The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/09/11 at 03:06 PM ET
Updated 3x with more scrimmage news at 2:43 PM: For the record, part 1: As previously posted, the Red Wings let the hat out of the bag in that equipment manager Paul Boyer will call Mike Commodore and inform him that @commie22 can wear #64 if he wishes…
For the record, part 2: It’s too quiet today, too quiet at the rink (the National Cherry Festival has parades and that kind of stuff going on) and too quiet on the hockey front. A day after the Wings named a pair of new (emphasis on new) assistant coaches, Ken Holland is probably engaging in conversations which may determine whether Chris Osgood and/or Kris Draper’s careers are over, and we probably won’t be privy to the details thereof until sometime early next week.
For the record, part 3: If you’re heading to the Wings’ development camp tomorrow, the Wings are going to hold their usual morning session of skill development and team drills from 8:30-10:30, but instead of holding an afternoon session, there’s going to be an intrasquad scrimmage at 3 PM.
Bodies hit the ice this morning, and while it marks the first time that players other than the ridiculously subtly nasty Brendan Smith have laid out their opponents or smeared them into the glass, it’s going to get nastier from here. Today was “battle drill” day, and it’s a sign of things to come.
As usual, here’s the list of players participating in the camp, as well as the details thereof for those who wish to attend, via the Red Wings’ Facebook page:
38 Thomas McCollum
66 Tyson Teichmann*
2 Brendan Smith
32 Adam Almquist
64 Danny Dekeyser*
42 Max Nicastro
15 Richard Nedomlel
62 Ryan Sproul
3 Brad Walch*
47 Brent Raedeke
14 Gustav Nyquist
60 Trevor Parkes
70 Willie Coetzee
58 Landon Ferraro
58 Nick Oslund
68 Adam Estoclet*
24 Dean Chelios*
63 Julien Cayer
45 Casey Fraser*
Injured: Gleason Fournier
34 Petr Mrazek
31 Evan Mosher*
25 Brian Lashoff
54 Sebastien Piche
27 Travis Ehrhardt
56 Bryan Rufenach
61 Xavier Ouellet
75 Artem Sergeev*
77 Jake Chelios*
28 Tomas Jurco
53 Louis-Marc Aubry
65 Mitchell Callahan
71 Travis Novak*
50 Brooks Macek
74 Alan Quine
29 Marek Tvrdon
73 Phillipe Hudon
72 Zachery Franko*
49 Jesse Fraser*
Note: Players with an * next to their names are try-outs.
Again, via the team’s Facebook page, both the morning and afternoon sessions are open to the public—and today’s attendance was rather sparse…
The Detroit Red Wings will hold their annual summer prospect development camp from July 7-14 at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City, Mich. Fans wishing to attend the proceedings may attend the first day free of charge, with tickets for the remainder of camp available for $5 (per day) apiece at the rink only.
This year’s development camp will feature seven of Detroit’s nine selections from the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, including highly-touted offensive dynamo Tomas Jurco (RW, Saint John, QMJHL) as well as his fellow second-round picks Xavier Ouellet (D, Montreal, QMJHL) and Ryan Sproul (D, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL). Previous camp attendees set to appear at this invaluable week-long training session include renowned prospects Brendan Smith (D, Grand Rapids, AHL) and Landon Ferraro (C, Everett, WHL).
Friday, July 8 – Wednesday, July 13
8:30 – 10:30 a.m., Off-Ice Workout (Group 1)
8:30 – 10:30 a.m., On-Ice Skill Development/Power Skating/Practice (Group 2)
2:30 – 4:30 p.m., Off-Ice Workout (Group 2)
2:30 – 4:30 p.m., On-Ice Skill Development/Power Skating/Practice (Group 1)
Thursday, July 14
8:30 – 10:00 a.m., Scrimmage/Skills Competition
And again, Sunday there’s a scrimmage at 3 PM.
As for today’s proceedings, I think that the reason a scrimmage has been set for Sunday is because the grind tends to set in around the third day of split sessions—and there are five more days thereof—so choosing to not wait until the last day to see how these players play against each other is a smart thing to do from both a player-assessment standpoint (some of the players that absolutely dazzle during skill drills and situational drills with the coaches just disappear when engaging in scrimmages, and others emerge from the, “Where the hell has he been all week?” ether) and from a not-driving-your-players-nuts-with-monotony one.
That being said, today went a long way toward establishing high-tempo pace and a decidedly physical tone. Day 1’s proceedings weren’t exactly delicate in nature, and the morning and afternoon sessions familiarized the players with what they can expect to learn from skill development coach Tomas Storm, power skating instructor Andy Weidenbach, for the goalies, from Jim Bedard, and both in a team-oriented vein from Curt Fraser, Jim Paek, Keith McKittrick and Jiri Fischer and in the off-ice aspects from Wings trainer Piet Van Zant and Griffins strength and conditioning coach Aaron Downey.
