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Red Wings early overnight report: getting up to speed

Before I lay my head down for a few hours and then prepare for that awful 6 AM alarm, here’s a brief summary of the Red Wings news I missed over the past 36 hours. Done a little quickly and on a no-particular order source-by-source basis…

Well, okay, except for the beginning. ESPN’s Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun had a chat about the Red Wings as potential suitors for Rick Nash, just as the Score’s Chris Lund wondered aloud whether the wings would be interested in Jay Bouwmeester and his gigantor $6.68 million cap hit, and just as Sportsline’s Brian Stubits’ suggestion that the Red Wings are a free agent “loser” got talked up by the Free Press and MLive for doing just that.

But it’s Burnside and LeBrun we’re talking about, so there’s a little more gravitas to what they have to say, even if I don’t buy the concept that the Wings want to give up a super-premium slate of prospects and roster players for a player from an “arch-rival” franchise that they don’t really need:

Burnside: Well, my friend, it’s just about time for you to close up shop and begin a well-earned summer respite. It has been an interesting week, as the first week of free agency always seems to represent. We’ve discussed the Minnesota Wild’s dramatic inking of Zach Parise and the Ryan Suter and the ripple effect those signings will continue to have long into the summer. It didn’t take long, for instance, for Tampa Bay to jump up and sign Matt Carle to a six-year deal. Carle would have been a top Plan B for many teams that fell short in the pursuit of Suter, and now those teams will be left scrambling. Let’s talk about some of the teams that we expected might be players in free agency but to this point have been quiet. For me, the Detroit Red Wings remain an interesting study. Hot after Suter, they decided against paying Jiri Hudler the big bucks that Calgary was willing to pay (four years at $4 million annually). They repatriated Mikael Samuelsson, but with Nicklas Lidstrom retiring and Brad Stuart now back in San Jose, this is a Red Wings team that all of a sudden isn’t nearly as fearsome as it has been for, oh, about 20 years now. I know folks have been predicting the Wings’ decline since the lockout, but are we finally on the cusp of difficult times in the Motor City?

LeBrun: I would never, ever, ever count out Ken Holland. He is the best GM in hockey. Bar none. He’ll find a way. Wings owner Mike Illitch has no intention to see his team rebuild. The Wings will find a way to make moves to fill their holes. For sure, the Wings have investigated the Rick Nash situation and would love to deal for him (coach Mike Babcock had him at the Olympics in Vancouver and has been a fan ever since). I find it hard to believe Columbus would deal him within the division, though. Detroit would have to pay handsomely. Then there’s unrestricted free agent Shane Doan. He told me Sunday that he would wait until July 9 to figure out whether he’ll begin to field offers from other teams or get enough good news on the Phoenix situation to stay put. His heart is in the desert. He does not want to leave. But like Martin Brodeur did on July 1, he might at least have to listen. The Wings have real interest in him, but so do many teams, including Los Angeles and the Rangers. On defense, you have to imagine the Wings would look into Keith Yandle. But as I reported Thursday, I think the Coyotes would rather move him east, where there has been sizeable interest, if they move Yandle at all. In the end, Detroit has another avenue: wait it out until the new collective bargaining agreement is signed, sealed and delivered. Several teams I’ve spoken with over the past few weeks believe there will be bargains to be had on good players come September, October or November—whenever there’s a new CBA—because some overspending teams will have miscalculated and will need to get rid of players to get under the new cap. At least a half-dozen teams I know of are waiting for this. Detroit could benefit from that as well.

Burnside: I agree that no one should count Holland and the Wings’ organization out, although right now that defense is a shadow of its former self with no real obvious fixes in sight.

It’s that defense that the Wings need to address, even if it takes a summer’s worth of band-aids and then a more meaningful acquisition over the course of the upcoming season—and again, with Yandle playing for a team that calls the Red Wings an “arch-rival,” I don’t see the Wings wanting to pay an extra premium for Yandle’s services.

Valtteri Filppula is probably going to get locked up via a long-term extension while he wears the alternate captain’s “A” on a rotating basis with Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall this upcoming season. He’s not going to be traded. So with that in mind, here’s the non-rambly part of the entry:


Detroit News:

• Ted Kulfan would like to see the NHL engage in a seven to fourteen-day period where free agents are wined and dined for exposure’s sake;

• You may be less than surprised to find that Kulfan deems the Wings a “free agency loser” given their lack of luck in signing Ryan Suter or Zach Parise;

• And he adds a list of prospects to watch at this week’s development camp, as well as a caveat regarding the camp from GM Ken Holland…

“Getting to the NHL is a process, and there’s a long education involved,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “This is the first step. We help them understand what needs to be done, what they have to do to get to the next level.”

