The Malik Report
After signing Nathan Paetsch and Triston Grant to AHL-only deals to bolster the Grand Rapids Griffins’ veteran presence, the Red Wings have chosen to give a second NCAA try-out a chance to earn a contract with the big club in the same manner that Luke Glendening hopes to achieve. The Wings inked another graduating team captain—Ferris State Univeristy defenseman Chad Billins—to an AHL deal this morning:
The Grand Rapids Griffins on Thursday signed defenseman Chad Billins to a one-year contract.
Billins signed an amateur tryout with Grand Rapids on April 12 but did not see game action with the club. The Marysville, Mich., native served as a co-captain for the Ferris State Bulldogs’ run to the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four, where they were defeated in the championship game by Boston College. In 149 games over four seasons with Ferris State, Billins tallied 67 points (17-50—67) and 108 penalty minutes, including 29 points (7-22—29) in 43 games in 2011-12.
In terms of at least maintaining some sort of semi-professional level of composure, he most difficult task I’ve faced while covering the Red Wings’ summer development camp involves fighting the almost involuntary urge to yell, “Get a defenseman! Get a scorer! For Gord’s sake, do something!” when I find myself within close physical proximity of members of the Red Wings’ front office.
I’m as much a passionate Red Wings fan as any of you are, and while I understand the Wings’ rationale in “waiting out” what is an incredibly stagnant free agent marketplace—generally speaking, a lack of movement in terms of player signings seems to indicate that in addition to being picked over, this summer’s thin crop of free agents’ representatives are still asking for top-dollar compensation for their somewhat middling clientele, and given the Wings’ lack of depth on the blueline, I’d imagine that the Wings have very little leverage with which to suggest that someone like Pavel Kubina or Carlo Colaiacovo shouldn’t be earning $4 million or more dollars simply because they can skate in a straight line…
The Red Wings’ prospects who took part in the afternoon version of today’s skill development and team drills at the Wings’ summer development camp were a wee bit more chipper than those who had to try to sleep off adrenaline after a rousing Tuesday night scrimmage, but the turnaround from heading back to their hotel at 10 PM and trying to get some shut-eye in before their 6:50 AM wake-up call was tough for them…
And it was tough for me, at least in the sleep deprivation category. Running on about two to two-and-a-half hours of sleep, I managed to get through the day via a two-liter of Diet Mountain Dew and remembering that I needed to snag that afternoon interviews necessary to make this trip worth your while…
Updated 3x at 10:49 PM: Some might think that the Red Wings’ announcement that they’ll hold two Alumni games with the Toronto Maple Leafs as part of the Hockeytown Winter Festival to be as bright as what Jordin Tootoo did for charity recently, but I tend to think that the decision makes sense on several fronts:
1. First and foremost, the Wings and Leafs alumni associations are two of the biggest and most wide-reaching in terms of their membership;
2. The Red Wings very specifically have several players in their front office who could still play, and more than a few of the alums from the 97, 98, 02 and 08 Cup teams will want to reprise their roles, and the mid-to-late-90’s Leafs weren’t half bad, either;
3. Alumni tend to come out of the woodwork for games like these;
MLive’s Phillip Zaroo spoke to Red Wings GM Ken Holland about a certain Shane Doan and the fact that, well, his agent claims that Doan’s interested in playing for every team in the frickin’ universe, and that his “deadline” for actually considering free agent offers keeps on getting pushed back and pushed back.
Given the silly level of sales pitching going on, the Wings won’t fly to recruit Doan; if Doan wants to come to Detroit, the Wings will listen, but they’re not going to get worked up about it:
“I think Shane Doan has to make a decision, obviously, if he wants to leave Phoenix,” Holland said. “The media likes to create a lot of stories, but at the end of the day, a player has to make a personal decision that fits their wants and needs.”
Though Doan’s agent Terry Bross has been vocal with seemingly every reporter who’ll listen, he hasn’t said much of substance. So Holland will wait until Doan’s situation comes into focus a bit more before he starts counting his chickens.
“If and when he decides that he wants to leave Phoenix,” he said of the 35-year-old, “I think he’s a player that all 30 teams in the league would love to have.”
And, as the Free Press’s Helene St. James sensibly put it:
Even awesome jobs can be very difficult, and sometime after I penned my mid-day update from the Red Wings’ summer development camp, the effects of a) having missed all the juicy tidbits that Ken Holland revealed after the Winter Classic Alumni Game presser and b) more importantly, running on two-and-a-half hours of sleep were taking their toll. I was almost nodding off during the middle of the Wings prospects’ afternoon session, and I was all but ready to go back to the hotel and crash.
But after thinking about it, I knew that I’ve got a job to do, and that with Thursday and Friday remaining, my opportunities for interviews are dwindling, so I kinda owed it to the people who’ve paid my way to stick with it and worry about crashing when the day was done.
As such, below the jump cut you’ll find an eight-and-a-half interview with Wings assistant GM Jim Nill, who’s been maddening to try and pin down, Wings first round draft pick James De Haas, Brendan “Captain Fun” Smith, Riley Sheahan and Michael Babcock III:
Updated 3x at 7:13 PM: Paul here for George who is deep-digging in Traverse City…
from Chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front,
The writing seems to be on the wall for Tomas Holmstrom and it’s all saying it may be time to retire.
However, Wings general manager Ken Holland isn’t ready to close the book on Holmstrom until the two of them actually sit down and meet.
“We’re going to talk, if not in the next couple of days for sure next week,” Holland said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon at Comerica Park to unveil a few of the players that will participate in this year’s Winter Class Alumni game. “I wanted to give him a lot of time. It’s been tough for him. His best friend was Nick Lidstrom. And he sees a lot of the players he grew up with have retired.
“He’s battled,” Holland added. “He’s played a hard 1,000 games. I think he wants to make sure that the decision that he makes, if he’s going to play, that he’s passionate about coming back, especially with the loss of Nick.”
continued and more on the Wings…
Update from George: Via RedWingsFeed, Holmstrom’s agent, Howard Gourwitz, told Expressen’s Oscar Brostrom that “several teams” are interested in Holmstrom, but as you and I know, he’s not playing anywhere but Detroit.
If I am to believe what I was told by Jim Paek, the Red Wings development camp’s skill development specialists and drill coaches “dumbed things down” a bit to account for the fact that the prospects were more than a little tired and, gauging by the number of ice bags worn as fashion accessories by so many players, banged-up after last night’s scrimmage.
That being said, you can imagine what the Red Wings’ version of “dumbing it down” involves.
Detroit, MI… Detroit Red Wings® Executive Vice President and General Manager Ken Holland and Toronto Maple Leafs® Vice President of Hockey Operations Dave Poulin today announced preliminary rosters for the 2012 Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings Alumni Showdown™ on December 31 at Comerica Park™, part of the 2012 SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival™. Holland also announced that due to overwhelming response from the Detroit and Toronto Alumni Associations, as well as the challenges each franchise faced in narrowing down a multitude of hockey legends on to one roster, fans will now be treated to two alumni games featuring close to 100 players from these two storied franchises for just one ticket price.
Paul here for George who is keeping himself busy in Traverse City.
I’ve posted the live stream of the Hockeytown Winter Festival press conference below which scheduled to begin at 12:30pm ET.
I will also post any related press releases in this post and then George will follow up later in the day.
update 12:49pm, The press conference has concluded.
update 1:06pm, Press release on the event was too long to post here, so a new blog was created.
added 3:59pm, If you missed the press conference, you can watch it below…
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.