Friday, July 31, 2009

The Pursuit of Agent-ness

Khan(!) has been talking to Ol’ Kenny Boy, and Mr. Holland has apparently been disagreeing with some of my free-agent choices.

Holland declined to comment on Jason Williams' revelation that the Red Wings offered him a one-year contract, saying only that he has had conversations with several player agents, including the one for Williams.

Jason's “excitement” to come back and play for Babcock may have been as well grounded as’s story about Hudler staying in Detroit (they fixed the website if you didn’t notice).

"We're exploring the market," Holland said. "We don't have a lot of (salary) cap space. We'd like to add a forward or two between now and September."

September? Are you REALLY planning on making us wait until September, Tick Tock? This has already been the slowest of slow seasons in recent memory. And most news has been bad news. Come on, Kenny…throw us a freakin’ bone here.

Taylor Pyatt, who played for Vancouver last season, and Manny Malhotra, who played for Columbus, do not appear to be on the Red Wings' shopping list.
Pyatt's agent, Todd Christie, said he has had no conversations with anyone in Detroit.

Squashed. Pyatt was one of the guys I thought might be a good fit. He has good size and strength and the youth factor. “Excuse me, Mule…could you show me how to do that?” Oh well, looks like Kenny’s not interested.

Malhotra's agent, Paul Krepelka, said he made a pitch to the Red Wings on July 1 but hasn't spoken to anyone in the organization since then.

HE made the pitch? It’s been 30 days and we’re not even giving this guy the time of day to even speak? The Detroit brass must have been entirely un-impressed with what they saw in this guy. Maybe it was the whole ‘goal off the glove’ incident (?)

Let’s recapitulate some of the free agents we have discussed on here on how they currently stand with the Wings organ-i-zation:

Jason Williams: No comment
Todd Bertuzzi: Heading East (refuses to play for another Canadian team)
Taylor Pyatt: No calls made
Manny Malhotra: Call received, but made no call back
Petr Sykora: Contacted
Mike Grier: Contacted…”interested”
Blair Betts: ???
Andy Hilbert: ???
Maxim Afinogenov: ???

Didn't take long to Squash that Bug

Per Khan(!) over at MLive

Kenny Holland:

"The story's over. He's going to play in Russia. We're waiting on the terms (of the salary arbitration case) he has to (honor) if and when he returns to the NHL.''

Let's get those terms so Kenny can get a pen and some paper for someone who values winning the 2010 Stanley Cup over making tax free dollars in Russia. No offense, Happy...well maybe a little.

Hudler Staying????

We finally get the results from Hudler's arbitration:

Reports are that Jiri Hudler gets a 2 year deal with the Detroit worth over $5 million.

Now...before you get all up in a tizzy, as I did when I first read that...remember that just because he is awarded that from arbitration, doesn't necessarily mean he will sign. In fact, I thought that we already established that he won't. He'd be making half the salary (before taxes) if he stays...which he won't.

Chicago in MORE Hot Water

Bruce Garrioch is reporting from the London Free Press that the NHL is conducting an investigation on the signing of Marian Hossa’s contract.

“The ’Hawks could be facing a maximum fine of $5 million and the loss of draft picks if the league’s investigation uncovers proof of allegations that Chicago discussed the possibility of Hossa retiring before the end of the deal, which would end Hossa’s cap hit.”
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daily had this to say in an e-mail:

“We’re trying to understand how it was negotiated and whether the intent and effect is to circumvent the cap. This was the first of the long-term contracts that took a player out past the age 40 and the value of the contract in its ‘out years’ was dramatically lower than its early years. We want to know if the possibility of player retirement was ever discussed or even contemplated.”

So it would appear that the league is going to try and make an example out of Chicago for trying to make a “Kenny Holland” move, only obviously not as good. Still think that Dale Tallon was wrongfully “re-assigned” Chicago? This man, over the course of two seasons, has damaged the franchise possibly for years upon years to come. Yet if you remember, team president John McDonough was booed by fans for making the right move.


You just don’t get it, Chicago. It serves you right for trying to emulate the greatest organ-i-zation in all of professional sports. It appears that Lil’ Gary is trying to drop the hammer on anyone who even tries to be like the Red Wings (remember: the model organization is Pittsburgh). You can bet your bottom dollar that the next CBA will have a limit on lengths of contract.

This investigation into the Hossa contract probably won’t even gain any traction…but I think it’s hilarious the amount of bad press Chicago is getting this off-season.

The Perfect Human looks to 2010-2011

Per Malik's translated interview between Nicklas Lidstrom and Swedish Aftonbladet:

Q: How far ahead do you look? Your contract expires after this season?
Lidstrom: "I'm looking that far as well. We shall see what happens next summer. But if I feel motivated and injury-free, in that case I would continue."
Q: Is there a chance for Swedish clubs to entice you home?
Lidstrom: "Right now neither the Eliteserien or KHL entice me. When I'm finished with the NHL, I'll be finished with hockey, too."

Lidstrom’s $7.45 mil comes off the books after this season. It appears that if he remains healthy, that he will be returning to Red Wings line-up for probably a short term deal. We all expect Lidstrom to take a large pay cut at this point which would in all likelihood, save the Wings about a $5 million dollar cap hit while keeping the game’s greatest defenseman.

It’s nice to hear that he plans on spending his entire career in the NHL. And one can only assume that when he says; “finished with the NHL” he actually means, “finished with the Detroit Red Wings”.

Lidstrom also talks about his multiple injuries during the play-offs and how he hurt in “several places”…we know all about it Nick. You played through a pain most of us guys don’t even want to imagine.

Our captain’s body is seemingly getting more and more prone to injury as he ages, which is to be expected. Teams in the play-offs were starting to key in on this and taking runs at him whenever they had the chance…just a different aspect in today’s game.

