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Red Wings overnight report: Howard, DeKeyser and Jarnkrok look forward; prospect and charitable gnus

Team USA made things official and stated that they would not be skating at their orientation camp on August 26th and 27th, meaning that every one of the "big" Olympic-participating nations save the Russians don't plan on skating at all because ofthe stratospheric cost of insuring players' contracts...

But Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard spoke with both MLive's Ansar Khan and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness about his status as someone who will battle for a job in Team USA's crease, and he duly noted that playing on 100-foot-wide rinks at the 2012 World Championships gives him something of an edge upon his competitors:

Unlike 2010, the 2014 tournament will be played on Olympic-sized ice (100 feet wide instead of 85 feet), which Howard experienced at the 2012 World Championships.

“I think it'll help, being able to go there and play on the big ice and get a taste of it again,'' Howard said. “It's a little transition. Once I got my angles back I thought I played well. On an NHL rink, things happen fast. You have to be patient (on the bigger ice), can't be as aggressive.''

Howard called it an honor and a privilege to just have his name on the Olympic watch list.

“Every kid dreams of not only hoisting the Stanley Cup but also playing for your country,'' Howard said. “I remember watching (the Olympics) as a little kid, getting fired up. I always dreamed of playing in them. To be one step closer, to be on the radar, is a good sign. It's all about putting together a good first half.''

Howard told Pleiness that he's honored by Team USA's invitation, but he's also aware of the fact that he's got an uphill battle ahead of him in terms of impressing David Poile, Brian Burke and Ray Shero:

“It’s definitely an honor and a privilege to even have your name on the list,” Howard said during a phone interview Tuesday. “It’s going to be a lot of fun meeting new faces and reconnecting with guys I’ve met through the years, playing in the Ann Arbor program, World Championship and World Juniors.”

Howard will compete for one of three spots between the pipes. Two of the netminders — Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick — helped lead Team USA to the silver medal in the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. Corey Schneider and Craig Anderson are the other two goalies invited to camp.

“It’s a great list of goalies,” Howard said. “The competition is going to be fierce but it’ll be fun to put pressure on the brass that’s picking the team.”

Howard also briefly touched upon his goals for the upcoming NHL season while speaking with Pleiness...

In each of Howard’s first two full seasons in Detroit, he recorded 37 wins, becoming the only goalie in Wings history to win at least 35 games in each of his first two seasons. He struggled in his first postseason with the team, but then rebounded the following year in the playoffs, which coincidentally was the same season he worked out a new two-year deal with the team.

“It’s about getting better each and every year,” said Howard, who finished second in the Calder Trophy race as the NHL’s top rookie his first season. “Pushing yourself to learn more, watching other guys and giving your team a chance to win every single night.”

As well as DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:

Roose also reported that Al Sobotka's Zamboni's headed to the...Uh, Zamboni mechanic's?

Which is important given that he'll need its services sooner than later:

The, "The season isn't that far away" theme (see: the prospect tournament starts on September 6th and the Wings hit the ice in Traverse City on September 12th) guides the vast majority of the balance of this entry.

As Paul noted (I've got a bit of a flu bug going on), Danny DeKeyser spoke with MLive's Khan about his somewhat surprising status as an invite to Team USA's camp, and he also talked about his off-season priorities:

After taking a couple of weeks off, he has resumed working out in preparation for his first full pro season. His objective is to bulk up his 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame.

“They just keep telling me to get stronger,'' DeKeyser said. “I need to be as strong as I can to play against some of the bigger players in the league. There are some big guys in the NHL that you have to handle out there. They want me to continue working on my strength and maybe gain a few pounds.''

In Swedish-language news, Wings prospect Calle Jarnkrok didn't take part in the team's summer development camp, and, like DeKeyser, he's working on gaining weight.

Jarnkrok's always been skinny--he may have weighed 150 pounds when the Wings drafted him, and he rounded up to somewhere between 170-175 pounds last season, but on a wiry 6' frame, the Wings have been worried about Jarnkrok's ability to keep up with NHL-level pushing and shoving.

As such, he's been excused from the last two development camps, and this summer, GD.se's Erik Mansson reports that Jarnkrok's been attempting to bulk up with a Bandy coach back home in Gavle, Sweden.

