The Malik Report
Updated 3x at 8:51 AM: Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. WXYZ's Brad Galli sat down with Jeff Blashill for a superb 1-on-1 interview yesterday...
2. Both the Free Press's Helene St. James and the Windsor Star's Bob Duff penned articles about Justin Abdelkader. Here's St. James' article...
When Katrina Flemming comes to Detroit Red Wings training camp, the Red Wings are only part of the reason she ventures to Traverse City.
It's also a chance to meet up with a group of friends — friendships that have developed over the many years of attending training camp in Traverse City.
"It's always a lot of fun," said Flemming, a Red Wings season ticket holder, who makes the trip annually from Detroit. "We get to meet the players and interact with them. But then we get to talk to friends and people that we only see once or twice a year. It's like a big reunion."
Flemming and the group she was with were among the dozens of fans standing outside Centre ICE Arena on a picturesque Sunday morning. It's a typical scene each day near the parking area to the west of the arena during training camp as fans wait for the opportunity to see, and possibly meet, some of their favorite Red Wings players.
And, from the 7&4 News:
Every year when the Detroit Red Wings lace up their skates for the Traverse City Training Camp, hundreds of volunteers check their fan hat at the door and help make the event possible.
"We've got almost 300 people here that staff every aspect of training camp," said Event Director Ann Reeves with the Red Wings Traverse City Training Camp.
They're a community of volunteers that have kept coming around for years, some decades, just to work six to 12-hour days and get paid nothing.
Don Mehrhof has volunteered his time at the training camp since it began in 1997.
"It's not work we have a lot of fun good team work, you see the same people year in and year out," said Mehrhof.
"They have been doing a great job and again you're building a relationship to you know getting to people now," said Red Wings Defenseman Jakub Kindl. "It's amazing what kind of heart they have that they can be there since really early morning watching us even just walking in the locker room so it's amazing."
This story also continues...
From Yahoo Sports Jen Neale's "Puck Daddy" preview of the 2015-16 Red Wings:
Potentially The Best Thing About This Team
The young kids. Mrazek, Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, and Tomas Jurco (to name a few) all played for Blashill in Grand Rapids. They can play at the NHL level and adding a familiar coach will add to their comfort level in the leagues. Unfortunately for the rest of the NHL, they're going to be really good as they get older together.
Potentially The Worst Thing About This Team
Both Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek are inconsistent, bad, and/or injured.
Dream 3-on-3 OT Group
Datsyuk is defensively responsible enough to be on the ice with two other forwards, like Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Tatar. While he’s out of the lineup, put Green with Zetterberg and Tatar and watch the magic happen.
Updated 6x at 9:18 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon/evening:
Fox Sports Detroit has posted a pair of clips of Justin Abdelkader...
And Landon Ferraro speaking with the media...
The Red Wings conducted training camp's final day of three-squad practices at Centre ICE Arena on Sunday, all as a prelude to a set of cuts, the Red vs. White game (which I will be broadcast on 98.5 FM, I believe) and the Red Wings' departure of Traverse City to kick off the exhibition season with three games in three nights.
Today's drills were incredibly complicated and nuanced--I describe the kinds of layered, whistle-to-whistle defensive positioning drills that we witnessed today as "hockey calculus"--and almost all of them involved chasing down/pursuing the puck carrier, dropping passes to defensemen in the offensive zone and engaging in outlet passes against passive pressure provided by the coaching staffs.
This guy skated on his own, too...
The scrimmage portended positive things from Brad Richards as #17 provided the primary assist on Tomas Tatar's goal and scored one of his own in Team Delvecchio's 2-1 win over Team Howe (with Teemu Pulkkinen's Pul-Cannon providing Team Howe's goal), but even the scrimmage was a check-fest, which is to be expected when you spend the entire day focusing on man-on-man defensive coverage in all three zones of play.
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose spoke with Red Wings prospect Nick Jensen regarding his slow but steady developmental path in an intriguing article posted a little earlier today:
“I’m just coming in, working as hard as I can, playing the game that got me here,” Jensen said Saturday in an exclusive interview with DetroitRedWings.com. “Just trying to turn some heads with the scouts, the GM, and the coaches. Trying to get recognized, and obviously my main goal is to make the Detroit Red Wings. That’s my whole mindset going in.”
