Detroit Red Wings training camp live updates: An early look at power play groups

Detroit Free Press

Helene St. James
 
| Detroit Free Press

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Happy New Year — and happy first day of Detroit Red Wings training camp.

Forty Red Wings players started Friday, aiming to be in the lineup when the team opens the pandemic shortened season Jan. 14 with a home against the Carolina Hurricanes. It will be the Wings’ first game at Little Caesars Arena since they hosted the Hurricanes on March 10, two days before the NHL shut down. 

[ 3 things to keep in mind as the Wings open training camp ]

Beyond daily practices, there are scrimmages scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 8 and 10.

Players have been divided into Team White and Team Red, split between 23 forwards, 12 defensemen and five goaltenders.

Prior to the start of the season, the roster will have to be trimmed to 23 players. There will also be a taxi squad consisting of four-to-six players.

A very limited number of media are allowed to watch. All interviews will be conducted via Zoom, so there will be no contact between media and team personnel.

[ Wings can only go up from here in 2021. Here are three reasons why ]

Media are wearing masks and observing social distancing mandates. I’ll be updating this story throughout the day with observations from Day 1.

Goaltender Jonathan Bernier and Thomas Greiss were the first players on the ice, doing warm-up drills. Skaters came out around 10 a.m.

The first group were most of the NHLers: Dylan Larkin skating with Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi. Valtteri Filppula took some shifts with newcomer Vladislav Namestnikov. FIlip Zadina and Bobby Ryan were also part of the group.

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Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press

It’s not surprising coach Jeff Blashill has his NHLers together — the Wings have two weeks to prepare, and lots of new faces in Namestnikov, Ryan, Greiss and defensemen Troy Stecher, Jon Merrill and Marc Staal (all of whom also in the first group). Merrill and Stecher are paired up, Staal is with Patrik Nemeth, and Filip Hronek with Danny DeKeyser.

Younger players such as Michael Rasmussen, Dennis Cholowski and Evgeny Svechnikov were in the second group — along with, notably, veteran forward Frans Nielsen, who is coming off a terrible season. 

The second group came out for a scrimmage, while some of the players from the first group were not out for the second practice segment of the day. That allowed for special teams play, with Ryan slotting in with Larkin, Mantha, Bertuzzi and DeKeyser (playing the point). Ryan brings that right-handed shot presence the Wings have missed. Sam Gagner would slot on to the second unit, but he was not on the ice so that unit was is comprised of Namestnikov, Zadina and Hronek, with Rasmussen and Givani Smith filling in for Gagner and Robby Fabbri.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

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Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press

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