Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings development camp, day 3: scrimmage!

Updated with Doan shenanigans at 1:26 AM: As the Red Wings’ prospects lay their heads down after a 6-5 shootout victory for Team Lidstrom at the Wings’ summer development camp, this blogger feels like he drew long straws all week and is now getting the short one.

The prospects played a fast and furious game after honoring the memory of Bryan Rufenach both outside (where Mitchell Callahan got dunked repeatedly in the dunk tank, by me included, and players and team personnel mingled with fans to raise funds for Rufenach’s hockey school) and prior to the game—once all was said and done, the puck dropped at 7 and the game was over around 9:05, 15-minute intermissions between periods included…

And I got to watch the game from a fantastic spot, sitting at a high table pressed right against the glass, halfway between Centre Ice’s north net’s goal and the intersection of the boards and the goal line. Pucks bounced off the glass a foot from my ear and players smeared each other into the slightly curving panes.

Over to my front and left Nick Barnowski, the Free Press’s George Sipple and MLive’s Brendan Savage were watching the game as well, and Wings capologist Ryan Martin came over for a while, Jim Bedard talked about goalies and the CBA for a bit, and over my right shoulder, I could hear strength and conditioning coach Peter Renzetti, fellow strength and conditioning expert Aaron Downey and power skating coach Andy Weidenbach talk about the players that impressed them. I was even able to ask Louis-Marc Aubry why he isn’t skating this week—he sprained his ankle when he was doing fitness testing, and the Wings don’t want the Grand Rapids Griffin and fall prospect camp attendee to injure himself further—and I could at least see that Andrej Nestrasil had only suffered a similar injury when he came out of the trainer’s room to talk to Aubry with his left ankle taped up and iced.

Awesome, awesome location to watch a wonderfully entertaining game. And all of that comes after having spoken to Chris Chelios, Aaron Downey and Jiri Fischer prior to the game.

But now comes the hard part, because as I’m typing paragraph four, it’s 10:39 PM and I’m to wake up at 6 for a full day at the rink and an attempt to cover the Winter Classic Alumni Game and/or Hockeytown Winter Festival presser being held at Comerica Park at 12:30 PM (the Wings’ website will stream it and Paul will help me with the workload there) as well. So here comes a kamikaze attempt to get at least four hours of sleep by describing what I witnessed on the ice as best as I can.

First, ahem:

In terms of a game narrative, I’ll defer to the Wings’ Twitter account, which starts off in the parking lot and ends at the rink:


Okay, I’ll fill in some gaps in a minute, bear with me…

Because the Left Wing Lock’s Sarah Lindenau adds to the narrative (and “Team Red” is Team Lidstrom; “Team White” is Team Zetterberg)...


Parkes, Trevor Parkes. Wonderful game, terrible play on the tying goal.


Let’s try the shootout via Lindenau’s Red Wings Camps account…


And I’m glad I got Chelios with help from Nick when we did:


By my tally, the scoring went something like this:

McCollum starts for Team Lidstrom, Mrazek starts for Team Zetterberg.

1-0 Team Zetterberg: Pulkkinen from Jensen, 12:40 left 1st period.

1-1 Team Lidstrom: Athanasiou from Ferraro, 48.1 left 1st period.

2-1 Team Lidstrom: Ferraro from Sheahan and Smith, 14:06 left 2nd period.

2-2 Team Zetterberg: Tvrdon from Frk and Sproul, 11:45 left 2nd period.

3-2 Team Zetterberg:  Frk from Tvrdon, 11:13 left 2nd period.

10:10 left 2nd period, Milner relieves McCollum on Team Lidstrom, Paterson relieves Mrazek on Team Zetterberg.

4-2 Team Zetterberg: Nedomlel, unassisted (Jurco should have gotten one), 8:34 left 2nd period.

4-3 Team Lidstrom: Coetzee, unassisted, 6:09 left 2nd period.

4-4 Team Lidstrom: Smith from Fournier, PPG, 15:06 left 3rd period.

5-4 Team Lidstrom: Athanasiou from Smith and Fournier, 6:09 left 3rd period.

5-5 Team Zetterberg: Parkes giveaway, Pulkkinen to Jurco, 2:08 left 3rd period.

The lines were in flux, but looked something like this to start:

Team Lidstrom:


McKee-De Haas


Team Zetterberg:

Babcock, Rooba



What did I see, in general?

Easy. The Red Wings’ lessons taking a while to take hold. Players who are mostly coming out of Major Junior, NCAA hockey or Europe playing “get the puck up the boards and out, dump and don’t chase, don’t even forecheck, stay back and trap,” rather ugly and rather restrained hockey—with restraint not being a bad thing as no one got into a fight and the hacking and whacking after the play, given that this was the gents’ first “real scrimmage” in four days, at a remarkably low and manageable level—giving way to mistakes due to talent, mistakes due to skill, mistakes due to size and strength overwhelming opponents and, as the game started to wear on, high-tempo, puck possession hockey with plays made up the middle all the way up and down the ice, with strong defensive support, cycling in the offensive zone, an aggressive defensive posture in the neutral zone and five men back…

All mashed together. It’s like watching someone who’s been taught how to back their mom and dad’s car up and down the driveway and maybe go down to the end of the block start learning how to really drive in traffic, and slowly seeing those herky-jerky stops and starts and near-fatal near-crashes give way to some anticipation, smoothness and poise. Except there were wrecks, beautiful wrecks that went into the back of the net.

