The Malik Report
Red Wings training camp day 2, post 2: on Datsyuk, Zettercaptain, goalies and winning back fan trust
by George Malik on 01/14/13 at 03:26 PM ET
Updated 5x at 4:23 PM: Aside from news that Mikael Samuelsson has a sore groin and did not skate today for precautionary reasons, and that Darren Helm won't skate until Thursday at the earliest, day 2 of the Red Wings' training camp did not include too many surprises, and now quips and quotes are starting to roll in.
MLive's Ansar Khan reports that those of you who plan on showing up for tomorrow's 9:30 AM practice or tomorrow night's scrimmage against the busy Grand Rapids Griffins (6 PM EDT, ON FSD and 97.1 FM, and get there early as the rink will be packed) may or may not see Pavel Datsyuk, who spent the vast majority of the last 24 hours flying back to Detroit from sunny Chelyabinsk, Russia (sorry for the inline update, Twitter's embed code is being doofy)...
Babcock said it will be up to Datsyuk whether he wants to play in Red/White game Tuesday night after arriving from Russia tonight.
And Niklas Kronwall spoke to Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji about the imminent announcement that Henrik Zetterberg will be named the team's captain (expect that tomorrow, probably for the scrimmage as well, and don't forget that there will be a Wings-vs-Wings scrimmage on Thursday at the Joe, and that's open to the public, too)--as well as proving the team's doubters wrong:
#RedWings Kronwall: I think Hank's been groomed to be our captain for many, many years now. He sat beside Stevie and learned a lot from him.
#RedWings Kronwall: Hank, he's been a captain for many years even though he hasn't had the 'C.'
#RedWings Kronwall: We truly believe that we have the right pieces and hopefully that's something we'll show you here in the next few games.
#RedWings Kronwall: (Ericsson's)going to have a great yr. He's been waiting for this opp to get more ice time & play in more key situations.
#RedWings Zetterberg: Just the way (Yz) handled himself on & off the ice, how he prepared for ev practice, ev gm, just led by example.
Wakiji spoke to Danny Cleary as well. Cleary wants the fans--i.e. people like you and me--to know that the Wings are grateful for our support, and that they plan on earning our trust and our discretionary spending money back:
#RedWings Cleary: (Z's) so unselfish. He's such a personable guy.He's got great talent on the ice, but he's very respectful off the ice.
#RedWings Cleary: We've got a tremendous fan base. That's an understatement.
#RedWings Cleary: We're going to anoint a new captain. It doesn't happen every other year in Detroit. It's a pretty special thing.
#RedWings Cleary: All I know is our team will wk hard,represent the jersey proudly & I believe truly our fans will come back & support us.
#RedWings Cleary: There's no room for error. Your lifestyle completely has to be focused on hockey.
It sounds like Patrick Eaves is doing better as well, though he's got a ways to go in terms of recovering from his concussion and post-concussive headaches:
#RedWings Eaves: It’s been a good learning experience & a test of patience. I still haven’t fully been cleared yet.
The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness takes us in a different direction, discussing the relationship between a pair of goalies who will likely split duties in the Wings' net thanks to the highly compressed schedule...
Jimmy Howard used to be the quiet one.
“I’ve had Ozzie, Joey and Ty and they’re at one end of the spectrum, then I’ve got Gus who’s at the other end spectrum where I’ve got to give him a tap on the pads every so often to make sure that he’s actually there because he doesn’t really talk my ear off like the other three used to,” Howard joked.
Howard was talking about Chris Osgood, who still around the locker room in the front office, Joey MacDonald and Ty Conklin. Now it’s just himself and Jonas Gustavsson, the Monster. Howard is seven months older than Gustavsson.
“Gus is great,” Howard said. “I got to know him really well throughout this lockout and got to spend some time with him in Arizona. He’s a great guy.”
Howard added that his backup would prefer the nickname Gus over Monster.
“We push each other,” Howard said. “We already have a good working relationship.”
While Free Press's Helene St. James also updated her day 2 story regarding injuries, the pace of play today and tomorrow night's scrimmage...
The rash of groin injuries likely to beset hockey players who've been off during the NHL lockout has begun: The Red Wings held Mikael Samuelsson back from Monday's practice. General manager Ken Holland told the Free Press it's a precaution against a tender groin.
