The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/11/13 at 11:39 PM ET
The second day of the Detroit Red Wings' development camp will give way to a scrimmage at 5 PM on Friday (arrive early if you are attending), and that precedes an "off-day" for the players and the sale of training camp tickets on an in-person basis at Centre Ice Arena on Saturday.
As such, after the "getting-to-know-you" particulars of day 1, both the morning and afternoon sessions of day 2, in terms of the drills and the players' experiences, were something of an anomaly: There really is sort of a lingering effect of the lockout taking place here--because the draft was so late, because the prospect tournament comes so early, and because some of the first-run invitees ended up playing into June, this was prepared off-the-cuff and designed to be more of an "immersion" experience instead of what have previously been 8-to-10-day affairs.
The players will have ended up with four days of practice and a scrimmage, and while Sunday marks the return to nearly-two-hour practices, Monday's camp wrap-up will begin at 8:30 and end by 12:15.
The shortness of the camp isn't quite fair to the people who've begun to take this very seriously, however, and there are many voices taking part on a very consistent basis here.
Let's get the big news out of the way, and then continue along the, "More perspectives" narrative in a bit.
As noted this afternoon, the Red Wings named Tyler Wright their director of amateur scouting, replacing the outgoing Joe McDonnell, and they promoted Jeff Finley from a western scout to head scout.
MLive's Brendan Savage spoke to Ken Holland about the appointments on Thursday evening (I wonder if his interview with Holland was longer than mine?), and it should be noted that Wright "brought a friend" (with a similar hairline):
As Savage notes, the Wings have some young legs in the front office all of a sudden...
Wright, 40, replaces Joe McDonnell, who followed former Red Wings assistant G.M. Jim Nill to Dallas, while Dickson replaces Mark Leach, who also went to Dallas. Wright, a former NHL center, spent 13 seasons with Edmonton, Pittsburgh, Columbus and Anaheim before retiring after the 2005-06 season and becoming a scout with the Blue Jackets.
"I like that he's got experience scouting," Holland said Thursday night from Traverse City, where he and Wright were among about 20 people having dinner after the second day of the Red Wings Development Camp. "I like that he played in the National Hockey League. I like that he's got Jeff Finley as his right-hand man. Jeff Finley played for 17 years, he was an assistant coach in Kelowna of the Western Hockey League for three years and he's been scouting for us for three years.
"Between the two of them, we've got two guys who have played the game, have got experience at scouting and Tyler spent a year or two as the (development coach) for Columbus. They've got diverse experience and they've been in the game a long time."
Holland said the Red Wings have also hired Kelly Harper as a part-time scout in Toronto. Harper is friends with Kris Draper, the Red Wings special assistant to Holland. Harper spent eight years as an assistant coach and one season as co-coach in the OHL.
"I think we've got good coverage," Holland said. "Everybody is excited. Sometimes change is good. Change is good for Jim Nill and Jeff McDonnel and Mark Leach. Change is good for us."
And Michigan Hockey's Nick Barnowski also dutifly noted the change at the top:
“Just an opportunity to work with one of the best general managers in the game, it’ll be a good learning tool for myself but I think I can bring a lot to the organization,” Wright said.
He is currently in Traverse City with the team for their annual development camp.
Wright and new chief scout Jeff Finley will run Detroit’s draft.
“You have to do your due diligence and spend your time in a lot of not so glamorous,” Wright said, “but I think the payday is when these kids turn out to be good players. At the end of the day, it’s about winning and it’s about winning the Stanley Cup and I’ve never had that opportunity.”
Okay, back to the perspectives narrative:
The Free Press's George Sipple is here. The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan's been here. The Wings are obviously here, Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner's here, and I'm sure a few more folks will come for the weekend.
Nick Barnowski's been here covering the camp for Michigan Hockey and his own website, and he spoke with Jared Coreau about his transition from college life to that of a professional athlete (again, Coreau's participation has been limited due to a shoulder injury)...
“Not a terrible amount has changed in terms of what I do,” he said. “I’ve tried to live professionally the past four or five years but the people around you – instead of teammates saying ‘let’s go drink tonight’ it’s ‘let’s go workout,’ do something that’s going to get us better.”
His growing relationships with Red Wings goalie coach Jim Bedard and former Red Wing goalie Chris Osgood have helped him justify his choice in signing with Detroit.
“Jim and Chris are really good guys,” Coreau said. “They’re people too, they’re not just coaches. They joke around. They are really good guys.”
Although he can only practice in a limited role this week, he still has some goals he’d like to accomplish in his return to the northern Michigan area.
