TRAVERSE CITY — After interviews wrapped up following the Detroit Red Wings Development camp scrimmage, Simon Denis leaned over to Jason Binkley.
“This is more media than we’ve seen in three years,” Denis said.
“That’s what it’s like in the show,” Binkley said.
The two Ferris State junior defensemen stepped in at the last minute to fill out Team Lidstrom in Friday’s scrimmage at Centre ICE. Their squad dominated on the scoreboard, defeating Team Yzerman 7-1 as the pair of Bulldogs blueliners played against the Red Wings’ top prospects for 60 minutes.
Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill called Ferris State to see if they had any players around who could fill in for some injured development camp players.
“There’s a lot of young talent here, and we’re just happy enough to get this opportunity,” Denis said. “It’s a really lucky opportunity. We’re really glad coach Blashill called us up to play this game. You get to see the opportunity of the NHL and a lot of guys who are going to be at that stage. It’s a tremendous honor.”
Blashill — who was an assistant coach at Ferris from 1999-2002 — needed the pair to replace injured blueliner Mitchell Wheaton and Darren Helm, who was held out of the game as he returns from a back injury that cost him all but one contest last season.
“They both came in and played well,” Blashill said. “They’re obviously both in really good shape. I thought some guys were getting really tired — and those two weren’t.”
“It’s definitely quite an experience that I don’t think Simon or I will either forget,” said Binkley, who even added a shootout goal to his night.
Since the two hadn’t participated in the camp earlier, Team Lidstrom coaches Tomas Holmstrom and Chris Chelios kept them together as a defense pairing. Not only have they been on the same team at Ferris for two seasons, but also were on the same United States Hockey League team before that.