The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/03/14 at 11:56 PM ET
The Red Wings' summer development camp starts on Friday morning, and its July 4th-to-8th timeline (tomorrow's events are short-Team Yzerman will practice from 10-11 and Team Lidstrom will practice from 11-12; there's a simultaneous-team practice from 9-9:45 and then a 3 PM scrimmage on Saturday, with the long "skills" days taking place on Sunday and Monday [on-ice from 9-11:45], and a scrimmage wraps things up on the 8th) is the earliest I can remember since I started attending the camps back in 2008...
Given the Red Wings' suddenly-predictably tepid July 1st performance, however, I think that an "early camp" might be for the best.
This particular camp's try-outs are mostly NCAA-playing prospects, which means that unless the Wings choose to sign them to contracts, they won't be at the fall prospect tournament. The camp's slowly transitioned away from strict on-ice skill development to more and more "behind-the-scenes" stuff that matters just as much--training (the Wings bring up strength and conditioning coach Peter Renzetti for a reason), stretching, nutrition, dealing with our social media-saturated world and actually enjoying the Cherry Festival, too--so it's become more of a challenge for people covering the event via locker-room chats, but every year, the team tries to make it a more holistic (emphasis on "whole" as opposed to body-mind-peace stuff) experience.
Ahead of tomorrow's activities, the 7&4 News's Harrison Beeby spoke with Wings' Event Director, Anne Reeves--and some kid named Dylan Larkin--about the event...
The Grand Rapids Griffins posted a press release reminding fans that one current Griffin and several turning-pro Griffins will take part in the camp...
Several players with Grand Rapids Griffins playing experience are slated to take part in the Detroit Red Wings’ 2014 Development Camp, which will take place at Centre ICE Arena in Traverse City, Mich., from July 4-8.
The camp, which consists of on-ice and off-ice workouts, as well as scrimmages on Saturday, July 5 and Tuesday, July 8, will feature a total of 44 players, seven of whom spent time with the Griffins during the 2013-14 season: forwards Andreas Athanasiou and Zach Nastasiuk; defensemen Alexey Marchenko, Marc McNulty and Richard Nedomlel; and goaltenders Jared Coreau and Jake Paterson. Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill and assistant coach Jim Paek will work alongside Detroit’s coaching staff during the camp.
Also in attendance will be right wing Anthony Mantha, Detroit’s 2013 first-round draft pick who led the Canadian Hockey League in scoring last season, and forward Tomas Nosek, a recent Detroit free agent signing who led his Czech professional team in scoring during the 2013-14 campaign. Both Mantha and Nosek could make their Griffins debuts this season.
The complete Red Wings Development Camp roster and schedule can be found here.
Or on the Left Wing Lock, where Sarah Lindenau's got the schedule, the details of the training camp fax ticket sale (on July 8th; in-person sales start on July 7th), bios of the try-outs, the roster and the team-by-team breakdown.
Cue the Griffins' PR PR:
Group tickets for eight guaranteed home dates at Van Andel Arena are now on sale along with 2014-15 season ticket packages. Single-game tickets will go on sale to the public in September. Fans can secure their full-season, select-season or group ticket packages by calling (616) 774-4585 ext. 2 or visit griffinshockey.com for more information.
2014 Detroit Red Wings Development Camp Schedule
Friday, July 4 (Admission: $5)
9:45 – 10:30 a.m. – off-ice workout (Lidstrom group)
10 – 11 a.m. – on-ice workout (Yzerman group)
11 a.m. – Noon – on-ice workout (Lidstrom group)
11:15 a.m. – Noon – off-ice workout (Yzerman group)
Saturday, July 5 (Admission: $5)
9 – 9:45 a.m. – on-ice workout (both groups)
2:15 – 3 p.m. – off-ice workout (both groups)
3 – 5 p.m. – scrimmage (both groups)
Sunday, July 6 (Admission: $5)
8:45 – 9:30 a.m. – off-ice workout (Lidstrom group)
9 – 10:45 a.m. – on-ice skill development/power skating/practice (Yzerman group)
10 – 11:45 a.m. – on-ice skill development/power skating/practice (Lidstrom group)
11 – 11:45 a.m. – off-ice workout (Yzerman group)
Monday, July 7 (Admission: $5)
8:45 – 9:30 a.m. – off-ice workout (Yzerman group)
9 – 10:45 a.m. – on-ice skill development/power skating/practice (Lidstrom group)
10 – 11:45 a.m. – on-ice skill development/power skating/practice (Yzerman group)
11 – 11:45 a.m. – off-ice workout (Lidstrom group)
Tuesday, July 8 (Admission: $5)
11 – 12:30 p.m. – scrimmage (both groups)
12:45 – 2 p.m. – off-ice workout (both groups)
My coverage of the summer camp is always designed to be interactive. Please do ask me any questions you might have in terms of observations, player questions and the content. Leave a comment, send me a Tweet, post a comment on TMR's Facebook page or send me an email at georgemalik at kuklaskorner dot com.
