The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/10/13 at 09:30 AM ET
The Detroit Red Wings' summer development camp kicks off today with a slate of short practices from 12-12:50 and 1-1:50 PM (take note, campers: Thursday and Sunday's two-a-day morning practices start at 8 AM, not the customary 8:30 AM, so adjust your alarm clocks accordingly), and while the vast majority of its participants consist of players who are turning pro with the Grand Rapids Griffins this year and a long list of free agent try-outs...
The most notable skater involved will find himself attempting to round back into shape while working alongside players who are anywhere between four to six years younger than he is. Darren Helm's going to test his long-ailing back under what's quite honestly a remarkably fast-paced set of drills and some downright grueling off-ice training under the guidance of Wings strength and conditioning coach Peter Renzetti.
This isn't exactly make-or-break-it time for Helm, but he told MLive's Brendan Savage that he's battling a slight case of the butterflies as he prepares to begin his off-season training regimen in early July, all after missing the 2013 season with chronic back issues:
"I'm excited," Helm said this week. "I'm looking forward to going up to Traverse. I'm a little nervous until I get on the ice for the first time in a long time. I'm not too nervous with my back. We're going to take it pretty slow, just progressively add more things. I don't think we're going to push it too hard the first couple of days. It's going to be a slow moving process. I might be more nervous skating. There might be a couple of kids out there proving things and I've got to prove some things to myself that I can still play hockey."
After today's first on-ice practice there will be two on-ice and off-ice workouts per day Thursday, Sunday and Monday. A scrimmage is the only thing on Friday's agenda and Saturday is an off day.
Savage reports that Helm hasn't worked out since he stopped working on an elliptical machine and taking short skates with the Wings during their second-round series against the Blackhawks, and he's healing...Slowly.
Helm said he's not pain free but is "pretty close. We haven't really tested it too hard yet. That's why I'm back here – to give it a challenge and a good test skating and shooting a little bit harder and working out. I'm feeling a lot better. I think mentally I just kind of needed to hit the reset button. I'm mentally better. I feel pretty good. It's going to be a slow process. We want to move in the right direction. We don't want to have a setback. It would just be stupid to go too hard right now."
So Helm may or may not go full-out, and he may or may not be in his element given that he will be hanging out with much younger and vastly less experienced players who will lean on him for advice but may not exactly relate to his taste in music or movies (though I'm sure he'll go putt-putting with 'em):
"I don't really look at it that way," he said. "I know I'm going to be the older guy, the leader out there. My main focus is to see where I am physically with my back. I'm going to do what I can to be out there as a leader but my main goal is to get back and get healthy and all that other stuff will just kind of happen as the camp goes along."
The Red Wings' Facebook page posted a quip from Helm as well:
Development camp kicks off today in Traverse City. It also marks the return of Darren Helm to the ice. Here's what Helmer had to say about his expectations for camp.
"I expect to get on the ice and test it out (back injury). Probably start out a little slow doing a few drills and then depending on how it feels you can begin pushing a little more. It's feeling much better than it did when the season ended. I don't expect to have any issues, but we want to be smart and take it a day at a time."
Are you at Development Camp? Tweet the Wings your photos @Detroitredwings
If you missed it, the Traverse City Record-Eagle posted the final roster for the development camp...
