Training Camp Mix of Past, Present and Future Perspectives for Red Wings
TRAVERSE CITY – The team with the winged wheel is rolling back home to Detroit after their five-day training camp in Traverse City.
The Detroit Red Wings had a lot of bright spots in the camp but certainly, some pressure will be on the team to produce this year.
The camp began with major news of captain Henrik Zetterberg retiring due to a back injury that altered his playing ability and ultimately forced retirement.
Players like Michigan native Dylan Larkin, who grew up watching Zetterberg, say it’s going to be tough to replace him.
“I can’t even remember watching the Wings without ‘Z’ out there,” said Larkin. “My first goal he assisted and that’s something I’ll never forget.”
But the Red Wings didn’t come to training camp this season to dwell on a storied career of Zetterberg but rather look to the future and who is going to step up and fill the void he left.
“It’s an opportunity for someone to step up and grab those minutes,” said veteran defenseman Niklas Kronwall.
Kronwall says this isn’t just for the young guys but also the experienced players as well.
The camp has opened the door for a lot of players including 19-year-old Michael Rasmussen, who was the Red Wings 9th overall draft pick in last year’s draft.
Rasmussen didn’t let the pressure of performing at camp take away from who he is as a player.
“I’m always pretty even-keeled with my confidence and stuff like that so I feel good and like I said I got to bring it to another level at preseason and I’m just excited to get there,” said Rasmussen.
For many of the guys that go out there, it’s a tryout and that’s what the intent is, to compete at the highest level.
One component of the camp that played a major role in the player’s development was their surroundings.
Players from all over the world use this time in Traverse City to become familiar with each other and to grow as a team.
Head Coach Jeff Blashill spoke on his time in Traverse City and how the newly renovated Centre Ice Arena is something that will be a staple in the future of Red Wings hockey.
“It’s great, I think it’s awesome it’s been a great tandem Traverse City & Centre Ice for a long, long time and it’s going to be a great tandem for years to come,” said coach Blashill.
The coach said there were three reasons that make the experience in Traverse City what it is.
“Number one, it gives our guys an opportunity to bond and I don’t care when you’re at home it’s harder to bond. Number two, it helps the Red Wing brand big time, continue exposure to the west side of the state to the U.P… and three were guaranteed two ice sheets here the whole camp and if the ice is booked in the big rink we don’t have one.”
The Red Wings will begin their preseason on Wednesday night at 7:30 against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Little Caesar’s Arena.
The camp was the opening window to hopefully a bright future for the Red Wings but also Northern Michigan and the faithful fans it has to offer.