The Wings wrapped up their final day of focusing on drills and practices and held one final scrimmage between team Delvecchio and team Howe. Tomorrow is the Red and White game and then Tuesday the preseason starts against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Wings made the first round of cuts today, sending most of the Major Junior players back to their teams so they can start their season. Kyle posted the final Red and White rosters, which will also be the teams we see in the preseason, with a few possible changes after tomorrow.
Drills today focused on 3 on 3 play, defensive zone breakouts, and some 5 man unit systems.
In scrimmage news, Team Delvecchio bested Team Howe 2-1 with Delvecchio goals from Tatar and Richards from Green and Tatar. Teemu Pulkkinen scored Team Howe's only goal assisted by Dylan Larkin and it was in 3 on 3. Tatar's goal was from in close to the crease , Richards scored streaking across the crease and was from a sweet feed from Green who pinched from the point. Pulkkinen's goal was on a purdy set up from Dylan Larkin and with it being 3 on 3 he had all the time and space he needed to shoot the puck through goalie Connor Ingram. Pulkkinen's release and shot are flabbergasting, I see the puck on his stick then it disappears and reappears in the net. You can't track the puck or watch it go in because it's gone plaid.
Team Delvecchio (Red)
Johan Franzen - Riley Sheahan - Luke Glendening
Tomas Jurco - Brad Richards - Tomas Tatar
Eric Tangradi - Tomas Nosek - Mark Zengerle
Colin Campbell - Zach Nastasiuk - Adam Marsh
Danny DeKeyser - Mike Green
Ryan Sproul - Brian Lashoff
Richard Nedomlel - Scott Czarnowczan
Ty Stanton - Jared Nightingal
Petr Mrazek (1st 1/2)
Connor Ingram (2nd 1/2)
Richards - Tatar
Jurco - Franzen
Sheahan - Glendening
Nosek - Zengerle
Team Howe (White)
Andy Miele - Dylan Larkin - Teemu Pulkkinen
Tyler Bertuzzi - Andreas Athanasiou - Anthony Mantha
Mitch Callahan - Dominic Turgeon - Evgeny Svechnikov
Marek Tvrdon - Joel Rechlicz - Kurt Etchegary
Kyle Quincey - Alexey Marchenko
Xavier Ouellet - Nick Jensen
Nathan Paetsch - Robbie Russo
Andrew Prochno - Justin Lemcke
Thomas McCollum (1st 1/2)
Jared Coreau (2nd 1/2)
Pulkkinen - Larkin
Miele - Bertuzzi
Mantha - Athanasiou
Svechnikov - Callahan
- The Line of Jurco - Richards - Tatar has been consistently good. Tatar and Jurco are picking up their chemistry where they left off. Richards is playing an understated center role for now, and while I haven't seen anything truly impressive from him so far, I'm going to give him some time to get used to the team and his role before making any judgements.
- Bertuzzi - Athanasiou - Mantha was a very good line in Grand Rapids for a chunk of last year and while it's not a line we're going to see in Detroit (at least yet) other than the preseason, it sure is a fun line to watch that has significant chemistry already. I'm looking forward to seeing them in the preseason.
- Larkin & Pulkkinen, or Larkinen as I like to call them, have been good all camp long, but today they were all over the ice, feeding off each other, and combining for Team Howe's only goal. The more I watch the two of them together, the more I want Larkin to start the season with the Wings and actually center a line with Pulkkinen on it. Teeny Pokemon has a killer shot, but he's also a fantastic playmaker, and Larkin loves to pass the puck and set his teammates up, so the two of them have a give and go that's something special to watch. Both of these players are so skilled that they make what they do look easy. Larkin skates so fast and smooth with and without the puck, and he'll circle around people and zig and zag until it looks like he must be dizzy, them make a perfect no look drop pass right to, say, Alexey Marchenko's stick at the point, the circle around the net and back in front ready to take a shot or make a pass. Teemu Pulkkinen makes scoring goals look like the easiest thing in the world. Get the puck, shoot the puck, score the goals, like he could do it in his sleep. When players make something difficult look easy, that's a sure sign they're darn good at what they do.
- Nick Jensen and Xavier Ouellet have played together plenty in Grand Rapids so it's not surprising that they played well together in the scrimmage, they compliment each other well. Both of them were standout good today and that's both exciting and frustrating, because they can show all day long that they both belong in the NHL, yet it doesn't seem likely that either make the team, and that's infuriating. Jensen's elite skating, efficient puck management, and high hockey IQ were on display and the only conclusion I keep coming to is that he's ready for the NHL. Xavier Ouellet was himself, because that's what he always is, smart, efficient, and good on both ends of the puck. It felt like both players were auditioning hard for a roster spot and they both looked like they deserve it.
- The DeKeyser - Green pairing continues to excite me. They look like they've been playing together for a long time, and that's a testament to both of their skills. Green looks more and more comfortable with his new teammates and new systems, and he's utilizing his offensive capabilities more as he gets more comfortable, and it's really refreshing and exciting to see that from a Wings defenseman. Danny DeKeyser just looks good all the time and he looks comfortable with Green and I think keeping these two together long term is a fantastic idea and I think it will benefit both players.
- Tomas Nosek was once again a standout player despite playing with two AHL wingers. Whatever line Nosek is on become a better line, and while Tangradi and Zengerle aren't names you expect to shine among the NHL players, Tomas Nosek made it an effective line that was dangerous offensively.
- Evgeny Svechnikov earned himself a spot on the Wings Red & White roster, while most of the major junior kids were sent back to their teams. Chevy isn't going to make the Wings roster this year, but he's been a very impressive player all camp long and has earned the right to stick around a little longer and presumably play in at least a couple preseason games.
There are several players who are trying to fight for a spot on the Wings roster to avoid being sent through waivers and either back to Grand Rapids, or picked up by another team. Mitch Callahan is one of those players, and I keep forgetting he's even in camp. He hasn't done anything noteworthy so far and has looked less than average among the NHL'ers and Wings prospects fighting for impress and for roster spots. He's coming off a torn ACL to there's some recovery time to be expected, but for a guy who's supposed to be proving he can be an NHL player, the fact that I have a hard time remembering he's even there isn't a good sign. At least Landon Ferraro has been using his speed to get noticed and try to earn a spot with the big club. He hasn't been anything spectacular by any means, but on a line with Drew Miller and Joakim Andersson, he's playing to fill the role he's expected to.