The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/22/14 at 02:24 AM ET
Updated 2x at 8 AM, curse you, insomnia: I'm currently in the midst of my famous late-summer sinus infection, but there are some things you need to know:
1. Red Wings single-game tickets go on sale today at 10 AM (online, at box offices, etc.) and the $9 seats go on sale on Saturday, in-person-only, at the Joe;
2. The Joe Kocur Foundation's annual set of charity softball games take place on Saturday in Highland, MI, with the gates opening at 10 AM for 4 softball games that take place at 11 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM and 5 PM (the latter pair of games are the Wings alumni games) and tickets are $11.54 online until noon today, and then you have to pay $15 at the door.
The Milford Times' Joe Thiesen reports that the event's super-fan-friendly...
The games will benefit local charities such as Team Kendal, Wings of Mercy, FAR Conservatory of Therapeutic and Performing Arts, Huron Valley Special Olympics and Play Like Jackson Foundation. Gates open at 10 a.m., with the first game at 11 a.m. and new games every two hours. The celebrity game will be at 5 p.m.
While the softball games are the main attraction, plenty of other things are available to families: bounce houses, tug-of-war, radar gun pitching area, carnival midway with games, Ferris wheel, fire trucks, food and beverages and plenty more.
Go to http://www.Joekocurfoundation.org for more information.
Tickets can be purchased at http://www.2014joekocursoftball.eventbrite.com.
Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the gate. Children under 10 are free.
“It’s so affordable for an all-day event. Everything, pop, pizza, water, it’s all $1. Why we can sell it for that is because it’s all donated,” Kocur said. “We want to give back to the community. We learn a little more every year. We learn ways to get better and better ways to raise money. We just keep adding volunteers and help with fresh ideas. It allows us to make subtle changes every year.”
And among the attendees...
Steve Avery (Atlanta Braves)
Scott Lusader (Detroit Tigers)
Eric Hipple (Detroit Lions)
Chris Fehn (rock group Slipknot)
Ryan Mendez (rock group Yellowcard)
Erin Cummings (actress)
Amy Andrews (WJBK-TV)
Cam Fowler (Anaheim Ducks)
(I was kind of bummed that nobody said, "Hey, George, wanna go along?" until I got this damn bug. Now I don't want to give anyone this bug. I may have bad social anxiety and stuff but I'm not some weirdo...Okay, I'm weird, but the friendly weird...)
(Also: The Ilitch Charities' celebrity golf classic takes place on Monday, August 25th at the Oakland Hills Country Club, but sponsorship slots start at $2,500 and golf foursomes start at $12,500, so good luck...)
3. Given that Todd Bertuzzi and the Vancouver Canucks have issued statements confirming that some sort of agreement has been reached in Steve Moore's lawsuit, I do not know why the following pair continue to deny something that the Canucks could get into a lot of legal trouble for gun-jumping:
On Tuesday, Geoff Adair, the Toronto-based attorney working for Bertuzzi, said a “firm and binding” agreement that was “enforceable by a court” had been reached by all parties involved in the case. On Wednesday, Mark Moore dropped a veil of uncertainty over the situation by telling TSN he had received a text message from his younger brother saying “there is no deal yet.”
The check may not be in the mail, but I'm going to trust the lawyer and the Canucks over Allan Walsh and Westhead, despite his credentials. I hope that Steve got a massive payout and that he can move on with his life, but I'm nearly in, "Leave Britney Alone!" (sans makeup) mode regarding giving this a *#$%@& rest even if the check isn't in the mail yet, legally speaking.
4. As Paul noted, the Grand Rapids Griffins hired Dave Noel-Bernier as an assistant coach, and Western Michigan University assistant coach Pat Ferschweiler issued a statement thanking Western Michigan University....
Ferschweiler leaves his alma mater after four seasons as an assistant and associate head coach after arriving in 2010 to assist current Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill at the Detroit Red Wings top minor league affiliate. As an assistant he helped the Broncos return to the CCHA Championship game in 2011, the program’s first NCAA Tournament big since 1996, and then followed it up with a CCHA Tournament Championship and back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time in program history.
