The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/07/13 at 07:56 PM ET
I dared to take a "nap day" after spending a pair of sixteen-to-eighteen-hour affairs at the Red Wings' prospect camp, and it at least appears that the Red Wings players as well as their prospects decided to take Saturday off, too.
For the latter group, there's a slate of two games in two nights coming, and if the prospects don't build upon their win over Dallas by defeating St. Louis tomorrow night at 7 PM, things get complicated for the Howe division-leading Wings:
As noted by SYF, SlapShotGoal from Winging it in Motown posted video of last night's game on a period-by-period basis...
And she posted some comments about the players as well:
Marek Tvrdon looks like he shaking off the rust from missing most of last season. He not nearly as stiff as he was in development camp, and he actually has pretty good mobility to go along with that big powerful shot and skilled passing.
It's just incredilby hard to figure Tvrdon out. He's got all the tools to become a power forward, but having barely played over two of the past three seasons, and coming off a blood clot that literally required the removal of one of his ribs, he shows flashes of being a Tomas Kopecky-like player, but it's incredibly hard to figure him out.
Calle Jarnkrok played well and looks like he's starting to adjust, slowly but surely. I get the impression that he'll be slow to adjust but once he does, look out NHL. He's smooth, smart, seems to be good at faceoffs, and he's defensively sound. He's got all these skills and a ton of talent, he needs to continue working on becoming physically ready, and adjusting to the size and speed of the game, and when he does. Prepare for awesomeness!
I'm thinking similarly in terms of his adjustment to a smaller rink and really playing against the biggest, strongest and toughest players he's ever faced, but at the same time, he is nothing less than elite, elite, elite in terms of each and every part of his game. He's not going to wow you with rocket-driven speed like Athanasiou, bulldozing will like Frk, Pulkkinen's "holy slapper" or any sort of apparent physicality, but he does everything extremely well, he backs down from no challengers, and his playmaking skills are subtly fantastic, he's got a professional shot, his defensive awareness is remarkable and his wheels will get him from the offensive zone's end boards to a bail-out-backchecking position in his own zone in no time flat when necessary.
Frk, Pulkkinen and Jurco have very realistic 20-goal potential at the NHL level. Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul and Adam Almquist could be top-four defensemen. Riley Sheahan and Landon Ferraro could become superb two-way centers of ether the third or second-line variety, depending on how they develop going forward. We already know that Petr Mrazek can hack it as a goaltender.
But Calle Jarnkrok is by far the Red Wings' most important prospect.
Jared Coreau, stopped 17 of 19 shots, but he wasn't at the top of his game. This was his first game back after shoulder surgery though, and though his overall performance was very good, he struggled at times that were, I believe, uncharacteristic of him. Let's go ahead and get the obvious out of the way. He's big, and he looks big in front of the net. He's very good at using his big body, long legs, and wide reach to block pucks. He's not a puck handling goalie like Paterson, and he's not really acrobatic. He's big, he's there, and he efficient. He kind of makes the minimal moves necessary, recovers, stays composed, and doesn't let things get to him.
He was clunky, his glove hand was a bit off, he can get caught squeezing those long arms and legs together too tightly while facing shots in traffic, and he is never going to be a puck-handler, but he isn't just big--he's sound. His fundamentals are excellent, he knows how to use his size to his advantage and he is incredibly calm.
It wasn't just his first game back after surgery on his left rotator cuff, either. He hadn't played hockey since March, and really has had all of a week-and-a-half's worth of real practices where he can face shots and traffic (he was working out with the Wings and goalie coach Jim Bedard and Detroit for a few days previous to his appearance at the prospect tournament). He's also coming out of NCAA hockey, so we tend to forget that goaltenders also face that, "Oh shit, I'm playing against NHL-level talent and I totally don't have that extra half second to re-square-up!" learning curve.
As for the "big club," they're probably going to take both today and tomorrow off, and they're going to do so for a very good reason: on Tuesday, a little under half of the team's NHL roster will be making a community relations tour throughout the State of Michigan, and the rest will head up to Traverse City (they've previously taken buses to TC, but there's no word as to whether they're flying up to TC this time).
On either Tuesday or Wednesday, the team will conduct its physicals and take those ever-charming "mugshots"--which the prospects will also have taken of them--and on Wednesday, the team's taking part in its charity golf tournament.
