The Malik Report
Updated with video @ 1:54 PM: Babcock on Periscope TV tells the media that he hasn't decided anything about his future, that he's going to speak to Ken Holland over the next 10 days and may go to Grand Rapids on Sunday to talk about it; he talked about his wife about it yesterday; there's been no grandioise plan, he's been trying to get into the playoffs and execute well in the playoffs, and this will be the next thing.
There's no odds on anything, there hasn't been enough thinking about it. They lost, he felt terrible about it, as bad as he felt as a Red Wings coach after the loss and yesterday, Z Pav and Kronwall are the best leadership group he's been around in pro sport, and their window isn't as long as the kids, the Wings had 15 kids under 28 at one point and the Wings need the push for their kids, when he first got here Z, Pav and Kronwall were making the older kids better and gave the Wings a three-year run in 7, 8 and 9, the Wings need to have another run. They're not a million miles away, when they played in Games 3-7, you feel like you're a Cup contender, but when you lose in the 1st round for 3 years, you feel depressed, it's depressing.
The Red Wings gathered at Joe Louis Arena to officially wrap up their regular-season activities with a team picture and a final media availability, and I'm just going to post "rolling updates" here:
Roose also reported...this...
Toronto media at The Joe today. Humm. An unusual sight for locker clean-out day. <sarcasm>
The Canadian Press's Stephen Whyno's probably in attendance, and he's already written a Babcock article...
No comment regarding this, either:
Among TSN's Darren Dreger's latest points in his "Dreger Report" (they include the Dion Phaneuf sweepstakes or lack thereof, given that Dreger suggests that the Leafs might want Anthony Mantha or Teemu Pulkkinen in exchange, which are no-gos for the Wings):
AIn a brief conversation with Babcock on Thursday, mere hours after the Red Wings were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in a Game 7 showdown with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Babcock clearly stated he has made no decision on whether to stay or test the market, and has no sense of timing as to when the dance will end.
Dreger says that Babcock's family may end up making the decision for him in terms of staying or going...
There is no question the Red Wings very much want Babcock back. However, the Wings aren't going to engage in a bidding war, or wrestle with a rival organization willing to crack open the vault with an offer that rockets into the 20's: as in $25-30 million on a five- or six-year term.
That's not to say Detroit doesn't have the wiggle room to sweeten what is already believed to be a standing offer significantly north of $3 million per season. The Red Wings are willing to listen and through ongoing discussions with Holland will need to completely understand what it's going to take to make Mike Babcock a Red Wing for life.
In the meantime, Edmonton, Toronto, Buffalo and Philadelphia are ready for the auction to begin. Each club’s brass likely prepped for a sales pitch laced with glowing roster reports and promise of strategies in play to swiftly develop their team into Stanley Cup contenders. Each will dole out the ingredients and suggest Babcock is the only thing missing from the recipe.
Ahead of locker room clean-out day, and as I watch the USA-Finland World Championship game on NBCSN, I have five very disparate articles for you to peruse ahead of locker room clean-out day.
First, if you were unaware, the Wings have officially assigned Alexey Marchenko to the Grand Rapids Griffins ahead of tomorrow's 4th game of the Marlies-Griffins series:
Second, the Free Press's Helene St. James has an update on Johan Franzen's status from WIngs GM Ken Holland, and it's...concerning:
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson wrote quite the missive explaining how Mike Babcock's connections to the Edmonton Oilers' management, along with the whole, "Oilers winning the Connor McDavid sweepstakes" factor, will bring Babcock to Edmonton, and the Edmonton Journal's David Staples has more on that topic;
Sportsnet's Damien Cox is convinced that Babcock's headed to Philadelphia, even though Ed Snider meddles in his team's personnel decisions; our friends from Buffalo keep reminding us that Sabres GM Tim Murray worked with Babcock in Anaheim, and that Jack Eichel and the Sabres' prospects aren't chopped liver; USA Today's Kevin Allen's expanded the, "Might want to hire Babcock" field to 8 teams, and some of our friends from Toronto would be absolutely tickled pink if the Wings lost both Babcock and Jeff Blashill's services (fat chance), and the Associated Press's Noah Trister put the Wings' situation this way:
But simply being competitive in the early rounds of the playoffs isn't the expectation in Detroit. The Red Wings have developed good talent through their minor league system, but they've struggled of late to make any major additions via trades or free agency.
