The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings' prospects defeated the Minnesota Wild's prospects by a 3-1 tally tonight in Traverse City, with Andreas Athanasiou scoring 2 goals, Riley Sheahan scoring the third and Jake Paterson stopping 20 of 21 shots--and the Wings face a stacked Dallas Stars team (Dallas defeated St. Louis 5-2) tomorrow night at 7:30 (the team practices at 11:30, and all practices are free and open to the public, with game admission at Centre Ice Arena costing $10).
I'll write up a little slate of player analyses in a bit, but I wanted to get the audio out to you ASAP. Those of us in the press corps spoke with the players in scrums this evening, so you may hear these interviews again.
Andreas Athanasiou discussed his superb performance, his desire to push the Wings to their first prospect tournament win and the reason he plays with a torn-up palm on his top hand glove:
Oh geez...Here are Brendan Smith and Justin Abdelkader, thumb-warring for the WWE championship belt...
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said Cleary has an open invitation to join the team for training camp next week in Traverse City on a pro tryout, but with no guarantee of a contract. Holland hasn't heard back from Cleary, who hasn't indicated whether he will accept the invitation.
The 34-year-old forward is one of several notable unsigned free agents. Cleary turned down a three-year contract offer from the Red Wings just before the start of free agency on July 5.
The Red Wings value Cleary's abilities, leadership and versatility. But Holland has said the team would need to shed salary and trim three players before it could even consider signing him.
It's an understatement to suggest that the Red Wings' prospect tournament is a whole other ball of wax as compared to the summer development camp, and that was very, very evident as the Red Wings' prospects and try-outs engaged in something of a morning skate ahead of tonight's 7:30 PM game against the Minnesota Wild (Jared Coreau told me, among other things, that Jake Paterson starts this evening, and you can at least follow the game's box score along on Poinstreak and the Left Wing Lock).
Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill, assistant coaches Spiros Anastas and Jim Paek, Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer, goaltending coach Jim Bedard and executive and defenseman's mentor Chris Chelios were all on the ice with the prospects, so six of the 10 coaches from the summer camp returned--yielding smoothly and superbly-run drills, with players able to ask for pointers whenever necessary...
This is pretty spiffy:
So the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame is now asking fans to vote on its 2014 induction class...Give 'er a go as the aforementioned Wings are on the ballot.
Updated 5x at 6:22 PM: Paul already posted the Free Press's Helene St. James' report about Pavel Datsyuk returning to the ice at the Joe, but the Wings' beat writers Tweeted some updates--including a contradictory note regarding the Daniel Cleary story:
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
"I go back to home, stay with friends, see family lots, but now come back to live here," Datsyuk said. "Always, summer too short. But now, forget about summer. Lots of work beginning."
It's the first time Datsyuk has been in Detroit since signing a three-year extension in late June; with a year left on his current deal, the new contract kicks in starting in 2014-15.
"I'm happy here, I enjoy this time," Datsyuk said of his decision to stay in Detroit. "Every year, better and better. I choose to sign here."
Datsyuk expressed delight about newcomers Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss, the latter of whom should facilitate that, for a change, Datsyuk will start the season on a line with Zetterberg. The two love playing together, and the Wings love being able to play them together, but past stints rarely have lasted long because the Wings needed one of them to center the second line.
"We'll see how long we last this year," Zetterberg said, smiling, "but we're excited that we'll get a chance to start again. But it's a little bit up to us, too. We have to play good."
The Red Wings' prospects spent about 45 minutes practicing ahead of tonight's game against Minnesota at the prospect tournament, mostly engaging in drills involving retrieving dump-ins, defensive positioning, breakouts, and at the end of the practice, both goalie-challenging lateral movement drills, faceoff drops for centers and some d-to-d passing and shooting with a screened player in front of the net.
Griffins coach Jeff Blashill may or may not have been kidding when he tapped me on the leg with his stick and said, "That's the best morning skate I've had in years!" but the Wings' prospects were sharp, chipper and receptive to the coaching of Blashill, Spiros Anastas, Jim Paek, Chris Chelios, Jiri Fischer and Jim Bedard, and they all seemed to be both genuinely looking forward to their three games (Minnesota tonight, Dallas tomorrow and St. Louis on Sunday) for two reasons:
The Detroit Free Press's Helene St. James delivers some absolutely baffling news given the Red Wings' roster crunch and salary cap issues, stating that Daniel Cleary's going to start skating with the Wings today, and that the Wings are still interested in somehow bringing Cleary back into the fold:
Cleary ultimately decided he wants to stay in Detroit, and the Wings do want him back. He was their second-leading scorer in the playoffs, with 10 points in 14 games, leading the team with five points in the second-round series against Chicago.
The Wings already have 16 forwards under contract for next season and plan to carry 14. However, there are several unknowns, starting with the health of Darren Helm and Mikael Samuelsson. Both missed almost all of last season, and Helm said earlier this week he isn't yet pain-free and doesn't know whether he'll be able to take part in scrimmages when camp begins in one week. Samuelsson said he's healthy, but will he stay so?
Updated with Howard @ NYSE news at 10:15 AM: This is...different...per the NHL:
TOP OF THE ROCK® TO HOST NHL PLAYERS ON FRIDAY, SEPT. 6
Top of the Rock Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center® will host 10 NHL players on Friday, Sept. 6 at 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. for a special photo, video and interview opportunity to celebrate the six regular-season games set to be played in outdoor locations during the 2013-14 NHL season: the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic® and the four-game 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™.
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.