The Malik Report
There's actually some doubt as to whether Sergei Fedorov will be named a 2015 inductee of the Hockey Hall of Fame today at 4 PM EDT, but Kris Draper and Steve Yzerman told DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose that Fedorov's case for induction is rock-solid:
“He had a fabulous career,” Yzerman said of Fedorov. “Looking back we wish he could have spent the entire career in Detroit, but things change along the way. One of the most-talented athletes I’ve ever been around. A really, really nice guy and I hope he gets inducted.”
In a time when Gretzky and Mario Lemieux roamed NHL rinks, Fedorov was developing into one of the league’s most exciting two-way centers. A swift skater and gifted stick-handler, Fedorov was equally potent as a high-scoring center or puck-moving defenseman.
“Sergei to me was one of the most dynamic players that the game has seen,” Draper said. “There were so many different ways that he could impact a hockey game. Obviously, just an elite skaters, an elite goal scorer, probably straight out one of the fastest skaters that I’ve ever played with, and just the ability to turn on a dime, the agility that he had down low on a cycle, the strength that he had. He was almost a freak of nature with the kind of condition he was in. He was a guy that could do a lot of great things. He was a great face-off man and he could score short-handed. He could score on the power play, so a guy who could impact the game in many, many ways.”
"Where's Mule going to be in September?" Holland asks. "Certainly we expect him to be healthy. Everything I'm told is that he's making good progress. He's healthy. He's practicing. We expect him to be ready."
There's the top-six forward who, when he's right, is better than anyone available in free agency.
By Holland's count, the Wings have 14 forwards, seven defenseman and two goaltenders -- all of whom helped Detroit earn 100 points last season and scare the beejesus out of Stanley Cup finalist Tampa Bay in the opening round of the playoffs.
If anything, the Wings have an abundance of NHL-ready young players, and it's unlikely that all of them will be able to play in Detroit. That's why Holland may be busier trying to make trades than he is shopping the free-agent market.
"I'll explore trades, but to make an upgrade it's tough to match up money and identical needs," he said. "I'm exploring it -- if there's a player with a dimension who can make us better."
Bottom line: The Wings are a young team on the rise energized by a new coach. There are worse things Holland can do than stand pat with this roster.
Well, we still don't know about the fates of Tom McCollum or some of the Grand Rapids Griffins' restricted or unrestricted free agents-to-be, but the Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the Wings have made qualifying offers to all of their NHL RFAs, Landon Ferraro included:
So Smith's been qualified...
And now we wait on McCollum, Jared Coreau, Mitch Callahan, Louis-Mark Aubry and Nick Jensen. It already sounds like Andy Miele's fielding other teams' NHL offers, and Kevin Porter won't return.
1. MLive posted a set of videos helping fans "get to know" the Wings' draft haul;
2. And the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa penned a novella-sized column discussing Nicklas Lidstrom's incredibly likely induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame today at 4 PM EDT, and Sergei Fedorov's probable induction to said institution:
Updated significantly at 9:33 AM:
DETROIT, MICH. – Olympia Entertainment and Olympia Development have opened a state-of-the-art Preview Center in the northeast corner of Comerica Park. The Preview Center features three dimensional-printed scaled animated models of The District Detroit and the new arena to provide a fully immersive experience of the transformative project.
“The new Detroit arena is going to offer one-of-a-kind fan experiences and reflect the excitement and energy associated with all that is going on in our hometown,” said Tom Wilson, President of Olympia Entertainment. “The Preview Center is equally amazing, redefining how experiences like this are shared prior to the opening of the arena.”
You may take this report from the Free Press's Helene St. James for what you will:
Off-season surgery for Pavel Datsyuk renders it further unlikely the Red Wings will buy out Stephen Weiss.
The window to do so closes Tuesday. Weiss hasn't performed as expected since joining the Wings on a five-year, $24.5-million deal in 2013, but the reasons to give him one more season expanded with weekend news that Datsyuk is doubtful for the start of the upcoming season.
