Congratulations Team Canada

Congratulations to Team Canada. They now have as many gold medals (two) in the last half century as international hockey powerhouse Team Fuck Yeah America.

Now it’s time to make good on a bet. A $30 donation is headed to H2H. Thank Maria.

***UPDATE***
Our number one fan in the Marine Corps, Rob Masters, has matched our pledge and has also donated $30 to H2H, as we learned reading his Etched in Cold blog post.

High-five to Mike Babcock who adds an Olympic gold medal to his already impressive resume. Big-time congratulations to Steve Yzerman who has long been a Michigan hero and is now, rightfully so, a Canadian hero. Ken Holland, the greatest GM there’s ever been, adds another line to his resume. Hockey Canada can be proud of these men, and their players. A scenic route taken to the gold medal game, but a fantastic effort and champions … every one of them.

Please take a moment to recognize the efforts given by the following, each of them a deserving Silver Medalist:

  • David Backes
  • Dustin Brown
  • Brian Burke
  • Ryan Callahan
  • Chris Drury
  • Tim Gleason
  • Scott Gordon
  • Erik Johnson
  • Jack Johnson
  • Patrick Kane
  • Ryan Kesler
  • Jamie Langenbrunner
  • Ryan Malone
  • Ryan Miller
  • Brooks Orpik
  • Zach Parise
  • Joe Pavelski
  • David Poile
  • Jonathan Quick
  • Brian Rafalski
  • Lindy Ruff
  • Bobby Ryan
  • Peter Stastny
  • Ryan Suter
  • Tim Thomas
  • John Tortorella
  • Ryan Whitney
  • Ron Wilson

TFYA demands your respect!

The Olympics are entering their final weekend, and only two hockey teams remain in contention for the gold medal. But, perhaps more importantly, two Red Wings are still in Vancouver – and won’t get much of a break before lacing up with the Wings on Monday.

Flip and the Finns are headed to the bronze medal game. After getting straight whooped by TFYA, they’ll try to rebound against Marian Hossa, Tomas Kopecky, and Team Slovakia on Saturday night. But the main attraction, for North American dominance will take place on Sunday afternoon…

Brian Rafalski and Team USA remain the only undefeated team in the tournament and will once again face Team Canada — this time for all the marbles. I’ve been receiving an awful lot of e-mails and Tweets from Canadian friends who apparently have forgotten six days ago, when — ya know — the Americans had their way with Canada. I’m not saying that it’ll definitely be the same, because Canada seems to have found another gear. But I tell ya what…. they certainly made it interesting squeaking by Slovakia. If it weren’t for uber-clutch Pavol Demitra, who jailsexed the HELL out of a wide open net, that gold medal game may have a lot less intrigue. Moral of the story: don’t count out Team USA in the rematch.

I’m aware that there is no nation on the planet as cocky as the United States is, but I’m hearing an awful lot of confidence coming from the north. An awful lot for a team that hasn’t won yet. But it’s not all bad. Our good friend Maria made me a promise via Twitter, and I intend to hold her to it. She said that if the USA wins, she’ll donate $10 to H2H for every Red, White, and Blue goal. I’d like to take this opportunity to make the same deal. The Production Line will send $10 to Children’s Hospital via Herm2Hockeytown for each Canadian goal, should the Canadians win the gold medal.

You may recall back in July, Rob and I had a TPL-hosted debate about whether or not NHLers should be in the Olympics. I asserted (and still believe) that the NHL doesn’t particularly belong (you can read why here — and see Rob’s thoughts here). Well, friends, this has been an incredible tournament. It hasn’t changed my opinion about who I’d like to see play, but I will not deny they have been entertaining and showcased the best talent the world has to offer. I have thoroughly enjoyed every game (except the frolicking ass-kickings like Canada/Norway and anything Latvia and Germany did).

Before the Games began, I told anyone that would listen (read: zero of you!) that I strongly felt Canada would win gold, Sweden would take the silver, and Finland would head home with bronze (“But, you’re crazy to think Russia won’t medal!” Oh really? Owned). I mentioned it on Twitter, but Russia failing to medal is actually a GREAT thing for the NHL. Russia, while building a very dangerous offensive team, insisted on making half of that team from players who play in the KHL. The KHL, as you should all know by now, is an insanely inferior league made up of has-beens and fringe Euro NHLers. Do you honestly think that Alexander Radulov would have been a member of that squad if he hadn’t made all the headlines for jumping ship? That’s not to say he’s not a talented guy, because of course he is. But any loss the KHL takes is an NHL win, even if no one else will admit it.

