Finals Games.
The games are this Thursday, May 22nd and listed in ET time.
via the IIHF,
Quarter-Finals on 22 May 2014
At Minsk Arena:
Russia vs. France 10:00am ET
Sweden vs. Belarus 2:00pm ET
At Chizhovka Arena:
USA vs. Czech Republic 9:00am ET
Canada vs. Finland 1:00pm ET
The Henrik Zetterberg foundation recently attempted to donate $10,000 to Detroit schools via a Twitter campaign, and they got 88% ($8,800) of the way toward their goal. As such...
After Justin Abdelakder scored 2 goals in the Americans' win over Germany, Tomas Tatar matched Abdelkader's total, scoring the 1-0 and 4-2 goals en route to Slovakia's 4-3 win over Denmark (today's remaining Wings activity: Jakub Kindl's Czechs vs. France @ 1:45 PM EDT, and Anthony Mantha's Val-d'Or Foreurs vs. Edmonton @ 7 PM, on the NHL Network and Sportsnet)...
But the game was painful to watch at times, because neither Slovakia and Denmark made the World Championship's quarterfinals, and as such, the teams didn't "engage" until the last minute of the 3rd period.
For the Slovaks, losing their quarterfinal spot to France is a particularly stinging loss, and instead of playing for a medal, Tatar, whose most exuberant celebration involved a mid-level fist pump on his second goal, his Medal Round activities most likely include heading back to Metro Detroit to pack up his apartment before taking a few weeks off (back to Sunny Beach in Bulgaria?) before engaging in off-season training in Trencin, Slovakia.
Based upon yesterday's Tweets and Instagram pictures, the Grand Rapids Griffins chose to remain in Austin after the Texas Stars eliminated them from the Calder Cup playoffs on Sunday evening, enjoying one last day as teammates in the warm weather before returning to Grand Rapids to clean out their lockers and engage in the same kinds of exit interviews that the Wings hold after their season ends.
The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner notes that many of the Griffins' moving parts and summertime decisions (Ryan Martin is now the Griffins' GM) will depend upon the Wings' personnel decisions, and as you already know, that's true about the team's decision whether to bring back Jonas Gustavsson or to promote Petr Mrazek...
I get the feeling that yesterday's pair of entries regarding the surprising popularly of Red Army are the tip of the iceberg. This film's going to make quite the impact--Sony Pictures Classics doesn't snag a documenary's rights prior to the Cannes Film Festival unless it's good.
As someone rasied on the puck possession hockey of the Russian 5, I can only smile while reading director Gabe Polsky tell the Associated Press that he was attracted to the subject matter because of the way the Russian national team played hockey (you will still hear many "new" Wings fans state that they were attracted to the team because the system the Wings have played for the past 20 years is exciting and/or pleasant to watch).
The movie explores the social and cultural changes in the Soviet Union, then Russia, through the experiences of the national hockey team, and the life of its superstar captain, Fetisov.
Polsky’s first impressions of the “Red Army” team were their balletic style of play, compared to the more brutish style practiced in the United States.
“You, know I preferred this style of play and I think it really evolved sport and hockey to another level,” said the director in an interview here last week. “That really piqued my interest about the Soviet Union and my roots, through hockey, and I wanted to explore why, how they got so good and what was going on over there.”
The interview continues, and again, Fetisov is anything but a present-day critic of the Putin regime:
This game was a 5:45 AM start, so I missed the "good parts," but Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader scored 2 goals (the 1-0 and 5-3 markers) and Danny DeKeyser finished third on his team in ice time as Team USA wrapped up their round robin play with a 5-4 victory over Germany at the World Championships.
USA Hockey provides a recap:
Red Wings overnight report: Tuesday’s activities, Nyquist’s Worlds goals, ‘Red Army’ and roster talk
The Red Wings' players and prospects taking part in hockey tournaments will be relatively busy today:
At the World Championships, 4 of 5 Wings are taking part in games today, and for one, his tournament ends after today's game.
Justin Abdelkader, Danny DeKeyser and Team USA will battle Germany at 5:45 AM EDT (on NBCSN). Team USA's going to make Thursday's quarterfinals;
Tomas Tatar and Slovakia play Denmark at 9:45 AM, but the game will mark the Slovaks' last of the tournament as France swiped the Slovaks' quarterfinal spot;
And Jakub Kindl's Czechs, who could lose their quarterfinal spot if they lose and Denmark defeats Canada, need to win their game against France at 1:45 PM EDT.
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.