The Malik Report
Updated 6x with Bertuzzi, Eaves, Datsyuk and Quincey news at 2:01 PM: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to face off against the Vancouver Canucks tonight (7:30 PM EST, FSD/Sportsnet West/NHL Network U.S./97.1 FM), I’m going to jump the gun a little bit and note that the Todd Bertuzzi contract signing was confirmed by the Wings. who announced contract terms for the first time…ever?
The Red Wings re-signed veteran forward Todd Bertuzzi to a new two-year contract extension Thursday morning at Joe Louis Arena. Bertuzzi, in his 16th NHL season, and fourth with the Wings, agreed to a two-year deal worth $2.25 million per season.
The 37-year-old Bertuzzi has had a career rebirth, of sort, with the Wings, finding a home on the team’s top forward line along with Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen. Bertuzzi has 12 goals and 29 points in 54 games this season and has become an incredible shootout threat for the team.
The Detroit Red Wings, new arrival Kyle Quincey and the re-signed Todd Bertuzzi will attempt to continue their NHL-record-setting home-ice winning streak when they tangle against the Vancouver Canucks tonight (7:30 PM, FSD/Sportsnet West/NHL Network U.S./97.1 FM—and take note that 3-6 inches of snow are expected in Southeastern Michigan this afternoon, so be careful if you’re headed to the game).
As noted on Wednesday night, the Canucks came into town insisting that they will make history tonight—as the tam that ends Detroit’s streak, and that the Canucks have gone so far as to suggest that they have been hoping that the Wings would continue to win so that the NHL’s “yippiest” team would earn the privilege of making their own exclamation point.
Now we’ll get into the talk in a minute, but I’d prefer to cut the bulls*** for a moment and get down to brass tacks here:
Updated with a superb article about Bertuzzi by the Bob Wojnowski at 3:10 AM: The Detroit Free Press’s Helene St. James was on the story first and now she’s confirming it: the Detroit Red Wings have chosen to re-sign Todd Bertuzzi to a 2-year contract extension (Capgeek.com doesn’t have the details yet, but I’m sure their Bertuzzi page will have the breakdown soon):
Bertuzzi has made himself at home in the metro area since re-joining the Wings in the summer of 2009, and he will continue to do so for another two years. As the Free Press was the first to report Wednesday, Bertuzzi and the Wings have agreed to a two-year extension worth around $2.25 million a season.
“It was easy to do,” Bertuzzi said. “I love being here, I love being part of the Wings. I’m really excited about our team this year. I feel we’re very focused, especially on playing defense. We lacked that last year, and in training camp, everybody pretty much decided to up the ante.”
Continuing today’s off-day news while looking toward tomorrow’s match-up with Vancouver: it should come as no surprise that the Vancouver Canucks’ players and coach told the Vancouver Province’s Gordon McIntyre that they’d love to do nothing less than be known as the team that ended Detroit’s winning streak at Joe Louis Arena:
“That’s an amazing, amazing feat,” Alain Vigneault said. “I mean, to win 23 games in a row at home in such a competitive league is remarkable. We’re going to go in there, we’re going to have an opportunity to put our best game on the ice and see what happens.”
And you know what? Canucks players have been cheering for the Wings for a couple of weeks now, hoping they’d keep playing bad host right up to the moment the visitors from Vancouver ring the doorbell.
“We were hoping they’d still be undefeated by the time we got there, so it’s going to be fun,” Roberto Luongo said. “I was talking to the guys two or three weeks ago, hoping Detroit would hold on till we got there. That’s what’s fun about playing the game, challenges like this. As a group, we’re excited about it and we’re going to step up to the plate.”
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock tends to know a thing or two about what he’s talking about, which is why the TV news and sports talk radio stations in Metro Detroit have been abuzz since Babcock told 97.1 the Ticket that the Red Wings could use a state-subsidized hand in building a new rink and “mall” somewhere downtown, but after a day full of, “No comments” due to confidentiality agreements, we’re getting our first, “That’s not accurate,” via the Free Press’s John Gallagher and Ilitch Holdings spokesperson Karen Cullen:
“Our organization has been on record as saying we’d like to have a new arena downtown,” she said.
A rumor that Bloomfield Hills-based mall developer The Taubman Co. might be involved was quickly shot down by Karen MacDonald, a spokeswoman for the company.
“There’s no proposal that’s been made to us or that we’re reviewing, nor do we anticipate one. So there’s no truth to this,” she said.