“This week I’m just trying to work hard, show what I can do, and meet new guys,” he said. “Coming up to the season just to compete for a job, I know I’m not going to step in and be given anything.”
Barnowski spoke to Luke Glendening about beginning his year here and ending it here, this time with an NHL contract to his name (and there's more from Glendning about Mike Babcock's praise for him as well)...
“It’s good to be back here,” he said. “It’s exciting, a lot of new faces, a lot of good players up here, it’s good to get back on the ice.”
Glendening said that he didn’t know what to expect as far as how quickly his professional career would progress.
“I started my year off in Toledo and it was great for my development in terms of just being around the game, learning how to be a pro,” he said. “I got called up to Grand Rapids and had an opportunity to play there and it was exciting for my team, it was a unique opportunity that we had there and that’s something we’ll be able to share with each other forever.”
After being called up by the Griffins about midway through the season, Glendening was moved to center, which he said helped him offensively.
“Obviously I played with some pretty good players this year as well and they put the puck in the net,” he said. “But I moved into the middle, and it’s giving me more of an opportunity to move the puck.”
"I want to see them. I want to see them, know who they are, and then tell them about the development plan with the Red Wings. Explain to them how much work it’s going to be, how long the process is, and how much fun it’s going to be the one day you actually put our uniform on. But understand, totally you’re a work in progress. As excited you should be about being a draft pick, you got to get better everyday or you’re not going to play."
Winging it in Motown is sort of the elephant in the room for me. They have a huge, expert staff and the assets of SB Nation at their disposal, and if it wasn't for being part of Kukla's Korner, I might be kind of rinky-dink by comparison.
- Martin Frk looks a bit bigger than he did last year; it looks like he's put on some muscle. He was pretty un-noticeable yesterday. This morning it looked like he struggled a little during the skating drills. It wasn't noticeable early on, but as the drills became more complicated, his pace slowed down noticeably and I could tell he was concentrating more. Skating isn't his strongest asset and it was even more noticeable while he was on the ice with some of the more foot-skilled players. He looked "off" during the two and three man rush drills, but he looked much better during the cross ice "scrimmage" drills. He tends to hunch a lot, when he's skating, when he's working with the passing/shooting drills, even to some extent when he's "playing". His hunching looked much more natural during the "stand in front of the net and deflect shots in" drill (which I will henceforth refer to as the "Homer Drill"). I may start referring to him as The Hunchback from now on.
- For such a big man, Ildar Telykov is a surprisingly good skater. He's smooth, and while I haven't had the chance to see him at full speed, he still has decent speed, especially for someone 6'9" and 216 pounds. His skating asset, added to his enormous size and his wicked hard shot, make this free agent tryout someone to keep an eye (or two) on.
- Rasmus Bodin also did very well in the skating drills. He's a big player (6'6" 207) and he's much more coordinated and competent using his size than he was last year. His hand eye coordination is also very good. Of all the players who participated in the Homer Drill, he caught my attention (in a good way) the most.
She's talking about the drills as well...
Watching Tomas Holmstrom demonstrate to the prospects how to get in front of a goalie and make their job more difficult is pure gold. There are the prospects, standing around watching Homer stick his butt in the goalie's face and do what he did for his whole NHL career. I suspect Homer enjoyed it. I'm really glad they have Homer working with these guys. Who better to teach them this invaluable skill than the best of the best?
I recorded more video from the second group of players, but it will take me some time to sort through, edit, and upload it to youtube. I'll post links when I get them up.
The format is different this year than it has been, and it's much quicker and more intense. In years past the players would spend more time with each segment of the on ice workouts, and they lasted twice as long. This year it's shorter, more intense bursts, and there are several things going on at once. It's a bit overwhelming to try to watch, analyze, understand, and interpret everything. Even with the aid of shooting video (to watch and analyze later) there's still so much I miss. Today there were 4 different groups doing different drills on the ice at once. It feels like I'm on overload trying to take in and process everything, but mostly in a good way.
Darren Helm did not skate with the second group today and will not play in the scrimmage tomorrow night.
And yes, she's got a frickin' YouTube channel, and this is just one of her videos from Day 2:
Hooked on Hockey Magazine's Kevin Sporka is here as well, and if you want instant interview gratification, he Twitter-transcribes interviews. At present, he's got a story from Day 1 up, including some high-resolution pictures of Jared Coreau's mask, as well as the following quotes:
First Round pick Anthony Mantha skated for the first time in a Red Wings uniform this afternoon, and realizes that nothing comes easily.