Today’s drills layered in sometimes subtle and sometimes Brian Burke blunt tweaks.
“Team Lidstrom” took to the ice this morning, engaged in a short skate-around and was immediately split up into the “red” and “white” jersey-wearing groups, but there was a twist today—the groups included both forwards and defensemen.”
The “White” team consisted of Landon Ferraro, Max Nicastro, Nick Oslund, Willie Coetzee, Casey Fraser, Dean Chelios, Richard Nedomlel, Gustav Nyquist, Julien Cayer and Brad Walch, with Thomas McCollum as their goaltender;
The “Red” team consisted of Gustav Nyquist, Brent Raedeke, Danny Dekeyser, Ryan Sproul, Adam Almqvist, Brendan Smith, Trevor Parkes and Adam Estoclet
The same rule applied from Friday—one group gets 15 minutes with Jim Bedard, assisting the goaltenders, and one gets 15 minutes with Tomas Storm, and the teams switch up halfway through—and then the skaters work with Andy Weidenbach while the goalies do one-on-one drills with Bedard.
Bedard’s focus remains the same for his goaltenders, too—after warming the goalies up by having players fire at the netminders’ hands, feet or skates, it’s all about stopping pucks from in tight, especially when it comes to recovering from the butterfly position or getting “caught” leaning to one side of the net when an open player is lurking at the far post.
This time around, as “Team Zetterberg” worked out in the hallway behind the rink, engaging in faux bunny-hopping stretches, Bedard included players shooting from a half-spin, the goalies having to skate out to some very large construction cones (the things were three and a half feet high!), go side to side and then get square to the shooter again before facing a shot and often a rebound, ensuring that the goalies didn’t slink back into their nets while moving laterally and especially moving from the top of one side of the goal crease (think the crease area) to the “middle” of the other (think halfway along that line perpendicular to the red line, which cuts off what used to be a full half-circle’s worth of crease), sometimes engaging in a recovery from a full butterfly and, at other times, dropping to one knee and pushing across. The “Fleury push,” where goalies essentially stand up on one knee and tuck the other underneath them, was involved to some extent, but like Weidenbach, Bedard has the goaltenders working very hard on their “edge work” so that they can skitter across the crease without opening up holes in their down-low coverage, and he’s also making very sure that the goalies’ shoulders are square.
Half the time that the goalies do their recovery drills, they’re also not allowed to use their sticks, which makes things that much more complicated, especially when it comes to Bedard’s emphasis on getting McCollum and Teichmann to close holes, especially when moving side to side or diagonally across the net and/or recovering, and I’m not just talking about the hole between one’s leg pads. Goalies’ arms tend to open up, both between their elbows and their body and between the tops of their pads and the bottoms of their blockers and gloves, but if they overcompensate to cover up said holes, you can pick top shelf or far-post corners on ‘em all day and they’ll be too damn worried about squeezing out the sneaky goals that they can be picked apart in other areas. Finding a balance between the two is tremendously difficult…
And in McCollum’s case, he has a tendency to over-commit sometimes and have to make spectacular saves as a result, but most of the time his issues involve the “squeakers.” Otherwise, he’s just so damn big that if he’s in the right position, he’s going to stop the puck. I’m used to Thomas looking over the top of my head in the locker room (I’m six feet tall), but he’s gone from a healthy 6’2” to at least a hair under 6’3” over the past two years, and on top of that he’s a very healthy 210 or 21[oops, make that 215] lbs. He’s a big goalie and when he forces shooters to make the first move, he’s nearly unbeatable unless they force him to commit and walk around him.
Teichmann’s an entirely different story because, underneath all that well-worn goaltending equipment, there’s a kid who might weigh 160 pounds, and as such, he’s kind of swimming in his gear, resulting in difficulty recovering from the butterfly and quite a bit of wandering around the crease. Are his fundamentals good? You bet, they’re rock steady, but he’s got more than a few holes to close up, and some of them are caused by his body being so slim and the others are caused by what a body that slim does when it’s squeezed into the largest legal cheat protector, set of goalie pants and leg pads available.
Once the goalies were separated from the pack, Bedard did what I can best describe as a “cloverleaf” drill—in between four pucks spaced about ten feet apart, in a big square, the goalies first slide from side to side on their feet, and then slide from side to side from the butterfly position, first facing forward, then at a 90-degree angle to their left, quite literally ass backwards, facing their right side and finally back facing frontward, and they repeat it. How they don’t get ever-so-slightly dizzy is beyond me, but I think that’s the whole point—never losing your form when you’re being turned around.
