The Malik Report
On Sunday, the Free Press’s Helene St. James more or less sketched out the Red Wings brass’s plans after their amateur scouts attend this week’s draft combine in Toronto, with an organizational powwow more or less determining the team’s approaches to re-signing their restricted free agents, decision-making processes regarding unrestricted free agents-to-be Tomas Holmstrom, Brad Stuart and Jiri Hudler, either retaining the services of Joey MacDonald or augmenting the back-up goaltender’s position, and obviously deciding which unrestricted free agents to prioritize going into July 1st.
In terms of the organization’s immediate future plans, they involve signing two players who will remain in Europe in Calle Jarnkrok* and Teemu Pulkkinen and one player who will “turn pro” with the Grand Rapids Griffins in Tomas Jurco, and the Free Press’s George Sipple spoke to Wings assistant GM and draft guru Jim Nill about the upside of Jurco, who’s wrapped up his junior career with strong showings during the regular season, playoffs and Memorial Cup as a member of the Saint John Sea Dogs:
In a week, things get interesting, at least behind closed doors. The Red Wings’ amateur scouts, and at least a good chunk of the team’s brass, will head to Toronto on Monday to take in the six-day meet, greet, and make-em-puke that is the NHL Draft combine, and then it’s back to Detroit for the team’s organizational meetings from June 2nd to 5th. With their draft list’s i’s dotted and t’s slashed, the front office—as in the whole front office—will gather at the Joe and decide whether the team plans on attempting to re-sign Jiri Hudler, whether they’ll invite Tomas Holmstrom back for one more season, or whether they’ll move on, whether they’ll make one more attempt to convince Brad Stuart to stay, whether they plan on going with Joey MacDonald or perhaps a free agent as Jimmy Howard’s back-up, and of course, who the team will target on July 1st, regardless of whether Nicklas Lidstrom chooses to continue playing.
The Free Press’s Helene St. James found that Wings GM Ken Holland made no bones about the gravity of next weekend’s festivities…
Updated with afternoon tidbits at 2:07 PM: The Raleigh News and Observer’s Chip Alexander and Luke DeCock have penned a series of articles recalling the Carolina Hurricanes’ 2002 Stanley Cup run, discussing the team’s cementing of its status as a locally-adopted team, pondering the “curse” of the Prince of Wales trophy, offering status updates as to what the Canes’ alums are doing at present, and, of course, DeCock recalling the Red Wings’ Triple Overtime win in Game 3 from a Carolina perspective:
“I remember talking with Brett Hull a few years later,” said Ron Francis, the Hurricanes’ captain that night. “I didn’t even want to hear about it, but he said. ‘Game 3, if you guys had won ...’ I mean, they felt it too.”
For years, I believed that if the Hurricanes had won Game 3, they wouldn’t necessarily have won the series, but it would have gone seven games, and anything could have happened. As time has passed, though, and I’ve had the chance to speak with more people on the Detroit side of things, I’ve come to the conclusion that the series was in fact hanging in the balance that night.
Perhaps not at the end of regulation, when the Hurricanes were clinging to that one-goal lead, but more and more as overtime piled on top of overtime. With every minute the clock ticked, with every shift and every shot and every save, the Red Wings got a little older, a little creakier, a little less equipped to recover from that kind of effort if they lost.
“I think it would have turned things around,” Red Wings forward Sergei Fedorov would say, long after. “It would have been tougher on us to play the later matches. Those kind of games, when you lose, it’s a tough blow for any team. It could have been a seven-game series. You never know.”
The reaction to the news that Dominik Hasek is at least entertaining the idea of attempting an NHL comeback received varying reactions on Friday, but the vast majority of them involved statements similar to the following: “He’s 47 years old, he didn’t play at all last season, and he played the previous two seasons in the Czech Republic and Russia, respectively. Is he nuts?”
