Tag Archives: Little Caesars Arena

Red Wings down Bruins, 4-2

The Detroit Red Wings beat the Boston Bruins, 4-2, at Little Caesars Arena on Friday– winning for just the 2nd time in their last 14 games.

Jonathan Bernier (3-4-1 record, 3.35 goals against average, .891 save percentage in 10 games played) made 26 saves on 28 shots against for a .929 SV% in the win.

The Red Wings goaltender also had two assists in the effort.

Boston netminder, Tuukka Rask (7-2-1, 1.99 GAA, .933 SV% in 10 games played) stopped 28 out of 31 shots faced for a .903 SV% in the loss.

Boston fell to 11-3-2 (24 points) on the season, but still in command of 1st place in the Atlantic Division, while Detroit improved to 5-12-1 (11 points) so far this season. The Red Wings are still 8th in the Atlantic.

The Bruins fell to 4-3-1 on the road this season, while the Red Wings snapped a four-game losing streak in their win over the B’s.

Boston also fell to 9-2-1 when scoring the game’s first goal this season and 1-2-1 when trailing after two periods.

The Bruins were without the services of Kevan Miller (knee), John Moore (shoulder), Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia), Joakim Nordstrom (infection), Par Lindholm (upper body), David Backes (upper body) and Jake DeBrusk (lower body) on Friday, but Miller, Lindholm and Nordstrom all practiced with the team while wearing red no-contact sweaters on Thursday at Warrior Ice Arena.

Per B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, Nordstrom is the closest among the three to returning to the lineup.

Miller and Moore have yet to make their 2019-20 season debuts, while DeBrusk is still being evaluated and did not travel with the team to Detroit.

In an official scoring change made after Tuesday night’s loss in Montreal, Zach Senyshyn had an assist added to Connor Clifton and Anders Bjork’s goals against the Canadiens, yielding two assists for Senyshyn in his season debut in the process.

Peter Cehlarik and Senyshyn were recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Thursday after Senyshyn and Cameron Hughes were originally assigned to Providence earlier in the week on Wednesday.

With DeBrusk out of the lineup, Cehlarik took over the second line left wing slot alongside David Krejci at center and Danton Heinen on right wing.

Senyshyn remained in his third line right wing spot with Bjork and Charlie Coyle.

Brett Ritchie (upper body) did not take part in warmups prior to Boston’s matchup with the Red Wings and was a late scratch from the lineup.

In his place, the Bruins went with seven defenders, allowing Steven Kampfer to join the lineup on the fourth line right wing in place of Ritchie– resulting in no healthy scratches for the B’s on Friday.

Kampfer, however, did not play a shift in Detroit.

On defense, Cassidy switched his first and third pairings up, moving Clifton to the first defensive pairing with Zdeno Chara to start the game and placing Charlie McAvoy with Matt Grzelcyk on the third pairing.

Krejci (2) kicked things off with the game’s first goal 69 seconds into the first period after Cehlarik worked the puck into the attacking zone, circled back towards the slot and found Krejci for the wrist shot goal on Bernier’s short side.

Cehlarik (1) had the only assist on Krejci’s goal and the Bruins jumped out to the, 1-0, lead.

But it was short lived.

Roughly 90 seconds after Boston scored, Dylan Larkin (5) skated past Clifton, wrapped around the net and banked the puck off of Patrice Bergeron’s skate and into the twine, tying the game, 1-1, in the process.

Madison Bowey (3) and Bernier (1) notched the assists on Larkin’s goal as the Red Wings pulled even at 2:41 of the first period.

A minute later, David Pastrnak hooked Detroit blue liner, Dennis Cholowski and was sent to the penalty box with a minor infraction at 3:40.

The Bruins managed to kill off Pastrnak’s minor, but went undisciplined midway through the opening frame as Brad Marchand took an interference penalty against Filip Hronek at 11:12.

Detroit only needed 37 seconds on the ensuing power play to capitalize on the skater advantage with Robby Fabbri (2) snapping a shot past Rask to give the Red Wings their first lead of the night, 2-1.

Tyler Bertuzzi (9) and Anthony Mantha (7) tallied the assists on Fabbri’s first goal with the Red Wings since being acquired by Detroit in a trade with the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.

The Blues acquired Jacob de la Rose in the transaction.

Fabbri’s first goal of the night came at 11:49 of the first period.

Less than a minute later, Bowey was guilty of holding Heinen, but the B’s weren’t able to convert on the resulting power play opportunity.

After one period at Little Caesars Arena, the Red Wings led, 2-1, and shots on goal were even, 12-12.

Boston led in blocked shots (6-4) and takeaways (1-0) heading into the first intermission, while Detroit held the advantage in giveaways (6-2), hits (9-7) and faceoff win percentage (57-43).

The Red Wings were 1/2 on the power play heading into the second period and the Bruins were 0/1.

Pastrnak hooked Larkin 28 seconds into the second period and presented Detroit with an early skater advantage to begin the middle frame.

Fabbri (3) made sure to capitalize on the power play opportunity, acting as the bumper in the slot and scoring his 2nd goal of the night on a one-timer at 1:30 of the second period.

He became the 7th player in Red Wings history to score two or more goals in his team debut.

Bertuzzi (10) and Cholowski (4) had the assists on Fabbri’s 2nd power play goal of the game and Detroit led, 3-1.

Torey Krug sent the puck over the glass and out of play, yielding an automatic delay of game penalty at 3:30.

Detroit’s resulting power play opportunity was cut short as Larkin tripped up Chara behind the Boston net at 3:50, resulting in 4-on-4 action for a 1:41 span before the Bruins would have an abbreviated power play.

The B’s did not score on the skater advantage.

Midway through the second period, Marchand and Hronek exchanged pleasantries and dropped the gloves. Each received a five-minute major for fighting at 11:16.

It was just the 2nd fight of the season for the Bruins (previous, Ritchie vs. Barclay Goodrow on Oct. 29th against the San Jose Sharks).

A couple of minutes later, things were still chippy as Krejci was penalized for roughing Valtteri Filppula at 13:35.

In response, shortly after failing to convert on the skater advantage, Filppula tripped Pastrnak at 15:56 and elicited a power play chance for the Bruins.

With only seconds to spare on the advantage, Krug ripped a shot from the point that was deflected by Bergeron (8) in front of the net to cut Detriot’s lead to one-goal.

Krug (11) and Krejci (5) had the assists on Bergeron’s power play goal as the Bruins trailed, 3-2, at 17:52.

Through 40 minutes of action in Detroit, the Red Wings led, 3-2, on the scoreboard, but trailed Boston in shots on goal, 24-22– including a, 12-10, advantage for the B’s in the second period alone.

