The Malik Report
Shades of Gretzky’s 99 All-Stars vs the Detroit Vipers in 95? It could happen again during a lockout
Back in 1994, during the first owners’ lockout, Red Wings fans were hockey-starved to say the least. I remember eventually attending a chunk of the Wings’ impromptu training camp at the Joe and being gobsmacked by—get this—Pavel Agarkov’s talent, and enjoying a, “Wow” moment as I stood on the Joe’s concrete floor as Scotty Bowman had the entire team taking a lap, and I remember feeling the ground beneath me shudder and shake as 20-some players skated to an elegant stop and Bob Errey stood six inches from my face on the other side of the boards…
But my best “first lockout” memory involves Wayne Gretzky’s 99 All-Stars playing against the Detroit Vipers at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Mike Ilitch and Bill Davidson still couldn’t stand each other at the time, so Sergei Fedorov, Steve Yzerman and Paul Coffey had to skip the game, but their games against Jokerit Helsinki (rocking the purple-and-green day-glo uniforms) and several other European pro teams were televised on the CBC, and to have Gretzky, Brett Hull, Marty McSorely, Rick Tocchet, Grant Fuhr, Rob Blake, Kirk Muller, Al MacInnis and someone who played over 35 minutes for a defensive corps down to 4 men against the Vipers in Todd Gill, all playing in front of me and my high school pals against a Vipers team bolstered by two rookie pros in Miroslav Satan and Petr Sykora…
Update: sorry for being slow on the uptake with this one. I was out taking the mom to the doctor’s…Looks like Bill has already weighed in on this one: I know that more than a few Red Wings fans have wondered why the team hasn’t made a decision as to whether sixteen forwards (including the as-yet-unsigned Justin Abdelkader) means that there’s no space for 39-year-old Tomas Holmstrom, but MLive’s Brendan Savage spoke to Ken Holland about the looming questions about Holmstrom’s future, and Holland suggested that the team’s simply letting Holmstrom take the entire summer to come to terms with his situation:
“I haven’t talked to Tomas much,” general manager Ken Holland said. “We had talked about him taking all of June and July to see what he wants to do. I talked to him briefly in July. He’s going to take the summer, obviously. If he decides to play – we’ve signed (Jordin) Tootoo and (Mikael) Samuelsson and (Damien) Brunner and (Gustav) Nyquist – we have to have a discussion between Homer and I and probably Mike Babcock to see where he fits in.”
That’s how things will work—it’s entirely possible that the Wings will agree to allow Holmstrom to essentially try out for the only team he’s interested in playing for, just as Kirk Maltby did two years ago, but Holland and Babcock may look at the roster (especially if they don’t have a trade in the works that would alleviate their roster crunch up front) and suggest to Holmstrom that he could save some blood, sweat and tears by holding a retirement presser instead.
Updated 2x at 10:13 AM: This entry starts with a disclaimer: this might be a little inelegant as I’m still kinda dippy from sleeping all of Thursday, and I’m on the clock to take the mom to a doctor’s appointment (again) today, so here goes:
Belatedly: Coffey, Dandenault and Lapointe will participate in Winter Classic; more Bouwmeester talk
Sorry about my absence today—I literally collapsed from exhaustion—so let’s knock these two out of the way before I work on the overnight report:
• The Red Wings confirmed what RedWingsFeed‘s search engine robots discovered on Wednesday evening:
THREE MEMBERS OF RED WINGS’ RECORD-SETTING 1995-96 SQUAD ADDED TO ROSTER FOR ALUMNI SHOWDOWN WITH MAPLE LEAFS
… Paul Coffey, Mathieu Dandenault and Martin Lapointe to don the Winged Wheel Once Again; Toronto Adds Bryan McCabe, Gary Roberts and Lanny McDonald …
Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings® and Toronto Maple Leafs® today announced the addition of six total players who will participate in the festivities surrounding the 2012 Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings Alumni Showdown™ on December 31 at Comerica Park™ as part of the 2012 SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival™. Detroit has added defensemen Paul Coffey and Mathieu Dandenault as well as forward Martin Lapointe; all three players were members of the Red Wings during the team’s record-setting campaign of 1995-96 during which Detroit won a total of 62 games – still the highest single-season total in NHL history. Toronto , meanwhile, has announced the addition of former star wingers Gary Roberts and Lanny McDonald as well as defenseman Bryan McCabe. Between the three of them, McDonald, Roberts and McCabe recorded 2,443 points (1083G-1360A) in 4,470 combined career NHL games.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland may or may not be talking through both sides of his mouth today, and that’s a good thing. While the Red Wings and the rest of the NHL’s teams have more or less chosen to close up shop in terms of shopping for free agents or making trades (as Paul posted, even the free agents looking for work understand that CBA issues are the biggest reason that even bargain bin players agents’ cell phones aren’t ringing), and Holland told the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan that the summer has more or less reached its slowest point…
“Sort of a down time,” general manager Ken Holland said of this particular period around late July and early August, as even general managers unplug for a few days and the league takes a breather.
