Monthly Archives: August 2011

Osgood begins his new job with Wings

DETROIT – Chris Osgood was back on the ice at Joe Louis Arena Wednesday morning, minus the goalie equipment everyone was accustomed to seeing him don during his time in a Red Wings jersey.

And that sight won’t be changing anytime soon.

“No, not at all,” Osgood said when asked if he had the itch to put his goalie pads and chest protector back on. “I’m looking forward to coaching the young guys, mentoring them. I’m real excited about it. I can’t wait to get to rookie camp and work with the young guys.”

Osgood skated in a warm-up suit briefly during the Wings’ third day of informal practices, slowing easing his way into his new role with the team, which will be assisting goalie coach Jim Bedard and working with the team’s prospects in the minor leagues.

“I’m not doing too much, just riding shotgun, listening to what (Bedard) says, learning drills, how to run them myself, so when I go down to Toledo and Grand Rapids I can do that,” Osgood said. “I’ll be on the ice every day in (training) camp and rookie camp.

“Today was just learning from Jimmy,” Osgood added. “When I get to training camp and rookie camp that’ll be real, but right now I’m more or less listening to Jimmy and watching these guys. It’s whatever Jimmy says. I’m kind of listening to him and learning from him right now.”

Osgood retired this offseason after spending 17 seasons in the NHL, 14 of which were with Detroit where he was a member of three Stanley Cup winning teams. He was the starter for two of those runs.

Prior to retiring, Osgood said he had conversations with Detroit general manager Ken Holland about staying with the team in some capacity.

“I talked to Kenny briefly about it, but we didn’t really talk about it that much while I was playing,” Osgood said. “When I told him I was retiring, we talked about it at length for quite a while.”

Osgood will be working mainly with the Griffins’ Jordan Pearce and Thomas McCollum, along with Petr Mrazek, who plays with the Toledo Storm.

“I’ll mostly be in Grand Rapids and Toledo, I’ll be there quite a bit,” Osgood said. “I’ll watch them and try to mentor them the best I can. I’ll give them some advice when I have to. Other than, I’m not sure.

“I’ll be on the road a lot,” Osgood added. “I’m excited.”

Osgood will also be scouting and ranking goalies for the draft.

“I might go to the World Juniors and rank the top goalies,” Osgood said. “It’ll be fun, this new challenge.”

Osgood’s longtime teammate Kris Draper also retired this offseason and got a job in the Wings’ front office.

“Drapes doesn’t have to go on the ice,” Osgood grinned. “I’m in the trenches, he’s up in the box.”

As far as a title, “I think I’m Jimmy’s assistant,” Osgood smiled. “I don’t know what it is, maybe (I’ll have) many titles. We’ll see how it goes along.”

By the numbers

Valtteri Filppula was the newest Wing to join the informal workouts Wednesday, making it 11 on the ice for the home team.

Jan Mursak was also back skating after missing Day 2.

Tomas Holmstrom, Drew Miller, Justin Abdelkader, Patrick Eaves, Chris Conner, Nicklas Lidstrom, Jakub Kindl, Doug Janik and Ty Conklin were also out there for the Wings.

Danny Cleary is expected back on the ice today.

New Jersey defenseman Matt Taormina, a Romeo graduate, also skated as did former Wings goalie Manny Legace.

Mursak focused on staying with Wings

DETROIT – When you ask about Jan Mursak in the Wings’ locker room the one thing you always hear first about is the young forward’s speed.

“His speed stands out,” forward Patrick Eaves said. “He can fly. He’s fun to watch.”

“He brings tons of speed and energy,” Drew Miller said. “That’s what you expect out of your young guys. I think he’s a little faster than most. That’s key for him.”

And because of that, the club awarded him with a two-year contract during the season last year.

“He’s a young guy, provides energy, can skate, he’s a puck hound,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said last season. “We think as he gets more confident he’ll be able to contribute a little bit offensively.”

Mursak is one of a number of Wings taking part in informal workouts at City Ice Arena in Detroit.

Mursak, 23, got a chance to show the organization the type of player he was during a 17-game stint last season as an injury replacement.

He skated fast and hard, while going to the net and battled in the high-traffic areas.

“I think they were happy with what I showed last year,” Mursak said. “They told me what they wanted to see from me. They wanted speed and energy and for me to play good in the defensive zone. I’m prepared to do that.”

Mursak had one goal and had a minus-3 rating.

His lone goal came in his eighth game with the Wings and the end result occurred because he was in front of the net to bang home a rebound.

“The games I’ve seen him play he’s done a really good job for us,” Eaves said. “He creates energy and has a big shot. And he’s not afraid to throw his body around.”

Last season in Grand Rapids, Mursak had 13 goals and 22 points in 54 games.

Mursak is out of minor-league options, so he must earn a spot on the NHL roster out of training camp, which begins on Sept. 17 in Traverse City, this year.

Last season, the Wings were faced with a similar situation with Mattias Ritola.

Ritola, who had signed a three-year deal with the Wings a few months before training camp, was out of minor-league options and therefore needed to make the team out of camp or be placed on waivers in order to be sent back to Grand Rapids.

Ritola, who was 23 at the time, didn’t show enough in camp or during the preseason to beat out a veteran for a roster spot and was waived prior to the start of the season.

“It’s hard to crack this lineup,” Eaves said. “You have to get a break and just play up to the best of your abilities and not worry about other things.”

Tampa Bay claimed him off waivers and took on his minimal $517,000 a season contract.

Mursak is scheduled to make $550,000 each of the next two seasons.