Detroit held the advantage in blocked shots (10-9), giveaways (12-2), hits (17-14) and faceoff win% (52-48), while Boston led in takeaways (3-0).

The Red Wings were 2/5 on the skater advantage and the Bruins were 1/3 on the power play entering the third period,

Early in the final frame, Bowey slashed Marchand and was sent to the sin bin with a minor infraction at 4:34 of the third period.

Boston did not score on the ensuing power play.

Neither team found the back of the net until the Bruins pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker with about two minutes left in regulation.

Shortly thereafter, Mantha (10) pocketed an empty net goal at 18:32 and sealed the deal on the win for the Red Wings.

Bernier (2) had the only assist on the goal as Detroit finished the night with a, 4-2, win over Boston– dominating the third period in shots on goal, 10-4, bolstering their total shots on net advantage to, 32-28.

The Red Wings finished Friday night’s action leading in blocked shots (15-11), giveaways (17-7) and hits (27-21), while the Bruins finished the night leading in faceoff win% (51-49).

Detroit went 2/5 on the power play and Boston went 1/4 on the skater advantage.

The Bruins return home on Sunday for a two-game homestand against the Philadelphia Flyers (Sunday, Nov. 10th) and the Florida Panthers next Tuesday (Nov. 12th) before traveling to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs next Friday (Nov. 15th).

Habs end B’s winning streak at six, beat Boston, 5-4

The Montreal Canadiens eked out a, 5-4, win over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night at Bell Centre thanks to an overturned goal in the third period– snapping Boston’s six-game win streak in the process.

Goaltending was optional as Montreal’s Carey Price (7-4-1 record, 2.75 goals against average, .883 save percentage in 12 games played) made 21 saves on 25 shots against for an .840 SV% in the win.

Meanwhile, Boston netminder, Tuukka Rask (7-1-1, 1.88 GAA, .936 SV% in nine games played), stopped 26 out of 31 shots faced for an .839 SV% in the loss.

The Bruins fell to 11-2-2 (24 points) on the season, but remained in control of 1st place in the Atlantic Division, while the Canadiens improved to 8-5-2 (18 points) and tied the Florida Panthers for 4th in the Atlantic in points (though the Panthers hold the tiebreaker, having played in one fewer game than Montreal).

Kevan Miller (knee) and John Moore (shoulder) have yet to debut this season for the Bruins as both missed their 15th game Tuesday night due to lingering injuries from last spring.

Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia), Joakim Nordstrom (infection), Par Lindholm (upper body) and David Backes (upper body) were all still out against Montreal, with Lindholm as the latest Bruin to join the injured reserve prior to Tuesday’s matchup.

Despite sustaining a nasty cut in Monday night’s, 6-4, win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, Charlie McAvoy was in the lineup against the Canadiens, as was Torey Krug (who caught a skate up high and drew some blood Monday night as well).

Zach Senyshyn was recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) and inserted into the lineup on the right side of the third line with Anders Bjork and Charlie Coyle.

Senyshyn has three points (two goals, one assist) in 12 games with Providence this season and one goal in two career NHL games (made his NHL debut last season).

With Senyshyn entering the lineup, Boston head coach, Bruce Cassidy, bumped Brett Ritchie down to the fourth line right wing with Chris Wagner returning to the left side of Sean Kuraly.

After making his NHL debut against Pittsburgh on Monday, Cameron Hughes joined Steven Kampfer as Boston’s only healthy scratches on Tuesday.

B’s captain, Zdeno Chara, played in his 1,500th career game and became just the 21st player and sixth defender in league history to play in 1,500 or more games in their career.

Chara joined Chris Chelios (1,651 career games), Scott Stevens (1,635), Larry Murphy (1,615), Ray Bourque (1,612) and Nicklas Lidstrom (1,564) as the only defenders to play in 1,500 or more games.

Habs head coach, Claude Julien, reached the 1,200th game of his career behind the bench on Tuesday as well.

Julien won the Cup with the Bruins in 2011 and received an ovation from the Bell Centre crowd before Chara’s milestone was acknowledged at the following media timeout in the first period.

Victor Mete (2) kicked things off with a quick start for Montreal as the Canadiens defender jumped at the perfect opportunity to collect the game’s first goal after the puck deflected off of a teammate in front of the goal and rebounded into the low slot unattended.

Mete’s goal was assisted by Joel Armia (4) and Jeff Petry (7) at 1:13 of the first period and the Habs jumped ahead with the, 1-0, lead.

Late in the period, Mete hooked Senyshyn and was sent to the penalty box with a minor infraction at 14:49 of the first period.

Boston only needed six seconds on the power play for Patrice Bergeron to win the faceoff back to Krug, then slide the puck over to David Pastrnak (15) for the one-timer slap shot power play goal.

Krug (10) and Bergeron (9) tallied the assists as the Bruins tied the game, 1-1, at 14:55.

With the goal, Pastrnak extended his current point streak to 13 games– setting a new career-high in the process. He also became the first Bruin to score 15 goals in their first 15 games of the season since Peter McNab did so in 1976-77.

A couple of minutes later, Tomas Tatar (5) sent a shot off of Rask’s glove and into the twine to put the Canadiens ahead, 2-1.

Brendan Gallagher (6) and Ben Chiarot (2) had the assists on Tatar’s goal at 16:45.

Less than a minute after retaking the lead, Montreal extended their lead to two goals as Paul Byron (1) barely kept the puck in the attacking zone and succeeded on an individual effort– sending a shot through Rask’s five-hole– for his first goal of the season.

Byron’s goal was unassisted at 17:16 of the first period and the Habs led, 3-1.

Entering the first intermission, Montreal led Boston, 3-1, on the scoreboard and, 13-6, in shots on goal.

The Canadiens also held the advantage in blocked shots (5-3), while the Bruins led in giveaways (10-9), hits (12-11) and faceoff win percentage (67-33).

Both teams had two takeaways aside and the B’s were 1/1 on the power play, while the Habs had yet to see any action on the skater advantage heading into the second period.

Less than a minute into the middle frame, Bergeron hooked Phillip Danault and presented the Canadiens with a power play 50 seconds into the second period.

Boston killed Bergeron’s minor infraction without any issue, but followed up the special teams action with another hooking infraction– this time for Pastrnak against Shea Weber at 3:58.

Montreal didn’t capitalize on the ensuing skater advantage.

Almost midway through the period, Ryan Poehling blocked a shot by Krug that rocketed off of the side of Poehling’s helmet, sending the Montreal forward to the ice before the whistle was blown for the injured skater to head down the tunnel under his own power.

While Poehling went down with an injury, so did Petry as the Canadiens defender caught the ice in an awkward manor with his leg.

Petry returned from the dressing room shortly thereafter and had no issues. Poehling returned to the action too without any major damage.

