The Malik Report
Updated 2x with some evening Wings news at 6:48 PM: Given our little discussion regarding the underwhelming nature of Red Wings GM Ken Holland’s comments regarding his team’s plans in terms of possibly signing free agents, I’ve had this nagging voice in my head wondering whether Holland’s comments had something to do with the CBA which the NHL and NHLPA must negotiate this summer.
The CBA which the NHL essentially wrote by itself thanks to Ted Saskin’s betrayal of the players he was representing, the league was able to doubly ensure that its goal of parity would be ensured by both forcing through a 24% rollback in player salaries and dropping the salary cap so dramatically that many teams had to buy out players to become “cap compliant,” and I can’t help but believe that Chairman Mao would love to redistribute NHL talent all over again if he’s able to get away with it.
Red Wings fans can’t necessarily be surprised by this, but, as the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan, the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness and MLive’s Ansar Khan note, the 11 games missed by the Red Wings’ captain and an up-and-down season production-wise yield Nicklas Lidstrom not heading to the NHL Awards in Las Vegas for the first time in what seems like forever:
Zdeno Chara of Boston, Erik Karlsson of Ottawa and Shea Weber of Nashville are this year’s finalists for the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman.
It marks just the third time in the past 14 seasons that Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom, a seven-time Norris Trophy winner, was not a finalist.
Updated substantially at 7:16 AM: Neither player suggested as much during the Red Wings’ locker room clean-out, but from Mike Babcock to Chris Chelios and you and me, those who are wondering what might tip the scales toward Nicklas Lidstrom returning for one more season of NHL hockey are also wondering aloud as to whether the Wings might entice Lidstrom to stick around by inviting Lidstrom’s closest friend and carpool buddy, Tomas Holmstrom, to engage in a sort of farewell goalie-mooning tour.
The Free Press’s Helene St. James engages in this endeavor this morning for a simple reason: Holmstrom readily admitted that he wasn’t thrilled playing on the fourth line because he wasn’t able to really do his job while skating up and down the ice (albeit surprisingly well) alongside Cory Emmerton on a generally defensively-minded shift, and in light of the emergence of Gustav Nyquist down the stretch, it certainly seems like Holmstrom, like Kris Draper before him, has been squeezed out of a job:
Amidst the biggest “storylines” from the Red Wings’ locker room clean-out day, in terms of cringe-worthiness, anyway, Danny Cleary’s knee issues (the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan adds to the conversation in a blog entry this afternoon) earned some serious sympathy pains…
But the Red Wings’ player who seemed to be suffering the most discomfort, however, was and is defenseman Brad Stuart, who very clearly wants to remain a Red Wing, but, as the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness notes, is all but guaranteed to sign with a West Coast team after spending the past four-and-a-half years away from his San Jose-based family, two young sons and high school-aged stepdaughter due to Mrs. Stuart’s custody issues:
Updated 3x with more from Stuart at 3:11 PM, and, via Twitter, the IIHF is reporting that Pavel Datsyuk will join Russia’s World Championship team: As Paul noted, Red Wings fans can at least take some small solace in knowing that the NBC Sports Network will air a good chunk of the World Championship‘s later-round games, allowing us to watch Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Jonathan Ericsson (all playing for Sweden), Valtteri Filppula (Finland), Tomas Tatar (Slovakia), Jakub Kindl (Czech Republic), Jimmy Howard, Justin Abdelkader (both for Team USA) and possibly Pavel Datsyuk (Russia) at least a few more times before September.
The Windsor Star’s Bob Duff spoke to several of the Wings’ Worlds’ participants during Tuesday’s locker room clean-out, and the players are both excited and somewhat relieved about earning the chance to continue their hockey seasons:
From We All Bleed Red on YouTube and TSN, Red Wings execs Kris Draper and Chris Osgood, former coach Scotty Bowman, NHL analyst Darren Pang and one Wayne Gretzky all recollect the circumstances surrounding the most famous goal of Steve Yzerman’s career, his double OT winner against the St. Louis Blues in 1996:
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Shelly Anderson reveals some surprising and very good news from the Pittsburgh Penguins’ end-of-season media availability:
The NHL lost a season, 2004-05, to a work stoppage the previous time it had to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement with the NHL Players’ Association. Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, a team union representative, is optimistic things won’t be as difficult this time. The CBA expires in September.
“We’ve had quite a few meetings the last two or three months, which almost the whole team attended,” Orpik said Tuesday. “I know a lot of that hasn’t been publicized. I think there’s been more communication between the two sides than people are aware of. I think both sides are pretty optimistic something will get done. I think there’s too much to lose after the last one we had to have another work stoppage.”
Updated 2x with some “thoughts” from Elliotte Friedman at 9:40 AM: After more or less collapsing due to lingering exhaustion on Monday evening, I woke up with a start, with my bizarre dreams and pseudo-nightmares having given way to that inevitable, “You need to get up, you have to update the blog” nag that has become an internal alarm clock, but I rose for my middle-of-the-night sojourn through this morning’s crop of articles related to Monday’s Red Wings locker room clean-out and its aftermath wondering if we’ve learned anything about the team you and I follow so passionately in the process.
I can tell you that we’re in for the inevitable poker game with its best player, Nicklas Lidstrom, regarding his future plans; I can tell you that Brad Stuart’s not going to play another game in Detroit, barring some sort of miracle, and I can tell you that Tomas Holmstrom faces the same problem Kris Draper did last year—he may want to continue playing for the Wings, but younger players may have already won his spot from him.
The locker room clean-out day post is so chock-full of videos and comments from Red Wings players (there’s about 90 minutes’ worth of player, coach and general manager comment video in there) that I’ve ran out of room, so this is a continuation thereof.
The AP’s Larry Lage penned a story about Nicklas Lidstrom’s possible departure which notes that Henrik Zetterberg and his teammates are now willing to admit that they’re pressuring Lidstrom to return:
“Like we’ve been doing the last two three years, we’re trying,’’ Zetterberg said. “I think everyone is, but once again, it will come down to a decision with his family.’‘
Lidstrom has put retirement on hold in each of the previous two years by signing one-year contracts. He turns 42 on Saturday and is coming off a season in which he had 34 points and a plus-21 rating that ranked among NHL league leaders.
“How can you quit when you’re that good?’’ Kronwall said. “Maybe that’s selfish thinking on my part because I want our team to be as good as it can be next year.’‘
Updated 11x with sand-kicking from Nashville at 6 PM: The Detroit Red Wings’ players assembled at Joe Louis Arena today to take their team picture for the 2011-2012 season, clean out their lockers, in the cases of Jimmy Howard (USA), Justin Abdelkader (USA), Valtteri Filppula (Finland), Jonathan Ericsson (Sweden), Henrik Zetterberg (Sweden), Johan Franzen (Sweden) and the already-departed Tomas Tatar (Slovakia) and Jakub Kindl (Czech Republic), pack up their gear to head over to Stockholm and Helsinki to take part in the World Championships, and to begin the process of taking end-of-season physicals, receiving off-season workout recommendations, and to begin engaging in exit interviews with coaching and management staffs which will utilize the information gleaned from said players to formulate an organizational master plan in terms of attempting to reload the Big Red Machine at the Entry Draft and via trades and free agent signings.
The players aren’t exactly stating anything of staggeringly stunning note today—thought Nicklas Lidstrom assuaged some Wings fan’s fears by suggesting that he still likes his team’s chances of contending for a Cup—as noted by WXYZ’s Brad Galli...
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.