Before offering the schedule…


8:30-10:30 a.m.: Off-ice workout (Group 1)

8:30-10:30 a.m.: On-ice skill development, power skating, practice (Group 2)

2:30-4:30 p.m.: Off-ice workout (Group 2)

2:30-4:30 p.m.: On-ice skill development, power skating, practice (Group 1)


7-9:30 p.m.: Scrimmage


8:30-10:30 a.m.: Off-ice workout (Group 1)

8:30-10:30 a.m.: On-ice skill development, power skating, practice (Group 2)

2:30-4:30 p.m.: Off-ice workout (Group 2)

2:30-4:30 p.m.: On-ice skill development, power skating, practice (Group 1)


8:30-10:30 a.m.: Scrimmage, on-ice skill development


The Left wing Lock:

• Admission for each of the two-a-day events is $10 [edit/update: or $5 for the morning session and $5 for the afternoon one], and as you might expect, the Left Wing Lock’s Sarah Lindenau has all the details you need to know about Tuesday, which is Bryan Rufenach Day, which costs $5 to attend:

Bryan Rufenach, despite his recent tragic and untimely death while traveling through Europe, will continue to be a huge part of the 2012 Detroit Red Wings Development Camp.  The 23-year-old defenseman was a seventh round selection of the Red Wings in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and signed a contract last season with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL.  Rufenach spent a majority of the 2011-12 season with the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL where he collected 13 goals and 33 points in 54 games. The Lindsay, Ontario native had previously spent four seasons with Clarkson University where he tallied 21 goals and 55 points over his collegiate career.

Organizers of the 2012 Red Wings Development Camp in conjunction with the Detroit Red Wings, Grand Rapids Griffins and Toledo Walleye have designated July 10th as ‘Bryan Rufenach Day’ with a portion of all proceeds to benefit the Bryan Rufenach Memorial Fund.  The event begins at 4 p.m. outside Centre I.C.E. Arena in Traverse City, MI.  Food provided by Mancino’s Pizza and Grinders will be available for purchase between 4:00 pmand 6:00 pm.  Above the Garage will perform live at the event, while Red Wings Development Camp souvenirs will be sold to help benefit the fund.

Former NHL players, along with members of both the Red Wings’ and Grand Rapids Griffins’ management teams and coaching staffs will be on hand to sign autographs including Dallas Drake, Chris Chelios, Jiri Fischer, Aaron Downey, Ken Holland, Jim Nill, Ryan Martin, Jim Bedard, Keith McKittrick, Jeff Blashill and Jim Paek.

The puck will drop on an intra-squad scrimmage at 7:00 pm that evening at Centre I.C.E. Arena.  A brief ceremony to honor Bryan’s memory will be held prior to opening face-off.  The family of Bryan Rufenach is expected to attend the July 10th benefit.

And Lindenau’s prospect camp roster here, and she can be found on Twitter at both RedWingsCamps and Lindy72.

She’s been doing this for a lot longer than I have, so she’s the pro here, and she posted a breakdown of the rosters of the “teams” taking part…

Team Zetterberg


Jurco Aubry Pulkkinen
Callahan Quine Tvrdon
Frk Glendening Bodin  
Babcock Hudon Rooba  

Defense Pairings
Lashoff Jensen
Ouellet Sproul
Marshall Nedolmel

Team Lidstrom

Coetzee Raedeke Parkes
Nestrasil Sheahan Ferraro
Athanasiou Lain Chelios
Pletsch Novak Cayer

Defense Pairings
Almqvist Smith
Fournier Nicastro
Mckee DeHaas


• Lindenau posted a photo gallery from Saturday’s afternoon skate, and a feature article about Teemu Pulkkinen, too;


Detroit Free Press:

• The Free Press’s Helene St. James offers a list of prospects she’ll be watching closely during the development camp, as well as what might be a perfect framing of the event from Wings assistant GM Jim Nill:

“For the younger kids, it’s like their first day of school,” said Nill, the team’s assistant general manager.