After the game, there were lots of ice bags and players in the trainer’s room getting treatment as they’re already asleep as I’m typing this and are getting ready for two more grinding two-a-day sessions of skating in either the morning or afternoon and following that up by working out, or vice versa, perhaps a little mocking pride and cockiness, but mostly a sense of relief at having gotten onto the ice in a game situation and having been allowed to let it all hang out. In the end, all hockey players want to do is play, and when they’ve been doing regimented drills for two days and have been in Traverse City for four, they want to just play before getting back to the working tasks at hand.

It should be noted, however, that they did so under the watchful eyes of their coaches—Jim Paek and Keith McKittrick coached Team Zetterberg, and Jiri Fischer and Chris Chelios coached Team Lidstrom—as well as power skating coach Andy Weidenbach, strength and conditioning coach Peter Renzetti, strength and conditioning coach Aaron Downey, and especially Wings assistant GM Jim Nill, capologist Ryan Martin and goalie coach Jim Bedard, who watched the game from the rink’s only suite.

In terms of player assessments, I’m going to post the same disclaimer:

These are assessments of prospects playing against prospects, in July, and I am not buttering their bread, but I’m trying to explain their skill sets positively. These kinds of assessments will be very different come fall, and for those of you not familiar with these, I talk more about the players I am more familiar with. Players with asterisks next to their names are try-outs and the player with two asterisks is Luke Glendening, who is signed to an AHL-only contract.

Keeping it somewhat brief:

Team Lidstrom:

Willie Coetzee #45: Wowie zowie Willie. When Coetzee gets going, those amazing hands and feet that the Whirling Dervish never was able to get going in the same direction previously go in all sorts of marvelous ways, all on the same general course. Amongst younger prospects, the smallish winger looks fleet-footed, his shot is gorgeous and he can deke and dangle with the best of them. He looked like the player who tore up the ECHL on an occasional basis for the Toledo Walleye, and he did so without being any less diligent defensively. He’s got to translate that kind of confidence to the AHL level.

Brent Raedeke #47: Meat, potatoes and a little dash of, “Oh yeah, by the way, when you do play me on the first or second line, I can keep up with the gents.” He’s never going to be big and he’s never going to be mean but he is a rock-solid defensive player who wins faceoffs and is impeccably positioned, but he’s also got a speedy zip to his step and when necessary, he has good vision and can make slick plays. His determination is perhaps his best trait, however, and that’s hard to explain other than to say that he goes into corners with bigger and stronger players and he wins battles for the puck.

If I had thought better of it, I would have filmed his pre-game routine with a tennis ball, because he was backhanding it off a brick wall, balancing it on his blade and doing the kinds of tricks that only the supposedly elite can do. And it was just a routine for someone who wants to be very focused and give his very best.

Trevor Parkes #37: Parkes was wonderful and Parkes was terrible. Parkes was Parkes. Streaky, big bruising power winger, roaring up and down the wing, roaring up toward the net, mashing and crashing and banging all with the puck on his stick or going after the puck, taking hard shots and going to the net with equal aplomb. But he made this horribly unforced error at the end of the game to allow things to be tied up, and that does happen, but it has to be mentioned that he was the last man back, had the puck on his stick, and instead of just chipping it out or skating it out, he ragged it back in front of his own goalie and got pickpocketed by Pulkkinen.

Andrej Nestrasil #49: I spoke to Andrej after the game, and as you’ll hear, he was pretty pissed off that he wasn’t able to play for long. Until he came off the ice in seeming agony, he looked like a very powerful winger with a lovely scoring touch. Then he got dinged.

Riley Sheahan #15: Very surprised by Sheahan’s inconsistency. In skill drills he’s dazzled as this big power center with a nose for the net, but he was playing along the wing at times and he just got banged around more than I thought he would and he got overpowered and out-battled more than I thought he would. His skating is still excellent or someone of his size. His performance wasn’t as great.

Landon Ferraro #41: Inconsistently brilliant. When Ferraro is at the top of his game, you can see the comparisons to Mats Sundin’s low hard shot and bowlegged skating stride, even though Ferraro is maybe 5’11” on a good day and still a ways away from growing into his body—except that those shots are top-shelf ones and his passing and playmaking skills are phenomenal, especially at high speed. But sometimes he just fades into the background as well, and sometimes he’s not big enough to out-battle his opponents. His upside is really excellent but there are disparate parts. That being said, he had a wonderful, gritty game and was a huge performer in all the right ways.

Andreas Athanasiou #78: He looks like Darren Helm because he skates faster with the puck on his stick than he does off it, and he looks like Darren Helm because he can sneak into traffic, squeak through players despite not having Helm’s top-end speed and he can squeeze off these slithery shots that find the back of the net. He is still very much so a young man growing into a man’s body and he is very much so not as strong or as polished as his peers, but he was one of those mid-round picks for a reason, and on a day that every player wanted to make an impression, he scored goals out of frickin’ nowhere.

Kellan Lain #57*: Again, very big, very fast, very good in one-on-one battles, because he’s an older player, very smart and safe, but not particularly remarkable in terms of skating or skills.

