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Detroit Baseball Great Al Kaline Passed Away Today

04/06/2020 at 3:39pm EDT

from John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press,

Al Kaline, who in a long and unique Detroit Tigers lifetime grew from youthful batting champion to Hall of Famer to distinguished elder statesman, died Monday afternoon at his home in Bloomfield Hills. He was 85.

A cause of death was not immediately available. John Morad, a close friend of the family, confirmed the news to the Free Press after speaking with Kaline's youngest son, Mike.


If You Have Nothing To Do Tonight

04/06/2020 at 2:54pm EDT

Viewing The NHL Games In A Different Way

04/06/2020 at 10:58am EDT

from John Steigerwald of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

I talked to a former NHL marketing director, whom I’ve known all my life, and he had some interesting thoughts on playing games without fans.

My brother, Paul, who was the Penguins’ marketing director before becoming part of their radio and TV broadcasts, said, “If there are going to be games played inside of empty arenas for the sake of television, then why not make them look and sound as realistic as possible for the viewing audience?

“They could look a lot like video games only they would be real games, with virtual crowds. You could use special effects using crowd shots from previous games. Sound could be created the same way.”

He also said this could be an opportunity for producers to put cameras in different places and “have access to camera angles they could never dream of having with fans in the stands.”

The technology already exists that allows fans to choose their camera angles from their living room in real time.

“Teams may soon have to realize that it’s a new paradigm, and, for the time being, their games are purely made for television events,” he said.


Could We See A Few NHL Fold?

04/06/2020 at 10:54am EDT

from Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,

The majority of NHL teams these days are owned by extremely rich individuals or large corporations. Financial pressures from other businesses may nonetheless put more focus on their NHL holdings if there is no hockey revenue.

So which teams could be in trouble?

The first one that comes to mind is Ottawa. A small-market team with diminishing attendance, last in the NHL with well under 13,000 per game. There have already been rumours that the Senators might one day have to move, all quickly dismissed by owner Eugene Melnyk. He’s been focused on trying to get a deal for a new arena....

Arizona and Florida, 28th and 29th in NHL attendance, would also face challenges with an extended shutdown.

The fragile Coyotes’ story is well known, and even the acquisitions of star forwards Taylor Hall and Phil Kessel improved attendance only slightly this season.

The Panthers have a deep-pocketed owner in Vinnie Viola and have vowed to keep paying workers. But that’s a money-losing operation, and the losses will become even more significant. Billionaires run out of patience, too, and the stock market is doing no one any favours these days.

The Islanders have struggled without a permanent home. Carolina has been wobbly for years. New Jersey, Buffalo and Nashville could also face big financial challenges.

Knowing Bettman’s legendary determination to keep teams afloat and in the same city, he’ll fight to the death to keep all the existing teams alive. But he also knows Atlanta going out of business turned into a positive story for the league when the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg.


Video- Bobby Ryan's Life

04/06/2020 at 10:37am EDT

via Sportsnet's YouTube page,

Before the Ottawa Senators, Team USA, even the NHL draft, Bobby Ryan wasn't Bobby Ryan. In a Sportsnet special, Chris Simpson sits down with the forward to learn about his secret past.

Steve Yzerman's First Year As The GM For The Detroit Red Wings

04/06/2020 at 8:30am EDT

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Here is a look back at Yzerman’s moves – from the draft to free agency to mid-season trades to waiver claims to trade-deadline deals. Some of the grades, of course, could change over time.

Drafting Moritz Seider: A

Yzerman pulled a surprise with his first-ever draft pick as Detroit GM, selecting a big, mobile, puck-moving defenseman from Germany that many draft analysts projected would be taken much later than sixth overall.

Seider, who turned 19 on Monday, has yet to make his NHL debut but made a smooth transition to the North American pro ranks with the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins. It’s difficult to assess draft picks this soon, but Seider looks poised to anchor the Red Wings’ blue line for many years and should launch his NHL career in 2020-21.

Signing Valtteri Filppula: D

Needing a second-line center, Yzerman signed Filppula to a two-year, $6 million deal on July 1, knowing the former Red Wing well, having signed him in Tampa Bay in 2013....


Hockey Night In North Dakota?

