Updated at 6:57 PM: WXYZ’s Brad Galli posted two superb video interviews with Dennis Cholowski and Givani Smith after the players participated in the Red Wings’ youth camp today, and the Free Press’s Helene St. James also spoke with Cholowski regarding his later-season demotion to the Grand Rapids Griffins:
Cholowski was back at Little Caesars Arena on Monday to help out with the Wings’ youth hockey camp, and addressed his rookie season.
“Having to go down to Grand Rapids was a disappointment a little bit; I guess it would be for anybody,” Cholowski said. “In order to play you have to be good defensively and then that generates the offense. So I’m working on the D-zone and hopefully I take those things I learned into camp this year.
“Just the d-zone stuff, fishing the puck out my net, basically is the biggest thing.”
Cholowski played 52 games with the Wings last season and had a team-worst plus-minus of minus-20. He said he’s focused on getting better at reading plays and “sensing danger — just knowing when to pull out and when to jump in. It’s kind of a balance and in order to play at the highest level, you have to have that.”
Update: The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan also spoke with Cholowski:
Cholowski played in 52 games with the Wings, with 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) and an eyebrow-raising minus-20 rating, a signal of poor defensive play.
With Grand Rapids, Cholowski played 25 games with 12 points (all assists) and an even plus-minus rating.
It was his defensive play that led to Cholowski’s demotion. He was getting lost in coverage too often, the confidence was slipping, and opponents were outmuscling him around the net.
“In order to play you have to be good defensively,” said Cholowski, of the message sent to him upon his demotion. “That generates the offense. Just working the defensive zone and taking the things I’ve learned (last season) to camp this year.”