Connor Clifton (1) walzted around two Canadiens players, held the puck and sniped a shot over Price’s glove while Coyle screened the Montreal goaltender at 7:17 of the second period, bringing the Bruins to within one goal.

Clifton’s unassisted effort cut Montreal’s lead to, 3-2, and was his first career regular season NHL goal in just his 32nd career game.

Late in the period, Bjork (2) slid a rebound under Price’s pad from point blank to tie the game, 3-3.

McAvoy (4) had the only assist on the goal at 18:13, but the game wouldn’t remain tied for long.

Almost 40 seconds later, Mete (3) tucked in his 2nd goal of the ngiht with a shot from the point that floated over Rask, top-shelf, as Chara bumped Montreal center, Nate Thompson, into the Boston goaltender.

Artturi Lehkonen (4) and Petry (8) collected the assists on Mete’s goal at 18:55 and the Canadiens regained the lead, 4-3.

Through 40 minutes of action in Montreal, the Habs led the B’s, 4-3, on the scoreboard and, 25-15, in shots on goal (including a, 12-9, advantage for Montreal in the second period alone).

The Canadiens also led in blocked shots (14-7) and takeaways (7-5), while the Bruins led in giveaways (16-15), hits (25-22) and faceoff win% (62-38) entering the second intermission.

Montreal was 0/2 and Boston was still 1/1 on the power play heading into the third period.

Weber caught Brad Marchand with a high stick 14 seconds into the third period and was sent to the sin bin for a minor penalty, but the Bruins weren’t able to capitalize on the ensuing power play.

Instead, in the vulnerable minute after special teams action, Boston’s fourth line went to work with Wagner dishing a quick pass to Kuraly (1) for the fourth line center to bank the puck off of Price’s skate and into the net– tying the game, 4-4, at 3:03 of the third period.

Wagner (4) had the only assist on the goal and the B’s had momentum on their side.

Moments later, after Coyle thought he had scored by redirecting a pass from Senyshyn through Price’s five-hole while the Habs goaltender was without his stick, Julien used his coach’s challenge arguing that the Bruins had originally entered the zone offside.

After review, it was determined that Coyle had just barely entered the zone by about half a skate ahead of the puck and was offside prior to the play that led to the goal and the call on the ice was overturned at 5:23.

Instead of rallying against the overturned call, Boston went into a hole and found themselves clamoring towards the end of games in back-to-back nights.

Chiarot (2) sent a shot of Rask’s glove and into the back of the net to give the Canadiens the lead once more, 5-4, at 9:06 of the third period after Montreal sustained tremendous pressure in the attacking zone.

Weber (8) and Tatar (8) each had an assist on the game-winning goal as the Canadiens never looked back for the remaining half-a-period.

After Boston iced the puck with 58.5 seconds remaining, Julien used his timeout to rally his attackers for one last push for a goal before the Bruins could pull their goaltender for an extra skater.

Neither team could score as time expired and the final horn sounded at Bell Centre.

The Canadiens had finished Boston’s six-game winning streak with a, 5-4, victory on home ice.

Montreal wrapped up Tuesday night’s contest leading in shots on goal (31-25), blocked shots (27-11) and giveaways (24-19), while Boston led in shots on net in the third period alone (10-6), hits (36-31) and faceoff win% (60-40).

The Canadiens went 0/2 on the power play and the B’s finished the game 1/2 on the skater advantage.

Boston is now 4-2-1 on the road this season and 1-1-1 when trailing after two periods.

The Bruins face the Detroit Red Wings on Friday at Little Caesars Arena. Boston returns home on Nov. 10th for a two-game homestand against the Philadelphia Flyers (Nov. 10th) and Florida (Nov. 12th).

2019-20 Atlantic Division Outlook

As the entire hockey world awaits training camp action next month, let’s make some (un)educated guesses about the upcoming season that will totally pan out because everything always goes as expected. (It doesn’t.)

The projected standings below are only a forecast.

They are based on recent indications– as well as the last few seasons of stats– and cannot account for variations in roster construction (a.k.a. trades and free agency moves).

There’s a lot of variables that will turn the tables upside down, including transactions, injuries and otherwise. Anything can happen.

As always, it’s more important to remember 1) the spread and 2) the positioning.

Just how many points separate the projected division winner from the last wild card spot (the spread) and where a team is supposed to finish in the division standings (the position) can imply that things aren’t always what they seem.

A team that’s projected to win it all still has to play an 82-game regular season, qualify for the playoffs and go on to amass 16 wins in the postseason.

Projected Standings After ZERO Months

Atlantic Division

  1. p-Tampa Bay Lightning, 109 points
  2. x-Boston Bruins, 105 points
  3. x-Toronto Maple Leafs, 91 points
  4. Florida Panthers, 89 points
  5. Montreal Canadiens, 89 points
  6. Detroit Red Wings, 84 points
  7. Ottawa Senators, 78 points
  8. Buffalo Sabres, 71 points

Tampa Bay Lightning: Pros and Cons

The Lightning are annual favorites among the experts to win the Stanley Cup, so it’s no surprise, really, that they haven’t yet. There’s either too many expectations to live up to or there’s too much of a casual atmosphere from season-to-season.

You know what they say when you assume.

Just like the Washington Capitals and their 2018 Stanley Cup championship, it’s better for the Bolts if nobody is talking about them. Prior to the Caps winning in 2018, there was a “Cup or bust” mantra that just didn’t work.

Nothing is willed without hard work and humility.

That’s not to say Tampa doesn’t work hard or isn’t humble, but rather, they must lose on the big stage repetitively until everyone expects them to fail. That’s when they’ll go on a run.

They’ve managed to keep their roster together (granted, RFA center, Brayden Point, is still unsigned) while trimming the fat (gone are the days of Anton Stralman and Dan Girardi on the blue line) and are still Stanley Cup front-runners, but they likely won’t get back to the 60-win plateau in back-to-back seasons.

The Lightning will still get to 50 wins for the third season in-a-row, have Nikita Kucherov set the league on fire in scoring and yield out-of-this-world goaltending from Andrei Vasilevskiy before the real season starts– the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

How would the Lightning fail?

Everyone keeps talking about the Lightning as if they’re some godsend (too much hype, remember?). That, or General Manager Julien BriseBois blows up the roster and/or Jon Cooper is fired as head coach.

Boston Bruins: Pros and Cons

The Bruins core remains strong among their forwards and as long as they’re able to negotiate an extension with RFAs Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo without any bumps in the road, then their defense is pretty sound too.

Jaroslav Halak signed a two-year deal last summer, so the 1A/1B tandem of Tuukka Rask and Halak in the crease seems fine for another run in 2019-20.

Boston exceeded expectations in 2017-18 and went under the radar in 2018-19– though they managed to amass only 10 losses in regulation since Jan. 1st, which means they were actually pretty loud in the points percentage column.