When asked what he thinks he needs to still work on, he said what everyone’s already heard before: “My compete level, being present every game. That’s the difference between being a professional and [being] a major junior guy.”
His shot was noticeable out there. He showed great accuracy in the shooting drills.
Red Wings great Tomas Holmstrom is hoping to make a positive impact on these young players. He emphasized the importance of going to the net and doing what he did for the whole of his career. “…You can’t [stand on the side of the net], even in practice,” Holmstrom said. “That’s where you learn.”
“At least one or two guys on each line need to go to the net. That’s where you score all the goals.”
While he accepted this role, he is not done coaching his kids’ team. The difference between coaching his kids’ team and these players? “Now you can yell at them (laughs).”
Then there is the Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindenau, who's been doing this from the get-go (she runs the official Red Wings Camps account for a reason--she's been covering training camp and the prospect tournaments for as long as they've been held in Traverse City), and she posted a photo gallery from the both today's morning and afternoon sessions, as well as a feature article about Martin Frk, who she found hadn't skated since he won the Memorial Cup as a member of the Halifax Mooseheads in May.
Frk's admittedly facing some mental as well as physical fatigue:
"I was home for maybe two weeks and that was enough,” he said. “It was a long season and I needed to get back to Montreal where I work out and stay there as long as I can before the September camps starts. I have a lot of work to do to get ready.”
While Frk knows a roster spot in Grand Rapids isn’t guaranteed, he’s hoping his willingness to play any role will help his chances. His defensive game is a work in progress, but he understands that playing a two-way game is a priority for the Red Wings especially at the next level.
“I feel good playing offensively and scoring goals,” he said. “But if the coaches want me on the third line playing defense then I will do it because I want to help the team. Detroit always emphasizes defense first, so I know I have to play much better defensively.”
Frk, who was Detroit’s 49th overall selection in the 2012 NHL draft, didn’t get a chance to participate in the NHL prospects tournament or Red Wings training camp last season due to the lockout. Even though this years camps will be a new experience, he is confident that his Memorial Cup and World Junior experiences prove he is more than ready for the pro game.
“At the September camps, I want to try to show the coach that I am ready to play,” he said. “I have a lot of work to do this summer, but it’s up to me to show how I improve or how I get better so I can get to the next level. I hope to come back in September and do my best to make the team and hopefully have a good year with Grand Rapids.”
I'm aware of these folks, but I know that others are taking videos of, say, the Bertuzzi fight, as TMR readers have pointed out, and just as this blogger is reader-supported and content-driven, more perspectives and more content give Wings fans broader context with which to base their opinions of what's taking place, so if you want to plug your stuff and you want me to post it here, regardless of whether you're going to be here for the weekend, or you will be here in the fall for the prospect tournament and/or main camp, the more the merrier.
Heading back to the "MSM," the Free Press's George Sipple posted a video interview with Alexei Marchenko...
Sipple also transcribed Marchenko's discussion about playing alongside Pavel Datsyuk with CSKA Moscow, and he added a quip about Helm...
Forward Darren Helm participated in a 45-minute session Thursday but did not participate in a second session, which involved contact drills. Helm, 26, played in only one game last season due to a back injury. He skated for the first time in two months Wednesday.
Wings general manager Ken Holland said because Helm hasn’t been skating recently “we’re moving in baby steps the first couple of days.”
And he spoke with Martin Frk as well:
Frk (6 feet, 203 pounds) set career highs with 35 goals and 49 assists for 84 points in 56 games for Halifax. He also had 13 goals and 20 assists in 17 playoff games.
He played with two highly touted forwards — Nathan MacKinnon, who was selected No. 1 overall by the Colorado Avalanche in the recent draft, and Jonathan Drouin, who was taken third overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Asked if he thinks he’s ready to move on to the NHL, Frk, who’s from the Czech Republic, said: “Oh, I don’t know if I’m ready — I will see in September if I’m ready.”
The Traverse City Record-Eagle's Dennis Chase posted a classic "teaser" for a Friday feature story on the Wings' turnover on the blueline...
"It's been a major overhaul in terms of age," Wings GM Ken Holland said Thursday at the team's Development Camp at Centre ICE.
The transformation was kicked into overdrive last season when Nicklas Lidstrom retired; Brad Stuart opted to return to the West Coast, where his family was living; and marquee free agent Ryan Sutter turned down the Wings to sign with Minnesota.
The two veteran free agents the Wings brought in, Ian White and Carlo Colaiacovo, played sparingly down the stretch.
