Training camp has ended and everyone has vacated the premises and there was excitement in the air today and an eagerness among players and staff to get started with the season.
There was a low key practice this morning for the players who weren’t going to participate in the Red & White game. That’s when I discovered that Henrik Zetterberg, MIke Green, Jonathan Ericsson, Frans Nielsen, Ryan Sproul, and Brian Lashoff would all be absent from the game. There were other non game players participating in the complicated practice drills, but those were all expected.
The Red Wings released 13 players from the training camp roster prior to the game, and Justin Abdelkader (lower body), Eric Tangradi (knee), Givani Smith (injured I believe), and Niklas Kronwall (knee/back/nothing) didn’t participate in either the morning practice nor the game.
Here are the rosters and lines from the Red & White game.
You better believe I loved watching Svechnikov, Larkin, and Mantha together, and seeing Hicketts, Cholowski, Saarijarvi, and Hronek playing was a lot of fun. I think all the young kids performed very well.
Format and Results:
There were two 25 minute periods played, and the final 5 minutes of both periods were played 3 on 3.
The final result was a white team win 5-4 after being down 3-0 at intermission, they out shot the red team 32-16.
It pleases me very much to see Anthony Mantha with a goal and two assists. he looked fantastic, and big, and strong, and big, and did I mention big?
Aside from all the fun, excitement, and entertainment, what’s the takeaway from a game like this in training camp and what are the coaches looking for? Well, in Blashill’s case, it’s about not only getting the NHL roster players rev’d up and ready to go and working on things like line chemistry and special teams, it’s also a big opportunity for the young kids to gain experience and make a good impression.
“You take everything [in training camp] with a grain of salt” Jeff Blashill said “As you go through it, one thing I would say is young players especially, get a chance to, in Ken’s words, build a resume. When you have a great camp and play great it’s a continuation of building that resume. I thought Dennis Cholowski was great out here tonight, that’s a great step forward, but It’s no more or less than that. That, and I thought the effort and compete was really good, that would be the other big positive.“
By interview time, everybody at the rink was ready to go home, that includes media members, players, coaches, and staff. So there weren’t really many in depth questions asked, and not many answers of substance given, in my personal opinion. I’m not going to transcribe all the interviews, because it’s too much filler for you to read through and me to transcribe. If you’re like me and still want to listed, here are the full interviews with Jeff Blashill, Tomas Tatar, and Henrik Zetterberg from today.
Since the Wings power play was hot garbage for most of the season last year, there’s been a lot of talk about how the players and coaches feel about it in camp and what can be done to improve it. One of the things Blashill said on the first day, is that the ability to practice with the actual special teams and get them going is a big reason why he put all the NHL players on the same team.
Blashill joked “I remember once when I was on the power play [as an assistant coach], I showed a practice power play goal in one of the meetings because we’d been struggling” Sometimes you have to laugh, or you might just cry.
I said again earlier that Mantha is big, and he put that size to good use on his team’s powerplay today.
I thought Mantha standing in front of Jimmy [on the powerplay], Jimmy had no chance.” Blashill said “If he stands in front of the goalie the way he does, that’s just really really tough for guys to see by him”
Our powerplay woes are over! I kid, I kid, but seriously Mantha is so big, and then put him on skates and add bulk with his gear and he kind of blots out anyone’s view.
When Zetterberg said “I think they probably wanted to see some other guys playing” in response to why he didn’t play today, all I could think was, there’s not a person here who doesn’t want to see you play. For my own well being I kept that little thought to myself.
Blashill said he expects everyone on the roster, Kronwall included, to play in at least an exhibition game or two, and to have everyone ready to play by Saturday. I know it’s “only” the preseason and some fans don’t care about it at all, but I’m itching to see some Red Wings hockey again. Sure it’s only preseason hockey where everything is made up and the points don’t matter, but it’s all we have and I’m excited! Unfortunately, according to the Wings broadcast schedule, the first televised preseason game is on Saturday against the Bruins at the brand spanking new Little Caesars Arena. Until then I’ll be eagerly listening to the games and wanting to pull my hair out because I can’t watch it.
Red Wings hockey is almost back! Can you feel it in the air?!