The Malik Report
from George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press,
Rarely did Smith receive power-play time under Mike Babcock, who left this off-season to coach the Toronto Maple Leafs. New Wings coach Jeff Blashill has said he’s open to giving Smith an opportunity on the power play, an area in which Smith excelled in college.
Smith, 26, has one power-play goal in 195 career games with the Wings. He scored 11 power-play goals in 2 1/2 seasons with the Grand Rapids Griffins in the American Hockey League.
“Sometimes change is fun,” Smith said Tuesday, after the final informal skate at Joe Louis Arena before players headed to Traverse City for training camp. “We have a lot of good players. ... The biggest thing is they just told us positions are open and go out there and take it.”
On getting a chance to get ice time on the power play, Smith said: “Yeah, I didn’t really have that chance (before), but there’s a lot more confidence that I can step into a role like that. I guess it gives myself more of a green light to make more plays, which is exciting.
“It’s something I haven’t done since Grand Rapids. I think, with Coach having that confidence in me, it’s exciting to show my offensive ability.”
from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
“We play eight preseason games so they’ll both get a good chunk of games,” Blashill said. “How many, I don’t know yet. But they’ll both get a chance to be able to show where they’re at and stake their claim for the job.
“If you also look at the regular-season start, we’ve got a number of back-to-backs, so it really lends itself well to both guys getting a chance to show they went to be the starter. We’ll let the competition play itself out. But again, the thing about competition is that doesn’t end at any point. It remains throughout the season and that goes for everybody.”
from Jonathan Willis of Sportsnet,
The Toronto Maple Leafs hired Mike Babcock this summer to much fanfare. They signed the man regarded by many as the league’s top coach to an eight-year contract for an unprecedented $50 million. Naturally, he’s expected to be a key figure in Toronto’s rebuild, so it’s worth taking some time to look at how he runs a bench.
This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive piece, as it’s far too short for that. The goal here is to identify some key trends.
Evidence that Babcock isn’t set in his ways can be seen by how he embraced a new strategy with regard to his forwards last season.
In all the years Babcock coached the Red Wings, no line started a higher percentage of its shifts in the defensive zone than last year’s trio of Luke Glendening, Drew Miller and Joakim Andersson. Babcock had always been willing to double-shift a centre for defensive zone draws (Kris Draper would often get the assignment) but in the past two years he moved more firmly towards a fourth line that specialized in defensive zone work.
continue for much more on Babock's trends with Detroit, then the focus turns to the Leafs...
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
"To me, that wasn't an anomaly; that was his maturation process of learning how to survive in the league to then getting a little bit more ice time to now being who Justin Abdelkader is," Blashill said. "What you saw last year is what I believe he is.
"He's a guy who's physical, a guy who can be a really good complementary player on a line -- and I say complementary in the sense that he can add a different element to a couple of skill players. But he can score goals and make offensive plays. It's his responsibility to go out and do it on a daily basis to show that he can continue that."
The Red Wings traveled to Traverse City Wednesday for training camp. They'll undergo physicals and off-ice testing on Thursday and begin practices and scrimmages Friday at Centre I.C.E. Arena.
It appears Abdelkader will be skating on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Gustav Nyquist, like he did much of last season. Abdelkader said he wants to build off last year, which ended on a sour note after a late-season hand injury (broken fingers) caused him to miss the first two games of the playoffs against Tampa Bay.
WHEN: Monday, September 21 at 11 a.m. MT
WHERE: Coors Field
WHO: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman; NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins; Colorado Avalanche President Josh Kroenke; Detroit Red Wings Special Assistant to General Manager Kris Draper; Colorado Rockies Owner, Chairman & CEO Richard Monfort; Colorado Avalanche Captain Gabriel Landeskog; MillerCoors Director, Sports & Entertainment Marketing Adam Dettman
from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News,
Dylan Larkin – Another top player in the tourney, Larkin lived up to billing. He’s fast, fearless and has great awareness. Put up nice offensive numbers while still being that guy you can always trust in your lineup.