Too many things would have to happen for Jensen to make the Wings’ opening-night roster out of training camp. However, there’s a very good chance he gets called up at some point in the not-so-distant future.
It also helps Jensen’s case that he played the past two seasons for coach Jeff Blashill in Grand Rapids. The Wings’ new coach knows what he has in the 6-foot defenseman from Rogers, Minnesota.
“Nick is somebody who is continuing to show that he wants to knock on the door to be an NHL player,” Blashill said. “He uses his speed as a defensive weapon. Anytime somebody skates like that, everyone thinks of offense. For me, Nick uses it as a defensive weapon. He can really track guys down, his recoverability is great, his ability to come back and break pucks out and make the proper passes is going to be the big thing for him to do to continue to become an NHL player.”
The Red Wings engaged in some particularly complicated defensive pursuit drills during the third and final day of training camp, and as practices were continuing, the team began to bring Major Junior players in for exit interviews prior to releasing them back to their junior teams.
The Red Wings will hold a 10 AM practice for those not participating in tomorrow's Red vs. White game, and after said game, the Wings head back to Detroit to prepare for a Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday slate of exhibition games.
Today's media availabilities were marked by quality over quantity. Justin Abdelkader spoke for 8 minutes, discussing his role on the team, his attempts to establish himself as a consistent scorer, his belief that he was always going to eventually break out while playing with quality players and his lack of discussion with the Wings regarding his contract status as of yet:
If you've been on Twitter, you've probably seen the rosters of tomorrow's Red vs. White game at 12 PM at Centre ICE Arena, but if you have not, here's how the teams break down (and the Wings were cutting numerous junior players today, so this looks like the set of Team A and Team B rosters that the team will be employing for the exhibition season):
Tomas Jurco-Brad Richards-Tomas Tatar
Johan Franzen-Riley Sheahan-Luke Glendening
Andy Miele-Dylan Larkin-Teemu Pulkkinen
Eric Tangradi-Louis-Marc Aubry-Evgeny Svechnikov
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
With Pavel Datsyuk expected to miss the first several weeks of the season, Darren Helm not likely to be ready for the season opener and Johan Franzen's status possibly in question, the Detroit Red Wings will have some available roster spots at forward....
"With all young players they have to be in the lineup," Holland said. "I'm not sure if it has to be on the top three lines or top four lines. If you're having conversations about sitting out young players they probably shouldn't be on your team.
"When Steve Yzerman made the team at 19 I don't think there were any discussions if we should sit him out. If you're having conversations that the league is too much and the player's not up to it than the player probably isn't ready for that league and should be in a different league so that player can develop."
That's why Larkin likely will be assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins after the preseason, so that he can gain experience, further develop his offensive skills and earn confidence being one of the top players on the AHL club.
Larkin has quickly noticed the intensity of an NHL training camp.
The Red Wings' coaching staff, management and pro and amateur scouts enaged in a delightful "Alumni and Celebrity" game last night, with Team Fischer defeating Team Draper 7-6. I didn't write a whole lot of notes about the game, but between Ken Holland's sensational goaltending, despite his 30-year-old Jofa pads and stand-up style, Jeff Blashill's strong play for Team Fischer, the utter joy that is watching players like Kris Draper, Jiri Fischer and old favorites like Dino Ciccarelli, Mark Howe, Darren McCarty, Dallas Drake and of course Mickey Redmond at work...
The game was a hoot. The two 30-minute "running clock" periods involved scintillating action (seriously) in the 1st and some tired legs in the 2nd period, but between the "ringers" who still play competitive hockey like Wings director of communications Todd Beam and the fact that both Fischer and Draper could probably play pro hockey if their health held up, the game was nothing less than the gem of training camp.
It's something that most reporters skip, and that's disappointing because it's absolutely fascinating to watch the most serious people in the organization suddenly sprout smiles and keep them going for an hour of competitive fun.
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.