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The Malik Report

Red Wings quickies: Wings to speak to Todd Richards about assistant coach’s job

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo, you can add Todd Richards’ name to Bob Boughner as one of the candidates to replace Brad McCrimmon behind the Red Wings’ bench:

The Wild has made it clear to NHL teams that they have permission to speak to the former Wild coach, who has one more year left on his Minnesota contract. Richards has begun to be contacted by NHL teams seeking assistant coaches.

According to multiple league sources, Richards has interviews lined up with Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock and Columbus Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel within the next week. Detroit is looking to replace Brad McCrimmon, who stepped down, while Columbus is looking to replace Bob Boughner, who also stepped down.

Most interesting though: According to sources, the Winnipeg franchise has already reached out to Richards and plans to interview him in the near future for an assistant coaching position. This would lend further credence to reports that Manitoba Moose coach Claude Noel, Richards’ mentor from their days together in Milwaukee, could soon be replacing Craig Ramsay as coach.

My gut still tells me that, somewhere along the line, the Wings will both consider simply promoting Keith McKittrick, the team’s video coordinator…and I have to believe that Babcock’s attempted to get permission from the Phoenix Coyotes to speak to his old pal Dave King…

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Former Wing Slava Fetisov to donate his awards and championship rings to a hockey museum

Via Chris from Too Many Men on the Site, rather stunning news from the ITAR-TASS news agency:

Chairman of the board of Directors of the KHL and president of CSKA Moscow, Vyacheslav Fetisov, has decided to donate all his sports awards, including his Stanley Cup rings, to a hockey museum which will be established in Vladivostok, the ITAR-TASS news agency reports. The concert and sports complex where the ice hockey museum is located will also be named after Fetisov.

The 53-year-old Fetisov is the owner of a record number of titles and championships in world sport. He’s the honored Master of Sport, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, a two-time Olympic champion, seven-time World Championship winner, and a ten-time European hockey champion. He’s won the World Cup and the USSR championship with CSKA. He was honored as the best player in Europe three times, as the best player in the Soviet Union. He was named the best defenseman on the World Championship team seven times.

Update: Chris found the initial report, which provides more information about the museum’s construction, if you’re interested.

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Mostly charitable Red Wings-related news

Updated w/ Kulfan on Lewis and funnny “ha”: Of Red Wings-related note on a furnace-hot Tuesday afternoon:

Per the Grand Rapids Griffins, the NHLPA’s Goals and Dreams fund did something very cool today:

The Griffins Youth Foundation on Tuesday announced a donation of 20 brand new sets of hockey equipment, courtesy of the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) Goals & Dreams fund. This donation will help the foundation continue to provide opportunities for 300 kids – many of whom are underprivileged, underserved or have other special needs – to participate in the great sport of hockey at no cost.

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Red Wings overnight report: gettin’ down to business, and a Winnipeg ticket quip

The Detroit Red Wings have yet to make any significant personnel moves, but the Detroit Free Press’s Helene St. James reports that Red Wings GM Ken Holland will get down to the business of negotiating with the Wings’ unrestricted free agents-to-be after today and tomorrow’s General Managers’ meetings in Boston:

Holland has had talks with the representatives for the team’s trio of 27-year-old unrestricted free agents—forwards Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson—but things are relatively quiet overall.

“It’s a process,” Holland said Monday. “We’ll see where it leads us. Free agency isn’t till July 1, so there’s no real pressure on anybody.”

Holland and coach Mike Babcock are talking informally with candidates for the assistant coaching position that opened with last month’s departure of Brad McCrimmon. The Wings may be looking for two assistants, as Paul MacLean is also garnering interest from several NHL teams looking to fill head-coaching vacancies.

The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan reports that MacLean fielded a call from a second potential employer on Monday…

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Can teams effectively ‘try out’ potential draft picks?

