Red Wings cut ten

Following the second day of main training camp, the Detroit Red Wings announced that they’ve cut ten players from the roster, leaving 56 players vying for a shot to make an impression on the braintrust.

Players returning to their Junior teams include Brooks Macek (Tri-City), Petr Mrazek (Ottawa), Richard Nedomlel (Swift Current), Xavier Ouellet (Blainville-Boisbriand), Alan Quine (Peterborough), Ryan Sproul (Sault Ste. Marie), and Marek Tvrdon (Vancouver). The Red Wings will maintain their draft picks’ rights.

Tryouts Artem Segreev (Val d’Or), Zach Franko (Kelowna), and Evan Mosher (formerly of PEI) were released outright and are free to sign with any team they wish.

Fabian Brunnstrom, Ryan Johnson, Nick Oslund, and Ramis Sadikov remain in camp, and are playing for a contract. Bryan Rufenach, Adam Estoclet, and Greg Amadio remain in camp, and have a contract to play in Grand Rapids this upcoming season.

THE CHART has been updated to reflect today’s cuts, if you venture over to the “CAMP” tab.

The Top Shelf: Prospecticus Reflecticus and a “Social” Solution

(Ed. note: Sorry for the disappearance. New jobs present challenges. Also, being without a computer presents even bigger blogging challenges. But that’s all taken care of now, so off we march.)

Prospectin! :: Despite falling off the face of the Earth for a few weeks, I did manage to check out a bit of the annual Traverse City Prospects Tournament coverage, which is remarkable given my complete lack of technology for the last week. Despite finishing 7th in the tournament – and failing to break a 13 year streak of not winning the thing – it sounds like the young Wings at least put on a good show. Names of regular mention and growing importance included Gustav Nyquist (who led the young Wings in scoring), Joakim Andersson and Brendan Smith (of course), but it was another player who stole the show in the eyes of The Left Wing Lock’s Sarah Lindenau:

Ryan Sproul has set the bar high with his strong performance at the NHL prospects tournament in Traverse City, MI. His big game ability was a key reason for the Red Wings strong finish on Wednesday night. The 6-foot-3, 176 pound defenseman potted two goals and assist to lead Detroit to a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes earning the team a seventh place finish.

“For me personally it’s been a pretty good tournament,” Sproul said. “Obviously for the team it was been tough after losing the first few games, but we turned it around.”

Sproul finished the tournament second behind Gustav Nyquist in team scoring with three goals and four points. The 55th overall pick in this years draft tied for third in scoring among tournament defensemen.

Well then. While it sounds like Sproul has some growing to do over the next couple of years, you won’t find me complaining about the Wings planting the seeds of defensive depth early. Sproul sounds like a very likable kid with some great upside, and he’s got my attention for the upcoming season. He’s also got an open invite for “The Pipeline” (er, get on that Petrella.)

For those who care, the Buffalo Sabres prospects won the tournament, defeating the Rangers prospects.

The Sounds of Social Silence :: It seemed like it was only a matter of time until the NHL decided to put a formal spin on players and social media, and it’s now come to fruition. After working with the NHLPA, the league announced the following steps will be implemented in regards to players and their social communication:

As per the new policy, there is a total “blackout period” on the use of social media on game days, which for players begins two hours prior to opening face-off and is not lifted until players have finished their post-game media obligations. The suggested blackout period for hockey operations staff is even longer, beginning at 11 a.m. on game days.

Also, the new policy makes it clear that players and club personnel will be be held responsible for their social communications in the same manner in which they are held responsible for other forms of public communications. As a result, discipline is possible for any social media statements that have or are designed to have an effect prejudicial to the welfare of the League, the game of hockey or a member club, or are publicly critical of officiating staff.

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly calls the plan “sensible”, which I don’t necessarily agree with. For the players, sure, a two hour blackout before the game makes sense, as does the fact that they need to fulfill media obligations after the game before hopping on Twitter and re-engaging with fans and friends. What I don’t understand is the “suggested” blackout for the hockey operations staff. If taken to heart, this would imply that OFFICIAL team twitter accounts have to go silent 8 hours prior to a game, and can’t come back online until the completion of said game. In essence, that’s a prime 12 hour chunk of space where promotions, marketing, fan engagement and potential sales are now offline. Game updates go bye-bye, as do in game promotions and giveaways, which the Wings have used in the past with seemingly successful results. Sure, there is some wiggle room in the fact that this is a “suggested” blackout for staff, but the fact remains that the NHL just doesn’t understand that their fan base demands real-time engagement from the organizations that they support, and turning off all operations related tweets for an entire gameday limits the engagement that those fans would normally have with their team. Fans are going to interact with other fans in real-time, so why limit organizational engagement as well, especially when those tweets or posts are 99% sure to encourage growth and interest in the game, not to mention potentially grow ticket sales and advertising exposure.

Maybe I’m just looking into this a bit too deeply. It’s just surprising that the league would issue such solid guidelines for player use, and then cram a vague suggestion for teams and operations staff right underneath it. Time to dig a bit deeper on this.