“I am very proud and thankful of my time here at Western Michigan,” said Ferschweiler. “I would like to thank Kathy Beauregard for her continued commitment to Bronco athletics great and her support of the hockey program. I would also like to thank associate athletics director Monty Porter for his guidance, friendship, and his passion to make hockey a national contender. I am extremely grateful to head coach Andy Murray for the opportunity to work with him for the last three years. Andy is an amazing hockey coach and person and I am proud to have him as a mentor and a friend. This program was able to achieve success again through the players incredible dedication and determination to be great and I want to thank them for giving everything they had everyday. I will continue to be a proud Bronco and will always be grateful for the way the WMU community has embraced my family.”
With Ferschweiler’s help Western Michigan has had tremendous success, particularly on the defensive end. Working with the defensemen he has helped four Bronco blue-liners sign NHL contracts.
“We take a great deal of pride at Western Michigan when one of our players or coaches has an opportunity to move on to the professional level,” said head coach Andy Murray. “We are excited about Pat’s opportunity with Grand Rapids and the Red Wings organization. He’s helped me a great deal in terms of my transition from professional hockey to the college game and has made a tremendous impact on all of our players. He and his wife Stacy are quality people and I value their friendship.”
Ferschweiler becomes the second associate head coach to leave during the off-season after Rob Facca accepted a scouting position with the Chicago Blackhawks.
“Our program has moved a lot of players onto professional hockey and with Rob joining the Blackhawks and now Pat joining Grand Rapids and the Red Wings, it is an indication to the respect that our program has gained on the national level. We found a quality coach in Ben Barr to replace Rob and there is tremendous interest in Pat’s position and we expect to announce a new coach shortly.”
5. I found it ironic that just after I posted Mike Babcock's interview on Saskatoon's News Talk 980, Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner suggested that Babcock not sign a contract extension:
If I were Babcock, I wouldn't sign an extension with the Wings right now. He owes it to himself and his family to explore every option that comes his way before he signs anything.
Babcock's next deal is a culmination of a lifetime of hard work, and he's about to be paid back for a nomadic coaching lifestyle that's seen him constantly uproot himself and his family. Over the last 27 years, Babcock has lived in England, several Canadian provinces and four U.S. states. His ship is about to come in, and he'll dictate his next -- and, in all likelihood, his final -- NHL coaching destination.
That's not to say that Babcock is signed, sealed and delivered out of Detroit. He likes it here and has a good working relationship with Wings GM Ken Holland. And perhaps last season's forced youth movement has rejuvenated his desire to stay in Detroit.
"I am not overly concerned because of my relationship with Mike Babcock," Holland told me about Babcock's contract situation. "I'm the manager and he's the coach, but I would say he's also a friend. We work well together. We have a great relationship. It will get done when it gets done. We'll sit down in September and hopefully find a solution. And if not, Mike and I will have an open, great relationship, and we'll continue to talk about it as we go along. I'm confident we'll find a solution to keep Mike."
Unfortunately for the Wings, it's not their decision. They want Babcock back, but a lot of NHL teams will line up to give their sales pitch.
Who knows? Maybe Babcock's nomadic spirit is restless once again. If we've learned anything about Babcock's coaching career, he isn't afraid to make a move.
Yes, it is up to the Wings, because they can choose whether to allow teams to give their "sales pitches" or whether they wish to not give other teams access to Babcock until July 1st. That's how it works.
Also: Babcock has repeatedly said that he'd prefer to stay here, so I fully expect him to NOT sign a contract before the regular season starts to $queeze more leverage out of Ken Holland, but if he doesn't stay, then he'll be going against his repeated words in the media, and there's no small part of irony in the fact that Babcock despises inconsistent portrayal of his statements...
6. Amongst Michigan Hockey's offerings from MSU's Pro Camp (it wraps up today from 10-12 AM at Munn Ice Arena and is open to the public), Michael Caples posted videos of Torey Krug and Justin Abdelkader giving from-the-bench interviews...
Michigan Hockey's Nick Barnowski also dropped quite the tidbit after reporting that Danny DeKeyser and Daniel Cleary are now at the camp...
Griffins coach Jeff Blashill also made an appearance at the camp to host a lecture for College Hockey, Inc.:
As such, we should expect an interview up sooner than later:
7. Nick shifts our focus to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (again, head to http://www.alsa.org to learn more and donate to the cause)...
As MLive's Ansar Khan answered Winging It in Motown's challenge...
Kris Draper did it, too...