I’ve never heard of this before and I’m wondering if anyone knows whether another team’s done this before. The Canadian Press reports that the Ottawa Senators, who own the sixth overall pick in the first round of the NHL’s Entry Draft, brought a trio of prospects to their practice facility to essentially give on-ice try-outs to players who don’t belong to any NHL team as of yet (nor have they, in most cases, skated since March):

Three of the headliners in the NHL Entry Draft class of 2011 worked out for the Senators on Monday, and for one, in particular, the stage was much appreciated.

“It fun to have this kind of attention, you don’t have it back home. I’ll try to enjoy it as much as possible. I hope I get used to this,” said Mika Zibanejad, the second-rated European skater according to Central Scouting.

Joining the budding Swedish star were centres Sean Couturier and Ryan Strome.

“It felt good. It’s been my first time (skating) since I’m done playing,” said Couturier, ranked sixth among North American skaters after scoring 36 goals and 60 assists with Drummondville of the QMJHL last season. “I’m happy to be out there and just enjoying the time with the Ottawa Senators.”

Continued with video on TSN, and the Ottawa Sun’s Don Brennan reports that the Senators will wine, dine and give Senators practice jerseys to Gabriel Landeskog and Jonathan Huberdeau on Tuesday…

[Edit/update: I don’t mean for my tone to sound standoffish…I think the Senators are doing something incredibly clever, and I’m guessing that more teams will follow their lead next season.]

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Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom named a finalist for the Messier Leadership Award

Pretty cool news from NHL.com and RedWingsFeed on Twitter:

Before stepping on the ice for a virtual must-win Game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was named as one of three finalists for the NHL Mark Messier Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone. Messier made the announcement, adding Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes and Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings to his short, esteemed list.

The award recognizes players who are “superior leaders” on the ice, with teammates and in their communities. Messier, who makes the final call on the three nominees, looks to team and League officials for suggested nominees plus a list compiled by fans voting on NHL.com during the regular season.

“Zdeno is the true leader of the Boston Bruins,” said Messier. “More importantly is his charity off the ice.”

Messier said he was impressed with Doan’s leadership, especially “if you look at the situation the last two years in Phoenix and the team made the playoffs both times.” The former Cup winner with Edmonton and the New York Rangers added that he has “been looking at Nick for a long time…he filled big shoes when Stevie Yzerman left [the Wings] and nobody talked about lack of leadership despite Stevie Y leaving.”

The winner be announced June 22 during the 2011 NHL Awards at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas that will be broadcast on Versus in U.S. and CBC in Canada[.]

Update: Here’s the press release regarding the finalists from the NHL:

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Red Wings ISP issues report: Babcock ‘selling’ MacLean? On realignment and other tidbits

No internet service and no TV make George something something…So my apologies for the delayed “overnight” report. We’ll kick off this little round-up of Red Wings-related news from the last 16 hours with an eyebrow-raiser from the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, who suggests that Red Wings coach Mike Babcock’s encouraging a scenario in which he’d have to replace both assistant coaches:

Saw Sportsnet’s Ian Mendes in Vancouver last Tuesday and asked him who he thought would get the coaching job in Ottawa. He said, “Paul MacLean.” Think Ian’s nailed this one. And, just like Mike Babcock helped sell Guy Boucher to Steve Yzerman, he’s selling MacLean to his old boss, Bryan Murray.

At this point, educated guesswork would point the Wings’ coaching search toward Bob Boughner (if he’s interested) and probably promotion from within, with video coach Keith McKittrick in the running for a job as he does quite a bit of on-ice work. I’m not sure if the Wings would consider promoting Jiri Fischer, Griffins coach Curt Fraser or Griffins assistant coach Jim Paek given how superbly they guide the Wings’ prospects toward the NHL.

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Red Wings overnight report: Paul MacLean may be heading to Ottawa

One generally should take comments regarding possible player personnel moves by the Ottawa Senators, as suggested by one Bruce Garrioch, with a wee bit of salt (a fifty-pound bag of rock salt is a good start), but both Garrioch and the Ottawa Sun’s Don Brennan believe that, despite Senators owner Eugene Melnyk’s desire to promote Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors coach Dave Cameron to Ottawa’s NHL job (Melnyk owns St. Mike’s), Bryan Murray will ultimately choose Red Wings assistant coach Paul MacLean as the Ottawa Senators’ next coach:

Even if Murray likes Cameron best, hiring him will look like he’s only following the owner’s orders. And if he doesn’t think Cameron is the best candidate — which is more likely the case — Murray says no to the guy who gave him a three-year extension a couple of months ago? He’ll do it, but it’s not a situation he should have been put in.

