The Malik Report
If all goes well, after a weekend’s worth of covering a Stanley Cup Final in which both teams seem to have a hard time swallowing the concept that when you get to be the last two teams standing, more people will probably dislike you than like you, maybe this morning’s crop of Red Wings-related news and notes will provoke a little more head-nodding (or shaking) and some plain old enjoyment of the fact that the skate’s not on the Wings’ foot today.
The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson provides the head-nodding part via comments about the Wings’ possible retirees and a probable former assistant coach…
From a wistful observer’s perspective, it’s been nothing less than fascinating to watch the NHL’s return to Winnipeg play out as its as-yet-unnamed NHL franchise’s fans and media scribes ask 15 years of questions in one fell swoop.
As the team’s fans and scribes ponder whether the franchise should stick with the Jets moniker or start afresh, you wouldn’t necessarily expect to read a column suggesting that you can learn everything about the Jets name’s resonance to the city via, according to the Winnipeg Free Press’s Tom Oleson, hearing about the methods the winner of the Queen of Winnipeg’s Exotic Dancers contest used to earn her title, but that’s Winnipeg for you (not the nudity part), but hey, it’s been a long time, and it’s hard to explain to people who haven’t spent time in the “Green Bay of the NHL” how absolutely central the NHL team was and will be to the city’s identity and sense of pride, regardless of its name.
That being said, as the Phoenix Coyotes technically are the Jets and remain the holders of the team’s franchise records and retired numbers, you might wonder how the team plans on handling the fact that there are some no-goes in terms of Atlanta-related tradition-breaking. According to the Winnipeg Free Press’s Ed Tait, via Pro Hockey Talk’s Joe Yerdon, the Winnipeg team will continue to honor Dan Snyder’s memory…
It’s not exactly time to bring out the Sharpie that one might bring to the Gibraltar Trade Center in Taylor to get Darren McCarty and Claude Lemieux’s respective signatures (among others) today, nor is it time to use one of my beloved Pilot G2 pens, but I think it’s at least safe to use a good-old #2 pencil to fill in Paul MacLean’s name in as Ottawa Senators’ next head coach.
On Thursday, both the Ottawa Sun’s Don Brennan and Sportsnet’s Ian Mendes suggested that the current Red Wings assistant coach is the favorite for the Senators’ job, and this morning, the Ottawa Citizen’s Ken Warren frames the candidacy of the man who just won the AHL’s Calder Cup, Binghamton Senators coach Kurt Kleindorst, in, “Well maybe MacLean will have to hire him on as an assistant” terms:
Red Wings enforcer Bob Probert’s family had already planned to engage in a memorial motorcycle ride to raise funds for the hospital that treated him, Windsor’s Hotel-Dieu Grace, and the Windsor Star reports that the day of the ride will now commemorate Probert’s passing on a yearly basis:
Mayor Eddie Francis has declared June 26 Bob Probert Day in memory of the former Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks player who died last July from heart failure. Francis said the city wants to pay tribute to a Windsor native who had an outstanding 16-season NHL hockey career and an unwavering commitment to the community.
His family and friends are holding a charity motorcycle ride on June 26 to raise money for the angioplasty program at Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital. The event starts at 10 a.m. at the hospital and Probert’s Harley-Davidson motorcycle will lead the ride on the bed of a truck.
The event will take riders through the city, along the waterfront and into the county. It will be followed by dinner and music. To register, visit probertride.com.
Touching stuff (seriously) from the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff:
Marshall Starkman still gets choked up when he thinks about the e-mail. After years of E.J. McGuire spit balling it at the podium, Starkman, director for the annual Roger Neilson’s coaches’ clinic at the University of Windsor, finally was certain he had a topic that would intrigue McGuire. But when he contacted McGuire, vice-president of the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau with the news, McGuire’s response left Starkman in shock. McGuire wrote to Starkman that he wouldn’t be attending this year’s clinic, that he’d be helping Roger oversee it from above. A couple of weeks later in early April, McGuire died, a victim of cancer, the same disease that claimed Neilson’s life in 2003.
“At first, I was confused, I didn’t really understand E.J.‘s e-mail,” Starkman admitted. “After I read it again a few times, it hit home.” McGuire had spoken at 23 consecutive clinics and this year, the clinic is honouring his memory with tributes throughout the weekend, as well as a Sunday auction of hockey memorabilia to contribute to a trust fund established for McGuire’s children.
