The Malik Report
Updated 2x at 10:18 AM: Yesterday, Tyler Myers trade talk dominated Red Wings fans' discussions. I'm guessing that most of you will be more interested in MLive's Ansar Khan's "analysis" reaction to the Free Press's Helene St. James' Myers push than you will be interested in this morning's prospect news--with today's summer development camp ending in a scrimmage starting at 11 AM at Centre Ice Arena.
Khan suggests that Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green, who may or may not be available via the trade route, is the "best fit" in terms of addressing the Wings' needs for a right-shooting top-four defenseman:
[The Wings have] inquired about Buffalo's Tyler Myers, Edmonton's Jeff Petry and Toronto's Cody Franson – and others. But Green makes the most sense. The Capitals don't need him, and because he's entering the final year of his contract (at slightly more than $6 million), the cost of acquiring him shouldn't be as steep as it would be with the others.
The 4th day of the Red Wings' summer development camp is usually 4 of 7. For the past two years, there's been a break added into the camp to ensure that the campers can rest and rejuvenate a bit, but pro pace is pro pace, so the everything-in-a-short-period-of-time camp involves go-go-going this summer.
That might change in the future--very thankfully, the Red Wings' coaches, director of player development Jiri Fischer and the management view this as something that can be tweaked or improved as necessary--but a change in the present yielded a significant amount of...correction...and a scrimmage whose scoring results reflected the day's message.
Put bluntly, the players were surprisingly spry after Saturday's scrimmage, but yesterday's skill development sessions seemed find the players' fatigue wall. Today, the team made a last-minute schedule change, having Teams Yzerman and Lidstrom practice simultaneously from about 9:10 to 9:50 AM, focusing on defensive drills and "backside pressure."
Coach Blashill's voice got quite the workout not only because his checking drills were complex, but also because the players were dragging their rear ends and required a significant amount of correction.
The Red Wings' summer development camp included a now-familiar sight in Alexey Marchenko skating prior to today's practices and on-ice activities. Marchenko skated very hard and very well, occasionally checking in with a member of the Red Wings' medical staff, and he spent a good chunk of time taking wide clockwise and counterclockwise turns to test out his left ankle.
The Wings made something of a yesterday-afternoon change to their schedule, so Teams Yzerman and Lidstrom practiced at the same time on David's and Huntington rinks, and instead of holding another day's worth of skill development drills, the teams engaged in an "informal" scrimmage. Three 12-minute periods marked sets of 5-on-5, 4-on-4 and 3-on-3 action (no Tyler Bertuzzi, per Octopus Thower's Peter Fish, nor Richard Nedomlel for Team Lidstrom), and Team Yzerman beat Team Lidstrom 4-3--thanks to a short penalty shootout in which try-outs Hampus Gustafsson and Mark Cooper scored for Yzerman and Tomas Nosek's gorgeous backhand deke goal was the only one Team Lidstrom managed to get past Matt D'Agostini.
Tomorrow, an 11 AM-scheduled scrimmage will mark the end of the on-ice activities taking place at the development camp, though I've been told that some players may or may not have a post-game paintball adventure.
Regarding the Red Wings' summer development camp and its lack of returning Griffins/Walleye players:
The Red Wings' want me to let you know that there wasn't an "opt-out" option for Griffins--the Wings' coaches and management chose to bring the roster here that they brought here, and in the specific case of Martin Frk, the Wings were going to bring him up here until they drafted 6 forwards.
[edit/update: So stop bagging on the guy--he apparently received some rude comments after it was found out that he wasn't participating in the camp, and neither he, Marek Tvrdon, Colin Campbell or any of the other players that I know of who aren't at the camp "opted out." The Wings view this more and more as an orientation camp, and so the conspicuous absences will be back for the fall tournament /end edit].
Updated w/ St. James audio at 8:50 AM: The Red Wings' summer development camp continues with its second and last day of dedicated skill development practices starting at 9 AM today at Centre Ice Arena, and the camp will wrap up with an 11 AM scrimmage on Tuesday.
I focused on "Team Yzerman" during yesterday's drills, and today, I'll be watching "Team Lidstrom," who are undoubtedly led by the turning-pro Andreas Athanasiou. The Traverse City Record-Eagle's Chris Dobrowolski spoke with Athanasiou regarding the importance of this summer camp as an event that can build the foundation for his first pro season...
Updated 2x at 9:23 AM: The Red Wings' truncated summer camp schedule took a turn for the..."I guess we'll have to wait and see what the prospects and team thinks" today, and its schedule will continue (prior tomorrow's in-person training camp ticket sale at noon) as follows...
8:45 am – 9:30 am Team Yzerman off ice work out
9:00 am – 9:45 am Team Lidstrom practice
10:00 am Team Yzerman skating
10:00 am Team Lidstrom skills
10:25 am Team Yzerman skills
10:25 Team Lidstrom skating
11:00 – 11:45 am Team Yzerman practice
11:00 am Team Lidstrom off ice workout
The camp will conclude with an 11 AM scrimmage on Tuesday.
