The Malik Report
from Daniel Wagner of The Score,
While most of the focus when talking about the Red Wings defence has revolved around Niklas Kronwall and whether he’ll be able to fill even a portion of Lidstrom’s shoes, I want to take a different tack. I think the focus on Kronwall is misguided and that the key to how the Red Wings will handle Lidstrom’s absence is actually Ian White.
Yes, I’m going to damn well talk about Ian White, because screw the lockout.
White was signed as a free agent last off-season to replace the retiring Brian Rafalski, stepping into Rafalski’s vacated role as Lidstrom’s sidekick, a position briefly held by Brad Stuart. Stuart is another Wings’ defenceman who has left the fold, signing with the San Jose Sharks. That means that only one-quarter of the Wings’ top-four from two years ago remains with the team: Kronwall.
Kyle Quincey and Carlo Colaiacovo are decent second-pairing options and Jonathan Ericsson can also fill that role. Also, the Red Wings hope that Brendan Smith can build on a 14-game stint in the NHL last season and become a number one defenceman, but he is still a long ways off. Kronwall is the Wings’ best all-around defenceman: he plays in every situation, is capable of scoring and setting up goals, and hits harder than anyone else in the league. He has yet to prove, however that he can be that number one guy.
That leaves Ian White. How well he plays will determine how successful the Red Wings’ defence corps will be next season.
Mr. Lynch wasn’t just a great PA announcer, with his big, booming voice and old-school vibe. He was a genuine war hero, fighting for our freedom on the shores of Normandy on D-Day – June 6, 1944.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
In what seems to be a dire sign for the Winter Classic, the NHL Operations Department does not have plans to visit Ann Arbor this month.
Officials from league headquarters went to Michigan Stadium in September to do logistics scouting, part of the massive preparation to hold the scheduled outdoor game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 1. But with the NHL already having canceled two weeks of the regular season -- and with no progress made on tangible issues between the NHL and the NHL Players Association on a new collective bargaining agreement -- no follow-up trips are on the horizon, a person with knowledge of the situation told the Free Press today.
Were the 2012-13 schedule under way as normal -- were the Winter Classic not at risk -- operations people would have had a great opportunity to see Ann Arbor at its busiest this month. This Saturday is homecoming, and Michigan State visits the Big House on Oct. 20.
Hello and sorry for not posting this sooner: Paul's going to be handling the Wings news for a bit as I've been absent thanks to the Virus of Doom. I've been ill for two weeks now and am still in quite a bit of pain as the super-bug takes its second tour of ye olde body. There's not much I can do other than rest--and the same is true for the mom and aunt, who also got the bug twice--until I can sit up and type. I miss doing my job and I miss talking with all of you, as grim as things seem...
And yes, given that Henrik Zetterberg is on the NHLPA's negotiating committee, given that he had promised to be one of the last players to head to Europe, and given that he's been advised to find employment with EV Zug, things look particularly grim.
The Red Wings' locked-out players will take part in their first informal practice in Troy today, and many of you will be skating in their place at Joe Louis Arena over the next three days, which seems strange...But this lockout has been nothing if not full of "weirdness."
Just as it feels like we've been at this for much longer than eight days, for me, it feels like much longer than four since Red Wings VP Jimmy Devellano made those incendiary comments to the Island News's Scott Harrigan, and all that followed hit the fan...
And as you might expect, we're still talking about Devellano's comments this morning. The Globe and Mail's David Shoalts believes that Devellano's comments essentially boiled down to "taking one for the team" by deflecting some pressure away from Gary Bettman...
I'm about to engage in a significant amount of paraphrasing due to foreign-language fun:
On Sunday afternoon, CSKA Moscow held a joint press conference to formally introduce Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk and Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov as members of the team. CSKA's website posted a photo gallery from the event, a 13:27 YouTube clip (in Russian) of the Q and A Datsyuk, Bryzgalov and CSKA Moscow GM Sergei Fedorov held with the Russian media, and both a formal press release and a, "Thank you, sponsors" quip from Fedorov. CSKA also announced that Datsyuk will make his 2012-2013 season debut on Monday against Avangard Omsk.
