The Malik Report
The Red Wings' development campers engaged in a spirited scrimmage on Saturday, with Team Lindsay winning 6-5 and a slightly-more-than-10-man shootout 4-3. After the scrimmage ended, players hustled off to post-game interviews with the management, so I had very little time to speak with them, but I was able to speak with four people, and here's the audio from their interviews:
Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
The Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with Wings coach Jeff Blashill regarding one Jakub Kindl, who had a conditioning stint in Grand Rapids this past season, and it certainly sounds like Kindl will be given a chance to redeem himself on the Wings' blueline:
"I thought when he came down he did a great job for us," Blashill said. "You can say, well, it's an NHLer coming down and playing — you have to stand out, and he stood out. He did a great job.
"When he's playing his best he's a great puck-moving defenseman — he's going back for the puck, he's seeing through the forechecker making the proper passes. I think that is the number one ingredient for a defenseman to be great, is their ability to play the puck out of their end, because then you just don't play any d-zone and you play in the other team's end and that's the formula to win."
It's likely the Wings do something on the back end before training camp to make room for a young guy (Alexey Marchenko/Xavier Ouellet) to play, but if Kindl shows up at camp in top shape, it sounds like he may get a chance.
"He's got really good ability, he's a really good person," Blashill said. "He's done a great job of persevering through tough times over the last few years. Hopefully he's put himself in position to compete for spots at camp."
In a different kind of redemptive tone, Mitch Callahan is up here in Grand Rapids rehabbing a torn ACL, and he spoke with MLive's Brendan Savage about that process...
This morning, the Red Wings' prospects engaged in a set of drills that were designed to get them ready for today's scrimmage (4-5:30 PM), and Team Lindsay and Team Howe practiced simultaneously, so I was able to get in about 20 minutes of viewing of each set of prospects and a good look at some of the goalie drills that goalie coaches Jim Bedard and Jeff Salajko put the goalies through...
But 20 minutes of assessment isn't a particularly fantastic indicator of where a player's going to be, and scrimmages allow some players to shine and others to fade into the woodwork, so I can't promise that there's going to be some sort of massively revelatory observation today, but I'm going to do my best.
I should note from the outset that Andreas Athanasiou is not playing thus far; I've heard that he has a finger injury, but he is present at the camp and taking part in the off-ice activities, and Mitch Callahan continues to skate under the watchful eye of team trainer John Bernal as he recovers from a torn ACL.
The Red Wings' summer development campers are taking part in a scrimmage from 4-5:30 at Centre Ice Arena today, and he's its format:
The game will have a "running time warm-up" at 4 PM;
1. The game starts at 4:05 PM, and there will be 2 30-minute periods (i.e. two "halfs") which break down like this:
- 10 minutes of running time;
- 5 minute 5-on-4 PP for Team Lindsay; 5 minute PP for Team Howe;
2. There will be a 15-minute intermission to resurface the ice in between the two periods;
3. There will be a short dry scrape after the "second half," and then there will be a 10-man shootout with a sudden death option if there is a tie.
The Red Wings' summer development camp continued today with a set of simultaneous and split practices in which Team Lindsay and Team Howe prepared for the 4-5:30 PM scrimmage, and as the players were ready to get in the shower, have lunch and take their pre-game naps, I had to scramble as best I could for interviews, but I hope this is a "quality over quantity" scenario:
Among this morning's Red Wings-related news stories:
1. The Traverse City Record-Eagle's James Cook spoke with Nicklas Lidstrom about Lidstrom's naming to the Hockey Hall of Fame's 2015 induction class and his sons Adam and Kevin taking part in the Wings' development camp...
“It’s turned out to be a great week,” Nicklas said. “We had this trip planned since spring — and I didn’t even know when they were going to announce the Hall of Fame. It just turned out we were in town when it happened, which made it all the sweeter.”
That call came Tuesday when he was driving around Detroit with his son Adam in the car. They were headed to see a display near Comerica Park depicting what the Red Wings’ new stadium will look like.
“He was talking (on the phone) and I didn’t know what it was about at first,” Adam said. “Then he told me that he just got inducted into the Hall of Fame, and I was just speechless. I didn’t know what to say. I just congratulated him. It was an unreal moment.”
It's Q & A time for Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Q: Why would the Wings sign a player (Joakim Andersson) who produces eight points per season with all of the young talent available in their system? Why not move (Brendan) Smith or just not sign him? – Bill
A: You always re-sign your restricted free agents, unless the player is completely incapable of playing in the NHL. It increases your assets and potential trading chips.