What follows is roughly-translated Swedish:

Bandy coach to get hockey star into professional form

Calle Jarnkrok's preparing for his NHL adventure. So he's receiving the help of Sandvikens AIK's old gold medal-winning coach, Thony Lindquist.

"He's an amazing man," says Calle Jarnkrok.

Calle Jarnkrok wants to make the NHL's Detroit Red Wings.

In order to do so, and to arrive as preparedas possible, he found the help he needed from the bandy world. SAIK's former gold medal-winning coach Thony Lindquist is overseeing his physical training.

Linquist has been in Russia since 2011, and at the moment, is working with big team Dynamo Moscow. He won championships with SAIK twice (2000 and 2011).

How did you begin to work together?

"I've known Thony for a very long time. My dad's married to Thony's wife's sister. That's how it happened," says Calle Jarnkrok.

"I've known that Thony's good at physical training,, and that he's interested in and knowledgeable about the subject. Instead of practicing and training by myself, I wanted to find someone who could crank thingsup for me. So Thony and I discussed it and we decided [to work together]."

And when Thony was asked to do so by Calle, he didn't hesitate.

"Obviously, I knew it could help Calle. I also happened to be at home in Sweden for the summer. So I've always been interested in the subject and have been working as a fitness coach for both Dynamo and Vodnik Arkhangelsk," says Thony.

Calle, who took part in Nicklas Backstrom's charity golf tournament earlier in the day, saunters in a few minutes late to take part in an afternoon session with his new personal trainer at the gym in Lakerol Arena.

After changing from golf apparel to fitness clothing, he takes part in a quiet workout, starting with warm-up exercises to kick-start his body, and then a workout that lasts about an hour.

"We take part in short spurts, but very intense and difficult. There are seven sessions a week. On Mondays and Thursdays we do double workouts. Friday's a little longer and we focus on cardio work," explains Thony.

It's often been said that Calle doesn't weigh enough for the NHL, so it's been suggested that he needs to eat more and to gain weight to survive in the tougher league.

But it's not just about gaining weight, which eating more to gain wait and to survive in a tougher league.

But it's not just about gaining weight, which is bullshit according to Thony.

He's focusing instead on all-round training to build up strength in all parts of the body.

Core and especially leg strength have been his areas of emphasis.

"He'll be even faster," says Thony. "He's already very fast, but a little faster and it will be harder to take the puck from him."

"He'll retain his explosiveness and mobility, but to work on the ice, he needs to build up his upper body. There's going to be a lot more physical play over there."

How hard is it to train a hockey player instead of a bandy player?

"It's an intense sport, with shifts of 30-40 seconds. In bandy, you play some players for the entire game, and you have to train them to have more stamina. Hockey players are bigger and built more strongly," says Thony, who adds that it's also about cardio work for calle.

"We do a lot of work to work on his heart and lungs, and to make sure he can train as hard as possible and deal with a longer season over there."

Leif Larsson, a fintess advisor for Sandvikens AIK and former Weightlifter Inge Johansson have acted as sounding boards for Thony.

"They've been great sources of inspiration and have helped me with physical training for many years," says Thony.

After five weeks with Thony, Calle's already feeling like the training's paid off.

"I feel stronger all over my body. Thony's been hugely helpful during this time."

"He's an amazing man, and I have a lot to learn from him."

Calle Jarnkrok will go on to two training camps later this summer in Detroit. First, a camp where all the rookies take part.

The second camp will determine whether Calle will start in the AHL or NHL.

"It's exciting. I'm really looking forard to it. I'll do anything to play for Detroit," says Jarnkrok.

And in a different kind of developmental vein, the Free Press's Helene St. James (who held a chat on Freep.com on Tuesday morning) suggests that Justin Abdelkader could essentially replace Tomas Holmstrom as the Wings' net-front specialist this upcoming season:

Looking ahead: Abdelkader’s impressive 2013 season has earned him a spot to try out for the U.S. Olympic team that will compete in the Sochi Winter Games. That audition will stretch through the first half of the season, which will benefit Abdelkader as he’s sure to be back playing on a line with Datsyuk and Zetterberg come October. In many ways, Abdelkader has emerged as the heir to Tomas Holmstrom, a hardworking grinder who did the dirty work for his star linemates.

