Updated at 6:07 PM: The Red Wings’ intrepid beat writers penned a series of stories from the day 4 of the Red Wings’ 2018 training camp.
1. The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan wrote an article discussing the Red Wings’ training camp slogan, “60 Minutes of Hell,” which does not intend to be a summary of watching Red Wings games this upcoming season (ha):
“We have to be harder to play against on a nightly basis,” Blashill said. “We have to make sure we’re not a tweener team – kind of skilled but not winning the skill game and kind of hard but not really hard enough. We have to be miserable to play against every night.
“I want teams walking into LCA saying, ‘Boy, I don’t want to play this game tonight.’ The T-shirts are just a reminder on a daily basis of making sure we stay really miserable to play against every night.”
Blashill borrowed the slogan from former Arkansas basketball coach Nolan Richardson, whose teams played a relentless full-court pressure style in the 1990s. Richardson called it “40 Minutes of Hell” due to the two 20-minute halves in college basketball.
Red Wings players have reacted positively. More than a few have said this camp has been the most difficult they can remember.
“It’s been hard, harder than any camp I’ve been part of,” said Frans Nielsen, who is entering his 13th season. “It’s new times and it’s a good thing. The amount of pace and attitude, it hasn’t been easy by any means. But it’s the way camp should be you. You should come in prepared and get ready from day one. It’s been good.”
2. The Free Press’s Helene St. James wrote an article discussing Frans Nielsen and Gustav Nyquist’s belief that the pair of linemates can step up in terms of both leadership and scoring:
“I think I’m feeling for sure more home here, starting to feel more like it was when I was in New York,” Nielsen said. “You know all the guys now and you’re not afraid to talk in the room and that kind of stuff. By missing Henrik, I’m for sure one of those guys that has to step up sometimes and talk.”
Nielsen also wants to step up and take on some of Zetterberg’s minutes.
“You want to be in those situations that he was in,” Nielsen said. “You want to be on the ice when you’re down one goal, you want to be on the ice when you’re up one goal. It’s an opportunity and I want to prove to the coaching staff that I should be there.”
Nyquist is a new look on the line. He is one of the guys who will feel Zetterberg’s absence the most, as the two were regular linemates, but Nielsen is a good passer who will find his wingers if they are open.
“I like playing with Frans in the middle,” Nyquist said. “He’s a really smart player, two-way guy. You know we are going to be good in the d-zone when he is out there. He can score goals and make plays in the o-zone.”
St. James also continues, and she posted short videos of Nielsen and Blashill speaking with the media:
3. MLive’s Ansar Khan noted that both Jimmy Howard and Nyquist talked about the importance of landing new contracts with the Red Wings during their media availabilities, though Howard has a little Spike Spiegel in him:
“I’m just living in the present. I haven’t really given much thought of the future,” Howard said. “Right now, it’s just about getting off on the right foot.”
He doesn’t view it as a distraction.
“I’ve been through it before,” Howard said. “Whatever happens, happens. I try not to think about it. Sometimes it can wear on you. It’s just going out there and playing hard and working hard.”
Howard, 34, aims to improve his numbers from a year ago (2.85 goals-against average, .910 save percentage). He’ll be pushed by veteran Jonathan Bernier, who signed a three-year, $9 million deal on July 1.
“Try to be as great as I was two years ago,” Howard said. “I don’t think last year was a down year by any means. I feel like if I can get back to the .917, .920 area, this team will be a lot better.”
4. Khan also posted a clip of the skating test:
Update: Here’s one more set of notes from DetroitRedWings.com’s Arthur J. Regner:
When he first joined the Wings full time in the 2009-10 season, Howard shared the net with Chris Osgood and a tight bond developed between them. They remain close and Osgood is still a sounding board for Howard when he needs to work through the ups and downs of the game.
This year he has a new goaltending partner in Jonathan Bernier, who has said he’s here to push Howard and he expects Howard to push him in a healthy competitive way.
“We need to have that working relationship, we have to push each other, but at the same time we’re teammates, we’ve got to support each other,” Howard said when told about Bernier comments. “We’ve got to be there for each other to bounce things off, because at the end of the day, we’re the ones sitting back there and sometimes it can feel like you’re on an island. So, it’s important to have a partner you can bounce stuff off of.”
Last season Howard was a workhorse for the Wings, appearing in 60 games. It was the most games he’s played since he backstopped Detroit in 63 games in back-to-back seasons, 2009-10 through 2010-11.
As much as Howard likes to play, Wings coach Jeff Blashill would like to see him play less games this upcoming season, especially with Bernier on the team.
“Jimmy has been a really good goalie for us for two years without question, but I had to over-work him last year. I’d like to stay away from any one goalie playing 60 games,” Blashill said. “I’d like it to be closer to that 50-30 split because the games are so close. They got to be in on their game so much, there’s zero room for error at the goaltending position on our hockey team that if you get to a 50-30 split, it makes more sense. But I’m also going to watch. Ultimately, guys decide who plays more based on their play over a long period of time. But certainly, I think Jimmy has been great for us for two years.”
Update #2: The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan also noted Frans Nielsen’s comments:
Now in his third season with the Wings, Nielsen is more comfortable leading this younger group.
“I’m feeling more at home here, for sure,” Nielsen said. “I’m starting to feel more like it was when I was in New York. You know all the guys now and you’re not afraid to talk in the room, that kind of stuff. Missing Henrik, I’m for sure one of those guys that has to step up sometimes and talk.”
Nielsen likes the idea of playing with Helm and Nyquist, and the different attributes they all bring to a line.
“I like playing with Helmer, you can trust Helmer every night,” Nielsen said. “You’re going to get an honest effort from him. He rarely has a bad game with his compete level and how hard he plays every night. From playing against him, I know how tough he is to play against with his skating and never-give-up mentality on pucks.
“It’s been an issue for us the last couple of years scoring goals, so with Nyquist, we are trying to spread the goal scoring a little bit all over the lineup. With Helmer, the way he works, and having that on one side and then having Gus’ skill set on the other side, hopefully it can be a good combination.”