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Notes: Red Wings get guest goaltender during practice

Howard had to attend a funeral; Mrazek ready to start against Oilers

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

EDMONTON - When Kenny Cameron got up Saturday morning, he might have had something planned for his day.

But that was put on hold when he got a call at 10 a.m. that his goaltending services were needed.

"I just grabbed my gear from my dressing room and drove right over," said Cameron, who plays for the University of Alberta.

Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard was not available as he had to attend a funeral so Cameron filled in, wearing his green and gold pads.

"What a great job he did," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "It was great to be able to get somebody that quality. So it was fun to have him in here and we certainly needed somebody. I had thought Chris Osgood was going to do it but he bailed on us. He must be getting too old, I guess. I actually thought this guy filled in better than Ozzie would have done so it was good."

Coincidentally, Cameron played for the Medicine Hat Tigers during the 2011-12 season, a team that Osgood also played for from 1989-1992.

Petr Mrazek was also impressed with the college netminder.

"We had fun," Mrazek said. "We had some competition in the end so that was awesome. I think he really enjoyed it."

Cameron, 24, is the Edmonton Oilers' emergency goaltender at home games so he was happy to help the Wings.

"It was really cool," Cameron said. "The speed, the pace was so high, nothing I've ever experienced before. I'm so grateful for the experience really. I'm happy I could help them out but they're the ones that helped me out."

Cameron said he also filled in with the Oilers last season.

"Once last year I practiced with the Oilers when Cam couldn't make a practice for whatever reason so this is my second time doing this, I guess," he said. "It doesn't get old."

Cameron was asked if anyone on the Wings really stood out to him during practice.

"Yeah, (Dylan) Larkin, we did some shootouts at the end and I had a tough time stopping Larkin," Cameron said. "He's got some nice mitts. He really stood out. Everyone though, their shots, they're just way harder than I'm used to so it took some adjusting."

MEMORIES OF LAST YEAR: Last year when the Red Wings visited the Oilers at new Rogers Place, it was a big of a rough start.

Defenseman Xavier Ouellet had the angle on Connor McDavid and then he didn't.

McDavid sped past Ouellet right to the net for a goal just 1:41 into the game.

"He's that type of player where he skates and just decides to accelerate and gains so much speed," Ouellet said. "I felt like I had a good angle, I was skating with him, everything was fine and then he just took three big strides and all of a sudden it's like, oh, my timing's not good. So you just can't get tricked into that little play that he does."

Most players in the league these days can skate but don't have that kind of burst whenever they want.

"It's kind of deceiving, he's skating around at a certain speed and then just hits a switch and then accelerates," Ouellet said. "It's hard to adjust to that. Once he takes that step ahead of you, it's really hard to come back on a guy like that."

Ouellet learned his lesson the hard way and hopes to prevent McDavid from doing that again.

"You angle a little better and you know that he's going to do that so maybe you try to pick up a little more speed a little earlier and not give him the chance to be in that footrace with you," Ouellet said.

"Like I always say, it's going to be the five guys on the ice that need to share the responsibility of playing against him. We need to be tight on him in certain areas and try to not give him a chance to build up so much speed coming against the Ds."

MRAZEK GETS A TURN: With Howard missing practice, Petr Mrazek is ready for his chance in goal Sunday afternoon in Edmonton.

"I'm really excited, can't wait for the game," Mrazek said. "I worked hard to stay in the game and hope I can do it more."

In three career starts against the Oilers, Mrazek is 1-2-0 with a 2.39 goals-against average and .913 save percentage.

"They're a fast team," Mrazek said. "That line with McDavid, they're trying to play in the offensive zone, spread the zone and throw pucks at the net and do chaos around the net. We have to do a good job against these guys."

Mrazek will be making his first start since Oct. 20 against the Washington Capitals.

Although Howard has started the last six games, Mrazek has been working hard to be ready for his opportunity.

"It's just about practice," Mrazek said. "You go there trying to stay in the game, work hard and try to work on the stuff to get better every day. I don't think it's mentally hard, just do those drills right on the ice in practice."

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