In my opinion, the Wings need to convince Aaron Downey to come back for one more year at half a million dollars or sign some other bruiser whose over-riding priority is to make sure that anyone running our stars will be paying the price for it. Keeping Lidstrom, Zetterberg, Datsyuk and the like healthy by deterrent.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dynamo Jumped the Gun

TSN- today.

"...the Russian league officially registered Hudler's contract with HC Dynamo Moscow. The 25-year-old Czech Republic native signed a two-year, $10 million offer to play in the Kontinental Hockey League on July 8 after reportedly rejecting a five-year deal worth $3 million to remain with the Detroit Red Wings."

$1.6 mil per or $5.0 mil...hmmm tough call.

"The NHL is contesting the contract and has approached both the IIHF and KHL seeking intervention."

Give it up, Gary. EVERYONE wants this deal to go through except for you. This isn't the Radulov case where the team had him under contract. It's time to let go.

I'd love to know when we have to stop worrying about this....seriously.

Forget about Offense

From the official website and the Buick Open in Grand Blanc, MI.

“We’re losing whatever it is, 80 goals, we’re not going to be a high-scoring team, but we have to focus on defense.”--Dan Cleary

Um...what? This is coming from a guy we're expecting to step up. Maybe it's because he's got golf on his mind and high-scoring comes with a negative connotation. But we DO still have Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Franzen right? All those predictions about Filppula netting 20 and Leino not far behind? Well hold on, it's not all Danny "Rain Cloud" talking...

Malts had some to add as well.

“Our depth will definitely get tested maybe a little bit more with this happening,” Maltby said. “We have guys in Grand Rapids who were with us during the playoffs who are obviously ready to play and will fill those voids. But there are injuries and things that happen in the course of the year and that could be an issue, but as for the guys in the dressing room we know that we still have a lot of talent, we have a lot of experience, and character in that dressing room.”

That's a little more like it. Keep the microphone away from Dan, please.


"Alright I'll take pros, you can take cons on this one."

Okay, if not Williams…Sykora?

It has been made pretty clear that most Wings fans do not want the services of Jason Williams (again). But what about Petr Sykora? According to Khan(!), he is another player that the front office has contacted. You may remember him as the guy who stayed our Cup run with 35 seconds to go in Game 5 of 2008’s Cup Finals (for one more game).

He’s only 32 (three years older than Williams) but has accumulated 300 goals and 674 points in 921 games. He has contributed just about everywhere he has gone. Yeah I know, we don’t have a good history with for Penguins, but look; this guy would be an almost be guaranteed 50+ points wearing the red and white if played an entire season. Sure he scored that one low-down-dirty-stinkin’ goal against us to force game 6 in the Pens’ ice water palace, but other than that, do we really have a reason to hate him? Because he played for Pittsburgh? Perhaps, but if he signs with Detroit…is all forgiven?

Would you rather have him over Williams?

Williams is Excited, do You Believe him?

From Khan(!) at MLive…

"I wasn't expecting the call, but after they lost (Mikael) Samuelsson and possibly not being able to get Hudler back, they talked to my agent and we thought it might be a good fit to come back. To go back to a situation I'm familiar with could be good for me. The chance to get in the playoffs and compete for the Stanley Cup, you can't ask for more. You don't see a lot of guys go back to the team that traded them. But I was excited."

Excited because no other team in North America has offered you anything, Jason? Williams was malcontent when Babcock would sit him, and then he was traded away by Kenny Holland in ’07…last I checked both of those guys are still with the organ-i-zation. Hardly anyone in the Red Wings nation seems to want this guy back.

For me, it’s all about attitude. One can only hope that the younger, cockier player whining about sitting games out has grown up a little and has finally come to grips with the 3rd line role he is to play on a team. Hopefully, those stints in Chicago, Atlanta, and Columbus have taught him to appreciate what he had in Detroit the first time around.

I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone signs about 35 seconds after the Hudler announcement is made public.

It's like another July 1st

Well, my friends, the day has finally come.

One more player will be leaving the Wings' organ-i-zation today, we all know it and have known it for some time. But of course, that player couldn't officially leave the team unless he did it under Gary Bettman's terms. Well today is the day that the Hudler handcuffs come off of Kenny's hands, and Happy's salary cap hit comes off of Kenny's books.

So we can finally put the rumors to bed (soon I hope) of whom we are going to grant the honor of wearing the Winged Wheel.

Kenny's going to pull something off...I just feel it. The best General Manager in all of sports has been much too quiet this summer to not have something special cooking in his kitchen.

Grier? Williams (part two)? Tanguay?

Just get the stupid arbitration hearing over. And then go sign us a third liner so we can start stressing about something else...hey, we're Wings fans, we need to stress about something.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Stay Tuned, Ken is working

Teddy Kulfan of The Detroit News reports that we're going to be looking for some additional help through free-agency once the Hudler issue is resolved...

"We're kicking some tires, we've called a lot of people," Holland said. "We don't have a lot of (salary cap) space, but we have a little bit and we'd like to find a good fit."

Sounds like ol' Tick Tock really HAS been keeping busy throughout the whole "Happy Days" saga. I know it's not much, but I find it comforting to know that at least someone has been making calls.

The question is, who's been on the other end?

Dear Free Press: No Thank You

George Sipple of the Free Press seems to think that signing a few former Wings like Todd Bertuzzi and Jason Williams could help fill in the gaps. I disagree.


Jason Williams

I’ll be the first to admit that I did like Williams when he played for Detroit. He was clutch in shootouts and a good right-handed shot, something we have in short supply. Though he was a defensive liability and therefore would not be a good replacement on the point for the second powerplay unit. We traded him to Chicago for Kyle Calder at the deadline in 2007. Calder became a healthy scratch in the play-offs and signed with L.A. after becoming a free agent on July 1st of that same year. So basically, we gave Williams up for nothing.

