The Malik Report
The Red Wings' prospects engaged in a particularly spirited pregame skate ahead of tonight's game against the St. Louis Blues (7:30 PM, no TV :( :( :() mostly focusing on puck-retrieval, penalty-killing, breakouts and the kind of "stuff" you'd expect from a game-day skate.
I got to watch the Dallas Stars practice beforehand and was happy to get an "accidental check" from Jim Nill, who held court with some of the Wings' scouts during the Stars' practice, but he was out of the rink by the time the Wings skated as they're not in the Wings' division and won't see Detroit until, well, Tuesday's potential-championship-deciding games.
The practice included a total of 8 "coaches" on the ice in Jeff Blashill, new Griffins assistant coaches Dave Noel-Bernier and Pat Ferschweiler, Toledo Walleye coach Derek Lalonde, Chris Chelios as a defensive mentor and Mike Knuble as something of a consultant, as well as Jim Bedard and his assistant/OSU goalie coach Jeff Salajko.
It was VERY interesting to watch the Griffins' new coaches get their feet wet as Blashill put everyone through an incredibly, incredibly fast-paced "morning skate"...
from Craig Peterson at the Wings' website,
The Red Wings’ lack of a high-profile free agent signing in the offseason has been highly discussed in the weeks following July 1, but the absence of a big move could be a move in itself.
“I think it’s a big positive,” defenseman Kyle Quincey said. “We have a structure and a system that we know inside and out, and game one … we know each other, we know exactly what to expect. We know the system, so we’re going to hit the ground running.”
Quincey, who said it was an easy decision to re-sign with the Wings – for two seasons worth $8.5 million – during the offseason, was one of two players to appear in all 82 regular-season games last year. Forward Drew Miller was the other.
“I’ve had a couple rough seasons with injuries and battling through them,” Quincey said. “It’s part of the game and it’s going to happen. I’m fortunate to play all 82 games. I never thought it was possible. Hopefully it keeps going and hopefully we finally get a year with very, very low injuries.”
I was in transit to Traverse City last night, so I didn't see this Tweet from TSN's Darren Dreger. The Score's Josh Gold-Smith did see it, and it seems to put Daniel Alfredsson's future in a bit of doubt:
If I am to play "Let's Overanalyze This Tweet to Death," I'd suggest that it's a "Good news/bad news situation."
It's good to hear that Alfredsson doesn't plan on signing anything more than a pro try-out until he believes that he can play through back issues--that's ideally how the situation should unfold given his over-35 status yielding $ on the Wings' cap figure regardless of whether he plays or retires...
But if he isn't willing to skate through twinges and pain, that opens up the whole, "Okay, so why are you trying this anyway?" can of worms, which is why it can be so very dangerous to overanalyze a single Tweet. Let's find out what Alfredsson has to say first, and whether he does indeed skate through some pain or decides to hold off for another couple of days.
The Red Wings' prospects open their defense of the team's one and only title at the 8-team prospect tournament tonight against the St. Louis Blues, but before doing so, they'll hit the ice in Traverse City at 11:30 AM, taking part in a "morning skate."
The tournament's "gotten very big" in terms of media coverage; the Blues have a webpage set up to follow their prospects, and NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale has already authored an article setting up the tournament as a "hotbed for future stars."
This morning, NHL.com's Tal Pinchevsky discusses the possibility that Anthony Mantha might parlay a strong tournament showing into a spot on the Wings' roster, this time speaking with Wings special assistant to the general manager GM Kris Draper about Mantha's potential:
I've made it up to Traverse City in one piece ahead of the Red Wings' prospect tournament; for the Wings, the schedule kicks off on Friday with an 11:30 AM practice for new set of prospects and try-outs, and then the Wings' prospects will battle the St. Louis, and as usual...
I leave the damn house and things go willy-nilly. The NHLs announced preseason rule changes are intriguing; aside from further diminishing Todd Bertuzzi's chances of finding gainful employment, a bigger trapezoid should remedy some of those nasty hits defensemen face carrying the puck out of the "valley of death," I like the league's expansion of game misconduct penalties (are clipping, charging, elbowing, kneeing, interference, head-butting, and butt-ending sometimes worthy of game misconducts? Yep!) and the review process for goals has been kind-of-sort-of-expanded, which is never a bad thing (especially when "your team" has been on both sides of a puck going off the netting and eventually into the back of the net).
