Wrapping up the World Junior Summer Showcase: Veleno shines, Berggren shows rust and Kivenmaki adjusts

The World Junior Summer Showcase concluded today at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, MI, with two marquee match-ups concluding the eight-day tournament.

The Detroit News took note of the results of USA-Canada and Finland-Sweden, as well as the Wings prospects’ participation in said games (or the lack thereof):

Joe Veleno, a first-round draft choice of the Red Wings, scored a goal in Canada’s 5-3 loss against the United States in the final game of the World Junior Summer Showcase at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth on Saturday afternoon.

Veleno’s power-play goal gave Canada a 3-2 lead in the second period but K’Andre Miller (New York Rangers), Joel Farabee (Philadelphia Flyers) and Ryan Johnson (Buffalo Sabres) replied for the U.S.

In the earlier game, Sweden’s Samuel Fagemo (L.A. Kings) had a hat trick in a 6-3 victory over Finland.

The Red Wings’ picks on the Swedish team, forward Jonatan Berggren and goalie Jesper Eliasson, did not play. Forward Otto Kivenmaki (Red Wings) was scoreless for Finland.

USA Hockey posted a highlight clip from the USA-Canada game:

Joe Veleno impressed many pundits with a strong performance at the WJSS, and NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman discussed Veleno’s status as a leader on the Canadian team:

Veleno had a goal and an assist while playing on the top line for Canada in a 4-1 win against the United States on Tuesday, his only game at the WJSS. But Canada needs him to do more than put up points.

“He needs to make plays and play a solid two-way game so he can play in every situation, which we all know he’s capable of doing,” said Mark Hunter, a member of Hockey Canada’s management group.

Veleno said he understands the defensive part of his game is a work in progress.

“I’ve put a lot of effort into that, learning how to get better, watching video, talking to Detroit (about) certain things I have to do to be better defensively,” he said. “I think I’ve come a long way.”

Veleno said he’s been studying Red Wings center Dylan Larkin, and Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said he’s seen improvement as well as a willingness from Veleno to get better.

“This is what every really good player in the NHL has to learn, that you can’t be a great winner, no matter how many points you put up, without being a great two-way player,” Blashill said. “What I think [Veleno] has done is accepted the fact that that’s going to lead to him having quicker success and a quicker path to the NHL. He’s bought in.”

Hockeybuzz’s Bob Duff spoke with Sweden coach Tomas Monten regarding Berggren’s status

Monten consulted with Skelleftea, Berggren’s club team in Sweden, and promised not to play the 19-year-old in back-to-back games at least until toward the end of the tournament.

As Sweden readied for the final game against arch-rival Finland, Monten opted to sit Berggren out, even though he insisted he was feeling no after-effects from Friday’s game against Canada.

“He’s really pissed off at me,” Monten said. “But I told him I don’t want to take any chances. I think he had three great games for us coming in for the first time since November.

“I talked to Skelleftea last night and they said the same thing. They’re really glad for him. They liked his three games. They told us we could make the decision.

“We don’t want to push anything. It’s a summer tournament. I know he wanted to play. We like him to play but still we want him to feel good when he goes back to Skelleftea and competes for a spot there. So it’s no issues at all. He feels really good.”

And among DetroitRedWings.com’s Dana Wakiji’s notes:

For Otto Kivenmaki (seventh round, 191st, 2018), it was a week of adjustments.

The Finnish forward had to get used to the smaller ice surface, being in North America for an extended period and dealing with the media every day.

For a player accustomed to playing in Finland on the bigger ice surface, it was definitely a challenge to get used to having far less time and space.

“I think at the end of the games (I) was more comfortable on the smaller ice,” Kivenmaki said.

Although Kivenmaki had been to the United States before — on a trip to Florida with his family and also for the last two development camps — it’s still a completely different culture.

“For me, when I’ve been away so long, it’s tough at the beginning, but after every day just kind of want to get home but it gets easier every time,” Kivenmaki said.

Wakiji continues at length

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.