Injuries come and go.

If the Bruins are able to stay healthy instead of dropping like flies to their 12th defenseman on the depth chart, they might actually pick up a few more points than they did last season.

With Bruce Cassidy as head coach, things should remain status quo in the regular season, but Boston still needs to address their top-six forward problem.

David Pastrnak can play on the first or second line, but on any given night that leaves one of their top two lines in need of a scoring winger.

General Manager Don Sweeney managed to patch a hole at the third line center– acquiring Charlie Coyle as last season’s trade deadline loomed– and Coyle was one of their better players in their 2019 Stanley Cup Final postseason run.

But with a couple of depth signings for bottom six roles in the offseason (Par Lindholm and Brett Ritchie), everyone getting another year older and David Backes’ $6.000 million cap hit through 2020-21 still on the books, Boston’s hands are tied.

How would the Bruins fail?

There’s enough bark in the regular season, but not enough bite for a deep postseason run. It’s harder than ever before to make it back to the Stanley Cup Final in back-to-back seasons– and that’s before you consider age, injuries and regression.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Pros and Cons

Toronto has Auston Matthews as their second best center. Yes. Second best. Why? Because John Tavares enters the second year of his long-term seven-year deal that he signed last July.

That alone will continue to keep the Leafs afloat with a strong 1-2 duo down the middle.

Regardless of the Mitch Marner contract negotiations (or lack thereof), the Maple Leafs are just fine with their forwards– having traded Nazem Kadri to the Colorado Avalanche and acquiring Alex Kerfoot in the process (Calle Rosen and Tyson Barrie were also swapped in the deal).

Patrick Marleau is gone and it only cost Toronto a conditional 2020 1st round pick (top-10 lottery protected) and a 2020 7th round pick in the process, but an affordable Jason Spezza at league minimum salary ($700,000) on a one-year deal for fourth line minutes will do just fine.

By puck drop for the 2019-20 season, the Leafs will save $10.550 million in cap space thanks to David Clarkson (yes, his contract’s back after a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights that sent Garret Sparks the other way) and Nathan Horton’s placement on the long-term injured reserve.

The stars are aligning for Toronto to still need to get past the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2004.

With Kadri gone, however, perhaps they will be able to do so with or without Boston in the equation.

How would the Leafs fail?

They don’t sign Marner and they lose in another Game 7 because of it. There’s a lot of turbulence ahead for Toronto General Manager Kyle Dubas considering the Leafs have one defender under contract after 2019-20. If the team doesn’t breakout in the postseason, it’s really just status quo until proven otherwise.

Florida Panthers: Pros and Cons

The Panthers are beginning to ripen with a mix of youth and experience among their forwards, plus a defense that quietly does their job.

They also added Noel Acciari, Brett Connolly, Anton Stralman and (most importantly) Sergei Bobrovsky to the mix.

While Acciari’s $1.667 million cap hit through 2021-22 is a slight overpay for a fourth line center, at least it could be worse. Connolly’s making $3.500 million for the next four years and even Stralman has a cap hit of $5.500 million through 2021-22 when he’ll be turning 36 on August 1, 2022.

Ok, so it was an expensive offseason for Florida– and that’s before you add the $10.000 million price tag for the next seven years of Bobrovsky in the crease.

Yes, despite landing one of the better goaltenders in the league in free agency, General Manager Dale Tallon managed to make matters complicated after, say, the fourth year of Bobrovsky’s contract.

Bobrovsky will be roughly 37-years-old by the time his contract with the Panthers expires and not everyone can be like Dwayne Roloson in the net forever.

At least they drafted Spencer Knight (in the first round– a goaltending prospect curse).

Though they missed the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs by 12 points for an Eastern Conference wild card spot, the Panthers are in a position to gain more than a few wins with new head coach (and three-time Stanley Cup champion) Joel Quenneville behind the bench.

How would the Panthers fail?

Florida’s already landed the biggest prize in head coaching free agency with Quenneville reuniting with Tallon in Sunrise. What could possibly go wrong (besides Tallon being replaced by a clone of Stan Bowman and then the Panthers go on to win three Cups without Tallon in command)?

Montreal Canadiens: Pros and Cons

Montreal didn’t get Matt Duchene or Sebastian Aho in free agency, so they got the next best thing– not overspending on July 1st.

That’s not to say Duchene and Aho aren’t quality players, but rather just an observation of cap concerns for the Habs with Max Domi as a pending-RFA in July 2020 and the rest of Montreal’s future core (Ryan Poehling, Nick Suzuki, Victor Mete, Cayden Primeau and Jesperi Kotkaniemi) to consider going down the road.

Granted, Aho could’ve sped the process up a bit if it weren’t for those pesky RFA rights and compensation in the CBA, right Montreal?

The Canadiens need a legitimate number one center, but General Manager Marc Bergevin has been preoccupied restructuring the defense in the meantime.

That’s not a bad thing.

Shea Weber is 34 and under contract through the 2025-26 season, though after 2021-22, his base salary drops to $3.000 million in 2022-23 and $1.000 million from 2023-26 (meaning he could be traded with ease in a few years, despite his $7.857 million cap hit).

But Karl Alzner and Jeff Petry are both over 30 and have no-trade and/or no-movement clauses in their contracts.

At least free agent addition, Ben Chiarot, is 28-years-old, but he also carries a no-trade clause as part of his three-year deal.

How would the Canadiens fail?

Claude Julien inexplicably reverts back to his old ways and doesn’t play the kids, Carey Price is injured for most of the season and/or Bergevin overcompensates in a trade because of his failure to secure a free agent center.

Detroit Red Wings: Pros and Cons

Steve Yzerman has come home and is rightfully the General Manager for the Red Wings, but as we’ve seen in Tampa, his masterplan takes a little time.

Detroit is four or five years out from being an annual Cup contender, but that doesn’t mean the Red Wings haven’t already sped things up in their rebuild.

Trading for Adam Erne isn’t a grand-slam, but it does make the average age of the roster a tad younger.

It also means that the Red Wings now have seven pending-RFAs on their NHL roster and roughly $37.000 million to work with in July 2020.

How would the Red Wings fail?

Having Yzerman in the front office at Little Caesars Arena is like adding all of the best toppings to a pizza. The only downside is that leftover pineapple is still on the pizza from all of the no-trade clauses delivered by the last guy.

Ottawa Senators: Pros and Cons

The Senators are looking to spend ba-by.

Just kidding, they don’t plan on being good until 2021, so does that mean starting with the 2020-21 season or the following year in 2021-22?

But they do have a ton of draft picks stockpiled including two in the 1st round in 2020, three in the 2nd round, one in the 3rd, 4th and 5th, a pair in the 6th and one in the 7th.

