The Detroit Red Wings are set to open training camp at Little Caesars Arena for the condensed 2020-21 NHL Season, which begins with a January 14 matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes.
This year’s edition of the team received a facelift from GM Steve Yzerman, who brought aboard several new faces while saying goodbye to a pair of long-tenured veterans.
Forward Anthony Mantha, whom Yzerman inked to a new 4-year contract extension, is looking forward to the intensity of the practices that lie ahead as the team prepares for the new campaign.
“It’s going to be high tempo,” he said during a virtual media session this afternoon. “Practices will be intense, we’ll have a couple of good workouts….hopefully we can maybe get some reps out there and play as if it was exhibition season, but it will be high tempo.”
The Red Wings had the unfortunate distinction of being the NHL’s worst team last season by a rather large margin. By the time March rolled around, they’d already been the first team mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. That marks four straight years out of the annual tournament after 25 consecutive years of having competed for the Stanley Cup.
While acknowledging the fact that the team is rebuilding, Mantha looked ahead to the future. He and his teammates are ready to take the next step and are intent on making it happen this year.
“We need to bring that intensity of playing hockey to the start of the season. Obviously, we want to prove people wrong – it’s been the message for two years. Yes, we’re in rebuild mode, but we want to take the next step. We don’t want to be in rebuild mode for another five years – we want to end it this year.”
Of course, with several new faces this season, head coach Jeff Blashill and his staff will have the task of setting up the appropriate line combinations. And while it may take a bit for everyone to get used to one another, Mantha isn’t concerned about chemistry.
“Blash will take the decisions – there are a couple of new guys they went out and got,” Mantha said.
“It’s in his hands – we have two weeks of camp to get the best chemistry and best team out there for the 14th…chemistry will come eventually.”
– – Quotes via Detroit Red Wings Twitter Account Link – –