Abdelkader’s new role is quite a shift from where the Wings envisioned he’d play when he joined them for most of the 2009-10 season. He was expected to be a fourth-line center, maybe evolve into a third-line middleman. At times, he showed he could be useful as a winger in the bottom-six group. This past season, he showed the upside to what can happen when a team is decimated by injuries: Another player pleasantly surprises.

Abdelkader’s success springs from hard work, something that shouldn’t be a problem for a 26-year-old to continue to match. Standing in front of the net will get him some offensive numbers — if not by shooting then by deflecting — as Abdelkader delightfully learned in a March game at Vancouver when two of Datsyuk’s shots went off Abdelkader. A week later, Abdelkader had the last laugh, using his stick to net his first hat trick. He was one of the Wings’ best individual stories of the spring and should carry that into the fall.

The Wings are trying to convince the genuine article to become at least a consultant for the upcoming season, and I can tell you that Holmstrom himself insisted that Abdelkader wasn't his replacement during the summer development camp, but boy howdy, did his eyes light up when he talked about Abdelkader attempting to take on what Holmstrom believes is an incredibly important role.

I sure hope that the Wings can convince him to give Abdelkader some pointers this upcoming season.




Looking forward in a "scouting" department, MLive's Khan continued with his team-by-team look at the Wings' new opponents in scouting the Buffalo Sabres...

Sabres' strengths: Left wing Thomas Vanek has been a consistent offensive threat since entering the league in 2005-06, twice notching 40 goals and last season averaging more than a point a game (41 points in 38 games). Cody Hodgson and Tyler Ennis are young forwards with offensive upside. Tyler Myers, the 6-foot-8 defenseman who won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie in 2010, needs to play better than he has the past three seasons. Goaltender Ryan Miller, the 2010 Vezina Trophy winner as the league's top goaltender, must rebound from his worst season.

Sabres' weaknesses: Overpaid underachievers. Former Red Wings forward Ville Leino has been a bust, picking up 10 goals and 31 points in 79 games since signing a six-year, $27 million contract that has four years remaining. He missed 40 games with injuries in 2013. Right wing Drew Stafford has been inconsistent. Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff has eight years and $22 million left on his deal. The Sabres' special teams were among the worst in the league.

Sabres' outlook: Not too good, even worse if they get rid of Miller, Vanek and/or Stafford, which they're likely to do if they fall out of playoff contention. And the Sabres are more apt to get a top-five draft pick in 2014 than make the postseason.

And Octopus Thrower's Peter Fish offered an assessment of the defensive participants at the Wings' summer development camp:

This years sixth round draft pick, Marc McNulty, is a forward in a defensemans body. When you see a 6’6″ defenseman drafted in the 6th round the mind immediately think of a big burly defensive defenseman, but McNulty is anything but that. He is naturally gifted offensive defenseman, who likes to join and lead the offensive rush. He is able to lead the rush because of his naturally gifted hands, which help him keep control of the puck in any circumstance.

McNulty still has to fill out his 6’6″ frame because at 185 pounds he is a bit of a bean pole, but that will come with time. There is a lot to like about McNulty and if he continues to develop we will see him in Detroit soon.

James De Haas is a 6’4″ behemoth on the defensive line and he uses his size very well. He is not only a big body though, he possess good speed, a quick stick, and slick hands. He is defensively responsible and keeps himself between the puck and the net very well. As with all defensive minded defensemen, when you do not notice De Haas it means he is having a very good game.

De Haas is a better defensive defenseman than an offensive player, but he will have to focus on producing more. To do that he will have to work on his shot, which is not powerful enough yet, but if he can keep his shots low it would work very well for a tip.

The Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindenau also posited her takes on the development camp via a 19-minute interview on Traverse City's WKMT 1270's Vic McCarty show. Our embed player is now our Souncloud player, so you'll have to excuse me uploading it to my page:





In the charitable news department, BIG NEWS VERSION: The Production Line's announced its donation game dates for the charitable drive leading up to H2H3:
Unless you’re new around these parts, you’re familiar with the Pledge Games we’ve proudly hosted leading up to both H2H and H2H2. In two years’ worth of fundraising, your pledges have accounted for $12,536.06 of the nearly $20,000 that the group has been fortunate to donate to Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

Once again, you’ll have the opportunity to pledge your donation dollars. In years past, we’ve gotten some magnificent pledges and we look forward to hearing yours this year. Whether it’s $20 for a Red Wings win, $10 for a Pavel Datsyuk goal, $35 for a Jimmy Howard shutout, or anything in between, we’re anxious to add your promise to our spreadsheet and collect a few bucks here and a few bucks there until the total is something we can all be proud of.

If at all possible, we respectfully request that your pledges are based on something quantifiable — and preferably quantifiable by the post-game statistics. Shots, goals, plus/minus, penalties… all of that is fair game. But when we get into the more bizarre pledges (how many times Larry Murphy mentions hot dogs [not that this is an option this time around], second-period shots if the team is losing, etc), it became insanely difficult to keep track of everything. We’re going to enlist all of the help we can get in counting phenomena, but it would really help us out a great deal if your pledges were based on something easily countable.

Also, let’s try to keep the pledges to things for which there will be no disputes. For example, we may count 4 “Datsyukian Dekes,” but you only saw 3. No one has ever claimed we were trying to gauge them for more money (and I can’t imagine anyone would, since it’s going to a good cause), but the very last thing we want is for someone to feel as if their generosity has been taken advantage of. Some folks can give a dollar, some can give much, much more. But we’re grateful for every last dime and have no interest in stretching you thin.

As you might imagine, there are more details...

And as noted yesterday, Jordin Tootoo will spend this weekend touring communities in Nunavut to encourage Native Canadians to stay in school, which the CBC is confirming:

Tootoo has also been a spokesperson for the Nunasi Corporation since 2004. Franco Buscemi is the director of communications and marketing for Nunasi.

"During the tour he will talk about setting goals, working hard to achieve those goals, and opening up to people you can trust when you're having a hard time, and reaching for help when you need it," he said.

While on tour, Nunasi will be honoring graduating students with jackets and presenting information on scholarships and employment opportunities.

Tootoo's tour this year starts in Kimmirut on Friday.

He will then travel to Clyde River, Qikiqtarjuaq and Cape Dorset, before finishing in Sanikiluaq on Sunday.





  • Sport-Express is treating this story like it's a new one, but I already reported that Pavel Datsyuk spoke to the Yekaterinburg Business Gazette's Sergey Gavrilov, as posted on Championat.com, about his contract, and Datsyuk told Gavrilov that he did not intend to sign with a KHL team after fulfilling his 2013-2014 season with the Wings.

I guess the whole, "Detroit's bankrupt, does that mean that the Red Wings are bankrupt?" confusion and/or cherry-picking by the Russian media made this a "story," as did Sergei Fedorov's statement that he'd asked Datsyuk whether he'd be interested in returning to CSKA Moscow for the 2014-2015 season, yielded a re-posting of the following (roughly translated)--and Gavrilov's question as to whether he could have been "bought out" certainly illustrates the confusion about how the NHL and KHL do non-Kovalchuk buisness:

Did some of the KHL's teams intend to buy out your contract with Detroit?

"No, that's not true. No one was going to buy my contract. But even if there were such an option, I still would have extended my contract with Detroit. That, and I'd already signed an agreement with the Red Wings in mid-June for four more years. And I did so with great pleasure."

Datsyuk said more or less the same thing to Yahoo Sports' Dmitry Chesnokov, but the out-of-town perception of how the Wings do business in the U.S., never mind the rest of the world, seems to involve the myth that the vast Metropolitan Detroit area's suburbs and the nearly 4 million people that don't live within the City of Detroit's borders but live within Southeastern Michigan's confines can buy tickets. The Russian media apparently thinks that the players have to live in Detroit, too, given R-Sport's recent interview with Igor Larionov.

Metro Detroit is a very big place, folks--so big that (and I hate to quote Wikipedia), depending on where you draw the borders, it's either 3,800 square miles or over 5,800, and at least 4.2 million and as many as 5.5 million people live there--and the entire state has 9.88 million people, so we're talking about half of the state's population within driving distance of Joe Louis Arena.