04/05/2020 at 9:10pm EDT

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

Let’s preface this with the fact that, at this time, we’re all just guessing at return-to-play timelines — but the NHL and NHLPA are beginning to spitball scenarios as to where remaining 2019-20 regular-season/playoff games could be held.

One location that’s been mentioned: North Dakota.

Several sites would be necessary, but Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D., makes sense. Host of the 2005 World Junior Championships, the 2016 World Under-18s and the NCAA’s Fighting Hawks, it is an impressive facility that is definitely more suitable than many other available non-NHL options in the United States.

Obviously, nothing is imminent. Hotel availability in Grand Forks would be a challenge. We also don’t know about travel scenarios, necessary logistics, or if the state itself would be willing to host such an event. But the area makes sense because of the arena, the likelihood of games being played without fans and North Dakota’s relatively low population density (only Montana, Wyoming and Alaska have fewer people per square mile).

It is expected that the NHL and NHLPA will discuss other locales this week.


Paul Coffey Would Like To See More Hitting In Today's Game

04/05/2020 at 8:02pm EDT

from Jordan Horrobin of Sportsnet,

Hall of Fame defenceman Paul Coffey has been asked the same question many times before: How many goals would he score in today’s NHL?

“My answer is, I think I could probably get 15 to 20 goals,” said Coffey, who set the single-season record as a defenceman with 48 goals in 1985-86. “And people always look a little bit surprised.

“And I say, ‘Well, I’m 58 years old.'”

Jokes aside, Coffey opted not to reveal how he’d fare if his career had aligned with the current era — though he did acknowledge he’s a “huge fan” of today’s game.

Still, during his recent appearance on Writers Bloc, the legendary blue-liner weighed in on one thing he’d like to change about the modern-day NHL.

“I wish there was more hitting,” Coffey said.


Something To Celebrate

04/05/2020 at 12:01pm EDT

Today we have something to celebrate. A Happy Birthday to Paul Kukla! My wish for you Paul, is as always, good health. Thank you for this wonderful place, and, all the hard work you put in every day.

Return Or Not Next Season

04/05/2020 at 10:41am EDT

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Amid the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, here’s a look at who’ll be back next season and who’ll be gone from the roster as it stood March 12, when the league put the season hold.

F Justin Abdelkader
The evidence: He’s signed at a $4.25 million cap hit through 2022-23, making a buyout prohibitive (six years at annual cap hits ranging from $1.55 million to $2.35 million). Given his decline (22 points in 122 games the past two seasons, no points since Oct. 23), the most likely scenario is Abdelkader is waived and demoted.

The 33-year-old would still draw his NHL salary, but the Wings would gain a little north of $1 million in cap relief — plus a roster spot, maybe one Evgeny Svechnikov could claim.

The verdict: Gone (from the roster, not the payroll).

F Robby Fabbri
The evidence: Yzerman’s best trade joined the team in early November and scored two goals in his debut; ranks fourth on the team with 31 points in 52 games. Earned a spot in the top six and power-play time.

The verdict: Will be back with a mid- to long-term extension.

more names...

Video- Status Unchanged For The NHL

04/05/2020 at 4:57am EDT

via TSN's YouTube page,

Following a conference call between 12 major league sports commissioners and the President of the United States Donald Trump, TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun joins SportsCentre to share the takeaways from the call and discuss whether or not Trump's desire to have sports resume 'sooner rather than later' will expedite the process.

LeBrun's personal option is no NHL hockey until next season.

Video- NHL Productions Feature On The Joe Louis Arena

04/05/2020 at 4:15am EDT

via the YouTube page of the NHL,

Although construction began without a budget, architectural plans, or a tenant - Joe Louis Arena became the destination for hockey royalty and the home to champions.

“The Joe” chronicles four decades of unforgettable moments in Red Wings history retold by the players, coaches, and managers that lived them. Dubbed the “Dead Wings” for their futility during the late 70s, the transition of ownership from the Norris family to the Ilitch family began a renaissance in the Motor City. Future captain Steve Yzerman arrived in 1983 and Detroit quickly established themselves as a perennial contender for the Stanley Cup.

After disappointing playoff exits in the early 1990s, the Red Wings, led by future Hall of Famers Sergei Fedorov, Brendan Shanahan, and Nicklas Lidstrom, finally ended a 42-year championship drought in 1997. Detroit repeated as cup winners the following season and won two more Stanley Cups in 2002 and 2008 - all while making 25-straight playoff appearances at the Joe.