Updated 5x at 4:33 PM: According to the Red Wings’ Twitter account, the Wings are making up for not having Sunday off by allowing the Vancouver Canucks to be the only team skating on Joe Louis Arena’s ice today (and Roberto Luongo already told the Vancouver Province’s Jason Botchford that he’s been “waiting for” the Wings game “for a while,” cue, “Streak-breaking” noises)...
The team has the day off today. The @VanCanucks are tomorrow’s opponent at Joe Louis Arena.
So we’re going to talk about today’s hot” trade rumor and the Quincey deal, at least to start.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun has started something of a tizzy about having this to say about Buffalo Sabres forward Paul Gaustad, a 30-year-old checking center who happens to be 6’5” tall and weigh 212 pounds, and might be on the market:
Updated 4x at 1:27 PM: In the, “This makes sense for both parties” depertmaent, the Free Press’s Helene St. James reports that the Red Wings and Todd Bertuzzi will keep on keepin’ on:
The Detroit Red Wings will announce a two-year extension for forward Todd Bertuzzi as early as Thursday, Bertuzzi’s agent, Pat Morris, told the Free Press today that “we’re working at it, and getting closer.” The sides have been talking for the past month.
Bertuzzi, 37, is in the last of a two-year deal that’s averaged $1,937,500. His new deal is for closer to $2.2 million a season, and is backloaded.
General manager Ken Holland told the Free Press last month that “I think Bert’s been great all season.” The Wings like how Bertuzzi has developed into a two-way player, and how he helped get the first line going after being put with Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen on Nov. 17, in the game against Los Angeles. Bertuzzi has 12 goals and is plus-21 in 54 games this season.
Update: Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos confirms and Yahoo Sports’ Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski reminds us that the whole Steve Moore trial not being discussed unwritten rule in the Wings’ locker room thing (actually, I thought it was a written rule as Bertuzzi’s stated that he can’t legally speak about the matte on the advisement of his attorney) helps with Bertuzzi’s comfort level.
Update #2: MLive’s Ansar Khan is confirming….
The Detroit Red Wings flew back to Detroit with their figurative tails between their legs, having delivered a tepid-at-best performance in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Wings played like a team that was missing Pavel Datsyuk, awaiting Kyle Quincey’s arrival and perhaps thinking about a rink to come as opposed to their slim 2-point lead over Thursday’s opponent in the Vancouver Canucks and 5 and 8-point leads over the Blues and Predators, respectively…
Or the fact that the Wings have yet to display any sort of consistency away from Joe Louis Arena—they’re 15-16 and 1—and that the Wings could have pounced upon the Toews-less Blackhawks—but instead were pounced upon while floundering like a freshly-caught fish while Jimmy Howard valiantly attempted to keep his teammates in the game.
What The Chief does is harder than one might think. That whole combination of earnest snark and a willingness to play the Don Cherry of Red Wings blogdom boor for the sake of baiting those who dislike and sometimes detest the Winged Wheel by issuing the verbal equivalent of bloody fish guts and 8-day-old octopus…I can’t pull off that s*** for the life of me. I do the earnest typing monkey thing. The charismatic leadership is reserved for our friend who’s somewhere in the Pacific where the internet does not reach….
But I believe he would feel it necessary to suggest that the press box at Joe Louis Arena might be “no place for a nervous person” when the Colorado Avalanche come to town on Saturday night, given that a certain employee of the Denver Post (who Wings fans call the “Space Canoe” and I call Adrian Dater) chose to get out a season-and-a-half’s of mixed feelings bout Kyle Quincey in analyzing the three-team trade which gave the Colorado Avalanche Steve Downie, the Red Wings Kyle Quincey and the Tampa Bay Lightning Detroit’s 1st round draft pick and minor-leaguer Sebastien Piche:
We all knew that the Detroit Red Wings would lose at some point after racking up six straight wins at home, and there was no doubt that going into Chicago, the Pavel Datsyuk-less Wings had their hands full, even without Jonathan Toews in the stumbling Hawks’ lineup…
But who knew that the Wings would take Jakub Kindl’s lead and start to play like an entire team that desperately needs Kyle Quincey to come in and relieve a team whose scoring and confidence remain paper thin on the road?
The Wings came out with a flourish but flittered away their lead and then committed a litany of turnovers in their own zone, odd-man rushes and successive scoring chances against, and as soon as Detroit gave up more scoring chances than it generated on a power play all of 3:15 into the second period…
Calling the man who was listed as #27...Can you not only help stabilize the Wings’ defense, but also give Detroit more gusto after dropping 3 straight on the road?
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