The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/09/14 at 03:40 PM ET
The Wings' summer development camp was a grind-and-a-half, but it was also a fascinating experience, and the Red Wings' prospects have been Tweeting "heading home" Tweets which thank the most important people in Traverse City--the volunteers at Centre Ice Arena, who donate a week of their summer vacation and their July 4th holiday to showing up at the rink at 6 AM and faciliating the prospects' needs until 9 or 10 PM.
Regardless of whether we're talking about the summer camp of the fall prospect touranment, the volunteers treat every attendee as if they're Henrik Zetterberg or Pavel Datsyuk, and they treat schulbs like me like I'm an MVP, too. I always leave camp profoundly moved by how hard they work for free.
In terms of this afternoon's Red Wings-related news stories...
Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill spoke with Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery a litlte earlier this afternoon, discussing his 3-year contract extension, his impressions of the summer development camp, the crop of 4 superb prospects on the Griffins' blueline in Mattias Backman, Alexey Marchenko, Xavier Ouellet and Ryan Sproul, the possibility that some of those players or an Anthony Mantha might make the Wings' roster this fall, and his take on the "mistakes made" on July 1st is smart.
He points out that more often than not, teams end up regretting their deals, and while he takes the defend-the-Quincey-signing tack, he suggests that the Wings' health is the most important part of their personnel equation--and he's not a fan of this whole right-shot-is-essential-for-the-Wings-to-improve debate.
He's also directly asked about Anthony Mantha, and he says that he won't estimate Mantha's probability of becoming an NHL player right now, but he feels that Mantha was the best player in any of the CHL (the 3 Major Junior leagues), and he feels that Mantha's going to be a special player at some point as he possesses a Johan Franzen-style natural shooting ability, but he feels that it's up to Mantha to prove that his potential is worth an NHL spot:
Blashill also mentioned the development of Alexey Marchenko and the factoring in of his ankle surgery as a slight developmental setback. Michigan Hockey's Nick Barnowski penned an emptying-the-notebook article about Marchenko's recovery:
The promising Red Wings prospect had offseason surgery on his ankle and voluntarily reported to camp this past weekend in Traverse City. He said that the ankle is recovering well.
“It’s feeling better and better,” Marchenko said. “I think it should be good in a couple of weeks for sure.”
Although he did not participate in a full practice during the camp, the 6-foot-2 defenseman skated on his own Sunday morning. He did some basic skating drills and helped warmup the goalies with shots prior to practice.
“The first skate was rough a little bit,” he said. “Today’s way better than yesterday.”
The Moscow, Russia, native, is vying for a spot on the Red Wings this upcoming season. He excelled with the Griffins in his North American professional debut last year. Marchenko earned a spot in the AHL All-Star Game and had 18 points in 49 games. February surgery to repair a high ankle sprain ended his season early.
“I think it was okay before the injury,” he said of his season. “It was a good experience to get ready for the NHL. We had a great team and great guys around so it helps a lot.”
Six of the Wings' seven 2014 draft picks attended the summer development camp, but goaltender Chase Perry wasn't able to attend. The NAHL posted a press-release-y tale about Perry's performance with the NAHL's Wentachee Wild leading to the Wings' decision to draft the Colorado College-committed goaltender:
As the old saying goes, a lot of things can happen in just eight months. Alright, so maybe it's not really an old saying at all and the part about eight months isn't exactly true of just anybody. But it certainly is for one Chase Perry, who in the brief span of only 282 days went from understudy to number one goaltender on his junior hockey club, signed a scholarship award to a Division 1 college and was selected in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
It all began back on September 19th of 2013, when the 6-foot-2 191-pound North Dakota native assumed his position in the blue paint as a starter for the first time with the NAHL's Wenatchee Wild at the league's annual Showcase Tournament to open the season.
And on that late summer evening at an indoor pond only 10 minutes away from where he played high school hockey, Perry notched his first victory as a member of the junior ranks. Against the Minnesota Wilderness, he turned aside 26-of-27 shots through the game's first 65 minutes and went on to stop 4-of-6 during the shootout, all at the tender age of 17 years and 222 days.
From there, Perry went on to prevail in two of his next three starts as well, including his first of two shutouts on the season in Minot, North Dakota on October 4th against the Tauros.
It was an auspicious start to a season that also featured it's share of ups and downs. Through all of the highs and lows however, Perry's humble confidence and steady determination won out, as he learned from his mistakes and reveled respectfully at his successes. It's an attitude and a culture that is unmistakable about both the player and the person Perry is, and he credits his father for much of what he has learned about being both.
By late January, with Perry still a couple of weeks shy of turning 18, the departure of his 20-year-old teammate and fellow netminder Gustaf Johansson, allowed him to take over the reigns for the remainder of the season as the club's number one goaltender.
Perry's initial stretch as the Wild's go-to-guy between the pipes went phenomenally well and saw him win four of his first five starts, including a three-game sweep on the road over the rival Kenai River Brown Bears, during which he halted 81-of-88 shots over 190 minutes and denied 7-of-9 overall in consecutive shootout victories to open the series.
The press release continues...
And finally, Winging it in Motown's JJ From Kansas (you might have heard of him) asked Japers Rink's namesake and Becca H whether a certain Mike Green is as wobbly on defense as we've been told. Amongst J.P.'s response to said suggestion:
What I'd say is "it depends." If you're asking about a traditional definition of defending, then Green's not really your guy. He's made strides there, but he's not necessarily the situational D you'd want to deploy for a faceoff in your own zone with a one-goal lead and 30 ticks left on the clock.
He won't appease the "Coffey sucked" crowd and can be maddeningly frustrating at times, but he's a hell of a hockey player and a very valuable one for teams that value things like "outscoring opponents" and "winning."
The trio continue, and I have a feeling that you will continue to weigh in as to whether Green, Tyler Myers, etc. are worth the price of trade compensation.
Update: Part the First:
And the AHL approved a divisional realignment which will see the Chicago Wolves rejoin the Griffins' division...
As well as a 5-game format for both the first and second rounds of the playoffs:
The format for the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs has also been approved by the Board of Governors and remains the same as 2014: Eight teams in each conference will qualify for the postseason, with the three division winners earning the top three seeds and the next five best teams in order of regular-season points seeded fourth through eighth. The conference quarterfinals will be best-of-five series; the conference semifinals, conference finals and Calder Cup Finals will be best-of-seven series. Teams will be re-ordered after the first round so that the highest-remaining seed plays the lowest-remaining seed.
The playing schedule for the 2014-15 regular season, which begins Oct. 10, will be announced later this summer.
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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.