The Malik Report
Two weeks from today, I’ll be heading up to Traverse City to cover the Red Wings’ prospect tournament and training camp. Most of the Red Wings’ major junior-playing prospects, junior hockey graduates and European prospects are either taking part in their teams’ training camps or, in the case of European pro leagues, playing in exhibition games, and according to DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose, via RedWingsFeed, the Red Wings themselves will begin to gather at Joe Louis Arena for informal practices next week:
#RedWings players have begun to return to Hockeytown this week. Their first informal team skate is set for Monday morning.
Boston Bruins goaltender and Davison, MI native Tim Thomas brought the Stanley Cup to his hometown on Wednesday, and the New York Times’ Jeff Z. Klein, the Sporting News’s Craig Custance, NHL.com’s Dan Rosen (via an article as well as blog entries and videos), the Free Press’s Perry A. Farrell and of course the Flint Journal’s Brendan Savage (with multiple video offerings from Thomas’s trip to Davison High School) all covered the blue-collar goalie’s journey back to his blue-collar roots in tremendous detail…
Updated 4x at 4:51 PM: Amongst the Red Wings-related news “tidbits” of note this afternoon:
• Gary Roberts’ “Biosteel” training camp (emphasis on training camp) includes a star-studded list of participants who are pushing themselves to their physical and mental limits under the watchful eye of Roberts and trainer Matt Nichol, and the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle reports that both Wings prospects Brendan Smith and goaltender Thomas McCollum have forked over
a significant chunk of change to take part in the camp;
• If you wish to follow Tim Thomas’s day with the Stanley Cup, ABC 12, the Flint Journal and NHL.com’s Dan Rosen are more or less providing “play by play” coverage, and I’m sure that MGoBlue.com and AnnArbor.com will cover Steve Kampfer’s day with the Cup tomorrow;
As an FYI, per DetroitRedWings.com’s Rick Bouwness:
PRELIMINARY LINEUP FOR HOCKEYFEST ANNOUNCED
… Superstars Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg Highlight List of Players Set to Appear at Fun-Filled, JLA-Staged Event …
Detroit, MI… The 2011 edition of Red Wings HockeyFest, co-presented by 97.1 The Ticket and Fox Sports Detroit, is set to take place at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday, September 10 (11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.), providing citizens of Hockeytown with an unforgettable day of fun, family-friendly activities as well as the chance to meet some of their favorite players. A preliminary list of Red Wings set to attend this much-anticipated event can be found below alongside their designated appearance times. Additional current players as well as members of the Red Wings Alumni Association will be added to this list at a later time.
What might be this morning’s most pertinent Red Wings-related news comes in the form of words issued by a Wings analyst regarding a Stanley Cup won 20 years ago—Pro Hockey Talk’s James O’Brien noted that the Pittsburgh Penguins are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their 1991 Stanley Cup championship, and Fox Sports Detroit analyst Larry Murphy and Grand Rapids Griffins assistant coach Jim Paek are taking part in the festivities.
It’s Murphy’s comment to NHL.com’s Alan Robinson which might temper what’s sure to be Wings fans’ imminent annoyance at the cavalcade of NHL predictions which will insist that the Red Wings are finally too old, too slow, too soft and too likely to finish in the bottom half of the Western Conference standings to be called Cup contenders anymore:
Updated 4x at 7:59 PM: Hello, earthquake survivors! The Hockey News’s Rory Boylen offers a somewhat typical late-August discussion-maker in questioning what defines a “dynasty” in the modern-day NHL, suggesting that the Wings may or may not qualify as such…
[D]oes the NHL have a current dynasty? The first team to look at would certainly be the Detroit Red Wings. From 1992 until now, the Wings have 14 division titles, reached eight conference finals, won the Cup four times and lost in the final twice. Dynasty?
Type “Sports Dynasty Definition” into Google and the first response you get is: “A sports dynasty is a team that dominates their sport or league for multiple seasons or years.” That would pretty much sum up the Wings, wouldn’t it?
The Red Wings posted a lineup of players who will be taking part in their “Hockeyfest” event at Joe Louis Arena on September 10th via Twitter, and let’s just say that the list of participants taking part in Q and A’s or autograph sessions is impressive:
Players at Hockeyfest on 9/10 include Lidstrom, Bertuzzi, Holmstrom, Miller, Abdelkader, Eaves, Zetterberg, Cleary, Howard and Kindl.
Nick, Bert, Holmstrom, Miller, Abby + Eaves will be on hand from 11:30-2:30. Hank, Cleary, Howard + Kindl will show from 2:30-5:30.
If you’re in Troy, Michigan this week and have a free minute to head to the Troy Sports Arena, Red Wings special assist…hockey op…erm, executive Kris Draper’s Core Sports Fitness center is holding its annual youth hockey camp this week, and the Troy Patch’s Kevin Elliott reports that both Draper’s Grind Line teammates and a few other Wings will be making appearances as they filter back into town:
The official Red Wings Grind Line will take the ice this week with about 130 youth skaters at the Troy Sports Center for a four-day hockey camp for kids ages 6-13. Former Detroit Red Wings Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby and Darren McCarty are back on the ice to deliver a hockey school. Draper, who has been hosting the hockey school for the past three off-seasons with CORE Fitness, is co-owner of the fitness company, along with Dr. Jeff S. Pierce.
During the camp, a few surprise guests from the Red Wings typically come on the ice to work with the skaters.
“I started talking to Maltby about it during a round of golf,” Draper said in a news release. “He wanted to do it, and then we wanted to include Mac as well, sent him a text and he was on board right away. We talked about how much fun the three of us have had playing for the Red Wings and the friendship we’ve created, and thought it’d be pretty neat to put a hockey school together.”
Between reading USA Today’s Kevin Allen talk up Phoenix Coyotes prospect Andy Miele, an undrafted free agent who tried out at the Wings’ summer development camp in 2010, and recalling a gander at the Wings’ hot-key-labeled laptop containing the keys to the XOS video capture software mentioned in the Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa’s notebook on Sunday (I chose not to take notes as to what the stickers on the keys said) at last year’s training camp, I’d started thinking about the “ones who got away,” but RedWingsCentral’s Sarah Lindenau was a step ahead of me.
On her Left Wing Lock blog, she notes that while the Red Wings have tended to reap the benefits of signing undrafted free agents who perform well at the team’s summer camps and annual prospect tournament—which is only three weeks away—the Wings passed on at least two players whose services have benefited the Wings’ rivals, including one who the team may have wanted to sign to bring a little size and grit to their forward lines:
In theory, the weekends bookending the NHL’s Research, Development and Orientation Camp are the twin fulcrums upon which the NHL’s news cycle pivots and more or less re-sets itself. European hockey teams’ training camps and exhibition seasons are underway,* Major Junior teams are, for the most part, either going to get on the ice this week or next week, and we’re under three weeks from the start of most NHL teams’ prospect tournaments, but last week, European NHL’ers were wrapping up their summer vacations and giving their final interviews to the local press corps, and this week’s going to mark the start of the informal gatherings of players who are filtering back into their NHL cities of employment from summertime vacation spots all over two (or in Pavel Datsyuk’s case, three) continents.
Soon we’ll be awash in season previews and initial reports of players skating together and management gathering to perform any final tweaks on their roster and begin to pluck the few remaining free agents off the pro hockey unemployment line.
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.