I just got back from my trip to Traverse City and other parts of Michigan. I was able to catch the Prospects Tournament on Friday, but I didn't go on Saturday due to other plans (I got engaged). I strongly recommend attending the tournament. We planned our trip around seeing the Wings, and the game was one of the best parts of the trip. Below are some short impressions from the game. The play was a little sloppy- most of the players haven't played together- and players who hustled and were hard on the puck were most noticeable.
Mantha- Had two excellent goals. The first was a nice snipe, and the second was batted in from mid air. He seemed very composed, made few mistakes, and controlled the play well. He was the Wings' best forward, and I'm excited to see him in preseason. From what I saw he didn't look NHL ready, but he was also playing with new teammates.
Athanasiou- Dangerous. He has great speed and an excellent shot, and was exciting each time he touched the puck. He played a little recklessly, and was hit hard a few times throughout the game. The raw talent is there, and I am excited to see how he can put his shot, speed, and tenacity together. IMO he was more exciting to watch than Mantha.
Frk- Fast, hustles, and has a great work ethic. I am hoping he can continue to improve in GR this season.
Turgeon- Always seemed to be in the right place to make a play, offensively and defensively. We always noted his hustle and energy. I wasn't a big fan of the pick originally, but I am now convinced.
Bert- Much smaller than I expected, both in size and how he plays the game. He made a few bad plays, but managed to assist on the last goal in regulation. IMO he needs to get stronger to be a physical player at the NHL/AHL level. I expected a better game from him- hopefully I caught him on an off night.
Sproul- Solid play and a great shot to send the game to OT. I expected him to be the Wings' best D, and he was by far.
Hicketts- I was impressed. Solid play and scored the GWG in OT. Was very smart with the puck, always seemed to be in the right position, and made a few good checks. His size didn't seem to be an issue in the game, but will likely hinder him getting an NHL contract. IMO if he were 2-3 inches taller, the Wings would/should sign him.
Nedomlel- Formed a solid pairing with Hicketts. Used his size well and was positionally sound. He didn't hesitate to challenge a Blues player to a fight that boarded Athanasiou. I think he has the ability to be a McQuaid type player.
McNulty- Has all of the tools, but needs a lot of improvement. He had some great offensive rushes, and was able to use his size to physically dominate play in the corners and in front of the net. He made some bad decisions, and was benched in OT along with Wheaton.
Babcock- Scowling as usual, but I saw him smile during the first intermission.
Chelios- Looks like he's in shape and ready to play.
I read somewhere a few months ago Pav saying something like, "Our main goal next year shouldn't be a 24th straight playoff appearance, it should be focused on trying to win the Stanley Cup." Don't know where from. Could Pav and Z not show as a form of protest. I know they won't and they would be buried for it, but at least it would send a message about management ... Thoughts?
What would be the message to management? According to mlive, the Wings made a big push to improve the defense.
Holland declined to reveal details about any of the Red Wings' offers, but a source said Niskanen's agent told the Red Wings over the weekend that he was on their "short list." They offered him a seven-year deal for $38.5 million. The agent called Tuesday and told the Red Wings they didn't make the final cut. They were not given an opportunity to negotiate.
The Red Wings made Boyle a three-year, $12.5 million offer ($5 million in each of the first two seasons, $2.5 million for 2016-17). Boyle, who turns 38 on July 12, took less to go to the Rangers.
The Red Wings spoke to Anton Stralman, but he wanted a five- or six-year deal (he signed with Tampa Bay; five years at $4.5 million per season). The Red Wings didn't want to sign him for that long because they believe some of their young defensemen (Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul, Alexey Marchenko, Mattias Backman) will be better than Stralman in a couple of years.
The Red Wings offered Stephane Robidas, 37, a comparable deal to the one he signed with Toronto (three years at $3 million per season). Robidas, who is from Quebec, wanted to be closer to home for family reasons...
...A source said Ehrhoff's camp had told the Red Wings he was seeking a five-year deal for $5 million per season. They weren't prepared to offer more than two or three years. Ehrhoff clearly wanted to play for the Penguins because he didn't give the Red Wings a chance to beat that offer, which they would have.
The Canadian sports media goes crazy over any Canadian team now and I'm sure CBC or TSN would be all over a deal. Hell, CBC even shows games in Punjabi so I'm sure they'd want to serve English Nordique fans. As for financial backing, the municipality is building them a rink and there's not even a team yet so clearly there's money to back them.
Also, the Canadian dollar argument isn't as meaningful as it used to be since the CAN dollar has been pretty high for quite a while.
The problem with expansion in Canada from the NHL point of view is that the media and citizens are already into hockey. That is, the NHL wants teams in new areas (like Seattle) where the television market is large and they can get new fans watching hockey, buying merchandise, etc. As I said before, I would like a team in Quebec City.
There's a difference between having respect for your opponent (in the sense that you won't continue to throw punches once he's on the ice or the linesmen have stepped in) and making out with him after the fight. It makes it look theatrical. I get that guys wanna set the tone for the game, but that is ridiculous.
This is the LNAH- they fight for the fans as often as for hockey reasons. Few, if any, of these players are making it past the ECHL- although some have played at higher levels in the past- and the league has a tradition of physical hockey and fighting.