The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/26/11 at 08:48 PM ET
Via RedWingsFeed, it’s not exactly what you’d expect on a Friday night in August, but the Sporting News’s Craig Custance had a conversation with Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill about try-out Fabian Brunnstrom, who rebuffed several offers to play in the Swedish Eliteserien for the opportunity to either steal a job from one of the Wings’ 14 forwards already under contract—or impress another potential employer—over the course of training camp and the exhibition season:
“I think he’s comfortable with our style of hockey, our players,” Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill told Sporting News. “These guys come over and they have a couple years to make it—it’s like the clock is ticking and all of a sudden you’re like ‘Oh, my time is up.’”
That time is closing in for Brunnstrom. He’s coming off a season in which he played in 72 AHL games with the Texas Stars and Toronto Marlies. He had 15 goals and 20 assists.
There isn’t much roster room in Detroit for Brunnstrom, but this may be the last legitimate chance of his career to make things work in the NHL. The Red Wings have a history of successful reclamation projects and the roster is loaded with fellow Swedes, including Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom.
“I think it’s a big advantage,” Nill said. “It’s a comfort level, somebody to talk to. I think it’s very important.”
And Nill believes the Red Wings are getting a player with something extra to prove. The burden of hype is gone, replaced by the desperation to extend a career.
“He’s disappointed in the way things have turned out. He’s got pride,” Nill said. “He’s kind of like, ‘You know what? I expected more than this.’ He’s shown in flashes he can do it. Now it’s the consistency.”
Also of Red Wings-related note in the, “It didn’t pop up before the afternoon report” vein:
• As Alanah already posted, the Hockey News’s Ryan Kennedy offers an extreme example of relativism yielding a grandiose conclusion in suggesting that the quality of today’s American NHL’ers proves that the Richter/Chelios/Modano/Tkachuk generation doesn’t live up to its legendary billing;
• According to the Pictou County News’s Adam Macinnis, Wings back-up-back-up Joey MacDonald spent this past week taking part in a hockey camp in Trenton, Nova Scotia, but he also paused to reflect upon the nature of his job and his decision to re-sign with the Wings:
“I prepare every game like I’m playing. That’s the only way to do it,” he said. “Quite a few times this past year I ended up going in relief of (Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard). All of a sudden boom you’re thrown in.”
Such was the case during the game against Toronto. But MacDonald proved his preparation paid off and got the 3-2 win. There is no room for errors in those moments – at least not if you want more playing time, he says.
“That’s one thing in that league, you’ve got to be ready at all times,” he said. “You can’t take a night off because if you do get the opportunity and not play well you never know when your next time is going to be.”
Because of the uncertainty of whether he’ll be playing in Detroit or Grand Rapids this season, MacDonald said his family will be staying in Pictou where his son is looking forward to going to school and playing hockey.
While it’s hard to be away from them during the hockey season, MacDonald said he is just making the most of his summer with them and like last season they’ll plan to come visit on a regular basis. He’s still unsure what will happen when the two-year contract is over
“I’m sure eventually I’ll end up going overseas, but right now I’m back where I want to be,” he said
MacDonald’s contract becomes a one-way, NHL-salary-only deal during the 2012-2013 season, so he’s hoping to latch on with an NHL team and earn a full-time job as an NHL back-up by then…
• For the record, from PlymoutWhalers.com’s Pete Krupsky:
Training camp is just a few days away in the Ontario Hockey League.
The Plymouth Whalers report to Compuware Arena on Wed. Aug. 31 for off-ice testing and medical exams.
The Whalers will hit the ice in scrimmages from 9-11am and 2-4pm on Thurs. Sept 1 and Fri. Sept. 2. The scrimmages are free and open to the public and media. Rosters will be provided the days of the scrimmages.
• And Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek posited an interesting tidbit of kinda-sorta-Wings-related trivia in his Friday column:
[On this date in 1987: Flyers trade Brad McCrimmon to Calgary (where he was paired with Gary Suter) for a 1st and 3rd round pick. McCrimmon was one of the great under-rated defensemen of that generation of hockey. He finished his career a +444 blueliner and even though +/- isn’t the best stat that is remarkable for a guy who always drew top assignments against all the first lines in the ‘80s. As a rookie playing for the Bruins, McCrimmon roomed with Ray Bourque (who ended up being McCrimmon’s best man at his wedding as well).
McCrimmon’s spending this season coaching Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (and Ruslan Salei) in the KHL, but the outgoing Wings coach played a bigger role in mentoring Nicklas Lidstrom through his rookie and sophomore NHL seasons than he’s given credit for in my book.
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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.