One would think that Kenny saw something in him that he didn’t like, or at least, thought was expendable…otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten rid of him in the first place. If Williams realizes that he was a product of the Detroit system and takes a fair salary to come back, I would be amenable to having him back as a third liner…but no better.

Numbers as a Red Wing (regular season): 233 GP 49 G 67 A 116 Pts


Todd Bertuzzi

This is a much simpler case. No. Bertuzzi was a monster from 2000 until the Steve Moore incident. As I said in one of my first posts ever (before this officially became the N.O.H.S.), the Steve Moore incident destroyed more than Steve Moore’s neck, it destroyed three NHL careers (Moore, Bertuzzi, Naslund). Never has Bertuzzi even sniffed the 46 tallies he got in 2002-2003. As a Red Wing, he was lackluster in the short run in the regular season, and highly ineffective in the play-offs.

And anyone who would jump ship for the Anaheim Ducks, in my book, is no longer welcome (yes, that means you too, Schneider). If you want a 6’3+ 230 lbs forward, you’d be better served going after Taylor Pyatt, who still might actually get better with time.

Numbers as a Red Wing (regular season): 8 GP 2 G 2 A 4 Pts
I think it's time to get some fresh meat in this line-up. Whether that means bringing up more kids from G.R. or making moves after we appease the NHL by going through Hudler's arbitration hearing tomorrow remains to be seen.

Ozzie getting to the Core of things

Chris Osgood. Not much has been said about him lately has there? Remember how he played last year in the regular season? Me either. That is something that will remain in the dark recesses of my mind, nice and suppressed, and suppressed. If the frustration and inconsistency serve as a reminder to anything, it should be this: “STFU” as Chief would say. Ozzie knows what he’s doing and when he says he can turn it up a notch; he means it. He was awesome in the play-offs, better than anyone could have expected. Hopefully he can go through this regular season as a man on a mission: get into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Malik found this little ditty in the Vernon Morning Star about how training for some pro athletes is seeing a shift from heavy lifting and long runs to more of an emphasis on flexibility and core strength. He’s really a blurb on the overall article, but I feel like I needed to say something.

When the nightmares of Hossa’s play-off performance start to get you down, remember how well Ozzie played. Picture the 20,000+ at the Joe chanting his name before every game. Keep holding that fort down, Ozzie, you’ve earned it. Let’s see if Jimmy can establish himself as a solid back-up while we give Larsson, McCollum, and Pierce the “Howard treatment” and let them marinate in the affiliates for a while.

I'll try to never doubt you again...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Another Underwhelming Signing

Stop the presses!

Found this Twitter via Babcock’s Death Stare.

The Wings sign ex-now-repatriated Andy Delmore. Who? Well I had to do a little research myself. Apparently he’s a 6’1 defenseman who weighs in the ball park of 200 lbs. He bounced around from Philadelphia, to Nashville, to Buffalo, to Columbus (and their minor affiliates) before heading off to Europe. He’s 33 years old and will probably spend most of his time in Grand Rapids.

His NHL totals are 283 games played, 43 goals and 58 assists for 101 points…not too shabby.

According to Wikipedia (for what it’s worth): “Delmore signed with the Detroit Red Wings prior to the commencement of the 2005–06 NHL season. However, he did not play a game for the club and was claimed by the Blue Jackets from waivers on October 4, 2005.”
So our blockbuster moves this summer have been to acquire Kris Newbury, Jeremey Williams, and Andy Delmore.
At least we re-signed Ville Leino, and who knows...maybe one of these guys is a sleeper.
In Kenny we trust.

Dan in Real Life

The Detroit Free Press posted an article today on Charlie Buckets.

If you’re not familiar with that nickname for #11 Dan Cleary, you need to head over to the A2Y Glossary of terms to find this plus other wonderful little tidbits from “The 19”…

“Dan Cleary, the boy with the golden ticket. Wandering the streets of
dreary whatevertownBucketsgrewupin, not wanting to go home because Grampa Joe
wasn’t getting out of bed and yet another dinner of disgusting thick tasteless
soup awaited him. A sparkle in the gutter, a silver dollar. That
money could feed his family for a week! Oh, the turmoil. Tasty Wonka
chocolate and a chance at a trip every child in the world was hoping for, or
food on the Bucket table. Screw it. Grabbed it. Bought the bar.
Ripped it open. Golden Ticket. Hell yes."

Basically this is a metaphor for Cleary’s career in the NHL. During his junior years, he was hyped as the second coming of Eric Lindros. Drafted 13th overall in 1997 by the hated Chicago Blackhawks, he spent time with ‘Hawks, Oilers, and Coyotes and never amounted to much. Cleary nearly gave up on pro hockey, if not for the insistence from his wife, Jelena, to stick it out and get back into shape. Ken Holland offered him an open tryout for the Wings in 2005…he was signed on October 4th (happy birthday, sis) thus getting his proverbial “golden ticket”.

By the way, Cleary signed a 5 year extension in March of 2008, he became the first “Newfie” in history to win the Cup three months later.

Well that wonderful muse of inspiration, Jelena Cleary gave birth to a second daughter this summer and thus Dan has spent the off-season in “the D” instead of Newfoundland or California.

Dan along with Kirk Maltby will be participating in this week’s Buick Open in Grand Blanc. Cleary said he’ll be the better Wing.

Well congrats, Dan and good luck…at golf and raising two little girls.

He talks about Hudler as well, but I’m not going to get into that, read it if you want to know what he has to say, (Hint: Cleary is a class act.)

Guess who's the #2 ranked Russian player...

This from The top 10 Russian-born players in the NHL right now.

