Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings’ Niklas Kronwall discusses playoff disappointments, youth movement at MIS 400

Updated 3x at 1:37 PM: Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall is one of the  Grand Marshals at the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway. He bluntly assessed the Cup Final and his lingering bitterness regarding the way the Wings' bowed out to Chicago in the second round:

Kronwall spent eight minutes speaking to Duff, Lenzi and Sipple, and Duff posted what is nothing less than a wonderfully honest interview with someone who's earned the "A" on his jersey. Playoff thoughts? DeKeyser's upside? Valtteri Filppula's future? His defensive partner next season? Moving East? Jimmy Howard's maturation? Does the offseason get harder as he gets older? Not watching a damn playoff game? Check, check, check, check, check, check, check, and check.

Update: the ever-industrious Duff has already filed his Kronwall article:

At MIS Sunday to serve as grand marshal of the race, the man who will make the call, “Drivers, start your engines,” Kronwall took time to reflect on the Red Wings’ season and even picked a Stanley Cup winner.

“I think Boston is going to win in six,” Kronwall said. “I just think they’re stronger and heavier, they play more of a structured game. Chicago, on the other hand, is more skilled all through their lineup, but I think the structure of the Boston Bruins is going to win.”

Not that Kronwall can bring himself to view the final, mind you.

“Just knowing how close we were, I haven’t really watched any of the games,” Kronwall said of Detroit’s second-round exit against Chicago when the Wings squandered a 3-1 series lead. “I see highlight clips here and there and read about how they’re doing. With the situation we were in, being up 3-1, Game 6 being up and (going to) OT in last game, it’s a tough way to go out, but it’s a part of sport. I try not to watch. Just knowing what it feels like to win it, anytime you see another team lifting the Cup, you just feel like that should have been us.”

While admitting to being a racing fan, Kronwall also acknowledged that this was his first time at an actual race.

“I’ve always been a fan of speed, but I’ve never been a part of anything like this,” Kronwall said. “I’ve never been to a NASCAR race and I’ve never really watched much on TV, to be honest with you. I’m very excited to learn more about it, how much goes on behind the scenes. There’s so much more that goes into it than drivers trying to fly around the track.”

Kronwall told Duff that rally car racing is much more popular in Sweden.

Update #2: Via RedWingsFeed, MLive's Brienne Pusak offered a more NASCAR-centric article:

Detroit Red Wings alternate captain Niklas Kronwall will serve as the grand marshal for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn; Olympic gold medalist swimmer Tyler Clary, who trained at University of Michigan. will serve as the honorary starter for the race; and Seth Gold of Detroit’s “Hardcore Pawn” will serve as pace car driver.

MIS President Roger Curtis said he’s excited to have these three people start the race Sunday. He said he follows each of their careers, and they were chosen because he believes they are some of the most popular Michigan figures and they elicit pride for the state.

“We’ve tried to pick people who are somewhat iconic with the state,” he said. “And hockey is just a natural fit for us, period. Hockey fans and NASCAR fans are just one in the same.”

Kronwall, who will command of the drivers to start their engines, said he has never attended a race like this but is excited to be part of the experience. He said what he has seen so far has been “spectacular,” especially seeing how many people come from all over the country to support the drivers.

“I’ve always been a fan of speed,” he said. “I’m very excited to learn more about it and how it works behind the scenes. There’s so much more that goes into it than just the drivers.”

Update #3: The Detroit News's David Goricki focused on Kronwall's hockey-related remarks:

Kronwall is optimistic with the Wings' future.

"Absolutely, just over the course of the year we had a lot of injuries this year and the younger guys that came up were given a chance and they really made the most of it," Kronwall said. "You look at it, just (Tomas) Tatar, (Joakim) Andersson, (Gustav) Nyquist, (Brian) Lashoff and (Danny) DeKeyser when he came in, even (Petr) Mrazek did a great job when he came in so we know there's more to come in the minors, and the younger guys have really proven they can play at the top level, and just the experience they get alone in the playoffs have been great."

