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The Malik Report

Red Wings’ prospects morning gnus: Wings could capture first championship; Sheahan, Jurco step up

The Red Wings prospects' big win over St. Louis last night earned the team the opportunity to compete for its first prospect tournament title when they battle the Buffalo Sabres' prospects this evening (the game takes place at Centre Ice Arena at 7:30 PM), and Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill was blunt about the significance of his team's potential performance while speaking with NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale:

"Any time you get a chance to compete in a tournament, you want to win and I was told we had never won this and passed that on to our guys and they took some pride in that," Detroit's prospect coach Jeff Blashill said. "What you're doing is your comparing yourself against seven other teams' best prospects, both individually and collective, so everyone wants guys not only talented but who are winners. So our guys have done a good job of showing that so far."

The Sabres defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 7-4, to finish unbeaten in their bracket and set up the championship-round showdown. Defenseman Xavier Ouellett (2011, No. 48) and Nastasiuk connected in the first to give Detroit a 2-0 lead.

Sebastian Wannstrom (2010, No. 44) had pulled the Blues (1-2-0) within 2-1 midway through the third before Tomas Jurco (2011, No. 35) scored his first of the tournament on the power-play at the 14:02 mark. Anthony Mantha (2013, No. 20) closed out the scoring with an empty-net goal with 1:11 remaining in regulation.

"The scouting staff has done a great job, and we have lots of talented hockey players," Blashill said. "We have a real good mix of skill, and strength on the puck, and enough physicality. I think we've done a good job of attacking as a five-man unit offensively and, defensively, we've stayed real tight. The guys have very quickly grasped those concepts."

The Traverse City Record-Eagle's James Cook also spoke with the Wings' prospects about the possibility of winning the tournament...

“We talked a little bit about that,” Red Wings center Andreas Athanasiou said. “We talked about that they’ve never won it. I like to win; it’s part of my game. When I heard that, I thought, ‘Here’s my chance to show them.’ I win everywhere I go, so I thought this would be a good opportunity.”

And with three goals in his first two games, Athanasiou has certainly been doing his part.

“With the Wings not winning one of these Prospects tournaments yet, it’d be a cool experience,” forward Riley Sheahan said. “All these guys have been working hard in the off-season, so it’d give them something to talk about when they go back to their teams.”

And Cook asked Blashill about the decision to give Max Nicastro, Sheahan and Tomas Jurco the alternate captain's "A's"...

“Max, Jurco and Sheahan, all three of them were with us most of last year,” Grand Rapids Griffin coach Jeff Blashill said of the teams’ run to the Calder Cup. “In Sheahan and Max’s case, they’re older guys. We thought it was a great opportunity for them to be leaders. Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco are coming here after spending a year together in Grand Rapids, where they were very good players. They were nice pieces to the puzzle, but they weren’t night in, night out go-to players. I think this is a good chance for them to be the go-to players.”

As well Sheahan's emphasis on physical play:

“It’s something that as a coach, we didn’t emphasize enough to him early,” Blashill said. “Throughout the season, we started to talk lots more about it and in the playoffs. Riley is a very good defensive player, he’s got very good offensive ability. But if you can be physical, you can have an impact every single night, whether you are scoring or not. And I also think when you get into a playoff series, you can wear on other teams.”

Cook also asked Blashill about Teemu Pulkkinen, Calle Jarnkrok, Xavier Ouellet and Jake Paterson, and Blashill's comments about Jarnkrok were particularly intriguing:

“Jarnkrok, obviously has been a great players in the Swedish league. He’s been in the top eight in scoring for two years in a row. He’s an extremely highly thought-of prospect, not just by the Red Wings, but by lots of organizations. He’s got a great, great mind for the game. The transition part is learning to play the North American game. He got nine games last year, but that’s not very many. And it was nine games at the end of the season, which is hard. ... At some point, he learn to be as effective in North American hockey as he is in the Swedish Elite League.”