They'd like more than eight points from Andersson, but his primary function is to check and kill penalties. He's making $815,000, which is ideal for a fourth-line player and/or 13th/14th forward. If one of those young players from Grand Rapids cracks the lineup (they're not keeping a waiver-exempt player as a spare) and they need a roster spot, they could waive Andersson and his entire salary would be off the cap even if he goes unclaimed and is reassigned.
Smith is better than you're giving him credit for and might improve under new coach Jeff Blashill. Not signing him was not an option. If he regresses or younger players prove to be better, they can always move him.
Q: Where was Kenny when one of the best young defensemen in the league (Dougie Hamilton) is being moved for a first and two seconds? – Justin
A: Let's use some common sense here. There is no way the Boston Bruins are going to trade "one of the best young defensemen in the league" to an Atlantic Division rival. Can you explain why the Bruins would want to give the Red Wings an immediate boost while taking draft picks in return (by the way, Calgary's first-round pick was No. 15, Detroit's was No. 19, and the Red Wings had no second-rounders). The Bruins were facing a cap crunch, so I'm assuming they only wanted futures (picks, prospects) in return.
more questions and answers...
Updated at 9:59 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
Nicklas Lidstrom's sons, Adam and Kevin, are taking part in the Red Wings' summer development camp, but MLive's Brendan Savage duly noted that they're part of the try-out crowd for the present moment...
The two biggest names on hand weren't the Red Wings two previous No. 1 picks – Anthony Mantha (2013) and Dylan Larkin (2014) – but instead it was a pair of camp invites. They were the guys who had "LIDSTROM" on the back of their practice jerseys.
Forward Adam Lidstrom and defenseman Kevin Lidstrom – the sons of former Red Wings great Nicklas Lidstrom – are taking part in the camp for the first time.
"I just saw the one playing forward," [Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd] Nelson said. "For some reason I didn't catch the other one. I'm not playing favorites by any stretch of the imagination. But when you're running a practice, you're trying to get the flow of the practice. I saw a few sequences. (Adam) moves up and down the ice pretty well and makes some pretty smart plays."
Nick Lidstrom, who was elected to the Hall of Fame Monday, is in Traverse City to watch his sons.
And instead, Savage noted that Nelson felt that Evgeny Svechnikov stood out:
The Red Wings opened their summer development camp today in Traverse City, MI, and they "broke in" new equipment, "broke in" new coaches in Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd Nelson and assistant coach Ben Simon, and the players got to know each other while taking part in a combination of getting-acquainted systems play (though Nelson was loath to call it such) and skill development drills.
As noted earlier this afternoon, the Wings' prospects were quite talkative, but now it's time for me to explain what I witnessed on the ice and do some initial player evaluations.
Here are the teams that participated in today's activities...
The Wings took Saarijärvi in the third round of last weekend’s NHL draft, and on Friday the club signed him to a three-year-, entry-level contract. On Tuesday he was selected by the Flint Firebirds of the Ontario Hockey League in the CHL import draft.
Now he has a decision to make: where will he play next? While it would be great for Saarijärvi to train and play in Flint, just north of Detroit, he’ll first need to get out of his contract with a top men's league team in his native Finland.
Asked if he believes that the 5-foot-10 right-handed shooting defender will wind up in Flint, Jiri Fischer, the Red Wings’ director of player development said, “That’s where it’s going.”
However, Fischer is aware that plans can change.
“He has a contract in Oulun (Kärpät) and essentially it’s going to be his decision where he wants to play next year,” Fischer added. “Now there is another option by obviously being a very-high CHL import draft pick for Flint.”
It appears that Saarijärvi has his mind made up. He’d like to play in Flint. The Wings would like to see him play in Flint. But Friday, he still wasn’t clear on the legalities and any subsequent ramifications.
“I signed with the Finnish team last summer,” he said. “Now what happens next? Well, I’m here. I don’t know. I’m heading back to Finland after this and practice there, probably under-20 tournament, summer camp, and after that probably coming back here and then going to Flint. We haven’t talked that much yet, so I’m going to find out soon.”
Roose continues, and Saarijarvi definitely wants to play in Flint instead of Karpat, where he told me he'd expect to play as the team's playing seventh defenseman (teams are allowed to dress 20 skaters in the Liiga). Signing with the Wings gives Detroit the leverage to play Saarijarvi wherever they want him to play.
Update: As the Free Press's George Sipple notes, the Wings support Saarijarvi's line of thinking...
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.