Justin Abdelkader and Cory Emmerton stood several feet from each other, five yards to the right of Jimmy Howard, furiously passing the puck back and forth.

After several lightning-fast volleys between the two forwards, Emmerton broke quickly toward the net, shaked-and-baked through a move that might have made Pavel Datsyuk smile, and fired it by Howard.

Howard got only a piece of it, and then dutifully gave Emmerton a piece of his mind. Emmerton responded in kind, as the Red Wings tried to keep enthusiasm high through yet another workout, waiting for training camp to begin.

Good humor aside, it is a meaningful drill for the forwards and Howard. But it is not quite what goaltenders need.

They need to play in games.

"No matter how hard they are playing in Troy or Phoenix, where some of the guys are working out, it's not the same as playing for keeps," Red Wings assistant goalie coach Chris Osgood said.

There certainly will be some uneven play in the first several games of the new NHL season, coming back from the long owners' lockout of the players. Some players have tuned up in Europe. Some have played in the AHL. Other had to content themselves with informal workouts.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130110/SPORTS0103/301100356#ixzz2HaDZ7fOr