As expected, the tempo was a bit slower than Sunday's opener.
"The practice isn't set up the same as day one," coach Mike Babcock said, "but I thought we got some good work done."
The Wings are still without Pavel Datsyuk, who spent the weekend in his native Russia playing in the KHL's All-Star Game. He is expected to land in Detroit this afternoon, and, depending how he feels, may be at camp Tuesday.
"That's up to Pavel," Babcock said. "He doesn't have to get off the plane and do anything."
The Wings have a Red and White scrimmage scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Compuware Arena in Plymouth, where they are starting camp while Ford Motor Company occupies Joe Louis Arena in advance of the weekend's Auto Show. It'll be the closest thing the Wings come to an exhibition game during five days of camp, as the lockout-shortened season has nixed the possibility of any preseason games.
"The idea is to simulate a game," Babcock said. "We're doing it at the right time, body-clock wise so we understand what it takes. I get a chance to watch them play, they like to play, so that's a good thing."
And if you need a reminder, the Wings will probably hold Tomas Holmstrom's retirement presser on Thursday or Friday as well. They will have a day off on Wednesday.
MLive's Ansar Khan also provides us with today's practice lines...
Forward Mikael Samuelsson isn't skating today during the second day of Detroit Red Wings training camp due to a sore groin. It is a precautionary move. He is day-to-day.
Center Darren Helm (back, day-to-day)hasn't been on the ice since last Wednesday and won't skate Tuesday, general manager Ken Holland said. This Wednesday is a day off, so the earliest Helm will be back on the ice is Thursday.
"Don't know Helm timetable, all depends how he feels Thursday,'' Holland said.
Here are the lines they are skating with:
Howard and Gustavssson in net.
And while both the Wings' sessions in Plymouth tomorrow and their practices and scrimmage at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday and Friday will be free and open to the public, if you need details regarding said events, the Plymouth-Canton Patch's John McKay is happy to provide them:
While its home venue, Joe Louis Arena, booked for the North American International Auto Show, the Detroit Red Wings are offering fans a chance to see the team prepare for its lockout-shortened 2013 NHL season in Plymouth.
The Red Wings opened training camp Sunday before about 2,000 fans at Compuware Arena, 14900 Beck Road, in Plymouth, according to the Detroit Free Press, and began a second session at noon on Monday.
The team returns to Plymouth at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, and will hold its Red vs. White game later that evening, beginning at 6 p.m.
The Red vs. White contest also will be carried live by both Fox Sports Detroit, with Ken Daniels, Mickey Redmond and Larry Murphy calling the shots, and on 1270 AM with Ken Kal and Paul Woods.
The team returns to Joe Louis Arena on [Thursday] for 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. practices, and again [Friday] for a noon practice.
All events are free to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, and doors for each event open one hour before the start time.
Dear friend of TMR The Tinnish Flash suggested that Compuware Arena's rink staff were telling those who attended today's practice that they ought to show up two or three hours ahead of the 6 PM scrimmage tomorrow, noting that the rink will open its doors early so that folks can wait inside and access the concessions and restrooms.
In the multimedia department, the Detroit News's David Guralnick just posted a 41-image(!) gallery of the Wings' on and off-ice activities, and I'm sure we'll see more photos and video shortly.
Update: Michigan Hockey's Nick Barnowski also discussed the not-so-delicate subject that is the Red Wings' need to re-earn their fans' loyalty and discretionary spending, as an organization, as players, coaches and as an on-ice-performing entity:
Local fans, such as Mike Slade of Wixom, jumped on the opportunity to see the team practice for free.
“I think it’s pretty exciting so far,” he said. “It’s cool we can get so close to the players, especially for free. At the Joe you can’t see them this up close, it adds a whole new aspect to the game in my opinion.”
Slade would like to see teams interact with their fans more, especially after the lengthily lockout.
“Discounted tickets for this season because it’s pretty much half of a normal season would help people get back into the spirit,” he recommended. “More player/fan interaction, meet and greet type of stuff to get people to watch these guys.”
Liz Strebbing, a Redford resident, was thrilled that the Wings are holding camp in Plymouth this year as opposed to Traverse City, the normal host.
“We usually go up to training camp in Traverse City,” she said, “but it’s cool having it in our backyard, not having to travel for it.”