Getting back to my prediction… I didn’t think the USA stood a chance. I hoped they did, of course, but it didn’t seem to be in the cards for the young squad built by Brian Burke. Now that they’ve shown they are at least silver medalists, I want the whole thing. Perhaps it’s time for a little payback: the Canadians won the gold (and Americans silver) in Salt Lake City in 2002. It’s only fair.

I want to make something clear: I love Canada. I love Steve Yzerman. I want nothing but good things for him, and for Mike Babcock. But, this is my country. I grew up playing (albeit tangentially) for United States Development-affiliated programs. Winning the World Juniors and the Olympics in the same year would be an unbelievable boon for United States hockey: a program that, through all its past successes (did you know that the USA has more Olympic gold medals than Canada in the last 50 years?! Of course you didn’t…) simply does not have the world super power feel that a Team Canada has. And it’s time for that to change.

Guys like Zach Parise, Chris Drury, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, Jamie Langenbrunner, Ryan Malone, David Backes, Joe Pavelski and Peter Stastny have gutted out incredible efforts.

Local guys like Ryan Miller, Jack Johnson, Tim Gleason, Ryan Kesler, Brian Rafalski, and Tim Thomas have proven – in a very rough time to do so – that it’s cool to be from Michigan, be proud of your home state, and show the world what you’ve got.

Even relative enemies Bobby Ryan, Patrick Kane, Ryan Suter, Ryan Whitney, Brooks Orpik, and Erik Johnson deserve a hat tip today.

If they climb atop that podium as silver medalists, I’ll salute these boys. They worked their asses off. They showed us all a side of them we may not have known was there. They demand your respect (even yours, Canada). This is as good a time as any to assert yourself, and be proud to be an American. And a hockey fan.

Chris Osgood vs. some kids

Big time hat tip to Matt Saler for Tweeting this awesome story. Mike Mouat of the Red Wings Examiner shares this gem with us:

With three Stanley Cups and 396 career wins in his 16-year career in the NHL, Detroit Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood is accustomed to stopping NHL snipers from finding the back of the net at Joe Louis Arena, but how will Osgood fare on his own home ice? This Saturday afternoon, Feb. 27th, Osgood will face off against six kids under the age of 14 in a two-hour session on his backyard ice rink, schooling the kids on the finer points of  hockey and making the most of his home-ice advantage.

I’m going to ignore for a second how incredibly jealous I am that Chris Osgood has a rink in his backyard and how totally awesome of Chris Osgood this is (but, for the record, it is)… and direct you back to Saler’s tweet anticipating snarky anti-Osgood comments. Well, friends, I’m sure we can oblige. I’ve already gotten the obvious “What’s the over/under,” “Does this count as a start,” and “Target save percentage: .900” out of the way, and now I turn it over to you. Please share your best Osgood comments in the comments below, because there is obviously gold hidden in this situation. I don’t want to make this a pro-Osgood vs. pro-Howard fight, I just figured it’s an appropriate time to talk nonsense and get some LULZ in before the NHL comes back.

To be clear, I don’t hate Chris Osgood personally. I’m sure he’s a good dude (when he’s not crying), but he’s made himself a target with his play the last few seasons and with his mouth this year. At this point, when he’s so obviously lost the debate for the pro-Osgood people, you can’t help but poke fun a litttttttle bit.

Let ‘er rip.

Okay, okay, scratch that…

I was THIS close to naming the post “Helene St. James Fail,” as she filed back-to-back Maltby stories, one quoting Maltby saying he’d decided to wait until after the season, followed – almost immediately – by one quoted Ken Holland, who said Maltby was headed under the knife soon.

Moving on…

Ansar Khan, who apparently has been on vacay (or on the Island), chimes in with more specifics. Kirk Maltby will have season-ending shoulder surgery, and Andreas Lilja will be cleared to return for Monday’s first game back from the Olympic Break.

So….disregard that last TPL. And everything else from this morning. Consider us jailsexed by St. James.

