Abel to Yzerman
by George Malik on 09/14/10 at 05:48 PM ET
Well, now. Three KK readers have offered up a superb slate of banners for the Malik Report, and I’m not quite sure which one’s the coolest, so please take a look at the following images and let me know what you think:
The first comes from Craig Wicks:
The second comes from Clark Rasmussen of DetroitHockey.net:
And the third comes from Jenn “Jenemy of the Skate” Schwab:
Regarding the Wings’ prospects: The Red Wings took to the ice at 11:29 AM and were off a little more than 35 minute later, with the exception of Jordan Pearce, Thomas McCollum, and a few other prospects who took shots at the north net—as did McCollum on Pearce (kick save!) and Pearce on McCollum (blockered away!). Curt Fraser put the prospects through an incredibly high-paced practice focusing upon what have now become the basics—rushing the puck up ice in odd-man situations, with two defensemen firing pucks toward two forwards at the far blueline, who then attack the defensemen with a forward standing at centre ice folding into the drill; puck retrieval, where either the goalie or a defenseman either “wheels” the puck around the boards to a defender as forwards swivel toward the net, or “reverses” the puck by going against the grain; that odd, odd drill where the forwards have to essentially rotate through a full circle’s revolution, with the forward who initiates play, this time halfway between the boards and goalpost on the red line, has to eventually swivel toward the net and screen a goaltender after first skating out toward the half boards parallel to the faceoff circle, then slide toward the slot and ultimately end up at the net, with each forward touch-passing the puck as they swivel; and more “basic” three-on-twos or two-on-ones took place where a classic Red Wings rule was in play—the forwards or defensemen had to make at least three passes before firing the puck at the net. The four centers also did faceoff drills where the one of the players hesitantly dropped the puck with his bare hand, hoping to not get it hacked off, and I can tell you this much: Brent Raedeke and Landon Ferraro turn their bottom hands over and attempt to sweep the puck back, while Louis-Marc Aubry and Joakim Andersson use their tremendous size to pull the puck diagonally to their forehand or backhand, with their sticks almost perpendicular to the faceoff circle
Tonight’s probable lineup looks like it’s going to shake out thusly, though it could change:
Andrej Nestrasil-Joakim Andersson-Mitchell Callahan
Tomas Tatar-Landon Ferraro-Trevor Parkes
Darren Archibald-Louis-Marc Aubry-Brooks Macek
Stephen Johnston-Brent Raedeke-Mitchell Callahan
Brendan Smith-Travis Ehrhardt
Brian Lashoff-Gleason Fournier
Alex Cord-Brenden Kitchton
Probable starting goalie: Petr Mrazek, who was first off the ice
Fraser was quite vocal today as this practice was classically “game-day short” with a chance at winning the tournament on the line tonight vs. the St. Louis Blues—assuming that the Minnesota Wild lose to the New York Rangers—telling the defenders to hustle up the ice, and, I quote, “You’ve got a game to play later today, get into the game, move the hell up!” Fraser and Paek were also the only coaches on the ice; Keith McKittrick, Jiri Fischer and Chris Chelios were conspicuously absent, as were any of the Wings’ scouts or management, capologist Ryan Martin excluded.
Individually speaking, I noticed that Mrazek makes most of his stand-up and butterfly saves with his knees or tightly-strapped thigh rises (he wears a “Turco Break”-style set of Reebok leg pads); Marc Zanetti continues to put in a very solid showing playing as a speedy offensive defenseman; Antonin Honejsek is just beginning to establish some sort of comfort level while offering solid playmaking skills and decent speed, and if there ever was a player who engages in practices like he knows he’s prepared to play, and win, in clutch situations, it’s Tomas Tatar, who hammed it up after every goal and goofed around at the right moments to break up a little bit of tension now and then via showboating. Given how hard he works on and off the ice, he’s earned the right to play Mr. Comic Relief every once in a while.
In terms of my own little “journey,” I’m learning the hard way that if I want to interview players, I have to be a much bigger jerk than I am in real life. I see tired, dehydrated, sweaty hockey players walking by to get a Gatorade or a bottle of water, take a post-practice or post-game bike ride or plain old hustle by to speak to somebody, averting their eyes as is the hockey player’s custom when someone with a sound recorder is present, and I think, “I really shouldn’t bother him.” Sometimes you have to bother people to get a quote out of them, regrettably, and it makes me incredibly uncomfortable doing so.
So I asked McCollum and Smith about their relationship with the media, and whether we really are the last people they want to see when they need to get hydrated, take a bike ride, shower, or plain old get the hell out of the rink. Thomas suggested that it’s more a personality thing than anything else, that people like himself and Brendan Smith don’t mind talking to the media, but others might be a bit more shy or approach things differently; Smith suggested that the Red Wings’ players, like Nicklas Lidstrom, are the ones who set an example for younger players, and that while yes, they do want to just get on with their post-game routine, talking to “us” is part of the bargain. When I asked him whether it mattered that I had sympathy for the fact that we’re imposing on their territory and want to get on with their post-game routines, he said that yes, it does matter when somebody is polite and asks you a few questions before letting you go on your way, and I broached what I thought was a touchy subject in asking him whether it mattered that I was a Wings fan, and that when I wasn’t wearing my dress shirt, holding a sound recorder and being a pain in the ass, that I rooted for them.
At least from Brendan’s perspective—and as he’s probably the most outgoing player there, I can’t say whether he speaks for the team—he suggested that he’d rather speak to someone who’s cheering them on. So I’ll take that feather and put it in my goatee.
Tonight’s game is big and the house will be packed. I’m heading to the rink after a very short nap and will update as phone service is available (this is not Sprint Country). Cross your fingers, folks, because the Wings haven’t won this tournament 13 years in, and they need a little help from the hockey gods and a big win tonight to do so.
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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977. No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y. Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation. There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature. Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org