He’ll be keeping an eye on the camp, which runs today through Friday at Centre Ice in Traverse City. The on-ice crew includes former defensemen Chris Chelios and Jiri Fischer—both part of the team’s front office—and Jim Paek, an assistant coach with Detroit’s minor league affiliate in Grand Rapids.

Players are mostly selections from the past handful of drafts, along with free-agent invitees, including Chelios’ son, Dean, and head coach Mike Babcock’s son, Michael Babcock III.

While management gets a look at the prospects, the better evaluation of talent comes at September’s training camp that includes the full Red Wings team. This upcoming week is more beneficial to the players than the team.

“It’s more for what they get out of it,” Nill said. “They start hearing about what to do off-ice, a good lifestyle, eating properly. They’re going to school. For the older guys, it’s about keeping improving, seeing how their development is. It’s really an opportunity to improve skills and workout routines.”

Smith, 23, is the standout of the group—he has already gotten a taste of the NHL with 14 games last season and is penned in to be a regular next season. Nill said the Wings asked him to come down from his off-season home outside Toronto to take part in the camp, and Smith readily agreed.

“This is a chance for him to really push his conditioning level and get ready for a big camp in a couple of months,” Nill said, but getting Smith to join the camp doesn’t just help him. “Right now, with all the young kids, it’s all about getting stronger. They get to see Brendan on the ice, off the ice, they see what that’s about.”

• St. James also penned an article about Smith for this morning’s Free Press that you can read via the Sacramento Bee.

• If you are interested, the Free Press held a chat with its new columnist, Jeff Seidel, on Friday. He began his tenure with the Free Press stating that the Wings can no longer compete for marquee free agents, [sarcasm] so something tells me he’s going to be a delightful fellow to read [/sarcasm]


Windsor Star:

• Again, Ken Holland sees Kyle Quincey’s decision to file for salary arbitration as a positive, as he told the Windsor Star’s Dave Waddell:

“We haven’t really talked,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “The last time we talked was before the draft. I made an offer. They never really gave me a (counter) offer.”

Holland admitted the team’s unrestricted free agents haven’t been a priority with the team focusing on its unrestricted free-agent targets.

“They’ll get signed,” Holland said. “Just the first couple of weeks of July, we’re more focused on the UFAs.”

Holland said with the arbitration hearings starting later this month, there’ll be an incentive to get the contracts done now. The Wings have generally avoided going to arbitration and the messy prospect of explaining why they shouldn’t pay a player what he wants. Former Wing Jiri Hudler was the last player to have a hearing with Detroit two summers ago. Hudler left to play in the KHL that summer anyway.

“Today was something that needed to happen to put pressure on both of us to negotiate a deal in a timely fashion,” Holland.” It’s just part of the process. If you can’t agree to a deal, then an arbitrator will decide.”

The team’s other unrestricted free agent, Justin Abdelkader, declined his option to go to arbitration.

“I made an offer, haven’t had time to talk,” Holland said. “With him not filing for arbitration, there is no time line. We got the summer to find a deal that makes sense for both of us.”



• Brendan Savage also spoke to Nill about the Wings’ development camp...

“This isn’t an evaluation camp,” said Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill. “What it is is the first day of college. It’s hockey college. It’s their first week of going to hockey college. We want to equip them with the knowledge and best tools we can to let them become a player down the road. It’s an initiation, it’s a school, it’s everything. We want to give them the best tools, the knowledge they need that will help them become a better player. For most of them, it’s five years down the road. But you have to start somewhere.”

Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, the players will be divided into split squads and will have two-hour workouts in the morning and afternoon. One will be an on-ice session and the other will be off the ice. The only thing scheduled for Tuesday is a scrimmage beginning at 7 p.m. and the camp with end with another scrimmage Friday morning.

Nill said the off-ice sessions might be the most important part of the camp. They’ll give trainers an opportunity to tell the players how they can best use their summer workouts to prepare for next season, whether that’s in Detroit or elsewhere.