With Maltby going to LTIR, there is no need to move any players or salary.

OLYMPIC NOTES

  • TFYA with a 2-0 victory over Switzerland means that they will compete for a medal. If they can get by Czech Republic or Finland, they’ll be playing for the Gold. If they lose their next one, they’ll be frolicking for the Bronze.
  • Those white Swiss jerseys are awesome. I absolutely love them. Asymmetry is going to catch on. Mark my words.
  • The best thing to come out of the Olympics so far? Shit Dick Fuck Up. Make sure that catches on.
  • New Red Wing acquisition Ole-Kristian Tollefsen was ejected after perfectly executing a flying elbow drop on Lubos Bartecko. Red Wings Hockey! Clap…Clap…ClapClapClap.
  • If the rumors are true and the Wings are interested in signing the diminutive free agent to a contract, I want to let it be known: I will buy a red and whtie #48 Mats Zuccarello Aasen jersey RIGHT NOW. Just to see how they fit that big-aas (H/T Saler) name onto a jersey.  
OLYMPIC BEST NAME NOMINEES
Belarus :: Alexei Kalyuzhny
Czech Republic :: Zbynek Michalek
Finland :: Antero Niittymaki
Germany :: Sven Butenschon
Latvia :: Girts Ankipans
Norway :: Tore Vikingstad
Russia :: Maxim Afinogenov
Slovakia :: Branko Radivojevic
Sweden :: Johnny “I Do” Oduya
Switzerland :: Severin Blindenbacher
United States :: Jonathan Quick

Maltby decides against surgery

Things are about to get very interesting in Hockeytown. Kirk Maltby, who had been weighing shoulder surgery and – by doing so – would solve all of the Red Wings’ cap issues, has decided he would prefer to wait until the season ends to proceed. Operation: Jailsexed.

Through Helene St. James of the Freep, Maltby said had a third cortisone shot (which is the last one he’s allowed to receive for the year) right before the Olympic Break, and he hopes that it’ll get him through the final 21 games of the regular season and the playoffs:

We’ll see how it feels over the next few days and how it reacts to getting back on the ice, but I would love to play the rest of the season and into the playoffs.

This is big news because when Andreas Lilja is cleared to return to the Wings (which, apparently, he hasn’t been), the Wings will need to clear about $700,000 in cap space. The veteran Grind Liner knows that he’s still an option to be moved — since he makes $883,333 — but says he can’t worry about that:

That’s not my department, to worry about the salary cap and who may have to be moved. I know we’re right there and if Lils comes off, something has to be done. Basically right now, though, it’s a lot of what-ifs. I’m a realist in that I know I’m on th etail end of my career, but I really want to play. I felt like this year, as far as my legs and my body, it’s held up pretty good. With the way the league is now, as long as you can skate, you’re able to play. I feel I can still contribute and help this organization win, not just this year, but maybe one more year. I do feel like I can fit that role of being a leader and still contributing in a limited role, especially as a penalty killer.

If Maltby does play out the season, and Lilja is cleared to return, the following players might start to feel the fire creeping up on dat ass:

Todd Bertuzzi :: $1,500,000
Jason Williams :: $1,500,000
Jonathan Ericsson :: $900,000
Kirk Maltby :: $883,333
Brett Lebda :: $650,000 (he does not clear the space on his own)
Derek Meech :: $483,333 (he does not clear the space on his own)

So….what happens? Does Hollis get his wish and see Jason Williams depart via trade? Do the rest of us FINALLY get to rid ourselves of Jonathan “frolicking” Ericsson?

Photo Credit: Dave Guralnick, Detroit News

TPL, H2H, TOV, LOL…ETC?

With the Olympics in full swing and Red Wings news at a minimum, I figured I’d take this opportunity to play a little catch-up with all the important things in TPLand and Motown.


