The Malik Report
from Paul Harris at NHL.com,
Holland said with everyone healthy, Richards will be Detroit's No. 2 center. But with the uncertainty about Pavel Datsyuk, who had surgery on ruptured tendons in his right ankle last Friday, Richards could open the season as the No. 1.
"Throughout his career, he's been productive as a top-couple-of-lines center," Blashill said. "... He's a great power-play guy who can run it from up top and who can pull up on the half boards."
Blashill is comfortable with Richards' age.
"He's slowed down, but I think he's got some great hockey left in him," he said. "He's been great in the playoffs, he just won a Cup and he has two."
Blashill said he talked to Green and Richards on Wednesday. He added that he already had an idea about what type of player and person Green is.
Blashill was the head coach of the Red Wings' American Hockey League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, the past three seasons. One of his assistants in Grand Rapids was longtime NHL player Mike Knuble, who was Green's teammate in Washington and also played for Detroit during his career.
"Mike Knuble had good things to say about [Green] as a person and a teammate," Blashill said.
It remains to be seen how Green and Richards will fit in with the Red Wings.
"I don't know the exact picture," Blashill said. "We won't know that until we get to camp. … But you'd rather have more options than not enough."
They came from all over the world yet there was a general consensus about what they saw – the Red Wings' new stadium looks fantastic.
The Wings' just-drafted players, prospects and invitees to their development camp got a private tour along with Jiri Fischer, director of player development, of the plans for the new stadium and District Detroit.
District Detroit is the vision of the Ilitch family for a state-of-the-art events center and surrounding areas that will comprise 50 blocks of the city, including Comerica Park, Ford Field and the Fox Theatre.
Wings general manager Ken Holland had mentioned that the experience at Montreal's Bell Centre, where the fans seem to be on top of the ice and the noise can be intimidating, so the Wings are looking to exceed that with what is expected to be the tightest bowl in the league.
As Ypsilanti, Michigan, native and Windsor Spitfires defenseman Jalen Chatfield said, "Who wouldn't want to play there?"
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun provides a breakdown of the "how's" behind the Wings' signings of Mike Green and Brad Richards:
Holland has been after Green a for a long time, approaching the Washington Capitals a summer ago when it appeared Green might be available after the Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik signings overloaded the Caps' blue line. Instead, Green stayed put until his deal ran out.
That’s when Holland jumped on him, though not at all costs. The Wings made it clear to Green's representatives at Newport Sports early on that they weren’t going to do a long-term deal, so forget a five-year contract.
The conversation then came down to doing three years or four, average annual value (AAV) a bit higher on three years. The Wings chose the shorter deal, even if the AAV was higher at $6 million.
The Hotel Park Avenue has to be taken out to make way for the Red Wings' arena, and the Detroit News's Louis Aguilar reports that it's going to go down in the most awesome way possible:
A historic empty building that will soon become history to make room for the new hockey arena will be imploded, according to two sources familiar with the plans.
Implosion means explosive materials will be strategically placed in the 13-story former Park Avenue hotel so that the structure collapses on itself, usually within a matter of seconds.
The building to be imploded is the 91-year-old former Park Avenue hotel, on the southwest corner of Park Avenue and Sproat Street in the Cass Corridor neighborhood just north of downtown.
The implosion is scheduled for 8 a.m. on July 11.
The Italian Renaissance-inspired structure is being imploded because it stands in the footprint of the $450 million new venue that will be home to the Detroit Red Wings. In its place, an underground loading dock would be built to ensure the multipurpose venue can accommodate major concerts and other events.
Consider this article by the Traverse City Record-Eagle's James Cook as something of a teaser for the Wings' development camp, which begins tomorrow at Centre Ice Arena and will continue until next Wednesday:
"It's exciting to see some of our returning guys from last year, Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha," said Anne Reeves, director of the Red Wings events in Traverse City. "Especially Dylan Larkin, and what an amazing season he's coming off of, to watch him become a leader of sorts for this group coming in."
The Red Wings will be holding an autograph session from 6-7 p.m. Sunday at the Cherry Festival Open Space.
The five-day event will include a cooking class, curling, nutritional and media presentations, meeting with the front office and coaches, as well as on-ice practice, drills and scrimmages.