Dean Chelios #24*: Every once in a while, Dean would show those flourishes of Athanasiou-sneaky talent by utilizing his puckhandling and playmaking skills to set up scoring chances, but it’s his size that’s holding him back. He and Jake are just still growing into their bodies at a slower rate, and as such, their spick-and-span attention to detail, effort and heart can only give us glimmers of what else might be lurking within.

Ted Pletsch #67*: Again, the “Poor Man’s Riley Sheahan,” except that he’s bigger and stronger and was a beast in the corners. Mucked, ground, made a mess and had fun doing it. Big gritty winger, but that’s about where he’s at and that’s about where he’s going to be.

Travis Novak #56*: Speed and playmaking galore, but slight as slight can be. Novak makes gorgeous plays happen and his skating opens up tons of time and space for his linemates, but he remains undersized and underdeveloped and it continues to hold him back.

Julien Cayer #65*: Cayer was able to really mash and grab and muck and grind in the corners, but like Pletsch, he’s kinda pegged himself into that power winger category, and while he did show the occasional ability to carry the puck with speed or make solid passes, he’ll be more useful for his physicality and no-frills, no-worries safe style than anything else.

Adam Almqvist #53: He played with Max Nicastro and those two were like yin and yang, but they fit together perfectly. He’s still small, still gets pushed around and still gets overpowered, but my goodness can he skate, my goodness can he see the ice and make wonderful plays with that short stick, and my goodness is he conscientious and downright gritty when it comes to taking care of his own end. There might be a little NHL-level puck-moving defenseman in Captain Dark Horse.

Brendan Smith #2: The line has been the same all week and it’s not going to change. He scored an amazing one-timer goal and he can skate like the wind, but when you are a men amongst boys talent-wise, you can mail it in and get away with it, and as much as he is trying to be a leader, and as much as he is trying to keep a smile on his face and show players that you can have lots of fun and work very very hard at the same time, sometimes he’s gliding through this kind of stuff and I don’t know what kind of example it sets. He’s more or less NHL ready and he’s more or less ready to really impress, but on a night that he could have shown that he is Niklas Kronwall II, he stuck to keeping it simpler and more subtle and he kinda stuck to just getting through, though he was clearly having a lot of fun being able to go at 2/3rds speed and dominate.

Gleason Fournier #46: Better with Smith, better in a game. Still all feet and hands, skating and playmaking ability, and still able to be out-muscled, out-worked and occasionally pressured into mistakes. A work in progress and a long-term project.

Max Nicastro #58: Awesome. The Wings drafted Nicastro to be a puck-moving defenseman and they signed him to be a big, physical guy, and he can be both when he is on. When all is going well and he’s playing in a game, he can make mincemeat out of his opponents and he can move the puck well and fire it hard and be the perfect partner for someone who’s going to make more mad dashes and potentially dangerous plays like Almqvist. He was a rock tonight, just a rock.

Mike McKee #73: At times, especially early on in the game, I could hear strength and conditioning coach Peter Renzetti and power skating coach Andy Weidenbach just gasp about his status as a mountain man in a mountain man’s body, his fitness levels and especially his skating for a man that’s six five and 230 with room to grow, but he faded considerably as the game went on and he ended up looking like someone who is going to need all four years of college to become the player that his body and brain want him to be, that big, mean, nasty physical defenseman who is still a very young man that may have been in over his head in terms of the kind of talent he was playing against.

James De Haas #74: Quietly solid. For someone who is still going to play junior hockey before going to college, and given that he’s more of a slick defenseman who needs to fill out a not-so-big body, he didn’t make any mistakes, kept up and looked all right, and that’s a victory for someone two weeks from being drafted.

Thomas McCollum #38: He did not disappoint but he did not necessarily dazzle. McCollum was not to blame for any of the goals that he gave up, and he had an incredibly inconsistent workload, so he had to remain sharp and make some silly point-blank saves when his defensemen had brain cramps, but he didn’t make any particularly demonstrative saves and didn’t have to. He got the short end of the action, really. He was good, real good.

Parker Milner #29*: Milner had to hold the fort while Team Lidstrom sprung a leak, and while he did get beaten pretty easily along those holes that he has betwixt the legs and above his hands, he also held his team in it at times. Great glove and blocker, wonderful lateral mobility, a good stick, and so much confidence that he skated out into the slot and poked the puck away from Tomas Jurco when it was the goalie that was the last man back.

Team Zetterberg

Tomas Jurco #28: Magic hands continue to show themselves, and again, while you tend to think of him as a YouTube stickhandler and passer, but he really wants to score goals, and despite the fact that he remains a bit undersized, he can really, really score them. He can play the sniper’s role, he can power himself toward the net and through opponents, he can jam and grind along the boards and he can really skate when he puts his mind to it, and he does everything at a blazingly fast tempo. He’s just not quite polished and not quite ready for prime time, so he needs to go to the AHL, earn his ice time for half a year and then start to score like nobody’s effin’ business.

Louis-Marc Aubry: He is missed because he is all potential as a big man who could very well make the NHL one day as a 6’5”-6’6,” 220-lb gangly center and he is clearly torn up about not being able to skate, but his attitude is just…He looks like he’s twelve and yet he’s very smart young man who is always upbeat and always conscientious about being the best player he can be and doing everything possible to be a good teammate and a good foot solider even if he’s watching the game from the stands.

Teemu Pulkkinen #62: Undersized. Underpowered. Needs work in terms of his skating. Needs work in terms of his core strength.

