The Malik Report
By the time the Red Wings were eliminated by the San Jose Sharks two months ago, the team already knew that Brian Rafalski might retire, that Chris Osgood might have to do the same due to his lingering groin issues and that, given the free agent marketplace, there was no way the team could “replace” either player outright.
So the Wings chose to refrain from spending like there were no CBA negotiations tomorrow, and instead, opted to “replace” Rafalski’s offensive production by promoting Niklas Kronwall to the team’s #2 defenseman’s spot, retaining the services of Jonathan Ericsson (albeit at a near-free agency marketplace price) and adding a suitable #3/4 defenseman who can produce 30-40 points in Ian White and a little depth and/or snarl via Mike Commodore, who will ensure that Jakub Kindl has to do more than simply play decently to earn regular ice time.
In Osgood’s case, the team found that Joey MacDonald could at least capably back up Jimmy Howard when necessary, so a combination of eventually re-signing MacDonald, bringing Ty Conklin back for a second tour of duty, and in general, spending to the 2010-2011 salary cap so that the team can plug any holes in the lineup and/or accentuate it via trades as the upcoming season progresses.
Updated 9x at 7:32 PM with Pearce signing confirmation, more from Conklin and a video of Abdelkader flying with the Blue Angels: Oy. Deadspin finds it delightful not that Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader didn’t lose his lunch and in fact had a great time flying with the Blue Angels in an F/A-18 this morning—as he told the Free Press’s Helene St. James and the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan—but instead because Abdelkader had this to say about flying over the Big House:
“We were joking around (when) we flew over Ann Arbor, went over the Big House, if we’d had a couple of bombs on it (the jet), maybe we would have dropped a couple on there.”
Lt. Tickle, an Alabama native, said: “One of the maneuvers that I can show him is a bombing hop. As we speak right now, we have men and women flying in Iraq, Afghanistan, wherever else. So I was able to show him kind of what we do. We just happened to be over Ann Arbor at the time and I know he’s a Michigan State guy, a big rivalry. So it worked out great we could pretend we were bombing Ann Arbor for him. Obviously I would never bomb Ann Arbor. I have nothing against Michigan.”
The Wings’ website posted a photo gallery of Abdelkader’s flight (video is probably in the works), and Abdelkader wasn’t too brave to tell Annarbor.com’s Kyle Meinke that even an NHL’er is no match for six or seven times the force of gravity…
Updated 2x at 12:04 PM: That clunk following a soft thud that you just heard echoing across North America was Ken Holland’s shoes hitting the carpet as he put his feet up on his desk in Vernon, British Columbia. With the Wings’ signing of Ty Conklin to a one-year deal that’s supposedly worth $750,000 (per Andy Strickland), the team’s more or less finished its summertime roster-building at both the NHL and AHL levels.
We can expect a press conference sometime over the next eight weeks to announce whatever the heck Kris Draper’s going to do (I’m assuming that the presser will be held closer to training camp), and it’s possible but not probable that the Wings could move Jiri Hudler to add a top-six forward, but with 14 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies ready to go at the NHL level, and Joey MacDonald, Garnet Exelby, Chris Conner, etc. in wait with the Grand Rapids Griffins, the team’s good to go and Holland may as well start focusing on his golf game after the team holds its Conklin media availability this afternoon.
Updated 6x at 12:10 PM—Conklin signed for 1 year at $750,000: The Red Wings have officially announced, via Twitter, that the team has indeed signed Ty Conklin to a one-year contract to back up Jimmy Howard:
The Red Wings have agreed to terms with goaltender Ty Conklin on a one year contract.
Update: MLive’s Ansar Khan confirms, and here’s the team’s press release:
The Red Wings have all but telegraphed every move they’ve made over the past year or so minus signing Ian White and Mike Commodore, and just as it’s been obvious for over two weeks that the team would sign Ty Conklin to back up Jimmy Howard later today, as much as those of us who believe that Chris Osgood is a Red Wings Hall-of-Famer regardless of his status in pundits’ eyes kinda knew, from the moment that sports hernia specialist William Meyers opened up Chris Osgood’s groin and went, “Whoa, there’s some serious damage in here!”...
Osgood’s days as a Red Wing—perhaps like those of Kris Draper, who’ll either have to agree to do what is unthinkable to him now and fight for a job during training camp if he wishes to continue playing—were numbered. When Osgood couldn’t return to the Wings’ net after four months of attempts to recover from sports hernia surgery that ended up repairing and reattaching ligaments that had been shorn off bone, Osgood agreed that he could not guarantee that his groin would be anything less than a liability in waiting, and he retired on Tuesday to become what Chris Chelios already is to the team’s prospect defensemen and what Draper will probably be to the team’s forwards-in-waiting—a mentor to the team’s goaltending prospects.
