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Red Wings training camp, day 3: Tweets, Tootoo, Tatar and a post in progress

Updated 3x at 6:17 PM: Amongst the various Tweets, quotes and stories from the third day of Red Wings training camp (audio already posted)...

The Red Wings worked on "backside pressure" and pressure down low today. There were MANY "teachable moments." Lots and lots of stoppages.

If you missed my post about tomorrow's Red vs. White Game at 11 and the preceding practice for the non-game-playing players...

Cuts come on Sunday afternoon....And yes, it's now been confirmed that Alfredsson will wear #11 and Cleary #71 from now on....

I'm puzzled about this one...

It looked like EVERYONE was wearing "2013 Training Camp Champions" t-shirts--even Henrik Zetterberg showed us the logo when passing by to sign autographs (today was, "Okay, entire team, sign autographs on the merch in this room ahead of the charity game" day)--and Team Delvecchio and Team Lindsay tied 2-2 in the scrimmage, with Tomas Tatar's goal stealing the show as the prettiest one and LOTS of contact and LOTS of pace...

One-timer of a Triston Grant pass, goal over Petr Mrazek.

DeKeyser shot it and Callahan tipped it--perfectly--past Jonas Gustavsson.

Much prettier than described. Calle Jarnkrok fired a perfect diagonal pass to Jurco on McCollum glove side, Jurco reversed it immediately across the slot and Ferraro had a tap-in.

Between practice and the scrimmage, Gustavsson got dinged twice in the mask with sticks, Tootoo ran into the boards on his own, and Triston Grant was PISSING PEOPLE OFF.

Another one-timer, this time through Jake Paterson.

Interestingly, Paterson, McCollum and Cam Lanigan worked with Jim Bedard in the other rink during the first half of the scrimmage.

In other Twitter news...

Todd Bertuzzi was walking around the concourse barefoot, and Chris Chelios kept on asking for the proper amount of beer for tonight's celebrity game. In Flip Flops. I can DEFINITELY tell you that the chiropractor was in high demand after the scrimmage.

And calmer.

Yes.

 

 

If there are any fish left.

The Windsor Star's Bob Duff penned a story about Tootoo's tenuous status, especially given his $1.9 million cap hit...

“Every year is a tryout camp for me,” Tootoo said. “That’s how I take it mentally. I just have to prepare myself the best that I could as there are hundreds of other guys that would love to be in your spot. I’m coming in with the mindset for fighting for a spot on the team and that’s the bottom line.”

A free-agent addition from Nashville before last season, Tootoo understands that there isn’t room for everyone when it comes time for Detroit to cut down to its final 23-player roster.

“I’ve been through a lot of (stuff) over the years,” Tootoo said. “This is what makes you a stronger person, both on and off the ice. It’s about mentally being strong and having the will and courage to overcome hard times That’s why we have the guys in this dressing room here. We’re all brothers, pick each other up when someone’s down. That’s what’s great about this game.”

A scrapper on the ice, Tootoo is ready to fight for his job with everything he’s got.

“Physically and mentally I did everything that I could to make sure that I give myself every opportunity to make this team,” Tootoo said. “This is where I want to win a Stanley Cup and when you have other guys that want your spot, you have to make sure that you bring your A-Game every day. At the same time, it’s basically one day at a time for me here, and that’s been my mentality for the last three years.”

If it comes to be that Tootoo is the odd man out and is moved elsewhere by the Red Wings, he understands that it will purely be a hockey decision and he can live with that.

“For me it’s about having the opportunity to play in the NHL and that’s out of my reach,” he said of any potential transactions. “I’ve got to worry about my game and take it one day at a time and let the business people do that side of things, and just come in every day with the right mindset.”

The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness also wrote a Tootoo story...

Tootoo spent most of the postseason a year ago just like he did in Nashville two years ago, mainly watching from the pressbox. Tootoo played in just one of the Wings’ 14 playoff games, being a healthy scratch the other 13.

“I thought the (end of season) meetings where good,” Tootoo said. “Obviously, for me, constructive criticism is a good thing. That’s what you have to work on and build off of. But I thought I did everything that was expected, but at the same time it’s basically one-day-at-a-time for me here and that’s been my mentality for the last three years. So it’s been a good summer, mentally refocused and physically I feel great.”

In his only appearance in the playoffs last year he recorded the Wings’ first penalty of the series for a crosscheck that Anaheim promptly scored on just four seconds into the man advantage.

Tootoo played in just three of the Predators’ playoff games a year ago after coming off a career-high 12 postseason appearances where he registered a career-high six points.