After that, the schedule's pretty brutal, as noted by the Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindneau:
[Thursday] September 12th
9:30 am – 11:00 am – Team Lindsay on-ice workout (David’s)
11:00 am – 11:40 am – Team Delvecchio on-ice practice (David’s)
11:15 am – 12:15 pm – Team Lindsay off-ice workout
11:45 am – 1:00 pm – Scrimmage (Team Delvecchio vs. Team Howe / West Rink)
1:05 pm – 1:45 pm – Team Howe on-ice practice (David’s)
1:15 pm – 2:15 pm – Team Delvecchio off-ice workout
2:00 pm – 2:30 pm – Team Howe off-ice workout
[Friday] September 13th
9:30 am – 11:00 am – Team Delvecchio on-ice workout (David’s / West)
11:00 am – 11:40 am – Team Lindsay on-ice practice (David’s)
11:15 am – 12:15 pm – Team Delvecchio off-ice workout
11:45 am -12:15 pm – Scrimmage (Team Lindsay vs. Team Howe / West)
1:05 pm -1:45 pm – Team Howe on-ice practice (David’s)
1:15 pm – 2:30 pm – Team Lindsay off-ice workout
2:00 pm – 2:30 pm – Team Howe off-ice workout
[Saturday] September 14th
9:30 am – 11:00 am Team Howe on-ice workout (David’s / West)
11:00 am – 11:40 am Team Delvecchio on-ice practice
11:15 am – 12:15 pm Team Howe off-ice workout
11:45 am – 12:15 pm Scrimmage (Team Delvecchio vs. Team Lindsay / West)
1:05 pm – 1:45 pm Team Lindsay on-ice practice (David’s)
1:15 pm – 2:30 pm Team Delvecchio off-ice workout
2:00 pm – 2:30 pm Team Lindsay off-ice workout
7:00 pm Alumni / Celebrity Charity Game
[Sunday] September 15th
10:30 am – 10:45 am – Warm up
11:00 am – Red and White game
The Wings may make some initial cuts to their roster given that their junior-aged try-outs and junior-aged players will have been absent from their OHL, WHL, QMJHL, and in Rasmus Bodin's case, Swedish teams for 2 weeks.
[Monday] September 16th
10:00 am – 11:00 am – White team (game day players) pre-game skate (David’s)
11:30 am – 12:45 pm – Red team practice (non-game day players) practice (David’s / West)
1:00 pm – Red team off-ice workout
7:00 pm White team Vs. Pittsburgh
All of four days' worth of skating precede the first exhibition game, and the Wings' game-day players will fly out of Traverse City after the morning skate to tangle with the Penguins in Pittsburgh.
They'll then return to Traverse City, because...
[Tuesday] September 17th
10:30 am -11:15 am – White team (game day players pre-game skate) (David’s)
11:30 am -12:45 pm – Red team practice (non-game day players) practice (David’s / West)
1:00 pm players depart Traverse City
7:00 pm White team vs. Chicago
Again, the Wings' game-day players will have their morning skate in Traverse City, and will fly to Chicago to battle the Blackhawks.
At this point, the rest of the Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins will pack their gear up and probably take a charter flight out of Cherry Capital Airport to return to Joe Louis Arena.
The Wings play a third exhibition game in 4 nights on Thursday the 19th (I drive home and sleep on that day) in Boston, and after a day off (zzzz for me, practice for them)...
They host the Bruins on Saturday the 21st at 7, they host the Penguins on Sunday the 22nd at 5, they get two more days to practice--with significant cut-downs likely to happen as junior-aged players need to head back to their teams--and they'll engage in one final game where they're really rotating "A teams" and "B teams" as they host the Penguins on Wednesday the 25th.
The Wings and Griffins' rosters will split at this time, with the Griffins playing exhibition games against the Lake Erie Monsters in Plymouth, MI on the 28th and in Windsor, ON on the 29th, and then the Griffins will head back to Grand Rapids as their regular season begins with back-to-back games in Rochester, NY and Toronto, ON on the 4th and 5th of October...
And the Red Wings will engage in a pair of warm-up games against Toronto on Friday the 27th in Detroit and Saturday the 28th in Toronto.
By 5 PM on the 29th, the Wings will have to either place players on the LTIR or trade 2 bodies to get under the 23-man roster limit and be salary-cap compliant...
And Detroit's regular season begins with a home game against Buffalo on Wednesday, October 2nd and a pair of road games in Carolina on Friday, October 4th and in Boston on Saturday, October 5th.
That's a long haul, so these days off for the big club are essential. As we know, the Wings tend not to practice on Sundays, but the schedule's actually somewhat compacted thanks to the fact that the Sochi Olympics will shut the league down for two weeks, so the Wings have an incredibly busy long eight months ahead--prior to a playoff run.
I'd take the last whole weekend to myself and my family off if I could, too.
So MLive's Ansar Khan is asking readers to submit "ask Ansar" questions...
The Free Press's Helene St. James discussed the strange concept that is actually enjoying fall with one previously-Miami-based Stephen Weiss...
“It’s nice to be back here, this is what it’s supposed to be like,” Weiss said. “I’ve missed this.”
Weiss is from Toronto and played locally for the Plymouth Whalers, where he stood out so much the Panthers chose him fourth overall in 2001. While he had several good seasons individually with Florida, the Panthers are the complete opposite of the Wings: A team that doesn’t play past the regular season. Weiss has made one appearance so far, in 2012, to the tune of seven games.
This off-season, he signed a five-year, $24.5 million contract with the Wings, who have a 22-season playoff streak going. At 30 years old, Weiss wants more from hockey.
“I think the first few years in the league, you more so worry about yourself and make sure you’re able to stay in the league,” Weiss said. “Once you’ve established yourself, then it’s all about winning Stanley Cups. It wasn’t going to happen in Florida, and the next-best place is here, for me.”
Who readily admits that he's fine being the second-line center in Detroit:
“Sounds good to me,” Weiss said. “For the last few years I’ve been the no. 1 guy in Florida, so I’ve seen a lot of top lines and top defense, so for me to drop down a spot, that’s going to be great for me. I think Pavel and Z will see a lot of attention, and hopefully we can fly under the radar and do some damage. I just want to provide as much support for those guys as possible.”
In Grand Rapids, I'm sure we'll hear more about this shortly...
And some of the Wings' Tweets involved the football game going on right now, and some were more serious in tone:
And as an FYI:
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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.