  • In the multimedia department, via RedWingsFeed, the Wings posted a YouTube highlight clip of Niklas Kronwall's 2013 season exploits:




  • And finally, according to the Tampa Bay Times' Phillip Morgan, Tampa Bay's home to more than one former member of the Red Wings family, and one of them runs a hockey team, while the other is the "GM" of a local school:

By the time the Detroit Red Wings drafted Craig Butz, he was known in the Major Junior Hockey League as a fighter. Those days are long gone. Now he's known as Dr. Butz, the mild-mannered new principal of Pepin Academies in Tampa, a charter school for children with learning-related disabilities.

"I'm probably the only guy to lead the Western Hockey League in penalty minutes two years in a row that has a Ph.D.,'' Butz said dryly.

A tall, fit-looking 48-year-old in a business suit, Butz never actually played in the National Hockey League. Having climbed through the ranks to the Major Junior Hockey League, a traditional recruiting pool for the NHL, he was drafted by the Red Wings 147th overall in 1983. That was the same year the Detroit team drafted Hall-of-Famer Steve Yzerman, the Tampa Bay Lightning's general manager. But Butz did not get a contract offer.

Everybody has their limit, Butz said recently. "It was a hard realization to come across, but I reached mine about the point where I played major junior and college hockey, and that was as high as I was going to be able to play. … I probably could have gone and played minor league hockey, but that's a tough grind.''

With his NHL dreams dashed, the Canadian native enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan, playing hockey there and graduating with a degree in education. He wanted to teach physical education, but the job market was tight in the late 1980s. He eventually accepted a job teaching physical education to kids with learning-related disabilities in the Los Angeles school system. His pupils included kids on the autism spectrum, those with dyslexia and other disabilities, kids whom Butz says "have the intellectual capacity, but they just learn differently.''

Morgan's story continues, and it's pretty dang cool.



Update: File this "great individual performance" from NHL.com's Adam Kimelman under, "Curly Fries-worthy":

High five for Zetterberg -- Henrik Zetterberg wasn't happy heading into the Detroit Red Wings' game Feb. 1. And he took it out on that night's opponent, the St. Louis Blues.

Angry over an opening-night loss to the Blues two weeks earlier, and slowed by an illness that kept him from practicing the day before, Zetterberg showed he was 100 percent by nearly beating the Blues single-handedly with the second five-point game of his career.

He scored the game's first two goals, 1:55 apart, in the first period. The Blues responded with a pair of goals in the first to tie it, then Kevin Shattenkirk's power-play goal in the second put St. Louis ahead.

The third period was all Zetterberg. He skated through the Blues' zone with the puck before finding Jonathan Ericsson, who scored to tie the game at 4:31. Zetterberg then set up Pavel Datsyuk's power-play goal that held up as the game-winner. And with 12.6 seconds left, Zetterberg outraced then outmuscled T.J. Oshie for a loose puck in the St. Louis end and completed his hat trick with a shorthanded goal from his belly.

"If I had been out for a day like that I would be struggling to skate," Ericsson said of Zetterberg after the game. "And he was flying out there. I don't know how he does it."


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Bugsy's avatar

I’d like to see Abdelkader and Holmstrom together as much as possible during training camp (and regular season), as brought up earlier.  Not that I don’t to see Holmstrom help other Wings, but wisdom is worth passing down, and the one that can put it to the most immediate use for the Wings is Justin.

Posted by Bugsy on 07/24/13 at 02:58 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

I don’t see Justin as being the identical replacement for Holmstrom. He will have a net front presence but won’t do the things that Holmstrom did totally. Additionally he is a much much better skater than Holmstrom was and gets to all corners of the ice quickly. 

Posted by RWBill on 07/24/13 at 01:22 PM ET

SYF's avatar

“If I had been out for a day like that I would be struggling to skate,” Ericsson said of Zetterberg after the game. “And he was flying out there. I don’t know how he does it.”

Well, E52, it just so happened once upon a time, Zata’s dressing room stall was right next to one Steve Yzerman.  You might want to look him up.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 07/25/13 at 03:44 PM ET

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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.