“I’m really excited this season,” Mursak said. “I hope I’ll make the first team. I hope I’ll be in Detroit all season and I hope I get a lot of ice time. I’m not expecting a lot, but if there are injuries hopefully I can jump in and play good.

“I learned a lot (being up here),” Mursak added. “From game-to-game I was getting more comfortable. In the beginning it was a little tough. I was nervous. But then I relaxed, especially after I scored that goal I started feeling real comfortable on the ice.”

Mursak had been skating in Slovenia for the past two weeks and arrived back in Michigan last Friday.

“I’m excited to be back and working out with the guys,” Mursak said. “And I’m excited for training camp to start.”

Mursak has got quite the commute the skate with his teammates. He’s living in Saginaw with his girlfriend and driving to Detroit.

“That’s where my girlfriend is from and it’s only an hour and a half drive,” “Mursak said. “I come down here three times a week, workout with the other guys and the other days I workout in Saginaw.”

Mursak was taken in the sixth round by Detroit in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, 182nd overall.

“(Training camp) will be a little different,” Mursak said. “I think it’s my fifth year going to it. I’m not that nervous anymore. I know how I have to play and what I have to show. That makes it easier.”

By the numbers

The numbers were down a bit from the first day of informal workouts.

Justin Abdelkader was new to the mix, while Danny Cleary and Mursak did not take part in Day 2.

Also missing was Edmonton’s Shawn Horcoff and former Wings goalie Manny Legace.

Red Wings informal skate, Day 2

DETROIT — The turnout for Day 2 of the Wings’ informal skate at City Ice Arena in Detroit is missing a few guys from Day 1.

Danny Cleary isn’t here, along with Edmonton’s Shawn Horcoff and former Wings goalie Manny Legace.

Justin Abdelkader is on the ice after missing the first day on Monday.

Also out there for the Wings are forwards Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller, Chris Conner and Tomas Holmstrom along with defensemen Jakub Kindl, Doug Janik, Nicklas Lidstrom and goalie Ty Conklin.

The Wings head Sept. 15 to Traverse City, where camp will run through the 20. They open the preseason at Pittsburgh on Sept. 21.

An update will come after practice.

Lidstrom, Wings ‘looking forward’ to start of camp

DETROIT – The summer is officially over for the Detroit Red Wings.

A number of Wings, along with a few other NHLers, skated informally Monday at City Ice Arena in Detroit, including captain Nicklas Lidstrom.

“The summer was nothing different,” Lidstrom said. “The workout routine stayed pretty much the same. Overall, I did pretty much the same things I’ve been doing over the last 10 years or so.

“When it’s the end of August and you’re back on the ice skating you know training camp is just around the corner,” Lidstrom added. “It’s almost time to go back to work. It’s nice to have the time off and get in those vacations, but we’re also looking forward to getting going again and start playing.”

The Wings head Sept. 15 to Traverse City, where camp will run through the 20. They open the preseason at Pittsburgh on Sept. 21.

Lidstrom, who is entering his 20th season with the Wings, signed a one-year deal this offseason to remain with the club and put off retirement for at least one more season.

He took home his seventh Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman in June.

“It’s the same approach as last year, just one season at a time,” laughed Lidstrom, who’s 41. “I’m not looking too far ahead. I’m just looking forward to heading up to Traverse City here in a couple of weeks and taking part in training camp. After that, I’m just looking forward to the season.”

The Wings begin this season with a number of new faces in the locker room and three main components missing.

Retiring this offseason were defenseman Brian Rafalski, forward Kris Draper and goalie Chris Osood. Forward Mike Modano and defenseman Ruslan Salei also aren’t back.

“It seems like a bit of transition,” Lidstrom said. “With the guys that retired, they’re guys I’ve played with for a long, long time here in Detroit. That’s eventually going to happen for all of us. It’s part of hockey.

“I didn’t see Raffi retiring, no one knew about it,” Lidstrom added. “It was a surprise to everyone.”

After resigning Lidstrom, the Wings re-upped with defenseman Jonathan Ericsson and forwards Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller. They also inked free agent deals with defensemen Ian White and Mike Commodore, along with goalie Ty Conklin.

“I like the additions that we made,” Lidstrom said. “They’re going to add some grit and have offensive ability as well.

“(White) is tough to play against, he’ll log a lot of minutes,” Lidstrom added. “He can be that right-hander on the power play. He’s a player that can be in your face and he’s a strong skater.”

Tomas Holmstrom, who is in the final year of his contract, also likes what the team did this offseason.

“We’ve got new additions and young kids coming up,” said Holmstrom, who’s 38. “Everybody’s going to step it up a notch. And Nick is playing his best hockey.

“I think we’re all excited,” Holmstrom added. “We’re not satisfied with what happened last year. We want to go all the way and win the Stanley Cup.”

Detroit has been eliminated in the second round of the playoffs each of the past two seasons by the San Jose Sharks.

Conklin, who played in Detroit during the 2008-09 season, was the only “new” offseason signee expected to make the club out of camp who took part in Monday’s skate.

“I kind of know my role and what to expect,” Conklin said. “I’m just looking forward to getting started.”

Conklin was 25-11-2 that year with the Wings and posted a 2.51 goals against average and had a .909 save percentage.

“Playing here before makes the transition coming back a lot easier,” Conklin said. “I’m a lot more comfortable.”

The other Wings attending the first day of informal skates were Danny Cleary, Drew Miller, Patrick Eaves, Jan Mursak, Jakub Kindl, Doug Janik and Chris Conner.

Edmonton’s Shawn Horcoff and former Wings netminder Manny Legace also skated.