As pundits went into overload discussing Osgood’s legacy, Osgood himself delivered the best assessment of his career via a nearly hour-long press conference, which you can listen to here…
Updated 3x at 1:43 AM: The Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness makes it 3 sources, and 3 sources = confirmation: According to Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Regner and via RedWingsFeed, the Red Wings have already signed the man who will back up Jimmy Howard this season:
The Detroit Red Wings have signed goalie Ty Conklin to a one-year contract worth under $1 million, a source close to the team said Tuesday night. The Wings are expected to officially announce the signing sometime Wednesday morning.
This will be Conklin’s second stint in Detroit. He was Chris Osgood’s backup during the 2008-09 season, appearing in a career-high 40 games and winning 25 of them.
Conklin, 35, spent the last two seasons as a backup for the St. Louis Blues, playing in a total of 51 games. The backup position to Jimmy Howard became available when Osgood announced his retirement Tuesday afternoon.
Update: MLive’s Ansar Khan confirms:
The debate came up again and earned its usual amount of passionate and all-too-partisan (at least in terms of the people who can’t stand the man because he stuck around like a bad penny) arguments: now that he’s retired, can we truly say for certain whether Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood is a Hockey Hall-of-Fame-caliber goaltender?
At the risk of sounding incredibly insensitive within 24 hours of the end of one goalie’s fantastic career, I genuinely don’t believe that it matters. Chris Osgood won 401 games, 3 Stanley Cups, left the Wings and came back to become good friends with the man who replaced him in 2001 and mentored the man who’s succeeded him, and all along the way, he was the fans’ goalie, to the point that when he retired, Chris Osgood stated that the people who made the biggest difference in his career were the people who cheered for him on and off the ice.
Neither the championships he’s won nor the legacy he’s created—and will continue to create as he mentors the Wings’ next generation of goaltenders (and I can’t stress enough what his status as a consultant and player mentor means in the “good news department” for someone like Thomas McCollum)—nor the fans who will continue to chant, “Ozzie, Ozzie” regardless of whether he’s deemed one of hockey’s immortals or a player worthy of having his number raised to the rafters of Joe Louis Arena or wherever the Wings end up playing one day…Really care. It doesn’t matter what the critics have said or will say about Chris Osgood. It never has and it never will. It’s about what Osgood and his fans think, and he cemented his status as a member of our Hall of Fame a long, long time ago.
Update: If you’re interested, the Wings posted the audio of Osgood’s retirement presser:
Updated 5x at 2:25 PM: Per the conference call Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood and GM Ken Holland are conducting with the media, Osgood is officially retiring. He will mentor the team’s young goalies and help the team’s amateur scouts evaluate potential draft picks…
Update #1: Holland says they’ll sign a back-up goalie by the end of the week.
Update #2: Per the Red Wings’ Twitter account, the highlights of the conference call (I posted tons of commentary as well but my entries aren’t succinct)—take note of the fact that Osgood said that the most important people in his career were Red Wings fans:
We’re only a few minutes away from a conference call in which Red Wings GM Ken Holland and one Chris Osgood will tell the media whether #30 wishes to return, and on the heels of last night’s “sources”-based suggestions that Osgood will retire, the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan and even the Free Press’s Helene St. James are reporting that Osgood will retire, and even the Red Wings’ website posted an NHL.com-sourced “report” that Osgood will hang ‘em up.
Updated with some “overnight report” stuff at 5:18 AM: Oh, boy. The Free Press’s Helene St. James believes that the Red Wings will announce that Chris Osgood is returning for at least one more season in the Red Wings’ net, and that makes sense to me given that the Wings haven’t signed anyone else already [edit: and NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman’s citing a “report” suggesting that St. James is correct,] but the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan reports that Osgood’s agent was taken by surprise when told that the team will hold a conference call today to announce Osgood’s plans….
The Red Wings have announced a teleconference call for noon today with general manager Ken Holland and goalie Chris Osgood . Neither returned phone calls or text messages Monday. Rollie Thompson, Osgood’s agent, was in the dark, too.
“I came back from my cottage, turned on the computer, and saw there was a news conference for (today),” Thompson said. “It’s all news to me.”
Thompson said he texted Osgood Monday evening and was told Osgood was “meeting with Kenny.” Thompson said he has spoken to Holland in recent weeks, but has yet to discuss any sort of contract issues regarding Osgood.
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.