The Red Wings post this press release every year, and while it involves events that are "closed to the public," I'm impressed with the ever-growing scope of the Wings' pre-training camp "Community Tour":
RED WINGS DROP PUCK ON THE 2014-15 SEASON WITH SIXTH ANNUAL MI WINGS COMMUNITY TOUR PRESENTED BY ITC
… Tour Moves to Two Days (Sept. 16-17), Features Record 24 Players Set to Make Seven Stops En Route to Training Camp in Traverse City …
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today announced the itinerary for the sixth annual MI Wings Community Tour, presented by ITC Holdings Corp., with a record 24 players set to partake in the two-day event on Sept. 16-17 leading up to Training Camp in Traverse City. Seven groups of Red Wings players are scheduled to visit two hospitals, a National Guard station, a fire department and an elementary school, along with stops to participate alongside the Motor City Blight Busters in Detroit and the Kids’ Food Basket Program in Grand Rapids. All seven stops on the tour are closed to the public.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
"I don't want expectations to be unrealistic for Anthony Mantha," Holland said. "He's a really good prospect, and we're going to give him every opportunity over the next month to show where he's at with his career. But it's tough to score in NHL.
"We've had other players who have left juniors with impressive resumes, and some make it quickly and some need two or three years," Holland said. "It's not only about talent, it's how mature is the player mentally. The NHL is a very demanding league. I'd rather err to be cautious. I don't want to do damage to anyone's confidence. We're going to do what's right for Anthony Mantha and the Detroit Red Wings."
Red Wings mid-day news: on the prospect tourney & Captain’s Practice quips from DeKeyser & Andersson
Updated 2x at 2:21 PM: At Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings' players are still engaging in Captain's Practices...
Some 230 miles to the northwest, however, as Paul noted, there's quite a bit of "star power" about to hit the ice in Traverse City. NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale penned an article discussing the caliber of competition at the Red Wings' prospect tournament, and the list of current and former participants is impressive:
In the tournament's history, 440 players who participated have skated in at least one NHL game, including six with the 2013-14 Red Wings: Tomas Jurco, Alexey Marchenko, Xavier Ouellet, Teemu Pulkkinen, Riley Sheahan and Ryan Sproul.
"[The Traverse City tournament] always carries a lot of weight," Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "The best players at that tournament usually make the NHL right away. Guys who are ready or close to it usually rise to the top and you can see it. It's a great tournament to evaluate players."
I've packed and gotten all my "stuff" together, and if it wasn't raining throughout the evening on Wednesday, I would've already had the Pacifica packed for today's trip to Traverse City to attend the Red Wings' prospect tournament and main training camp. I'm a little tired and quite terrified, but the former comes with the always busy days leading up to the trip and the latter is Ye Olde Anxiety Disorder for you.
As previously noted, the ECHL referees officiating the 8-team tournament are told to expect hockey on par with mid-season AHL games, and as DetroitRedWings.com's Craig Peterson found, some of the Wings' key contributors, Anthony Mantha and Ryan Sproul, are more than ready to defend the team's first tournament title:
“Before the tournament last year, they told us that it’s even better than World Juniors,” Mantha said. “Last winter I went to World Juniors and I could say the same thing. I think everyone wants to show themselves so it’s high-paced games and everyone wants to impress.”
This seems a little "off." It's hockey book season, and I'd already known that Jordin Tootoo collaborated with Stephen Brunt for his forthcoming memoir, All the Way, Darren McCarty worked with USA Today's Kevin Allen on his memoir, My Last Fight: The True Story of a Hockey RockStar, and Wings pro scout Mark Howe worked with Jay Greenberg on his memoir, Gordie Howe's Son: A Hall of Fame Life Lived in the Shadow of Mr. Hockey--which Mark is signing at the Wings' prospect tournament this Saturday...
But the Free Press's Gene Myers reports that Mr. Hockey: My Story claims to be written by none other than Gordie Howe himself, and I can't find anything online to suggest that this book was written by anyone other than Howe. That seems a little strange given that Howe is battling steadily advancing dementia, and Myers thought it odd that Howe was listed as the only author as well, though he may have found a hint asto who helped Howe transcribe his tales in the book's "afterword"
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.