Herm2Hockeytown
The first, and most important, thing worth noting is that it’s time to pay up for H2H. We’re just about a month out, and Jen MacRostie has made sure that we’re taken care of at Hockeytown Cafe and with TPL’s good friend Ryan Michael regarding game tickets. As you probably read at A2Y and Motown Wings, Jen has given an update regarding payment:

Important: There is only one more week for people to pay me for game tickets. I have a few stragglers and I just cannot front the money to people, this needs to get done. They can still get tickets on their own from Ryan Michaels after that time, but I cannot extend the deadline any further. Hockeytown Cafe payment is needed by March 5. Logistically I simply cannot let this go longer than these deadlines, I have too many people to collect for and these places need to get paid. Tell them they don’t want to not be at Hockeytown Cafe as that is where the penalty box seats prize drawing will be held!! Donations can still be made here

Speaking of the penalty box prize and Mr. Michaels, I received an e-mail with some snapshots from view you could win:

 

Also: if you, or someone you know, is interested in corporate sponsorship, or have any items for donation, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll make sure it gets to the right people.

The Obstructed View / Bertuzzi Shirt Update
In case you missed it, I’ve entered a little wager with Hollis and Natalie. If either Twitter account (H2H or TOV) meets certain benchmarks, I’ll willingly embarrass myself. The details:

  • 500 followers — For the first period of the H2H game, I’ll wear a shirt being designed by Natalie. All I’ve been told is “pink, glitter, Boy Band.”
  • 750 followers — Two periods
  • 1000 followers — I’ll wear it all day, and Kiernicki will regale you with a live version of Man-Tuzzi. 

As of this writing, you’ve got a long way to go. H2H has 167 followers, and TOV has 228. Spread the word, get following!

New Kids on the Blog
There are a handful of new Red Wings blogs out there that worth a look. So drop by, explain to them the hazing rituals they’re in for, and check back often:

  • 5-on-3: which only has one post so far, but looks promising. 
  • Eight Legged Freaks: brought to you by a regular WIM contributor by the same screenname.
  • Heil!RedWings: preview headline: “You’re the Detroit Fucking Red Wings.” Sold.
  • Wings Win, Eh?: brand spanking new — with some thoughts on upcoming free agents.

TLL Marian
In our very first TPL-sponsored contest, Baroque was the big winner of a fabric Marian Hossa banner. This ridiculously crappy prize has been mailed to Miss B, and she assures us that she’s got her thinking cap on, and will send us pictures of the horrible life Maid Marian du Fabrique now lives…

TPL vs. Fight Night Bet
Andy from Fight Night at the Joe and I entered into a wager very early this season, and it all rests on Todd Bertuzzi’s shoulders (which, obviously, means it will bite me in the ass). I bet Andy that Todd wouldn’t score twenty goals this season, despite playing almost exclusively with some of the best playmakers on the planet. Andy was nice enough to take that bet.

If Bertuzzi scores 20 or more, I will change the banner at the top of TPL from insanely simple text to one that shows my true feelings for the Tuzz. If Bertuzzi scores 19 or fewer, Andy has agreed to record an acoustic version of The Todd Bertuzzi Song.

It looked bleak for me in December. With a two goal performance the day after Christmas, Bert had twelve and was on pace for 26. Andy even offered to up the mark to 25 goals. I declined, still confident he couldn’t make 20. In the next 23 games, he only scored three times. He’s now on pace for 20.16. GONNA BE A CLOSE ONE!

The Lebda 50/50
I made no secret that I thought Brett Lebda was likely to be traded by the deadline. I then offered to do a backflip – and videotape it (hint: I can’t do a backflip) – if the Wings acquire a 2nd round draft pick in return. There appears to be a 50/50 chance that he’s moved. There’s a 50/50 chance he fetches a second rounder. There’s a 50/50 chance that I’ll hurt myself very badly. If my math is right, that gives you something like 165% of laughing at me. Oh wait, that can’t be right…

Call for Words
If you’ve enjoyed being jailsexed while frolicking through the pages of TPL, it’s your duty to suggest new words to appear in every post for March. JJ and Andy struck gold. It’s your turn now. Next week, we’ll be throwing a poll on the main page so you can vote for the best submission. Keep ’em coming.

Pre-Game Nicknames
If you have a theme in mind for upcoming TPL pre-games’ nicknames, send them our way.

I, Michael, take thee, Todd…

 

Imagine yourself a little less than six months in the future. August 7, 2010, to be exact. You’re standing on a pristine waterfall, a more perfect location can’t possibly exist. Standing next to you is an impossibly beautiful woman. Looking at her convinces you that the only thing you’ve been placed on this Earth for was to love her until you take your last breath. You’re surrounded by the most important people in your life — and hers. A life together, with this young lady, is more than you’ve ever deserved. There is absolutely nothing that can ruin this moment.