Plus they have roughly $15.600 million in cap space currently and eight players under contract for next season that aren’t on the injured reserve.

For some reason (Eugene Melnyk) current-RFA Colin White is still unsigned and 38-year-old, Ron Hainsey, was signed in free agency, but at least Cody Ceci is a Maple Leaf now.

Oh and former Leafs assistant coach D.J. Smith is Ottawa’s head coach now. That’ll show them!

How would the Senators fail?

More importantly, how would Ottawa succeed?

Buffalo Sabres: Pros and Cons

Pro: The Sabres will probably be better than last season.

Con: Ralph Krueger is Buffalo’s new head coach and nobody knows what to expect (he went 19-22-7 in the lockout shortened 48-game season with the Edmonton Oilers in 2012-13).

Pro: Only eight skaters are under contract next season.

Con: Only eight skaters are under contract next season, including Rasmus Ristolainen and nobody is sure whether or not the club is trying to trade him.

Pro: Marcus Johansson!

Con: Jimmy Vesey! (Only cost Buffalo two third round picks over three years to get him.)

Pro: The average age of the roster is about 26.

Con: Matt Hunwick is the oldest player at 34-years-old, followed by Carter Hutton at 33 and Vladimir Sobotka at 32.

Pro: Royal blue in 2020!

Con: It’s not until 2020.

How would the Sabres fail?

If Buffalo actually finishes last in the division, instead of any improvement whatsoever.

DTFR Podcast #152- One Week Left

The DTFR Duo talk a little college hockey, other stats from the week, the CWHL folding and NWHL expansion opportunities, as well as hand out more awards and a look at how things should sort out in the Atlantic Division for the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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Mantha’s hat trick sinks Bruins, 6-3, in Detroit

Anthony Mantha scored his first career hat trick in the midst of a five-point night on Sunday as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Boston Bruins, 5-3, at Little Caesars Arena.

Mantha became the first Red Wings player to record at least five points in a game against Boston since Steve Yzerman did so on Jan. 14, 1989. Yzerman had two goals and three assists that night.

Taro Hirose, Filip Hronek and Dylan Larkin also had goals for Detroit, while Jake DeBrusk, Brad Marchand and David Backes scored for the Bruins.

Red Wings goaltender, Jimmy Howard (22-20-5 record, 3.02 goals against average, .909 save percentage in 52 games played) made 31 saves on 34 shots against for a .912 SV% in the win.

Meanwhile, B’s netminder, Jaroslav Halak (21-11-4, 2.40 GAA, .920 SV% in 39 GP) stopped 22 out of 27 shots faced (.815 SV%) in the loss.

Boston fell to 47-23-9 (103 points) on the season, but remained in control of 2nd place in the Atlantic Division. Detroit improved to 31-38-10 (72 points) and crept over the Buffalo Sabres for 6th in the Atlantic (Detroit leads in regulation-plus-overtime wins, 28-26).

The Red Wings finished the season series with the 2-1-1 advantage.

Kevan Miller returned to the lineup after missing the last 16 games with an upper body injury and was paired on the third defensive pair with Matt Grzelcyk.

Connor Clifton joined Steven Kampfer as the only healthy scratches, while Chris Wagner (undisclosed) did not take part in warmups and was replaced with Karson Kuhlman.

Kuhlman was placed on the second line right wing with DeBrusk and David Krejci, while Marcus Johansson slid down to the third line left wing alongside Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen.

Sean Kuraly (fractured right hand) and John Moore (upper body) remain week-to-week while Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, juggles his lines.

Six seconds into Sunday night, Torey Krug was penalized for roughing Dylan McIlrath. Detroit did not convert on the ensuing power play, but they did kickstart momentum in their favor.

Midway through the first period, Mantha (20) fired a one-timer over Halak’s glove on the short side to give the Red Wings the lead, 1-0.

Larkin (38) and Tyler Bertuzzi (23) had the assists on Mantha’s first goal of the night at 10:26 of the first period.

A few minutes later, Andreas Athanasiou slashed Krejci and sent the Bruins on their first power play of the night at 13:38. It was unsuccessful and shortly followed by another Boston power play at 17:07 when Christoffer Ehn slashed Backes.

Grzelcyk cut the B’s skater advantage short when he slashed Athanasiou at 19:04 and the two clubs had three seconds of 4-on-4 action before an abbreviated power play for the Red Wings began.

As the seconds ticked away, it appeared as though the Bruins would be shorthanded to start the second period until Mantha (21) slapped another one-timer past Halak at 19:59 of the first period.

Niklas Kronwall (22) and Bertuzzi (24) tallied the assists on Mantha’s power play goal and Detroit led, 2-0, entering the first intermission.

After one period of play, the Red Wings led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and, 9-8, in shots on goal. Detroit also held the advantage in blocked shots (6-5), takeaways (2-1), giveaways (7-0) and hits (4-3), while Boston led in face-off win percentage (56-44).

The Red Wings were 1/2 on the power play entering the second period and the Bruins were 0/2.

Early in the middle frame, Charlie McAvoy sent Krejci up the ice with DeBrusk on a rush. Krejci sent a lead saucer pass to bring DeBrusk behind the Detroit defense and on his own towards the net, whereby DeBrusk (25) roofed a shot over Howard’s blocker to put the B’s on the scoreboard, 2-1.

Krejci (49) and McAvoy (20) had the assists on DeBrusk’s goal at 2:01 of the second period.

McAvoy later sent the puck over the glass and out of play at 8:12 of the second period and received an automatic delay of game penalty.

Nearing the end of the resulting penalty kill, Brandon Carlo worked the puck up to Marchand as the Bruins winger entered the zone on a two-on-one with Patrice Bergeron.

Marchand slid the puck over to Bergeron, awaiting a return pass while Bergeron dragged the rubber biscuit around Mantha as the Red Wings forward dove in a desperate attempt to breakup a passing lane.

Bergeron pulled the puck to his backhand and sent it across the slot for Marchand (35) to blast a one-timer past Howard as the Detroit goaltender slid across the crease.

The goal was Marchand’s 26th career shorthanded goal and put Marchand in sole possession of the Bruins franchise record for most career shorthanded goals with the club (Rick Middleton is now 2nd with 25).

Bergeron (46) and Carlo (7) notched the assists on Marchand’s shorthanded goal at 9:50 of the second period.

About five minutes later, Luke Witkowski skated across the ice and railed Joakim Nordstrom with a huge hit along the boards.

Noel Acciari took exception to the non-call as Witkowski charged an otherwise unsuspecting Nordstrom and exchanged fisticuffs with the Detroit skater.

Both players were assessed five-minute majors for fighting, while Acciari picked up an extra minor penalty for instigating and an automatic ten-minute misconduct as a result at 14:24.