A number of players are still getting experience, including Nyquist, DeKeyser, Lashoff, Andersson and Mrazek who are all competing for Grand Rapids in the Calder Cup for the AHL championship, leading Syracuse 3-2.

Kronwall is very impressed with DeKeyser who signed a free-agent contract "I don't think there's a limit to how good he can be," said Kronwall of DeKeyser. "I don't think people realize what he did this year, coming in from college and playing like he did. I don't know if he should be able to do that, to have that big of a presence to be honest with you. I was very impressed with how he handles himself both on and off the ice. He has great work ethic, great attitude. The sky's the limit for this guy, that's how good he is. He never puts himself in trouble. I kind of felt like he kind of played a little bit like Nik Lidstrom that way. He was just very smart and just read the situations. He was able to find solutions to situations out of the blue and not a lot of guys can do that coming straight out of college, just really impressive."

Kronwall hopes the Red Wings re-sign unrestricted free-agent Valtteri Filppula.

"I hope he's going to be back," Kronwall said. "Fil's one of those guys you don't want to lose. He's a puck possession guy, a real good player and a great person. He works hard and has all the tools. Hopefully we'll be able to keep him,"

And, of the Wings moving to the Eastern Conference next year, Kronwall replied: "It will be different for sure, a different type of game, probably meet some big, heavy teams like the Boston Bruins for example. I'm sure it will be a little different, but at the same time hopefully we can just just kind of keep trying to play our structured game and that should give us some success."

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

TEMO's avatar

Love that last line, “That should’ve been us”

Posted by TEMO from LANSING, MICHIGAN, U.S.A. on 06/16/13 at 01:05 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

So when he said that he does mostly weights in the offseason (if I heard it correctly), I’m assuming (1) he still does enough aerobic stuff so that (2) when they get near training camp and he has to ratchet up the aerobic stuff (again assumption), then he’s not too far out of shape (realizing as the players have said before, being on the bike is one thing, actually playing is another), right?

Posted by Bugsy on 06/16/13 at 01:15 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I’m not fitness expert, but they try to really build up strength early on and then switch to more aerobic and anaerobic stuff later in the summer…

But it must be stated that even their “weights” involve circuit training—in intervals designed to mimic the kind of intense exertion involved in 40-to-60-second shifts—and inventive stuff that’s designed to essentially rebuild what they’ve lost over the course of the hockey season in terms of strength.

The concept is to build the muscular foundation and then to push toward on-ice stuff in August. Most guys don’t hit the ice until mid-to-late August, but Kronwall will be skating with guys who’re taking part in the Swedish Eliteserien’s training camps in the second week of August, so he’s going to be on the ice pretty quickly, and the gang that gets together in Stockholm is pretty stacked.

The hardest part for every Wings player is that they essentially played until the latter half of the Conference Finals, if not the beginning of the Stanley Cup Final in some years, so they need to maximize their “rest” before they get into the “recovery” phase.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/16/13 at 01:32 PM ET

perfection's avatar

you know, everyone talks about how the Wings might have to “change” to play in the East, forgetting that the Wings are the reason the West plays a more skilled game in the first place. They set the standard and will likely do so again. If anything, the rest of the Eastern conference is going to change to be more like the Wings

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 06/16/13 at 01:49 PM ET

SK77's avatar

If anything, the rest of the Eastern conference is going to change to be more like the Wings

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 06/16/13 at 01:49 PM ET

The Wings are nowhere near the franchise that once upon a time helped establish puck possession as a dominant style of play in the West.

Posted by SK77 on 06/16/13 at 02:12 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

1. Thanks, George, that clarified what I was thinking. Now get some sleep!

you know, everyone talks about how the Wings might have to “change” to play in the East, forgetting that the Wings are the reason the West plays a more skilled game in the first place. They set the standard and will likely do so again. If anything, the rest of the Eastern conference is going to change to be more like the Wings

2. It’s like most sports, I would think. If the Wings get to a Stanley Cup final in the near future, the teams will do what teams typically do: copy them. If the Wings struggle or at least don’t get to the Cup finals, teams in the East will keep doing what they’re doing. Someone earlier brought up the argument that because there’s less travel in the East, teams can afford to play more physical and/or faster because there’s less travel and more of a regular schedule to sleep/recover.

