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Red Wings prospect tournament, day 3: practice impressions

The Red Wings' prospects may have enjoyed a full "off-day" during a dreary Sunday in Traverse City, but this morning's practice ahead of tonight's game against Minnesota (7 PM) was all about managing players' energy and attention spans.

Having played 2 games in 2 nights and heading into their 3rd game in 4 nights--and, regardless of tonight's outcome, a 4th game in 5 nights tomorrow--Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill and his platoon of assistants (Griffins assistants Dave Noel-Bernier and Pat Ferschweiler, Toledo Walleye coach Derek Lalonde, informal assistants Chris Chelios and Mike Knuble and goalie coach Jeff Salajko) focused on extracting the maximum amount of instruction from the minimum amount of time possible.

"Practice" lasted for exactly 24 minutes, and it involved the drills I've discussed before--and again, save Anthony Mantha's "productive demotion" to the Bertuzzi-Athanasiou line (the Wings really need to get some secondary scoring), Colin Campbell's promotion to the Nosek-Frk pairing and Jared Coreau starting, there wasnt much "news"...

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A tale of two Red Wings Swedes: Alfredsson might delay camp debut; Andersson wants to earn job back

Updated 2x at 3:13 PM: The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness has already reported about a Wings training camp try-out and the state of Danny DeKeyser's contract, and when he Tweeted this out, I immediately thought, "Well, the dealine for signing unrestricted free agents is December 1st.."

Here's Pleiness's report:

"My instincts would probably say that I’m not sure he’ll be able to report to camp on Wednesday,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said during a phone interview Monday. “I want to see how he’s feeling and talk to his agent. I also want to talk to Alfie in the next 24 hours.”

Alfredsson suffered a minor setback in his recovery from a nerve issue in his back.

He didn’t take at all last week and was unable to skate with the team Monday.

Pleiness continues, and honestly, I know you and I would love some closure in this situation, but it wouldn't surprise me if Alfredsson continues waiting to skate until his back feels better, and when he does skate, I expect him to continue skating until he's absolutely sure that he's unable to continue.

And in news regarding another Swede, the Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with Joakim Andersson regarding his tenuous future as a Wing, and Andersson's desire to remedy his biggest weakness:

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Pleiness: Red Wings invite defenseman Aaron Rome to camp; DeKeyser talk, too

Updated with DeKeyser talk at 1:27 PM: The Red Wings have yet to release their training camp roster, but the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness reports that the Wings have decided to give at least one defenseman a tryout...

Wings general manager Ken Holland confirmed that veteran defenseman Aaron Rome has been invited to training camp for a tryout.

Rome, 30, is a left-handed shot.

“He’s a vet who’s played pro hockey for a number of years,” Holland said during a phone interview.

Rome played 25 games last season with Dallas, registering just one assist and finishing a minus-6.

Capgeek reports that Rome had just wrapped up a 3-year deal with Dallas with a cap hit of $1.5 million per season, and The Sports Forecaster describes the 6'1," 220-pound defenseman as follows [edit: Pro Hockey Talk's Mike Halford reminds us that Rome's the guy who hammered Nathan Horton, too /end edit]:

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Red Wings mid-day news: prospect tournament, day 3 interviews and line change news

Updated at 1:13 PM: The Red Wings' prospects hope to get back on track and qualify for the 3rd place game via defeating the Minnesota Wild (7 PM start at Centre Ice Arena, not 7:30), and while coach Jeff Blashill was on the ice for all of 24 minutes, the Wings' prospects worked very hard on transition plays and coverage in the defensive zone, especially on the PK.

The biggest "shocker," given that every player was on the ice, was that Anthony Mantha was in a white jersey while his previous linemates, Martin Frk and Tomas Nosek were wearing red ones, and after practice it was confirmed that Mantha will play alongside Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Bertuzzi, while Colin Campbell's gotten a promotion from the third line to play alongside Frk and Nosek. The Wings rather desperately need some secondary scoring here, so the switch-up makes a ton of sense.

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Mike Babcock On His Contract

from Craig Custance of ESPN,

This summer, Holland signed a four-year contract extension with the Red Wings clearing another obstacle for a new deal with the coach. The Holland extension has done little to move along Babcock’s, which takes us to a question that hasn’t been raised all too often during these months of non-negotiations: What goes into Babcock’s decision? 

“You know? That’s a good question,” Babcock answered. “I guess as we talk, I’ll know more. There’s part of my life that is very, very public and there’s part that’s very, very private. How’s that?” 