In addition to cultivating a culture of winning on the ice, the new owners created family atmosphere throughout the franchise, arena, and fan base. Players, fans, and staff mingled within the rink’s corridors and shared highs and lows, not just as a team, but as a community.

Every moment is here - from Gordie Howe’s return, to the Russian Five, to the emotional final ceremony. “The Joe” utilizes exclusive access and never-before-seen archival footage to present a unique perspective of Detroit’s storied past in one of the NHL’s most iconic arenas

Watch the over one hour NHL Productions feature below.

Evening Line- Dr. Alan Drummond

04/04/2020 at 6:10pm EDT

added 6:13pm,

End The Season

04/04/2020 at 5:35pm EDT

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- after day you still hear deputy commissioner Bill Daly talk about plans for completing the season and squeezing in the playoffs. There’s no reality to what he’s saying. How can there be?

There may, however, be some financial motivation to keep hope alive. By not cancelling games officially, the league’s teams are under no obligation to return ticket money. And in large markets certainly, this year’s money will certainly be applied to next year’s season tickets. But that doesn’t help the individual ticket holder, who put out good money for a single games that isn’t going to be played.

There’s also a television revenue side of the equation in all this. By announcing cancellation of the season, advertisers will be due refunds of some kind and quite likely television networks will be compensated for games they purchased that won’t be played.

To date, the NHL has put on a happy face with delusional plans to play out its playoffs, if not its season. It sounds like a whole lot of fantasy talk from here.

- How much did the Maple Leafs drop from one season to the next? Last year after 70 games they were fourth in the NHL. This year, tied for 12th overall.

- Since January 1, 2019, Jordan Binnington has started 105 games for the Stanley Cup champion, St. Louis Blues. His record in that time: A rather stunning 70-27-8.

a few more hockey notes...

Detroit Sports Teams Asking Medical Personnel To Return To Michigan

04/04/2020 at 3:40pm EDT

from Kyle Austin of Mlive,

Michigan is getting help from its sports stars and coaches in its search for more doctors and nurses to help fight the coronavirus outbreak.

The state released a video Saturday in which Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, Detroit Pistons coach Dwane Casey, Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire, Lions coach Matt Patricia and Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill ask nurses and doctors from across the country to travel to Michigan to volunteer their services in the state’s hospitals.

continued plus you can watch the video or view it below.

President Trump Tell League Commissioners Crowds May Be Able To Return In August-September

04/04/2020 at 2:55pm EDT

You Have To Think The NHL Is Thinking The Same Thing As The NBA

04/04/2020 at 12:40pm EDT

from Zach Braziller of the New York Post,

Hope of resuming the NBA season is fading as even a shortened postseason may not be possible due to the coronavirus.

“It is clear that the NBA is angling to set up a deal that enables them to shut the season down,” ESPN insider Brian Windhorst said Friday on “SportsCenter.”

“They don’t have to do that yet. The way they’re negotiating, they’re leaving an option either way. But they’re not having talks about how to restart the league. They’re having financial talks [regarding player salaries] about what would happen if the season shuts down. I think there’s a significant amount of pessimism.”

There was talk of restarting the season in Las Vegas and using UNLV’s campus as a way to create what would amount to a bubble of people who have tested negative for the virus.

But the Chinese Basketball Association tried a similar idea to no avail. The virus did not go away.


The End Of Henrik Lundqvist With The New York Rangers

04/04/2020 at 10:01am EDT

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

The last two months of the season must have been exactly what Henrik Lundqvist envisioned at the 2018 post-Letter deadline purge when he chose to remain with the Rangers after he was given the chance to opt out of an embryonic rebuild program and pursue his Stanley Cup dream somewhere else.

Because here were the Blueshirts, powered to a great extent by kids and big-money free agent and trade acquisitions, storming into the playoff race by going 16-6 under just the type of accelerated rebuild program that the King foresaw two years earlier when he pledged his heart to New York.

Which made it even more cruel that Lundqvist was more apart from it than a part of it. As much The Franchise as Tom Seaver ever was in Queens, the goaltender essentially was airbrushed out of the team picture and watched as the pair of 24-year-olds, Igor Shesterkin and Alex Georgiev, took his job and ran with it.