And Jeebus Monkey, can this man play. He made other players look downright silly at times, folks, silly with silly hats and silly walks and silly shoes silly. He plucked the puck away from his opponents, he ripped monster one-timers at the net, he made gorgeous plays, he slithered sniping shots, wicked wristers, top-shelf blasts and seeing-eye passes to teammates and he did it all while still showing a wonderful grasp of the subtleties of playing a sound defensive game, too. He didn’t cut any corners while making his opponents look like they weren’t on the same planet.



Mitchell Callahan #42: Was in 49-degree water for 2 hours, warmed up, drank a couple of cups of coffee and scored a goal and looked like the two-way winger with speed, tenacity, bite and determination that he is. He had a monster game at just the right time and he is as gritty as sandpaper and as serious as can be while having Smith’s smile on his face and loving every minute of getting down and dirty in the corners, skating up the ice and taking care of the business of pissing people off. Great game for Mitch. He’s gonna take some seasoning but I really do believe he’s got NHL potential as a slightly undersized instigator with superb defensive abilities, and if you can play 8-12 minutes a night, not make a mistake, piss your opponents off while grinding them down or forechecking the blazes out of ‘em, that’s awesome.

Alan Quine #59: Such a playmaker, such a skater, still so lanky and still occasionally bumpable-offable, he made some wonderful high-skill, high-tempo plays and he just glided across the ice at times and at others, he faded into the woodwork. He’s probably going to earn his contract because his skill level is so high and he can create great offensive opportunities for his teammates, but he needs to round out his game a bit.

Marek Tvrdon #60: He’s been invisible in drills, but he was visible in all the right ways during the scrimmage. Big, strong, fast, went to the net and scored, set up his teammates, was a powerful, Tomas Kopecky-like force and he just went about his business with a quiet, businesslike intensity.

Martin Frk #48: Frk can indeed finish, Frk can indeed finish and Frk frustrates Frk easily. He does indeed have a sniper’s touch like nobody’s business, but he also needs to work on his conditioning and work on his consistency and work on not getting angry when Frk can’t make the big play or score the big goal. I really like the fact that he gets pissed off as much as he does—he just needs to channel it better.

Luke Glendening #72**: Looked way better in a game situation. He’s a slightly slower and slightly more physical version of Brent Raedeke, but he sure does love doing what he does. He’s just another meat and potatoes defensive forward but he works very hard and there is clearly a part of him that wants to set an example for his teammates as a leader and as a hard worker.

Rasmus Bodin #75: Sometimes he was a frickin’ giant among men, plowing over bodies as he went toward the net, and sometimes he looked like a gigantic kid from Sweden who’s been pushing around not-so-gigantic kids from Sweden. He will find his way but he is very much so a project as a large forward who needs to play against better competition to possibly find himself becoming another Joakim Andersson.

Michael Babcock #70*: He didn’t play very much and he got overpowered and pushed around sometimes, but he is fast, fast, fast and he works hard, hard, so very hard. His dad would have been very proud of his son for working his little tail off and for keeping up with the big boys and the big guns when he was utilized.

Phillipe Hudon #61: Sometimes he’s invisible but you cannot ever fault Hudon’s effort. He isn’t a big man and he isn’t yet quite as physically developed as you would like, but he is a 5’11”-to-6’0” power forward, and he will fire hard shots at the net, grind and grind and grind and win battles along the boards and he can make the occasionally dazzling cerebral play, too. He is someone who punches much higher than his weight and he is fast and he is smart and he is someone who is going to play out his final season in the Q and get his ass to Grand Rapids.

Robert Rooba #64*: [makes signing noises, again] Gigantic man, pro caliber attention to detail, pro caliber effort, still trying to figure out how the hell he got so big and how the hell he got so talented. He has been a wrench set without a toolbox to put them in and he has shown flashes of very high potential but they are very very rare.

Brian Lashoff #23: He took a dumb penalty that led to the Smith goal, but again, he was no-frills, no-fuss, no-muss solid as solid could be playing with Nick Jensen, leading the rush on his own or deferring to his more offensively flourishing partner, playing incredibly strong and smart hockey in all three zones, shutting down opponents, mashing and crashing and keeping the front of his net clear and doing all the things you could hope for from a Swiss Army Knife/Bob Rouse-style defenseman…

But he made some mistakes and reminded us all why he’s 21 going on 22 and will need a few more seasons in the AHL before he can truly tap his entire potential as one of those defensemen who can keep up with anyone but is best suited to the Brad Stuart role.

And he is a born leader, born and bred to the point that he can’t really help but be calm, poised and positive as can be.

Nick Jensen #71: Oof, did he ever make some hideous mistakes, but oof, did he ever fly like that long mane of red hair flopping out of his helmet. He can make plays and he can set the tempo of the game when the puck is on his stick, employing hard shots and slick passes to his advantage, but he is still growing into that big body and he is still learning how to play the game without making so many mistakes when he allows his natural offensive instincts to shine.

Xavier Ouellet #54: Underwhelming underperformer of the tournament. I know and have seen him play like a #1/2 puck-moving defenseman, skate like a #1/2 puck-moving defensemen and see the ice and make plays like a #1/2 puck-moving defenseman. He has yet to do that here and that is worrisome.

