The Malik Report
I counted 13 people in the "perch" that is the one suite at Centre ICE Arena's West Rink, and those 13 members of the Red Wings' coaching staff, front office and pro and amateur scouts didn't include Kris Draper, who spent most of the Red Wings' 1-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes writing into a notebook at the same table where I typed away on my computer.
Ken Holland, Ryan Martin, Jeff Blashill, Tony Granato, the pro and amateur scouts and the Grand Rapids Griffins staff behind the bench witnessed a game that I'd charitably describe as "clunky" and more realistically describe as exactly the kind of "first game" you'd expect from a pair of teams whose players were playing their first meaningful hockey in anywhere from a 4-to-6 month time period, and especially the kind of game you'd expect from teams consisting of half a roster's worth of returning players and half a team's worth of new participants.
Tomas Nosek's jam-in of an Evgeny Svechnikov rebound at the 37-second mark of the 2nd period--just after a Red Wings power play expired--was all that the Wings needed to solve Hurricanes goaltender Rasmus Tironen, and despite losing defenseman Justin Lemcke in the same period, the Wings' defense held up very well against a Canes team whose roster boasts 9 members of the AHL's Charlotte Checkers.
The Detroit Red Wings' prospects defeated the Carolina Hurricanes' prospects 1-0 on Friday night, riding a 2nd-period Tomas Nosek goal (assisted by Evgeny Svechnikov and Andreas Athanasiou) and Jake Paterson's superb 22-save effort to a win in what was an up-and-down affair.
The Red Wings lost defenseman Justin Lemcke to a shoulder issue in the 2nd period as well, but Paterson held the fort and the Wings' defense--of Joe Hicketts, Robbie Russo, Vili Saarijarvi, Ty Stanton and Andrew Prochno, not exactly an All-Star lineup--played superbly and strongly.
After the game, I was able to speak with Paterson, who discussed his shutout performance and the importance of getting off to a good start (Paterson will start Saturday's affair vs. Chicago, too), the team's ability to withstand Lemcke's injury and its energy management given the 9:30 AM practice and 4 PM game after a game that didn't end until nearly 10 PM...
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose spoke with Tomas Tatar regarding the World Cup of Hockey...
Having Team Europe means an all-NHL group made up of players from countries like Austria, Belarus, Denmark, France, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland. Red Wings players like Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco – both from Slovakia – as well as perhaps French-born defenseman Xavier Ouellet could be on the Team Europe roster.
“There’s many players from these countries in the NHL,” Tatar said. “They will have a tough job to pick 20 guys to make the team. You never know what type of season you’re going to have. Somebody might explode and have a great season and out of nowhere he can make that team. So I think it’s wide open.”
Adding the North American and European teams, Tatar says, makes sense for a couple of reasons. It creates a large enough field of teams, but also promotes – hopefully – better competition in all 17 games that will be played at Air Canada Centre.
“Our little counties like Switzerland or Slovakia just don’t have enough players in the league at the moment,” Tatar added. “We could see it at the Olympics, we lost to the U.S. seven to one, so I feel just the U.S. and Canada at the moment are really strong. I feel they want to tighten it up and make it interesting for the (fans). I think Team Europe can be really strong. … It can be a really good team, and maybe one of the best in the tournament.”
2. MLive's Brendan Savage spoke with Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer regarding the prospect tournament...
From the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner:
Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Nathan Paetsch, in the wake of a plea deal for his involvement in an illegal gambling network, apologized Friday for "the embarrassment" he caused.
The 32-year-old veteran, who was sentenced last Friday in a Rochester, N.Y. federal court for taking part in a multimillion gambling network, spoke to local media at Griffs Icehouse in an effort to move forward from the incident.
"This has been extremely devastating," he said. "To myself, my family, my friends this has been a pretty catastrophic experience and it's been a very difficult time.
"It's something we hope to move on from and hope everyone understands how difficult it has been, and I apologize for everything I've been involved in and it's been an unfortunate situation."