Oh wait, yes there is.

Just as the officiant is getting to the “we’re gathered here today” jazz, your pocket nearly catches fire. Your device of choice, a BlackBerry, is literally burning a hole in your jacket. Everyone you’ve ever met (that isn’t in attendance, of course) — and some fine folks you haven’t had the pleasure yet — are simultaneously e-mailing, texting, calling, and tweeting you. It distracts from this better-than-perfect scene.

A peek can’t hurt, right? After all, it has to be important. Everyone knows this is your wedding day. Perhaps someone got lost on the way…or your roommate from college, who moved halfway across the planet, has landed in Pennsylvania and can’t wait to meet your bride…or there’s a medical emergency with a family member that couldn’t make it. “Do you, Michael, take this woman….”

“OH YOU GOTTA BE FUCKING KIDDING ME!”

Not at all an appropriate response to a question you’ve been waiting to be asked for five years. The only words you’ve thought of since your first date on New Years Day 2006 were “I do.” They were not, in fact, “oh you gotta be fucking kidding me.”

Any of the above scenarios (except for, perhaps, the family emergency) would have been better than what your pocket told you. A phone call from Disch, a text message from Hollis, a BlackBerry message from Casey, an e-mail from Natalie, a Gmail chat message from Ellen, a Swedegian comment from Andy, something jailsexy from JJ, an official press release from Christy, a comment from Mauvais, a super quick blog post from Drew, analysis from Saler, a tweet from Kris, comments from TPL regulars Osrt, Baroque, Krononymous, btok, beanie, and WingedUP, a Skype request from Kiernicki, a hilarious one-word comment from Herm, a DM from Maria, an e-mail of allegiance from Tyler, a tweet from Gander, an e-mail from Jen MacRostie and her brilliant hubby, a Simpsons-fueled tweet from Marlon, identical simultaneous comments from Nurse Nitz and Sara, an e-mail from Kyle, tweets from Kalyn, Vicky, Will, Sara, Christine, Rob, Jeff, JessieAdrienne, Captain Norris, Serven and a trio of awesome Jenns.

Forty-three messages. All at the same time. They say it differently, but it could mean only one thing: the Detroit Red Wings have signed Todd Bertuzzi to a contract extension. Two years, no less.

For a man with such awful timing — be it picking the moment to be penalized for something completely unnecessary in the offensive zone, falling down while crossing the blueline, or delivering a no-look spin pass — Tuzz sure knows the right moments to kick you in the nuts. The most important day of your life, inches from the woman of your dreams, surrounded by those who love you most. He knows everyone’s eyes will be on the two of you, and you’ve never been very good at masking your hate.

Will you even be able to enjoy the rest of your day? Will the slip-and-slide at the reception still be fun? Will the photobooth capture only looks of dispair? Can you even enjoy the mini-kegs of birch beer and Faygo you’ve had shipped into the mountains? Something tells me you won’t. Not with a lumbering oaf infiltrating your mind and figuratively climbing onto your back – a latter of which severely cuts down on your ability to boogie to the Michael Jackson medley you’ve carefully mixed. Oh, Todd… he’s made it so that you can no longer enjoy P.Y.T. And that’s not okay. That’s not okay at all.

But mark my words: that’s how it’s going to go down. You can no longer convince yourself that Mantuzzi hasn’t found his way to your little corner of the internet, and read every single word you’ve said about him — be it bad or very bad. He’s carefully coordinated the announcement of this extension. In fact, chances are good that he put pen to paper way back in June or July. But why waste a perfectly good opportunity to absolutely burn you — on the one day you vowed that nothing could ruin?

A message comes to your inbox, attributed only to TB44. Six words long, but with as much weight as any that were spoken today — including “I now pronounce you husband and wife,” various toasts given by fathers and grandfathers, and family members warmly welcoming your gorgeous bride to the family in their native Italian. Six words that will live with you forever.

“Consider this my wedding present, asshole.”