Obviously, Alex Ovechkin is going to be number one, but numero dos? Pittsburgh fans are going to be pretty pouty when they find out it's not fugly, Geno Malkin. That's right, it's everyone's favorite "Dangle, Dangle". #13 Pavel Datsyuk.

Playing second fiddle to Ovi-wan Kenobi isn't too shabby. Don't let Gary fool you, Dats and Zata are the two most complete players in the league...oh and we have them both. Long term...sorry Burkie.

Grier is Interested in wearing the Winged Wheel

Motownchollis from Winging it in Motown actually contacted Unrestricted Free-Agent Mike Grier's agent...and I became bitterly jealous of those connections, but that's beside the point.

Apparently, the leading free-agent horse for Red Wing nation (and Detroit native) Grier has expressed interest in joining the Dynasty.

"Several teams have contacted me as they see Mike as a very solid asset and
a plus for their organization. Detroit is a first class organization in which
Mike has expressed interest. I believe the Red Wings respect Mike as a
player and true professional. We’ll have to see where it goes from here."

Respect? I'd say so. Grier is a gritty player who's willing to dig pucks out of the corners, back check, and lay the body on the line for his team. Nevermind him trying to take Datsyuk's head off and running into his own teammate (I'll post a link to that later), the 34 and a half year old right winger could easily live up to his 26.5 points per season average while playing in Hockeytown.

His cap hit would be manageable and ol' Kenny might still have room to sign another depth player. Sure, a player being "interested" in playing for Detroit might not be earth-shattering news (who ISN'T at least interested in playing here?), but at least it's news. Once Happy Days is finally over on Thursday, I say this: sign him.

He looks pretty good in red, doesn't he?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Your Red Wings (thus far) EA NHL '10 Ratings

Got these from a fanpost at Winging it in Motown...

Henrik Zetterberg; 90
Pavel Datsyuk; 92
Johan Franzen; 88
Niklas Lidstrom; 92
Brian Rafalski; 87
Niklas Kronwall; 86
Darren Helm; 83
Justin Abdelkader; 76
Dan Cleary; 84
Brad Stuart; 86
Chris Osgood; 86
Jonathon Ericsson; 85
Kris Draper; 80
Kirk Maltby; 83
Valteri Filpula; 85
Ville Lenio; 80
Darren McCarty; 76
Doug Janik; 78
Jeremy Williams; 77
Kris Newbury; 73
Andreas Lilja; 82

What do you think? I think we're missing a goalie. I think there's no way that Darren McCarty, who announced his retirement, should be on that roster. Other than that, I'd say they were pretty fair.
Oh and thanks to MrNorris at Winging it in Motown for supplying us with what the cover of this year's game should look like.

You want any of these guys?

From I’m looking at who’s left, what they had to say, and what I have to say about who might be a good fit in Detroit.

These are my (non Mike Grier) top 5 free agents available in no particular order. I did not include Alex Tanguay based on the notion that there is no way he can fit him in without losing some players.

Blair Betts

6-4-10 in 81 GP

Betts and Fredrik Sjostrom (who signed with Calgary) were one of the NHL's best penalty-killing tandems last season. But Betts is coming off a playoff injury and may be hard-pressed to find a new home.”

A good penalty killer? **salivates** Sure 10 points in 81 games isn’t going to knock your socks off…but if Fippula and Leino step up to fill in what we lost on offense, a defensively sound, hard working penalty killer (at the right price) could really help out. The PK needs to be better this year, period.

Maxim Afinogenov

6-14-20 in 48 GP

Afinogenov's play has dropped off severely in the past two seasons, during which he's also been plagued by injuries. A fresh start might help.”

A fresh start with fellow Russian playmaker, Pavel Datsyuk perhaps? Max would have to take a major pay-cut (though his numbers recently would support him doing so) to come to Detroit. This could be another Kenny Holland turn-around if he could sign him to right price. I don’t know much about how he took his being benched in Buffalo, so attitude could be a factor.

Taylor Pyatt

10-9-19 in 69 GP

“Former first-rounder is still only 27, but he's never had more than the 37 points he managed in '06-07 and '07-08.”

Oh and he’s 6’4 and 230 lbs. He would add a size and toughness factor that is somewhat lacking up front for Detroit. So he didn’t tear up the scoresheet in Vancouver…has anyone recently? His cap hit should be extremely manageable which makes him one of the more attractive options to me at this point.

Andy Hilbert

11-16-27 in 67 GP

“A hard worker in all three zones, he has some offensive ability. He'd make a solid bottom-six forward for someone.”

He’s also a native of Howell, MI…whether or not he’d want to play in his home state is another matter. Hilbert is a depth player whose work ethic seems to fit the mold of Kenny’s kind of Red Wing. Again, assuming this guy isn’t looking for a big payday, he’d be a great fit playing on the 3rd line with Helm and Leino.

Manny Malhotra

11-24-35 in 77 GP

Malhotra has never lived up to his lofty draft status (No. 7 in 1998), but he's a competent third-line center and checker who's had to play a line or two over his offensive ability with the Blue Jackets. He'd be a good fit and a good value in the right situation.”

Yeah I know, we have centers up the ying yang. But what we don’t have in bulk is size. One of Franzen’s more underappreciated talents is being able to step in (and win) face-offs when Hank or Pavel is kicked out. Malhotra could play a role similar to this he converted to a wing. I could see him fitting the missing “Dallas Drake” piece that got us a cup when it was in place, and had us fall one win short when it wasn’t.

Kindl: Last Year as a Griff

From Khan(!) last Thursday…

The Wings extended defensive prospect Jakub Kindl, who had one year left on his entry level contract to a 3 year $2.65 mil deal. The 22 year old has played the last two seasons in Grand Rapids, playing in 156 games while accumulating 9 goals and 42 assists to go with 160 penalty minutes. The 6’2 206 lbs blue-liner is expected to quarterback the power-play for years to come.