“In the summer, that’s when the growth happens,” Nill said. “The biggest part is just to start teaching the kids on ice and off ice, develop work habits, how to do things properly in your workouts. It’s a chance to get the kids one-on-one. Our trainers get to work with them, teach them proper techniques for training. It’s really a training tool to show them what it takes to become a pro. It’s a lifestyle you have to start learning now if you want to become an NHL player down the road.”
“Some of these kids are 18 years old and there are going to be some that are 22,” Nill said. “Brendan Smith is going to be there and he’s going to ben NHL player. They’re going to notice the difference. These young kids are going to see that and are going to realize why they need to get stronger. They’re going to play against Brendan Smith and they’re going to compete in drills and they’re going to be like, ‘Wow, now I understand what it takes.’ That’s part of the process. For 99 percent of them, it’s a complete eye opener.”
“This is the future of the franchise so it’s an exciting time that way,” Nill said. “What’s extremely encouraging is watching some of the kids to see the progress. Brendan Smith, this is probably his fifth or sixth camp. Every kid, if they’re doing the right things, they’re going to get better and that’s the encouraging part, to see how much these kids have improved over the years.”

Not once, but twice:

“We’ll talk to them about why you have to get up in the morning and you have to work out for three hours,” said assistant general manager Jim Nill. “Here’s what you have to do. What you have to do on the ice and what skills you have to work on. Why you work out off the ice to get better on the ice.  It gives us a chance to get to know the kids one-on-one under a less pressurized situation. We have to make some decisions on these kids in the next two or three years. Do we sign them? Are they NHL prospects or minor-league prospects? That’s real important.”

Although Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is expected to be on hand, he won’t be directing the on-ice workouts. Instead, that will be the responsibility of former Red Wings assistant coach Jeff Blashill – the new head coach of Detroit’s top farm club in Grand Rapids – longtime Grand Rapids assistant Jim Paek, Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer and special advisor Chris Chelios.

Some of the players at the prospects camp could end up with Blashill in Grand Rapids next season or they could drop down another level to the Red Wings’ ECHL farm club in Toledo. Others will return to junior hockey.

Nill didn’t want to rank the players at the prospects camp although there’s no doubt defenseman Brendan Smith is the headliner after spending 14 games with the Red Wings last season. He’s the only player who is expected to open the season in Detroit.

“They’ve all got a great chance,” Nill said. “Some of them might be the top prospect right now but there are others, who once they get on the ice, in two years might be better.”

One other thing the prospects camp also does is get the youngsters familiar with Northern Michigan in case they’re inviting to training camp in two months.

“It makes them familiar with where the training camp will be held,” Nill said. “They have to fly into Traverse City and understand what it’s all about. It’s the start of becoming a pro hockey player for them.”

• Savage also posted a roster;

• And MLive’s Phillip Zaroo posted an interview that new assistant coach Tom Renney gave to ESPN 970 in Marquette:

“They win, and there’s a tradition of it,” he told Casey Ford and Bill Blohm in the SportsPen on ESPN 970 Marquette. “That speaks volumes as you try to plug holes and keep yourself in a competitive position. Certainly, first and foremost, Detroit wins. And it’s not always easy, and it’s not going to be perpetual. There’s no doubt about that. But there certainly is a blueprint that speaks volumes about success.”

Renney said he was more surprised by Suter signing with the Wild than Parise, who grew up in Minnesota. Regardless, his primary focus is on the men wearing the Red Wings uniform right now.

“From a coaching perspective, from Mike to Billy to myself, and beyond, we’ll do everything we can to work real hard with the people that are in front of us,” Renney said. “My guess is we’ll be asked for our opinions on players within and outside of our team, too. I’m more than happy to offer that up. But first and foremost, our job is to coach up to whatever we’ve got on the ice for a hockey club.”

“And even though we’re missing some pretty key components in the last couple of weeks from the Red Wings roster, you just have all sorts of faith in what the organization does from a scouting perspective and player identification perspective to be just fine.”

Download file


7&4 News/Upnorthlive: Let’s stick with multimedia as The 7&4 News’s Giacomo Accardo spoke to Brendan Smith and Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer about this year’s camp:


WBBL: MLive’s Ansar Khan spoke to WBBL’s “Huge Show” on Friday:

Download file


The Red Wings’ official website/Twitter account:

• The Wings’ Twitter account posted four pictures from the first day of development camp, huddle-up included;

• Bill Roose posted a revised roster of players attending camp;

• And Rick Bouwness spoke to James De Haas about his first imprssions:

While a significant portion of the players attending development camp this year have previously been to at least one NHL- sanctioned event, defenseman James De Haas was experiencing what it felt like to be involved with the most prestigious hockey league on the planet for the first time on Saturday. De Haas did not attend last month’s NHL entry draft in Pittsburgh and resultantly missed his name being called by Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill in the sixth round.