Ryan Sproul #22: Sproul keeps getting into his comfort zone more and more as the camp moves along, and that comfort zone includes a gigantic man who is sometimes viciously physical and has a hard, heavy shot utilized by an offensive defenseman with all the kinds of puck-moving and playmaking flourish you could hope for from a big man. He’s still developing and still needs some rock polishing while playing on the Precambrian rock of the Canadian Shield that sits below Sault Ste. Marie, but when he shines up, he makes you think, “Wow, the Wings have needed that kind of big man who can skate great, move the puck, shoot hard, check hard and shoot right-handed forever, and here he is, or is at least in the process of becoming.”

Ben Marshall #50: If he wasn’t so small and if he wasn’t so much an unfinished piece of work himself he’d be earning Brian Rafalski comparisons, because he is indeed a fantastically mobile skater and he does indeed have a great outlet pass and he is indeed defensively responsible and fearless against much bigger men, but he does indeed fade into the shadows and sometimes gets spun around, too.

Richard Nedomlel #3:  Scored a slick, skilled goal and played a big, hard, mean and composed game. There is still much about Nedomlel that needs a lot of work and there were vast inconsistencies from shift to shift, but there’s an Andreas Lilja in there.

Gleb Koryagin #77*: Still trying to figure him out. He’s American-born, but in Weidenbach’s words, “He looks Russian.” Wonderful skill level and just a natural sense of where the puck needs to go to make offense happen, and he skates well, too, but he’s young and raw and comes and goes.

Petr Mrazek #34: Really wonderful. Thrived on a heavy workload, was acrobatic and athletic without overextending himself or putting himself out of position, he was stopping pucks with flair but not too much flair and making gorgeous glove saves, sliding post to post half-split and playing like a goalie whose mask has eyes in the back of its head. He is ready for the AHL and while he is slightly less very thin than he used to be, he’s gonna give McCollum a ton of competition, or at least will start out in the ECHL and never look back. If Tom is all about what’s between his ears, you never have to worry about Petr, because as he’s grown up, he’s grown so very level-headed and so very even-keeled that he’s a terrible interview, though not for a lack of being a good person.

Jake Paterson #68: Big kid, did a nice job with the heavy workload, great toes, nice glove, smart positioning, never panics, good stick, upright torso, and occasionally he got beat like a rented mule. He’s very young and he plays like it, making wonderful saves one moment and looking like someone who’s full of holes the next, but the foundation of a solid and sound goaltender is there. He’s just two weeks from being drafted.


These interviews are short ones.

Here’s Parker Millner…


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Petr Mrazek…


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Andrej Nestrasil…


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Ryan Sproul…


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Wings trainer Piet Van Zant on preventing injuries despite the short turnaround…


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And a longer interview with the ever-affable Willie Coetzee:


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Also from tonight’s activities:

• Nick Barnowski also spoke to Chris Chelios, Jiri Fischer and Aaron Downey today, and he offered some Tweets as well:


• Immediately prior to the scrimmage, MLive’s Brendan Savage filed a story about Jake Paterson...

“It’s a pretty good experience having older guys shooting on you and pros shooting on you,” said Paterson, 18. “I’m looking forward to the scrimmage (tonight) and the next couple of days in camp. This is pretty much what I expected. I knew Detroit is a class organization. I expected the best and they’ve definitely done it for us. It’s been a good couple of days. I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of camp.”

The Red Wings selected Paterson in the third round (80th overall)  of last month’s entry draft after he posted an 18-18-3 record, 3.42 goals-against average, .904 save percentage and one shutout in his only full season as Saginaw’s No. 1 netminder. He appeared in every playoff game for the Spirit, going 6-6 with a 3.05 GAA and .903 save percentage.

The Red Wings had several goalies they were interested in on draft day and could have waited to try and get Peterson in a later round but they liked him too much to gamble.

“It definitely didn’t feel real at the draft but it’s starting to sink in,” Paterson said. “It’s been a great couple of weeks. The draft, the next couple of days following it and then coming into this camp. I’m definitely looking forward to the near future. I’m definitely trying to start with a good first impression with the team and better my game.”

• And after the game, he spoke to Landon Ferraro about getting nicked up during the game (he offers observations about big McKee, Pulkkinen, Jurco and Mrazek as well) and Andreas Athanasiou about dazzling fans:

“I came in here and got stitched up and at least I was awake after that,” joked Ferraro, the Red Wings’ second-round choice (32nd overall) in the 2009 entry draft. “It was good to finally get moving again. The biggest thing for me is getting hit again. Just being able to get a hit and keep the feet moving. That’s the hardest thing to get used to again. Being able to do that for a little bit in the middle of the summer is perfect. It’s nice in the middle of the summer when you have that many fans come out and watch. It’s exciting to get playing again. It’s been a long offseason already.”

An estimated 400 fans packed Centre Ice Arena for the first of two scrimmages. The second is Friday morning and will be the final on-ice session of the camp.

Andreas Athanasiou, the Red Wings’ fourth-round pick (110th overall) in this year’s draft, led Team Lidstrom with two goals. Willie Coetzee and Brendan Smith also scored for Team Lidstrom.

“I went out there and tried do the best I could,” said Athanasiou, one of the youngest players in the camp at age 17. “I know that first shift was brutal. With the big guys out there, I had the puck on the wall a couple times and couldn’t even get it out. But once I got the hang of it, I got better and it smoothed out. I missed that breakaway. I hit the post. It would have been nice to get that. But overall it was a good game.”

