Detroit Red Wings: Day 1 of Camp Has Headaches


Only the Detroit Red Wings could get injured like this. Darren Helm and Jerome Verrera collided on a drill and Verrrea ended up with a broken leg, and Helm with a possible concussion. From the Detroit Free Press: 

"How long Helm will be out remains to be seen.“Concussions aren’t like broken legs where you have one or you don’t,” general manager Ken Holland told the Free Press mid-afternoon.“We are doing concussion protocol to protect Helm. If he is good tomorrow and better every day thereafter, it usually takes a week.”The collision came during drills. “Unfortunately we weren’t able to give the heads up soon enough,” head coach Jeff Blashill said.“Obviously that drill got messed up. We’ve done that drill lots, and haven’t had that happen. It was unfortunate.”Johan Franzen, who is making a comeback from his fourth head injury, was rattled.“It was really scary,” he said. “The kid, he was in so much pain. I was feeling a little sick for a while. I hope they recover fast.”"

Yikes. So much for the bad luck and poor timing bit I wrote yesterday.

A Refreshing Take

Henrik Zetterberg voiced his pleasure that Mike Babcock went on to greener pastures. He echoed it again today–albeit it in a way very complimentary of Blashill. From Ansar Khan at 

"To some, the abrasive, hard-driving coach’s message was getting stale. That’s why the first day of training camp Friday with new coach Jeff Blashill was a welcome change.“It is refreshing,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “Meetings, drills, everything is different. So it’s good for us veteran guys that have been here for 10 years. The last 4-5 years, you knew everything that was going on. Now you’ve actually got to think out there. It is nice to reset your brain. I think the skate we had today was a lot of pace. It was a good start. More from Red Wings NewsDetroit Red Wings forward Carter Mazur injured in Prospect TournamentDetroit Red Wings: What does Klim Kostin’s role look like in 2023-24?Detroit Red Wings: 3 players who will make biggest impact in first yearThe Detroit Red Wings need Andrew Copp to start fast in 2023-24Detroit Red Wings had a busy off-season; but was it enough?“Obviously, Blash is his own man, he coaches the way he wants and it’s different and refreshing for us. We had a little competition there in the end and that’s always fun. It’s fun mixed in with work. That’s different for us.”"

If there is any spike in the Wings’ performance, it will be the arrival of Blash. That’s not to say that Babcock wasn’t effective any longer or that the team was not playing for him. I think of it more as a teacher or parent. After awhile, you get the Charlie Brown teacher “wah wah” voice. Evolution is a natural point in life, and the Red Wings needed to evolve–as did Babcock. A decade of the same grinding message eventually wears on you. This is no different. There will be decisions Blash makes that will make us wince. Or complain. It’s normal. But everyone is enjoying the honeymoon right now. After the Babcock Sweepstakes, it’s refreshing.

In-Depth Analysis Day One

George Malik once again goes above and beyond with his coverage. You’ll find hardcore analysis on each of the lines from Team Howe, Delvecchio, and Lindsay. Speaking of refreshing:

"It’s hard to describe, even on a chalkboard, how Blashill’s teams are simply more direct than Babcock’s, and I’m waiting to see whether the neutral zone play, the forecheck and the power play are as explosive as the breakouts were. I’m hoping that I’ll see that extra lateral or back-to-the-point pass that Babcock employed get axed, I’m hoping that we see a simpler, more efficient style of play and I’m crossing my fingers that all that “we’re going to attack the corners of the ice, and then maybe go toward the net!” stuff that the late Babcockian era fostered is replaced by the kind of north-south, go-to-the-net hockey that Blashill employed in Grand Rapids…"

In the final few years of Babcock’s reign in Detroit, I felt like the Red Wings often played not to lose. I thought maybe this was an aberration of the mind since Babs had been so dominant but I remember feeling vindicated when my close friend echoed this after watching Team Canada suffocate the United States 1-0 during the 2014 Olympics. He felt the US could have been annihilated by a far superior Canada team, but Babcock preferred the defensive chokehold. For one, he had the talent to do so and not get burned in the process. But two, my friend as a Hawks fan (true by the way–he suffered through the Dollar Bill Era like a champ) said the Wings seemed to let up in 2013. They tried to do the same thing defensively–especially in Game 6 he claimed, and it didn’t work out because of the talent shortfall.

I think we can all agree that while it will be an adjustment, the change will go a long way.

That Just Happened

We repeat: The future is bright.

Next: Dylan Larkin Should Make The Roster

More from Octopus Thrower