UPDATE (1:35 PM EDT): So I sent a tweet to Mike DiLorenzo, manager of social and business communications for the NHL, and asked him to clarify “operations staff” and if the new policy would impact team twitter accounts and marketing operations. His response? “No”. I, for one, feel much better now that I have a clear as mud explanation on what operations staff entails. While much of the above argument now appears to be a moot point, I’m now struggling to see any point in including this operations staff suggestion in this policy, since there’s no clarity around what constitutes an operations staff.

Aren’t you glad there’s a clear and sensible policy in place?

And Finally… :: If you want your brain to go numb, Bleacher Report has offered up three Wings that could be on the trading block this preseason. First, preseason trade = not happening. Second, as much as I and the rest of the staff here want Rig shipped out of town, @RedWingsFeed is right in noting that Big E has this. Research is a good thing. Ian White grabs the golden ring and gets paired with Lidstrom in the preseason. Darren McCarty is now working at a pawn shop, which you cannot deny is fricking hilarious and ironic. Maybe he’ll get his Cup rings back. Todd Bertuzzi is heading to court next fall to hopefully put an end to the ugly issue with Steve Moore. The Wings are preparing for camp with a little golf. With Modano gone, the title of “best golfer” is up for grabs, although Johan Franzen seems to think that belongs to him. Maybe a little more focus on scoring consistency on the ice as opposed to greens-in-regulation, eh Mule? Also, Hank with the preseason playoff beard? I’m taking him to win the golf tourney.

Griffins sign pair

According to a press release (the first we’ve received from our good friend Kyle Kujawa, the new public relations manager for the Grand Rapids Griffins!), the Griffs have signed Red Wings training camp tryout hopeful Adam Estoclet and former Red Wings draft pick-turned-tryout Bryan Rufenach to standard AHL contracts.

AHL-only contracts mean that they won’t be eligible for call-ups to the Detroit Red Wings unless the Wings were to first sign them to an NHL contract, but they likely wouldn’t have been on the short list for such a thing at this point in their careers anyway, especially when they’ll be competing with the likes of Gus Nyquist, Chris Conner, Brendan Smith, and Doug Janik.

Both 22-year-old men played four years of collegiate hockey for Dartmouth College — Estoclet, a forward, registered a team-high 16 goals in 34 games and joined the Providence Bruins of the AHL for a tryout at the end of the season; Rufenach, a defenseman, recorded 11 points in 33 games during his senior season, and played a handful of games for the Red Wings’ ECHL affiliate Toledo Walleye after his school’s season ended.

Both Estoclet and Rufenach are currently representing the Detroit Red Wings at the Traverse City Prospect Tournament and will likely stick around for main training camp at the end of the week. They will be joined by Greg Amadio as players on AHL-only contracts.

Photo courtesy of the Griffins.

It begins…

First things first, if you don’t already — subscribe to, and visit often, The Left Wing Lock. Sarah Lindenau is doing excellent work in Traverse City and delivering some awesome photos. Prospect camp is already underway, with the Wings dropping their first two games to youngsters representing the Wild and Blue Jackets.

If you haven’t already heard, Brendan Smith is wearing a “C” on his sweater during the prospect tournament. In years past, the Red Wings have declined to name a captain for this tournament or pre-season, instead opting to give the impression that there’s only one captain, and it’s Steve Yzerman (and later, Nicklas Lidstrom).

Starting Thursday, the big guns will get down to business. The Wings sent out a press release yesterday itemizing the schedule, beginning with a 9:00 am flight to Traverse City. For the fifth year, players and team representatives will be making stops at various locations along the way, including a medical center in Flint, an Air National Guard base in Battle Creek, an elementary school in Bay City, and DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. .

First thing Friday, the team will undergo physicals before their media availability and charity golf tournament. Saturday’s schedule changed a bit to allow the team to return to Detroit for Brad McCrimmon’s funeral services.

You’ll be able to follow along with the following chart as the team is trimmed down to the eventual 23-man roster that will be on your opening day roster. Feel free to sort by number, name, or date of release. We’ll be updating it and re-posting it as the cuts become available.

[table id=33 /]

Mourning their brothers

On Wednesday, the hockey world lost a lot of brothers when a KHL team’s plane failed to gain proper altitude and crashed on the banks of the Volga River. Lokotomiv Yaroslavl’s entire roster was on board, as were several crew members. Of the 45 passengers, 43 lost their lives. It’s impossible to wrap your head around, because these gentlemen get onto planes literally hundreds of times every year.

On Wednesday, 43 men and women left behind families. Some, like former Red Wing Ruslan Salei, left behind infants.

The team was flying to Minsk to open their season against Dynamo on Thursday night. The game, of course, would not be played. But zero of the ticket holders returned their tickets, instead opting to take part in what I think may be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen take place on a sheet of ice. And I’m not afraid to admit to you that I cried like a little girl for an hour.

They mourned the losses of their brethren. Dynamo had organized the stunning tribute you see above. Thanks to the hard work of a very good friend of mine named Vicki, we’re able to understand what the public address announcer is saying. Vicki took the time to translate the video and what follows is her transcription. Below her translation is the full 35 minute video.

