The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/05/13 at 08:41 AM ET
The Red Wings' prospect tournament is getting underway...Well, the first players hit the ice at 8:30 AM, and the Wings and their try-outs will be skating at Centre Ice Arena at 11:30, with the Wings slated to tangle with the Minnesota Wild at 7:30 PM this evening.
The Traverse City Record-Eagle's Chris Dobrowlowski spoke with Centre Ice Arena's tournament and training camp director, Ann Reeves, about a tournament whose alums include (as the Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindenau reported) over 400 NHL'ers and 34 players who've played in 400 or more NHL games, including Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Ilya Kovalchuk, Scott Hartnell, David Legwand, David Backes, Jimmy Howard and Kari Lehtonen, and SI's Stu Hackel's statement that 8-team tournament is the NHL's biggest, most well-established, and possibly its best isn't far off:
“The level of hockey player that you will see here are the best in the world,” said tournament director Ann Reeves. “I compare it to the World Junior tournament, which I’ve been to before. These GMs are picking and selecting talent to come here that is the best of the best. They’re the best players from Czech Republic, the best players from Sweden, the best players from Canada. That’s why the level is as high as it is.”
For Detroit, former first-round picks Riley Sheahan, the 21st pick in 2010, and Anthony Mantha, 20th overall this year, headline the Wings’ 24-player roster.
The Red Wings are seeking their first championship in the history of the tournament, which was first held in Traverse City in 1998. Buffalo won it the last time it was held in Traverse City in 2011. Last year’s tournament was canceled due to the NHL lockout.
Detroit is hopeful it can break through this season behind a solid core of forwards that includes the newly-drafted Mantha — who last played with Val d’Or in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League — Sheahan, who played with the Red Wings in two games last season and was a big part of the Grand Rapids Griffins run to the Calder Cup and 2010 second round pick Calle Jarnkrok from Sweden, who ended up suiting up with the Griffins for nine games last year and some have suggested has an outside shot to make the Wings as soon as this season.
Since Traverse City began hosting the Prospects Tournament, more than 400 players have ended up playing at least one game in the NHL, with others becoming among the best players in the world.
“We like to call ourselves the gateway to the NHL,” Reeves said. “This has become a scouting mecca. I was talking to (Red Wings general manger Ken) Holland and we were talking about how this is the cream of the crop.”
For many players this week’s action is much like an audition for prospective teams. A number of scouts will be in attendance, as well as various team’s front office personnel.
“It’s great hockey for fans. It’s fast. For players, 10 percent of the guys who are here will have an NHL contract by the time they leave,” said Reeves.
You can access the schedule here per the Record-Eagle...
Traverse City's 9&10 news posted an interview with Reeves as well:
Somewhat strangely, Aftonbladet posted two articles with prospect tournament alums whose NHL aspirations didn't quite work out in Frolunda Indians forward Dick Axelsson and AIK Stockholm goaltender Daniel Larsson this morning. Axelsson mostly talks about his reputation as something of an instigator both on and off the ice, at least by Swedish standards, and the Larsson interview is fluffernutter;
An apartment in Russia belonging to Detroit Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk has been burgled and $45,000 worth of items stolen, police in his home city of Yekaterinburg have said.
The burglary was reported to the police August 25 when Datsyuk returned home after time away, police said, but it was only made public after local media revealed the property belonged to the two-time Stanley Cup winner, 35.
"The owner of the property, who had returned from a trip, valued the total losses at 1.5 million rubles ($45,000)," police said in a website statement Wednesday. "The theft, in the words of the victim, may have occured on August 23 or 24, during which time he was away."
Police did not detail whether the missing items included any hockey memorabilia.
In an American twist, the property involved is located on Sacco and Vanzetti Street, which is named after two Italian anarchists who were executed for murder in Massachusetts in 1927.
Datsyuk, who is entering his 13th season with the Red Wings, is expected to be one of the stars of the Russian national hockey team at next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi.
[sarcasm] Ha ha, that makes everything better! [/sarcasm]
And I'll end this brief report on a charitable note: according to the Livonia Observer's David Veselenak, the exhibition game between the Plymouth Whalers and Windsor Spitfires which was held in Livonia this past weekend raised a huge chunk of change for a memorial to fallen firefighters and police officers:
In all, the city raised $32,854 from the game, which saw the Whalers and Spitfires play to a 5-5 tie in front of a sold-out crowd.
Mayor Jack Kirksey said he enjoyed seeing so much support for the Whalers and the city over the holiday weekend. He said he introduced the families of the police officers and firefighter who have died while serving Livonia during its years as a city, and said he was happy at the response they received from those in the crowd.
“I was expecting a nice round of applause for the relatives, and they got an enthusiastic standing ovation from the audience,” he said. “I thought it was really nice they did that.”
More than 1,000 people attended the game. Other opportunities included an autograph session with some of the players and a silent auction. Caid said many off-duty police officers and firefighters had a strong presence in the stands as well.
“We had a good turnout from the police department and fire department,” he said. “It looked like everyone had a great time.”
All the money raised will go directly to the Fallen Heroes Monument, which is still in need of donations. Kirksey said original estimates for the project were lower than what came back in the bid process, and the city will need to raise close to $411,000 for phase one to be completed. An estimated $348,000 has been raised so far.
Those interested in donating can visit http://nehasilpark.org and sign up to sponsor a brick in the memorial.
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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.