Takeaways from the Red Wings first preseason game

Red Wings hockey is back!

Well, sorta. Preseason hockey can be very hit or miss, depending largely on the lineups being deployed. The Red Wings this year have nine preseason games on the schedule — the first two games being a home-and-home against the long time rival Chicago Blackhawks.

The first matchup mainly featured the B-squad, with some NHLers sprinkled in there. They key prospects to watch included Dennis Cholowski, Evgeny Svechnikov, Michael Rasmussen, and Taro Hirose. Jimmy Howard and Calvin Pickard split the crease, with Howard playing the first half of the contest, and Pickard getting the second half.

Ultimately, the boys secured a 5-3 victory to open the season! Some takeaways from tonight:

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  • Evgeny Svechnikov had an okay game, with a handful of strong shifts. The spotlight will be on Svechnikov for most of the preseason, having missed the entirety of the 2018-19 season with an ACL injury. During an intermission interview, he mentioned how his confidence was slowly coming back. That was evident in his play, having a few mishandles of the puck that resulted in turnovers. He also took some big hits along the boards that could have ended far worse. He’ll need to be more aware of where he is positioning himself, and how vulnerable he may be.
  • The powerplay very much looked like a work in progress. You can just tell this is preseason hockey. Cholowski and Hronek served as the quarterbacks up top and had their moments. I felt Hronek deferred to the pass way to often, and avoided some key opportunities to get a shot off. Cholowski, on the contrary, I felt played with great aggression from the point. His foot work to walk the blue line and create lanes was quite effective.
  • Cholowski was also not afraid to join the rush. He had several high quality chances that were a result of him stepping up in the play. Watching him move up the ice was a treat. I found my self marveling at just how elegant of a skater he is. Once he figures it all out, Detroit could have good one of their hands.
  • Michael Rasmussen was sneaky good for most of this game. He set up Svechnikov for a couple of chances out front, and played a solid defensive game. After playing his rookie season in the NHL on the wing, he got a shot at center tonight where his defensive responsibilities increased, and he handled it well. That is the kind of progression the coaching staff will want to see from him if he wants to make the opening night roster. He got his breakthrough on the powerplay, scoring the game winning goal off a quick move from the net side. He wanted that one bad, having showed some frustration on the previous shift after squandering a golden scoring chance.

  • The goal scorers from tonight: Matt Puempel, Matt Ford, Chris Terry, Michael Rasmussen, and Luke Glendening (ENG)

The Red Wings are back in action tomorrow night from Chicago. The Blackhawks are expected to be playing some of their prominent NHL regulars like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.