The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/07/11 at 11:38 AM ET
For both the Red Wings’ prospects, the media corps covering them and some random blogger who’s spending the next week in Traverse City, the Red Wings’ decision to avoid the classic power outages that occur due to the aging infrastructure downtown (which forced the Wings to scramble for the latter half of last summer’s development camp), what has become a familiar trip down to Joe Louis Arena for a seven-day-long, closed-to-the-public prospect camp has been turned on its head. This afternoon, the Red Wings’ first summer development camp to be held in Traverse City kicks off with a slate of afternoon skates before engaging in a brutal six-day stretch of on and off-ice workouts which begin at 8:30 in the morning and don’t finish up till 4:45 in the afternoon (these tend to grind the players down, and then some).
While for the Wings’ prospects, there’s no Tigers game to head to as a, “Welcome to the organization” carrot, the Wings’ management clearly believes that a little “geographical cure” and placing them in a training-camp-like atmosphere, literally and figuratively, will help the prospects be better prepared for the prospect tournament and main camp in September…
And the fact that the Wings can better look after 40 youngsters between the ages of 17-24 and placing them in a city that’s small enough that any indiscretions won’t go unnoticed doesn’t hurt, either. I have yet to hear of any issues with the prospects’ off-ice behavior over the course of the three prospect camps I’ve attended, but, put simply, when you’ve got a bunch of youngsters hanging out for a week, it just makes more sense for them to approach their on-ice activities ever-so-slightly more seriously by ensuring that they’re subjected to a more regimented off-ice itinerary.
That’s what this week really is about—welcoming new draft picks and try-outs to the team while informing them of the incredibly stringent fitness and self-improvement standards to which the Red Wings will hold them, and providing reminders thereof to prospects in the system while tweaking their workout regimens and further preparing them for the prospect tournament, training camp and playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Wings have nearly half a dozen players who might “turn pro” this season, so getting them acquainted with Griffins coach Curt Fraser and assistant coach Jim Paek’s expectations is an incredibly important task…
But for everyone involved, having the Wings’ training staff, scouts, management and player mentors in Jiri Fischer and Chris Chelios all in one place will yield an environment in which the Wings may provide the players with the kind of feedback regarding areas for improvement in terms of skill development, fitness and maturity, all in a supportive but rigorous and demanding environment—a Red Wings-like environment, if you will.
As Wings GM Ken Holland told the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan, the next eight days are incredibly important for both first-time participants and players like Brendan Smith, who will be taking part in their fourth or fifth development camp:
“To go from being drafted to playing in the NHL, it’s a long process,” general manager Ken Holland said. “This is the first part of that education.”
Skill development, off-ice strength conditioning, nutrition, and building relationships with future teammates are stressed in this eight-day camp, which was moved to Centre ICE in Traverse City, site of the Wings’ training camp.
“We want them to be excited about being Red Wings,” Holland said. “
The Wings moved to Traverse City because of the setup at Centre ICE, with expanded locker rooms and weight-room facilities, which are perfectly suited for a camp like this. The ability of the prospects to bond with so many off-ice activities available (golf, fishing, swimming) in northwest Michigan was also a huge factor.
“We want them to build relationships,” Holland said. “Some of them could be future Red Wings. We want them to have some fun but they’ll be working hard, too.”
Skill development is important at any level, but conditioning will be stressed.The importance of strength training and the amount of work required in the weight room, is something Holland wants stressed.
“We want to work with them, educate them, and just make sure they know what needs to be done,” Holland said. “It’s a good opportunity for us to get to know them, and for them to get to know us.”
Getting the players out of Metro Detroit serves as a de-facto road trip, forcing the players to spend a little more time together, and that’s important from a team-building perspective…
And it cannot be emphasized enough that the Wings are actually more concerned with the off-ice portion of the camp than its on-ice activities, but Wings assistant GM Jim Nill, who will be busy building the Grand Rapids Griffins’ roster, readily admitted to the Free Press’s George Sipple that the “Wiffins”
Players on entry-level contracts—Brendan Smith, Thomas McCollum, Brian Lashoff, Travis Ehrhardt, Brent Raedeke—are coming to the camp even though they already have played at least one season in the American Hockey League with the Grand Rapids Griffins. Smith, a defenseman from Wisconsin and the 27th overall pick in the 2007 draft, will be given every opportunity this year to make the Wings out of training camp. So why bring him and others who have played in the AHL to a development camp?
