cross the city − New team, new environment. You have to believe that was a little weird for new Red Wings forward David Perron.
A popular player in St. Louis, and long a central part of the Blues’ identity, Perron played in numerous games against the Red Wings.
So putting on the Wings jersey Thursday for the first practice cap workout, yes, was weird.
“I only got some of my gear last week, so I still had the Blues gloves on and it was weird to skate in them,” Perron said.
In fact, Perron thought back to his teenage days, which made Thursday’s practice even more comfortable.
“When I was 13 or 14, I got red gloves from Sergei Fedorov and it kind of reminded me of that,” said Perron, who quickly got used to being a Red Wing and living in Detroit. “It’s really cool. An Original Six team, I never really had the chance (to play with one). I just got to know the Detroit area and sent my kids to school and I started with hockey, going to the rinks.”
Signed as an unrestricted free agent in July, Perron plans to strengthen the Wings in a variety of ways. Scoring goals, especially on the power play which has been the Wings weakness, defensively, leadership and just a certain veteran pedigree which is invaluable, especially on a younger team.
“What’s been really exciting about David and his conversations over the summer is that he’s admitted himself that he’s grown over the course of his career,” said the coach Derek Lalonde. “His work ethic, his approach, and he’s an incredible example of where he’s at now. He expects training to be high paced and he wants guys to work throughout. training. He takes on that role.”
At this point in his career, Perron, 34, is very focused on team goals.
“Just help the team move forward,” Perron said. “At this point in my career, I want to make a difference on the ice, still bring some of the things that I was doing in St. Louis, and that’s just finding the chemistry with the guys and finding the right teammates. But the team-wise is where I want to make a difference, in terms of leadership, kind of being an extension of the coaching staff, kind of preaching the right things in the room by talking and my game on the ice, and by making sure the defensive staples and throughout our system are there every night.”
Perron was a key member of the 2019 Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues, as well as then-Blues and now Wings teammates goaltender Ville Husso, defenseman Jake Walman (both were of the Black Aces and did not make the roster), and forwards Robby Fabbri and Oskar Sundqvist.
Having so many former St. Louis teammates now in Detroit made the transition easier.
“It made the transition easier,” Perron said. “When I saw Huss (Husso) was traded and signed (with the Wings) days before an opportunity for me (to come to Detroit), I got excited, and about the other guys in St. Louis. I’ve been in different situations throughout my career where I didn’t know anyone or know guys but I’m excited to join a group where to hear (GM) Steve (Yzerman) talk about it we’re ready to start pushing in the right direction and the hot days are hopefully over and we are pushing in the right direction.”
Husso and Alex Nedeljkovicon paper, potentially give the Wings one of the best goaltending pairings in the NHL.
At least at the start of the season, expect Lalonde to give both goaltenders a lot of work, with no real No. 1 or No. 2 designation.
“It’s going to be healthy competition,” said Lalonde. “The only thing I communicated to them is that they will both get the net from the start. We think both goalkeepers have advantages in their game. We want both goalkeepers to play against each other and we want it to be a healthy competition.
Both Nedeljkovic and Husso had periods during their brief NHL careers where they demonstrated high-level ability. But both also struggled in the second half of last season, Nedeljkovic with the Wings and Husso with the Blues.
“If one of those two can take that net at some point, great,” Lalonde said. “But at first they will both get the net.”
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Sundqvist was the only regular returner not on the ice for the first practice of the season. Lalonde felt this was going to be a daily situation when it came to Sundqvist’s return.
“I don’t think it’s going to be anything too concerning, but it will be day-to-day at the start of camp here,” Lalonde said.
… Nedeljkovic had the opportunity to work on the ice with the goalkeeper Sebastien Cossa (first-round pick in 2021) this summer.
“He looks good there,” Nedeljkovic said. “I skated with him today, he was in our group, and he looked good, lively. You can tell he’s working on it and he looks a lot better than he looks. did last year. It’s a good sign for a youngster to come and show what he’s got.”
… Lalonde will use a variety of forward lines and defensive combinations throughout camp and exhibition games, adding not to stock up on what you see on any given day in practice.
“I wouldn’t examine those lines much,” Lalonde said. “Tomorrow you will see drastic changes with the line. Eight exhibition games is a lot, so we will have the chance to look at many different combinations.”