At first there are clips of the guy talking about various players and describing what kind of people they were. He said “today is a “black” day” and talked about one player in particular that was an “amazing guy that gave everything he had to the team and was a real man.” The music you hear in the background is what they traditionally play at churches at funerals when someone is being buried in Russia. When the [Dynamo] players are skating out on to the ice, the guy says “to remember the fallen victims, members of the Minsk team skate out on to the ice. The two teams have known each other for a long time and they were worthy opponents. Today the two were supposed to meet in (direct translation) true form but a terrible and scary tragedy has prevented their meeting.” While the Minsk players are skating toward the goal he says, “The players symbolically put the puck into their own net, symbolically losing to their worthy opponents. Today, this is the only thing they can do for their fallen comrades.”

The man in the red uniform who is the first to place a bouquet in the net is the President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko.

Extra huge TPL thank you to Vicki, who took the time to help us understand a little bit more about the video. And stick tap to Puck Daddy who posted the videos originally.

Making the Cut: A Grand Rapids Griffins documentary

Finally, some good news.

A Grand Rapids filmmaker has begun production on a documentary that will follow the Grand Rapids Griffins (and, during training camp, the Detroit Red Wings) throughout the 2011-12 season. The Wings have given Chris Penney and his crew permission to film at camp in Traverse City — as well as at Van Andel Arena all season long.

If you’d like to help make the project a reality — they could use your help. As a small, independent company, they’ve launched a KickStarter page, allowing users to donate a couple of bucks toward their $20,000 goal. There are incentives with your donation — in addition to the fulfillment you’ll feel having helped create something neat about a team you love:

For $10 or more, you’ll receive an autographed photo of the crew; for $25, you’ll get a cameo in the film; for $50, a cameo and a copy of the completed pilot on DVD; for $100, a credit in the completed film.

Jump on over there and drop a few dollars. Having worked on low-budget productions before, I can tell you that every single dollar will help and will be appreciated. In a small crew like this, you’ll feel very much an important part of the creation of the documentary.

We’ve done our part, now it’s time to do yours:

Our thoughts are in Russia today

In a summer wrought with hockey tragedy, it’s time to prepare yourself for the worst news yet. A chartered team plane carrying much of the KHL club Yaroslavl Lokomotiv has crashed in Russia shortly after takeoff, killing at least 36 people on board. Do yourself a favor and follow Dmitri Chesnokov on Twitter today — he’s a very well-placed source for Russian hockey news and will likely be able to relay news to you far more quickly than any other outlet.

While we await confirmation of the individual losses (and there seems to be some confusion at the moment), let’s reflect on some of the members of Lokomotiv that have ties to the Detroit Red Wings.

The former Red Wing defenseman and coach departed Detroit following last season to become the head coach of Lokomotiv. My encounters with Coach McCrimmon were pleasant, and he was very much “one of the guys.” As of 11:13am, it was reported that he was on the plane, and his life has been lost. He was 52 years old, and leaves behind a wife, a son, and a daughter.

A 2000 Draft Pick of the Wings, Liv played one season in Grand Rapids before returning to play in the Swedish Elite League. Though he hadn’t played with the NHL club, he was a fan favorite with his eccentric helmet artwork. He was 30 years old.

One of the defenseman from last year’s Red Wings squad, Rusty was on board the plane according to Russian officials and Dmitri Chesnokov. Salei had a wonderful season in Detroit, making a fan out of many of us in short order. My fondest memory comes from the trip I took to Nashville with the team, where Salei had just learned that his wife was expecting their third daughter. He was 36 years old.

Please stay tuned as more information is likely to become available and stories become confirmed. We’d like to stress that we do not know the sources of the linked stories and only wish to pass on the most recently available blurbs. Further, our thoughts and condolences are with the families and friends of the individuals who have lost their lives in another hockey tragedy, including former NHLers Pavol Demitra, Karlis Skrastins, and Karel Rachunek.

The Chart

Behold! The font of Red Wings information that is The Chart!

At The Production Line, we try to keep tabs on everything that’s even remotely Red Wings-related. For the past few seasons, we’ve kept an in-depth spreadsheet with everything from contract details and team assignments to transactions and uniform numbers. And, for the first time, we’ve figured out a way to share the multi-tabbed universe with all of you.

If you click THIS LINK, it will take you to this current season’s version of The Chart, which will always be accessible via the top link in the blogroll to the right. We may come up with a way to make it a more visible link in the near future, but that’s Hollis’ department since I’m mildly challenged when it comes to web design.

If you’d like to look at old charts, and compared the differences, I’ve uploaded a few other examples to Google Docs and am happy to share those links, as well —  but they won’t be maintained, since The Chart is an always-evolving entity and a new one begins at the conclusion of a season.

2010-11 Detroit Red Wings

2009-10 Detroit Red Wings

2008-09 Detroit Red Wings

Happy surfing! Feel free to contact us if there are any errors or typos.