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yave1964

More Wings preseason notes

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Usually I watch the preseason games closer than the regular ones, I study the kids, watching them through twice, the first time with the sound on to get Ken Daniels and Mickey's take and the second time with no sound to see what my eyes see as unbiased as possible, last nights game against the Bruins I only have watched once due to a hectic weekend but here are my thoughts.

 

Veterans almost to a man looked good, Glendening rebounded from a bad first game and was terrific, Nyquist seems to love playing with these kids,  Howard looks ready to start the year, Kronwall looks ready to step into a key role at least early until his legs give out. Overall the vets were very solid.

 

 The Bruins like most teams on the road early in camp left most of the vets at home playing only a handful of players who will actually make the team so take a lot of this with that in mind but WOW are the kids making it hard.

 

 Zadina rebounded from chasing the puck the first game to score the games first goal on a power play and his grin was simply awesome. I am insanely enthused about the kid.

 Veleno looked like a ten year vet at center, winning faceoffs and a great first pass.

 Givani Smith had a fight with AHL vet Mark McNeil that sparked the crowd.

 Rasmussen had an assist and played a physical game all night even getting serious time on the P/K overall he had almost 8 minutes of special team ice.

 The duo of Hicketts and Sulak were paired most of the night and both contributed as the primary penalty killers.

 Saarjarvi and Cholowski played on the power play splitting times paired with Kronwall, both looked sharp and both scored even strength goals. 

 Svechnikov scored the overtime winner, his second game winner in two games this preseason. Other than a bad penalty he looked really good even going 3 of 4 in the faceoff dot when called upon.

 

  Obviously there is not enough room for all of these kids, Veleno is marked for Juniors, Givani smith for the Griffs, but the rest, Zadina, Rasmussen, Sulak, Hicketts, Saarjarvi and Cholowski are all clawing to make the team and all impressed last night. The final cuts will all be interesting. Again, the team they faced was the Bruins in name only but these kids are all making an impression.

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Veleno was shipped to Juniors today, no surprise by him being shipped just kinda surprised that as well as he has performed that he wasn't kept until later in camp until I heard Blashill state that he needed closer looks at players who were fighting for jobs with the team this year which makes sense. Veleno went out on a high note with a great camp and it gives them a chance to get a better look at Svechnikov, Rasmussen and Zadina who are battling for likely no more than two spots. 

  Yesterday Rasmussen was put on a line with Zadina and they clicked, I admit I missed the game (had a funeral to attend and forgot to record it) but studied the highlights and comments from Wings fans in other forums. Kinda cheating but you gotta do what you gotta do. Anyway, my personal druthers would be to see all three kids make it as well as Cholo and Hronek on defense with Sulak or Hicketts as the first callup but that might be too much to ask. Rasmussen would have to be sent to juniors whereas Zadina could go to Grand Rapids so the odds are that if one goes it is Zadina. Svechnikov is older than the other two and a bit more seasoned so he likely sticks.

 

  If Rasmussen does make the team I would have zero problem with giving him a shot at the 2C spot right out of camp but I think that is highly unlikely. Larkin was broken in gradually at the wing before finding his stride and moving to the middle they would likely do the same with the massive Rasmussen but I think he just might be up for the task if given the chance. It would allow Zadina and Svechnivov to capture the two open winger spots. Anyway, the three of them are likely the most impressive players in camp so far and all seem worthy.

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Wings played in Chicago last night and won a crazy game 8-6, I watched it mostly with the volume down as the NHL network had the Hawks announcers on and those two idiots, Pat Foley and Ed olczyk are the most biased homers in the history of Hockey counting everyone, Foley is an icon in Chicago but his voice makes the fillings in my teeth want to jump out and slide down my throat. 

 

  anyway, crazy game 8-6 final. Some thoughts.

 

  Svechnikov and Zadina somehow both managed to be held completely off the scorers sheet in an 8 goal game, Svechnikov hurt his case by going minus 3 and did not distinguish himself on either end of the ice. Zadina did earn praise from foley several times for his jumping back in the play in the defensive zone, on a night when he was shut out he still made an impression with his 200 foot game.

