TRAVERSE CITY — Anthony Mantha loudly bellowed “Oh, bulls--t!!!” when called for offsides in the second period Sunday, much to the Centre Ice Arena crowd’s delight.
Then he scored the game-winning shootout goal not much later to give his Team White a 2-1 victory in the Detroit Red Wings Red & White Game at Centre Ice Area in Traverse City.
Mantha, Detroit’s first round draft pick in 2013, and Frans Nielsen both scored in the best-of-three shootout that ended after just two shooters as both of Red’s attempts were stymied by Calvin Pickard.
Goaltender Filip Larsson’s name was misspelled on his Red Wings jersey Sunday, missing one “s.” He stopped all nine shots he faced in regulation, then allowed shootout scores by Nielsen and Mantha. The game, played in front of a capacity crowd, featured two 25-minute periods, both of which were played 3-on-3 for the final five minutes.
Forwards Dylan Larkin and Darren Helm and defenseman Mike Green did not participate in the scrimmage, with what head coach Jeff Blashill described as “tweaks” that he said are not long-term injuries.
Green, who enters the final year of his contract, is suffering no ill effects from last year’s viral infection that ended his season after 43 games, Blashill said.
Blue-liner Trevor Daley, limited to 44 games last season with a variety of injuries, participated in Sunday’s game. Forward Andreas Athanasiou did not return for the second period, although Blashill said it also isn’t serious.
Early injuries short-circuited hopes for a good start last season, and Blashill said he hopes to avoid the same fate this year.
“Having any team that starts with that many guys out is not good,” Blashill said. “It’s going to be difficult. Not making excuses. That’s reality. You don’t want to start with that many but, obviously you can’t control that. ... If we are faced with a similar health thing, that would be pretty odd to have multiple years in a row. So knock on wood.”
Athanasiou scored the game’s first goal off Moritz Seider and Daley assists to put Red up 1-0 with 14:07 left in the first period.
Young Finnish defenseman Oliwer Kaski evened the game up at one apiece, with Adam Erne setting up the goal.
Jimmy Howard stopped nine of 10 shots in the first period, and Pickard saved all 10 shots he faced in the second for the White team.
Jonathan Bernier made 13 saves on 14 first-period shots, and Larsson had nine second-period saves.
“When he in the net, he looks like a good goalie,” Blashill said of Larsson, a 2016 sixth-round pick. “He’s got to stay healthy. And that’s been something he hasn’t done.”
EARNING A SPOT
Erne, acquired from Tampa Bay in a trade a month ago, has his sights set on a spot on one of Detroit’s top three lines.
That wasn’t much of an option in Tampa Bay, where current Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman stockpiled a deep corps of forwards that made it difficult for Erne to work his way in.
“There’s there’s not much room to move up there,” Erne said. “They have such a deep top six that no matter how well you do, there’s only so high you can move yourself up. So it’s an opportunity that I see available here and it’s exciting.”
So when Yzerman left the Lightning to return to Detroit, he traded a fourth-round pick for the 24-year-old left wing.
“I was with him in Tampa so he knows what I can bring to the table,” Erne said. “I’m just trying to play my game and work my way in the lineup.”
The 6-foot-1, 214-pound Erne is a two-way forward who can play physically and also help with scoring. He had seven goals and 20 points in 65 games with Tampa last season.
“I think he can bring a pretty good combination of physicality and skill,” Blashill said. “That’s a rare combination in the league. Not very many guys in the league are super physical and then still have the skills to play in the top nine. And I think he’s got that ability.”
When asked about Tampa’s opening-round 4-0 sweep last year by eighth-seeded Columbus, Erne said, “I’m with the Red Wings now.”
Filip Zadina, Detroit’s 2018 first-round pick, said the entire crop of young players came into camp with an extra shot of faith in their abilities after winning the NHL Prospect Tournament last week.
Zadina, who has never lacked confidence, was asked where his level was at.
“I can’t tell you,” Zadina said. “I will show you on the ice.”
Whether that ice is in Detroit or Grand Rapids with the Griffins remains to be seen. The former sixth overall pick played 59 games with the Griffins and nine with a Red Wings sweater last season, netting one NHL goal and three points.
“It’s part of the whole life right?” Zadina said. “No one has the easy way to the NHL. But I was glad I could spend one year in the AHL. It opened my eyes. You know what? I gotta do better. ... The game is going to be a little bit slower for me this year.”
Blashill said broadening his game to include scoring around the net will help Zadina take that next step.
“There’s an area where 80% of goals are right in front of the net,” Blashill said. “I think Zadina’s ultimately going to score from that 80% area. To get the big numbers and goals, you’ve got to get right around that net. That’s the reality of it. You got to pick up what you term dirty goals.”
Zadina scored 16 goals and 35 points in 59 AHL games last season after a 44-goal campaign in Juniors with Halifax.
“I just want to be dangerous offensively,” Blashill said. “I think anytime you get to where you’re one dimensional, it’s hard to provide more than that. When I watched Filip Zadina in juniors, he made plays. That’s what that’s what I liked when I saw on tape is that there was more than just the pure scoring.”
Blashill joked that his playing career is over after playing goaltender in Saturday night’s Training Camp Alumni & Celebrity Game.
“I officially retired,” Blashill said. “That’ll be my last hockey game. I don’t know if you can retire when you actually never played pro, but I am officially retired.”
Blashill remarked about his “showmanship” of waiving the puck around in his glove after making a save on a Kris Draper shot.
“All I know is I want to end my career stopping Draper, stopping (Kirk) Maltby,” Blashill said.
The Red Wings released nine players Sunday from their amateur tryout contracts.
Getting released were forwards Mathieu Bizier, Thomas Casey, Cody Morgan, Owen Robinson and Chad Yetman, defensemen Marc-Olivier Duquette and Owen Lalonde and goaltenders Anthony Popovich and Sean Romeo.
The Red Wings now have 58 players on the training camp roster for Monday’s final day in Traverse City. Detroit opens the preseason Tuesday, hosting the Chicago Blackhawks at 7:30 p.m. at Little Caesars Arena.