Savage posted a video of Jurco’s shootout goal as well.

• The turnout really was fantastic, and the Toledo Blade’s Mark Monroe took note of Bryan Rufenach Day’s events:

Rufenach’s family attend the event where former Red Wings players Dallas Drake, Chris Chelios, Jiri Fischer, and Aaron Downey signed autographs. Proceeds will benefit the Bryan Rufenach Memorial Skills Camp.

The Red Wings selected Rufenach in the seventh round of the 2007 NHL draft. The native of Barrie, Ont., signed his first pro contract with the Walleye on March 25, 2011.

Rufenach started a camp for young players last year, offering it free of charge. The camp will again be held in Lindsay, Ont., where Rufenach lived for the last 10 years.

His family posted a message on Facebook that stated Rufenach’s father Doug and brother Mark will run the camp in August and offer it to youngsters ages 7 to 12.

“Bryan’s ultimate goal was to pass on his love of hockey to young players,” the family wrote. “He adored teaching kids, not only seeing them improve before his eyes but watching the joy they felt in realizing their own progress. This was the epitome of Bryan. A natural teacher who loved working with kids, he possessed both limitless patience and infinite passion for the game. His dream was to offer the camp every year regardless of where his hockey career led him.”

The ultimate goal is to expand the camp to other cities in Ontario. Donations will help cover some of the overhead costs associated with running the camp.

“We know that Bryan would love for his legacy to live on in helping kids to find the same fun, love and passion that he felt every time he stepped onto the ice,” the family said.

Contributions to the Bryan Rufenach Memorial Fund can be made via e-mail transfer or Paypal. The e-mail address is forbryanrufenach@gmail.com.

Lindenau noted that the family did attend and was very emotional.

• Take a glance at the Wings’ Facebook gallery from the day if you haven’t already.

That’s it for me for now. See you in a couple of hours.


• The Left Wing Lock’s Sarah Lindenau posted a gallery from the Bryan Rufenach Day activities;

• And the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan penned stories about Riley Sheahan...

Sheahan was signed the final days of the season after leaving Notre Dame. After a brief stint in Grand Rapids, he was called up to play the final game to replace Danny Cleary, who was out with a knee injury.

A few months later, Sheahan looks bigger. Not necessarily in terms of his height and weight — 6-foot-2 and 202 pounds — just appearing bigger and stronger in his upper body, making him look more like an ex-Notre Dame football player than a hockey player.

“Definitely I’ve been putting on some weight; every little advantage helps,” Sheahan said. “All guys work out in the offseason so you have to stay on pace with them.”

Sheahan, a 2010 first-round pick who left Notre Dame after two seasons, is slated to play in Grand Rapids this season but is considered an important part of the Red Wings future, given his size and potential.

“He’s a big, strong kid who’ll get to work on his skills and quickness,” said Jim Nill, assistant general manager for the Red Wings. “He has good instincts, he has the size, and just needs time to develop.”

And Thomas McCollum:

“I don’t think anybody is very happy with the way I’ve played the last couple seasons,” said the 2008 first-round pick of the Red Wings. “Nobody has been more disappointed than myself.”

Last season, McCollum split time between Grand Rapids (28 games, 11-16-0, 3.49 goals-against average, .891 save percentage) and Toledo (15 games, 0-4-0, 2.62 GAA, .909 SV), giving strength to the doubters who wonder whether he will ever become an NHL goaltender. Still only 23, McCollum believes the three years of playing at the pro level will be positive.

“I’ve been working hard,” he said. “It’s not been for lack of trying.At the same time, you learn things as you get older and you learn the tricks and you’re prepared. Four years into it, I think I have it figured out and we’ll see how it goes.”

McCollum isn’t putting any extra pressure on himself this season, despite the fact goaltender Petr Mrazek turned pro and might play in Grand Rapids and the Red Wings drafted another goaltender (Jake Paterson).

“Every season is realistically a big season,” McCollum said. “This one is very important for myself. I’m just trying to take it one day at a time, show up to the rink with a smile, and have fun and make some saves.”

You’ll laugh when you find out that Shane Doan’s agent has, well, I’ll let Craig Morgan tell his own story:

The Coyotes’ chances of re-signing free agent Shane Doan are dwindling.

“I would say if we don’t have an answer by the 16th (of July) it may be time to get serious about listening to other teams’ offers,” Doan’s agent, Terry Bross said Tuesday.

The date coincides with the date Glendale residents Joe Cobb and Ken Jones intend to turn in a petition in hopes of getting a referendum on the November ballot regarding Glendale’s lease agreement with former San Jose Sharks CEO and prospective Phoenix Coyotes owner Greg Jamison. Glendale officials had set a July 9 deadline for the petition, which Cobb and Jones did not meet, arguing that they should have had 30 days from the date paperwork was made available. That disagreement will likely lead to legal wrangling once the group turns in the petition. That could spell doom for the Coyotes’ efforts to keep the only player who has been with the club since it arrived in the Valley in 1996.