Now Babcock is a free agent, and Red Wings fans can do little but wait to see what he decides to do — as the offseason begins earlier than Detroit wanted.
The problem with that narrative, as Ken Holland might tell you, is that Mike Babcock's under contract with the Detroit Red Wings until 11:59 PM on June 30th, 2015, and until the clock hits July 1st, Detroit doesn't have to let any team speak with Babcock unless it chooses to give its permission.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Holland, however, hopes he doesn't need to interview anyone and that Babcock will return.
"We got a great relationship," Holland said. "I think he's done a fabulous job with the team. We want him back. I expressed that.
"Mike has been here 10 years. He knows our players, he knows how we operate, knows the owner, knows how passionate the fan base is, knows we got a new rink coming. I think those are all advantages."
Holland is not concerned that players might tune-out the hard-driving Babcock.
"Other than 5-6 players, most of these players Mike has coached for three years or less," Holland said. "They respect the coach, respond to the coach, work hard for the coach."
Update: Also, from the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:
"He’s in the driver’s seat,” Holland said. “He’s one of the top coaches in the game, if not the top coach and he’s in the prime of his career. Our hope is that Mike wants to stay,” Holland continued. “He’s positioned himself to have the option to explore.”
from Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News,
Consistency eluded them.
The Red Wings were capable of outplaying better teams. But sometimes, as in Games 4 and 7 against the Lightning, they would lose, regardless.
They took a ton of penalties, a worrisome development utterly uncharacteristic of "Red Wings hockey."
Their developing defensemen are not yet capable of providing enough defense or offense from the back end to take them to the conference semifinals, let alone the Stanley Cup.
Their need for another goal scorer is perennial, and rarely more obvious than in Game 7 against the Lightning.
A new sniper is evermore necessary, now, because of Johan Franzen's concussions, Erik Cole's heartbreaking spinal injury, the major disappointment of Stephen Weiss, the preseason retirement of Daniel Alfredsson and the aging of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.
I don't want to post another article about the coach until the coach makes his end-of-season remarks tomorrow, but I sure as *#$%@& agree with Henrik Zetterberg's comment to MLive's Ansar Khan about where the Wings are at in the rebuliding/reloading-on-the-fly process:
"The rebuilding that everyone talks about that all the teams go through, we're doing it," Zetterberg said. "We see guys that come in like Sheahan, Nyquist, Tatar. They took big steps this year. They're not just young players anymore that just show up once in a while. They were solid all year. We have some good things that we can build around. We just have to make some key decisions."
Khan continues, discussing Babcock's situation and his end-of-playoff remarks vs. Zetterberg's (he's tired of one-and-done playoff outings just like the rest of us), but if I may be particularly blunt:
This story is making the rounds, and I don't want to report it but I'm going to...But I'm going to phrase this simply: "Red Wings nation" is a big family, and we are generally an incredibly inclusive group, despite our cliques. Generally speaking, if you love the Wings, you're welcome here.
If you're an asshat like this lady, however, as reported by the Tampa Tribune, you're not welcome in our family:
A Detroit Red Wings fan set fire to a huge Tampa Bay Lightning flag as it was passed over the sold-out crowd at Wednesday night’s decisive NHL playoff game at Amalie Arena.
Lena Sinishtaj, 35, off Sterling Heights, Michigan, was booked on a charge of first-degree arson of an occupied structure. She was being held without bond.
About 200 people in Section 130 were under the 20-by-30-foot flag during a pregame show when Sinishtaj held a lit lighter to it, authorities said. The fire caused a small burn to the flag, authorities said.
Tampa police were notified by arena security and arrested Sinishtaj at 7:45 p.m., just after the game began.
No injuries were reported.
I generally try to not discuss the Red Wings players' futures until after locker room clean-out day, and given that Bob McKenzie's article seems to indicate that Babcock will resolve questions about his future tomorrow, it appears that we'll know whether the coach returns sooner than later...
But as I look at the decisions the Wings have to make regarding restricted free agents-to-be Joakim Andersson, Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyquist, Teemu Pulkkinen, Tomas Jurco and Landon Ferraro, I look at the all-but-certain-to-be-gone unrestricteds in Daniel Cleary, Marek Zidlicky, Erik Cole and Jonas Gustavsson, and I recall that the Wings will probably be working with a "flat cap"...
To me, the best answers to the Wings' "questions" go like this:
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.