“I was at home doing some yard work with my dad,” says De Haas. “I got a phone call from one of my buddies who was there at the draft and it was just chaos from there. I can’t even explain it. It was everything I’ve ever dreamed for, to be picked by a team like the Red Wings.”

De Haas spent the 2011-12 season with the OJHL’s Toronto Lakeshore Patriots where he tallied 29 points in 45 appearances en route to picking up First Team All-Prospect honors. The hulking 6-foot-2, 201-pound blue-liner is thrilled to now be a part of the Wings’ organization and was pleased with how Day 1 went.

“Detroit is known for doing a really good job of developing their players so it’s good to know I’m in good hands here,” says the 18-year-old Torontonian. “It felt really good, just to get out there and get camp going today. It’s going to be a long week and I was just happy to get things started.”

Set to join western Canada’s BCHL in 2012-13 prior to embarking upon his collegiate career in 2013-14 at Clarkson University, the future appears to be bright for the young defenseman. While a new league in a new province beckons next season, De Haas is currently focused on making the most of his first NHL experience in Traverse City.

“I just want to make a good impression, to improve as much possible and to learn a lot from the older guys and the coaches here,” he said. “I want to take as much as I can from this experience.”

• For the record, Jordin Tootoo confirmed that he will indeed wear #22 in Detroit.


Traverse City Record-Eagle:

• This part of James Cook’s column about the Wings’ free agent issues, I agree with:

Holland will come up with something. He always does.

Will it be a deal for Jay Bouwmeester? A trade for Rick Nash? Who knows? But it’s a good bet that if you see Holland this week in Traverse City, he’ll be on the phone with other teams or agents a good portion of the time.


In interpretative arts, the Edmonton Sun posted a picture with the following caption:

Garrett Szydlowski of the Detroit Red Wings scores on Saskatchewan Jr. Pats goaltender Spencer Welke during The Brick 23rd Annual Invitational Super Novice Hockey Tournament at West Edmonton Mall on Thursday. The Red Wings went on to win the game 4-1. (David Bloom, Edmonton Sun)

So far, so good for Kris Draper’s team.


In Swedish, via RedWingsFeed, Fabian Brunnstrom told Expressen’s Daniel Hultqvist that he’ll be looking for an NHL-only contract as the Wings don’t appear interested in re-signing him;

• Niklas Kronwall and Patric Hornqvist did tell Aftonbladet’s Angelica Lundberg that they’d play for Djurgarden if there’s a lockout, but both players are optimistic about the NHL and PA avoiding a lockout;

• I will try to translate Nicklas Lidstrom’s announcement to Lundberg that he’s going to scout for the Wings into English sooner than later, but there is a photo gallery accompanying the article which you might enjoy…


And I hate to mention this, but Greg Eno, an independent journalist who now calls that lovely place called Bleacher Report home, mocked the Wings and their fans for being spurned by Suter and Parise in an inflammatory article. And he’s gloating about it on Twitter, so beware the troll.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


Michiru Kaioh's avatar

I have to say, forget Ryan, forget Nash, I still really really want Alex Semin, and this sums up why a lot better than I ever could…mostly because I’m lazy and don’t know where to found these kinds of stats.


Not to mention, if you compare his stats to Parise’s over their careers, Semin has a higher points per game average. And he’s bigger and right handed. I don’t get the “inconsistent” argument…he’s streaky, but I’ll gladly take streaky that averages out to .87 points per game.

Posted by Michiru Kaioh on 07/08/12 at 02:05 AM ET

SYF's avatar

Greg Eno can suck a pigcock.  Anyone who thinks the Wings lost out on the Suter sweepstakes forget conveniently that the Wings shored up the coaching slot left by Blashill and filled with the superb Tom Renney is a fool.  Darryl Sydor and Darcy Hordichuk versus Tom Renney.

Fuch the Mild.  We got Renney.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 07/08/12 at 03:00 AM ET

WingedRider's avatar

I wonder if it wouldn’t be a good idea to have Renney at prospect’s camp??  Damn good hire that was in my opinion!!!

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 07/08/12 at 10:36 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Thanks, George.  Seeing all the names in the line up got me excited.  Can’t wait to read your reports of how they look!

cool smile

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 07/08/12 at 11:53 AM ET

joedaiceman's avatar

George - get all the goods you can on all the D - especially Smith. It will be interesting to hear if the potential in that camp is something we can look forward to now that the RWs are hurting bigtime in that department.

Posted by joedaiceman on 07/08/12 at 12:02 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.


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