The Wings still have a need for a defenseman and the search could continue right up to the start of training camp.
Photo 1 of 13 - Coffey, Dandenault and Lapointe added 2012 Alumni Showdown roster.
Detroit has added defensemen Paul Coffey and Mathieu Dandenault as well as forward Martin Lapointe; all three players were members of the Red Wings during the team’s record-setting campaign of 1995-96. (Getty Images)
Updated with Doan gabba and more Pulkkinen/Jarnkrok talk at 3:18 PM: In light of the Red Wings’ signing of Tomas Jurco to a 3-year, entry-level contract, MLive’s Brendan Savage offered some surprisingly glib comments from Jurco regarding the start of his professional career as a member of the Grand Rapids Griffins:
“It’s up to me if I play good,” he said. “They’re going to put me in the AHL. I just hope I’m going to play good. It’s a big step for me to go from junior hockey to man hockey. They’re going to watch me. It’s on me. I’m really nervous. I don’t know what to expect. I’ve never played in the AHL before. I’m really excited. I’m going to work hard and try my best. It’s going to go well. (I want to) be one of the key players in the AHL.”
Jurco certainly has the potential based on his career in juniors, where he was a point-a-game guy in three seasons with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In 172 regular-season games with Saint John, the 6-foot-2, 193-pound Jurco had 175 points after bagging 87 goals to go with 88 assists. He also had a plus-126 rating and was 16-for-19 in shootouts during his time in Saint John.
“I like to score goals and make points,” Jurco said.
The Red Wings had four personnel moves to concern themselves with over the course of August, and they checked one major box off after signing Tomas Jurco to an entry-level deal on Tuesday.
Three remain, but any CBA delays may delay them until September or beyond: the first involves signing an unrestricted free agent defenseman—or two—to stabilize the team’s blueline; the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan offers an update on the second and third remaining moves, stating that the Red Wings don’t feel particularly hurried in terms of asking Tomas Holmstrom to make a decision about his playing future…
“We remain in contact,” general manager Ken Holland said. “We expect Homer to make a decision before the end of the month.”
The longer the offseason drags on it appears the chances of Holmstrom, 39, returning for a 16th season grow slimmer.
Here’s a press release worth posting in its entirety, from the Grand Rapids Griffins:
The hard work of the Grand Rapids Griffins isn’t just limited to their play on the ice. The organization’s community programs and charitable efforts during the 2011-12 American Hockey League season generated nearly $330,000 for various schools, organizations and nonprofits throughout West Michigan, accounting for a significant portion of the more than $3 million raised by the AHL’s 30 teams for charitable causes last year.
The Griffins Youth Foundation was the top beneficiary of the team’s endeavors, receiving more than $100,000 through the 17th annual golf classic ($75,000), the Great Skate Winterfest at Rosa Parks Circle ($25,000) and fundraisers such as the seventh annual Sled Wings vs. Griffins sled hockey game ($2,500) on Feb. 28.
Several of the Griffins’ traditional programs generated significant funds for their appointed charities, including:
Capgeek broke the news last night, and the Red Wings are confirming it this morning:
UPDATE: The Detroit Red Wings have signed forward prospect Tomas Jurco to a three-year, entry-level contract.— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) August 7, 2012
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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.