The Malik Report
Updated 3x at 5:48 PM: As the Red Wings do their best to sell their “program” to potential unrestricted free agent targets, Wings GM Ken Holland may have summarized his team’s decision-making processes best in a conversation with ESPN’s Craig Custance (subscriber-only, sorry):
“It’s all about planning,” Holland said. “Planning is the most important thing so that when it comes time to make decisions, you make them uninhibited.”
There’s no doubt the Red Wings will make a big push on July 1 for Parise and Suter. They’re definitely in pursuit of college free agent defenseman Justin Schultz ,even if there’s indication he’d prefer to play in Canada. They’ll look to add a backup goalie, with Jonas Gustavsson on their radar—if he doesn’t sign with the Winnipeg Jets—and Scott Clemensen another a safe veteran option. Mike Babcock would love more size up front with Montreal’s Travis Moen a candidate to get a look in Detroit should he hit the market. But Holland stresses that free agency can’t be the only solution for the Red Wings.
“We can go out and get some players in free agency but if we don’t have some internal push, those moves in free agency aren’t doing anything anyways,” Holland said. “Brendan Smith needs to make our team. We’re hoping there’s a push from [Gustav] Nyquist or [Tomas] Tatar, [Cory] Emmerton and [Jan] Mursak. Then we’ll look at free agency.”
Today at 3 PM EDT, TSN and the NHL Network U.S. will air the Hockey Hall of Fame’s announcement of its 2012 induction class, and it’s all but assured that three-time Stanley Cup winner and long-time Red Wing Brendan Shanahan will receive a call from the HHOF’s selection committee sometime this morning.
The present-day Red Wings’ organization has stolen some of the spotlight away from Shanahan’s day in the sun, however. The general manager who took over after Scotty Bowman snagged Shanahan from the Hartford Whalers is doing his best to ensure that the standard of excellence to which the organization’s held itself since Shanahan’s time with the team, the standard of excellence the team was able to maintain when Steve Yzerman retired and Shanahan moved along six summers ago, and the standard of excellence the team was able to maintain while Nicklas Lidstrom played for them will not slip.
The Red Wings wouldn’t normally even consider telling a player who has yet to suit up for a professional game that, should he sign with Detroit, he could expect to start the season on the Wings’ NHL roster, but this isn’t a normal year for the Wings, and MLive’s Ansar Khan and the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness both report that Red Wings GM Ken Holland is in fact pursuing the 21-year-old unrestricted free agent despite his high cap hit ($3.8 million including bonuses) and his agents’ requests for ensured playing time:
“We’ve contacted his agents to express the Detroit Red Wings are interested in signing him to a contract,’’ general manager Ken Holland told M-Live.com. “We think there’s a tremendous opportunity in Detroit.’‘
Updated 3x at 12:27 AM: Good news, bad news. The NHLPA’s executive board’s kicked off a three-day slate of meetings in Chicago on Monday, and between the media in attendance and the number and star power of the players involved speaks to the positive influence executive director Donald Fehr’s had upon player participation…But as CBA negotiations will probably start on Wednesday or Thursday, as the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc (on on Twitter and in article form), some of Fehr’s comments are a bit worrisome given that the CBA expires in two and a half months…
“There’s plenty of time to negotiate an agreement between now and Sept. 15,” NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said. “By the way, there’s nothing magic about Sept. 15. The law is, is if you don’t have a new agreement and as long as both sides are willing to keep negotiating you continue to play under the terms of the old one until you reach an agreement.”
Fehr said negotiations will being “very quickly” after the player’s meetings wrap up in Chicago on Wednesday.
And those of you who believe that fans should “Fear Fehr” will probably find what he had to Comcast Sportsnet Chicago’s Tracey Myers (also providing updates on Twitter) scary, though it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to understand that the NHLPA isn’t simply going to say, “Roll back our salaries? Okay! Then give you 7% of $3.3-plus billion in revenues back? Okay!):
Update: I got suckered as the Semin account is fake: Well, then. If the Red Wings weren’t already in enough of a state of flux, Mike Babcock will need to find a new assistant coach as the team’s decided to send Jeff Blashill to the AHL to serve as the Grand Rapids Griffins’ coach. From the Griffins:
The Detroit Red Wings on Monday named Jeff Blashill (BLA-shill) as the new head coach for the Grand Rapids Griffins. He replaces Curt Fraser, who departed Grand Rapids one week ago as the winningest coach in franchise history to join the Dallas Stars as an assistant coach.
Blashill, 38, becomes the ninth head coach in Griffins history and moves to Grand Rapids after serving as an assistant coach for the parent Red Wings in 2011-12, when he helped the team to its 12th consecutive 100-point season and 21st consecutive postseason appearance. Prior to joining the organization, he served as the head coach of the CCHA’s Western Michigan Broncos in 2010-11, earning several national coach of the year honors.
“We’re very excited to name Jeff the next head coach of the Griffins,” said Red Wings general manager Ken Holland. “He’s a talented coach that has a proven track record of working well with young players. He did a tremendous job for us in Detroit last season and we look forward to having him groom and mentor our prospects in Grand Rapids.”