First and foremost, yes, yes he is nuts. Despite Sportsnet’s Ian Mendes’s suggestions to the contrary, Dominik Hasek did indeed learn to be both a team player and something of a mentor to Chris Osgood and Jimmy Howard during his final tenure with the Wings, but there’s no doubt that the “comeback” is one part ego trip, one part sentimentality and five or six parts crazy Dom being less than 100% attached to reality.
While the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan didn’t pen a column offering a reaction to the news, he offered a succinct comment regarding the reality of said comeback on Twitter…
Per the Toronto Sun’s Kris Sims, we don’t have to call him “Sir” William Scott Bowman, but the former Blues, Canadiens, Sabres, Penguins, of course Red Wings and now Blackhawks executive received Canada’s highest civilian honor on Friday:
The best coach in hockey is now an officer in the Order of Canada. The name William Scott Bowman echoed through Rideau Hall Friday as famed Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman accepted the honour from Gov. Gen. David Johnston. The formal crowd had trouble quelling their happy applause as the official white-and-red medallion was placed around his neck.
“It’s certainly different from my Stanley Cup rings, and I look forward to wearing it on special occasions,” Bowman told reporters. He says the honour made him reflect on his favourite memories. “The first Stanley Cup, as a coach, that’s always a dream and I was very fortunate to go back to my home city of Montreal and my second year we won the cup, and probably the last one too, because I knew I wasn’t going to coach anymore.”
The Order of Canada is the highest honour that can be bestowed upon a Canadian, other than the Queen’s Order of Merit.
Updated 5x with more Czech and Wings beat writer reaction at 7:40 PM: I mentioned this in passing while penning the overnight report because I thought it was amusing, but gauging by the retweets from RedWingsFeed and a story just posted by CBS Detroit, I’m guessing that the story merits its own entry:
Former Red Wings goalie Dominik Hasek did indeed tell iSport.cz that he’s interested in playing in trying to make one more NHL comeback at 47 years of age, despite having spent the last year traveling the world after not securing a KHL contract. Here’s a terribly rough translation of the article in question:
Over the past few days, we’ve engaged in an incredibly spirited discussion regarding whether the Red Wings should pay a $3.5-4 million premium to match the kinds of offers Jiri Hudler might garner on the open market, which, as the Free Press’s Helene St. James and MLive’s Ansar Khan suggest, might be a bit too steep for the Wings given that the Wings would probably prefer to add some skating speed and/or size, grit and tenacity to the lineup, which Hudler doesn’t necessarily bring on a nightly basis…
On a day when the comments section has gone a little crazy regarding whether the Red Wings should attempt to retain Jiri Hudler’s services, or whether there really is a Zach Parise/Ryan Suter “package deal” in the offing, I’d rather not post this on a night that we don’t have hockey on TV because I hate even thinking about posting an entry that might provoke discussion for the sake of provocation..
But dueling banjos are dueling banjos, and the Pioneer Press’s Tom Powers believes that one Zach Parise has a higher chance of signing with another team if the New Jersey Devils win the Stanley Cup, and the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan does not.
Here’s Powers’ take on Parise’s desires…
Via RedWingsFeed, it won’t necessarily warm fans up, but the most important fan lubricant to be sold at the Winter Classic is halfway to becoming kosher with the State of Michigan, as reported by the Detroit News...
The Michigan House has voted to let hockey fans buy booze at Michigan Stadium when the home of Wolverines’ football hosts a game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs on New Year’s Day.
Scio Township Republican state Rep. Mark Ouimet sponsored the bill that won House approval Thursday. It now goes to the state Senate.
The outdoor NHL Winter Classic game is scheduled Jan. 1, 2013. The league made the sale of alcohol a condition of approving the venue.
This is rare: According to Iltahleti’s Pekka Jalonen, the Red Wings and Teemu Pulkkinen’s agent, Krister Kaukinen, are working out the details of Pulkkinen’s three-year, entry-level contract with the Wings, but as Iltahleti’s a bit of a tabloid, Kaukinen’s being given a platform to “talk tough” about said contract. Here’s an incredibly, incredibly rough translation of what Pulkkinen’s agent had to say:
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.