"I have to show everyone I can play in NHL and I really want to be part of the Detroit Red Wings. I know what I got to do better. I been talking about it every year -- be better defensively. Get used to the speed and watching all the players practicing, I think it will help me a lot as well."--Jakub Kindl
That quote comes from the Free Pressearly this morning. Kindl opted to stay and train in his native Czech Republic this summer up until a couple days ago. Last year, he came back early and trained with Justin Abdelkader - but that was mostly because Kindl still had a place in Grand Rapids. This year, however, Kindl will not have a place in Grand Rapids, it's Detroit or bust coming out of camp.
"He's a big kid who can pass the puck and skate. The challenge for him now is to find the confidence to be an NHL player. There's no question in our mind ... that he's ready to play. But now the part is you got to decide you're ready to play."--Mike Babcock
What could be affecting Kindl's confidence? Perhaps the fact that he's a combined -53 in 229 career AHL games - all with the Grand Rapids Griffins. He's managed to tally 12 goals and 72 assists during that same time frame, but I think everyone - including himself - was hoping for a little bit more from him up to this point.
The 23 year old isn't going to win the now coveted seventh defenseman spot on Detroit by default - competition is tightening up with Derek Meech and now Brendan Smith trying to win the position. The 6'3, 199 lbs first round draft pick (19th overall) of the Red Wings in 2005 needs to come out and play with some confidence in camp.
Babcock says that Kindl has his full confidence, but he needs to find his self-confidence. Here's hoping that he does. Training Camp starts on Saturday - then the real work begins.