Tyler Bertuzzi – The Wings didn’t play great in the title game, but Bertuzzi was a beast. His combination of nastiness and skill reminds me of Brad Marchand or Brendan Gallagher and Todd’s nephew has a crazy competitive spark in his game.
Andreas Athanasiou – His speed is incredible when he turns on the jets and Athanasiou was even blocking shots to preserve a key win against Dallas. Great wrist shot, too. His tournament ended on a down note when he sparked a mini-riot by shooting the puck at Kerby Rychel as time expired in the final.
Evgeny Svechnikov – For a teenager in his first Traverse City tournament, Svechnikov looked really solid. He uses his big body along the boards and is willing to pay the price. The hands are pretty nifty too when he’s around the net.
Anthony Mantha – It’s no secret that defense and engagement away from the puck are needs for Mantha. The scoring acumen is there, but those other areas need improvement.
read on for players from other teams...
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
The fact that Mantha has a year already under Blashill certainly won’t hurt, but it’s difficult to see where he fits in the lineup. He’ll have a difficult time supplanting anyone in the Red Wings top three lines and the fourth line already has Luke Glendening between Drew Miller and Landon Ferraro penciled in. And that’s without including Tomas Jurco, Teemu Pulkkinen and fellow prospect Dylan Larkin. The way the Red Wings see it, having Mantha establish himself as an impact player in the AHL is better than having him see spot duty on the fourth line in the NHL.
“For me, it’s a fresh start,” Mantha said. “I’m here focused and trying to impress. I’d like to play maybe eight exhibition games, then 10 games, 20 games, 30 games, I don’t know. My goal is to play the whole season up there, but you never know what the future holds.”
Today should be a slow news day as the Wings travel to Traverse City.
I hope George will get some rest after a pretty hectic week of work, he deserves some time to wind down and prepare for the upcoming days.
So with that, what are you expecting from the training camp,
Are you looking at particular players, line combinations, etc.
Me, I am very interested to see how Dylan Larkin performs against established NHL players.
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
As WZZM 13 notes, the Red Wings are making the trip to Traverse City this morning to kick off a 4-day training camp which begins on Friday...
The Detroit Red Wings are less than a week away from their first preseason game, and as they begin their quest for the Stanley Cup, they've got a training camp roster of 72 to whittle down.
The Wings posted their training camp roster on their website Tuesday. Forty-one forwards, 24 defensemen, and seven goalies will take to the ice from Thursday, September 17, to Monday, September 21, at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City.
Tickets for practice sessions cost $10 for standing-room only, $15 for reserved seating, and $20 for the mezzanine. You can buy tickets for training camp at Centre Ice Arena's website.
And Wings coach Jeff Blashill spoke bluntly regarding his goals for the three days' worth of on-ice sessions and next Monday's Red vs. White game, as the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan noted:
TSN's Frank Seravalli spoke with several NHL luminaries about 3-on-3 overtime's wrinkles and finnicky tricks, including someone with some experience coaching teams playing 3-on-3 in Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd Nelson:
“The interesting thing will be watching how coaches figure out what system to play,” Todd Nelson said from Traverse City, Mich., on Tuesday. “There are a lot of nuances to 3-on-3, depending on personnel, style and aggressiveness.”
Nelson, 46, is now head coach of the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins. He spent the bulk of last season as the Oilers’ head coach, replacing Dallas Eakins, but he also prepared the Oklahoma City Barons in training camp for a season with an AHL-best 14 overtime wins.
For the most part, Nelson said the Barons used two forwards and one defenceman. Depending on the makeup of his roster, Nelson said he “wouldn’t hesitate” to use three forwards or even three defencemen at a time, particularly if they were mobile.
“This will be about puck possession more than anything,” Nelson said. “You have to have the balanced mindset that you’re not going to sit back, but you still have to play good defence. I think you’re going to see coaches develop a lot to see if they can produce 2-on-1s, whether that’s by turning back and regrouping and gaining more speed.
“It will also help quite a bit if you have a goalie who can play the puck well. You’ll see teams start to send guys in that case to see if they can spring a break.”
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