“We took a little time off, did some hunting and fishing (this summer),” Tootoo said. “But physically and mentally I did everything that I could to make sure that I give myself every opportunity to make this team. This is where I want to win a Stanley Cup and when you have other guys that want your spot you have to make sure that you bring you’re A-Game every day.”

MLive's Ansar Khan penned a story about Tomas Tatar...

“It's hard to pretend the forwards are not here,'' Tatar said. “So I know there's lots of players here and everybody is battling for a good spot, so it's a little frustrating. But good teams can choose the players they want to fit into the lineup and I'm going to do my best to fit there, and I think I'm in a good position to do it.''

Tatar, 22, doesn't want to just make the team. He wants to be in the lineup every game. His goal is to play on a top-two line. Tatar, the club's second-round pick in 2009 (60th overall), had four productive seasons with the Grand Rapids Griffins, culminating with a Calder Cup championship in 2012-13, a playoff run that earned him MVP honors after he notched 16 goals and 21 points in 24 games.

Returning to the AHL is not an option, since he would have to pass through waivers. Tatar will be on the Red Wings roster or be traded.

“I would expect to be traded if I won't make the team,'' Tatar said. “I'm going to do my best to be here, but it's a business. You never know, they might get some offer and have to accept it. They have so many forwards. I love it here. In my heart I want to stay here because this is the team that drafted me, they had the patience to develop me on the farm team. Might as well repay that.''

Tatar made a favorable impression during an 18-game stint with the Red Wings last season, picking up four goals and three assists. But the club sent him back to the Griffins in mid-March, opting to recall Gustav Nyquist, who stayed with Detroit through the end of the playoffs. Tatar has good offensive skills but knows he must improve his puck management and be a more reliable two-way player.

“I can't do turnovers,'' Tatar said. “When I have the puck, we have to end up with the puck, so the opponent won't have it more than we do. Just have to get good with the puck and manage it and make sure I won't just give it away.''

He also believes he can improve his skating and add strength to his 5-foot-10, 186-pound frame.

“I finished the AHL best I can, I won the Cup and I got the MVP,'' Tatar said. “I was there four years, I produced a lot. I think that league would just slow me down from now on, that's why I got to think next step, and for me that's NHL. I hope it would be Detroit. I love it here, I love the fans.''

And the Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindenau posted a training camp Day 3 photo gallery.

I will post more as it becomes available. I've got to write my post as well.

Update #1: The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness weighs in on numbergate:

Daniel Cleary doesn’t look like he’ll be getting back his No. 11 from Daniel Alfredsson after all.

Due to what it’ll cost to make the switch in numbers with the league, Cleary has decided to wear No. 71 for this season.

Cleary confirmed after practice that he indeed would not be wearing No. 11.

Cleary will be the third Wing to wear 71, joining Wendel Clark (1998-99) and Jiri Slegr (01-12), both of whom were trade deadline acquisitions and were not retained after the season.

Update #2: There's a very nice AP photographer named John L. Russel here, and you can see his work on Corbis.com....

Update #3: Bill Roose spoke to Ken Holland this about tonight's charity game...

"I've probably only had equipment on four or five times in the last 20 years,” the Red Wings general manager said on Friday.

Holland is among several Red Wings executives, scouts, coaches and former players who will play in an alumni/celebrity hockey game on Saturday night at Centre ICE Arena.

“When it's as big a part of your life, as it is for me from about 8 years old to 28 years of age, certainly hockey is my life, being able to put the equipment on and go on the ice is fun,” Holland said. “It's good exercise and it's fun.”

A former goalie, Holland played in four NHL games, including three with the Red Wings during the 1983-84 season. A 12th round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Holland also played one game with the Hartford Whalers.

The Wings’ GM will share the goaltending duties with Chris Osgood on the Red Team coached by pro scout Bruce Haralson. But the test for Holland will be facing a stacked White Team with recently retired guys like Chris Chelios, Kris Draper, and Kirk Maltby.

“Draper flies around at 100 miles an hour, he's not far away from playing, so for me it's going to be all angles and protractors, just stand 'em up and cut 'em down,” Holland said. “I don't know how to do the butterfly and I'd probably pull a groin if I did do a butterfly. … We're trying to make a major trade today to level the playing field.”

And penned an article about "The Kids" on defense:

“Kindl, Smith, DeKeyser and Lashoff are huge for us because they are kids,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Can they do it again? If they don’t do it again we’re not as good, so I don’t know the answer to that. I’m just going to watch and see what happens. We need them all if we are to advance if we’re going to be a good team and the D is everything.”