They also did quite a bit of stickhandling, both on the forehand and backhand, fielding pucks either behind the net or at the red line near the side boards, chipping the puck back to a theoretical forward either on the ice or via saucer passes. McCollum turns his top hand over his stick, which makes things a little more difficult, but he’s got a powerful stick.
Tomas Storm still hasn’t brought out the lawnmower tires, but he had the forwards in an equally dizzying tizzy at times. Today, they not only had pucks for every drill (including the usual “at the extent of your reach” drill), but they also had to tuck their top hands into their body, carry the puck to the widest extent of their wingspan with their “bottom” hand holding the stick to protect it from a defending player…
But this time around, they had to sometimes push the puck forward, sometimes push the puck to the side of their reach and sometimes deke and dangle while skating backwards.
Then, the players were asked to push the puck forward while their entire bodies shifted to a 90-degree angle left of the puck, then a 90-degree angle to the right of the puck, all while skating foward around the puck, with the puck itself serving as sort of a fulcrum for their almost violent movements.
Soon Storm was back to puck-protection drills, with one hand or both hands on the stick, the top hand tucked into the body, dekes performed by first holding one’s hands tight against each other at the top of the stick and then sliding the bottom hand down to flicker the puck to the side without moving the stick, and I must mention that this time around, Storm’s drills aren’t as slow to emphasize muscle memory. Today in particular, they were meant to be done at a pretty fair clip, and that had even Ferraro, Smith and Coetzee confused at times. Richard Nedomlel…He must still be growing into his body because he’s just gigantic at 6’5” or more, but that long wingspan has its limits, and in his case that means doing everything slow.
But the biggest shock was when store when Storm had players literally “take knees”—first their left, then their right, then both—while pushing off and shoving the puck forward, nearly dropping to the ice like goalies, first to push the puck forward, then to deke…and then they did drill backwards, pushing off with their front skate and extending their back one before tucking it back up under their body.
When Andy Weidenbach took over, I was wondering if the “wow factor” could get cranked up any more, and it did. After what are now usual drills for him—c-cuts for players moving both forward and backward, a skater’s version of a t-push, where the back leg pushes off and the front leg does the gliding, attempts to keep one’s shoulders level as you twist and turn, keep one’s skates from bowing inward and to keep the upper half of the body loose so that hips and legs do the work and the body counterbalances things but does not bleed off momentum…
First there were “two strides and glide” drills to emphasize acceleration, then full 360-degree turns at the half boards, blueline and center ice red line, to the left or to the right, sometimes both, this time when the skaters engaged in drills where they made looping turns, they had a partner close by, pushing the pace and emphasizing good spacing—and Weidenbach kept telling the players to step up the “cadence” of their steps to establish a higher tempo.
Then they engaged in a near-goalie like drill of pushing diagonally from side to side, for about 8 feet, while carrying the puck up ice…
And the audio below will provide the sounds made when the players had to make full hockey stops as they slid diagonally backwards and forwards and then start right back up again, bleeding off momentum and then using “short steps” to accelerate.
Did I mention that at the end of their drills, they were doing backwards crossovers? Because they did that. Skating backwards, attempting to do cross-overs while skating in a straight line.
After a 15-minute break so that the Zamboni could resurface the ice, Curt Fraser, Jim Paek, Keith McKittrick and a Jiri Fischer whose hands and feet still ooze so much skill that it’s all but a crime that he can’t play anymore took over.
And things got mean. The usual send-an-outlet-pass-to-the-guy-at-the-far-blueline-get-it-back-and-go-at-the-goalie drill took place with players folding into the drill to make a 1-on-1 a 2-on-1 or 3-on-2, and the players are so sharp that the “reds” and “whites” didn’t get mixed up at all.
After a drill in which defensemen tossed out passes to forwards who charged out from the far blueline to receive passes and go the other way, defensemen were given free rein to bump guys along the boards when the 3-on-2’s developed, and almost immediately Smith had first smeared Ferraro into the boards, and, when Jim Paek was an extra forward during one of the drills, well, Smith took his coach out, too.
As the drills rolled along, Fraser stopped them repeatedly to emphasize that the pace and tempo had to be very fast, and when the 3-on-2’s started in one end or the other, he began to repeatedly state that the players had to “gap up” against the players they were defending, that they had to keep their opponents to the outside and that body position and not ceding territory by lackadaisically skating backwards and giving your opponent the time and space to wind up and charge through the middle of the ice or to the net is the difference between a goal against or a successfully defended play.
