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Notes: Team White rallies for victory over Team Red

Prospect Dennis Cholowski makes good impression in prospects tournament and training camp

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

TRAVERSE CITY - The Red Wings wrapped up training camp in Traverse City with the annual Red-White Game at Centre ICE Arena Monday.

It was a high-spirited affair in which Team White rallied from a 3-0 deficit for a 5-4 victory over Team Red.

Trevor Daley, Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin (power play) scored in the first period as Team Red took the early 3-0 lead.

In the second, Team White chipped away, getting goals from Matt Lorito, Dylan Sadowy and Corey Elkins.

The game finished with lots of offense during the 3-on-3 portion, starting with Elkins' goal on a beautiful pass from Dennis Cholowski.

Tyler Bertuzzi gave Team White a 4-3 lead but Team Red got a goal from Libor Sulak to tie the game.

Tomas Tatar scored the game-winning goal for Team White with 31 seconds left.

"I think we played really good," Tatar said. "We had a lot of fun on the bench. We were down 3-0 and we turned it around. We were just pushing and pushing and it was fun to come back. Obviously we are really happy and we will give it to the other guys for sure."

It was sweet revenge for Tatar, who had an open net early in the second and was stopped by goaltender Thomas McCollum's glove save.

"I was not happy at all," Tatar said with a laugh. "Those saves, they kind of stay with you and mess with my head when you see the whole open net and Tommy just did a superman and saved it with the glove. Thank God we won and maybe that save just started us playing better."

Much has been made of the Wings' struggles on the power play last season.

Although it was just the Red-White Game, it was encouraging to see one go in with the man-advantage.

"I actually thought that power play group looked really good, the White group actually," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "I know the Red group scored but the White group looked really good. Tats and Nyquie (Gustav Nyquist), I thought Nyquie was real good as the bumper in the middle so that's positive.

"You look at process, they got some real good chances. Mantha standing in front of Jimmy (Howard), Jimmy had no chance. It was on a perfect angle. He's just a huge man, if he stands in front of the goalie the way he does, that's really tough for guys to see by him and a great shot by Larkin."

Captain Henrik Zetterberg did not play. Other veterans who sat out the game were Frans Nielsen, Mike Green, Justin Abdelkader, Jonathan Ericsson, Niklas Kronwall and Ryan Sproul (not yet cleared for contact).

CHOLOWSKI IMPRESSING: There's been one player mentioned more than once since the prospects tournament and throughout training camp - Cholowski.

Cholowski was the Wings' first-round pick, 20th overall, in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

When he was drafted, Cholowski was listed at 6-feet, 170 pounds.

After camp physicals this year, he is now 6-foot-1, 195 pounds.

Cholowski spent one year at St. Cloud, recording one goal and 11 assists in 36 games, and then signed an entry-level contract with the Wings.

"Last season wasn't the best year," Cholowski said. "I think I have a little bit to prove for sure. I tried to bounce back at prospects tournament, which I think I did pretty well and then keep it rolling at main camp."

Cholowski joined the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins for the end of the season and stayed throughout the playoff run as a Black Ace.

"I had a great experience just getting to practice with the team, being around the guys and just seeing what the pro lifestyle is like," Cholowski said. "Obviously the playoff run was a lot of fun to be around, too. I definitely learned a lot from that."

In addition to putting on weight, Cholowski listened to the advice of Shawn Horcoff, the Wings' director of player development.

"He just keeps telling me to push the offense, push the tempo on the ice," Cholowski said. "Assert yourself on the ice. He's obviously a great guy to talk to. He's been around the league for so long now. Just getting to soak up some of the experience he's had is a great thing for me."

Cholowski said he's also watched some of the Wings veterans, especially when he got to practice with Team Delvecchio, the group that was mostly Red Wings.

"Trevor Daley, Mike Green, couple I try to play like, steady and smooth," said Cholowski, who is known for his smooth skating. "You just try to soak everything up you can. They've been in the league so long. I'm a rookie so I'm going to ask them questions whenever I can."

Cholowski comes from a family that values education. His father is a mechanical engineer and that is what Cholowski studied at St. Cloud.

"This is the first year I'm not going to go to school," Cholowski said. "It's a little bit weird right now, but hockey is the goal. I pick up books, read text books. I'm sure my dad is going to make me do some math homework over the season. School kind of never really leaves me."

For now though, hockey will be Cholowski's main focus of study.

"The plan is have a long career in hockey and after that, we'll see what happens," he said.

Blashill said Cholowski will definitely play in Tuesday's exhibition game in Boston.

SULAK IMPROVING: The Wings signed Sulak, a free agent defenseman from the Czech Republic, on May 24.

It was a rough start to the prospects tournament for Sulak, who was minus-5 in his first game against the Carolina Hurricanes prospects.

Sulak scored in the Red-White Game for Team Red.

"He struggled a little bit in the prospects tournament and the one thing you got to be careful of is with big guys and guys that played on big sheets in Europe and don't know the language," Blashill said, "it's a hard thing. I thought he got better and better as the camp went along. He showed great guts yesterday in leading the skate test and I thought he was good out here today. He taken good steps. He looks like a guy who has the ability, with coaching, as he continues, to become a real good player."

EXHIBITION SEASON: The Wings now move back to their new home, Little Caesars Arena, and start the exhibition season.

"First of all, just to give guys an opportunity to play, guys that was not on the roster last year," Zetterberg said. "We have a few guys that are trying to earn a job, both with the Wings and in Grand Rapids. But also just kind of get a good flow again. I think last year was a tough year for everyone. You want to get on a good start, even though we had a good start last year. We hopefully can get the same start and keep going."

Blashill said he expects everyone to play in at least one or two preseason games.

"It's a balance to get guys ready and also not having any wear and tear, especially guys … Trevor Daley for example," Blashill said. "He's played a lot of hockey the last two years. But I also want him to be comfortable Game 1, so it's a balance how much you play him and how much you rest him. Same with a lot of our other veterans. In the end it works itself out."

That includes Kronwall, who did not skate during camp due to back spasms but skated before.

"He feels good," Zetterberg said. "I think he was ready to go today but someone else took the decision that he was not skating. He will be ready to go when we come back to Detroit. He's been looking good in the skates before. That's gonna be a real plus for us."

Main photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings.

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