“It’s a chance to really get their training jump-started,” assistant general manager Jim Nill said. “And it’s a chance for these young kids that we’ve drafted to see how far they’ve got to go.”
After today, tickets for the development camp are $5 a day. Practice sessions begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday through July 13. A scrimmage and skills competition will be 8:30-10 a.m. July 14. For more information, visit www.centreice.org.
According to MLive’s Ansar Khan, a usual suspect in goaltending coach Jim Bedard will take part in the camp, but to emphasize the fitness and nutrition aspects of the camp, Chelios and Fischer will be joined by Grand Rapids Griffins strength and conditioning coach Aaron Downey, who, along with trainer Piet Van Zant, will issue a de-facto “rest-of-the-summer fitness prescription” for the Griffins and first or second-time prospects alike:
“It’s not so much us learning about them, it’s them learning about us,” Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill said. “There’s one group that’s been here before, you want to see how they’ve improved. There’s another group that hasn’t been here. Some don’t understand the commitment it takes. Trainers will work with them on strength and conditioning and nutrition, get them prepared for training camp.”
Players will go through on-ice and off-work workouts, including power skating drills. The camp concludes with a scrimmage and skills competition. All sessions are open to the public.
“They’ll be tested at the start of camp,” Nill said. “You can tell who’s improving and who’s not.”
That baseline testing is extremely important as subjecting players to Red Wings-quality fitness regimens gives the team a sense of where their younger prospects and 2011 draft picks in particular have to work on self-improvement….
And in terms of the progress made by players already in the system, the Wings remain tremendously high on Brendan Smith’s ability to jump into the NHL, but the team would prefer to have Smith playing prime-time minutes in Grand Rapids instead of spot duty in Detroit as he’s got a ways to go both on and off the ice…
“He’s right on the cusp of making it to the NHL,” Nill said. “He needs another strong off-season of strength and conditioning.”
While Thomas McCollum’s looking to bounce back from a tremendously difficult pair of seasons at the professional level…
“Part of becoming a pro is you’re going to have good days and bad days,” Nill said. “He had a tough season. He’s maturing, learning how to handle these things.”
Amongst the players who will probably “turn pro” with Grand Rapids—Landon Ferraro, Trevor Parkes, Gleason Fournier, Mitchell Callahan and possibly Louis-Marc Aubry (Adam Almqvist will remain with HV71 Jonkoping in the Swedish Eliteserien), the team’s particularly intrigued by what Griffin-to-be Gustav Nyquist, a two-time Hobey Baker Award finalist with the University of Maine, can offer the team…
“He’s got high-end skills,” Nill said. “He’s got to get used to the pro game, playing three games in three nights (in Grand Rapids). He’ll have as much skill as anybody.”
And as the vast majority of the Wings’ prospects who were drafted two weeks ago will attend the camp (only Alexei Marchenko and Nicklas Backman won’t attend), this is the, “Getting to know you/measuring your progress” part of the equation:
“We want to see young kids like [Tomas] Jurco and how they match up,” Nill said. “Are they close to being pros or are they a long ways away?”
In a very slick piece of investigative journalism, RedWingsCentral’s Sarah Lindenau took a look at the Wings’ photo gallery from the team’s Joe Louis Arena portion of camp (the players gathered there and took part in baseline fitness testing) and has made some educated guesses as to which players the Wings have invited to camp on a try-out basis on her Left Wing Lock blog:
Image courtesy of DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose
Tyson Teichmann – A 6-foot, 146 pound goalie who plays for the Belleville Bulls. The former first round selection in the OHL priority draft backstopped the Canadian Under-18 team to a gold medal in 2010. Teichmann is a butterfly style goalie who’s inconsistent play is likely the reason why he was not drafted and was an early cut from the Canadian World Junior selection camp this season.
Danny Dekeyser – A 6-foot-2, 170 pound defenseman who played for Western Michigan University this season. The Algonac Michigan native is a stay at home defenseman who is a good skater and plays with a physical edge.