The Hockey Hall of Fame will announce its 2012 induction class tomorrow at 3 PM EDT (the announcement will be televised on TSN and the NHL Network U.S.), and it’s more or less guaranteed that former Red Wings forward Brendan Shanahan will receive a phone call from the HHOF’s selection committee sometime on Tuesday morning. As such, DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose spoke to Wings GM Ken Holland about Shanahan’s legacy before he joins the Wings’ long list of 2002 Stanley Cup-winners who have or will be inducted into the HHOF:
“He could score and he was tough and of his era, there wasn’t a lot of guys who could score 40 goals and also drop the gloves and fight with the heavyweights in the National Hockey League,” Holland said. “He was hard, he could score big goals, he could fight, he was a big time power forward.”
He led the Wings in goals in four consecutive seasons (1996-2000) and his 109 career game-winners still ranks fourth in league history behind Phil Esposito (118), Jaromir Jagr (114) and Hull (110). He’s also the only player in league history to record 600-or-more regular-season goals and 2,000-or-more penalty minutes.
“He was one of the final pieces that we needed to get over the top,” Holland said of Shanahan. “We had a talented team in the early 90s once we had Vladimir Konstantinov and Nicklas Lidstrom on the back end with Sergei Fedorov and Steve Yzerman with the obvious nucleus up front. We needed to go through some growing pains, Scotty made some tweaks but ultimately the moves that were made with Brendan Shanahan, Larionov and Slava Fetisov – as I look back – were probably the final pieces to the puzzle to us winning the Stanley Cup in 1997.”
Updated 2x with more Suter/Parise blather at 3:33 PM: Thanks to the oddities of Fox Sports Detroit’s aggregation, I needed an assist from NHLGossip to find the article which kicks off today’s crop of Red Wings news, but it’s worth the convoluted trip.
We’ve been talking about the concept that NHL teams’ beat writers may or may not be trying to “sell” free agents on potential destinations, and FSD’s Art Regner suggests that the Red Wings have an ace up their sleeve in terms of landing Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, someone who can put the Wings over the top as the best place for top-flight talent to land, and his name is Mike Ilitch:
Logic will dictate that Detroit is a franchise on the decline, while their main competition for Parise and Suter are teams on the rise. But, given that the money will be the same, the Wings will be willing to front load their deals and overpay for the services of hockey’s most sought after free agents.
If Detroit holds a clear advantage over their competition it’s owner Mike Ilitch. Do not under estimate the persuasive powers of Mr. Ilitch.
Cue the dueling banjos, because this week’s shaping up as a two-topic slug-fest. This morning’s crop of Red Wings stories focus on topics we’ll probably continue revisiting from now until July 1st in the Red Wings’ crop of six new prospects from the 2012 Draft and even more free agent chatter as the press corps working in Zach Parise and Ryan Suter’s potential destinations try to influence their decision-making processes.
Let’s start with draft picks today, riffing on something of a familiar theme via a conversation the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan had with both Wings assistant GM Jim Nill and GM Ken Holland about the team’s decision to consciously focus upon larger players who are more adept at playing a chip-and-chase game:
Updated 2x at 5:09 PM: Cue the lather, rinse, repeat button regarding last night and this morning’s crop of stories regarding the Pittsburgh Penguins’ pursuit of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, because MLive’s Ansar Khan does his best to break the situation down as succinctly as possible:
As attractive a destination as Detroit would be for Suter and Parise – the opportunity to play with talents like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, for an organization with an unparalleled track record of success the past two decades – Pittsburgh would be just as appealing. Suter must have pondered the possibility of making passes to young superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for years to come. And as much as Parise admires Datsyuk and the way the Red Wings play, the opportunity to be Crosby’s winger for the next half-dozen years or so might be hard to turn down, especially since they are close friends.
Both teams have plenty of cap space. The Red Wings will have roughly $19 million. It probably doesn’t boil down to which team will pay the most. Both clubs surely will tender competitive offers.
Today in Windsor, hundreds of Bob Probert fans and several of his teammates gathered to honor #24’s memory by taking part in a motorcycle ride to raise funds for Windsor’s Hotel-Dieu Grace hospital, and OurHometown.ca’s Chris Savard reports that all went well:
The Second Annual Bob Probert Memorial Ride was held today in downtown Windsor. This annual motorcycle fundraiser creates awareness and raises much needed funds for the Cardiac Angoplasty Program at Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital. This year’s ride attracted well over 500 riders and followed a scenic route throughout Windsor, its waterfront and country settings, showcasing the beauty of the city and surrounding areas.
Last year marked the Inaugural event for The Bob Probert Memorial Ride. The fundraising event was a huge success, seeing $100,000 raised for Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital. Final numbers for this year’s event will be released in the coming days.
The areas of Chatham-Kent and Windsor-Essex rank numbers one and two in Ontario in the loss of life to heart disease. Heart disease has recently overtaken breast cancer as the leading cause of death amongst women.
Former NHL Player Sheldon Kennedy was named the Ride Captain and spoke highly of Probert and the importance of today’s ride. There were many current and former NHL players here today including Chris Chelios, Ed Mio, Tony Amonte, Ryan Wilson and Kennedy.
Continued with some photos…
Update: The Windsor Star posted a short video from the event:
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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.