Svechnikovs are up for a taste of home
Traverse City — Adjusting to life as a professional can be a bit of a challenge for players leaving juniors or college, especially those from another country.
But Red Wings prospect Evgeny Svechnikov, a 19-year-old forward who was picked in the first round in 2015, is about to get some big help this season, making the transition from Cape Breton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to the Wings farm club in Grand Rapids.
Mom is headed this way.
And, Elena Svechnikov is not leaving her cooking, or the Russian recipes, behind.
Svechnikov’s younger brother, Andrei, 16, was signed in April by the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the United States Hockey League, the premier junior league in the United States, and mother will move in with him, just up the road along Lake Michigan from where big brother will play.
She will be close to her boys, and the two young players who likely have no job more important for the moment than filling out and putting some manly muscle on those boyish bones, will get a big boost.
“It’s very exciting,” Evgeny said. “My mom’s going to come over and my dad will visit us because he is working in Russia.
“Everybody’s going to be closer. It’s just a happy feeling because family is family.”
Svechnikov said he will see quite a bit of his mother, and the 40-minute drive on I-96 will become familiar.
And, oh, yes, do not underestimate the lure of the food.
“Yeah, yeah!” Svechnikov said, his smile growing broad. “That’s the reason, too. That is why she is coming: Russian home food, it’s like home. “That’s good.”
Svechnikov said that, like him, his younger brother dreams of playing in North America. But part of the decision to sign with Muskegon is so the two could be close.
Soaking it in
Tyler Bertuzzi helped spearhead upstart Grand Rapids in the American Hockey League playoffs last season.
His seven goals and five assists in 14 games, however, was not enough to help Grand Rapids turn back the eventual Calder Cup champion, Lake Erie, in the Central Conference finals. But his performance provided more evidence the resolute, chippy Bertuzzi has an offensive game.
Bertuzzi, nephew of former Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi, hardly needs a development camp. But his presence at the Centre Ice Arena is valued as the 21-year-old provides an example, and perhaps some mentoring, for some teenagers.
“Especially for the younger guys coming in, it’s a big eye-opener,” Bertuzzi said. “For me, it’s my fourth year. I’ve had the experience, but I still soak it in because it is very important.”
Bertuzzi likely is destined for the Griffins again this season. But he may well make some noise in training camp in two months.
The Red Wings organization made a couple moves to solidify goaltending.
Jared Coreau, at 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds, received a two-year extension. He compiled a 2.42 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage in 47 games for the Griffins.
Coreau, who saw limited duty for the Wings in a backup role, was the goaltender of the month in December in the AHL.
The Wings also named Brian Mahoney-Wilson as goaltending development coach.
Danny DeKeyser filed for salary arbitration Tuesday.
Ted Kulfan contributed.