Adam Estoclet – A 6-foot-2, 172 pound forward wrapped up his collegiate career earlier this Spring while attending Dartmouth College. The Orno, Minnesota native played seven games with Providence of the AHL after signing a amateur try-out contract.
Brad Walch – A 6-foot-1, 209 pound defenseman is another Michigan product who currently plays for the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL. He’s a rugged defenseman who plays a steady defensive game.
Zach Franko – A 5-foot-11, 175 left wing who opted to play for Kelowna of the WHL after originally committing to Bemidji State University. Franko is an undersized offensive forward who notched 22 goals and 53 points as a WHL rookie.
Evan Mosher – A 6-foot, 186 pound goalie who has played the last three seasons for the PEI Rockets of the QMJHL. Mosher posted a respectable 2.79 goals against in 57 games this season marking his first sub .300 season to date.
Travis Novak - 5-foot-11, 160 pound forward who has spent the last three years at St. Cloud State University. The 22 year-old forward nearly had his hockey career halted when he suffered an ugly neck injury in November the resulted him laying on the ice for 25 minutes.
Artem Sergeev – A 6-foot-1, 205 pound defenseman who played for Val d’Or of the QMJHL last year. The Russian native is an offensive defeseman who who makes a good first pass.
Other players listed include Dean and Jake Chelios as well as two players with the name Fraser who more than likely are related to the Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Kurt Fraser.
Fraser’s sons have taken part in, I believe the last three prospect camp, and the Chelioses are attending as neither player’s latched on with another NHL team. Novak took part in last year’s camp as well.
The Red Wings’ website also posted a video clip of the prospects engaging in their orientation day at Joe Louis Arena:
If you missed the details regarding the camp, I’m going to post them one last time:
RED WINGS TO HOLD ANNUAL DEVELOPMENT CAMP AT CENTRE ICE ARENA IN TRAVERSE CITY
… NHL Prospects Set to Hit the Ice in Northern Michigan from July 7-14 …
Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings will hold their annual summer prospect development camp from July 7-14 at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City , Mich . Fans wishing to attend the proceedings may attend the first day free of charge, with tickets for the remainder of camp available for $5 (per day) apiece at the rink only. This year’s development camp will feature seven of Detroit’s nine selections from the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, including highly-touted offensive dynamo Tomas Jurco (RW, Saint John, QMJHL) as well as his fellow second-round picks Xavier Ouellet (D, Montreal, QMJHL) and Ryan Sproul (D, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL). Previous camp attendees set to appear at this invaluable week-long training session include renowned prospects Brendan Smith (D, Grand Rapids , AHL) and Landon Ferraro (C, Everett, WHL). The full schedule for this year’s prospect development camp can be found below:
Thursday, July 7 (Admission: FREE)
2:30 – 3:30 p.m., On-Ice Workout (Group 1)
2:30 – 3:30 p.m., Off-Ice Workout (Group 2)
3:45 – 4:45 p.m., On-Ice Workout (Group 2)
3:45 – 4:45 p.m., Off-Ice Workout (Group 1)
Friday, July 8 – Wednesday, July 13
( Split Squad)
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)
Thursday, July 14
8:30 – 10:00 a.m., Scrimmage/Skills Competition
Here’s the list of prospects who will attend the camp, and I’m assuming that try-outs will be revealed on Thursday:
2011 RED WINGS DEVELOPMENT CAMP ROSTER
POS NAME HT WT BIRTHDATE HOMETOWN 2010-11 TEAM ACQUIRED