Johansson served Acciari’s minor penalty while the Bruins were shorthanded, but Detroit’s ensuing power play wouldn’t last long as 20 seconds later, Athanasiou was called for interference at 14:44.

Neither team converted on the ensuing 4-on-4 action and abbreviated skater advantage for Boston thereafter.

With one minute remaining in the second period, Miller blasted a shot from the point that Backes (7) tipped behind Howard to give the Bruins their first lead of the night, 3-2.

Miller (7) and Krejci (50) had the assists on Backes’ goal at 19:00 of the second period.

Krejci reached the 50-assist plateau for the third time in his career (51 assists in 2008-09, 50 assists in 2013-14) with the secondary assist on the goal as Boston carried the, 3-2, lead into the second intermission.

Both teams were tied in shots on goal, 17-17, and takeaways, 2-2, after 40 minutes of play, while the Bruins led in blocked shots (15-8), hits (9-8) and face-off win% (53-47). The Red Wings led in giveaways (14-2) through two periods.

Detroit entered the third period 1/4 on the power play, while Boston was 0/3 on the skater advantage.

DeBrusk was penalized for interference 69 seconds into the third period and sent the Red Wings on the power play. Eight seconds later, Detroit tied the game.

Mantha (22) completed his first career hat trick on yet another one-timer– this time after Bertuzzi completed the pass through the low slot– and the Red Wings tied the game, 3-3, at 1:17 of the third period.

Bertuzzi (25) and Athanasiou (21) recorded the primary and secondary assists, respectively, on the goal as the hats were cleaned up off the ice at Little Caesars Arena.

On the ensuing face-off, Kronwall worked the puck up to Athanasiou through the neutral zone as Athanasiou sped into the attacking zone and dropped a pass back to Hirose (1) for the one-timer from the slot.

Hirose notched his first career NHL goal and the Red Wings led, 4-3, at 1:25 of the third period.

Athanasiou (22) and Kronwall (23) had the assists, but Detroit was not done scoring yet.

Midway through the third, Hronek (5) fired a one-timer from the face-off dot to the right of Halak past the Bruins goaltender and into the twine to make it, 5-3, Red Wings.

Mantha (22) notched his fourth point of the evening with the only assist on Hronek’s goal at 12:03 of the third period.

About a minute later, Hirose cut a rut to the penalty box for slashing Coyle at 13:17, but Boston’s power play didn’t capitalize on the skater advantage.

With less than four minutes remaining in regulation, Cassidy pulled Halak in favor of an extra attacker.

At 19:02 of the third period, Larkin (32) put Detroit in command of the, 6-3, victory with an empty net goal that was assisted by Mantha (23) and Hronek (15).

Upon the sound of the final horn, the Red Wings took home two points in a regulation win, despite trailing the Bruins in shots on goal (34-28), blocked shots (16-14) and face-off win% (52-48), but led in giveaways (16-4).

Detroit finished Sunday night 2/5 on the skater advantage, while the B’s went 0/4 on the power play.

Boston finishes the season swinging through Columbus on April 2nd, making a stop in Minnesota on April 4th and wrapping up the regular season on April 6th at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Bruins at Red Wings Preview: 3/31/2019

The Boston Bruins (47-22-9 record, 103 points, 2nd in the Atlantic Division) visit the Detroit Red Wings (30-38-10, 70 points, 7th in the Atlantic Division) at Little Caesars Arena for the final time this season on Sunday.

Boston has points in 17 out of their last 19 meetings against Detroit, amassing a 15-2-2 record in that span. This season, however, the Bruins are 1-1-1 this season against the Red Wings– most recently suffering a, 4-2, loss at TD Garden on Dec. 1st.

The B’s also lost, 3-2, in overtime at Detroit on Nov. 21st and downed the Red Wings, 8-2, on home ice on Oct. 13th this season.

As the season shifts its focus to the month of April and the looming 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Bruins look to wrap up the month of March with ten wins. They are 9-5-0 entering Sunday in March, while the Detroit is 7-6-1 this month.

The Red Wings are coming off a, 4-0, shutout over the New Jersey Devils on Friday, while the Bruins are coming off a, 4-1, loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

Bruce Cassidy is expected to make some lineup adjustments with Kevan Miller (upper body) returning to Cassidy’s blue line after missing the last 16 games and likely will suit up alongside his teammate, Matt Grzelcyk, on the third defensive pairing.

As a result of Miller’s return, Connor Clifton will join Steven Kampfer as the only healthy scratches for the B’s on Sunday.

Karson Kuhlman was recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) on emergency basis as Boston kicks off a three-game road trip before their final game of the regular season next Saturday at home as Chris Wagner was not on the ice for warmups in Detroit.

With Wagner likely out of the action against the Red Wings, Kuhlman took rushes alongside Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci, with Cassidy reuniting the Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak line as his top line.

Marcus Johansson, Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen are expected to form the third line with Joakim Nordstrom, Noel Acciari and David Backes filling their usual roles on the fourth line.

John Moore (upper body) and Sean Kuraly (fractured right hand) remain week-to-week.

After Tuukka Rask allowed three goals against in Saturday’s loss to the Panthers, Cassidy will start Jaroslav Halak (21-10-4 record, 2.33 goals against average, .923 save percentage in 38 games played) in Boston’s second game in as many nights.

Red Wings head coach, Jeff Blashill, will be without the services of Luke Glendening (undisclosed) and Jonathan Bernier (upper body).

As a result, Detroit recalled Dominic Turgeon and Kaden Fulcher from the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL) with Turgeon, 23, likely to center the fourth line and Fulcher, 20, backing up Jimmy Howard (21-20-5, 3.02 GAA, .909 SV% in 51 GP) in net on Sunday.

Turgeon has 6-13–19 totals in 69 games for the Griffins this season and was the 63rd overall pick of the 2014 NHL Draft by the Red Wings.

Fulcher spent part of this season with the Toledo Walleye (ECHL) and amassed a 15-7-6 record, 3.00 GAA and .899 SV% in 28 games played prior to being reassigned to Grand Rapids. He signed as an undrafted free agent with Detroit in October 2017.

With Glendening missing the action against Boston, the Red Wings will not have a single player play a full 82-game season for the first time since 1996-97 when Steve Yzerman led Detroit in games played with 81.

Bernier was hurt in the second period on Friday and replaced by Howard prior to the start of the third period against New Jersey.

Dylan Larkin leads the Red Wings with 31-37–68 totals in 72 games played this season.

DTFR Podcast #143- Overage Fees

The Dallas Stars and Pittsburgh Penguins swapped familiar assets, while the Toronto Maple Leafs added a defender in a deal with the Los Angeles Kings. Red Kelly’s number is going to be retired (again– this time by the Detroit Red Wings) and we now know the opponents in the 2020 Winter Classic and 2020 Stadium Series games.