This will be his last season with the affiliate club in Grand Rapids. Once his new deal kicks in for 2010-2011, his contract becomes 1-way, which means he’ll have to clear waivers before being sent down from the big club. Assistant GM Jim Nill says, "He's got offensive abilities, now it's about being a solid defensive player."


I’m hoping that Lidstrom doesn’t hang it up after this year…not only because I think that he still has 3-4 good years left in him. But if Kindl can get some quality minutes playing with the Perfect Human, it would be huge for his development. Just look at what playing with Nik did for Johnny Ericsson. With Kronwall, Ericsson, and Kindl locked up for the next few years, the Detroit winning machine’s blue line is looking solid for years to come.

Now if we can just get one of those prospective goalies to pan out…

Friday, July 24, 2009

Red Wings re-sign McGrath and Oulahen

From the Grand Rapids Griffin’s website…

Both Oulahen (pronounced OH-la-hen) at 24 years of age and McGrath (pronounced Mc-Grath) at 23, are coming off of career years last season and have signed one year contract extensions. With Leino, Ericsson, and Haydar leaving Grand Rapids, it’s nice for them to keep a couple of kids around.


At a glance:

16 RYAN OULAHEN * Left WingHeight: 6'1" Weight: 195 Shoots: Left Born: 3/26/85 in Newmarket, OntarioDrafted: Detroit's 3rd choice, 164th overall, in 2003 NHL Entry Draft

Note: Despite suffering a dislocated hip on March 27 at Norfolk that prematurely ended his 2008-09 season, Oulahen has shown remarkable durability during his career, missing only 18 of 320 regular season contests and appearing in 155 straight games (including playoffs) from Oct. 27, 2006 to Apr. 2, 2008.


9 EVAN McGRATH * CenterHeight: 6'0" Weight: 195 Shoots: Left Born: 1/14/86 in Oakville, OntarioDrafted: Detroit's 2nd choice, 128th overall, in 2004 NHL Entry Draft

Note: McGrath enters his fourth pro season after enjoying his most productive campaign last year. In 68 games, he ranked fourth on the Griffins with 30 assists and 47 points – both career highs – and placed fifth on the squad with 17 goals, one shy of his personal best.


More lefties? Oh joy! Still…with the signing of Williams and Newbury, there might be a dog fight in Grand Rapids to see who gets those fleeting fourth line minutes with the big club this year.

Another Warm and Fuzzy Friday

From George James Malik’s post on Snapshots

Jimmy Devellano on Fan 590 with Roger Lajoie:

“But the curve ball thrown at us was Jiri Hudler being signed by the Russian team, and why it was a curve ball was, uh, he was a restricted free agent, we were negotiating with his agent, he filed for arbitration, so...All appearances were that Jiri Hudler would come back.
Now it's a little bit gray as to whether he will be back. He might be, he might not be. The problem then becomes, if you wait to find out, uh, and he leaves, you've got quite a bit of money under the cap, but then the free agents are all eaten up, for any of the good ones that might be left.”

So it might not be the whole “peaceful parting of ways” that we thought it would be. It appears that Happy caught management by surprise on this one, which does not sit well with me at all. The question is, did he file for arbitration with the intention of re-signing with the Wings, and then the offer from Moscow changed his mind? If so, Mr. Hudler is to blame for Red Wing’s current predicament. Sure, the league didn’t have to take such a hard stance against it, but what did we all expect…them to pass on a chance to screw the Wings over? Please. Hudler should know better than to pull a move like that.

It’s probably going to end up with nothing more than time lost. And that time lost could prove to be very costly as the Free Agent pool gets shallower and shallower.

“Roger, up front, we've lost 82 goals, between Samuelsson, Hudler, and Hossa, we've lost 82 goals. There aren't many hockey teams that can afford that, us included, so we're a little bit, um, concerned, to put it mildly, but we're going to try to be active and try to get it at least half figured out, but, Roger, the salary cap has caught up to us.”

Front office is worried....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

And the Hits keep on Comin'

From Neil Hayes of the Chicago Times and my reactions…

“Turns out Marian Hossa has a bum shoulder. Wasn't Martin Havlat's history of shoulder injuries a big reason why the Blackhawks inked Hossa instead?”

No, Neil. Hossa was signed to spite Detroit and Havlat was ousted because Kronwall made him “eat his lunch”. The whole injury bug trade-off just happens to be a pleasant surprise (for us Detroit fans).

“But why try to conceal something that is bound to leak out eventually? If the Hawks were aware of the injury, which they claim they were, why not get in front of the story rather than wait for it to appear on the front pages of sports sections?”

That’s an easy one, Neil. Because they didn’t know. They didn’t have the first damn clue. And do you know why, Neil? Because Ritch Winter and Marian Hossa put a lid on it so tight that Dale Tallon and his pudgy, money-grubbing little fingers could never have pulled that intel out of him. And why not? You think Winter and Hossa are stupid enough to believe that admitting to a bum shoulder prior to contract-signing would add to his value? Tallon meanwhile was so distracted with getting another “blockbuster” deal done, and one that was a “stick it to the Wings” deal, who could blame him for not doing anything important, like looking at medical records.

“Now this. If the Hawks knew about Hossa's injury, isn't it risky bordering on reckless to sign him to a $62.8 million deal without so much as a physical?”

Like I said, they were in too much of a hurry to get the deal done. Risky? Absolutely. Reckless? Dale Tallon wasn’t exactly worried about his job security, rumor has it he lost his job late in the season when he tried to trade then starter Nikolai Khabiboulin to Washington for Michael Nylander. John McDonough vetoed the deal and was waiting for an excuse to fire him ever since.