D Almqvist, Adam 5-11 175 2/27/1991 Jonkoping, Sweden HV71 Jonkoping (SEL) R7 (210), 2009
F Aubry, Louis-Marc 6-4 202 11/11/1991 Trois-Rivières, Quebec Montreal (QMJHL) R3 (81), 2010
F Callahan, Mitchell 5-11 175 8/17/1991 Whittier, California Kelowna (WHL) R6 (180), 2009
F Cayer, Julien 6-4 186 7/6/1989 Longueuil, Quebec Clarkson (NCAA) R5 (151), 2008
F Coetzee, Willie 5-10 185 11/7/1990 Maple Ridge, British Columbia Toledo (ECHL) Signed as FA (2010)
D Ehrhardt, Travis 5-11 204 4/12/1989 Calgary, Alberta Grand Rapids (AHL) Signed as FA (2009)
F Ferraro, Landon 6-0 170 8/8/1991 Vancouver, British Columbia Everett (WHL) R2 (32), 2009
D *Fournier, Gleason 6-0 184 9/8/1991 St-Fabien, Quebec Rimouski (QMJHL) R3 (90), 2009
F Hudon, Philippe 6-0 197 4/15/1993 Montreal, Quebec Choate-Rosemary (CTHS) R5 (145), 2011
F *Järnkrok, Calle 5-11 165 9/25/1991 Gävle, Sweden Brynäs IF (SEL) R2 (51), 2010
D Jensen, Nick 6-1 195 9/21/1990 Roger, Minnesota St. Cloud State (NCAA) R5 (150), 2009
F Jurco, Tomas 6-1 191 12/28/1992 Kosice, Slovakia Saint John (QMJHL) R2 (35), 2011
D Lashoff, Brian 6-3 208 7/16/1990 Albany, New York Grand Rapids (AHL) Signed as FA (2008)
F Macek, Brooks 5-11 175 5/15/1992 Winnipeg, Manitoba Calgary (WHL) R6 (171), 2010
G McCollum, Thomas 6-2 210 12/7/1989 Amherst, New York Toledo (ECHL) R1 (30), 2008
G Mrazek, Petr 6-0 170 2/14/1992 Vitkovice, Czech Republic Ottawa (OHL) R5 (141), 2010
D Nedomlel, Richard 6-4 204 7/1/1993 Prague, Czech Republic Swift Current (WHL) R6 (175), 2011
D Nicastro, Max 6-2 210 3/2/1990 Thousand Oaks, California Boston University (NCAA) R3 (91), 2008
F Nyquist, Gustav 5-11 185 9/1/1989 Halmstad, Sweden University of Maine (NCAA) R4 (121), 2008
F Oslund, Nick 6-3 210 11/15/1987 Savage, Minnesota St. Cloud State (NCAA) R7 (191), 2006
D Ouellet, Xavier 6-0 179 7/29/1993 Bayonne, France Montreal (QMJHL) R2 (48), 2011
D Parkes, Trevor 6-2 185 5/13/1991 Fort Erie, Ontario Montreal (QMJHL) Signed as FA (2010)
D Piche, Sébastien 6-0 198 2/4/1988 La Sarre, Quebec Toledo (ECHL) Signed as FA (2009)
F Pulkkinen, Teemu 5-10 171 1/2/1992 Vantaa, Finland Jokerit Helsinki (FEL) R4 (111), 2010
F Quine, Alan 5-11 184 2/25/1993 Belleville, Ontario Peterborough (OHL) R3 (85), 2011
F Raedeke, Brent 6-0 200 5/29/1990 Regina, Saskatchewan Grand Rapids (AHL) Signed as FA (2008)
D Rufenach, Bryan 6-0 192 4/15/1989 Cameron, Ontario Clarkson (NCAA) R7 (208), 2007
D Smith, Brendan 6-2 195 2/8/1989 Mimico, Ontario Grand Rapids (AHL) R1 (27), 2007
D Sproul, Ryan 6-3 185 1/13/1993 Mississauga, Ontario Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) R2 (55), 2011
F Tvrdon, Mark 6-2 210 1/31/1993 Nitra, Saskatchewan Vancouver (WHL) R4 (115), 2011
*Participating in Off-Ice Workouts Only
Regarding the Wings’ search for an assistant coach, the Detroit Free Press’s George Sipple confirms Wednesday night’s reports that the Wings are at least talking to Western Michigan University coach Jeff Blashill...
Western Michigan coach Jeff Blashill confirmed to the Free Press on Wednesday evening that he interviewed for one of the Wings’ vacant assistant coaching positions. Blashill led the Broncos to their first NCAA tournament appearance in 15 seasons in his first season and was named national coach of the year by College Hockey News, Inside College Hockey and U.S. College Hockey Online.
Blashill said he was surprised to learn that Wings coach Mike Babcock was interested in talking to him about a position. Blashill said he “didn’t have a relationship” with Babcock or Wings general manager Ken Holland before meeting to discuss the job. “I represented who I am,” Blashill said. “Whether that’s right for them is yet to be decided.”
