Traverse City, -- During Grand Rapids' successful run to becoming 2017 Calder Cup champions, Griffins goalie Jared Coreau's play in net was exceptional.
In 19 playoff games with Grand Rapids, Coreau was 15-4 with a goals-against average of 2.84 and a save percentage of .909.
If Coreau wanted to spend his short offseason resting on his Calder Cup laurels and soaking up the adulation of the Griffins' faithful, it would be easy to understand why, especially after a so-so performance when he was called up by the Red Wings last season.
Coreau was in a good place after winning the Calder Cup, but he wasn't satisfied.
"I made some changes to my diet. I went vegetarian or maybe pescatarian would be the right term," Coreau told reporters about how he spent his summer vacation. "I still eat some fish and eggs but I wanted to lose a bit more weight, especially going late into third periods. I wanted to be a bit lighter and conserve more energy.
"I changed my trainer as well, it's a little more individualized for what I needed and I was back with my goalie coach in Ottawa, Andrew Mercer. I've been with him for 14 years now."
His new diet and training routine have made Coreau feel different, but he stressed he didn't make the change because he felt fatigued or out of shape.
"It's hard to say I have more energy. I think my energy's more consistent," Coreau said. "My endurance is much better. I found when I was eating meat I'd have some really high peaks in my workouts or skates but I'd also have some valleys.
"So, I found that this just kept me at a consistent level."
When he decided to make a change, Coreau did his own research and devised his own diet. He had heard that a meatless diet may make it difficult to keep the proper amounts of nutrients in his body, but he said that really is not an issue.
"Everyone was concerned about (me) not eating meat but there's enough iron and energy you get from kale, spinach, black beans, chickpeas, stuff like that. It's really good," Coreau said. "I'll have a cheat meal once a week and sometimes I'll just mix in maybe an extra lean cheeseburger minus the cheese."
His goal is to obviously to make the Red Wings right out of training camp. He concedes nothing, though the odds appear to be stacked against him, with the Wings having Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek ahead of him on the depth chart.
"(I'm) Coming in here to make the team. That's the mentality I think I've had every year but this year it could become a reality," Coreau said. "I have to do what I can every day and work hard and when exhibition game opportunities come, I need to capitalize on them."
When Coreau was reminded if he doesn't make the Wings out of camp, he'll have to clear waivers to be sent to the Griffins, which means he could end up with another NHL team, most likely as their backup goalie.
"I don't like the term backup," Coreau said. "Goalies in pro hockey or any level, the starter or the backup partner, they both play. Even if you are slotted as the backup guy, you're still slotted to play 20-25, maybe 30 games.
"When you're not playing, you just need to find a way to be positive all the time and guys will see that and feed off that. It's just a different way of thinking about the games that come. I think it's easy to get frustrated when you don't play five, six, seven games in a row.
"So, preparing as if you're playing, it keeps you sharp, it keeps you mentally ready for when you do get the opportunity to play."
It's that mindset that keeps Coreau motivated to seize the moment. Each opportunity he gets in Detroit's net could elevate him in the goalie mix, he definitely doesn't want to be thought of as the Wings' number three goalie.
"Certainly, you could think about it like that (being a secure number three guy)," Coreau said. "My goal is to be a one or two eventually…right? Some guys can become content being a No. 3, but I don't want to be that guy."