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Athanasiou’s two-goal night lifts Red Wings over the Bruins, 3-2, in OT

Detroit Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou scored the game-tying goal in the third period, then added his second goal of the night for the sudden death victory in overtime, 3-2, over the Boston Bruins Wednesday night at Little Caesars Arena.

Jimmy Howard (7-6-2, 2.60 goals against average, .924 save percentage in 15 games played) made 34 saves on 36 shots against for a .944 SV% in the win for Detroit, while Tuukka Rask (4-4-2, 2.79 GAA, .909 SV% in 10 GP) got the start for the Bruins and picked up the loss, despite making 24 saves on 27 shots faced for an .889 SV%.

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The Red Wings improved to 10-9-2 (22 points) on the season and leapfrogged the Ottawa Senators for 6th place in the Atlantic Division standings. Boston fell to 11-6-4 (26 points), but improved to 4th place in the Atlantic by virtue of having one game in-hand over the Montreal Canadiens.

Wednesday night was the 300th meeting in Detroit between the two franchises, with the Bruins now holding an all-time record of 86-159-55 in Hockeytown, while the Red Wings are now 8-3-3 in their last 14 home games against Boston.

Detroit is also 9-2-0 in their last 11 games. Boston is 5-4-2 in their last 11 games as a result of the loss.

Patrice Bergeron missed his second straight game after being ruled out for at least four weeks with a sternoclavicular injury sustained in last Friday’s matchup on the road against the Dallas Stars. As a result, Colby Cave was recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) ahead of Wednesday’s game in Detroit.

Bruce Cassidy made some minor adjustments to his lineup from Saturday’s game in Arizona against the Coyotes as Kevan Miller returned to action after missing the last 13 games with a hand injury.

Anders Bjork played alongside David Krejci and David Pastrnak on the first line, with Brad Marchand, Joakim Nordstrom and Jake DeBrusk rounding out the top-six forwards.

Danton Heinen, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Noel Acciari were left intact on the third line with Chris Wagner playing to the left of Sean Kuraly on the fourth line and David Backes on the right wing.

Miller was paired with Matt Grzelcyk on the first defensive pair, while Torey Krug continued to play alongside Connor Clifton and Jeremy Lauzon was paired with Steven Kampfer.

Jakub Zboril was a healthy scratch and ultimately reassigned to Providence during the first intermission.

Among other scratches, Brandon Carlo (upper body), Cave (healthy scratch), John Moore (lower body), Zdeno Chara (lower body- left MCL), Bergeron (upper body), Urho Vaakanainen (concussion) and Charlie McAvoy (concussion) all missed Wednesday night’s action as well.

Mike Green took the game’s only penalty at 13:22 of the first period for tripping Krejci.

The Bruins were not able to convert on the ensuing power play and the game remained tied, 0-0, all the way into the first intermission.

Both teams went to the dressing room with three giveaways each and Boston leading in shots on goal (12-4). Boston also held an advantage in blocked shots (3-2) and takeaways (3-1), while Detroit led in hits (12-6) and face-off win percentage (67-33). The Bruins were 0/1 on the power play in the game’s only skater advantage.

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Forsbacka Karlsson (2) notched his second goal of his young NHL career after following up on a rebound that bounced off of Howard and a Detroit defender before Forsbacka Karlsson found the puck back on his stick and jammed it in at 4:08 of the second period.

Boston led, 1-0, but only for about five minutes until Nick Jensen fired a shot from the point that Tyler Bertuzzi (6) redirected through Rask’s five-hole to tie the game, 1-1, while Kampfer failed to tie-up the Red Wings forward (and goal scorer) in front of the goal.

Jensen (4) and Danny DeKeyser (3) had the assists on Bertuzzi’s goal at 9:48 of the second period.

After 40 minutes of play, the Bruins outshot Detroit, 25-13, in a, 1-1, tie. The Red Wings led in blocked shots (7-6), takeaways (4-3), giveaways (10-8), hits (21-12) and face-off win% (51-49) after two periods.

Early in the third period, Sean Kuraly threw the puck on goal as Chris Wagner (2) crashed the net and tabbed the garbage goal to give Boston a 2-1 lead at 6:45 of the third period. Kuraly (3) had the only assist on the goal.

Athanasiou (8) followed up with a quick equalizer at 8:59 after Gustav Nyquist fired a shot up high, glove side, that Rask couldn’t get a full handle on, generating a rebound for Athanasiou’s quick reaction and goal.

Nyquist (14) had the only assist and the game was tied, 2-2.

Through 60 minutes of play, regulation was not enough, despite the Bruins leading the Red Wings in shots on goal (35-25). Detroit actually outshot Boston, 12-10, in the third period and held an advantage in just about every other statistical category, including blocked shots (11-6), giveaways (13-8), hits (29-16) and face-off win% (57-43).

The Bruins, meanwhile, led in takeaways (6-4) entering overtime.

Just 49 seconds into overtime, Athanasiou swooped in on a face-off in the attacking zone to steal the puck after Frans Nielsen took the draw to a stalemate.

Athanasiou (9) then spun in front of the goal and scored from point blank to seal the victory, 3-2, for Detroit. Nielsen (11) had the only assist on the game-winning goal.

At the final horn, the Bruins finished the night leading in shots on goal, 36-27, but trailing on the scoreboard, 3-2. Detroit finished Wednesday’s effort with the advantage in blocked shots (11-6), giveaways (14-8), hits (30-16) and face-off win% (60-40).

Boston is now 1-4 in overtime this season as a result of the loss.

The B’s and Red Wings will meet again in ten days back in Boston, then they won’t meet again this season until March 31, 2019 in Detroit.

For now the Bruins head home after going 1-1-2 on a four-game road trip to face the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden this Friday night. Puck drop is scheduled for a little after 7:30 p.m. ET with Boston playing the first of back-to-back games on back-to-back days at home and on the road in Montreal against the Canadiens on Saturday.

Detroit Red Wings 2018-19 Season Preview

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Detroit Red Wings

30-39-13, 73 points, 5th in the Atlantic Division

Additions: G Jonathan Bernier, D Jake Chelios, F Wade Megan, G Harri Sateri, F Chris Terry, F Thomas Vanek

Subtractions: D Adam Almquist (signed, SHL), F Colin Campbell (signed with Grand Rapids Griffins, AHL), G Jared Coreau (signed with ANA), F Turner Elson (signed with Grand Rapids Griffins, AHL), F Matt Lorito (signed with NYI), G Matej Machovsky (signed, ELH), G Tom McCollum (signed with Milwaukee Admirals, AHL), F Zach Nastasiuk (signed with Charlotte Checkers, AHL), D Xavier Ouellet (buyout, signed with MTL), D Dan Renouf (signed with CAR), F Ben Street (signed with ANA), F Eric Tangradi (signed with NJ)

Still Unsigned:  F David Booth, F Matt Puempel

Re-signed: F Andreas Athanasiou, D Mike Green, F Dylan Larkin, F Anthony Mantha

Offseason Analysis: Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland is standing put this offseason. Tell me if you’ve already heard this story before.