Heading into the abbreviated lockout season, the defense was supposed to be the Red Wings’ weak spot. Injuries compounded the problem for a unit that used 10 different defenders during the 48-game schedule. But by the end of the regular-season, the defense had significantly cut down on the goals-against. In the first month, Detroit surrendered 2.83 goals per game, but by the end of the year they were allowing just 1.5 goals in the final 10 games.

“We had our struggles last year, there’s no doubt about that. A lot of ups and downs,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “We had some games where some things went really well. We had some games where they didn’t go so well. It wasn’t very pretty at all, but I think as the year went on we figured out how we had to play and I think everyone chipped in. We got better and better, and that’s a big key. You want to get better and better as the year goes on and not the other way around.”

Last January, the Red Wings didn’t know what they had in Lashoff, who was in AHL Grand Rapids, and DeKeyser, who was finishing his collegiate career at Western Michigan. Lashoff was pressed into service when injuries mounted. He made his NHL debut in the season’s second game, and made quite an impression.

“It was a great year. It was learning experience as well as me being able to take advantage of an opportunity that was there. I learned a lot,” Lashoff said. “I had my ups and downs, but overall I learned a lot and how to play in this league. It’s tough, but I think I learned as the season went on.”

...

While Lashoff bounced between Detroit and Grand Rapids a few times, only hand surgery forced DeKeyser out of the lineup a month after he arrived in April.

“He just skates so good and he’s so smart He’s gotten way stronger, he came in at 197-pounds, which is significantly heavier and stronger than last time,” Babcock said, referring to DeKeyser. “It’s still a great advancement for him, I mean, they’re all a year older, a year more experienced and should be a year better, and those are four key guys for us. Lash and those three got to make a big imprint for us.”

Amongst MLive's Ansar Khan's notes:

Ouellet, Sproul impressive, next in line

The Red Wings will start the season with seven defensemen. Injuries are inevitable. When they need to recall a defenseman from the Grand Rapids Griffins, Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul and Richard Nedomlel are next in line, for now.

All three are embarking on their pro careers after impressive stints in the junior ranks. Ouellet was a first team All-Star in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. Sproul was the CHL defenseman of the year with Sault Ste. Marie.

“I think Ouellet has been – and he was on my (training camp) team and of course I have seen him the most – unbelievable for us,'' Niklas Kronwall said. “He’s very smooth out there, moves the puck really well, good position. It’s going to be really fun to follow him.”

Jensen out until December or January

Nick Jensen, also slated to begin his pro career in Grand Rapids this season, is out until December or January after shoulder surgery in July. He was injured in a fight with Tyler Bertuzzi during prospects camp.

And from the Free Press's Helene St. James:

After three days of a hard workload, the Red Wings have a relatively soft day Sunday, limited to the annual Red and White game that sort of caps training camp.

The top two lines will face off against one another, with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader headlining the Red team against Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss and Johan Franzen on the White team. The Red squad also gets Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Mikael Samuelsson, Jordin Tootoo and Tomas Tatar up front, while the White features Daniel Cleary, Todd Bertuzzi, Drew Miller, Cory Emmerton and Patrick Eaves.

The White team gets the top defense pairing of Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson, but the Red team has more NHL-caliber depth, with Danny DeKeyser, Jakub Kindl, Brendan Smith and Kyle Quincey.

Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek are in net for the Red team, and Jonas Gustavsson and Jared Coreau are on the White team. Both rosters are fleshed out with numerous minor leaguers.

Not a whole lot should be read into intrasquad competition, but the Wings do have a handful of forwards who have to be curious where they’ll fit in given there’s 17 on board and only room for 14.

Darren Helm remains bothered by a sore groin — he still hasn’t gone on the ice — but even subtracting him, that leaves two players out and and two who will be reserves.

That picture will become clearer starting Monday, when the Wings begin their eight-game exhibition schedule with a game in Pittsburgh. Split squads will practice through Tuesday in Traverse City, before relocating to Joe Louis Arena.

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Comments

SYF's avatar

This:

Detroit Red Wings     ✔ @DetroitRedWings

“(DeKeyser) skates so good and he’s so smart. He’s gotten way stronger…significantly heavier and stronger” - Babcock #ATTExtendedCoverage

and this…:

Detroit Red Wings     ✔ @DetroitRedWings

“(DeKeyser) makes things look so simple out there, regardless of the situations he gets put in.” - Niklas Kronwall #ATTExtendedCoverage

...means 65DD goes to GR anyway.  cool mad

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 09/14/13 at 04:37 PM ET

cowboycoffee's avatar

is Tatar talking himself out of a spot on the team?

Posted by cowboycoffee from San Francisco, CA on 09/14/13 at 04:53 PM ET

PDXWing's avatar

is Tatar talking himself out of a spot on the team?