Player Pos. 2012-13 team
Rasmus Bodin F HV71 Jr. (SJEL)
Dean Chelios F Michigan St. (CCHA)
Martin Frk F Halifax (QMJHL)
Darren Helm F Detroit (NHL)
Philippe Hudon F Victoriaville (QMJHL)
Ty Loney F Denver (WCHA)
Anthony Mantha F Val d’Or (QMJHL)
David Pope F W. Kelowna (BCHL)
Zach Nastasiuk F Owen Sound (OHL)
Dominik Shine F Lincoln (USHL)
Brody Silk F Sudbury (OHL)
Ryan Sproul D Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
Alexei Marchenko D CSKA Moscow (KHL)
Richard Nedomlel D Swift Current (WHL)
Ildar Telyakov D HC VMF (VHL)
Trevor Hamilton D USNTDP (USHL)
Andrew D’Agostini G Peterborough (OHL)
Jake Paterson G Saginaw (OHL)
Player Pos. 2012-13 team
Andreas Athanasiou F Barrie (OHL)
Michael Babcock F Detroit CC (MHSAA)
Tyler Bertuzzi F Guelph (OHL)
Kurt Etchegary F Quebec (QMJHL)
Luke Glendening F Grand Rapids (AHL)
Barclay Goodrow F Brampton (OHL)
M. Janmark-Nylen F AIK (SWE)
Marek Tvrdon F Vancouver (WHL)
Dane Walters F W. Michigan (CCHA)
Jamien Yakubowski F Lethbridge (WHL)
James de Haas D Penticton (BCHL)
Nick Jensen D St. Cloud St. (WCHA)
Alex Gudbranson D Sault St. Marie (OHL)
Marc McNulty D Prince George (WHL)
Xavier Ouellet D B.-Boisbriand (QMJHL)
Toni Eskelinen G Karpat Oulu (FIN)
Jake Patterson G London (OHL)
(limited participation; not on a team roster)
Jared Coreau G N. Michigan (CCHA)
Mitch Wheaton D Kelowna (WHL)
And regarding one of those free agent try-outs, the Saint John's Telegram's Brendan McCarthy reports that Quebec Remparts forward Kurt Etchengary, who wasn't drafted after a strange set of medical circumstances yielded teams wary of a player they thought had a heart condition, and as such, Etchengary's family headed to the draft in Newark and ended up receiving an invite instead of a NHL team's jersey...
The Red Wings were one of NHL several teams that contacted Etchegary immediately after the draft in Newark, N.J., to express interest in offering him a tryout. That was pretty easy to do, since Etchegary was present in the stands at the Prudential Center along with more than a dozen family members. They had travelled to Newark with some confidence because the expectations were for the 18-year-old forward and member of the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts to be as high as a third-round pick in the seventh round draft.
He had been ranked 72nd overall among North American by NHL Central Scouting, but was seen as someone whose stock has gone up. In fact, a story in USA Today listed Etchegary as one of five “risers” heading into the June draft.
Because miscommunication yielded, "Don't draft that guy!" blacklisting from all 30 NHL teams:
It was a health-related issue, but not one about the arthroscopic hip surgery that caused him to miss three months of last season.
It turns out, that during the NHL Combine in Toronto, tests had revealed an inflammation near Etchegary’s heart, a problem he says came from a late-season rib injury. Clubs interested in him wanted confirmation in the form of a medical clearance, which Etchegary obtained from the Remparts’ medical staff. It was in turn forwarded to Central Scouting, but Etchegary says, because of miscommunication, it didn’t get into the hands of NHL teams.
The Wings obviously believe the matter has been cleared up. In fact, Jiri Fischer, Detroit’s director of player development says plans are not only for Etchegary to participate in this week’s camp in Traverse City, but also in the team’s fall camp.
“(He) really wants to prove everybody wrong that he should have been drafted,” said Fisher in a story on the team website (redwings.nhl.com). “He’s an in-your-face competitor, chases people down and really battles. He goes in the areas of pain and doesn’t mind going into the corners, doesn’t mind crashing the net. At the same time, he has decent skill and is a smart hockey player.”
The five-foot-11, 185-pound Etchegary, who will be one of 38 players skating in Traverse City, finished with 25 points in 31 games.
In news related to Chris Chelios and Brendan Shanahan's inclusion in the Hockey Hall of Fame's 2013 induction class, former St. Louis Blues players Kelly Chase and Jeff Brown insisted to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Dan O'Neill that Shanahan's a "True Blue," if you will...
In 1993-94, Shanahan had 52 goals and 50 assists for the Blues, the only time he exceeded the century mark (102) in points. Playing alongside the likes of Hull, Adam Oates, Jeff Brown and Craig Janney, Shanahan went from promising to prolific.
“He loved it here, just like all of us loved it here,” said Brown, now coach of the Indiana Ice in the United States Hockey League. “We had a lot of fun in those early ’90s years. We had great young team and then everybody just started getting traded and at the end of it, there wasn’t anything left of that great nucleus.”
Brown said “competitiveness” set Shanahan apart, and exposure to other young stars on the Blues propelled his game. When Shanahan arrived, Hull was the league’s premier sniper, having netted 72, 86 and 70 goals in the three previous seasons.