Capology :: 2010-11 Edition

Coming soon to the Joe: “Amazon” 

Well, here it is. I’ve teased it enough. Here’s what I think might be a pretty good peek at what the 2010-11 Red Wings might look like. I want to make something clear: this isn’t what I’m advocating for – simply, what the team is likely to ice. Because, let’s be clear, the Wings won’t NOT re-sign Patrick Eaves or Drew Miller because of 09-10’s relative failure.

All figures shown are cap hits, not salary paid. Bold amounts are actual cap hits for next season, and non-bold amounts are my predictions.

FIRST THINGS FIRST :: HOW IT LOOKS, APPROXIMATELY
GOALTENDERS
The tandem is set. Unless Chris Osgood is really unhappy and doesn’t want to be in Detroit anymore, the duo of Jimmy Howard and Ozzie are both signed through next season (a third year of being jailsexed every time Ozzie starts? Sign me up…). Detroit, per usual, is among the teams that spends the least on their goaltending.

Chris Osgood :: $1,416,667
Jimmy Howard :: $716,666
total (2) :: $2,133,333


DEFENSEMEN
Signed through at least 2010-11 are Brian Rafalski, Niklas Kronwall, Brad Stuart, Jonathan Ericsson, and Jakub Kindl — who, beginning at the start of next season, is on a one-way deal. As discussed earlier in the week, I’d bet just about anything that Lidstrom returns at a reduced rate. Pending his health, Lilja might make seven.

Brian Rafalski :: $6,000,000
Nicklas Lidstrom :: $4,500,000 (down $2.9M)
Brad Stuart :: $3,750,000
Niklas Kronwall :: $3,000,000
Andreas Lilja :: $1,200,000 (same)
Jonathan Ericsson :: $900,000
Jakub Kindl :: $833,333
total (7) :: $20,183,333


FORWARDS
The core — as they’re referred to — are all signed for the foreseeable future. Pav, Z, and Franzen are all signed through at least 2014. Add Flip and Cleary to the mix (each of whom is signed until 2013), and the bulk of your forward lines are ready to go. Kris Draper has another year on his deal. As I’ve said this week, I think Homer, Eaves, Miller, Abdelkader, Maltby, and Helm are all-resigned.

Now it’s time for a baseless claim: I have a feeling that Jiri Hudler is on his way back to the NHL. I don’t know why. I just have that gut feeling. The Wings will have to honor their two-year deal, at $2.875M each season.

Pavel Datsyuk :: $6,700,000
Henrik Zetterberg :: $6,083,333
Johan Franzen :: $3,954,545
Valtteri Filppula :: $3,000,000
Jiri Hudler :: $2,875,000
Dan Cleary :: $2,800,000
Tomas Holmstrom :: $2,000,000 (down $250k)
Kris Draper :: $1,583,333
Patrick Eaves :: $1,200,000 (up $700k)
Darren Helm :: $1,000,000 (up $400k)
Justin Abdelkader :: $900,000 (up $50k)
Drew Miller :: $850,000 (up $325k)
Kirk Maltby :: $750,000 (down $83k)
total (13) :: $33,696,211


SUMMARY
Datsyuk — Zetterberg — Franzen
Hudler — Filppula — Holmstrom
Eaves — Helm — Cleary
Maltby/Miller — Abdelkader — Draper

Lidstrom — Rafalski
Kronwall — Stuart
Lilja/Ericsson — Kindl

Howard
Osgood
*note: these are not actual lines I would suggest, just laying it out to see…


ISSUES WITH THIS ROSTER :: TWEAKS
The twenty-two man roster outline above totals around $56,012,878. Assuming the salary cap doesn’t change at all, the Wings will have $787,122 available for call-ups or late-season tweaks. Or Derek Meech!

BUT!

I’m sure it will be met with some criticism, because — except for Jiri Hudler, it’s almost exactly the current roster which, we can all agree, isn’t ideal. Those criticisms will be fair. At the same time, that roster doesn’t look so awful if they play a full season together…and, frankly, there aren’t a ton of guys that would look better than the bottom half of the forward corps outlined above.

So what can be done?