And the team Kris Draper coaches, the Little Caesars 2002 team, did it, too;
Draper was at the Joe for a non-charitable reason:
Dun dun dun, per DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:
8. In the prospect department, the Wings posted a YouTube prospect profile of defenseman Nick Jensen. Jensen's pro career started late because Tyler Bertuzzi invited him to fight last summer and screwed up Jensen's shoulder, but he's definitely the wild card among the Sproul-Ouellet-Backman-Marchenko field as Jensen is by far the best skater and he's a puck-carrying defenseman:
9. In the "Minor League" department, the ECHL's Kalamazoo K-Wings now have a dual AHL affiliation with the Vancouver Canucks' farm team, the Utica Comets, and the Columbus Blue Jackets' farm team, the Lake Erie Monsters;
And the Toledo Walleye, the Red Wings' ECHL affiliate, signed two more players:
Forwards Mike Seidel and Mike Leone have agreed to terms with the Toledo Walleye for the 2014-15 season.
The Walleye are the ECHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League and the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League.
Seidel spent most of last season with the Evansville IceMen where he collected 28 points (11g-17a) in 57 contests. He also had one goal and two assists in 10 games with Gwinnett to finish out his rookie season. From 2009-13, the 26-year-old played at the University of Minnesota-Duluth where he collected 88 points (47g-41a) over 150 college contests. During his senior season, the 5'10", 174-pound forward posted career highs in assists (17) and points (34) while tying his career high in goals (17).
Leone, a native of Dearborn, Mich., played last year in France for Villard-de-Lans where he had 11 points (7g-4a) and 56 penalty minutes in 26 games. He spent the previous three years at Western Michigan University, posting 39 points (14g-25a) in 81 games with the Broncos. In 2012-13, he set career bests with 11 assists and 17 points. The 5'11", 190 pound forward appeared in three contests in 2012-13 with Kalamazoo, collecting an assist.
10. Speaking of minor league--used as a pejorative--Mikael Samuelsson scored the OT winner as Djurgardens IF won their Champions League game against Freibourg 5-4, and the Swedish papers swooned about the start of what Samuelsson told Aftonbladet's Tomas Ros would be a "Swedish league revenge" proving he's still a front-line player at 37, but he's not a Wing any more, so I'm not translating the damn article!
In more Champions Hockey League play...
Mattias Janmark and the Frolunda Indians lost 4-3 to Geneve-Servette, and Axel Holmstrom and Skelleftea AIK defeated Krefeld 2-1...But Champions League hockey is basically a preseason tournament pitting SHL teams, Finnish Liiga teams, German DEL teams and Swiss NLA teams, Czech Extraliga and Slovak Extraliga teams against each other to win the Victoria Cup, but...Well, it's a preseason tournament with ambitions of being as big as the FIFA World Cup, and it's got a long way to go.
11. In the "Some Old News, Some New News" department, summertime version, Paul posted the "outlooks" for Luke Glendening and Gustav Nyquist, which were penned by MLive's Ansar Khan and the Free Press's Helene St. James, respectively...
But as you might expect, I'm going to weigh in on both--as well as St. James' new article about Johan Franzen.
MLive's Khan suggests that Glendening, who's no longer waiver-exempt, needs to keep his acerbic edge to retain his spot in the lineup...
2014-15 outlook: The former Michigan captain quickly became one of coach Mike Babcock's favorite players because of his grit, determination and work ethic. Glendening seized an opportunity, due to a rash of injuries, to secure the fourth-line center spot. He maintained it over Joakim Andersson late in the season when the team got healthier. He brings a different dimension than most of the other forwards with his physical play and abrasiveness. He needs to be hard to play against to be effective. Babcock occasionally matched him up against the opponent's top center. With the team's depth at center (Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Stephen Weiss, Riley Sheahan, Darren Helm, Joakim Andersson), Glendening could end up playing the wing, where he played much of collegiate and AHL career, on the fourth line with Helm. He's not counted on for offense but it helps when your fourth line and contribute some points, so Glendening must produce more than he did last season. He also needs to improve in the faceoff circle, if he stays at center.
Key question: If Glendening, Andersson and Daniel Cleary are competing for one spot in the lineup, who should win that battle?
Glendening, if not an inanimate carbon rod, but you and I both expect Cleary to win by default.
