The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/27/14 at 05:29 AM ET
Red Wings players are slowly but surely filtering back into town, and within a day or two, they'll be spotted skating informally in Troy as well as closer to the Joe, but for the present moment, Tomas Tatar's autograph-signing in Bratslava this Thursday's the closest thing we'll get to a "media availability" until the post-Labor Day practices begin.
Until Pro Hockey Talk's "Red Wings Day" begins, quite frankly, its a "slow morning." We won't have many more of 'em.
The Wings posited an author-less article which focuses upon Teemu Pulkkinen's successful North American pro debut:
Detroit’s fourth-round pick in the 2010 NHL draft, Pulkkinen was the Griffins’ leading scorer and ranked second among AHL rookies with 51 points in 60 games at the time of his call-up. The Finnish winger also led AHL rookies in goals (26), shots (175) and plus/minus rating (20) before arriving in Detroit. As a rookie in the Finnish Elite League three years ago, he set the record for assists by a rookie (36 with Jokerit in 2010-11).
In September, Pulkkinen was assessed a major penalty for boarding Chicago defenseman Michael Kostka in a preseason game. Pulkkinen also served a four-game suspension for the illegal hit, which occurred on his first-ever NHL shift.
“Since then, as guys got called up from Grand Rapids to Detroit he has become the go-to guy,” said Jiri Fischer, the Red Wings’ director of player development. “Every game he plays, he is dangerous. Every team Grand Rapids plays against, they talk about him in their pre-game meetings. He's got a very dangerous shot; he's got a lot of confidence to shoot the puck.”
Pulkkinen was originally called up in February to give the Red Wings enough bodies to hold practices during the Olympic break while a third of the team was still in Sochi, Russia.
“I like to shoot the puck, I like offensive game, try to make plays and shoot the puck,” Pulkkinen said. “That’s how I try to help the team.”
And the article serves as a companion to the Wings' Prospect Profile video from earlier this summer:
In foreign-language news, Tomas Jurco (now wearing Bauer gear) gave an interview to Novy CAS (author cited is "KZ"?), and...I'll give translating it a go, but what follows is very, very roughly translated:
The holidays have ended for the overseas player: Tomas Jurco will battle for the hockey team!
Time is already running out on his time at home, and he'll soon go overseas.
Kosice native Tomas Jurco, 21, will soon head to Detroit, where he hopes to build upon a successful season in the NHL. He performed to his maximum, and the toughness of ice hockey didn't faze him. A clever attacker and Slovakian national team player revealed more about his plans, his vacation and his superstitions. And he trained for the new season aside his sister Petra [who plays for the Slovakian women's national hockey team].
How was your summer at home in Kosice?
"Totally awesome. I had three months at home, which I enjoyed. It was my longest summer over the last five years. I spent time with my family and also my friends."
Did you go on a holiday?
"At the beginning of July I went to Turkey, but I stayed at home for most of my vacation. I relaxed, but that was in addition to daily workouts. [For a while] I just relaxed--sometimes playing video games and doing nothing after a difficult season is important."
Did you indulge in homemade treats, or were you able to abstain from them?
"My mom cooked everything, I always ate well. Not just fried cheese and chicken soup, but also other dishes, and I successfully kept my weight."
Are you superstitious, do you have a lucky charm?
"I do the same thing before games, I'm not sure if I'd call it a ritual. What I plan has to be followed, and I don't change it. I also have my lucky cross that I can't remove from the locker room."
With whom did you train to prepare?
"For the past three years I've worked with Daniel Kicura and Marek Kokinda, who also work with the Extraliga team in Kosice. I can only be satisfied because I was successful last season. This [summer's] training was less athletic and more powerful. So I rode the bike rarely and did a lot of shooting. Practically every day because finishing work's very hard."
Did you train on the ice with your sister Petra's assistance, as she also plays on the Slovak national team? Did she set up your shots?
"Very well! She's a super woman. We train together in the summer."
Did you speak with your teammate from Detroit, Tomas Tatar?
"During the summer, only about three times, but certainly we're almost always together, and we carpool on the way to Detroit. When we're together, there's never a shortage of fun."
Are you already looking forward to Detroit?
"Yes, but I'll miss home. I have to depart for America on September 10th, and I hope to fight my way onto the NHL team and I want to be on it for the upcoming season. Then I'd be satisfied."