Along with Cameron and [Binghamton Senators coach Kurt] Kleinendorst, the list of candidates includes Paul MacLean, Kirk Muller, Craig MacTavish and Gerard Gallant.

The guess here, at this moment, is that it will be MacLean, the longtime assistant of Detroit’s Mike Babcock, Murray’s proudest hiring. No doubt Murray talked to Babcock about MacLean, who would have been highly recommended by his current boss.

I’m just guessing, too, but given that Murray was subtle as a brick as the Red Wings’ general manager in the early 90’s, remained the same when he hired Babcock and MacLean when Murray helmed the Mighty Ducks, and keeps Garrioch in business because he’s all too willing to surrender leverage by publicly stating that he’s talking trade turkey and/or wants to or doesn’t want to re-sign certain players…MacLean’s a pretty safe bet.


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LeBrun on realignment, Crosby, the Stars’ coaching search, ‘blue ribbon’ panels and Richards

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun spoke about several particularly notable topics during Saturday night’s Satellite Hotstove on Hockey Night in Canada (you can watch the clip, which will probably be followed by a column from the Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis in the near future, here), including possible expansion of the blind-side hitting rule, the Dallas Stars and Ottawa Senators’ coaching searches (LeBrun says that Bob Boughner interviewed with the Sens), the fact that at least some NHL types are considering dropping down to two conferences when the whole relocation/realignment talk comes up next year, and he also refutes a doofy report about Sidney Crosby’s status (he’s still on track to return), but this comment merits posting in the Malik Report:

We updated the Brad Richards’ situation on Thursday. Some further notes on the matter: While the whole world knows the New York Rangers will be in the mix for him, we’re told the Blueshirts also have interest in Florida’s Stephen Weiss should the money and terms to get Richards get out of hand. In other words, Weiss would be an appealing Plan B.

The Detroit Red Wings, meanwhile, are an intriguing team that has some interest in Richards, but only for a short-term and cap-friendly deal. The pitch from Detroit would be to come and win a Cup. Richards will certainly be fielding more lucrative offers in terms of term and money. Expect the Los Angeles Kings and Toronto Maple Leafs, among other teams, to be in the mix.

Continued, and I know it’s “intriguing,” but given that the Wings look like a team that, as of this evening, anyway, may have to replace both Brian Rafalski and Jonathan Ericsson, I don’t see a logical fit with the Wings.

Edit/update: Via a conversation on Twitter, the obvious: the Red Wings are a team whose blueprint is all about building from the blueline out, using puck-moving defensemen as the foundation for their offensive machine. Signing Richards would create a hole in the roster to fill a gap that doesn’t exist, and it would fundamentally betray the Holland/Nill blueprint. I don’t see how it makes any sense. It’s an “intriguing story,” but that’s it.

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‘The other guys’ wait on their Red Wings futures

So we know, per the Free Press’s George Sipple, that as the Red Wings’ front office has returned from the scouting combine in Toronto, Ken Holland will get down to the business of negotiating contracts for the unrestricted free agents whose services he wishes to retain, and the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan provides us with a late-Saturday-early-Sunday column analyzing the comments made by said free agents regarding their futures, painting the team’s grinders and support players in a sympathetic light.

While it appears to be a 50-50 proposition as to whether the Wings can afford to retain Jonathan Ericsson’s services, especially after the Blues’ silly-money re-signing of Roman Polak, Ericsson would prefer to return to the Wings...

“There are options,” said Ericsson, when the team split for the summer after losing in the playoffs to the San Jose Sharks. “But I really like it here.”

As do two all-but-slam-dunk re-signings in Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves…

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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.


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