“If it’s going to turn into legal wrangling, then I would say it might be time to move on,” Bross said.
Doan and Bross can only drag so long. There’s the practical reality of needing to uproot the family and find a new home and new schools for the kids before training camp begins in September. Then there are the needs of other clubs to consider. Bross said he has about 16 teams that want to make an offer — or at least want to know if they should make an offer. Those teams won’t wait much longer before moving on because, as Edmonton assistant general manager Rick Olczyk put it: “The music’s going to stop, and teams will be left without a chair.”

Bross is aware of that pressure.

“They would like to have had it done last week, but I’m not going to impose a deadline on Shane,” Bross said. “It’s his market. He’s the free agent. If they’re serious suitors and want his services for all the right reasons, they’ll respect that he has unfinished business at home.”

Bross did say that Doan will not accept a one-year offer, but that is no great revelation. Doan figured to get multiyear offers in free agency anyway, and Coyotes GM Don Maloney has said all along that the club is prepared to offer Doan a multiyear deal.


Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


SYF's avatar

I’m so giddy ‘bout Ryan Sproul, I can’t stand it.

tee hee…

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 07/11/12 at 03:25 AM ET


Fantastic report, as always, George. You have my many thanks.

Do you think that Smith’s “laidbackness” during this camp is partly due to him saving himself for the “real” camp in September?

Anyway, you have doing a great job covering this camp. Your attention to detail and descriptive evaluations makes me feel like I’m hanging out in TC. Kudos.

Posted by Seaner from San Jose on 07/11/12 at 03:42 AM ET

hiero4life's avatar

Thanks George.  I wish I could be there and see these guys skate, your assessments paint a good picture of where they are now.  It makes me want to see some hockey, maybe I’ll get off my lazy backside and play this week.

Posted by hiero4life from anywhere i am on 07/11/12 at 03:45 AM ET


So, from everything I have heard about Max Nicastro’s play so far, am I to understand that he spends his free time hunting down John Connor?

Out of all seriousness, it sounds as if he has been the best defensive prospect in the tournament aside from Brendan Smith. If he really is that close to being NHL material, perhaps it would make sense for him to see significant time on the big boy team this upcoming season.

Posted by Varyag on 07/11/12 at 03:59 AM ET

perfection's avatar

I was so into this until you brought up the “Brad Stuart role”... then I got sad. Even if Lidstrom didn’t retire we’d be a much worse team this year without Stuie. That dude has been our unsung hero since he arrived. We will miss him SEVERELY and have nothing of his ilk directly in the wings. Quincy? Ericsson? Kindl? Maybe they can play off their asses and help offset Lidstrom’s loss but they do nothing to offset Stuart’s loss.

Now that it appears there are no #1 dmen for the taking, this “veteran defenseman” that Holland has said he wants to add better play the “Brad Stuart role”.

Sucks Sheahan looked bad. I’m hoping he’ll be a call-up this year as he’s got mad skills for his size. He’s also fantastic defensively.

And I can’t wait to see Pulkkinen. You’ve just got me more excited, like he hasn’t been hyped enough already!

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 07/11/12 at 05:04 AM ET


It must get tiring to try and come up with new ways to put Brendan Smith down. By just looking at the score sheet it would seem he did not play nearly as bad as described. I enjoy reading this stuff, but it is clear, we get it you like Lashoff and not Smith.

I also don’t think there is a single player who controls the game the way Ouellet did all season in the Q. He is a coaches dream not a lot jumps out at you but for me he is Vlasic out in San Jose. Just solid pretty much at all times. So a little surprised to hear he is disappointing, maybe just having a rough time playing summer hockey. I hope that isn’t a trend because I really thought going into this summer we might have an important player on team Canada’s WJC team for the first time in recent memory.

Thanks for the reports George always enjoy reading it just find the Smith comments to be a little heavy handed at times.

Posted by Josh from Milwaukee,WI on 07/11/12 at 05:08 AM ET


I fail to see the rationale behind letting Smith attend the camp. He is NHL ready, that puts him way ahead of others at the camp. By having him there, it just puts everyone involved in a bad spot as Smith can’t exactly play full bore and outshine guys who are trying to make a mark.  And if he coasts, it looks bad on him.

Posted by Adi on 07/11/12 at 08:32 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I adore Brendan, despite my concerns. He’s a brilliant player and he’s actually a very genuine young man. I mean if there is anyone who has done more during these camps to grow up on the inside and on the outside…

He’s just such a helluva young man that I guess I need to remind myself of that when I write about him. I’m sorry about that. Brendan is a fine leader and an excellent layer. It looks bad on him when he coasts because he’s…He is indeed in a different stratosphere.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/11/12 at 08:59 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

And I can’t wait to see Pulkkinen. You’ve just got me more excited, like he hasn’t been hyped enough already!

Makes me wish we had Jarnkrok here to skate with him.

George, you seem awfully impressed with Nicastro. How close to NHL ready is he?  Sounds like he’s physically ahead of the game.

Posted by MoreShoot on 07/11/12 at 09:40 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

It’s tricky to talk about NHL-readiness at this stage. Max has been dominant physically, but he’s also coming off half a year without hockey thanks to the legal issues at Boston University, and he’s playing against fellow prospects in July. He’s going to need to get used to the pro game and earn lots of ice time before he is even ready for a cup of coffee.

2-3 years and that’s a good thing in this department. I look at Athanasiou, and after all the wonderful things he did last night? He’s half a decade away, if he develops into a player the Wings want to sign to a contract, period.