While we're discussing foreign-language news, it looks like Tomas Nosek (first picture, orange jersey, red pants as well as gloves and helmet) is still skating with HC Pardubice of the Czech Extraliga as they engage in preseason practices...
And in Russia (the KHL's regular season begins on September 3rd), CSKA Moscow GM Sergei Fedorov's chosen to not sign his 31-year-old brother Fedor, and he conducted a long interview with Sport-Express's Petr Tereschenko after publicly introducing CSKA's new players on Tuesday. The first line doesn't need much translation from GM-speak:
According to the result of the preseason games, CSKA is among [the KHL's] leaders. What do you attach to this?
"To some extent, yes, we have a new coaching staff and a new team. But largely speaking preseason victories aren't representative--the fact is they're called training games."
Back over on this side of the pond, the Red Wings' prospect tournament begins on September 12th, and the Waterloo Record's Josh Brown reports that one of the Wings' try-outs, Kitchener Rangers forward Darby Llewellyn, will head to Traverse City with a chip on his shoulder after being passed over in the 2014 draft:
Down in Philadelphia more than 200 of his peers were taken in the NHL draft. Llewellyn, an Ann Arbor, Mich., native, who is coming off a breakout season with the Rangers, was bypassed.
"It was a rough day," he said. "But it gives me a chance to prove all 30 teams wrong."
The 18-year-old was back in Waterloo Region with his teammates Tuesday for the Rangers' annual charity golf tournament at Whistle Bear Golf Club. More than 40 players will compete for roster spots at training camp, which begins Wednesday with fitness testing and practice.
Llewellyn was one of the bright spots on a club that missed the playoffs for the first time in five years. Llewellyn scored 25 goals — and had 19 by Christmas — to finish tied for the team lead with forward Justin Bailey. He potted seven markers during his rookie season.
"Once you get a year under your belt it gets a lot easier," Llewellyn said of his power surge. "Everything kind of slows down. I think that was one of the biggest things."
Confidence played a part as well. Llewellyn's swagger earned him stints on the team's second line and power play minutes. But a second half swoon that saw him post just six goals took some of the shine off an otherwise brilliant campaign. Looking back, the forward admits that he let the draft get to him.
"I think I worried about it a little too much," he said. "This year, I'm going to put it out of my head and play my game. I know what I can bring and hopefully a team will take a chance on me."
Llewellyn was rock-solid defensively but otherwise unspectacular at the summer development camp, and the 6'1," 175-pound forward's 25 goals and 11 assists registered over the course of 66 games weren't quite enough to merit a late-round pick.
Also: I remembered that way back on July 8th, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose revealed a very preliminary WIngs prospect tournament roster.
The Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindenau (who is also on Twitter, and she's Centre Ice Arena's official Wings-camp "social media captain"; the camp has a Twitter account, too) is the go-to source for official Wings prospect tournament and training camp news; she just released the Rangers' prospect tournament roster--and the Wings are usually last to reveal their roster due to last-minute changes...
But Roose's working roster gives us a glimpse as to the majority of the players who will be defending the Wings' first tournament win:
Detroit’s lineup will feature former draft picks and signed free agents Marchenko, Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi, Zach Nastasiuk, Dominic Turgeon, Marc McNulty, Richard Nedomlel, Jake Paterson, Tomas Nosek and Scott Czarnowczan. Expected to round out the Red Wings’ tournament roster are undrafted junior and graduated college players – forwards Blake Clarke, Hayden Hodgson, Darby Llewellyn, Brandon Robinson, and defensemen Kevin Clare, Joe Hicketts and Logan Schmidt, and goalie Andrew D'Aostini – who participated in this week’s development camp.
That's 11 players in the lineup and 8 "expecteds," or 19 players total. Teams usually bring 14 forwards, 7 or 8 defensemen and 2 or 3 goalies, or a 23-25 players. I'm not going to hazard any guesses save Martin Frk, but this is certainly the time of year for you to do so.
In "familial prospect news," the Saginaw News's Cory Butzin reports that Igor Larionov II has been invited to the Saginaw Spirit's training camp (the Spirit have a scrimmage scheduled for 10 AM today), and given that Igor barely played over the past two seasons due to hip issues, the 5'11," 180-pound forward earning an invite--even as a Saginaw Spirit draftee--is pretty impressive given that he's only 16.