The skill and skating drills for this summer's camp were completely absent Tomas Storm (skills) or Andy Weidenbach (skating), and the sessions only really lasted for 25-to-30 minutes. Previous camps used to anywhere between 45 and 60 minutes spent on each set of drills, and those sessions wouldn't last for 2 days (this camp ends with an 11 AM scrimmage on Tuesday); instead, the skill and skating drills would go on for 4 or 5 days, and the "team drill" portion of the camp wasn't nearly as important.
WXYZ's "7 Sports Cave's" Brad Galli, Matt Sheppard and Dave Birkett spoke about the issue at the 7-minute mark of their hour-long weekly show, and the Oakland Press's Pat Caputo also addressed the issue I have yet to be able to speak with Ken Holland about up here at the summer development camp. The Red Wings whiffed in the free agency market, and it has the town--the state, and Red Wings fans all over the world--jittery:
The Red Wings have had one of the things other NHL organizations have generally lacked – stability. Yet, it’s like it has been turned around on them.
For many Red Wings’ fans, their general manager is clueless and their coach a tyrant nobody wants to play for, because of the free agent failure this summer.
There has to be a trade coming, right? The Red Wings have been looking for a right-handed shooting defenseman since Brian Rafalski retired.
Aside from Richard Nedomlel, who was out with an undisclosed and very minor injury, all of the prospects who took part in yesterday's scrimmage skated in today's team practices and skill drills at the Red Wings' summer development camp, and Alexey Marchenko took more than a few turns prior to the main practice, skating on his own, speaking with the medical staff a few times, and helping Jim Bedard and his assistant warm up the goalies prior to Team Yzerman's skate.
T'was dark, but this is mine, and I think Marchenko had surgery on his left ankle (the side of his broken ankle was never revealed) as he was testing his left leg gingerly. Given that he's 10 days out from having two surgical screws removed, however, he looked good, and he engaged in a workout with the morning group, so all is well:
The Red Wings' summer campers took part in both "team" drills and a set of skating and skill development drills--minus Andy Weidenbach and Tomas Storm--and the players seemed to do pretty darn well given the fatigue they were battling from the previous day's scrimmage, though I will tell you about some "bunny hop" drills in which several prospects took spills later.
In terms of the interviews I was able to snag, myself and Kevin Sporka spoke with Julius Vahatalo for about seven minutes, and after dealing with a pair of Swedes whose English was better than mine in Axel Holmstrom and Christoffer Ehn, Vahatalo's halting English was a surprise. Vahatalo said that he's dealing with some significant adjustments in terms of playing on a narrower rink and at a faster North American pace, but he seemed to be taking in quite a bit from the camp, and the 6'5," 191-pound winger from TPS Turku was forthright regarding his strengths and what he needs to work on, as well as the camp experience as a whole:
The Red Wings' summer development campers will take part in a pair of skating-and-skill development practices at Centre Ice Arena today and tomorrow, and I'm guessing that the fatigue setting in after Saturday's scrimmage might yield some...Interesting interpretations of power skating coach Andy Weidenbach and skill development coach Tomas Storm's drills.
This morning, the Red Wings posted a photo gallery chronicling yesterday's practices (note the almost complete absence of Reebok gear save the Ribcor sticks), and the Traverse City Record-Eagle's Chris Dobrowolski profiled Dylan Larkin and Dominic Turgeon.
Both players are a little over a week removed from having been drafted, so both players told Dobrowolski that they've experienced a slight culture shock while taking part in their first professional hockey camps:
The rink was packed to the gills for the Red Wings summer development campers' first scrimmage today, and it's not a cliche to say that while Team Yzerman beat Team Lidstrom 3-2, "A good time was had by all." A good chunk of the summer campers were engaging in their first real "game" since March or April, so it was a bit of a defensive struggle (and Jiri Fischer said that the no-fighting rule remains in place, so there was some chippiness, but no silliness), and Christoffer Ehn said that the players found out about their linemates right before the game, so there was a bit of a learning curve...
But once everybody settled down, the pace was good--in two 25-minute periods in which the last 15 minutes were "stoppage time"--and I think Jeff Blashill, who didn't coach the teams (RPI coach Seth Appert and Wings video coordinator Keith McKittrick coached Team Yzerman, and Griffins assistant coach Jim Paek and Walleye coach Derek Lalonde coached Team Lidstrom) would've been happiest about the fact that the teams tended to employ an up-tempo, puck possession system of play--just the kind of system of play Blashill's trying to imprint upon nearly 40 youngsters who are mostly used to dump-and-chase hockey.
Tomorrow's schedule of events at Centre Ice Arena looks like this:
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.