It would be nice if Glendening could put up more than a goal and 8 assists in 56 games (with a -8 to boot), and I know that he's very unpopular in terms of the, "Is this kid even an NHL'er?" argument, but as he's here...
If he can win more faceoffs and he can continue to be consistently mean to the point that he draws penalties on his opponents without taking penalties himself, he'll do just fine as a fourth-line center. He stole Joakim Andersson's job and I don't expect him to relinquish it.
As for Nyquist, as the Free Press's St. James suggests, his "outlook" is much brighter (and yes, the Wings ought to lock him up sometime this year as he's one of the few players I'd suggest would be a target for an offer sheet as a restricted free agent next summer):
Looking back: Nyquist turned out to be the team MVP, scoring two goals in his first game up from the minors and never looking back. His most masterful work came shortly after the Olympics, when he pumped in a dozen goals in 10 games. With Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk ailing, the Wings wouldn’t have made the playoffs without Nyquist’s puck prowess. He quieted down the last half-dozen games of the regular season with only two assists, and his young age (he turns 25 on Sept. 1) showed in the playoffs, as he disappeared against the big Bruins.
Looking ahead: Nyquist has natural talent with the puck that virtually guarantees he’ll be, at the very least, a regular 20-goal scorer. He could stand to improve in his own end. What Nyquist must adjust to now is that he’ll be a focal point of defenses, much more so than he was last season. He’ll be a regular on one of the top-two lines from the start this season, and will be counted on to contribute at even strength and on the power play.
Nyquist fizzled the last three weeks of 2013-14, but he should come to training camp confident in his overall performance, including having been a part of Sweden’s silver-medal performance at the Sochi Olympics. The playoffs were disappointing, especially considering Nyquist was such a key part of the success as a member of the third line in the 2013 playoffs. But now Nyquist knows how much harder it’ll be next time he is in a series. All in all, a bright future beckons.
Khan profiled Nyquist on August 12th, and NHL.com's 30 in 30 set of Wings articled included Dan Rosen wondering whether Nyquist can score at last year's clip (28 goals, 20 assists and 48 points in 57 games played, as well as a +16).
I hate to sound too repetitious, but Nyquist really did slow down in terms of both scoring and playmaking just before the playoffs, and the Bruins absolutely checked him into dust--just as the Blackhawks did in the spring of 2013.
Nyquist's going to have to learn to add a little Datsyukian simplicity, a higher "compete" level and some upper-body strength to his game to take off again, and as he sort of wandered from the "Riley and the Slovaks" line to the Datsyuk line and back, a consistent set of linemates wouldn't hurt, either...
But he's a special player and he's destined to wear a letter on his sweater because he's doggedly worked in practices, in the weight room and during games in order to improve every aspect of his game, and hard workers tend to master the learning curve.
The "New News" article comes in the form of St. James' take on Johan Franzen (keep in mind that his 16 goals, 25 assists and 41 points came in only 54 games, and even he finished at +6) which is...emphatic:
Looking back: Franzen’s scoring put him on pace for 37 goals. Adjust for being a streaky scorer like so many others, and it’s still fair to suggest he could have scored around 25-30 had he been healthy for the whole season. Instead he was dealing with a concussion, one he is considered to have come back from too soon the first time. Franzen demonstrated his hot hand coming out of the Olympic break when he scored six goals in four games, but then had a quiet rest of spring.
I desperately wish that Franzen would put on a visor and stick with it. Niklas Kronwall and Valtteri Filppula made an intriguing point to me three years ago, saying that visors are particularly useful in protecting players' temples from concussion-inducing impacts (a helmet's temple region isn't the most well-protected area), and the fewer punches Franzen would take to an unprotected forehead, the better, especially given his history with concussions and a subdural hematoma back in 2008.
Looking ahead: The Wings have not and are not trading Franzen because he scores goals at a rate very amenable to his salary-cap hit. His health was an issue last season (as it was in the case of so many of his teammates), but he played 41 of 48 games the previous year. Franzen became something of a phenomenon after the goals poured in during the 2008 and 2009 playoffs, after which came near 30-goal seasons in 2010-11 and 2011-12. He hasn’t dominated to that extent since, but he remains a scoring threat opponents have to honor.
Also, at 6-foot-3, 220-plus pounds, he is the Wings’ biggest forward.
He doesn't play like it, but he really is more of a sniper than a power forward, and I think that Wings fans who make peace with that concept are happier fans.