DetroitRedWings.com's Dan Mannes published a superb photo gallery from yesterday night's practice and game, too.




The Record-Eagle also posted the schedule for the Wings' main camp....

Detroit Red Wings training camp schedule

Thu., Sept. 12

Practice/Scrimmage, 9:30 a.m.

Fri., Sept. 13

Practice/Scrimmage, 9:30 a.m.

Sat., Sept. 14

Practice/Scrimmage, 9:30 a.m.

Alumni/Celebrity Game, 7 p.m.

Sun., Sept. 15

Red & White Game, 11 a.m.

Mon., Sept. 16

Practice, TBA

Tue., Sept. 17

Practice, TBA

Which is outlined in more detail at Sarah Lindenau's The Left Wing Lock's training camp page:

September 11th

1:30 pm – Charity golf outing

6:00 pm – Charity reception

September 12th

9:30 am – 11:00 am – Team Lindsay on-ice workout (David’s)

11:00 am – 11:40 am – Team Delvecchio on-ice practice (David’s)

11:15 am – 12:15 pm – Team Lindsay off-ice workout

11:45 am – 1:00 pm – Scrimmage (Team Delvecchio vs. Team Howe / West Rink)

1:05 pm – 1:45 pm – Team Howe on-ice practice (David’s)

1:15 pm – 2:15 pm – Team Delvecchio off-ice workout

2:00 pm – 2:30 pm – Team Howe off-ice workout

September 13th

9:30 am – 11:00 am – Team Delvecchio on-ice workout (David’s / West)

11:00 am – 11:40 am – Team Lindsay on-ice practice (David’s)

11:15 am – 12:15 pm – Team Delvecchio off-ice workout

11:45 am -12:15 pm – Scrimmage (Team Lindsay vs. Team Howe / West)

1:05 pm -1:45 pm – Team Howe on-ice practice (David’s)

1:15 pm – 2:30 pm – Team Lindsay off-ice workout

2:00 pm – 2:30 pm – Team Howe off-ice workout

September 14th

9:30 am – 11:00 am Team Howe on-ice workout (David’s / West)

11:00 am – 11:40 am Team Delvecchio on-ice practice

11:15 am – 12:15 pm Team Howe off-ice workout

11:45 am – 12:15 pm Scrimmage (Team Delvecchio vs. Team Lindsay / West)

1:05 pm – 1:45 pm Team Lindsay on-ice practice (David’s)

1:15 pm – 2:30 pm Team Delvecchio off-ice workout

2:00 pm – 2:30 pm Team Lindsay off-ice workout

7:00 pm Alumni / Celebrity Charity Game

September 15th

10:30 am – 10:45 am – Warm up

11:00 am – Red and White game

September 16th

10:00 am – 11:00 am – White team (game day players) pre-game skate (David’s)

11:30 am – 12:45 pm – Red team practice (non-game day players) practice (David’s / West)

1:00 pm – Red team off-ice workout

7:00 pm White team Vs. Pittsburgh

September 17th

10:30 am -11:15 am – White team (game day players pre-game skate) (David’s)

11:30 am -12:45 pm – Red team practice (non-game day players) practice (David’s / West)

1:00 pm players depart Traverse City

7:00 pm White team vs. Chicago



And taking a sharp turn, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose's final "By the Numbers" column of the off-season involves one Justin Abdelkader:

10: Number of goals scored to establish his new single-season career high, netting them all in the final 25 games of the season, including a hat trick in a 5-1 win at Anaheim on March 22.

120: Led all Red Wings in total number of hits for the third straight season. His 120 hits also ranked fifth in the Central Division, trailing only Nashville' Rich Clune (159), St. Louis's David Backes (158), Ryan Reaves (135), and Columbus's Derek MacKenzie (122).
61: Led all Red Wings, and finished ranked No. 10, in total hits during the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs. He also established a personal single-game high with nine hits in Game 7 against the Blackhawks.

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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.