As Paul noted, the Wings got "good news" regarding Stephen Weiss's status, with the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness reporting that Piet Van Zant went to Toronto to watch Weiss skate (Weiss spends his offseason in Toronto, and he trains with Gary Roberts), and Pleiness also noted that Holland's hoping that a healthy Weiss can be an impact player (with 4 years remaining on his contract, at $4.9 million a season, I'm hoping that he can be an impact player, too):
“Certainly Stephen Weiss was signed to be an important part of our team,” Holland added. “We were looking on him to provide secondary scoring.”
When training camp began, Weiss was slated to center another newcomer, Daniel Alfredsson, and Johan Franzen.
“We were hoping that line would provide us the secondary scoring we needed because this league is hard to score in.,” Holland said. “The last two years we haven’t been able to score at the level we feel we have to be to compete at the top of the conference.”
Injuries have been a common occurrence for Weiss, who had scored 20 or more goals four times in his last seven seasons in Florida, missing the final 26 games of the 2012-13 season with a wrist injury.
“He’s had a tough couple of years,” Holland said. “Mike Babcock and I had a great conversation with many of our players about the importance of having a great offseason and coming to camp understanding there’s a competition for ice time and a competition for jobs.
“We think there’s going to be a real competition to be in the lineup every night,” Holland continued. “We just need to stay healthy.”
Ain't that the truth.
You might not be surprised that the "poor grades" for Holland's free agency showing kept rolling in on Thursday, with ESPN's Scott Burnside suggesting that the Red Wings have been left "looking for some magic"...
Detroit Red Wings
What happened to the Wings' cachet? Matt Niskanen and Dan Boyle both eschewed the once mighty Red Wings in favor of Washington and the New York Rangers, respectively. Could Mike Green help if he's deemed expendable by the Caps? Maybe, but that costs assets and the Wings are just now seeing some of their top young players emerge as NHLers. The last thing GM Ken Holland wants to do is to offload youth for a guy like Green whose impact would be questionable. Can the Red Wings return to the playoffs without getting some significant help along the blue line? Our guess is no.
And Yahoo Sports' Greg Wyshynski stated the obvious:
Detroit Red Wings
As we chronicled here, the Wings had one target – a right-handed, puck-moving defenseman – and whiffed on all the top options on the market, despite offering more to Dan Boyle than the Rangers did. But hey, Kyle Quincey’s getting $4.25 million against the cap. GRADE: D-
D-minus? Where's the F-plus when you need it?
But again, we head back to one of Paul's posts while I was in stop-and-go traffic from south of Flint to north of West Branch, in which WDIV's David Bartkowiak Jr. asked whether Wings fans should calm down given that the team has a good core in place (defensive warts included), and he did address the elephant in the living room--the Mike Commodore-backed theory that it's Mike Babcock who's driving players away from Detroit:
Mike Babcock happens to be one of the best coaches -- if not the best -- in the league, and he's proven it at every level. The league knows it. Players know it. He's the reason the 22-year playoff streak was extended to 23, whether that matters to you or not.
If we can agree free agents aren't waiting in line to come to Detroit, then we must focus on the truth, not some absurd theories about player-coach relationships, or that guys don't want to play at the archaic Joe Louis Arena. Yeah, people have said that. As if the players have to wait in line for the bathroom.
The truth is the Red Wings aren't a great free agency destination right now for veterans looking to win a Stanley Cup this season, or even next. They aren't one of the most powerful teams in the league.
There's no arguing about that fact, but it's not because the "system has failed" or the "coach is a jerk." Moreover, it's definitely not because Holland wants some insurance on defense so he signed Quincey, one of the more serviceable guys available.
There's one particularly social media-savvy player who thinks that way, and I would bet that his representative is shooing clients away from Detroit as well, and that's the problem with employing a divisive coach: the players who love playing for him stick around, and those who don't say very bad things.
What am I saying?
Just as the Windsor Star's Bob Duff pointed out that the outside-of-Detroit media coverage of the city at the heart of a Metropolitan Area where over 4 million people live is an issue, and Duff pointed out that the Wings' rink doesn't exactly wow visiting players (let's just say the visitors' locker room doesn't look like the home team's facility), there's enough of an undercurrent regarding a coach who didn't do anything on 24/7--as a main character and narrator--to make you or I believe that he's any more or less demanding thatn we've already suspected, and in fact, painted Babcock as someone who at least cares about keeping his players engaged and even loose in his Alpha-Male-With-A-Capital-A way...
Well, if the rumors are bad enough, it's up to the Red Wings to quash those rumors, to use the "wining and dining period" to explain how things really work, what the players really think about playing in Detroit, living in the suburbs, going to the rink on a daily basis and playing for that damn coach.
The Wings can't count on full or partial season ticket-holders to come down and spend their money without some perks (and I wish that the Wings would give even a tenth of those perks to the average fan), they can't afford to do anything less than "sell" players on coming to Detroit when the money is equal and "pairity" is here to stay.