Last week, Hockey’s Future’s John Henkelman posted assessments of the Red Wings’ AHL-playing prospects, and today, the resident guru of all things prospect-related, RedWingsCentral’s Matthew Wuest, offers a new slate of rankings of the top 20 Wings prospects both playing in the AHL and elsewhere. Let’s stick with Wuest’s teaser about Brendan Smith, who both Wuest and Grand Rapids Griffins GM Bob McNamara believe could use a little more AHL seasoning, and then let’s gab a bit about his rankings in the comments section:
“He’s going to be a significant player in the NHL, he’s going to be a guy who could possibly end up running the Red Wings’ power play at some point, but he probably needs a little bit more seasoning,” said Griffins general manager Bob McNamara. “I don’t know that he would be a regular (yet). He’ll probably be a call-up guy, but his time is not long in the American League.”
Smith stayed ahead of four quality forwards in the end-of-season ranking, edging out Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Jan Mursak and Calle Jarnkrok.
The top 10 is extremely forward-heavy, with Riley Sheahan, Teemu Pulkkinen, Cory Emmerton and Joakim Andersson earning spots six through nine. Goaltender Petr Mrazek, making his debut in the top 10, joins Smith as the only non-forward in the group.
Continued, and as usual, it’s worth your time!
Updated with mid-day tidbits and very cool video at 1:40 PM: The Detroit Red Wings have more than some difficult roster decisions to make in deciding whether to bring back Chris Osgood and/or Kris Draper for possible farewell seasons, and Wings GM Ken Holland readily admits to MLive’s Ansar Khan that Detroit’s organizational powwow on June 15th and 16th will indeed involve a potential shift in philosophy:
“I believe they got some hockey left in them, both want to play,” general manager Ken Holland said Thursday. “But we have an obligation to go through a process to make sure we’re putting the best team on the ice, also to bring some young people along. They’re tough decisions. We don’t want to race into a decision. We got until the end of June.”
Holland said no decision will be made on either player until after the team’s pro scouting meetings, at the earliest. The front office and scouts will meet Tuesday and Wednesday to analyze the roster and discuss potential trade and free-agent targets.
In hockey terms, when Jim Rome asked Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom whether he’d made a decision as to whether he’ll continue his playing career on Thursday, Rome made the mistake of attempting to skate around the back of the net to beat Lidstrom to the left goalpost, and Lidstrom made a patented move, sliding his left leg against the goalpost while jabbing the puck off Rome’s stick while he was still behind the net.
In other words, he stated that he hadn’t made his decision, that he has until July 1st to do so (though it’s assumed that he’ll inform Ken Holland prior to Lidstrom’s trip to the NHL Awards on June 22nd), and he offered a few comments that further exasperated* Wings fans like me, who are worried to no end about the captain’s decision, as noted by the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:
When I think about the fact that the Winnipeg team has yet to choose a name for itself, and has been more than willing to sell season tickets, bring in the team’s presumptive captain and trot around the NHL’s deputy commissioner without doing so much as offering a hint as to whether the beloved Jets name will return, I’ve got to admit that the whole concept is a very Manitoban one. Never rushing, the team’s building its identity from the front office on out, restructuring, and in many cases, making fresh starts and clean breaks from the Atlanta Thrashers’ franchise. I think that the team will probably be quite happy to absorb most of the Thrashers’ up-and-coming players, but at the same time, it seems pretty likely that a free agent or two will join the team’s ranks without donning a team jersey as this team’s displaying a Nicklas Lidstrom-like level of refusal to be rushed.
If anything, they’re all but repeating their ownership’s decision to slowly and steadily court a franchise while keeping their cards in their vest pockets, and in a way, it’s impressive as hell to watch the team be embraced while its management takes shape and asks its fans to simply wait to know the face of its object of affection.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was in Winnipeg on Thursday, and he told the Winnipeg Free Press’s Ed Tait that True North Sports and Entertainment isn’t anywhere near making a decision as to the mail order bride’s countenance…
Bold-but-tenative prediction from Ottawa: Red Wings assistant coach Paul MacLean likely to join Sens
Oh, Ottawa. I really hope that if current Red Wings assistant coach Paul MacLean’s skin is as thick as his moustache, because if Senators GM Bryan Murray, who did give the nod to MacLean as Mike Babcock’s hand-picked assistant coach way back in the day when Babcock helmed the Mighty Ducks, he’s got quite the press corps to deal with. The Ottawa Sun’s Don Brennan frames his suggestion that MacLean will probably get the nod as the Sens’ coach with a bold proclamation’s worth of bluster, before hedging his bets like nobody’s business:
Paul MacLean is going to be the next coach of the Senators.
Now, I’m not 100% sure of this. I would not bet my truck. But of the candidates uncovered by the Sun in recent weeks, MacLean seems to be the most logical choice.
Of course, that is if the decision really is with GM Bryan Murray and not owner Eugene Melnyk. Let’s believe it is, if only because the boss says so.
Brennan proceeds to survey the six likely finalists for the position, offering this take on MacLean
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.