“This is where Shannie became the Hall of Famer,” Brown said. “He was a great player in New Jersey, but he wasn’t polished at all. But when he came here, I really believe that Hullie, in his own way, helped Shannie become a Hall of Fame player.
“I remember Shannie watching Hullie and learning from him, just learning how to be a ‘goal scorer.’ The things he would work on in practice was the stuff Hullie would do. He learned a lot from Brett and basically that is when he became an all-around Hall of Famer.”
And it should be noted that Wings fans may very well owe Mike Keenan of all people a "thank you" for getting Shanahan out of St. Louis:
Shanahan scored 156 goals in 177 games for the Blues, then departed as shockingly as he arrived. On July 27, 1995, Blues general manager and coach Mike Keenan sent Shanahan to Hartford for 20-year old defenseman Chris Pronger.
“He hated to leave,” Chase said. “He couldn’t believe it. Nobody could.”
Wings coach Mike Babcock also discussed Shanahan and Chelios's careers in broad terms and in the, "I coached them" sense while speaking to The Fan 590's Brady and Lang show this morning, and he touched upon the Wings'signings of Alfredsson and Weiss, the Wings' move to the East and the importance of summer development camps, too:
And this Hockey Hall of Fame-related promotion, from DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose, is very cool:
The first 1,000 guests with paid admission on NHL Team Fan Days will also receive a free special Hall of Fame “Game-Worn Jersey” trading card from Upper Deck, and a chance to win other prizes, including a trip to watch the Red Wings host the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2014 NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
On 30 selected days this summer, the Hockey Hall of Fame plans to spotlight a different NHL team with NHL Team Fan Days, including Wednesday, July 17 when they will salute Red Wings fans at hockey’s golden sanctuary.
Fans who wear Red Wings apparel on July 17 will receive half-price admission to the Hall for that day.
“We’re very excited. We haven’t done this before but we’ve been able to work with some of our partners like the NHL, the players’ association and Upper Deck to get these cards and hopefully the fans will appreciate them,” said Kelly Masse, the director of corporate and media relations at the Hall. “It’s really a way to get hockey fans into the Hall of Fame and the ones who haven’t been here can see what we’re all about.”
Visitors to the Hall of Fame can easily spent three to four hours perusing over the 56,000 square feet of hockey artifacts dating back to the late 1800s. The Hall has something to see for every Red Wings fan, from the wood sticks used by Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay to score their 200th career goals, to a Nicklas Lidstrom jersey from the 2001-02 season, and the last helmet ever worn by Steve Yzerman in the 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs, the collection is sure to impress.
In the "general information" department, ESPN's Scott Burnside's 2013-2014 season preview articles discussed "familiar faces in new places" on Tuesday...
Every summer it's the same in terms of player movement, but after the lockout-shortened season and the blur of the playoffs, there will be something welcoming about the 2013-14 season. Patterns will be restored. Training camps will lead to the buzz and optimism that always greet a new season.
This fall, more so than others in recent memory, also will mark new chapters for a number of veteran players in unfamiliar places. How, for instance, will Daniel Alfredsson adjust to pulling on a Detroit Red Wings jersey after 17 years in an Ottawa Senators rig? The fact the Red Wings and Senators will be division rivals only adds to the intrigue.
And I'm not a fan of the "outdoor overkill," but Burnside seems to have no problems with it:
The Winter Classic will return on Jan. 1, 2014 (the lockout wiped out the 2013 game), when the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings meet at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, and it will be complemented by events at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit.
Beyond that, the league has an ambitious plan to stage five other outdoor games, including two at Yankee Stadium during Super Bowl week in late January (involving all three New York-area teams), and a game at Dodger Stadium between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings on Jan. 25.
Looking to kick off the post-Olympic break with a bang, the NHL will return to Chicago on March 1, when the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks will play the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field. The Heritage Classic, the Canadian version of the outdoor series, will be the next day as the Vancouver Canucks host the Ottawa Senators.
Will it be outdoor overkill?
Each game represents something unique in its marketplace, so if there is a lessening of the oomph factor nationally, the NHL is banking on more than making up for it with the interest in places such as New York, Chicago and the Los Angeles area. Of course, every game also represents a battle between a pro sports league and Mother Nature, and now that battle will be waged times six -- heightening the likelihood of some sort of natural impediment to a game coming off as planned. But that's part of the drama, no?
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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.