In "familial prospect news, bummer version": There's been some confusion regarding this player, so I want to clear things up. Yahoo Sports' Neate Sager offers the details of a plain old weird story. London Knights goaltender Jake Patterson--that's PaTTerson--is considering retiring from hockey at age 20 because the London Knights want him to play as their back-up, not their starter, and while the 6'1," 191-pound goaltender's more or less split time with the Knights' younger goalies, being a back-up as an "overager" would severely limit his chances of earning a pro deal.
Jake PaTTerson was a try-out during the Wings' 2013 summer development camp; Jake Paterson with one T was the Wings' 80th overall pick in the 2012 draft, Jake PaTerson played for the aforementioned Saginaw Spirit, and Jake PaTerson is turning pro this season.
I have exactly one fantasy hockey tidbit for you (40+ websites and a Swedish-language interview with Andreas Lilja's worth of searching and I can give you one fantasy hockey tidbit, but it's not for a lack of trying), but Dobber Hockey's Darryl Dobbs' take on Niklas Kronwall, deeming him a "star," is pretty spiffy:
Niklas Kronwall, Detroit Red Wings – He may be 33 but he seems to be just getting started. Coming off the second best season of his career, Kronwall should have an easier time of it this year with a healthy Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, as well as the emergence of Gustav Nyquist.
I sure hope he's "just getting started," and I hope that Brendan Smith, Danny DeKeyser and Jonathan Ericsson (among others) can give him assistance in consistently producing offense for the Wings.
I will be out of the office for a good 4-5 hours today, from about 3 to...I really don't know when, so Paul will be updating the NBC post that will come online later this morning, and I will be spending my day in a doctor's office parking lot.
1. We're going to talk about community stuff before the season starts. Guidelines will be brief (my dad's golden rule was, "There are good people and assholes; don't be an *#$%@&," and that's a good place to start) but the comments section has gotten a little more civil over the past month, which is good;
2. This is also, "Suggestions for the blog's form and content" time, so if you have constructive suggestions as to how I can improve my coverage, I would appreciate them;
3. Here it comes...
I've got two weeks and one day to go until the prospect tournament starts (a week from yesterday), and I've raised...$700...Out of a necessary $2,000+ to stay in Traverse City for two weeks and eat like a college student and cover the prospect tournament and main camp. I don't know how I'm gonna do it without your help.
I've attended two of the past three Traverse City-based training camps/prospect tournaments and the past three summer development camps at your leisure. If you're willing to lend a hand, I would greatly, greatly appreciate it.
Any and every donation helps pay the way up there (I break even) and I'm strongly considering printing some t-shirts and/or ensuring that every entry has a "sponsored by/brought to you by" note (and as always, the coverage is based upon your suggestions and questions, so it's an interactive experience).
My "merchant ID" is my non-work email address, rtxg at yahoo dot com, and I'm incredibly grateful for your readership and support. Thank you.
Update: MLive's Ansar Khan offers a 2014-2015 "outlook" for Drew Miller:
Contract status: Two years remaining at a cap hit of $1.35 million.
2013-14 in review: One of two Red Wings to play in all 82 games (Kyle Quincey was the other), a career high. ... Equaled career high with two goals at Ottawa on Dec. 1. ... Had three-game points streak from Dec. 1-6. ... Led team's forwards in average ice time while shorthanded (3:00). ... Second on team in hits (122). ... Led team's forwards in blocked shots (63). ... Charged with only nine turnovers. ... Had the third-best takeaway-to-giveaway ratio on the team (plus-17). ... Played in his 400th game on April 2. ... Recorded his 100th point on April 8. ... One fighting major (Oct. 17 vs. Calgary's Cory Sarich).
2014-15 outlook: Miller should continue doing what he's done since the Red Wings acquired him on waivers from Tampa Bay in 2009 – providing energy, grinding, going to the hard areas and initiating contact despite his slight frame. He has developed into their top penalty-killing forward. He has more offensive ability than he showed last season and is aiming to be more productive. He also needs to improve on his career-worst plus-minus rating. Miller has established himself as a fixture on the checking line and is held in high regard by coach Mike Babcock. That shouldn't change even with a healthier lineup and many players competing for spots on the fourth line.
Key question: Will Miller maintain his regular spot in the lineup?
If he increases his scoring output, something he told the Free Press's Helene St. James that he knows he must improve upon to stave off challenges for his position.
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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.