The Malik Report
Red Wings summer development camp 2014, day 2: interviews w/ Marchenko, Ehn, Nedomlel and Fischer II
by George Malik on 07/05/14 at 05:34 PM ET
The Red Wings' summer prospect campers held their first scrimmage today (they have another one scheduled for Tuesday), and Team Lidstrom defeated Team Yzerman 3-2. The players had a yoga class scheduled for shortly after the game, and they came streaming past me preparing for said class.
Yoga? O Rly? Ya Rly.
Myself, Brendan Savage, Hooked on Hockey's Kevin Sporka and the Hockey Writers' Zackary Landers were able to speak with Alexey Marchenko,and I didn't think that we were going to be able to get him again.
He was very accommodating and explained that the reason he wasn't skating with the summer campers is because the specialist who placed two surgical pins that helped his broken ankle heal (which one? It still remains a mystery!) removed said pins ten days ago. So Marchenko's working out with the team, and he hoped to be skating tomorrow, but it doesn't sound like the team's going to be that liberal with his recovery.
MLive's Savage had a good chunk of questions lined up for Marchenko, but I was at least able to talk to him a little bit about working out with the guys and whether he felt involved in the camp. Marchenko certainly hopes to make the Wings' roster, but he knows that if he ends up in Grand Rapids, he'll be able to continue improving his game and especially his anticipation and decision-making. He felt that he was still adjusting to the pace of the North American game, and given that he's a very technically-inclined player, that makes a lot of sense in terms of angles and timing:
I wanted to get both of the big, lanky guys the Wings drafted before the end of camp, but things have been tight, so today I was able to snag Christoffer Ehn, and I hope to get Julius Vahatalo tomorrow. Ehn's English is probably better than mine, and he was happy to talk about his goal in the scrimmage, his take on the on and off-ice poritions of the camp (it's interesting to hear Ehn, who's in the Frolunda Indians' system, say that their training in Sweden isn't all that different save the intensity; Axel Holmstrom, who's in Skelleftea AIK's system, said that they use much heavier weights when I spoke with him this morning), and Ehn discussed his strengths as a player and the fact that he grew up as a Red Wings fan:
Richard Nedomlel played translator for Tomas Nosek, who I spoke with yesterday, so I wanted to hear from Big Richard today, and his confidence and poise on and off the ice have taken gigantic leaps and bounds from where he was three years ago. Richard said that he's taking his inspiration from the way Brendan Smith came up and led two summers ago, and he talked about the things he's still working on, meeting his new coach up here in Traverse City as Derek Lalonde is working with the campers (you will catch a joke in there), and he just talked about his maturation process, which has been utterly remarkable given that he was literally tripping over his 6'5" frame in 2011. Great kid--or young man, I should say:
Finally, I spoke with Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer this morning, and a bad joke attempt yielded nearly seventeen MORE minutes of talk as myself, Savage and Sporka spoke with Fischer for TWENTY more minutes this afternoon.
Here's the morning conversation...
And while Savage led the talking as he looked to fill in the players in his notebook, Kevin and I were able to get in some questions about certain prospects, about the scrimmage and the two-scrimmage format, about players like Ehn, Vahatalo, Marc McNulty, who is still SUPER SKINNY despite having put on 15 pounds, and Fischer was very elouquent in explaining how he found Tomas Nosek, he was thrilled with the fact that Marchenko apparently chose to come up here to Traverse City and work with the medical staff and trainers of his own volition--Fischer duly noted that Marchenko was on the bike every day, working out very hard with his teammates--Fischer talked about Anthony Mantha (that's the player he's talking about at the start of the conversation, discussing Mantha's NHL hopes), about Andreas Athanasiou, some of the team's defensemen, the very crowded goaltending situation thanks to Petr Mrazek and Tom McCollum's performances in Grand Rapids yielding Jake Paterson and Jared Coreau battling for time in Toledo (his take on Coreau's struggles was smart--we forget that Coreau was a free agent coming out of NCAA hockey, and that's a big step up on a team that had a rough year, never mind the shoulder surgery)...
Big edit/note: the reason I post these extended conversations "all at once" isn't simply for fear of transcription; people have told me to give them everything at once as opposed to emptying the notebook slowly over time. In the case of this intervew, there's a reason that I make sure that "downloads are enabled" whenever I upload something. I want you to be able to take the interview from Soundcloud, to put it on your computer, your tablet, your iPod, your cell phone, whatever, and listen to them at your leisure. In the case of this interview, listening to it 5 minutes at a time might not be the worst idea. I don't want to break it up to keep the continuity going, but you have no obligation to sit here for 20 minutes and listen. Go ahead, take it, put it somewhere you want to keep it and listen to it at your leisure.
Everything here is supposed to be about you enjoying as much or as little content as you want, from scrolling through entries when you feel like it to listening to parts of conversations to whatever. This is supposed to be a reader-friendly blog where the only rule is that you enjoy yourself if we're not talking about awful things like re-signing Kyle Quincey.
Fischer's best comment is the disclaimer I need to put on my reports again: this is a summer camp where the empahsis is on orientation and getting used to the systems that the new and returning players will be utilizing during the fall tournament, this is a camp in which nutrition, fitness, time management and preparation are all just as important as the skill development portions, and this is a time of year that really exists on its own, on a year-to-year basis, and it serves as its own standard of judgments of performances. For the players who are not signed and are going back to their programs in NCAA or Major Junior hockey, they take the knowledge with them, and for the players who are drafted, in the system or turning pro, they can use these camps to start off a really good year's worth of on and off-ice work, and in terms of the Griffins-to-be, to step up and lead and show that they've matured mentally as well as physically.
Fischer's last lines about the Wings wanting to be a team that "wins battles" as opposed to the biggest or heaviest team out there are telling. Great conversation.
Oh, and if you're coming up in the fall, the alums and coaches and management will be wearing these beauties. TC activities director Anne Reeves told me that the logo's inspired by both the one that adorned the Winter Classic's jersey pants and the shoulder logo on the "legends jacket" that Lidstrom wore:
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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.