The Malik Report
Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom’s -2 plus-minus rating didn’t prevent “Norris Nick” from winning his seventh Norris Trophy and making the NHL’s First All-Star Team, but after all the talk from NHL writers suggesting that Lidstrom simply didn’t dominate like Zdeno Chara or Shea Weber this past season, it was a bit of a surprise to see Lidstrom tie Doug Harvey as the second-most-decorated defenseman of all time—in the closest Norris Trophy voting from 1st to 3rd place ever!
As the 41-year-old told the Associated Press, winning the Norris never gets old, nor is it any less special, as time marches on:
“It feels surreal having reached seven Norrises, especially at this stage in my career,” said Lidstrom. “I’m very proud to still be able to play at this level and win another Norris.”
Lidstrom’s seventh Norris tied Montreal star Doug Harvey, and he now only trails the legendary Bobby Orr’s record of eight.
“It gives me some motivation to get ready for next season now having won another Norris,” Lidstrom said. “I think it helps going through the off-season workouts.”
I can’t wait until we see the voting on this one…Nicklas Lidstrom just won his seventh Norris Trophy, and the Red Wings’ captain now only trails Bobby Orr in Norris Trophies won.
Update Via Paul and NHL.com:
Red Wings’ Lidstrom Wins Seventh Norris Trophy:
Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings has won his seventh career James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded to the defenseman demonstrating “the greatest all-around ability in the position,” as selected by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
Lidstrom edged Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators 736-727 in the closest race for first place since 1996, when Chicago’s Chris Chelios finished five points ahead of Boston’s Ray Bourque, 408-403. With Lidstrom, Weber and third-place Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins receiving similar first-place vote totals (Lidstrom 35, Weber 32, Chara 33) and the trio separated by just 48 points, this marks the tightest three-way race for the Norris Trophy since its introduction in 1954.
Via RedWingsFeed on Twitter: the NHL’s schedule is usually released in early July, but between the NFL lockout and a looming NBA lockout, the NHL’s apparently decided to jump the gun and release its regular-season schedule for the 2011-2012 season on Thursday. For the Red Wings ,the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan, the season will begin with a reunion of sorts:
The Red Wings will see a familiar face in the home opener of the 2011-12 regular season.
The Wings will host the Ottawa Senators on Friday, Oct. 7, at Joe Louis Arena. The Senators are now coached by Paul MacLean, who was Mike Babcock’s assistant the last six seasons in Detroit. MacLean was named Senators’ head coach earlier this month.
Updated with the Wings’ draft pick order: Of Red Wings-related note as we wait for the NHL Awards to get underway at 7 pm EDT (live on Versus, tape-delayed at 8 PM on the CBC, live-streamed on CBCSports.ca): Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Regner believes that, should one compare Nicklas Lidstrom’s status to that of Brian Rafalski, one may very well suggest that Lidstrom has entered “genetic freak” territory when it comes to staving off the aging process:
[Lidstrom] kept saying that it depended on whether he wanted to continue to train like a mad man during the offseason. OK, I added the mad man thing, but the point is that physically Nick is there. It just comes down to where hockey is in his life.
We may believe that all a professional athlete has to do is show up for a few hours, play their game and then go home. That is hardly the case. These athletes have to work their tails off year round or they will not be pro athletes for very long. In their 20s and early 30s—depending on their injury history—training is second nature. When you start to hit your late 30s, priorities shift—not to mention waistlines—and you start to ask yourself, “Do I really want to go through this rigmarole again?”
Updated with Hawks talk (they’re not interested) at 1:37 PM: And so the Jaromir Jagr to the Red Wings-or-Penguins drama continues, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi...
Jaromir Jagr is expected to speak with Penguins owner Mario Lemieux and general manager Ray Shero at some point today, according to Jagr’s agent, Petr Svoboda.
“That’s what I am expecting to happen today,” Svoboda said. “They are supposed to talk.”
Nothing imminent is expected with Jagr’s status. Svoboda confirmed that the Penguins and Detroit Red Wings remain the frontrunners for Jagr’s services.
“But nothing is going to happen in the next couple of days,” Svoboda said.
While I’ve displayed my professional level of foot-in-mouth-planting abilities over the past few days, both Red Wings fans and NHL fans in general seem to be a little…jittery…as we wait for our teams to finally sign their unrestricted free agents-to-be, draft players this weekend in Minneapolis and get down to business on the unrestricted free agent market. The past three weeks, Stanley Cup Final aside, have involved all talk and bluster and no action, and it’s got us all a bit…itchy.
