Tatar relieved to return to Wings after 'tough summer'
Traverse City — Tomas Tatar is glad the summer is over and it’s time to get back to hockey.
Tatar had surgery to cure a troublesome shoulder injury that’s bothered him for years.
Then, Tatar was a restricted free agent who had to go to arbitration before finally working out a four-year contract worth $21.2 million ($5.3 million salary cap hit).
“It was a tough summer, that’s for sure,” said Tatar, who led the Red Wings with 25 goals. “It was long for everybody. For me personally, I’m glad I had that time to recover to get ready for the season. The first few months were tough. I feel really good now, no issues.”
Surgery had been an option for several years, but Tatar finally decided to do it this summer after the Red Wings season ended early with no playoffs.
It gave Tatar plenty of time to recover — but also, the pain was becoming more consistent and bothersome.
“This problem was going for a while, it was just getting worse,” Tatar said. “I didn’t really feel it when I got hit. It was just when I was shooting, an unexpected move, when you’re ready to shoot, it was like somebody was pulling you.”
As for the contract negotiation, Tatar at one point told the Slovakian media he felt his days with the Red Wings were ending.
But persistent negotiations finally led to a breakthrough and an agreement.
“It’s a business,” Tatar said. “It was a dream to become a Red Wing for me when I was a kid. It would have been tough to say goodbye for sure.
“I don’t think we were as far as the media was talking. I was reading some of the stuff, it was misleading. But we had it under control all the time. Me and Kenny (Holland, general manager) were talking and I didn’t see any issue.”
Camp wraps up
Tatar scored with just under 31 seconds left giving Team White a 5-4 victory over Team Red in the camp ending Red-White intrasquad scrimmage.
Matt Lorito, Dylan Sadowy, Corey Elkins (West Bloomfield) and Tyler Bertuzzi added the other Team White goals.
Anthony Mantha, Trevor Daley, Dylan Larkin (power play) and Libor Sulak scored for Team Red.
“The effort and compete was real good,” said coach Jeff Blashill, adding he liked what he saw from the prospects. “Young players especially get a chance, Ken’s words, ‘build a resume.’ When you have a great camp and play well, it’s a continuation of building that resume.”
The Red Wings open the exhibition season Tuesday night in Boston. Blashill said he’ll use a split squad of veterans and prospects the first few games.
Goaltender Jared Coreau understands the situation.
Coreau stands third on the depth chart behind Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek, and isn’t likely to start the season in the NHL (barring injury to the other two).
Coreau is out of minor league options and could be exposed to waivers. If Coreau clears, he’ll be headed back to Grand Rapids.
Still, Coreau is thinking NHL as the exhibition season begins.
“I’m coming here to make the team, that’s the mentality I’ve had every year,” Coreau said. “I have to do what I can every day and work hard and when exhibition game opportunities come, I need to capitalize on them.”
Coreau changed his diet during the summer to slim down and get in his best shape.
“I went vegetarian, or maybe pescatarian would be the right term,” Coreau said. “I still eat some fish and eggs but I wanted to lose a bit more weight, especially going late into third periods. I wanted to be lighter and conserve energy. My endurance is much better.”
Veterans such as Henrik Zettererg, Frans Nielsen, Justin Abdelkader, Mike Green and Jonathan Ericsson were held out from the — but all are available to play, said Blashill.
… Niklas Kronwall (back spasms) didn’t skate and continues to be day-to-day.
Zetterberg said he’s not concerned about his good friend Kronwall.
“He feels good, he was ready to go today,” Zetterberg said. “He’ll be ready when we come back to Detroit. He’s been looking good in the skates before camp and that’s a plus for us.”
Red Wings at Bruins
Faceoff: 7 p.m. Tuesday, TD Garden, Boston
Outlook: This is the first of eight preseason games for the Red Wings. Their first game at the new Little Caesars Arena is Saturday, also against the Bruins.