Franzen, 34, is not a fiery guy by nature, leading both teammates and coaches to joke about how to light a fire under him. Usually if he flares up during a game, it’s because an opponent manages to get under Franzen’s skin, much to the Wings’ delight. When he’s on his game, Franzen goes through anyone in his way and scores. He’s streaky about that, but the bottom line is that he’s a 20-goal scorer on a $4-million cap hit, and that makes him a good value overall in today’s NHL.
12. In previews of other teams and other teams' previews of the Wings department, DetroitRedWings.com's Roose penned an assessment of the Columbus Blue Jackets (and if you missed it, the Plymouth Whalers officially announced that 2014 16th overall draft pick Sonny Milano is going to play OHL hockey this season)...
ARRIVALS: Forwards Scott Hartnell, Brian Gibbon and Jerry D’Amigo.
DEPARTURES: Forwards R.J. Umberger, Derek MacKenzie, Blake Comeau, Jack Skille, Matt Frattin, Cody Bass and Carter Camper; defensemen Nick Schultz and Nikita Nikitin; and goalies Mike McKenna and Jeremy Smith.
PLAYER TO WATCH: The Blue Jackets made a considerable commitment to center Brandon Dubinsky, signing him to a six-year, $35.1 million contract extension, which begins with the 2015-16. He’ll make $5.85 million per season through the 2020-21 campaign. GM Jarmo Kekalainen said Dubinsky earned the deal for playing at a high level especially when the game elevates in intensity. The 28-year-old two-way forward, who was part of the deal that sent Rick Nash to the Rangers, was instrumental in clamping down on Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby through their first-round series last April. In the two seasons since the Nash trade, Dubinsky has produced 18 goals and 70 points in 105 regular-season games.
SEASON SCOPE: Unlike last summer, when they snapped up Nathan Horton, signing the UFA forward to a seven-year contract, the Blue Jackets approached this year’s open market with more of a cautious eye. With the emergence of burgeoning young stars, including Ryan Johansen, Boone Jenner, David Savard, and the trade that landed them top-six forward Scott Hartnell from Philadelphia, the Jackets certainly seem to be on the rise. Newly acquired Brian Gibbons (UFA, Pittsburgh) and Jerry D’Amigo (trade with Toronto) will head to training camp vying for regular season roster spots as fourth-line contributors.
The Jackets are coming off a franchise-best 93-point season – their first in the Eastern Conference since NHL re-alignment – and just their second playoff berth in 13 seasons. The next step is winning a playoff series, something they haven’t done in their history. Metro Detroit native James Wisniewski is coming off a career-year when he produced seven goals and 51 points from the blue line in 75 games. Can he do it again?
While CSN Washington's Ben Raby previewed the Wings:
Our take: One of these years the Detroit Red Wings will, at long last, miss out on the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Red Wings have reached the postseason an incredible 23 straight seasons- a streak that almost ended last year due in large part to a plethora of injuries.
Detroit set a franchise record last year with 421 man games lost to injury, with veterans Henrik Zetterberg (45 games played), Pavel Datsyuk (45 GP) and Johan Franzen (54 GP) all missing significant time. No.2 center Stephen Weiss played in just 26 games, managing just 2 goals and 4 points during that time.
If the Red Wings are to return to the postseason for a 24th straight campaign, bounce back seasons (and better health) will be needed from their top-six forwards. The Red Wings will also look for continued progress from young guns Gustav Nyquist [ 28 goals and 48 points in 57 games] and Tomas Tatar [19 goals and 39 points in 73 games].
The blueline was a concern heading into the offseason and it remains an issue heading into the regular-season. Detroit was hoping to land a top-four defenseman during free agency, but General Manager Ken Holland was unable to land Matt Niskanen, Christian Ehrhoff or Dan Boyle. Instead, the Red Wings head into the regular-season with seven left-handed defensemen. There was some thought earlier this summer that Capitals right-handed defenseman Mike Green might be an appropriate fit in Detroit.
Not only did the Red Wings fail to bring in any free agent defensemen, they didn't sign any unrestricted free agents period. That means that head coach Mike Babcock is essentially working with the same roster that earned the final playoff position in the Eastern Conference last season, with the status of leading scorer Daniel Alfredsson still up in the air.