For Wings fans, while we’ve breathed huge sighs of relief when Nicklas Lidstrom revealed that he’d return, we’re more than a little bit peeved at the way Jaromir Jagr’s agent has started to wax poetic about Jagr reuniting with the Pittsburgh Penguins while claiming that “mystery teams” are also in the running for Jagr’s services, and between finding out that he had a bit of a gambling problem in the Burgh and wondering whether a 39-year-old who hasn’t played on a 200’x85’ rink or had to deal with the physical or mental demands of an 82-game NHL schedule, we’re almost viewing his potential acquisition as more Allen Iverson than Mike Modano, so Lyle “Spector” Richardson places the latest rumors about Jagr’s dalliances with the Penguins in letter-perfect perspective:
After agonizingly waiting for a month and then spending all of Monday and part of Tuesday listening to Nicklas Lidstrom explain to the press that he simply would not return to the Detroit Red Wings unless he felt that, at 41, he could continue to play at a Norris Trophy-finalist’s caliber of play, I kinda lost it and said some very stupid things about Justin Bourne’s suggestion that Lidstrom should retire lest age and a drop-off in play tarnish his legacy.
I’m very sorry for saying what I said and will readily admit that I acted like a moron, especially after asking my own audience to disagree with opinions but not call each other names, and I am sorry for being a moron myself. My vehement disagreement with Bourne’s position, however, will not change.
Updated 3x with more Jagr stuff from LeBrun and Howard joining U of Maine’s sports hall of fame: According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins and a “mystery team” are in the running for the services of Jaromir Jagr, who’s no longer considering playing in the KHL for the 2011-2012 season…
Agent Petr Svoboda said Pittsburgh, Detroit “plus another team I can’t name” are the three options for his veteran client.
“We have to make a decision soon,” Svoboda said from the Czech Republic.
Svoboda said Jagr would sign a one-year deal with one of those three NHL teams. He also said a decision should be made within the next few days, perhaps as early as Tuesday. Jagr met all day with Svoboda on Monday and the two were slated to meet again later Tuesday. It appears going back to Russia’s Continental Hockey League, where Jagr has played the last three seasons, is no longer in the mix.
“He’s really decided he wants to play in the NHL and he’s excited about it. He’s ready for the challenge,” said Svoboda. “His mind is pretty much made up but he wants to make sure.”
Early on Monday morning, the Red Wings officially announced that Nicklas Lidstrom would return for his 20th NHL season, signing a one-year, $6.2 million contract. I had asked Paul to text message me and/or call when the Nick news came about ten days ago, and while Expressen’s Gunnar Nordstrom tipped Lidstrom’s hand for him, I popped up with a start when my cell phone’s text message alert jingled me from a restless night’s worth of sleep and got to work.
Relieved. Unbelievably relieved. As Ken Holland suggested and columnists pointed out during the mid-day and evening crops of columns, the Red Wings’ off-season renovations hinged upon the fulcrum that was Lidstrom’s future, and as Ken Holland suggested to the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson, the Wings can weather the storm that is Brian Rafalski’s sudden retirement, but losing both Rafalski and Lidstrom, well…
The NHL’s obviously agreed to move the Thrashers to Winnipeg, the NHL, NHLPA and the competition committee have signed off on tweaking the blind-side hitting rule to better protect players whose heads are targeted, and it certainly appears that the salary cap will rise to $64 million after the NHLPA applied its 5% inflator, but as NHL.com’s Dan Rosen notes, none of these issues will become official until the NHL’s Board of Governors approves these changes today in New York:
While considered a formality at this point, the Board of Governors still has to give its stamp of approval for the Thrashers sale to True North Sports and Entertainment and relocation to Winnipeg beginning with the 2011-12 season. The transfer of ownership from Atlanta Spirit to True North Sports and Entertainment requires a 75 percent approval from the Board while relocation needs a majority approval. True North Sports and Entertainment is purchasing the franchise for a reported $170 million, including a $60 million relocation fee.
If approved, the still unnamed Winnipeg franchise will play in the Southeast Division for one more season with the expectation it will be moved into the Western Conference starting with the 2012-13 season.
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.