And the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan both confirms Blashill’s candidacy and reiterates that the Wings do not plan on making a goaltending move until Chris Osgood returns from his golf trip and Ken Holland has a sit-down discussion with #30:
Holland said he’s waiting to set his backup goaltender until he’s talked to Chris Osgood, 38, who is in Scotland on a golfing trip.
“Ozzie comes backs Saturday or Sunday and I won’t do anything until I talk to him first,” Holland said.
Holland is debating whether to re-sign Osgood, or sign a free agent such as Ty Conklin (who has played for the Wings) to back up Jimmy Howard .
On the free agency front, the Free Press’s Helene St. James argues that the Wings have kept pace with their Western Conference foes, but have particularly stiff competition in the much-improved Blue Jackets, among others:
The Red Wings are younger and stronger than they were a week ago, having used the first few days of free agency to add skill and size. They’re a better team—but they’re also faced with better competitors.
The Wings weren’t big spenders when free agency began, instead spending several millions right before July 1. First and foremost, Nicklas Lidstrom was locked up for another season at $6.2 million. Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson didn’t sign on until a day before he could have hit the market, when he accepted three years and $9.75 million—a hefty contract until held against the madness displayed last Friday.
The Wings went a wiser route, spending $5.75 million on Ian White over two years. He’s another 27-year-old, he has appeared in 17 playoff games and he gives them a right-handed shot on the back end. He’ll help fill the void created when Brian Rafalski retired in May, as much as possible, anyway. There wasn’t a defenseman on the market who could match Rafalski’s passing skills.
What White will do is challenge Ericsson, whose new contract pays him top-four defenseman money. Whoever doesn’t squeeze into the group anchored by Nicklas Lidstrom, Niklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart will make the third pairing that much more offensive. The other third-pairing guy is likely to be Mike Commodore, the 6-foot-4, 233-pounder whom the Wings spent all of $1 million on for one year. Brendan Smith, the Wings’ first-round pick from ‘07, is going to be pushing for minutes, too, so long as he has a good training camp. Plus there’s Jakub Kindl, although he could well end up being traded.
While they improved their defense, the Wings haven’t made any changes up front—yet. They were willing to gamble that Jaromir Jagr could help them even at 39 and even three years removed from his last NHL game, but only up to $2.5 million. But they’ve got $7 million in salary cap space, and they’ve got 14 forwards and seven defensemen signed to one-way deals, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the Wings make a trade for a top-six forward. They do need a bit of that money for a backup goaltender, and they want a few million in reserve to have at the 2012 trade deadline, but the bottom line adds up to flexibility.
Per DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose, this is just plain cool...
Base on the photos of soldiers in army-issued black shorts and heather grey T-shirts, the Loghman Province looks like an unpleasant arid terrain, certainly nothing conducive for a fun pick-up game of street hockey.
While the air temperature can be oppressive, hockey helps The Gamberi 18 make the most of an otherwise stressful situation. See, The Gamberi 18 is a platoon of soldiers assigned to the 101st Sustainment Brigade from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, currently serving in Gamberi, Afghanistan.
Recently, the soldiers – who had improvised by using big sticks and metal pipes instead of hockey sticks – reached out to the Red Wings in hopes that the NHL club might send them much-needed street equipment.
The point person for the platoon, SFC Marshall Brown, a huge hockey fan himself, wrote, “I was wondering if you might consider donating some sticks & jerseys in support of our street lot.”
Approximately two weeks later, the Wings’ care package stuffed with everything two teams would need to start up a street hockey game arrived in the Loghman Province. The soldiers received three goalie masks, two complete sets of goalie pads and two goalie sticks; two goalie nets, and 11 sticks.
For those asking, I have not decided what # I am wearing yet…but I am considering #64. Need to talk to equip manager..decide at camp
And finally, I’d ask for a little patience today as this is my first day in familiar circumstances—for training camp—and as I neither know whether I’ll have wireless internet access nor am familiar with my digital camera or how coverage will shake down, what I write will be a work in progress, and I’ll be asking for your feedback as to how I can improve, which subjects/players you’d like me to focus on and whether you’ve got any questions for the players or management going forward.
Hopefully the product will be better on day 8 than day 1.
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About The Malik Report
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.