Despite finishing 5th in the Atlantic Division (only two spots out of a playoff spot), Detroit was not at all a playoff contender by any means last season. The same remains true for 2018-19, unfortunately for Red Wings fans.

However, unlike most rebuilding teams this offseason, Detroit had a tremendous draft– landing Filip Zadina at 6th overall. Both Zadina and the Red Wings are ready to prove at least two or three other teams that passed over him wrong.

Holland didn’t just land one great pick that slipped down the order, but two with his second pick of the first round at 30th overall in Joe Veleno.

Re-signing Andreas Athanasiou, Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha protected the Red Wings core, while bringing in Jonathan Bernier as a backup provides stability in the crease behind Jimmy Howard.

Rebuilding is a long, slow process, but Detroit is ready to speed things up a bit as they look to get younger in the right places. One thing that’s holding them back, however, is their commitment to lateral moves during this time period.

Thomas Vanek is back (for now– just wait until the trade deadline, though he really wants to stay in a winged-wheel sweater) and so is Mike Green. Frans Nielsen is still on the books with his NMC/NTC strapped contract and the blueline at Little Caesars Arena continues to age– without Xavier Ouellet in the picture after Holland used a buyout on the 25-year-old defender reaching his prime.

Holland’s plans for next offseason have to include some kind of restructuring on the back end with four defenders aged 32-plus.

Regardless, 2018-19 is poised to be an average disappointment as a placeholder season while Zadina and Co. gain experience. Detroit is at least competitive enough to lose games by one, two or three goals instead of 5-0 blowouts every other night.

Any experience is good experience, but playoff hopes should be on hold for at least one more season Red Wings fans (because otherwise, they’d be making an early exit for sure).

Offseason Grade: C

Ken Holland didn’t do much, but rather just enough to potentially set the Red Wings up for landing a goldmine in the 2019 offseason. With that in mind, Detroit should line themselves up for another high-end draft pick next June and trying to land a top UFA in 2019.

This season, however, the focus remains on finding a focus. Fix an aging defense, find the next Jimmy Howard and set sights on having younger guys inserted into the lineup.

Could Jeff Blashill be on the hotseat this season? Sure. For better or worse. It’s really not the coaching in Detroit that’s the problem. It’s an average to below average roster that’s continuing to age in a tight salary cap (but again, there’s hope for some serious restructuring next offseason).

Our GLI Experience

College hockey is an amazing thing. I would go as far as describing it as the heart of the sport. The players aren’t out on the ice competing for a paycheck, but rather to support their teammates and represent the name on their sweaters. This past Monday and Tuesday, I was fortunate to attend the Great Lakes Invitational. I was reminded why I love college hockey and how it truly has a strong impact on higher levels of the game. Here is a quick recap of the two-day tournament:

Falcons Crash the Party

The Bowling Green Falcons were this year’s Great Lakes Invitational Champions. They achieved this by defeating Michigan in a close matchup Monday night, then by downing Michigan Tech 4-1 the following evening. Goals in the second game for the Falcons were provided by Brett D’Andrea, Connor Ford, John Schilling, and Tyler Spezia. Freshman goaltender Eric Dop played very well between the pipes in the final game, stopping 29-of-30 shots.

Tournament Team

The all-tournament team consisted of players from each of the four participants. Forwards included Lukas Craggs of Bowling Green, Cooper Marody from Michigan, and Patrick Khodorenko out of Michigan State. The defense corps were represented by Bowling Green’s Alec Rauhauser and Michigan Tech’s Mitch Reinke. Bowling Green goaltender Eric Dop rounded out the all-tournament team. Craggs was also slated as the tournament MVP, with two goals and three assists during that span.

Hockey in Michigan

Three of the four teams that participated in the invitational were from the Mitten State. Minnesota may proclaim themselves as the “State of Hockey,” but Michigan sure does have their own argument. All of these programs performed well and had bright spots in each of their games. The rosters themselves were made up of many players from Michigan, including eight on the roster of Bowling Green, the only out-of-state team in the tournament.

Little Caesars Arena

If you haven’t had the opportunity to see the NHL’s newest venue, you’re missing out. The design of the perimeter and concourse area make for a modern and clean look. There are several restaurants connected directly to the arena, which make for a great game day experience. At different points, we sat clear at the top, as well as right by the glass, and I don’t think there was a bad seat in the place. The décor was spot-on, filling the venue with rich history and tradition.

Michigan v. Michigan State

Ohio State may be Michigan’s rival in most sports, but in hockey, it’s their inter-state foMich-Ste, Michigan State. These two teams met in the consolation game, with the Wolverines taking a 6-4 decision. There was plenty of exciting action, including some pushing and shoving after the whistle. These two teams will meet again in the same location for a “Duel in the D” on Saturday, February 10th.

Falcon Momentum

After the New Year, the season has resumed for NCAA Hockey teams around the country. This is the most intriguing point in the season, where teams either stumble and miss the postseason, or they get a massive load of steam rolling forward. Momentum can be a crazing thing in sports. At the moment, the team that represents that is Bowling Green. Their players have a ton of confidence after winning this tournament as the “special invite” team. They face Ferris State in WCHA play this weekend.

Island of Misfit Toys

The second-place Michigan Tech Huskies might have lost the tournament they were hosting, but their supportive fan base surely liftMichiganTeched their spirits. Shout-out to Mitch’s Misfits and their pep band for a great tournament. Even in an NHL facility, they could be heard. At one point, it’s almost certain they were shouting “Go Tech” for two or three minutes straight. Keep those lungs rested and best of luck the rest of the year.

Jeopardy Question

Who raised the first banner in Little Caesars Arena? Well, that would be the Bowling Green Falcons. It was joke on the car ride home that in technicality, the Red Wings won’t be able to say they raised the first banner in their own area. The Great Lakes Invitational banner was lowered after the game and raised following the ceremonies.

Dreams Come True

Although the NCAA is a great pool for the NHL to pick through, not all players have the talent to make it at the next level. This event was an opportunity for some lower-tier players to skate in a game on NHL ice and live out their dreams. One thing that makes the GLI so special is the relationship with the Detroit Red Wings, who have loaned out their home ice since the beginning of the tournament. Seeing the smiles on players’ faces was like watching kids in a candy store, as they scratched an item off their bucket lists.