Posted by cowboycoffee from San Francisco, CA on 09/14/13 at 04:53 PM ET

What do you mean? That he’s saying too much in the press and irritating the management staff?

From all accounts of his performance in the camp, it sounds like he’s playing himself on to the team. Malik’s and Lindenau’s description of his play sounds like he’s playing with a lot of effort. I hope he makes it, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see him packaged with a current roster player to upgrade the D.

Posted by PDXWing on 09/14/13 at 05:15 PM ET

DocF's avatar

And why do fans and some in the media seem to feel the defense needs upgrading?  Is it because of the lack of big names aside from Kronwall?  The only way to upgrade the kiddy corps is to play these guys and let them gain experience.

Right now, Kronwall and Ericsson are set and pretty much mature players.  DeKeyser is a sure star in the near future barring injury.  Brendan Smith and Kyle Quincy are still works in progress.  Both are having the light bulb glow more brightly regarding defensive responsibility.  Kindl had a break out season last year and is fine as frog hair.  He will be a sound, responsible defenseman for years to come.  Lashoff seems to be the ideal utility blue line player who can fill in for the other guys.

Remember, two well paid and well regarded defensemen were let go to keep these kids.

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 09/14/13 at 05:25 PM ET

cowboycoffee's avatar

What do you mean? That he’s saying too much in the press and irritating the management staff?

yep, just had a nagging feeling that his big mouth may get him traded. i certainly hope not.

Posted by cowboycoffee from San Francisco, CA on 09/14/13 at 05:38 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

yep, just had a nagging feeling that his big mouth may get him traded. i certainly hope not.

Posted by cowboycoffee from San Francisco, CA on 09/14/13 at 05:38 PM ET

While he may be talking a lot to the bloggers, he is saying, and more importantly doing, the right things.  Although many of these post are repeats from older interviews, so it just seems like he is talking more than he is.

With his performance last year in both the AHL and NHL, as well as his effort in camp this year, there is no reasonable excuse for him not to be on the team at the start of the season.  And no, “because Dan Cleary” is not a reasonable excuse.

Posted by Hootinani on 09/14/13 at 06:11 PM ET

DocF's avatar

It seems to me that life is becoming more difficult every moment for Mr. Tootoo, Mr. Emmerton, and Mr. Eaves.  They are probably the most likely to be cut loose unless someone somewhere is willing to trade a sack of practice pucks for Samuelsson.  With the current level of injuries, This will yield four very good, very useful lines with a blend of grit and offensive flair.  Tatar just plain works too hard and has improved too much to get cut loose.  Now if a team wants to offer a proven first pair defenseman and a couple of first round draft choices for him….................................................

Doc

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 09/14/13 at 10:07 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

is Tatar talking himself out of a spot on the team?

Posted by cowboycoffee from San Francisco, CA

You mean with talk like this…

I love it here. In my heart I want to stay here because this is the team that drafted me, they had the patience to develop me on the farm team. Might as well repay that.

Yeah, no organization wants someone with an attitude like that. Sheesh.

[begin rant]

If the Wings (meaning Holland and Babcock) were half as loyal to Tatar as they’ve been to Buckets, they’d be moving heaven and earth to keep this kid. Instead, they seem to be setting him up for failure (just look at his linemates during training camp).

What I love (and admire) about the guy is the way he’s gone out and (according to George’s and other’s posts) has done everything a player can do to earn a spot on the team. Will he get it? And if he does, will he get more than eight minutes a game on the 4th ine?

I’d be more confident that the answers to both questions would be “yes” if the brass wasn’t so G.D. enamored with kepping (and pursuing) “veterans” who are past their prime. To me, that’s a chicken-sh!t way to run an organization.

If Holland really is the “best GM in hockey,” let’s see him put the kids out there and build a team for the future. I’m sick and tired of watching guys like Sammy and Buckets getting chances while the young guys who have labored in the AHL far longer than they should have get passed over (or traded – or worse, simply waived).

I really, really wanted to be excited about the Wings chances this year. But right now, I’m so disgusted with the “17 forwards under contract” fiasco that I just don’t care when the damn season starts. Yes, that’ll change when the first puck drops in October, but I swear I’ll boo Buckets every time he takes the ice if his signing costs Tatar his rightful place on the roster.

[end rant]

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 09/14/13 at 11:59 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Seriously, I wonder if Babcock is planning on a rotation of sorts on the bottom six guys:  a certain combination of players against certain teams on the road and/or at home.  If he is, so much for, “I want guys to take that spot and own it.”

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 09/15/13 at 03:04 AM 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.