“Recent news seems symptomatic of a sense of urgency bordering on desperation that has gripped the franchise since the season-ending loss in Detroit. It's troubling. When organizations begin to cannibalize themselves, diners can become dinner and the feel-good vibe around a team evaporates.”

Good god. This team is already trying to come to grips with its impending doom. Diners becoming dinner? Is this some sort of metaphor for all of those bandwagon Bears fans that just want another reason to get drunk in public and yell obscenities? Go to a Fire game, no one will even notice. At least Hayes is taking into account how fickle and fragile the attention span of Hawks fans truly is.

“But there's a fine line between demanding excellence and firing a loyal employee who deserves much of the credit -- more than McDonough, in fact -- for building a roster worthy of a Stanley Cup contender over an oversight that didn't cost more than a couple dollars.”

And there goes the last remaining strand of credibility, Neil. McDonough isn’t the reason Chicago will implode in a year or less. It will implode because of Dale Tallon’s poor decision making and disregard for cap management, and any speculation to suggest otherwise is yet another shining example of the ignorance of the Chicago fanbase.

At least when there’s NO news coming out of Detroit’s camp, we have such an abundance of BAD news coming out of Chicago. That’ll do…for now.

Coolest jersey ever? You bet your sweet bippy.

NY Daily reported the Sports' All-Time Coolest Uniforms. “From the coolest of classics to the rarest of retros, the News surveys the best uniforms in sports.” - Jon Wiener

Guess who’s number one?

“Detroit Red Wings: Nothing says Hockey Town, USA, more than the Red Wings logo with its classic winged wheel. We especially love the fire-red trim, while a shiny Stanley Cup makes for the ultimate accessory.”

I couldn’t agree more, Jon. Sorry, Lil Gary, I know I keep beating this to death, but NOTHING says excellence over the past 15 years better than the red and white winged wheel. I hope they never succumb to the lure of third jerseys. Though admittedly, I did buy myself a Winter Classic Zetterberg jersey.

Other hockey franchise’s making the list (rank):

Chicago Blackhaws (5)
Montreal Canadiens (8)
New York Rangers (9)
Toronto Maple Leafs (21)
Quebec Nordiques (27)

And your Detroit Tigers also made the list with their old English “D” at a fitting #19.

No Penguins? No Ducks? No sh!t.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

One More reason to love this Organ-i-zation

I don’t know if everyone has caught this, but if you haven’t it’s worth a look-see.

Fischer was an up and coming defenseman. He was young, he was good looking, he was big, and he was tough. Before Zetterberg came along, I had every intention of buying myself a #8 Jiri Fischer jersey (he switched from #2 to #8 after Larionov retired and Hatcher stole the deuce). Then it happened. My buddy was there, I remember watching in horror on TV. We don’t need to go into details, you know what happened, and if you don’t... shame on you.

I had known that the Wings offered him a job. Much like they did to Stevie-Y, Larry Murphy, and some washed-up goalie named Kenneth Holland.

In fact, a funny thing occurred last year when I went to pick up my Winter Classic tickets at Joe Louis Arena. I got them through my buddy who works security for the Wings so I had to pick them up beyond some security checkpoints in the lower levels of JLA. I found myself standing in a small room waiting for them to find my tickets when an unusually tall and then figured stepped into the room. Immediately, I recognized that it was Fischer, picking up tickets for some of his friends. “Hey!” I said, unable to control my excitement at the time, my voice had a tone of recognition, which obviously confused Jiri since he had never even seen me before. He smiled and gave me a friendly “Hi,” before I shrank into a corner embarrassed by my blurting.

Ok, well it was funny at the time, jerks.

The point is, if you want a model franchise, don’t listen to what Lil Gary tells you…it’s not Pittsburgh, it’s Detroit. Look at the way they treat their employees and alumni. Look at how Mike Illitch sent SC Championship rings to all the old Red Wings who never got one. Look at what is engraved on the inside of every one of those rings, a single word: FAMILY.

Just ask this guy.

NOW You tell us....

That long awaited injury report on Hossa, well it finally leaked...

Apparently, Hossa has a shoulder or rotator cuff injury according to the Daily Herald.

Detroit fans everywhere were dying to know why he was so useless for the majority of the play-offs. Perhaps this is the reason why. Hossa may have to have surgery that could keep him out of the lineup until December. Awww, injury problems already, Chicago? Twelve years of shoulder issues...and he isn't getting any younger.

I wonder, did you tell them about your bum shoulder BEFORE you signed on the dotted line, Marian? Or did you think your performance in the finals was good enough of a clue.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

September 16th is closer than you think...

I know that this is the “slow season”, but I think I speak for many Red Wings fans when I say that I think that this far too slow a start to make any moves in the off-season. I realize that we’re going through league mandated negotiations with a player we already thought we parted ways with (thanks, Gary by the way), but there are still a lot of decent free agents out there and they’re getting picked off one at a time.

Have you seen this? 10 forwards, 9 defensemen, and 1 goalie are all the players currently listed on our roster (as per the official website). And that is with Abdelkader whom we’re not sure will start with the big club this year. Yeah I know we signed Williams and Newbury but they might be seeing a whole lot of Van Andel Arena this year.

Pre-season starts on September 16th and Sasquatch will be waiting, elbows up as usual. That is less than 2 months away. Seems like a long time, but when you have an incomplete team nearing the end of July, it might be time to start filling the roster spots.

We all justified Hossa’s departure by saying it would give us room to sign Samuelsson and Hudler (both have at least attempted to leave, one succeeded). So we’ve lost 168 points from last season and have gotten virtually nothing in return to this point.

I understand that Kenny Holland is the best in the game, and I understand that he has deserves our respect (and patience). He’s probably out there right now, as I type this trying to pull yet another rabbit out of his hat. Hakan Andersson is probably somewhere in Eastern Europe finding yet another diamond in the rough. I just want you guys to start showing me something…anything.

