But the Wings’ staff did present that opportunity to their prospects on Tuesday, where Team Lidstrom defeated Team Zetterberg 5-4 in a shootout in the final scrimmage of the annual development camp, which concluded Tuesday at City Arena.
“We wanted to play 5-on-5 for a (period), get them going,” Curt Fraser, the Grand Rapids coach, who ran the five-day development camp. “But then we wanted to see the skill level come out 4-on-4 and 3-on-3 to see Riley (Sheahan) and Landon (Ferraro) and (Willie) Coetzee and those guys. We wanted to see what they could do with a little more room on the ice, and it worked out perfectly.”
One of Tuesday’s surprises was free-agent invitee Broc Little, a senior at Yale. He scored twice in regulation and added a shootout goal in Team Lidstrom’s victory.
While the play was still physical, there weren’t many bone-crushing hits. Players took full advantage of the chance to showcase their talent — even scrappers like Mitch Callahan, the Wings’ 2009 sixth-round pick, executed pretty plays with linemates.
“Playing 3-on-3 is always fun,” said Sheahan, the Wings’ top pick of last month’s NHL draft. “You get a lot more ice and you get to stickhandle a lot more, and you have room to make some extra moves. It was a lot of fun.”
The two teams played three 15-minute periods with a running clock, going from 5-on-5 in the first, to 4-on-4 in the second, to 3-on-3 in the third. Five players from each team participated in a shootout between periods.
Team Lidstrom initially felt the absences of injured defensemen Brendan Smith
(shoulder) and Ben Marshall (wrist), with Team Zetterberg dominating the action in the first period .
Nick Oslund led off with a five-hole goal past Team Lidstrom goalie Thomas McCollum
, with Little scoring shortly after to go up 2-0. But with 21-seconds remaining, Trevor Parkes
trimmed in the deficit to one.
The 5-foot-9 Little emulated his team’s namesake to give his team a 3-1 lead in the second period. He received a long pass, fired off a shot, and buried his own rebound — all while fending off an opposing player.
However, Team Lidstrom completed their comeback with four minutes remaining in the third, when Brent Raedeke
scored the tying goal. Shortly after, Team Lidstrom took a 4-3 lead on Dean Chelios’ goal.
But Ferraro, who stood out amongst his peers on Tuesday, showed everyone why the Wings chose him with their top pick (No. 32 overall) in 2009. He slid the puck past local invitee and Michigan State goalie Drew Palmisano on a breakaway to tie the game for the second time.
Ferraro nearly netted the win for his team shortly after, but his wrist shot clanked off the post as regulation time expired.
To determine the winner, each team chose their five best shooters for a final shootout. In the first four rounds, Brian Rufenach and Little scored for Team Zetterberg. Sebastien Piche
and Andrej Nestrasil
scored for Team Lidstrom.
It came down to this year’s third-round draft pick, Louis-Marc Aubry
– after Raedeke scored – and like his teammate Ferraro had done minutes earlier, Aubry hit the post.
“We had a little comeback,” Team Lidstrom’s Sheahan laughed after the game. “It was high-paced, and it was a good last time on the ice with these guys.”
Fraser couldn’t say enough about the level of play he saw on the ice.
“Some of the plays they’re making out here, they’re ahead of the curve,” he said. “Like every day has gotten better. They’ve been more relaxed, and the scrimmages have showed it. Competitive, hard hitting, battling—all the ingredients for a good camp, they brought it and we saw.”
And although every player tries to prove their own individual worth to the Wings’ staff, Sheahan said they all got along surprisingly well, which helped.
“It seems like hockey players, when you first meet them, you know that they’re good guys,” he said. “I feel like we’re a certain brand, and the chemistry in the locker room and on the ice, just through our week, you could tell was strong. So it was a lot of fun playing with these guys.”
After suffering what appeared to be a broken wrist on Monday, Marshall told DetroitRedWings.com it may be even worse than first thought.
“I guess I have ligaments that are torn off some bones, and I might have fractured my growth plate,” he said Tuesday while sporting a cast on his left arm.
Marshall’s sure he’ll need surgery, but he won’t know the true extent of his injury until he sees his doctors back home in Minnesota.
The injury was the result of falling into the boards, “a little funky,” he said.
“I kind of dumped it in and turned around, and I got a little shove from behind and I tried to stop myself,” Marshall said. “My stick got caught along the boards there and it kind of just turned on me.”
Marshall, who just finished his junior year of high school, is spending his senior year in Nebraska, where he’ll play for the USHL’s Omaha Lancers. He’s scheduled to move there Aug. 7, and is hopeful he’ll heal fast.
“The season doesn’t start till September 1, so I’m sure I’ll be fine by then, hopefully,” he said.