With Red Wings training camp set to start up, the team is coming back together and giving out updates for us to digest. As we’ve been discussing all summer, this is going to be an interesting (if not frightening year) for Wings fans torn between wanting to watch an entertaining team start the rebound from the decline in which they’ve been mired for several years and hoping the club is willing to dig more-aggressively in search of true rock-bottom. Cap and roster space remains high on the list of concerns, and not just for this year, but coming years as long as we’ve got the potential early retirement of Henrik Zetterberg to worry about.
Speaking of which, that’s gotta be our first update:
He backpedals pretty hard on the “two-year” issue when pressed and hedges it against health concerns about being able to last four years, saying that as long as he’s healthy enough to play hockey, that’s what he’s going to do. You had to know this was coming as soon as Hank was back within microphone-length of the local press because the weeks since the original article came out, there’s been a lot of talk about how much trouble it can cause the Wings for Z to have admitted they always planned it exactly how it looked when they signed it. It’s basic “the lawyers talked to me” playbook and pretty perfectly answered in terms of setting up the LTIR escape route.
The interview continues as Helene asks him if the team being competitive during this time is going to impact his decision and he Hanks it off with some great captain-speak about how committed he is to Detroit, but I’m sure our own Helmerroids loves the initial Zetterberg sigh/eye-roll that pops out before he answers.
From there, the interview goes a bit fluffy as he’s asked about altering his workout/rest routine to deal with the grind of the season, given the ability to talk about how much he likes the roster/how everybody wants to bounce back, whether he plans on screaming at the team more, and how much he likes the new locker room.
Blashill says all players will be ready to go..no health issues...Sproul (knee) is expected to skate, although maybe not 100 percent— Ted Kulfan (@tkulfan) September 14, 2017
We’ve got some interesting conflict here as Kulfan is reporting on Jeff Blashill’s words about player health while Helene has Ken Holland on record saying Sproul didn’t clear his physical.
Of course, this isn’t really conflicting from different perspectives: Blashill doesn’t have to report on the official business of players passing physicals, just to speak about what he’s being given to work with. Sproul can still fully participate in camp and/or preseason games without having passed the phsyical, but it’s very likely he won’t be going full-tilt in the preseason and that this is the first step to making Sproul’s league-minimum cap hit (and roster spot) disappear on opening day.
It is interesting to note though that, according to Blashill, nobody else has health issues to report; I’m guessing we’re pretty likely to see that change in the near future, but as of right now, the word from the coach’s mouth on guys like Tatar (shoulder), Glendening (ankle), Kronwall (knee(s)), and Ericsson (Ericsson) is all green lights.
Athanasiou and the Red Wings still working on an agreement. 2 yr term appears to be the target, but 1 year extension also discussed.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) September 14, 2017
It’s hard to tell how warm things are actually getting, but “working on an agreement” is just the kind of wording that my dumb fan brain wants to cleave to with every shred of hope that this deal is going to be announced any second and Athanasiou will join camp immediately, then go on and be a happy and productive member of the Red Wings for as long as it pleases me. The cynical part says that Dreger has less to report on since RFA David Pastrnak got his 11th-hour deal with the Bruins done today and the whole “no update is still an update” thing is what’s running here.
We’ll keep our ears to the ground and update with things as they come along.