He underwent an operation for ruptured ankle tendons Friday, and while his agent, Gary Greenstin, told the Free Press that Datsyuk will be ready for October, the Wings aren't expecting Datsyuk back before November. The doctor wants to evaluate Datsyuk after three months, which would be the end of September. The Wings open the season Oct. 9 against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Joe Louis Arena.
On Monday afternoon at 4 PM EDT, TSN and the Hockey Hall of Fame will be announcing its 2015 Induction Class, and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that both Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov will be inducted, but TSN's Bob McKenzie thinks otherwise:
As you know by now, Scotty Bowman and Jimmy Devellano have weighed in on the HOF'ers-to-be, but as you might expect, Lidstrom himself has a different take on his legacy, as he told the Canadian Press's Stephen Whyno:
Just being on the ice is what Nicklas Lidstrom cherished the most. The seven Norris Trophies as the best defenceman of his era and four Stanley Cups as a cornerstone of the Detroit Red Wings make him a mortal lock to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday in his first year of eligibility. But when Lidstrom looks back on his career, the 1,564 regular-season and 263 playoff games stand out.
“People are asking you how many games you played and how many you missed, and that’s something I’m very proud of that I played in so many games,” Lidstrom said in a phone interview from his home in Sweden. “I haven’t missed many games.”
Lidstrom admits that he's very proud of his accomplishments, but the 4 Stanley Cup championship-winning teams are the "things" he's most proud of:
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
As Bowman sees it, Lidstrom and Fedorov are obvious first-balloters.
"Their records are right there to see," Bowman said. "I would be disappointed. They've won Cups, they've won individually. I mean, the Hall of Fame is controversial because some people say players that get in should win Cups, should win individual award. They qualify at everything."
The two would bring the number of members from the fabled 2002 Detroit Red Wings team in the Hall of Fame to 10, with Bowman, Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Chris Chelios, Dominik Hasek, Igor Larionov, Luc Robitaille, Brett Hull already inducted. Pavel Datsyuk is a future candidate....
"Wayne Gretzky told me once, about 10 years ago, how many guys could play forward or defense? He's analytical," Bowman said. "He said, 'I couldn't do it. Jagr couldn't do it. Mario couldn't do it.' Sergei could play forward or defense, because he was a great skater. He was a big man, Sergei, people don't realize. He could skate forwards and backwards with equal dexterity. I'm pretty sure if we didn't get him back in '98, we wouldn't have won the Cup. He was penalty killing, faceoffs, power play - what else is there to do for a center? And then the month or six weeks we put him back on defense, my god, he was perfect."
from Ansar Khan of Mive,
Jimmy Devellano states with supreme confidence that the Detroit Red Wings' 1989 draft was epic.
"That was the draft of the century," Devellano said. "A fabulous, fabulous draft."
What made the haul extraordinary wasn't the club's first two picks, it was their third- and fourth-round selections – Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov.
Lidstrom, widely regarded as one of the two greatest defensemen in NHL history, is a lock to be selected for the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday. Fedorov, one of the game's premier two-way forwards in the 1990s, has a good chance to be named as well.
That draft set up the Red Wings for a run of success that includes four Stanley Cup championships and a playoff streak that has reached 24 seasons.
"That really was the nucleus of building the Red Wings teams that won Stanley Cups in 1997 and '98 and really put the foundation in place," general manager Ken Holland said.
Mike Babcock gave something of a summertime state-of-the-team address to the Toronto media at the NHL draft, and perhaps knowing what was coming,* the Toronto Sun's Mike Zeisberger asked one Nicklas Lidstrom to weigh in on Babcock, who said this about his former employer:
“Let’s be honest. (Wings) GM Ken Holland is one of my best friends,” Babcock said on Saturday, minutes after the 2015 NHL draft had ended. “They were good to me and I was good to them. We got a lot of points. We won a lot of games. (Now) they hired a quality man in Jeff Blashill. They’re going to move ahead and I’ve come here. From the outside looking in, you might think we have a massive job. I think the same thing. (But) I’m excited for the challenge. If you think you can, you can.”
Lidstrom, who will *be named to the Hockey Hall of Fame's inductee class of 2015 on Monday at 4:30 PM EDT (with Sergei Fedorov probably joining him), told Zeisberger that he believes Babcock can turn the Leafs around:
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.