  The Hawks played almost their entire opening night roster the first time this preseason the Wings have faced a team doing so. 

  The Wings defense, in an 8 point game managed only 1 measly assist by Hicketts who continues to impress leading the team with 4 blocked shots and throwing his body around in the defensive zone. Cholowski made a statement with a plus 4 on a night when defense was mostly non existent. Sulak probably finished off his chance of making the team, slim at best going into camp but he had previously looked good, he had his pocket picked repeatedly in the Wings zone. Not a good game for him.

 Andreas Athanasiou was the story, 2 goals, 2 assists, plus 5 he and Vanek were magic two years ago before Vanek was shipped out at the deadline and the two of them look so natural together this year as well. Athanasiou was all over the ice, easily the games best player and an absolutely deadly force to be reckoned with. Vanek continues to look good. Larkin with his scruffy beard covering up his baby face played a very solid game as well. Mantha seems to be thrilled to be allowed to be more creative this year, instead of posting up in front of the net he is setting up at the top of the dot and looking for the one timer, I think he may be th next Blake Wheeler, a big guy who is better using his skill instead of his body. 

  Howard who had looked so good early in the preseason was responsible for at least three soft goals in this one, two from just inside the blueline that he absolutely shoulda had.

 

  That is that, tomorrow I will do a quick write p about likely line combos for the Wings to start the year.

 

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Okay, we need to figure out how to translate this into the regular season, lol. Wings 3-2 over the Bruins again in overtime last night. 

 

 Bernier looked sharp at times as the Wings went with an all kid defense partialy by default, daley, Dekeyser and Ericsson are all hurt and all are possible to join Green on the shelf to start the year so a kid or two may make the roster. 

 

  Hronek looked good, lots of shots/hits/blocks, nothing went in but he carries himself like a vet. He was a bit sloppy at times with the puck in the neutral zone holding it too long looking for an open man and it cost him with a few turnovers.

 Sulak had a couple of bad turnovers and a couple of really bad penalties in his own end. He has hurt his case in the last two games.

 Cholowski absolutely belongs in the NHL right now, he fired a cannon over Halak on a power play for a goal and was solid all night. He led all defenders with 22 minutes of ice time and nearly six minutes on the power play. When OT came and it was 3 on 3 he was the opening lone defenseman which says a lot of their comfort zone level with his play.

Hicketts hit everything that moved. I may have sold him a bit short comparing him to Lebda mostly because of his size, he is reminding me more or Brad Stuart with his snarl and nice first pass.

 

  Zadina scored the game winner in overtime on a nice pass from Glendening that he absolutely buried. It was a goal scorers goal no finess, no trying to get it over the pad he took the pass and from ten feet out simply fired it as hard as he could leaving the goalie sprawling. The kid needs to stick.

  Rasmussen was outstanding as well with a PP assist on Nyquists goal (Gus has looked sharp all preseason as well) he spent a ton of time setting up in front of the net and refusing to be moved, I laughed in the second period when Brandon Carlo took a run at the young man mountain trying to move him from in front of the net and instead when Carlo hit Rasmussen the kid was still standing and Carlo wound up on his butt. Cool to see.

  Nielsen looked meh. I know we have him slotted for the 2C but he has been outplayed by a mile by Athanasiou and while he is talented he is no longer at his age a 2C if he ever was. I love his overall game but he needs to be dropped down to take advantage of what he can do.

 Bertuzzi had been having a bad camp but had an outstanding game with a couple of power play assists and he led the team in shots and was third in hits. He was a presence on the ice.

 Glendening had an assist and a fight with veteran John moore and was a force in the faceoffs outplaying Turgeon who was hoping to beat him out for the 4C spot but Glendening has served notice that the role belongs to him. turgeon will be GR bound in a day or two.

  Just insane, wish we could have a six game winning streak in the regular season, lol. Fun to watch the kids.

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