Training Camp is finally underway, and it has a new format and feel to it this year. One big change is a move from 5 on 5 practices, to special teams and special situation focus, things the Wings need a lot of work on. Today was powerplay and penalty kill scrimmages, while Saturday will focus on 4 on 4 and 3 on 3 scrimmages. Special teams are one of the harder things to get back into the groove of after an offseason, and the Wings power play left much to be desired when it was “on”. We can’t put much stock in who got PP and PK time, because everyone did, and there are a lot of players at camp.
Interesting Notes & Observations
- When I first arrived at the rink, Zetterberg was skating and taking some shots with Wings strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar. He didn’t participate in any of the other on ice activities, but it was good to see him on the ice.
- Players are still wearing the “PETE” patches the prospects wore during the Prospect Tournament. I explained who Pete is in the Tournament game 1 recap.
“This is in honor of Pete Correia who passed away a couple weeks ago from Cancer. You probably don’t recognize his name, but you’ll know about his legacy. Pete was a founding member of Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City, and was instrumental in getting the Red Wings to bring their Training Camp to TC, as well as getting this very Prospect Tournament started. You can read more about him here, and I think it’s very kind of the Wings to honor his memory. Pete played hockey at MSU and loved the game through and through and this is a great way to remember him.”
- Anthony Mantha was feisty during scrimmage, and I do believe he’s been working out hard this summer. He looked stronger, especially along the boards in puck battles, and more confident.
- Tyler Bertuzzi, Andreas Athanasiou, and Anthony Mantha were on a line during the on ice practice, and it’s easy to tell they enjoy playing together. The BAM! Line was all smiles.
- I didn't’ recognize Marty Frk at first because his skating has improved by leaps and bounds since last season. He was pushing off stronger, pumping his legs faster, his balance, mobility and speed were better. He’s never going to be a “great” skater, but I’d say he’s moving into the territory of competent, and that’s a big step for him. The kid looked good.
- The focus of team practice and drills, was speed, speed, speed. Fast zone exits, quick passes to get the puck moving up ice, thick thinking and not getting bogged down. The Wings have quite a few players who are fast skaters and I love seeing Coach Blashill focus on utilizing that speed and making it a team strength.
- Now, about that power play. As I mentioned above, the scrimmage today was all special teams practice. They scrimmaged for about a half an hour with only a couple short breaks, and in that time there was one single, lonely, pitiful power play goal. One lone goal. It was the first day of camp, with new coaches, and missing some of the top players on the team who would typically be on the power play aren’t there. But watching the lack of power play success gave me a slight sad. There weren’t many shots on goal during the PP either, so it wasn’t just a lack of goals. You can bet there will be more special teams scrimmages during camp.
Ryan Sproul inked a shiny new 2 year contract extension with the Wings today, and he talks about that, his competition to make the Wings this year, and how he’s prepared this summer to battle for a roster spot.
Dan Cleary signed an AHL contract with the Grand Rapids Griffins today. I have no interest in berating Dan Cleary the person, despite my feelings on his position in the organization. With that in mind, here he is talking about his role in Grand Rapids, and sharing some fun stories about his experiences and about Tyler Bertuzzi