The Malik Report
The Red Wings' prospects held a very, very optional skate ahead of tonight's game against Columbus (7 PM at Centre ICE Arena), with defensemen Jalen Chatfield and Jarrett Meyer, forwards Nick Betz, Jerome Verrier, Kurt Etchegary, Connor McGlynn, Evan Polei, Nick Betz, and goaltenders Connor Ingram and Matt Mancina taking part in a practice run by Griffins assistant coaches Mike Knuble, Bruce Ramsay and Ben Simon.
After practice, I was able to speak with Tyler Bertuzzi regarding the importance of tonight's game, his play at the tournament thus far (he hasn't found his scoring touch yet, but he's been a dynamo on skates, checking and grinding and defending incredibly well, so we discussed those aspects of his game, mananaging expectations for both the championship and training camp to come, how he prepared in the summer for this season and his goals for a turning-pro year:
George is waiting for them too.
If any news comes out of the skate, I will add to this post.
Via RedWingsFeed, Pro Hockey Talk's Mike Halford discusses this year's Aaron Rome, a.k.a. a pair of fists invited to the Red Wings' main training camp in Joel Rechlicz:
Bit of a curious move in advance of Detroit’s training camp — the club announced that Joel Rechlicz, aka “The Wrecker,” has been signed to a professional tryout.
Rechlicz, 28, was with the Wild organization last year and has pent most of his professional career duking it out in the American League, appearing in a handful of games for the Islanders and Caps between 2008-12.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder fought a combined 55 times for Bridgeport and Hershey during that span, including this tilt with Isles tough guy Brett Gallant:
The Red Wings are overflowing with skilled players both up front and on the blueline, so I don't see Rechlicz earning a spot with the big club, but he could be needed in Grand Rapids or Toledo.
From the Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindenau:
If you see me today, I will likely have tears welling in my eyes. If there’s one thing I have learned these past few years is that you have to figure out a way to ride the emotional waves. Today I expect the waves to be high and sometimes I am not the best surfer.
The first ever Matthew Wuest Memorial Cup will be awarded and there will be reason to celebrate the eventual champion whether it is Detroit or Columbus, but I’ll look to the sky and think of my friend Matt as I have done throughout this tournament. Though he never came to Traverse City, he was very much a part of this tournament even before I knew what I was doing. He and I spent late nights posting photos, transcribing box scores and editing stories for Red Wings Central (RWC) before mainstream media started coming. As much I have been a physical presence at this tournament since 1998, Matt was the force behind me guiding me especially in the early years when I had no idea what I was doing. Over the years I have gained credibility as an analyst and free-lance journalist and I have Matt to thank for much of that.
We both spent vacation time from day jobs to provide annual coverage of a sport and a team we loved. He often reminded me that we were “the good guys” because we were doing stories that no one else did and filling a gap Red Wings fans were hungry for. Neither of us made a cent from the work we produced as it was more about finding the news story that was being missed and discovering young talent before anyone else.
Updated 3x at 10:17 AM: MLive's Brendan Savage penned an article about the Red Wings prospects' 5-4 win over the Dallas Stars last night, and Savage duly noted that coach Todd Nelson was very pleased with both the outcome and the means by which the Wings earned a berth in the championship game against Columbus this evening (7 PM at Centre ICE Arena):
"I thought our best players were our best players tonight," said Red Wings coach Todd Nelson. "Double A was in behind them all night and it was nice to see him finally get rewarded because he had a lot of opportunities, especially in the second period.
"He got behind them, had some partial breakaways. He played an outstanding game. Besides scoring the two goals, he had a big blocked shot so it all works together. He played a great game and it was just a matter of time before he got in behind their defense and scored."
Dylan Larkin, the Red Wings' first-round pick (15th overall) in last year's draft, picked up his first goal of the tournament when he opened the scoring on a power play 5:22 after the opening faceoff. Larkin also assisted on Russo's goal and Athanasiou's first goal. Seeing the Stars score those two quick goals in the third lit a fire under the Red Wings, according to Larkin.
