The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/18/12 at 10:50 PM ET
Three members of the Detroit Red Wings--and two who still remain in North America--can't practice with their teammates when the locked-out Wings resume practicing next week. Damien Brunner, who's headed back to Switzerland for a bit, Gustav Nyquist and Brendan Smith have all been assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins, and thanks to the NHL's lockout policies, the gents have to find their own places to skate and train until the Griffins' camp opens on October 1st.
While Brunner's essentially a pro player who needs to find out whether he can hack the pace and intensity of North American hockey, and Smith defines the term "overripe," Nyquist may actually benefit from working on his strength, conditioning and shooting in the AHL, as he acknowledged to MLive's Ansar Khan:
“It’s a great place, and we’ll get (former Red Wings assistant coach) Jeff Blashill as the coach now,'' Nyquist said. “It worked for me last year, and it’s a great group of guys there, so I’m just excited to start playing.''
Nyquist is doubtlessly right up there with Teemu Pulkkinen and Calle Jarnkrok as the jewels in the "next generation of Red Wings star forwards" crown, but as he's undersized and still inexperienced, which has Wings GM Ken Holland both excited about his Nyquist's potential and is a little concerned about his
“I told him at the end of the year we're going to give him an opportunity to play with our higher-end players in training camp and in preseason,'' Holland said. “A lot of things he does you can't teach – the patience with the puck, the ability to find people in the offensive zone. He plays hard. He does a lot of things Pav and Z do, where he strips the puck and all of a sudden you're looking for something to happen. He's got some gifts.''
“He's got great hockey sense, he can see the ice, he can pass, he can pull up, but if you want to play with the Zetterbergs and Datsyuks you've got to pull the trigger,'' Holland said.
“We think he can be a top-six forward,'' Holland said. “Is it now, or is there still some evolution of the player that needs to go on? We need to get on the ice and play against other teams to see.''
Holland added, “Look at Pav; his first (two) years in the league he had 11 and 12 goals and he became a 30-goal scorer. (Nyquist) can do it, but how quick is it going to happen?''
The good news is that Nyquist is enthusiastic as can be about putting in the work necessary to succeed as a pro:
“I’ve worked a lot with (team strength and conditioning coach Pete Ranzetti), on the phone, email and Skype,'' Nyquist said. “We’ve mixed and matched from what I’m used to as well as from my programs at (Maine). It’s just taking the time. There are no short-cuts.”
As for his need to shoot more, Nyquist said, “We have some pretty good playmakers up here, so you have to have someone who can shoot the puck. I’ve been working on that a lot.”
In other news, as noted earlier today, the Red Wings have chosen to hold a youth hockey camp in Traverse City this weekend, which is all but certain to be a precursor to canceling the team's main camp, as the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan suggests:
Red Wings training camp hasn’t been cancelled yet, but it will be soon.
That’s obvious with the annoucement the Red Wings will hold a youth clinic Saturday morning at Centre ICE Arena in Traverse City.
The Wings were scheduled to have intra-squad scrimmages that morning for the start of training camp. But the NHL’s lockout put an end to that schedule.
As for the youth clinic, some of the Red Wings coaches, including assistant coaches Bill Peters and Keith McKittrick and goaltending coach Jim Bedard, and former players Chris Chelios and Chris Osgood will provide instruction for kids age seven to 14.
“The Centre ICE management and staff is very excited the Detroit Red Wings organization and ITC are offering this free youth hockey clinic to our hockey association and the Grand Traverse area,” Centre ICE Executive Director Terry Marchand said. “After sending out the word of this free clinic, we filled it within hours.”
Put bluntly, I understand that the Wings are trying to help Traverse City businesses by allowing them to keep fans' hotel room deposits in their accounts for as long as possible--possibly spurning a, "Hey, we took the time off, let's have a four-day weekend in the Grand Traverse Area as fall begins" slate of vacations, but most hotels charge for the first day's stay if you don't cancel by Thursday, and a Friday night's stay in Traverse City can cost over $200. It's not fair to ask fans to swallow that cost.
The Wings' annual charity golf tournament in TC has already been canceled--I looked "cancel" up in the dictionary, and "cancellation" and "cancelation" and/or "canceling" and "cancelling" are both accepted forms of the verb--but the Ted Lindsay Foundation held a charity golf tournament to raise funds for autism research recently, and the Red Wings' website very delicately covered the event, speaking to Lindsay and Wings alums while delicately attempting to avoid showing active Red Wings players..
Which they're prohibited from doing during the lockout. Very sad, but at least the Wings and the players were in the same place doing their part for charity:
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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.