BY CHRIS DOBROWOLSKI firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — It's on to the next phase of the preseason.
The Detroit Red Wings broke training camp on Sunday and are ready to jump into playing their eight-game exhibition slate, which starts tonight in Pittsburgh.
"It's going to be nice. This week was a time to get ready, to get in shape for the exhibition (games) that are coming up here. It kind of feels like it's starting more for real now," said defenseman Jonathan Ericsson.
Before Detroit capped off its initial four-day run in Traverse City, it squared off for the Red-White game, with the White posting a 4-3 shootout victory in front of a packed Centre Ice Arena on Sunday.
"It's really fun to go and play a game again. It's been awhile," said team captain Henrik Zetterberg. "I think it's another step, going from informal skates to camp it's one step. Now we take another step. We're ready. We had fun up here. It's fun to be up here and see everyone here again and now we're just going to move on."
Some of the players will remain in Traverse City for the next two days, while others will head out to play the Penguins and then the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks one night later.
"It was a good camp and for us to see all the young guys coming up," said Ericsson. "We don't really have a chance to see them before they come to camp. That was a thrill for me. I see a lot of really good players that I'm going to see on our team in a couple of years."
Some of those younger players made an impression at the intrasquad game, including defensemen Ryan Sproul and Xavier Ouellet and forward Riley Sheahan. Sproul and Ouellet each scored a goal for the White team and Sheahan scored what turned out to be the deciding goal in the shootout.
"You notice they're good players," said Zetterberg. "It's fun to see. That's one thing with this organization, we always seem to find the guys that come into the system and they play, and when they get the chance they're really ready to do the job."
Justin Abdelkader had a goal and two assists for the Red team and Mikael Samuelsson netted the tying goal with 22 seconds to play for the Red that sent the game into the shooout. Jakub Kindl also scored for the Red. Zetterberg had two assists.
Patrick Eaves had a power play goal for the White — one of two for that team — and new acquisition Daniel Alfredsson had two assists.
Alfredsson was Detroit's big addition in the offseason, along with Stephen Weiss.
"Getting Alfie and Weiss is two big pieces for this team," said Zetterberg. "We're excited to get this going now that camp is over and the preseason games start. It's good that we have the camp, now we will have the exhibition games and hopefully it will only get better and better."
The Red Wings are coming off a 22nd straight playoff appearance, which included a first-round win over Anaheim and a tough seven-game series loss to Chicago in the Western Conference semifinals.
"It's not a big difference from winning and losing in the playoffs and if we would've won that (seventh) game who knows how far we would've went," said Ericsson. "We know we're a good team and we think we're a better team this year."