I say that because the "rumors" and facts also state that Matt Niskanen wanted to play for Barry Trotz and wanted to play on Ovechkin's team, that Dan Boyle came to New York in no small part because they made the Stanley Cup Final, and in no small part because his buddy Martin St. Louis was there, that Anton Stralman chased more money and term than the Wings were willing to give, and that while Christian Ehrhoff might suggest that he wants to play on a team with Crosby and Malkin, the fact that Marcel Goc and the newly-signed Thomas Greiss kommt aus Deutschland (are from Germany) played into his decision-making, too.
From Thomas Vanek (who signed in Minnesota for less money to be in Minnesota) to Matt Moulson (who liked what he saw in Buffalo and went back there) to the Niskanens, Boyles, Stralmans and Ehrhoffs, there was a hook, something that convinced the players that, with the money being more or less equal, they were going to land in a certain spot, and the Wings have to plant some of those hooks and start using their players to dispel some myths and remind them that a new rink's 1-to-2 years off.
The Red Wings are still a good team to play for, and they do have a strong core of front-line offensive players and young defensemen in waiting.
The Wings also have some warts on their third defensive pairing, even with Kyle Quincey back in the fold, and unless the Boston Bruins are willing to alleviate their cap problems by trading Matt Bartkowski to a division rival, "the inside scoop" suggests that Niskanen's made Mike Green expendable in the Capitol City, and as such, ESPN's Craig Custance believes that coach Trotz might be convinced to give up on the whole "Mike Green Reclaimation Project" scenario (and this is an Insider-only entry):
Mike Green, D, Washington Capitals
There was heavy demand on the market for defensemen who are a right-handed shot, and guys like Matt Niskanen, Dan Boyle, Anton Stralman and Tom Gilbert got snapped up quickly. Now, with the massive spending on defense in Washington, it’s fair to wonder if the Capitals would consider an offer on their righty Mike Green. Colleague Pierre LeBrun reported mixed answers from general managers on whether they believed Green was available. He’s entering the final year of his contract that comes with a cap hit of $6 million and is slightly higher in real dollars.
The Capitals have eight defensemen signed, and trading Green would clear up money to spend on help at center or be the ammunition that helps land one. He’s coming off a rough season in which he finished a minus-16, but plugged into the right system, he could thrive. A team like Colorado, where head coach Patrick Roy is aggressive in giving his defensemen the green light, would be a great fit. So would Detroit, another team in need of a right-handed-shot defenseman.
During his meeting with the local media on Tuesday, [Capitals GM Brian] MacLellan said Green fits into the team’s future, suggesting that new acquisition Brooks Orpik might stabilize his game.
“He’s a good player,” MacLellan said of Green. “He had a little bit of struggles with injuries last year. He had an OK year. But we’re hoping to get him back on track.”
Green has a limited no-trade clause, and as of Tuesday evening, Washington hadn’t approached his camp on that front.
I don't know what's going to happen between now and the trade deadline, but if I look at the remaining free agent defensemen available, I think that it's far more likely that the Wings will go to training camp prepared to give Mattias Backman, Alexey Marchenko, Xavier Ouellet and Ryan Sproul (if not Nick Jensen) "good, long looks' before considering whether to make a trade before the regular season begins--assuming that the team doesn't simply allow injuries and opportunity to play out in such a way as to "organically" fill their defensive deficiencies before making a final decision as to whether help is necessary next March.
Plymouth Whalers General Manager Mark Craig announced today the commitment of 15-year-old center Will Bitten, who was taken by the Whalers in the first round (seventh overall) of the 2014 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.
Bitten turns 16-years-old on July 10.
“Will’s exactly the kind of player we need,” said Plymouth Whalers Head Coach Don Elland. “I love the fact that when he doesn’t have the puck – in spite of his size - he’ll do whatever he can to get it back. He’s a very good playmaker. Given time, we think Bitten will become a very good player in the Ontario Hockey League.”
Bitten scored 36 goals and 42 assists for 78 points in 29 games as captain of the Ottawa Jr. 67’s minor midgets last season. He added five goals with five assists for 10 points in six games last spring in the OHL Cup tournament. He was named Minor Hockey Player of the Year for the Ontario East Minor Hockey League.
In 2012-13, Bitten scored 29 goals with 25 assists for 54 points in 30 games for the Ottawa 67’s bantams. In 2011-12, Bitten scored 30 goals with 33 assists for 63 points in 28 games for the Ottawa 67’s bantam minors.
After playing in Ottawa, Bitten hoped to be taken by his hometown team. But the 67’s chose left wing Travis Barron with the third overall pick in the OHL Priority Selection.
And for now, that's what I've got for you. I had a long travel day and I need to go to bed so that I can be up and at the rink on Friday. I can't promise that I'll get everything done or every angle covered, but I can promise that I will do my best.
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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.