Sovetsky Sport's Pavel Lysenkov posted several pictures from the event via Twitter...
Via RedWingsFeed, long-time Red Wings team physician John Finley has released a book chronicling his remarkable 46-year tenure with the Wings, called Hockeytown Doc, a Half-Century of Red Wings Stories, from Howe to Yzerman, and the Birmingham Eccentric's Jay M. Grossman sat down with Finley recently to ask about some of his many memorable moments stitching up the toughest athletes around:
On Gordie Howe: “I remember getting a call from Gordie's wife — he was at practice and came home early with severe back pain. They lived in Lathrup Village at the time and I told her to take him to the hospital. It turned out he was trying to pass a kidney stone, which was bad news because it was in early March and we were fighting the New York Rangers for a playoff spot and there was an afternoon game the next day.
“As it turned out, we hospitalized him and he passed the stone during the night. The next morning he felt fine, but we wanted him to stay in bed for the next 24 hours. But Gordie insisted on playing. He signed himself out, left the hospital, went directly to the arena and scored a goal.”
The last two days have been particularly gloomy from a Red Wings fan's perspective--or at least mine--so, facing a content-light morning, I'm going to try to look at the bright side of things. So excuse the gritted teeth and false smile from a very gloomy-feeling blogger...
Nobody else is using Joe Louis Arena, so the Red Wings are opening the ice to fans. There will be four 1-hour open skates, Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m.-noon, noon-1 p.m., 7-8 p.m. and 8-9.
It's all free, including parking, but you have to bring your skates and register at detroitredwings.com/openskate while space is available.
Some bargain-price food will be available at the Joe, or you can bring your own. No pucks or sticks allowed.
And while fans like you and me might have shook our heads when we learned about Wings VP Jimmy Devellano's $250,000 fine for calling players cattle grazing at the owners' ranch, more than a few people know who the Victoria Island News's Scott Harrigan is given the way his Q and A with Devellano spread like wildfire, and in a strange twist, the Island News's Christian J. Stewart engaged in a little chest-puffing-out regarding the little newspaper website that shocked the hockey world (yay?):
Updated with a perfect Jimmy Devellano post-script from Nicholas J. Cotsonika at 7:03 PM: On an evening when the most notable news regarding any Red Wings players involves Sovsport and Championat posting pictures of Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Bryzgalov taking in CSKA Moscow's 4-2 victory over Yugra while they wait to make their KHL debuts on Tuesday, and Jakub Kindl not playing in HC Pardubice's 2-1 loss over Plzen...
A week ago tonight, I suggested that the lockout is not like Pawn Stars, where the owners of the shop stating, "I take all the risk, I have the overhead to pay" wasn't applicable to negotiations between owners and the players who bring paying fans to "the ranch," if you will...But with a week's worth of no negotiating taking place, I'm ready to quote Rick Harrison again in suggesting that, "It's not that I don't trust you: I don't trust anybody."
In that vein, and especially given what has been an (in the absence of negotiations) all-out propaganda campaign by the NHL, deputy commissioner Bill Daly, and eventually Jimmy Devellano, mounted against a less intense propaganda campaign by the NHLPA, Donald Fehr and Mathieu Schneider, I've got to take what I'm about to post to task as more propaganda, albeit well-intentioned propaganda.
On "no training camp" morning, members of the Red Wings' coaching and player development departments did head to Traverse City to hold a youth hockey clinic at Centre Ice Arena, as chronicled by RedWingsTV, and at this point, being able to report some sort of positive news is a welcome relief and a source of hope:
The Wings' Twitter account illustrated very strong attendance at the camp (which is also a good thing)...
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.