Perhaps Kirk Maltby decides his career is over — or the Red Wings decide to turn him loose. Another option is Jiri Hudler doesn’t return (after all, that’s just a gut feeling I have), and decides to play the second half of his two-year, eleventy billion dollar deal frolicking in Russia. If those two players are removed, all of a sudden we have $4.4M in cap space and twenty players signed. The roster limit is 23, but the Wings are used to carrying 22. I hate to say it because it feels like we missed Scuttles this season, but it might be better if he stays overseas. Remove Lilja and replace him with a league minimum seventh defenseman, and all of a sudden, it becomes $5M:

Datsyuk — Zetterberg — Franzen
(vacant) — Filppula — Holmstrom
Eaves — Helm — Cleary
Miller/(vacant) — Abdelkader — Draper

Lidstrom — Rafalski
Kronwall — Stuart
Ericsson — Kindl
(vacant)

What do you think? Are there free agents available this summer that you think would improve the Red Wings? Am I way off in my assumptions? I’m absolutely open for debate. We don’t have any real Red Wings talk for the next little while… let ‘er rip.

What’s the hold up? The Everyone Else Edition

Throughout the week, I’ve been exploring a handful of upcoming free agents and trying my best to predict their chances of being re-signed. Later this afternoon, I’ll post what I feel is a fairly accurate peek at the 2010-11 Red Wings. To the surprise of absolutely no one, I’ve already got my chart ready to go, have the numbers in a spreadsheet and it’s just about ready to share with you fine folks. 

Alright, I won’t go as far into each of the following as I did with Eaves, Miller, and Lidstrom (not that those were novels or anything).


DEFENSEMEN
Lilja :: Assuming his return is on par with his play before the concussion, I’ll bet you anything he’s re-signed for similar money. Losing Lebda and Meech (more on that in a second), solidifying the blueline will be priority number one this off-season.
Lebda :: I’m not even sure he survives the trade deadline. An unrestricted free agent-to-be, he’s almost sure to be gone.
Meech :: I bet he’s qualified this summer and then offered up in trade, or kept in a 8th defenseman/14th forward capacity since he doesn’t bitch.
Tollefsen :: Similar to Meech, he’ll be a restricted free agent, so all that needs to be done is send a qualifying offer and he remains property of the Red Wings. If another team is interested, the Wings can accept draft pick compensation if they choose not to match an offer.
Janik and Delmore :: these kinds of depth guys are always available in July and August, so I don’t think there will be a rush to re-sign either. Janik played well in his few games in Detroit, so if he’s willing to take a similar two-way deal, I bet he’s given an offer.

FORWARDS
Bertuzzi :: If you asked me in December or January, I’d say he was a shoo-in for an extension. Now, I’m not as sure. There’s definitely still a chance he’s offered a contract, but isn’t it just as likely that — like, oh, I dunno,  2007 — he signs somewhere else for eleven more cents? More on him this weekend…
Holmstrom :: He’s re-signed. Count on it. I bet he even takes a lower salary to stay in Detroit.
Helm :: He’s restricted, so it isn’t dire that he’s re-signed immediately. All I know is that I want him re-signed for the rest of his natural life, and two or three years of the afterlife. Seeing him in another uniform, ever, will leave me feeling jailsexed against my will.
Williams :: The guy that was nearly a casualty of the roster crunch leading up to the Olympics is unlikely to be re-signed (thus leading to the speculation that he’s a trade piece).
Maltby :: The shoulder injury thing certainly throws a monkey wrench into the situation. I wouldn’t have thought that he had a contract waiting for him at year’s end — despite seeing the best hockey from him in years. But now I feel that, if he decides to cut his season short by taking the surgery now, the Wings wouldn’t allow him to call it a career (even a Wings career) like that. I have to think he signs on to be a potential 13th guy for one more season.
Abdelkader :: He’s an RFA. And he’ll be in Detroit for a long time.
May :: HA! All jokes aside, he seems like a great person and wonderful off-ice leader. His best frolicking days are behind him, and I can say with 100% certainty that there’s 0% chance he’s signed. Ignore the math.
Ritola :: He’s restricted, like Helm and Meech, and I can just about guarantee he’s signed. According to NHLSCAP, players that sign their first pro contract at 20 (like Ritola), have four years before they’re waiver eligible. In theory, he can be re-signed and assigned to Grand Rapids and play the role of Justin Abdelkader next season.

Stay tuned… TPL’s 2010-11 Red Wings roster is coming up in just a little bit…