"They had good jump," he said. "We were ready for a tough game and they came out flying. We had the day off (Sunday) and I don't know if they practiced or not but they had good jump. That woke us up and that's the sign of a good team."
Savage continues, and he posted a video of Nelson's post-game presser:
from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,
Mantha said he hasn't lost his confidence and is determined to get back on track.
"Confidence is a huge thing; during the season you have ups and downs, but you always need to come back to your confidence," he said. "You can't think about what you're doing on the ice but react. That's the main point."
Jiri Fischer, Detroit's director of player development, can sense Mantha is trying his best to maintain his confidence and improve areas of his game.
"Confidence is the hardest thing to keep, and learning to love to battle and how to outplay someone is essential in order to play [in the NHL]," Fischer said. "When he played junior, nobody could separate him from the puck down low. Now he's learning how to do that at the men's game playing against guys the same size, and it's not easy. It's a learning experience.
"But the thing is we believe in Anthony and we're excited about his future."
Mantha, who has been criticized at times for being too inconsistent, realizes he needs to treat each opportunity he gets as his last.
"It's my defense zone and one-on-one battles; competing every day," Mantha said. "That's the message [the coaches] told me last year. That's the message I trained with this summer in order to get better."
It's likely Mantha will spend the entire year in Grand Rapids in order to gain a better understanding of the pro game under the tutelage of coach Todd Nelson, who is serving as coach of the Red Wings prospects this week.
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. From the Traverse City Record-Eagle's Chris Dobrolowski:
As a hockey player, Chris Chelios was always in the thick of things on the ice.
Monday was no different for Chelios, who was positioned at a table between the two rinks hosting the action for the NHL Prospects Tournament at Centre ICE Arena, signing copies of his book "Made in America" for fans during two 90-minute sessions.
"There's always a great showing here in Traverse City, so I figured I'd get rid of a lot of books here," said the former Red Wings' star.
The book came out about a year ago, but Chelios had plenty of copies remaining to unload, with a stack in boxes next to the table where he was seated. He said the book covered his entire life through his 26-year career in the NHL.
"Basically, (it covers) the path I took," said Chelios. "I wanted to thank a bunch of people who played a hand in my career. It's a pretty easy reading book. A couple of good stories. I kept it 'PG.'"
2. And from the Windsor Star's Bob Duff:
So the Red Wings' prospects defeated the Dallas Stars 5-4 in the semifinal at Detroit's prospect tournament, rallying from a 4-2, 3rd period deficit on a power play marker from Robbie Russo and two goals from Andreas Athanasiou.
The Detroit Red Wings' prospects won a back-and-forth game against the Dallas Stars, rallying from a 4-2 third period deficit via a power play tally from Robbie Russo and a pair of Andreas Athanasiou goals to sew up an appearance the tournament championship game against Columbus, defeating Dallas 5-4 and overcoming a 3-point performance from former Wings prospect Mattias Janmark in the process.
Detroit scored the game's first goal and had come into the 3rd period tied 2-2, so witnessing the Stars score a pair of Janmark-assisted markers to take a 4-2 lead all of 4-and-a-half minutes in was a dreadful feeling, but the Wings rallied and then some after Robbie Russo's point shot at 7:41 gave the Wings life, and after Andreas Athanasiou tied the game at 15:27, his breakaway game-winner, scored with 2:21 left in the game, gave the Wings a rousing victory.
Before I get into recapping things, the Detroit Red Wings' prospects rallied from a 4-2, 3rd period deficit to defeat the Dallas Stars' prospects 5-4 on the strength of a pair of Andreas Athanasiou goals and 3 assists from Dylan Larkin.
Detroit will play Columbus for the Matthew Wuest Memorial Cup on Tuesday at 7 PM on Tuesday; they'll practice at 11 AM.
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.