The Malik Report
Updated 6x at 8:36 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
The Associated Press's James Cook penned a recap of the first day of training camp's events, including the Verrier-Helm collision:
The 21-year-old Verrier collided with Helm during a drill in the camp's first 10 minutes at Traverse City's Centre Ice Arena, resulting in both going to the hospital.
"I heard it, and turned around and saw them go down," said Johan Franzen, who missed much of last season following a concussion. "It was really scary. The kid was in so much pain. I was sitting down on a knee, and kind of feeling a little sick for a while."
First-year Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said Verrier suffered a broken right leg and that Helm will go through the league's concussion protocol and is day-to-day.
Newcomers Brad Richards and Mike Green skated with the team, although much of the day's talk revolved around the collision.
"I just heard it," forward Tomas Tatar said. "I turned, and two guys are on the ice. For sure, you don't want to see this happen on the first drill of camp."
Training camp is a strange beast, and when there's a new coaching staff assessing 70 players, there are learning curves for everyone involved.
The irony about the Helm-Verrier collision involved the fact that coach Jeff Blashill is introducing a slightly faster, one-less-pass breakout--and today was all about breakouts, about retrieving dump-ins, setting up from inside the blueline and skating the puck out to center, generating speed through neutral ice and attacking in a structured matter--and that required everybody to keep their heads on the swivel as the old familiar Babcockian systems have new wrinkles.
Breakouts were emphasized first when the goalie retrieved a dump-in; breakouts were authored by defensemen making d-to-d passes, or one-touching passes to forwards, breakouts were utilized in 5-on-4 penalty-killing situations, on the power play, in 3-on-3 scrimmages, utilizing "whirlpool" drills at center ice, where d-to-d and forward-to-forward passes worked the "four corners" of the neutral zone, mostly, breakouts were utilized as counterattacking impetus and to emphasize defensive positioning, with man-on-man and "zone" defense balanced out a little better than Babcock's one-player-one-defender systems.
Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
2. CBS Sports' Adam Gretz discusses the "biggest question" the Red Wings face going into training camp...
The first day of the Red Wings' training camp was a bit of a downer. On the first darn drill, Jerome Verrier and Darren Helm collided with each other at full speed, and Verrier suffered a broken leg, while Helm is currently under concussion protocol...
But the Wings withstood the hit, they dealt with some bad ice conditions by swapping rinks during the scrimmage--with Team Howe defeating Team Lindsay 4-3--and all things considered, the players were in good spirits and the coach seemed to deliver his messages regarding break-outs and attacking through the neutral zone.
I had to miss part of the scrimmage and Team Howe's practice to take part in the "scrums" that one takes part in during training camp, and the audio I came out with is...Something that got better as it went along.
I was standing a little far from Tomas Tatar when he spoke with the media, so you have to turn the volume up as Tatar is a quiet talker--and the background noise doesn't help...
Updated 2x at 4:35 PM: Just to update the status of Jerome Verrier and Darren Helm, who had an on-ice collision today.
George also tweeted Dan Cleary has a leg issue and is considered out for today.
Update: Here's a report from the Free Press's Helene St. James...
via Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
The first day of Detroit Red Wings training camp started violently.
A few minutes after the Delvecchio group had begun drills at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City, veteran Darren Helm and free agent forward Jerome Verrier collided like freight trains, leaving both on the ice. Helm was able to get up on his own and skate off, though he was held off the ice as the rest of his group continued practice.
Verrier was taken off on a stretcher, but he was moving his hands.
An update on the players was not immediately available, but team personnel indicated that Helm's absence was precautionary.
added 10:51am, Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
Helm momentarily lay on the ice, but gradually got on all his hands and knees, then stood and eventually skated off the ice under his own power.
The drill was a puck retrieval drill, and occurred almost 15 minutes into the start of the first practice of training camp.
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. The Traverse City Record-Eagle's Brett A. Sommers spoke with Ken Holland regarding training camp's start today...
"We have had one of the best coaches in the league in Mike Babcock," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. "I think a lot of the things Mike Babcock did with accountability and structure are the types of things I believe in and I think Jeff Blashill believes in to be successful."
Even if much remains the same at ice level within the Red Wings organization, some minor changes have already taken place, including a shortened — yet no longer split-squad — stay in Traverse City. The anticipated Red-White Game will be held at noon on Monday to close out camp.
Holland hopes the subtle differences will be secondary to renewed energy within the team.
"Mike was here for 10 years, and I think with a new coach comes new opportunity for some players," Holland said. "I am hoping there is a new excitement because of the new opportunity. I expect some tweaks, but we have had a nice 10-year run under Mike Babcock, and we would like to keep it going."
WDIV's Jamie Edmonds posted a video report from the Red Wings' golf classic in Traverse City...
As did the 9&10 News...
From the Oakland Press's Pat Caputo:
[It]’s impossible not be intrigued by Petr Mrazak and the notion he is one of those rare truly gifted goalies capable of carrying the Red Wings back to greatness.
Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg still show flashes of brilliance, but too often get worn down by injuries. Niklas Kronwall has been a vastly underrated player for a number of years and is on the backside of his career, too.
Is this the season Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist and Danny DeKeyser step forward from good, young player status to the dependable veteran level?
The cupboard is not bare. The Red Wings have drafted well and procured their talent at Grand Rapids with Blashill as coach and mentor. Babcock was a brilliant coach, but a decade is forever in the NHL. A new voice isn’t going to hurt, and Blashill, by all accounts, has a dynamic manner.
If the Red Wings are going to be more than a second-tier playoff team looking for a first-round upset, they are going to need rapid development from two of their recent first-round draft picks. There is no way Waterford Township’s Dylan Larkin would have lasted until the 15 overall pick if the 2014 NHL Draft were it redone today – and it was a solid draft. He didn’t just play well at Michigan or during the World Junior Championships for the United States – he starred. Larkin had three goals and two assists in six playoff games at Grand Rapids. Don’t be surprised if Larkin comes on faster than anticipated.
When the prospect tournament gives way to training camp, I generally shift focus to "shorter takes" on players (there are 70 of them taking part in the Red Wings' training camp, so it's going to be hard to write in-depth assessments of all of them) and a discussion of systems and generally "what's going on," interspersed with audio of scrums and some interviews, but I always ask this question, and I hope you'll answer it:
What do you want me to focus on in terms of my training camp reporting? The play of the prospects, the new guys, the stylistic and systemic differences between Blashill and Babcock, or something else? What is it that you're most interested in learning or finding out? Please let me know in the comments section and I'll do the best I can (and remember that multimedia-wise, I've got all the power of my lovely Samsung Galaxy S3 from 2012--and there's a very explicit "no Periscope" policy for anyone not named the Red Wings).
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.