Let’s get final closure on this Hudler situation for better or worse so we can finally move on.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, Pavel

Happy 31st B-day Pavel

Somebody turned 31 today. Thought I would take quick second to give you a small snippet of his career numbers as well as some of my favorite quotes straight from “Dangle, Dangle” himself. I know there is plenty that I haven’t included so please feel free to post the ones that are missing.

"He just used me like pony," Datsyuk said. "He was on top of me. I don't like being the pony. I want to be on top."

Question: Have you had LASIK surgery?
Datsyuk: “Why you ask me this?”
Question: Has Dr. Rahmani even examined your. . . .
Datsyuk “I hope you’re not from KGB.”

“It's like dancing rock-n-roll with a puck.”

“I like everything in Detroit and love it here. And money is not the most important thing in anyone's life.”

2001-2002 70GP 11G 24A 35Pts
2002-2003 64GP 12G 39A 51Pts
2003-2004 75GP 30G 38A 68Pts
2005-2006 75GP 28G 59A 87Pts
2006-2007 79GP 27G 60A 87Pts
2007-2008 82GP 31G 66A 97Pts
2008-2009 81GP* 32G 65A 97Pts

*Suspended one game by Gary Bettman for resting an injury during the All-Star break, received no personal phone call to beg him to come to Montreal ***coughSidcough***

CAREER HIGHS (in a single game)

Goals - 2, 20x

Assists - 4

Points - 5

Shots - 10

PIM - 15
Awards: Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009) Frank J. Selke Trophy (2008,2009) Played in NHL All-Star Game (2004, 2008, voted in 2009), NHL Plus/Minus Award 2008

Another News-less weekend

This year’s “slow season” seems to be slower than usual. No updates on anything Red Wings. But really, is that such a bad thing? We’re nearly 3 weeks into the Free Agency Period and it has been pretty much bad news the whole way. And now, all we’re waiting for is the official word that Hudler isn’t going to be returning to Detroit and now that the league has stuck its big ugly nose into our business, we won’t retain Happy’s rights when/if he does decide to return to the NHL…what a joke.

But again, we should remember that we did our big free agent signing during the course of the season, we locked up Zetterberg and Franzen for life. We debated and fought over whether we wanted to keep the Mule or Hoss. Looking at their play-off performances this year, is anyone still arguing who we’d rather have?

Oh and looky here at Hockeytown Blog nothing like getting a shout-out (thanks for the heads-up, grog34) on the official blog, even if they don’t quite get your name right.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Empirical Proof that Chicago fans are Idiots

Did you catch this turd of an article this morning? Apparently, Chicago fans are booing club president John McDonough for doing the smart thing and replacing the "pay first, ask questions later" Dale Tallon.

Hey Chicago? Do you even know that we have a salary cap in this league? That's right, there's a guy named Gary Bettman who is trying to destroy the foundations of the game so he can make more marketing bonuses. Which means that you can't just sign anyone and everyone you want with gigantic contracts without destroying the core of your team.

I don't expect many Blackhawks fans to get this...they only really worry about being loud and rude.

How many of these MENSA candidates do you think could even tell me what Bobby Hull's nickname is? And I bet if you counted jerseys in that crowd, it would go something like Toews, Kane, Kane, Toews, Keith, Toews...uh oh.

Heading out to the West Side for some fun in the sun this weekend, though it sounds like it's going to be chilly. Still hungover from the Kid/Rock Lynyrd Skynard concert at Comerica last night. Awesome.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Possible Line Combinations

I can’t help but think about what our line combinations are going to look like for the 2009-2010 season (to start with anyway). With 4 players leaving and one in a real sticky situation (I have to assume that Hudler won’t be back), Ken Holland is going to have to fill a couple of holes. This is how I see it shaking out as of now…

Line 3: LEINO-HELM-???

Starter: OSGOOD
Backup: HOWARD

Now, since I don’t want to see either Draper or Maltby on line 3, that leaves us looking for a 3rd and 4th line winger.

Our blip on the addition side of Free-Agency has been Kris Newbury, a left-handed center by trade, right-winger Jeremy Williams, and journeyman defenseman Doug Janik.

To be honest, I’m a little puzzled as to why we signed Janik, a 29 year old who has played on four teams in seven NHL seasons (Buffalo, Tampa, Dallas, Montreal), when we already have a lion’s share of defensemen with the likes Derek Meech and Jakub Kindl waiting in the wings. Unless Janik really brings it in training camp, I see him starting the season in Grand Rapids.

Other than Newbury and Williams (you can follow the link for their stories), my leading candidates for filling out the two remaining roster spots (should Hudler not return) are the following:

Justin Abdelkader: MSU graduate who stepped into the limelight scoring a pair of goals in the Stanley Cup Finals before being sidelined with an illness. He had 52 points in 76 games with the Griffins last year while racking up 102 PIM’s. Personally, I’d like to see him play one more year in Grand Rapids.

Francis Pare: If you haven’t been to many Griffins games, you probably don’t know who he is, but he had 48 Points (24 Goals) in 62 Regular season games with the Griffs last year. He is a rare right-handed shot, very similar to Darren Helm in stature. He could possibly be a sleeper for that 4th line wing if he impresses the staff at camp.

Mattias Ritola: He’s a Swede, so he’s got that going for him (which is nice). He also has an awesome name. I proclaim him to be “My Griffin”, but you could make a case for him aside from personal reasons. 42 points (15 goals) in 66 games with Grand Rapids last year who may turn out to be a better player with the big club than he is with the Griffs. Smooth skater and a great playmaker could possibly see a little more time in Detroit this year. Look for him to go up and down throughout the year.