In the interim, Ferraro was spun out by Dekeyser, Smith bumped Raedeke, and when full 5-on-5’s began with the puck in deep in the corner of the “red” or “white” team’s zones, with either sealing one’s opponent (if you were the defending team) or a shot on goal that satisfied the coaches enough to blow the whistle (if you were the offensive team) and Fraser started yelling, “This is an easy drill, when you play the puck you’ve got to move it fast”…”When it comes up the ice you can’t turn the puck over right here (at center), put it in!”
Board battling became the order of the day, and Nedomlel was smearing Nyquist into the glass, Nicastro was pushing and shoving with the best of ‘em, the forwards were trying to equal the grit and grind they encountered, the players started yelling to let each other know where the safe outlet or open man was, and they started to swear.
The final sets of drills involved lateral passing behind the net to either attempt to generate offense in the slot or retrieve said puck and go all the way down the ice to attempt to score on the opposing goaltender, and the drills actually started to spin out a little bit because execution was lacking. When you go from no grit or spit and vinegar to a day where everybody’s battling for position, you can forget what you’re supposed to be doing and struggle to get back to the business of executing a play, and that’s exactly what happened.
In terms of individual player assessments....
Thomas McCollum: He’s getting better every day, more square to shooters, stronger, fewer squeakers when he gets ticked off and gives up another goal or two, his rebound placement is much more sound and whatever modifications he had done to his Brian’s glove, they’re giving him more confidence. His stickhandling is pretty good, too.
Tyson Teichmann: Again, he’s just so slight and is in such big gear that he’s trying to stop swimming in the crease while swimming in his gear. Great fundamentals but he’s a “holy” goalie still.
Brendan Smith: Mr. Slick can be Mr. Mean. He likes hitting people and he likes surprising them when he hits ‘em. His skating skills were tested by Weidenbach and some of Storm’s drills were even too complicated for him.
Adam Almquist: He looked a bit better today, a little more grounded, but that small stick limits him, his lack of upper body strength limits him and he can be turned around very easily on the rush.
Danny Dekeyser: Simple, spartan, stay-at-home guy with a high level of mobility and a physical flair. Nothing fancy but very solid.
Max Nicastro: Had a better day today. He’s definitely very smart, very skilled, a superb skater and his Todd Bertuzzi-long butt end’s worth of tape wraps a stick that’s very slick in terms of poke-checking the puck away from his opponents.
Richard Nedomlel: Again, gigantic and super raw. He might be recovering from an antibiotic treatment but he’s also still growing into himself, and while he’s a tough guy who does very good in the battle drills, he’s a stringbean and a half. He needs to get stronger and he needs to get more comfortable in his skin.
Ryan Sproul: Sproul tends to disappear at times, but he’s big, he skates well, his passing and shooting are superb, he’s physical and he wields his stick with one hand on it like Nicklas Lidstrom did before his elbow’s tendinitis became degenerative, giving Sproul a gigantic wingspan and an ever-present poke check with which to do damage.
Brent Raedeke: He might not be flashy but boy, does he do everything right, skate hard, grind it out and adore his lunch-pail, blue-collar mentality. Every once in a while flourishes of offensive flair that are deft and slick.
Gustav Nyquist: Still slick as hell, loves to dangle, deke and slither through his opponents, excellent skater, good vision, head’s up most of the time and he’s very very competitive. He’s still a bit of a puck hog and a hot dog, however, and in looking for that back-door pass or opportunity to set himself up for a one-timer, he takes himself out of play.
Trevor Parkes: Again, he’s looking like someone who’s rounding into form as a potential power forward. Strong north-south player, hard-charging, good shot, good at giving and going, gritty and hardworking.
Willie Coetzee: Again, the whirling dervish’s speed, hands, shot, passing and shooting are all elite and his puck sense is amazing, Ferraro good, but he can’t seem to put all of those elements together at the same time. He’ll score a highlight reel goal and then disappear.
Landon Ferraro: As I said yesterday, he’s really looking like he’s finally comfortable in his own skin. Speedy, defensively conscientious, great playmaker, great scorer, a fine center who’s ready to turn pro and whose sports hernia has held up to the kinds of hits that a player who’s just turning pro has to learn to avoid (just as Smith probably got walloped into pulp repeatedly last season). His extra second ain’t there anymore.
Nick Oslund: Sometimes his hands hold him back and sometimes he looks like a power checker. He was dominant on Friday but wasn’t quite as good today.
Adam Estoclet: Hands, hands, hands, hands. Not quite sure what else yet.
Dean Chelios: Keeps up, has a good shot and is a smooth player, but remains undersized and underpowered. He may simply still need to grow into his body.