Participants will have an off-ice session at Centre ICE on Thursday that is closed to the public before the camp officially starts Friday, lasting through July 7.
The camp also features two guest players from the Korean National Team — right wing Jin-Hui Ahn and defender Won-Jun Kim.
The Red Wings will also have all of their 2015 draft picks in attendance, something that isn't all that common. Svechnikov heads that class, followed by defender Vili Saarijarvi (third round), goaltender Joren Van Pottelberghe (fourth round), forward Chase Pearson (fifth round), defender Patrick Holway (sixth round) and forward Adam Marsh (seventh round).
MLive's Ansar Khan penned a column discussing the Wings' free agency moves as a "commitment to winning now, while the Cup window is still open," and here are his takes on the Green and Richards signings:
Green, 29, was the key. He's been one of the league's premier offensive defensemen for a decade with the Washington Capitals. Other than Kronwall, the Red Wings don't generate much offense form the back end. Green also will boost an already strong power play (ranked second in the NHL last season).
Green has defensive deficiencies, but he'll be protected to some extent on the second pairing with Danny DeKeyser, who Babcock often referred to as "The Human Eraser" for his ability to clean up others' mistakes.
Richards might start the season as the No. 1 center, depending on Datsyuk's recovery. That's not ideal, but options are limited. He'll eventually settle into the second-line spot, where the Red Wings hope he'll mesh with either Gustav Nyquist or Tomas Tatar.
New coach Jeff Blashill has options, and depth. The Red Wings have 15 forwards, including Johan Franzen, whose status is uncertain due to a concussion, and nine defensemen.
Updated 9x at 11:42 AM: I wasn't invited to this one (and am a little aggravated about that), but the Red Wings held a press conference in which Ken Holland, Jeff Blashill and several Wings prospects spoke with the media ahead of tomorrow's development camp in Traverse City. Holland and Blashill have already spoken to the media, and here's the Twitter play-by-play of their comments:
Update: Here's more from the Free Press's Helene St. James:
So, general manager Ken Holland said today, he will bring up the matter with owners Mike and Marian Ilitch and longtime executive vice president Jimmy Devellano.
"At the appropriate time, I'll weigh in, we'll talk about whether his number should go in the rafters or not," Holland said. "But certainly, being selected to go in the Hall of Fame is an incredible accomplishment. He was a great player and a great Red Wing. Certainly worth serious consideration."
Updated 4x at 1:11 AM: The Detroit Red Wings aren't necessarily "sitting pretty" after signing Mike Green and Brad Richards to three and one-year contracts, respectively: according to General Fanager, Hockey's Cap and Cap Friendly, the Wings have somewhere between $4.8 and $6.8 million in salary cap space remaining (it's closer to $6 million), with restricted free agents Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Jurco, Landon Ferraro and Teemu Pulkkinen to re-sign (all assuming that Johan Franzen is healthy and that Pavel Datsyuk doesn't begin the year on the LTIR).
Those players are likely to take at least $6-8 million to re-sign, so the Wings have to make some room to ink them all to contracts. Wings GM Ken Holland readily admitted that the Red Wings have to make some moves to clear both roster and salary cap space after today's moves, but Holland made a telling comment to MLive's Brendan Savage about his roster-and-or-cap conundrum:
"We're going to have to make some moves, which is a good thing," he said. "I'd rather deal from a position of strength than a position of weakness. We feel real good about our depth on defense. It's a great day for the Red Wings today. We went into free agency looking to make some moves that would make a big impact on our team and I think we added two players today that provide some real important ingredients that we're looking for."
"It's early yet" as far as free agency goes--and earlier in terms of teams navigating their cap ceilings (which the Wings can exceed by 10% of the $71.4 million "upper limit") through the re-signings of restricted free agents and/or arbitration hearings, but if we are to believe what we read, the Wings are "big winners" in terms of their free agent machinations, according to USA Today's Kevin Allen...
Ken Holland spoke with the Wings' media corps regarding the moves the Wings made today, and after the jump, here's the Twitter play-by-play of the conference call that Holland, Mike Green and Brad Richards held a little after 6:15 PM:
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