When the NHL season came to a sudden halt following the March 11 match in Colorado, Lundqvist had started one of the Rangers’ last 19 games, and he got that one because Shesterkin was injured and Georgiev needed a break.


Statement From The NHL And New York Rangers Regarding A Video Call With Prospect K’Andre Mille

04/03/2020 at 7:36pm EDT

NEW YORK (April 3, 2020) – The National Hockey League today released the following statement:

“The National Hockey League is appalled that a video call arranged today by the New York Rangers to introduce their fans to one of the League’s incoming stars, K’Andre Miller, was hacked with racist, cowardly taunts. The person who committed this despicable act is in no way an NHL fan and is not welcome in the hockey community.

“No one deserves to be subjected to such ugly treatment and it will not be tolerated in our League. We join with the Rangers in condemning this disgusting behavior.”

NEW YORK, April 3, 2020 – “We held an online video chat with fans and New York Rangers prospect, K'Andre Miller, during which a vile individual hijacked the chat to post racial slurs, which we disabled as soon as possible. We were incredibly appalled by this behavior, which has no place online, on the ice, or anywhere, and we are investigating the matter.”

Video- Brendan Shanahan Scored 33 Playoff Goals While With The Wings

04/03/2020 at 4:22pm EDT

Watch them all in 18 1/2 minutes.

awood40 with another great job.

Afternoon Line- Dr. Allen Sills

04/03/2020 at 12:44pm EDT

TV Ad Revenue Lost For Major Sports Leagues

04/03/2020 at 10:40am EDT

from Steven Impey of Sports Pro Media,

The broadcast partners for three of the four US major leagues are set lose out on more than US$1 billion in combined TV advertising revenue due to the coronavirus-enforced shutdown, according to new research.

That figure, which forms part of a study carried out by ad sales specialists MediaRadar, is based on the net spend of 900 companies who advertised during National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), and Major League Baseball (MLB) broadcasts between March and May last year. That is the same timeframe MediaRadar anticipates the leagues will be forced to close during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Specifically, the data shows that NBA broadcasts generated US$839 million in advertising revenue during the three-month period last season, while NHL games brought in more than US$120 million and the MLB accrued more than US$60 million.


Lou Lamoriello Believes There Will Be Hockey This Season

04/03/2020 at 9:02am EDT

from Andrew Gross of Newsday,

The uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic has left Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello juggling many different plans for best positioning his team when the NHL season restarts.

That’s when, not if.

“I’m extremely optimistic that we will play at some time as far as this season,” Lamoriello told Newsday on Thursday. “Whether it’s in June, whether it’s in July, whether it’s in August, I’m not thinking about that. I’m just thinking, in my mind, knowing that we will play and using this time to get ready for that.

“But, prior to that, the most important thing is everyone staying safe and everyone doing the things in the best interest of their families because we’re in a different world today,” Lamoriello added.


TSN Insiders Tonight

04/02/2020 at 5:56pm EDT

Hockey Insiders Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger and Senior Hockey Reporter Frank Seravalli discuss how some NHL players are considering foregoing their final cheque of the season, have the latest on the separation between the Jets and Dustin Byfuglien nearing an end, which OHL team could take a chance on No. 1 prospect Adam Fantilli, and much more.

Watch at TSN.

The Future Of The Detroit Red Wings

04/02/2020 at 5:25pm EDT

Adam Gretz of NBC Sports takes a long-term look at the Wings,

This is kind of an odd situation at the moment because the players with the longest contracts and biggest financial commitments are players that probably do not actually fit in with the long-term direction of the team.

For example, here is the list of players that are actually signed to contracts beyond this season: Dylan Larkin, Filip Zadina, Frans Nielsen, Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm, Valtteri Filppula, Luke Glendening, Patrick Nemeth, Alex Biega, Danny DeKeyser, and Jonathan Bernier.

Out of that group, Larkin and Zadina (who is still on an entry-level contract) are the only ones that are under the age of 28.

Nemeth (who is 28) is the only other player under the age of 30.

Mantha, Bertuzzi, and perhaps Fabbri all figure to stick around for a while and are still under team control as restricted free agents this summer, but they are not technically signed yet.

All of that leaves general manager Steve Yzerman with a fairly clean slate to build from. He also has a couple of really interesting building blocks in Larkin, Mantha, and Zadina.

continued and scroll down for 2 more Detroit topics...

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