Julien Cayer: Another late-bloomer who’s starting to look like a…well, a poor man’s Trevor Parkes. He’s more confident in his ability to keep up with the more highly-skilled types and that’s good to see.
Casey Fraser: The Fraser kids work as hard as their dad does, they never complain, they get no quarter and they just sort of blend in at their best and stand out at their worst.
Multimedia: Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji and the Free Press’s George Sipple attended this morning’s sessions, so you can expect to see some video from FSD and a few more stories from Sipple, but I did manage to weasel my way into the scrum with Grand Rapids Griffins coach Curt Fraser and ask him some questions about the team’s depth on the blueline, defense and what his desires are in terms of possibly adding a back-up goalie (as well as the progress of players like Lashoff, Smith, McCollum, etc.)—and this thing is like 8 minutes long:
Here’s Paul Boyer talking about Commodore 64…
Richard Nedomlel was very nice because I misspoke and said he played for Prince George when he’s actually a Swift Current Bronco….
Tyson Teichmann—it’s “TYSH-men”—talked about being a last-minute invite…
Adam Almqvist’s English is a little limited and the room was noisy, but my sound recorder’s pretty good…
And Brent Raedeke very kindly gave a long and in-depth interview regarding his progression as a professional with the Grand Rapids Griffins, his take on what he’s learning and his leadership abilities as well:
I also don’t have a fancy video camera and am middling at best when learning to use my brand new entry-level camera, but here’s an audio clip of Andy Weidenbach explaining a drill that involved a substantial amount of lateral motion and starts and stops. You can hear 17 players’ skates cutting into the ice as they attempted stops and starts while sliding laterally. It’s a nice sound to hear in July:
Update: Per the Free Press’s George Sipple:
The Wings have altered their development camp schedule for Sunday. Instead of holding a second afternoon practice, they’ll have a scrimmage starting at 3.
The original schedule called for just one scrimmage, on the final day of camp, July 14.
Grand Rapids Griffins coach Curt Fraser, who is running the camp, said the players have been so good over the last three days they decided to give them an extra scrimmage.
“They’ve picked up on everything we’ve shown them,” Fraser said. “We had to make sure they’re ready to have a scrimmage, but everyone looks on the same page now.”
Tickets are $5 for fans at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City.
Update #2: Here’s a clip of the Wings’ players training off the ice via RedWingsTV:
Update #3: Per the Red Wings:
RED WINGS PROSPECTS TO SCRIMMAGE IN TRAVERSE CITY
… Team Lidstrom and Team Zetterberg Square Off on Sunday Afternoon at 3:00 p.m. …
Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings today announced that the itinerary for Day 4 (Sunday, July 10) of the team’s Development Camp in Traverse City, Mich. will now include a scrimmage pitting Team Lidstrom against Team Zetterberg. Sunday’s intrasquad battle featuring several veteran Red Wings prospects as well as recent draft picks and free agent camp invitees will begin at 3:00 p.m. at Centre Ice Arena. Fans wishing to attend the match are able to purchase tickets for $5 apiece at the rink’s main entrance. Tomorrow’s morning practices (8:30 – 11:30 a.m.) are also open to the public. The rosters for the two teams of Red Wings Development Camp attendees set to hit the ice on Sunday can be found below:
Goalies: Thomas McCollum, Tyson Teichmann
Defensemen: Brendan Smith, Adam Almqvist, Danny Dekeyser, Max Nicastro, Richard Nedomlel, Ryan Sproul, Brad Walch
Forwards: Brent Raedeke, Gustav Nyquist, Trevor Parkes, Willie Coetzee, Landon Ferraro, Nick Oslund, Adam Estoclet, Dean Chelios, Julian Cayer, Casey Fraser
Goalies: Petr Mrazek, Evan Mosher
Defensemen: Brian Lashoff, Sebastien Piche, Travis Ehrhardt, Nick Jensen, Brian Rufenbach, Xavier Ouellet, Artem Sergeev, Jake Chelios
Forwards: Tomas Jurco, Louis-Marc Aubry, Mitch Callahan, Travis Novak, Brooks Macek, Alan Quine, Marek Tvrdon, Philippe Hudon, Zach Franko, Jesse Fraser
The Red Wings’ 2011 Prospect Development Camp will continue next week with on/off-ice sessions taking place in Traverse City Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (8:30 – 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.). This year’s camp wraps up on Thursday, July 14 with another intrasquad scrimmage as well as a skills competition (8:30 – 10:00 a.m.). More information on Traverse City ’s Centre Ice Arena can be obtained by visiting http://www.centreice.org.
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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.