Players on the club were ecstatic about the turnout at the first practice, and are glad the team is offering training camp tickets for free.
“I think it’s awesome,” forward Valtteri Filppula said. “We definitely have to hope to get the fan base back, it’s a tough time for everybody, especially the fans. Hopefully this is a good thing for them and they enjoy it and are behind us after the season gets started.”
Defenseman Niklas Kronwall is looking forward to repay the fans with success on the ice.
“We can just try and do what we can, play our best hockey, try to bring it to the Joe every night and hopefully they’ll come back and cheer for us because we love to play in front of them,” he said.
Again, no surprise here:
"Homer was a star at what he did. The best in the National Hockey League in my opinion,'' Babcock said. “And Nick Lidstrom was the best defenseman, so you’re not getting Homer and you’re not getting Nick. But Mule, net-front, is as good as anybody. Mule has been waiting to be out on the first unit since he got here. He thinks he should be. We think he should be, too. So it’s a natural fit.''
Holmstrom is expected to officially announce his retirement at a press conference Thursday or Friday at Joe Louis Arena.
Meanwhile, Babcock said it remains to be seen if Pavel Datsyuk will play in Tuesday's Red-White game at Compuware Arena, when the Grand Rapids Griffins come to town.
Datsyuk is scheduled to arrive tonight from Russia, after playing in the KHL All-Star game Sunday.
“That’s a Pavel decision and when he gets back, depending on how he’s feeling – he doesn’t have to get off the plane and do anything – the fans would love to see him, obviously,'' Babcock said. “So we’ll see what happens tomorrow.''
Update #3: The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan spoke to several Wings about Zetterberg's imminent status as the Wings' captain...
Great choice, he'd get the unanimous vote in here," forward Daniel Cleary said. "The big thing with Hank is he's so unselfish, such a personable guy, and he's a star. He's a go talent on the ice and very respectful off the ice."
Zetterberg might be a more vocal than Lidstrom, but there are many similarities.
"They are the hardest working guys and they show up every night," defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "They're the best players on the ice. They don't cheat, they do all the right things."
And Kulfan did a great job of setting up some context for the Wings' scrimmage on Tuesday night as well:
Tuesday's scrimmage is being treated as much as a dry-run for a regular season game as the Red Wings can make it. There will be a morning skate earlier in the day. And playing against members of the Grand Rapids Griffins, there will be at least different faces than usual to compete against.
"It's be good for us, the game action is probably the biggest thing we need," goalie Jimmy Howard said. "I'm going to treat this as a regular season game."
Said Cleary: "We're trying o get into a game routine. We're all the same boat (around the league). The players who prepare the best and focus the most will come out of the gate well. The key is to stay out of the training room."
Coach Mike Babcock will not be on the bench, but rather observe from a suite. With another evening scrimmage Thursday, Babcock wants to get the players acclimated to a game day routine.
"The idea is to acclimate a game (setting)," Babcock said.
The Windsor Star's Bob Duff pondered Zetterberg's captaincy (we know that Datsyuk and Kronwall will wear alternate captain's "A's," but will Valtteri Filppula rotate into the mix? I'm sure he'll wear the "A" at some point this season, but I don't know if it'll be on an every-other-game basis. The Wings are big on keeping him and grooming him to lead):
“What makes them leaders is they’re the hardest-working guys and they show up every night,” Kronwall said. “They’re the best players on the ice every time. They never cheat, they’re always doing the right thing. That’s why they are the captains.”
Zetterberg began his career in Detroit seated next to Yzerman in the Wings’ dressing room and recalled the lessons he learned from the man who was the team’s longest-serving captain.
“Just the way he handled himself on and off the ice, how he prepared for every practice and every game, how much time he spent in the weight room, how he led by example,” Zetterberg said. “When Nick was the captain as well, he did the same thing. Those are the things that I want to try to do now and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Zetterberg believes his most important task as captain will be to ensure everyone has the ship sailing in the same direction.
“You’ve just to have a good feeling in the locker room,” Zetterberg said. “You want to have a good group of guys that kind of come together and perform good hockey. You need to speak at the right moment and know when to shut up at the right moment.”
Just because he’ll be wearing the C, Zetterberg made it clear that he won’t be the sole leader on the club.
“It’s not just one guy who’s got to do it, everyone has to do it together,” he said. “You’ve got to sense the feeling around the locker room, how the mood is.”