Not all that helpful. 

“I’m not going there,” Babcock said. “What we’re doing is -- players negotiate every day. We’re not even negotiating, we haven’t got around to doing anything.”...

For Babcock, it could be the motivation to try and win in Detroit at time when outsiders suggest the pendulum is swinging the wrong way. Or it could be the motivation to cement a legacy elsewhere. Maybe, it’s as simple as being the league’s highest paid coach. Until it’s settled, that motivation stays with Babcock. And once the season starts, if there’s no deal, he says he’s done talking about it. If he’s asked in a scrum about his contract situation, he’s moving on to the next question.

“It’s going to be dead,” he said, shooting down the suggestion it could become a distraction.

“No chance,” he said.

For now, he’ll talk about it, but he’s not offering up much in the way of hints of where he’s leaning. Or what goes into the decision.

“Who knows? It doesn’t matter,” Babcock said. “I was fishing this morning. Now I’m watching hockey. If you think my life is any different, it’s not.”

more for ESPN Insiders...

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Red Wings ‘Captain’s Practice’ post in progress: Alfredsson still absent; DeKeyser waiting on deal

As I prepare to head to Centre Ice Arena, the Red Wings are holding a Captain's Practice at Joe Louis Arena, and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness reports that someone's conspicuously absent...

While MLive's Ansar Khan and the Free Press's Helene St. James report that another player's crossing his fingers about a last-minute deal:

Update: As I was heading to the rink, MLive's Brendan Savage discussed Martin Frk's opportunity to "re-set" his pro career as the prospect tournamnt continues (the Wings play Minnesota at 7 PM), as well as several other topics, over the cousre of a conversation with Ken Holland:

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Red Wings morning news: Kronwall, Ferraro and Gustavsson weigh in on the season to come

According to Red Wings play-by-play announcer Ken Kal, the team's taking part in its second-to-last charitable golf outing of the "summer" today...

Then it's "off to work" at trainnig camp, and just as Jimmy Howard and Jonas Gustavsson sounded optimistic tones at yesterday's HockeyFest at the Joe, the Free Press's Mike Brudenell reports that Niklas Kronwall feels that his team's poised to succeed this upcoming season:

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Red Wings early overnight report: ‘HockeyFest,’ out-of-town observations & prospect touranment stuff

Updated with a take on prospect tournament talk at 11:03 PM: This week, things "get real," and they'll "get real' in a hurry.

In Traverse City, the Red Wings' prospects received Sunday off, but they'll take part in an 11:30 AM practice on Monday and will play the Minnesota Wild's prospects at 7 PM, hoping to put Saturday's disappointing loss to Columbus behind them and at least qualify for Tuesday's 3rd place game.

In Detroit, the Red Wings' NHL players and alums took part in "HockeyFest at the Joe," and Monday and Tuesday will mark the final "Captain's Practices"; on Tuesday and Wednesday, while taking part in the Wings' "Community Tour," the Wings' players will slowly but surely make their way to Traverse City for Thursday's physicals, charity golf outing and dinner, and on Friday, training camp begins

Sunday's "HockeyFest" marks the start of the Wings' pre-camp promotional appearances, and the Free Press's Mike Brudenell reports that the Wings' goaltenders discussed the upcoming season in optimistic tones:

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Red Wings overnight report: reflecting on the Red Wings prospects’ loss to Columbus

The Red Wings' prospects pause today, and have been given the day off by their coach as no matter how the prospect tournament unfolds, the team will be playing four games in 5 nights, and two days after the tournament ends (two days filled with physicals, team mugshots and charitable events), training camp begins.

[So if you're going to the HockeyFest at Joe Louis Arena, you're not going to be missing anything; I'll be missing what you'll see today instead]

Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill's tried to temper expectations and emphasize the process as the Wings have navigated their way through two rocky games, coming out on top of a bizarre but thrilling 6-5 OT win over St. Louis on Friday, and then strangely falling apart against the Blue Jackets, dropping a 5-3 decision on Saturday.

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A ramble: sometimes it’s all about body language

There's a reason I don't panic when I read these Tweets (and I'd like to try to speak to Babcock, but protocol is protocol):

Here's what I know, and here's what reassures me: The Red Wings' coach and the Red Wings' general manager have been among a crowded group of pro scouts, amateur scouts, developmental coaches and NHL assistants observing the Wings prospects' pair of games from Centre Ice Arena's one and only suite.

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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.



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