Paetsch, who is married and has a 5-year-old son and a 2 ½-year-old daughter, pleaded guilty in June to gambling-related crimes that involved recruiting players from the NHL and AHL to make wagers. The government accused him of recruiting hockey players and others to place bets, and also of aiding in the transmission of wagering information as well as collection of debts.
The Red Wings' prospects will face the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at 7:30 PM, and it looks like the roster for this evening's game will be the one that the practice lines indicated (and many thanks to Scott MacIntyre for the Tweet):
Practice was what you'd expect from a tournament's morning skate--a lot of reinforcement of fundamentals of Red Wings play and a little bit of pushing players out of their comfort zones, but nothing dramatic packed into about 45 minutes' worth of ice time.
Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
Fox Sports Detroit posted videos of comments from Teemu Pulkkinen...
And Drew Miller speaking with the media...
via Dana Wakiji tweets,
Pulkkinen: If I score goals, I'm going to play. If I'm not going to score goals, I'm not going to play. That's the thing.
Pulkkinen: It's easier every night to play because you know you're playing a lot so even if you make 1 mistake it doesn't matter.
Pulkkinen: When you're playing less, you have to be kind of careful what you're doing on the ice.
Pulkkinen: You cannot do anything stupid or you're not going to play.
MLive's Brendan Savage posited a profile of Andreas Athanasiou:
[T]he good news for Athanasiou – and everyone else who has played for the Grand Rapids Griffins the past three years – is the Red Wings head coach knows exactly what they can (and can't) do. There are no question marks there.
Jeff Blashill will be behind the Red Wings bench after coaching the Griffins for the past three years and that could bode well for guys like Athanasiou if Detroit dips into the minors for some manpower this season.
"I think it's a big thing," said Athanasiou, the Red Wings' fourth-round pick (110th overall) in the 2012 draft. "I played for him for a year so he was able to see me and the rest of the guys. He's got a perspective of how the players are and he pays attention to that. He knows what each player is capable of and knows what each player's strengths and weaknesses are. It's a big thing."
Like virtually everyone else who played for Blashill in Grand Rapids, Athanasiou has nothing but good things to say about the Red Wings new bench boss.
"He gets along well with the guys," Athanasiou said. "Every day he comes in and he's ready to go. He gets the guys going every game. I haven't seen a coach do that too many times. He has the ability to get the boys going every game and everybody wants to play for him. I learned so many things from him. In practice and in games he taught me so many things."
The Red Wings' prospects took to the ice for a game-day skate ahead of tonight's prospect tournament opener against Carolina, and coach Todd Nelson put the youngsters through game-day drills over the course of a spirited and quick 45-minute practice.
from Dana Wakiji of DetroitRedWings.com,
When Jurco was playing, he wasn't scoring and he admitted that weighed on him.
"I think it was one of the biggest factors for me," Jurco said. "It was hard for me to not be scoring as much as I was used to before and not playing as much, so of course when you do that for a few months it’s hard to keep your confidence high. Of course it was one of the factors, but it’s a new season and I’m ready for it."
Jurco is also ready to be reunited with his AHL coach, Jeff Blashill, who took the Wings head coaching job when Mike Babcock departed for Toronto.
"I played a couple seasons under Blash," Jurco said. "He’s a great coach, a great guy. I’m really excited for the season. It’s hard to say now what he’s going to be like but we all played under him, half the room played under Blash and we had some good achievements. We all know Blash and we’re all excited to play under him."
Jurco said he has spoken to Blashill about the upcoming season and his role, but he declined to give specifics of their conversation.
"I think Blash wants me to work hard, but I think Blash knows what kind of player I was before," Jurco said. "He had a chance to see it, so he knows I can be a different player, too. I’m not saying he’s going to put me on the power play and expect me to score 30 goals but I think he wants me to work hard and work my way up to maybe first three lines so I can provide offense. It’s going to be up to me. Just the good thing is Blash knows I can do it."
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.