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Notes: Seider looking to impress, gain trust this preseason

Veleno excited about opportunity in Detroit; Bernier had busy offseason with new baby

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

DETROIT -- Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider impressed many during Detroit's successful NHL Prospect Tournament run.

Now he wants to do the same in the exhibition season, starting tonight in Chicago against the Blackhawks.

"You have to be excited," Seider said after the morning skate at Little Caesars Arena. "It's a great opportunity playing in the United Center against some very, very good NHL guys, I think one of the best. Everybody's looking forward to the game."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: "I'm excited, it's a great opportunity playing in the United Center playing against some very good NHL guys."Moritz Seider ahead of his preseason debut tonight in Chicago.

The player Seider was referring to is Patrick Kane, who will play tonight along with captain Jonathan Toews.

"It's always nice when you have a challenge in a game or a nice, important role," Seider said. "I had the opportunity to play one of the best NHL guys in an exhibition game already against USA (with Team Germany) so I'm kind of familiar with that. It was on the big ice. I think it's completely different in the States."

Tweet from @CarterBaum: #Blackhawks morning skate lines at the UC: Nylander - Toews - KaneD. Sikura - Highmore - SaarelaSaad - Kampf - KubalikHakkarainen - T. Sikura - HagelKeith - BoqvistMaatta - SeabrookGilbert - HolmCrawfordGravel

There is a balance to be struck between the kind of safe play Seider showed in the world championships versus the very aggressive play he demonstrated in the prospect tournament.

"One of the ways you can become a great defenseman is be as efficient as possible," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "The best D in the world are super-efficient, In terms of winning D, we had the best of all-time here in Nick Lidstrom probably in terms of pure efficiency, created offense without hardly giving anything up. I'm not comparing the two by any stretch but I think Seider has to be super-efficient, he has to use his offensive instincts when the opportunity presents itself but not at the risk of 50-50 plays.

"Sometimes in the Prospects Tournament he got over the 50-50 plays, where he was trying to force things that aren't necessarily there and that's how you end up beating yourself as a hockey team. He doesn't have to, I think he's got real good offensive and defensive instincts, so use them and be impactful and be a great defender."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: Coach Blashill gets us set for the second game of the preseason before heading out to Chicago. #DETvsCHI #LGRW

Throughout camp and again tonight in Chicago, Seider has been paired with veteran Trevor Daley.

"He's one of the most experienced guys in the league, over (1,000) games, I think," Seider said. "It's great. He helps me a lot, we communicate a lot. It makes it a lot easier."

At 6-foot-4, 203 pounds, Seider should also make things a bit easier for Daley as well.

"I think when you're tall you have to use your size and that's what I try every single night," Seider said. "I think playing hard and making the opponent tough to play against me is probably one of the parts of my game, too."

VELENO'S SECOND PRESEASON: Last year Joe Veleno was in Seider's shoes, entering his first NHL preseason since being drafted.

Now Veleno is 19 and has a different mindset than he had last year, knowing he does have a chance to make the Wings.

"Last year, I wasn't ready to play at the next level," Veleno said. "I knew I was going to go back to juniors and get another year there and try to play world juniors and dominate the QMJHL. I met all the expectations and now I'm coming into the season, turning pro, no more juniors anymore. Cleaned up a lot of my game defensively and focused a lot on the little details to play in the NHL. We'll see how it goes."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: "I'm going to go in there have some fun, work hard, and play hard."@jveleno91 ready to go tonight.

When Veleno returned to the Drummondville Voltigeurs last fall, Blashill told him to work on becoming a great two-way center.

"It's hard to be a pure point guy," Blashill said. "You look at his points in juniors, they were good, they weren't astronomical, so to think you come here and all the sudden go astronomical in points would be misleading, so I think become a great two-way center. I told him the quickest way to the NHL is to earn trust. That's true of every organization. So if you earn trust from the coach you get out there way quicker.

"So be great defensively, transport the puck up the ice like he does and produce offense, like he does. You got to do both for sure if you want to be in a top-two line center role but you better make sure you're good defensively."

Shawn Horcoff, the Wings' director of player development and assistant director of player personnel, and Dan Cleary, the assistant director of player development, kept in close touch with Veleno last year and helped him work on his defensive game.

Veleno spent most of the summer in Detroit working out with the other prospects. He also spent time working on his shot.

"I think that was one thing I wasn't doing as much in junior a couple of years ago," Veleno said. "And then once I was drafted here, they kept telling me to shoot the puck. I worked on my shot in the summer and got stronger. I just kind of shot and hope it goes in."

The puck certainly went in during the NHL Prospect Tournament as Veleno led the tournament with seven goals.

"It was a good time over there. I think a lot of guys had a lot of fun, especially winning that tournament," Veleno said. "It was pretty special for the whole organization and for us players, we really wanted to win. I think we showed it in all our games we played, always coming back from a deficit.

"The confidence is obviously high. I had a pretty good tournament but I got to reset myself here. I know it's a different level. This is like the real stuff, I guess. It all starts tonight."

BERNIER'S SUMMER: Goaltender Jonathan Bernier was a big banged up at the end of last season and did not play after leaving the March 29 game against New Jersey after two periods with an upper-body injury.

But Bernier recovered in plenty of time to do a lot of work over the summer.

"I probably skated, I was on the ice around June and working on little details, post work," Bernier said. "I thought we were getting a lot of shots from low to high so I kind of worked on that. You just train hard and you make sure that physically you're ready to go."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: Jonathan Bernier will get the nod in goal tonight. #DETvsCHI #LGRW

Bernier played in 35 games last season, 30 starts, and went 9-18-5 with a 3.16 goals-against average and .904 save percentage.

Bernier seemed to get in more of a groove when he and Jimmy Howard alternated starts for a while late in the season but there's no guarantee of a specific workload this season.

"Obviously, I think it's a lot easier to feel confident and being focused on the game but I gotta find a way when I don't play a lot to come in and be sharp like I was playing every night," Bernier said.

Someone who could help is defenseman Patrik Nemeth, a premier shot-blocker whom Bernier played with when they were both with the Colorado Avalanche.

"I definitely owe him a few dinners," Bernier said, smiling. "We had great chemistry in Colorado together and he's a 200-foot player so I think it's going to be good for our team and good for the young guys to look up to."

Of course the highlight of Bernier's offseason was the birth of his second son, Brady, on April 5.

Instagram from @jobernier45: Welcome to the world baby BRADY ❤️

"He's good," Bernier said. "He's growing pretty quick and he's healthy so we're blessed."

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