Evan McGrath: 6’0, 190 lbs center whose point totals have climbed for three consecutive years with the Griffins. He finished the Regular Season fourth on the team with 47 points (17 Goals). Solid frame could see some time with veterans Maltby and Draper on the fourth line.

You know what puzzles me? Darren Haydar signed with the wings at this time last year. He was the leading scorer in the 2008 Calder Play-offs on the Chicago Wolves and his head coach (John Anderson) got the head coach job with the Atlanta Thrashers. Instead of staying within the Atlanta organization and be a sure call-up to the big club, he jumped ship and came to Detroit where he basically had zero chance of making the big club. After running away with the point total lead in Grand Rapids, having a real legitimate shot at making the big squad this year, he leaves and signs with Colorado. Um..what’s with this guy? Who cares? He’s a Dive now. Say ‘Hi’ to Quincy for me.

Of course, all of these guys could spend the ENTIRE year in Grand Rapids if Ken Holland gets Hudler signed and/or goes out and finds some cheap free-agents later this summer. You just never know when Holland is going to find the next Dan Cleary or Mikael Samuelsson…and that, my friends, is a very comforting thought.

Not a good way to start Friday...

From The Triple Deke...

"Couldn't even revert back to his old #18. Had to go with #81 in red.
it in a little?"

Too bad that ugly jersey is the last thing you're going to have the chance to lift in front of that crowd...seeing as you'll never win a Cup. Ever.

I hate Chicago.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Battle of the Blogs

Chris Pope of The Good Point contacted me yesterday and to inform me of this gem of an article he posted.

For those of you who don't know, since last year's Stanley Cup Final, there has been a not-so-friendly feud between Abel to Yzerman, the alpha Red Wings blog, and the kids from Pittsburgh's numero uno; Pensblog.

Now, I personally don't troll over to Pensblog, I didn't do it to gloat last year, and I don't do it to complain this year. Though I'm sure there are some Wings fans that like to go over there and agitate the kiddos until they get so worked up that it ruins nap time, there has been an abundance of Penguins trolls coming over to try and gloat about their victory in this year's SCF. Most of their trolling arguments consist of spelling corrections and knocks against Michigan's economy (with few exceptions).

Chris has forgone all of the ignorant back and forth of the trolls (on both sides) and gone straight to the source. The Chief from A2Y vs. whoever runs that other site. I found it pretty interesting. Go check it out.

A look at the first four games…

On the heels of the NHL Regular Season Schedule being published, I thought that the first four contests for the Red Wings was worth talking about. What do you guys think?

Fri Oct 2, 2009

Detroit Red Wings


St. Louis Blues

Yeah ok, call St. Louis the home team all that you want…we wouldn’t want their lone Swede, Patrick Berglund to feel neglected, but we all know who the crowd will be going for in this one. I can’t wait to get over there. Apparently the flight from Amsterdam will have free booze. That should make the time go by a little quicker. How perfect is it that the Wings are playing in a building in Sweden that bares the same name as The Big Rig? I’ll bet Conklin gets the start in one of these games for the Blues.

Sat Oct 3, 2009

St. Louis Blues


Detroit Red Wings

Did I mention that I’m going to both of these games in Stockholm? Don’t know if they’re going to top the Winter Classic at Wrigley last year, but should be a great experience for someone like me who has never even been to Mexico. I’m wondering what Uncle Mike has in store for the line-up. Now that Hossa’s gone, I’m putting my money on a re-union of Monty Babcock’s Flying Circus (Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Holmstrom). Z’s going to have a big year production-wise now that he’s back with Pav: mark my words.

Thu Oct 8, 2009

Chicago Black Hawks


Detroit Red Wings

Does anyone know when we’re raising the ‘2008-2009 Central Division & Western Conference Champion’ banners into the rafters? This might be a good night to do so. Ericsson, Kronwall, Stuart, you have one job to do: win or lose, catch Mr. Hossa with his head down…make him pay. I think the WCF last season (as brief as it was) effectively put the fuel back into the fire of this rivalry. The idiots in Chicago have been hating the Wings for years but Detroit fans never really put much thought into it after years upon years of domination. Bring your hate, Detroit fans and don’t take it easy on anyone sporting Chicago gear.

Note: So on Saturday, the Wings will be playing St. Louis in Stockholm and on Thursday, they are playing Chicago in Detroit (apparently Gary wasn’t worried about our Swedes spending much time in their native land). That means if they leave on Sunday, they really will have only 3 days (Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday) to rest up and get that jet-lag out of their system. Yeah yeah, I know Chicago is on the same schedule, but they’re playing the Florida-friggin’ Panthers in Helsinki, Finland. Apparently Florida is one of the marquee teams we want to show to rest of the world. Why not just have them play Leino’s old team?

Sat Oct 10, 2009

Washingon Capitals


Detroit Red Wings

Two days after the Chicago game, Ovi-wan-kenobi and his faux hawked Norris wannabe come strolling into town. Detroit can give their ‘boo’ muscles a rest for this one, since Sergei decided to go back to Russia. Last year, the Wings lost their only match to the Caps 4-2 off of a pair of Ovechkin goals. But…we did get to see Dr. eVille Leino score a highlight reel goal about 45 seconds into his NHL on-ice debut.


All-in-all, it’s looking like a pretty exciting start to the season. Bettman isn’t going to make it easy on us right from the start. (You’re surprised?) Our first four games are in 8 eight days spread across two continents against three play-off teams, one of which made it to the Conference Finals. A slow start to the season can sometimes be the kiss of death so let’s hope the heartbreak from last season is this year’s motivation.

Please don’t make us wait until the post-season to show us some consistency. Last year was very frustrating at times. Babcock did a masterful job of not cracking the whip too hard when his team failed to play up to its potential, but more on that later.

Only two and a half months away. We’ll look ahead to some other intriguing games soon.