Will they make the playoffs in 2014-15? Yes, the Red Wings will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a 24th straight season. Far from a guarantee though.
13. In News From Other Blogs, Winging It in Motown's Winged Octopus analyzed the Red Wings' zone entries (i.e. when the Wings skated into the offensive zone with puck control), and you'll be surprised at the team's most effective defenseman in that department;
Octopus Thrower's Howard Ward wondered whether Axel Holmstrom or Alexander Kadeykin might succeed Calle Jarnkrok as a strong center-to-be in the first of a 3-part series, and part 2 discusses Tomas Nosek and my pick as the player most likely to play a Jarnkrok-style game (albeit with a much bigger frame):
[Mattias] Janmark is an older draft pick from the 2013 draft. At 21 he has played professional hockey longer than most of the players on this list and he even played a stint with the Grand Rapids Griffins albeit for only 8 games(2 regular season + 6 playoffs) after notching 18 goals 12 assists for 30 points in 45 games for AIK of the SHL. Janmark is an excellent playmaker who loves to shoot, he has above average skating ability and sees the ice very well.
Listed at 6’1 189lbs he has decent size to help compete against the bigger players of the NHL. RedWingsCentral.com does note a lot of great strengths but he also has a glaring weakness:
“Needs to get stronger, particularly in his lower body, and commit to better conditioning, because he didn’t train in the off-season from the ages to 16 to 20 because of a knee injury … Doesn’t play a physical game … Struggles on faceoffs as a center, winning just 215 of 609 faceoffs in 2012-13 and 2013-14 in the SHL for a success rate of just 35.3 percent … Needs to refine his defensive play.”
Ouch! 35.3% in the faceoff circle is not going to cut it at any level.
Janmark isn’t expected to be a punishing player but he is not a push over either. He gets the job done by making you play in your own zone as he uses his speed and skating ability to create scoring chances. Given his face off abilities, or lack there of, I wouldn’t put it past the Wings to use him more as a scoring winger like Jiri Hudler. If he can not make leaps and bounds and get in the 48%-51% success rate in the faceoff circle it could spell bad news for his chances at being a top center in the NHL.
Comparison: He has the hands and the skill to match Jarnkrok and is only a few notches back in the skating department but injuries have limited what we could have seen from him so far. Now that he has signed with Frolunda of the SHL for one year we might get a chance to see how he competes under the spotlight. If he can have a solid campaign and join the Griffins once again at the end of the season it could tell us more about how far Janmark has developed. Until then there are still too many uncertainties about his game that he has to work on but this season should provide him with more than enough of a chance to prove himself.
Janmark isn't a speedster like Jarnkrok, but he's a strong skater, he uses an Evgeni Malkin-patterned stick to ensure he's got a flat blade on the ice to pass most effectively, and if I may be impolite, he's stocky, so he's going to fill out to at least 205 pounds.
He's going to get every opportunity to star as Frolunda's "big-ticket" acquisition, and while his faceoffs aren't fantastic, that's not a deal-breaker as it's a skill he can always improve upon. I was incredibly impressed by his poise and intelligence, and he's got a real chip on his shoulder about not being drafted until he was 20, too.
Finally, Hooked On Hockey Magazine's Kevin Sporka posited an interview with David Pope, who's heading to the University of Nebraska-Omaha to embark upon his NCAA career. Pope's particularly lanky at 6'2" and maybe 180 pounds, but he was nothing but a sniper at the BCHL level:
HOHM: “For the people who don’t know a lot about the BCHL, can you talk about the style and pace of the league?”
Pope: “I think it’s a pretty skilled league. [It’s] definitely a hard forechecking league. A lot of defensemen don’t have time to make plays. So, very aggressive, and very high skilled. A lot of kids get commitments out of the league, and I think it’s a great route to go for development.”
HOHM: “Can you describe your game/style of play?”
Pope: “I’m an offensive, puck-possession player. Rarely will I make a bad play when I have the puck. That’s kind of my game. I like to shoot. Any time I’m around the net I like to get a shot off. If the shot’s not there, I can easily find the open guy.”
HOHM: “Is there an NHL player you would compare your game to?”
Pope: “I think James Neal, he’s a Nashville Predator now. I think I play quite a bit like him. I kind of want to be able to play more of a Marian Hossa game where I’m just more dominant down low. So that’s something I’m kind of striving towards.”