Instead, the Wings defense, anchored by Nik Kronwall and Ericsson, relied on fresh faces that included Kyle Quincey (27), Jakub Kindl (26), Brendan Smith (24), Danny DeKeyser (23) and Brian Lashoff (22).
"I look at last year and we finished fifth in the league in goals against," Holland said. "Down the stretch, when we had to make the playoffs in our last 11 games, we allowed 14 goals in regulation. Our young defensemen we're learning on the fly. At times, there were some growing pains. Maybe they made decisions that led to goals against, but there is no other way to go about building a team."
And 7&4 Today's Harrison Beeby sat down with Centre Ice Arena's director of Wings activies, one Ann Reeves about the history of the Wings' presence in Traverse City and the summer development camp (and who knew that the prospects were taking yoga classes?):
This is the only time I hope I read this headline: Force trade for Babcock, from the Fargo InForum:
The Fargo Force acquired Mike Babcock Jr. from the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders Thursday for a 2014 United States Hockey League draft pick. Babcock Jr. is the son of Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock in the NHL.
Babcock Jr. had 18 goals and 24 assists in his senior season at Detroit Catholic Central. Before the season, he played in the Michigan Developmental Hockey League. He was drafted by Cedar Rapids in the 2011 Futures Draft with the 68th overall pick and played in five USHL games for the RoughRiders.
Babcock Jr. recently committed to play college hockey at Merrimack College following his USHL career. He is currently participating in the Detroit Red Wings Prospect Camp and will be eligible for the NHL Draft in 2014.
The Grand Rapids Griffins kind of sort of got a new Central Time opponent, because the AHL realigned on Thursday to accommodate the Utica Comets' addition, and Grand Rapids will now face off in a Midwest Division with the Iowa Stars, the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs and Milwaukee Admirals (the Houston Aeros relocated to Iowa and the Peoria Rivermen folded);
For what it's worth, the Hockey News's Adam Proteau believes that the Wings have had the "second-best off-season" in the NHL..
Red Wings. Ken Holland didn’t become one of the league’s canniest GMs by accident and he has proved it again – not only with the coup of landing former Senators staple Daniel Alfredsson and ex-Panthers center Stephen Weiss, but also traded down in the draft and selected Anthony Mantha, the Canadian Hockey League’s only 50-goal scorer this past season. Few team architects deal with the demands of the present and the future as well as Holland.
For what it's worth, part 2:
Former Ottawa Senators owner Bruce Firestone posited a letter to the Ottawa Citizen stating that he'll still cheer for Daniel Alfredsson (and you may read it on your own)...
In the Twitter department:
1. Yes, this is what Tyler Bertuzzi sounds like when he talks:
3. Somebody's been to the Left Wing Lock:
4. This is just cool:
5. And this is what some of the players, most of the coaches and management and some of the bloggers but not this one are doing in their down time:
I sleep. Honestly, I've been up to this city for three summers now (and one fall), and I haven't seen much of it other than driving to and from the rink.
In the, "You'll seek what you find, so be careful" department, as I've been up since 6 AM and it's 12:27 AM as I write this (I think I will sleep in today given no morning skate), Pavel Datsyuk spoke with Championat.ru's Sergey Gavrilov.
It's too late to try to translate it, but Datsyuk--tongue planted firmly in Russian-speaking cheek--stated:
1. That even if he could have signed with the Ak Bars Kazan as well as the Wings, he would have signed a contract extension with Detroit anyway, and he's happy that he did so;
2. He's still learning English, but Swedish isn't a problem (wink);
3. He makes some jokes about needing English tutors, but instead, he says that he does bring his friends over to North America on occasion, though he comes home in the summer to see them;
4. He's asked about the Sochi Olympics and says that he would prefer to talk about the Universiade in Kazan, which he attended the openings of and enjoyed, and...
5. A lot of banter later, he ends up mentioning Vladimir Krikunov, who was indeed the man who gave him his chance with Yekaterinburg's Dynamo-Energiya, who's also a resident of Kazan;
6. And I'm not good at translating Russian figures of speech, so I'll leave this one to you:
Question: [You are the] two-time winner of the Stanley Cup, [a] world champion, [and a] Olympic bronze medalist: How, in your opinion, is this justified by the pursuit of sport and other authorities at all costs to win the Kazan Universiade?
Datsyuk: If you are taking part in the Universiade, these students [who are taking part are] studying in colleges and universities, [so] all members of the Universiade [have the] same conditions. Anyone can shoot. On the other hand, the victory is valuable, which is not achieved at any cost, and in a fair fight. Where honesty, there is victory.
That's all I can do with that one right now. Sorry. :/
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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.