Team Red defeated Team White 8-3 in the Red Wings’ second intrasquad scrimmage on Friday, and MLive’s Ansar Khan notes that Wings coach Jeff Blashill (and the rest of us Wings fans) was happy to see the levels of his teams’ intensity and execution increase over Tuesday’s (understandably) rust-filled mess of a scrimmage:
“I thought the habits were more like the type of habits you need to get ready to play real games,” Blashill said. “I thought the intensity was higher, I thought we skated harder. I thought that was driven by guys like Mantha, Larkin and (Tyler) Bertuzzi, which is real important for us. They got to be guys driving the bus and I thought they did a real good job of it. The rest of the team was the same way. I think tonight’s scrimmage helps us advance and get better.”
Bertuzzi, who also is getting a look on the PK, scored a pair of goals. The top line has looked as good as expected in camp.
“We just know where the other guys are going to be on the ice, (make) quick plays, trying to roll around,” Mantha said. “You know Bert is going to handle the puck wherever it is, Larks is super-quick, so he opens a lot of plays. I just try to find the open area and get shots off.”
The Red Team, featuring the top two lines, prevailed 7-2. Blashill liked what he saw from the second line of Robby Fabbri, Filip Zadina and Michael Rasmussen, who filled in for Bobby Ryan.
“Fabs’ impact on the game was the best he’s had,” Blashill said. “He was on top of more plays, he had the puck more. I think Zadina has worked extremely hard, so he’s hunted pucks a lot and done a good job and he’s going to have to do that. Fabs competed real hard on the puck, had the puck a little more.”
Continued; Troy Stecher, Matias Brome, likely Griffin Riley Barber and several other players had really good games, and Jon Merrill was quiet, which is exactly what you want to see from a stay-at-home guy. Filip Hronek let a couple of cannons go into the net from his customary one-timer spot in the left faceoff circle as well.
Update: DetroitRedWings.com’s Josh Berenter also noted Blashill and Anthony Mantha’s comments about the scrimmage:
“I definitely saw it more tonight. I thought the habits were more (what) you need to have to get ready to play a real game,” Blashill said. “I thought the intensity was higher, I thought we skated harder. I thought that was driven by guys like (Anthony) Mantha and (Dylan) Larkin and (Tyler) Bertuzzi, which is real important for us. They’ve got to be the guys driving the bus, and I think they did a real good job of it.
“And the rest of the team was really that way. I thought the intensity was real good. I think tonight’s scrimmage helps us advance and get a little bit better. And it’s more real and puts our guys in a better position to play that first game against Carolina.”
That top line of Mantha, Larkin and Bertuzzi picked up where they left off from the first scrimmage, as Bertuzzi and Mantha combined for four goals and two assists to lead Team Red to a 7-2 victory over Team White.
Mantha agreed with his coach about the amplified intensity in the second scrimmage.
“Yeah, it was,” Mantha said. “The other morning was the first game for everyone in a while. We just had to get that flowing around from summer hockey, and today was way better. I think everyone was intense. I think we’re moving in the right direction.”