I don’t know if many were saying they had to “change” their style of play as much as just be able to keep the skill players from being beat up too much and/or have a bit more size just to be able to get to/stay in front of the net better (or in being big, not be as likely to be beaten up), no? That wouldn’t require an overhaul of the team, just tweaking through the draft a bit and free agency. For better or for worse, seeing the Leafs re-sign Colton Orr to a 2 year contract makes you wonder,....

This is where my difficulty in seeing games doesn’t help, but is the physical style of Columbus at least part of the reason the Wings struggled against them this year?

Posted by Bugsy on 06/16/13 at 02:19 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

The Wings are nowhere near the franchise that once upon a time helped establish puck possession as a dominant style of play in the West.

They still want to be a puck possession team,  I thought, but due to their lack of skill like in past years, had to change their style some to fit their personnel, as Babcock said several times in the middle of the season. Boston is more dump and chase and forecheck, but when they played the Wings, I thought they played more puck possesion I thought (maybe my memory is incorrect) and said they could play either style and actually liked playing like Detroit when playing Detroit.

http://deadspin.com/this-wonderful-graphic-proves-that-in-the-nhl-puck-pos-470045959
http://www.arcticicehockey.com/2012/2/22/2794210/stu-hackel-week-on-arctic-ice-hockey-time-of-possession-attack-zone

On the defensive end, Detroit’s relative lack of skill getting the puck out of their own end to the forwards required the forwards to help out more in their own end, I thought Babcock said this year, and what Chicago exploited during the playoffs.

Correct me if I’m wrong.

 

Posted by Bugsy on 06/16/13 at 02:30 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

Most fitness people do not lift weights in the old “Gold’s Gym” style of weightlifting anymore.  Weightlifting is an aerobic exercise if done in a more modern way.  Look at the Crossfit style of workout- those are weights-and-aerobics for average folks.  Professional athletes have also incorporated that style of workout at a higher level for a long time.  5 or 6 years ago George linked an article (over on mlive, i assume?) that had some pictures of Andreas Lilja doing calf workouts that were basically a leap with a squat bar on your shoulders.  Then there was a video the off-season before last of a Zetterberg workout that was utter insanity.  The things these guys are coached to do now is very, very advanced.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 06/16/13 at 05:52 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Then there was a video the off-season before last of a Zetterberg workout that was utter insanity.  The things these guys are coached to do now is very, very advanced.

Well, there is this med ball workout recently
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmUVBFvkloc

Posted by Bugsy on 06/16/13 at 07:44 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Most fitness people do not lift weights in the old “Gold’s Gym” style of weightlifting anymore.  Weightlifting is an aerobic exercise if done in a more modern way.  Look at the Crossfit style of workout- those are weights-and-aerobics for average folks.  Professional athletes have also incorporated that style of workout at a higher level for a long time.  5 or 6 years ago George linked an article (over on mlive, i assume?) that had some pictures of Andreas Lilja doing calf workouts that were basically a leap with a squat bar on your shoulders.  Then there was a video the off-season before last of a Zetterberg workout that was utter insanity.  The things these guys are coached to do now is very, very advanced.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 06/16/13 at 05:52 PM ET

Yeah, George.  Do you still have that vid somewhere?  And does Tomas Storm work with the team during the regular season as well?

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 06/17/13 at 01:13 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

There’s a YouTube playlist of Zetterberg workout videos.

As for who works with the season, the team now has strength and conditioning coach Pete Renzetti on call so that the players can take part in less-than-conventional circuit training on a very regular basis, and while there was little to no time to work on skill development, I would imagine Storm drops by from time to time over the course of an 82-game season. Storm is in high demand in Europe, though, so he probably only comes over occasionally.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/17/13 at 01:27 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

About The Malik Report

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.