Bit of a curious move in advance of Detroit’s training camp — the club announced that Joel Rechlicz, aka “The Wrecker,” has been signed to a professional tryout.
Rechlicz, 28, was with the Wild organization last year and has pent most of his professional career duking it out in the American League, appearing in a handful of games for the Islanders and Caps between 2008-12.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder fought a combined 55 times for Bridgeport and Hershey during that span, including this tilt with Isles tough guy Brett Gallant:
The camp PTO is interesting.
Not because of Rechlicz so much, but rather what he represents — the Wings have been enforcer-free for quite a while and are traditionally at the bottom of the NHL table when it comes to fighting majors.
That, of course, coincided with the Mike Babcock era. The former Red Wings coach had little time for players that were out there solely to fight.
“The reality is the league has gone this way because the league is so fast you can’t get these guys on the ice,” Babcock said in 2012, to Sportsnet. “I don’t think it’s as much about not wanting toughness as it is about, how do you play them? How do you get them out there if you can’t fly up and down the rink? How do you play in today’s game?”
It remains to be seen if new head coach Jeff Blashill has a different philosophy.
It’s hard to imagine he does — he’s been groomed in the Detroit system for the last four years, after all — and the Rechlicz invite could simply be about getting a warm body into camp.
Still… it’s interesting.