14. On Twitter...
Easton PLD gloves, an Innovative stick, a number not 13, that's clearly from September 2001...
Okay, this isn't something you "have to know" or "have to do." Before I go through half a box of Puffs, the Wings' prospect touranment will be underway three weeks from today, and I hope to be gone for two full weeks covering the tournament and Wings' main camp.
I will need your assistance to make it up there, and I've attended the last our summer development camps and two training camps at your leisure. If you'd be so kind as to lend a hand, I'd greatly appreciate it.
It's going to cost somewhere around $1,600 to stay in Traverse City for two weeks, about $200 in gas money and another $150 or so to eat like a college student (which I have no complaints about), and I'm about $1,500--fifteen hundred bucks--from a $2,000-ish goal.
My "merchant ID" is my non-work email address, rtxg at yahoo dot com, and I'm incredibly grateful for your readership and support. Thank you.
Edit/update: *Groans* MLive's Ansar Khan penned a 6 AM-posted "outlook" for Kyle Quincey, and I sure wish my "outlook" involved finishing at a -5 after hovering in the -15-range for most of the year and taking the most penalty minutes on my hockey team but still earning a 2-year, $8.5 million contract as a result.
Anyway, here's Khan's take on Quincey:
2013-14 in review: He was one of only two Red Wings to play in all 82 games (Drew Miller was the other). ... Posted a minus-14 rating the first 41 games before posting a plus-9 rating over the final 41 games. ... Third on the team with 108 blocked shots. ... Led team with 88 penalty minutes, including team-high 33 minors. ... Lone fighting major was on Jan. 9 against San Jose's Tyler Kennedy. ... Fourth on the team in average ice time (20:48). ... Fourth on team in takeaways (31) and third in giveaways (39). ... Scored game-winning goal vs. New Jersey on March 7.
Yes, I'm familiar with the Kyle Quincey giveaway...
2014-15 outlook: Quincey was Plan B for the Red Wings in free agency, after they were unable to sign four other defensemen: right-handed shooters Matt Niskanen, Dan Boyle and Stephane Robidas and lefty Christian Ehrhoff. Quincey cost a little more than they would have liked, but unrestricted top-four defensemen don't come cheap. Yes, Quincey was a top-four defenseman last season. He played well in the second half, paired with rookie Danny DeKeyser, after a poor first half. Can he continue to play like he did the final 41 games? It'll help if he's still paired with DeKeyser. As a heavier body, Quincey could be a little more abrasive, but not if it leads to more penalties. After having some offensive freedom in Los Angeles and Colorado, Quincey's job in Detroit is simple: keep it simple. Be in the right place, move the puck to the forwards quickly, limit turnovers and don't get noticed much.
Key question: Which Quincey will the Red Wings see, the one who struggled the first half of the season or the much-improved version in the second half?
I'm hoping that it's door #2, but my hopes aren't high.
Also: If you find yourself in Las Vegas, Nevada this weekend, you might run into Griffins coach Jeff Blashill as USA Hockey's holding a coaches' symposium in the land of legal sports betting, per USA Hockey Magazine's Harry Thompson:
The city known for its high rollers became a place for higher learning when the 2014 National Hockey Coaches Symposium kicked off Thursday in Las Vegas.
The four-day event at the J.W. Marriott Resort and Spa is a chance for coaches from around the country to listen and learn as some of the best and brightest minds in hockey will discuss everything from designing off-ice training programs to creating habits for individual & team success.
The impressive lineup of speakers features a number of top coaches in the game, including Jack Capuano of the N.Y. Islanders and Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning, along with AHL head coaches John Hynes (Wilkes Barre-Scranton Penguins) and Jeff Blashill (Grand Rapids Griffins). Also presenting this weekend is Dan Bylsma, the head coach of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team, along with former NHL assistant coach Mike Sullivan.
The current success of American coaches isn’t just found in the fact that more homegrown coaches are holding top-level positions in the game. It is also evident in the passion of everyday American coaches who continue to keep learning and improving their craft at the grass-roots level.
The National Coaches Symposium is the pinnacle of USA Hockey’s Coaching Education Program, which hosts more than 800 coaching clinics each year at Levels 1, 2 and 3. Sixteen Level 4 clinics occur annually.
Update #2: Anthony Mantha, thorough:
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