Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wednesday Wonderings

Since both of my readers are probably wondering where I have been the last week or so, I decided to weigh in on what's been going down in Red Wing nation the last week or so. It's been a pretty quiet couple of weeks, but in the last few days we've had 2 signings, a courtship, and a tragedy.

Bob Probert passes away at 45 - I really wish I could say this news shocked me. I was shocked that he died so young; anytime someone under the age of 50 passes away due to a heart attack or something health-related that was not overtly known, it's a shock. But when you consider the way that Probert lived his life during his playing career, it's no surprise that he developed heart issues. The man had a known cocaine and alcohol problem during his playing career, and he lived like he played: hard and fast. Being a young lad in Toronto, I remember him and Kocur getting involved with Wendel Clark a lot when they played the Leafs. I also remember him not being able to cross the border into Canada after his arrest, so I didn't get to see him play a lot. What I will remember about him the most was his epic battles with Troy Crowder of the Devils in the early '90s, and his battle with Marty McSorely that was one of the longest fights I've ever seen. RIP Probie.

Patrick Eaves signs 1 year deal for $750K- This hot off the presses, but this is great news for the Wings. I like this deal, although I'm surprised he didn't get a multi-year deal. Perhaps the Wings are making sure last year was no fluke for Eaves. He gets a nice raise, but he was making league-minimum last year and was one of the more consistent Wing players throughout the season. He started off as a 4th line player, but the chemistry he developed with Darren Helm was nice to see, and those two quickly became the Wings' best PK forward unit. I look forward to an entire season with those two playing together.

Drew Miller signs 1 year deal for $650K - It's a little ironic for me that Miller was the first of the RFAs to sign, because in my head I had the priority of signing them in this order: Helm, Abdelkader, Eaves, Miller. So of course Miller signs first. Miller got a nice raise (23%) from what he made last year, when he was a solid waiver-wire pick up while the Wings were in injury Hell. He's a gritty 3rd or 4th line player that can chip in the odd goal here or there, but with the Wings' nucleus in place, they only need to sign depth players. That's exactly what Miller is. I like the money involved, because it leaves ample space to sign the other 2 left, plus a little for cap space. As it stands after the Miller and Eaves signings, the Wings have $3.75M in cap space, which is more than enough for Helm and Abby. Then there's always Mikey Mo.....

The courtship of Mike Modano - This is an interesting scenario brewing. Not being from Detroit, or Michigan, or the US, I don't have any of the "coming home to play" feelings that a lot of people have. Plus, I'm just not that much of a sentimental guy. I had enough of the "guys coming to play for the hometeam because no one else wants them" in the late '90s when the Leafs signed every single player who played in the old MTHL in the 1970s. Personally, I like the idea of Modano in a Wings jersey because I believe he still brings something to the table. It's not like the Wings are trying to get him to be their messiah; they are looking for him to come in and play on the 3rd and/or 4th line, take some heat off of Pavel and Hank, and chip in goals on the PP while bringing veteran leadership to an already awesome dressing room. This is a signing that reminds me of Luc Robitaille in 2002; they are bringing in a veteran for a shot at the Cup. There are some people who feel that bringing in Modano will stunt the growth of someone like Ritola. Let's be honest here: Ritola is not being brought up to the NHL to have an impact. He's being brought up to experience being part of the big club, soak up the experience in the dressing room, and learn what it will take for him to be an important part of this team for years to come. The Wings have the reputation as being one of the most patient organizations in sports; there's no reason for them to deviate from their philosophy now.

It's a shame how Dallas has cast him aside like this. I don't see how you can claim a rebuilding effort and not keep the most important player in the history of the franchise. I understand the need to move forward as a team, but I don't see how not bringing back the face of the franchise helps anywhere; on the ice as a leader, and from a PR standpoint as well. Let's face it: Dallas is not exactly a hockey hotbed, and with Modano gone and the team struggling, will it continue to bring in fans? Hard to say.

I will say this: they better not overpay for him. The Wings' priorities should be to sign Helm and Abby first, then worry about Modano. I would also prefer a 6th defenseman if one is available to replace Lilja, who is all but certain to be gone. But if the money is right and Modano wants to be in Detroit, I say sign him up and let's gun for Number 12.


  1. You're damn right we've been wondering where you've been!! Although its true not much has been going on over the past couple weeks. (and its nothing that every single blog isn't repeating!)

    "I will say this: they better not overpay for him. The Wings' priorities should be to sign Helm and Abby first, then worry about Modano."

    I totally agree with this statement Graham. And it seems that we are on this path with signing Miller and Eaves over the past few days. I'm sure Abby and Helmer will follow suit within the coming days and hopefully to longer term contracts. This move seems really strategic on Kenny's part with maybeeee trying to put a little pressure on Mikey M to make a move sooner than later.

    Another factor we all know about is we can exceed the cap by 10% so Meech could still be signed in the near future and we could always shed the 'dead weight' if Modano signs.

    I also would like an experienced 6th d-man to pair up with E. It seems extremely scary having E with Kindl or Janik. That would put tons of pressure on E to hold that line and he didn't do too well with that last year.


  2. Brandon,

    Forgive my neglect. I've been toying with a few ideas for the site, plus I've been approached by another blog to contribute hockey-related stuff for them. I've been thinking about transferring everything over to RedWingsGuy full time, but I like the freedom I have here.

    From what I've read, the Helm and Abby deals are going to be for multiple years, so they will take some time to iron out. Everything I've heard says that Kenny has made them the highest priority, but I just want to ensure that they get them locked up before we start committing to 40 year-old forwards who are not going to be with the team beyond a year.

    I can't help but wonder how a guy like Ericsson would do playing with Lidstrom for a year. I'd have him play with Stuart or Kronwall, but neither is consistent enough to put along side Big E. At the same time, and completely contradictory to what I just said, I am also curious how he would do playing with Kindl. There would be some growing pains, but it would also be nice to see if they develop any chemistry and become the next big defense pair for the Wings.

  3. Yea there def would be some growing pains with that pair... The pressure would intensify on E's end but he definitely shined under the pressure during the playoffs in '09; which earned him the contract he has now.

    That whole scenario seems so un-Red Wing like to me. We both know how they are with 'grooming' player's and wanting to set them up for success.

    P.S. I keep forgetting about Gotta add that one to my daily list of reading.

    I don't know how other NHL teams blogger's are but we've got some knowledgeable peeps! I'd go insane over the summers without this!

    - Brandon

  4. Brandon,

    Agreed on E. I think this could be a big year for him.

    I'm not writing for anymore. I felt like I wasn't contributing enough to that site, and Joe was able to find someone who will be more active in posting. Between there any this site, I wasn't giving him quality stuff, and that's not fair to him. So I am going to focus exclusively on this site for a while. However, I may be contributing to another blog for general hockey stuff, not just Red Wings, and will keep everyone posted.

    I discovered the Red Wings blogosphere in April, and it's been a great discovery. I can't think that too many teams have the knowledgeable fans we do in as many numbers. I've enjoyed becoming a part of this community, and hope to continue to contribute to it.