The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/14/13 at 02:29 PM ET
The Red Wings switched things up BIG TIME today, holding a 50-minute set of skill development drills for Team Yzerman from 8-8:50, a 50-minute set of skill development drills for Team Lidstrom from about 10:20-11:10, and in between, ALL 30-something players who were participating in today's drills took part in a practice ran by Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill.
The schedule for tomorrow--the development camp's final day--reads as follows, per the Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindenau:
8:30 am – 10:15 am Team Lidstrom practice (Admission $5)
8:30 am – 9:45 am Team Yzerman off-ice workout
10:30 am – 12:15 pm Team Yzerman practice
10:45 am – 11:30 am Team Lidstrom off-ice practice
Amongst the highlights of today's drills and practice:
- Darren Helm took part in the vast majority of the skill drills and most of the practice, even to the point of taking checks, hacks and whacks by the time the practice was underway.
I do not know HOW MLive's Brendan Savage got to speak with Helm, because those in attendance had been told that Helm was strictly off-limits, but I'm sure glad that Savage did speak with Helm, because he delivers good news:
"I like the way things have went so far," Helm told MLive.com. "Got one more skate tomorrow. Like I said before, it's a process. I'm encouraged, for sure. I see this moving in the right direction, especially in the last few days. I've got another skate tomorrow. I'll probably be in Detroit for a while after that and then just move forward."
Sunday, he skated for about 50 minutes in the second on-ice session and then returned again for the third and final workout, taking part in 2-on-2 drills that included some light contact. He didn't participate in the 1-on-1 drills that featured a bit more hacking and whacking.
(there was more than light contact going on by the end)
"Guys were pushing me around a little bit," Helm said. "We were doing some battle drills. I don't think guys were going too hard on me. I think they understand what the situation is but it was nice to get pushed around, to push back. I didn't have any (back) issues with that. I'll try and take it a step further the next day."
The Red Wings limited Helm's ice time during the first two days by design since he hadn't skated since May, when he tried without success to get back into the lineup for the Red Wings' second-round playoff series against eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago.
"We weren't going to jump into it and start going all out," Helm said. "It was encouraging I was able to get through the practice. Just excited to move on."
As you know, Helm's battled back issues, knee issues and suffered cut tendons in his arm a playoff spring ago, so he understandably combines a nervous grin and a pained expression on his face when having to talk about all the injuries he's dealt with, but to see him flying out there, taking checks, giving them and just enjoying himself was downright priceless:
"It's been a tough year and a half," said Helm, a member of the 2008 Stanley Cup championship team. "It's going to be 18 months in September and I've played maybe 15 minutes. It hasn't been a fun time. There's been a lot of ups and downs. But I see a light."
This is just the start of the long road back for Helm, but he's still on the damn road going forward, and that in itself is remarkable.
Otherwise, this happened...
This is not good news regarding Nick Jensen:
Jensen got his shoulder tweaked while reluctantly engaging Tyler Bertuzzi, who apparently chose to wear shorts to the team's paintballing activity yesterday.
Let's just say that he was a "marked" man:
Jared Coreau also took part in a decent number of drills and looked VERY good, though he didn't face any high shots as his shoulder's not quite at 100% yet. He was smooth, fluid and downright slick at times.
In terms of the interviews I conducted, I thought I'd be smart and speak with Michael Babcock on my own, but it turned out that MLive's Savage, Michigan Hockey's Nick Barnowski and the Hockey Writers' Zackary Landers kind of descended upon him. I did managed to ask him some offbeat questions at the end...
Speaking with Rasmus Bodin was an adventure, though his English is better than my Swedish:
Xavier Ouellet was thougtful and forthcoming in disussing his past season with the QMJHL's Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, turning pro with the Grand Rapids Griffins this season, spending time as a "Black Ace" during the Griffins' playoff run and reflecting upon the information he's been exposed to at camp...
As it turns out, Luke Glendening volunteered to come to Traverse City to get his summer training regimen kicked off the right way, and while he may have "nothing to prove," it turns out that he still feels more than a little competitive fire in his belly as he prepares to grind his way up the depth chart:
Zach Nastasiuk talked about being drafted by the Wings, his famous dad (a CFL player), his experiences at the camp and what he's focusing upon heading into this season with the Owen Sound Attack...
And Jake Paterson spoke to me about his experiences at camp and what he's focusing upon going into his final major junior hockey-playing season:
As a note of correction, I mentioned that Kurt Etchegary showed up on Friday with a swollen right cheek...It turns out that that's a birth defect, and I didn't mean to offend him or anybody else! :X His injury remains undisclosed.
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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.