This was pretty much a Griffins vs. Marlies game tonight, with both teams only icing the minimum number of "veterans" required. The Griff-Wings started the game off pretty good, putting pressure on the Leafs and despite no goals being scored in the period, we had a few decent chances. The team snoozed through the second period and Mrazek was the only one who came to play.
This being the final game of the preseason, and so many players fighting for roster spots, I expected to see more from the veteran guys on this mostly griffins team. Emmerton, Miller, Samuelsson and Smith were disappointing, and especially with Emmerton and Samuelsson supposedly fighting to stay on the team and for ice time, they both made a good case to be replaced. Emmerton was on the ice for all 3 goals against, and Samuelsson for 2 of them. I get that it's the final game of the preseason, it doesn't "really" matter, and the players are ready for the real season to start, but Tatar, Nyquist, and several of the other kids played like they wanted to keep/earn roster spots and a couple of the players they could take them from didn't show much fight at all. In a game against significantly lower competition, I expected the few veteran players in our lineup (Emmerton, Sammy, Miller, Smith, Kindl) to be able whoop up on the lower competition level a bit. Kindl looked like a veteran for the most part (outside of that giveaway in the third that he did a nice job to come back and fix), and while Miller didn't look awful, he was disappointing for me. Emmerton and Samuelsson looked like they didn't want to be/didn't belong on the team, and I kind hope Babcock will sit them if they're not earning their spot.
Petr Mrazek looked sharp, and he had no chance on either goal scored on him. The first goal was a mess, at the tail end of a line change on a bad shift from the Emmerton and Samuelsson changing late, there was poor point coverage by the Wings, it looked like the whistle was going to blow for icing, Paetsch got there first, sill no icing call, and the puck went in. I think the players expected there to be a whistle and weren't prepared for play to continue, but they've got to play until they hear the whistle, not when they think it's going to blow. The second was through traffic off a Leafs PP faceoff win. Coreau played the third and looked good as well. The third goal happened with Smith screening Coreau, Emmerton, Samuelsson, and Miller got caught kind of standing around and discombobulated. At one point, Emmerton, Samuelsson, and Ouellet were all laying on the ice at the same time to block a shot.
Mitch Callahan scored a goal late in the third period on a good effort to steal the puck. He went in on a breakaway, deked very nicely and scored the Wings only goal.
There were some players who stood out as bright spots, despite the lackluster performance of the team in general. Luke Glendening, Xavier Ouellet, Petr Mrazek, Teemu Pulkkinen, Nathan Paetsch... just to name a few. The team was comprised of mostly youngsters, and for the most part they gave it a good effort in the 1st and 3rd periods. I think the disappointing performance and effort from the veterans in this game kind of left most of the kids unsure and lacking the leadership and good examples that they needed.
If you look at the event summary the missed shots and giveaways are kind of a mess, but I expect more of that from the rookies.
Xavier Ouellet led all Wings in ice time, Luke Glendening led all forwards in short handed ice time, had 3 shots on goal and went 50% in the faceoff circle. Quite a few of these rookies made a very good case as to why some of the current roster players should be fighting for their positing now and in the near future.
The Wings start their real season on Wednesday against Buffalo and it'll be interesting to see who stays with the team, who goes back to Grand Rapids, who's on IR and who (if anyone) is no longer with the team.