I mean these guys have amazing skills, but the disclaimer that it’s July, these guys are playing against fellow prospects in mostly drills and skill-building situations and/or controlled game situations…They throw some water on what I’m talking about.

The prospect tournament will be a better barometer as to how “close” these guys are, but obviously people like Pulkkinen and Smith stand out, and in my opinion, there’s no overhyping of Pulkkinen—he’s just that good, and it’s fun to talk about a prospect with so much high-end potential.

So many of these youngster’s are long-term projects, even the most dazzling ones like Jurco, simply because they’re young men in young men’s bodies who have little to no experience playing against grown men with professional hockey experience and professional hockey levels of fitness and conditioning.

That’s not to say that the wowie-zowie talk I’m dishing isn’t justified—it’s just tempered by the fact that the journey is long and that this is the beginning of that pro hockey journey for many of these players, including those who have just been signed.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/11/12 at 10:05 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

That’s not to say that the wowie-zowie talk I’m dishing isn’t justified

And we know you are all about the wowie-zowie wink

I do get a little eager about some of the forwards.  I’d like to see Pulkkinen/Jarnkrok/Nyquist get chances to play with Z and Pav while they are still in their impact years.

Posted by MoreShoot on 07/11/12 at 10:50 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Mitchell Callahan…. and if you can play 8-12 minutes a night, not make a mistake, piss your opponents off while grinding them down or forechecking the blazes out of ‘em, that’s awesome.

Brian Lashoff…. playing incredibly strong and smart hockey in all three zones, shutting down opponents, mashing and crashing and keeping the front of his net clear and doing all the things you could hope for from a Swiss Army Knife/Bob Rouse-style defenseman…

Ryan Sproul #22: Sproul keeps getting into his comfort zone more and more as the camp moves along, and that comfort zone includes a gigantic man who is sometimes viciously physical and has a hard, heavy shot utilized by an offensive defenseman with all the kinds of puck-moving and playmaking flourish you could hope for from a big man.

Petr Mrazek #34: Really wonderful.

These ^^^^^^. Me likey.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 07/11/12 at 11:49 AM ET

joedaiceman's avatar

I’m doubling my contribution for next years prospect camp. This stuff is too good to miss.

Posted by joedaiceman on 07/11/12 at 12:13 PM ET


Thanks alot for your work George. I was able to see practice the day before but unfortunatley had to miss the scrimmage. I really appreciate your thoughts and analysis. Great job! Great Read too! hopefully I’ll get to catch one more practice.

Posted by ed burzynski from Traverse City on 07/11/12 at 12:37 PM ET


Wonderful writing again! A joy to follow!
Nice to see that Frk and Athanasiou got some points down, really fun!
McKee fading away a bit and DeHaas a little rough but promising, great to hear!
Bodin in-and.out? Would like to know how he looked when good and when not-so-good? Interesting guy.
And Paterson sounds impressive as well! Just becoming more even as it goes hopefully smile

Love that you write about every player with such dedication, you’re awesome! Just hoping to read more and more detailed texts about theese six guys, wonderful job, thanks a million!

Posted by PX on 07/11/12 at 01:11 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Thanks for the reports George always enjoy reading it just find the Smith comments to be a little heavy handed at times.

Posted by Josh from Milwaukee,WI on 07/11/12 at 03:08 AM ET

George has always been very high on B Smith.  Don’t isolate these brief comments from the bigger picture.

Great, great comments about these kids George, thanks.  We do need to keep in mind the level of (in)experience and physical maturity among this group, however, if we start talking about “NHL ready.”

Many will get an awakening when they get to the AHL.

Posted by RWBill on 07/11/12 at 01:25 PM ET

SYF's avatar

No, that is NOT Jimmy Howard.  That is Jake Paterson.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 07/11/12 at 01:28 PM ET

SYF's avatar

If anything, I get the sense that Brendan Smith wanted to be at the camp to reinforce his basics.  Nothing wrong with that.  If he seems bored with it, it’s probabaly because he now knows for sure beyond a doubt, he’s ready for a shot at a full time position as a top-two defenseman for the big club.  Everything that he saw when he was the Wings in the limited number of games he played, he needed to revisit at this camp.  And as George described, they’re doing some new things at the camp and I think he wanted to see it.

This guy will be a damn good defenseman for the Wings.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 07/11/12 at 01:35 PM ET


So just how big is Hudon? He seems to be getting smaller in each descreption. I hope he can bounce back after that understandably ugly year.

Posted by J. on 07/11/12 at 02:06 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

5’11” to six feet tall and 185 pounds. But he plays so very big.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/11/12 at 02:18 PM ET


George, thank you so much for your tireless work following, explaining, detailing, and updating your posts. Unbelievable job and I know of few bloggers/MSM who actually take their readers requests and get the job done. Nice!

I know you have mentioned your insomnia before but you really need to get more sleep (if possible). It’s not worth updating this post at 1:30am with more Doan crap when you could be getting some shut-eye. The Doan stuff will be there tomorrow, as will Lindenau’s photo gallery. Mentioning these things humanizes you (which is nice) but seriously, I don’t want to hear about you falling asleep at the wheel on your way back down south.

Posted by Alex from San Francisco on 07/11/12 at 02:35 PM ET


more of the spectacular.  not sure else what to say, George, but you’re definitely bringing the goods with all of this….

Posted by ryan on 07/11/12 at 03:49 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.