The Malik Report
If I had any worries about the Red Wings' summer development camp's comparative lack of ice time when examining previous camps, today's, "Getting to know you" skate alleviated my concerns, and they did so for one reason: Jeff Frickin' Blashill.
The Grand Rapids Griffins' coach spent about 55 minutes with Teams Yzerman and Lidstrom today, and the amount of instruction involved, as well as the pace at which the practices were conducted, yielded the hockey version of "immersion language learning."
Blashill and his numerous assistants (Griffins assistant coach Jim Paek, Wings video coordinator Keith McKittrick, Toledo Walleye coach Derek Lalonde, Walleye assistant coach Dan Watson, RPI coach Seth Appert and goalie coach Jim Bedard and his assistant) made it very clear that they were willing to stop drills to "get it right" as opposed to chastising players, but the pace and intensity of the drills took some players by surprise, and required some very conscious modeling by those who were first in line (cue the reasuring, "Anthony [Mantha] knows where to go!").
The pace was downright Babcockian, and judging by the amount of huffing and puffing by red-faced players during the 45-second water breaks, it worked.
Between uploading the audio from today's summer camp session and stopping to watch an F-22 from my hotel room window (pretty cool stuff), I missed this, per TSN:
The Ottawa Senators signed centre David Legwand to a two-year contract on Friday.
According to TSN's Aaron Ward the deal is worth $6 million over the two years.
Legwand was traded to the Detroit Red Wings at this year's trade deadline after spending the first 15 years of his career with the Nashville Predators. He leads the Predators' franchise in all-time games played, goals, assists and points.
In 83 games with the Predators and Red Wings in 2013-14, Legwand scored 14 goals and 37 assists. Legwand is coming off a six-year contract worth an average annual value of $4.5 million.
I'm not thrilled with the fact that the ever-pesky Legwand remains within the Wings' division, but he took a pay cut to join the Jason Spezza-less Senators.
Today marked the start of the Red Wings' summer development camp in Traverse City, and judging by the number of "embedded" camera crews and accredited media, this ain't the little hidden gem I used to be able to attend, sometimes on my own, at Joe Louis Arena back in the day:
The attendance for the morning skates was fantastic, though the prospects took part in an hour's worth of very intense drills (after a little goalie warming-up from Jim Bedard, of course) for each of the respective "teams."
Frenetic pace + tons of speed = more than enough to get this vastly younger and "newer" set of summer campers into the mix before the team allowed a bunch of 17-to-24-year-olds do what 17-to-24-year-olds should do on the 4th of July--enjoy themselves and take advantage of the holiday in Traverse City (albeit under team supervision), and the drills should set up Saturday's simultaneous 9-to-9:45-AM practices and the 3 PM scrimmage nicely.
The Red Wings' summer development camp begins today with a pair of practices taking place from 10 AM to noon at Centre Ice Arena ("Team Yzerman" practices from 10-11, and "Team Lidstrom" practices from 11-12), and the spotlight's already shining upon the players involved.
The camp's evolved to serve a specific purpose, as Wings director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright told the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...
The Red Wings' summer development camp starts on Friday morning, and its July 4th-to-8th timeline (tomorrow's events are short-Team Yzerman will practice from 10-11 and Team Lidstrom will practice from 11-12; there's a simultaneous-team practice from 9-9:45 and then a 3 PM scrimmage on Saturday, with the long "skills" days taking place on Sunday and Monday [on-ice from 9-11:45], and a scrimmage wraps things up on the 8th) is the earliest I can remember since I started attending the camps back in 2008...
Given the Red Wings' suddenly-predictably tepid July 1st performance, however, I think that an "early camp" might be for the best.
from chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front,
“He says he feels great,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said in a phone interview Thursday. “He went on the ice Monday. (Trainer) Piet Van Zant went up to watch him skate and he thought he looked good.”
The Wings targeted Weiss on the first day of free agency last season and landed the center for a hefty five-year deal worth $24.5 million.
Weiss, 31, managed to play just 26 games this season totaling two goals, two assists and a minus-4.
“I told him I only want to hear if there’s a setback,” Holland said. “If I don’t hear from him I’ll assume he’s getting better and better and better. So no news is good news.”
from Dave Bartkowiak Jr. of ClickOnDetroit,
The truth is they're a young team on the rise still looking for an identity. They're looking to mesh.
The Red Wings have huge promise and big expectations for young players such as Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurco, Petr Mrazek, Teemu Pulkkinen, Xavier Ouellet, Anthony Mantha, and dare I mention Brendan Smith?
For fans, this should be a team to get excited about. For free agents looking to win now, not so much. Guys signing big contracts are looking for the best place to win today. Being part of a transitional/retooling/rebuilding (whatever you want to call this) period is generally not a selling factor.
That's not a knock on the organization, it's not a knock on the coach, and it's not a knock on the GM. It's just how stuff happens now in the salary-capped NHL. Franchises can't just buy a contending roster overnight. Winning teams must be nurtured through the farm system.
Look at the Los Angeles Kings. That team has been built from the ground up, starting around the 2005-06 season. They put a system in place. They got a bunch of their own players -- their own draft picks -- to commit to the team's program.
I know that Red WIngs fans were about as thrilled with the team's signings of forwards Kevin Porter and Andy Miele as you or I would be with getting lumps of coal on Christmas, but the signings did help build the foundation of the 2014-2015 Grand Rapids Griffins' roster.
Today, the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner examines the Griffins' roster as it stands after the Porter and Miele signings. as well as the signing of Shane Berschbach, who inked an AHL-only deal:
Miele was the third leading scorer in the AHL with 72 points (27-45-72) in 70 games with Portland last season, while Porter played 50 games with Rochester with 36 points (19-17-36) and got into 12 games with the Buffalo Sabres (0-1-1). Both are former Hobey Baker Award winners.
Berschbach, a collegiate the past four seasons, will battle for a roster spot in Grand Rapids or be sent to Toledo in the ECHL.
Updated 3x at 12:18 PM: In news that is as predictable as suggesting that Michigan will be humid in July, I was in absentia yesterday due to a sinus bug. I'm not feeling fantastic today, either, but a day's worth of rest + many people having paid my way = it's time to pack and haul ass to Traverse City.
Updated 2x at 12:36 PM: Puck Daddy's weighed in on the Red Wings' status as no longer a unique destination for free agents...The Sporting News's Sean Gentille notes that a certain Mike Commodore's not-so-delicately played the, "Your coach is an *#$%@& and that's why nobody wants to come to Detroit" line on Twitter (this has become a disturbingly common line, as has the, "Injuries are clearly not coincidental" theory among fans), and the Detroit Sports Site's Chris Burke reports that Wings fans are so pissed off that they messed with Ken Holland's Wikipedia page, and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan spent yesterday speaking with Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Rico & Beard about the Wings' whiffs...
And ESPN's Pierre LeBrun believes that the Red Wings have one good alternative in terms of improving the team via the trade route:
About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.