Team Lidstrom afternoon Practice
- Luke Glendening- I can tell this is Glendening's first development camp. Some of the drills he's unfamiliar with, he'll ask for clarification on. Though he's hesitant at times, he's clearly focused, paying attention, determined and learning as he goes. You can see the wheels turning in his head on the ice and that attitude and dedication is a great asset. The Wings clearly see something in him they like, since they signed him to a 1 year contract. He had a great year in Grand Rapids and he's going to continue to get better. Coach Blashill praised Glendening's work ethic and said he has mindset for learning; I can definitely see it watching him on the ice here. Glendening's personality comes out on the ice more than a lot of the other players' and when he's talking to someone or helping the coaches with something, he'll smile and it quickly spreads to whoever he's around. He's such a likeably guy that I don't think anyone could want him to not succeed.
- Marek Tvrdon needs to work on his skating. He looks kind of clumsy or uncoordinated or...something. He was consistently noticeable during the skating drills, and not because he was so smooth. His hand eye coordination wasn't that great on the Homer drills either. Tvrdon had a serious shoulder injury in the '10-'11 season that required season ending surgery, came back in '11-'12 but got an arm infection in early November of 2012 and missed the rest of this last season. Missing that much time at this stage in his development has no doubt set him back a little, so I'm not concerned those weaknesses at this point.
- Nick Jensen was absent from practice today and won't be participating in the scrimmage tomorrow either. George Malik told me that Nick tweaked his shoulder in the fight with Tyler Bertuzzi yesterday. This sucks a big one because I was really looking forward to seeing Jensen in game action (even if it's just scrimmage). He's made big strides since last year and I think a full camp would have been good for him. Damn it. I mentioned in my day one recap that Jensen got the worse of the fight with BerTwozzi, and it's also worth noting that since fighting isn't allowed in the NCAA, Jensen isn't accustomed to fighting. I really hope keeping him out of practice and the scrimmage is just precautionary.
- Kurt Etchegary is on the roster, but I have yet to see him on the ice. I'm not impressed.
- Jared Coreau participated in the on ice goalie drills with the coaches, but only took about a half dozen shots during warm-ups. I'm very impressed with how efficiently and quickly he moves. He's big for a goalie (6'5" 207 pounds) and he's very graceful in his movements, drops and recovers quickly, and covers a good portion of the net because of his size. He compares his style to that of Pekka Rinne. He had shoulder surgery over the summer which is why he isn't participating much in camp, and I regret that I can't see him in action because from just the little bit that I've seen so far, I'm certain that I'm going to enjoy watching him a lot.
- Toni Eskelinen is a free agent invitee to camp, and I don't expect that he's getting much attention from anyone in the Red Wings organization. Some goalies are very mobile and agile (See: Mrazek and Coreau) and others just aren't Eskelinen looks slow in his movements and just doesn't move a lot. Slow (maybe hesitant?) to drop, slow to recover, and he just doesn't look very mobile. I've been very underwhelmed by all of the free agent tryout goalies and I really miss Petr Mrazek.
- Xavier Ouellet commanded my attention yesterday with his tenacity and goal scoring, and I noticed him quite a few times again today. I noticed him particularly around the net, trying to get the close-up "dirty" goals, and he was not only trying to score the initial goal, but he went after second and third chances as well. He also scored several goals of the "prettier" variety. He's been touted as a very responsible 2-way defenseman and also seems to have a knack for scoring goals. I like that combination.
- Tyler Bertuzzi did pretty well with the Homer drills. He seemed pretty comfortable screening the goalie and went after the rebounds, looking for second and third chances to get the puck into the net. He had a little different style than most of the other guys on the drill where you stand in front of the net, someone shoots pucks at you, and you try to deflect them in. I'll have to check the video later to confirm, but I think he had a pretty high success rate tipping pucks in and he appeared very focused and while some players missed several pucks all together, Tyler at least touched most of them.
- Anthony Mantha has been absent from my notes, because I only really noticed him on the ice a couple times and it was because his back was to me and I saw his name. I guess I had hoped to see more from him, but I'm not going to read too much into not noticing him yet.
Watching Tomas Holmstrom demonstrate to the prospects how to get in front of a goalie and make their job more difficult is pure gold. There are the prospects, standing around watching Homer stick his butt in the goalie's face and do what he did for his whole NHL career. I suspect Homer enjoyed it. I'm really glad they have Homer working with these guys. Who better to teach them this invaluable skill than the best of the best?
I recorded more video from the second group of players, but it will take me some time to sort through, edit, and upload it to youtube. I'll post links when I get them up.
The format is different this year than it has been, and it's much quicker and more intense. In years past the players would spend more time with each segment of the on ice workouts, and they lasted twice as long. This year it's shorter, more intense bursts, and there are several things going on at once. It's a bit overwhelming to try to watch, analyze, understand, and interpret everything. Even with the aid of shooting video (to watch and analyze later) there's still so much I miss. Today there were 4 different groups doing different drills on the ice at once. It feels like I'm on overload trying to take in and process everything, but mostly in a good way.
Darren Helm did not skate with the second group today and will not play in the scrimmage tomorrow night.
I'm looking forward to seeing these guys in game action.