And Duff posted videos of Zetterberg's massive 3:39 media scrum--though I think this is from Sunday (and yes, it's Damien BROO-ner, not BRUN-ner)...
As well as Mike Babcock's chit chat with the media today. Yesterday, he wore a suit:
Ken Kal is on Twitter, too, and here's what he had to say about today's activities (sorry again about inline updates, Twitter is acting weird today):
Looking forward to catching up with Paul Woods tomorrow! Enjoy working with him. Really knows the game. He's taught me a lot over the years!
Back from Day 2 of training camp..I didn't realize how big "the monster" Jonas Gustavsson is until I stood next to him.
Jimmy Howard pressed an ice cold bottle of water against my neck while I was interviewing Mike Knuble. His way of welcoming me back I guess
Looked like the Wings were working on 5 on 5 neutral zone coverage today and special teams play.
Great fan support again today. Real nice turnout for day 2. Looking forward to the Red-White game at 6pm tomorrow. Admission is free!
Observed Henrik Zetterberg sign at least 50 to 60 autographs as he walked off the ice today.
Update #4: The NHLPA's website just posted a slick story about Niklas Kronwall, who spoke to Chris Lomon about taking part in a pair of December charity games held by NHLPA members first in Windsor and then in Toronto:
“Those games are certainly not suited for the way I play,” laughed Kronwall, in reference to charity events in Windsor, Ontario, that raised money for a children’s cancer foundation and the RBC Charity Challenge in Toronto that raised $100,000 for grassroots hockey initiatives. “They are all about fun and skill. There was a lot of finesse out there for those games, but that’s not me.”
Perhaps not, but the humble Swede is certainly not a one-hit wonder, so to speak. He’s reached double digits in goals the past two seasons. Still, Kronwall takes pride in what the two games represented.
“They were about people coming together to help raise money and awareness for good causes,” said the 31-year-old native of Stockholm. “That’s why people get involved. It doesn’t matter about the score or who gets the goals. You just want to help out.”
That doesn’t mean Kronwall didn’t enjoy himself when he suited up for Team (Steven) Stamkos in the RBC Charity Challenge.
“The one thing that was really amazing was to see just how talented and skilled some of the guys are in a game like that,” recalled Kronwall. “It certainly isn’t me, but that didn’t matter at all. You take away an appreciation for just how good these guys are and what they can do. It wasn’t about delivering a big hit. It was about having fun with your fellow players and the fans.”
He also talked about spending Christmas with Mikael Samuelsson...And he talked about what playing for the Red Wings means to him:
Soon enough, Kronwall will have the opportunity to do something familiar, at least on the ice, where he can finally dole out some of his trademark bodychecks.
“I always dreamed about what it would be like to play for an Original Six team,” said Kronwall. “To have the chance to play for Detroit and be around so many great players, it’s better than I could have imagined. I just want to play my game and do whatever it takes to help bring another Cup to Detroit.”
Update #5: The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan also penned a story about Zetterberg's mentorship of new Red Wing Damien Brunner:
Brunner, 26, had a league-high 57 points (25 goals, 32 assists) in 33 games with EV Zug. In four-plus seasons with the club, Brunner scored 247 points in 200 games.
Zetterberg, incidentally, had 16 goals and 16 assists in 23 games playing with EV Zug and Brunner. Zetterberg believes Brunner will succeed in the NHL but cautions about too much hype too early.
"He still hasn't played a game here and it is a big step for him," Zetterberg said. "It's easy to hype a guy like that up but he is strong mentally and he knows the media circus so I'm not worried about that. He will get his chance and he will succeed."
Zetterberg said the smaller ice surface will be Brunner's biggest challenge.
"It is for anyone who comes over from Europe to play here," Zetterberg said. "Things happen so much quicker and it's more physical. You don't have as much time as you do over there. But he's not 19 or 20, he's 26 and he's been around a while, and he has real good hockey sense."
Brunner is staying at a hotel. He's still looking for a place to live and is adjusting to the time change as well as the difference in the style of play. But having a familiar face there in Zetterberg is helping.
"I was more nervous at the practice rink in Troy (before the lockout began) when everything started and there are all new faces," Brunner said. "(Today) I looked at Z's face and it was someone familiar and it definitely helped."
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