Scotty Bowman turns 87 today

This note from NHL.com’s John Kreiser, offering a, “This Date in NHL History” article, takes note of a significant birthday:

1933: Scotty Bowman, the most successful coach in NHL history, is born in Montreal.

After an injury ends his hopes of becoming an NHL player, Bowman turns to coaching and gets his first NHL job at age 34 in 1967 as an assistant with the expansion St. Louis Blues. He replaces Lynn Patrick as coach later that season and guides the Blues to the Stanley Cup Final in each of their first three seasons. Bowman moves to the Montreal Canadiens in 1971-72 and wins the Stanley Cup five times in eight seasons, including four in a row from 1976-79, before leaving to become coach and general manager of the Buffalo Sabres.

Bowman becomes director of player personnel for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1990 and is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 1991, but goes back behind the bench when coach Bob Johnson is diagnosed with brain cancer after leading the Penguins to the Cup in 1991. Johnson dies Nov. 26, 1991; the Penguins dedicate the season to him and Bowman guides them to a second straight Stanley Cup championship.

He takes over as coach of the Detroit Red Wings in 1993. They make the Final in 1995, win a regular season-record 62 games in 1995-96 and end a 42-year championship drought by sweeping the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1997 Cup Final. Under Bowman, the Red Wings win the Cup again in 1998 and 2002; after that, he retires with NHL records for games coached (2,141), wins in the regular season (1,244) and playoffs (223), and Stanley Cups (nine).

Bowman is part of another Cup-winning team with Detroit in 2008, as a special consultant. In July 2008 he is named a senior adviser with the Chicago Blackhawks, working with his son, GM Stan Bowman. He is part of Chicago’s championship teams in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

Happy Birthday, 𝗦𝗖𝗢𝗧𝗧𝗬 ‼️🙌 pic.twitter.com/2EzeNdIjac— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) September 18, 2020

The man. The myth. The legend. Happy birthday Scotty Bowman! Join us as we roast and toast the man of the hour on October 14th at The Celebrity Roast of Scotty Bowman presented by @DeltaDentalMI For more info (including silent auction!) visit https://t.co/jj2XvGcmbP pic.twitter.com/zEdbrcjwjs— Jamie Daniels Foundation (@JDanielsFund) September 18, 2020

A happy 87th birthday to the one and only Scotty Bowman @coachwsb. One of my favourite people, Scotty has always been unafraid to make bold statements, like wearing these pants while coaching Montreal. pic.twitter.com/0nyW5rnKmO— Gord Miller (@GMillerTSN) September 18, 2020

HSJ on the AHL’s fuzzy 2020-2021 season plans

According to the Free Press’s Helene St. James, two members of the AHL’s “Return to Play” committee, including Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland and AHL president Scott Howson, the American Hockey League may or may not be able to hold a 2020-2021 season, especially if the ticket-revenue-driven league is not able to accommodate fans’ rear ends in seats:

“It would be very difficult for most of our teams to operate without fans,” Scott Howson, the president of the AHL, told the Free Press. “I think there are some that would want to do it. Most of our teams are sort of able to operate at 50% capacity. That is the feedback we are getting from surveys, but right now, we aren’t close to that in most of our jurisdictions.”

Van Andel Arena, home to the Grand Rapids Griffins, has a capacity of 11,000 for hockey games, but under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s current orders, 5,500 fans would not be allowed to gather at the rink.

Local restrictions on travel and large gatherings in several locations are among the many issues Howson and the AHL committee have to consider.

“We have four Canadian AHL teams and further to that, we have three NHL Canadian teams that have their players playing in AHL U.S. market, which would make it difficult for them to recall players,” Howson said. “Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver all have their teams in the States, so that’s a big obstacle and consideration as we tackle this issue.”

The AHL has a board meeting scheduled for Sept. 30, at which point the committee is expected to “come up with a recommendation for us to consider,” Howson said. “So it’s all still very much up in the air. We just aren’t able to decide anything on whether Dec. 4 is realistic at this point.”

Continued; the NHL, AHL and ECHL seasons are all “up in the air” right now due to travel and stadium capacity restrictions…

NHL.com’s Morreale discusses Rossi and Perfetti

NHL.com’s resident draft guru, Mike G. Morreale, employed NHL Central Scouting’s Joey Tenute to answer 2020 draft-related questions yesterday, and the pair focused on the Ontario Hockey League’s top prospects, including two possible Red Wings picks.

First, Morreale and Tenute discussed Marco Rossi’s size and strength…

Q: Ottawa center Marco Rossi is No. 6 in Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters. He led the OHL with 120 points (39 goals, 81 assists) in 56 games. Do you think his size (5-9, 183) will deter him from taking his game to the next level?

“I don’t believe so. He’s got that low center of gravity and looks like he’s got a strong core and strong legs. He’s just a dynamic skater, has that elusive ability and it’s hard for guys really to hit him. He very rarely is eliminated from the play and has a strong determination to his game. I see Marco always looking for an edge over his opponents, he’s feisty and has that grit game. Marco plays at a high pace and doesn’t need a lot of time on the ice to make plays happen. He’s got that goal-scoring ability and playmaking ability and he wants to win and that’s what I think sets him apart and why his size won’t be an issue for him at the next level.”

And they addressed the hype (or lack thereof) surrounding Cole Perfetti:

Q: Saginaw center Cole Perfetti scored 111 points (37 goals, 74 assists) in 61 games and was the second-leading scorer in the OHL, yet hasn’t garnered a lot of attention. Based on your viewings, how special a player is he?

“I think Perfetti (5-10, 177) grabbed the attention of our whole country at the start of the season with his clutch performance for Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup (12 points; eight goals, four assists in five games) in August and he really just carried it into this season. I was excited every time he came onto the ice during my viewings to see what he could do and what he was going to do. He’s a player that’s targeted and he draws the attention from the other players. They want to eliminate him and take as much time and space away from him as possible because he’s a guy that gets it done. He’s elusive with his stops and starts and his ability to turn and change directions. He draws the attention of everyone on the ice, including scouts and fans and everybody’s looking at him. He’s a guy that’s stepping up off the blue line, back door, and putting it on his tape and it’s in the net. His statistics backed it up and he’s got a bright future.”

Continued

Bultman’s mailbag: Who’s the ‘closest’ 2020 draft prospect

The Athletic’s Max Bultman wrote a mailbag feature this morning. Among the questions asked was an interesting query: of the Wings’ possible 2020 first round draft picks, which player is the “closest” to providing an immediate impact:

I think Marco Rossi is the first guy in that group to the NHL, partly because he’s one of the oldest players in the class, partly because he already ran up the score on the OHL last year, and partly because he’s already signaled he wants to be in the NHL right away. Scott Wheeler reported in August that Rossi opted against signing in Europe this fall to instead focus on training, with the intent of being in the NHL when it starts back up.

Among the others: Lucas Raymond and Alexander Holtz start their seasons in Sweden this weekend. Jake Sanderson is on the young side of the draft class as a July birthday, and is bound for college. Jamie Drysdale will take time to fill out and keep developing. And Cole Perfetti still likely needs to improve on his strength and skating before he’s ready, although he could torch the OHL this year, to the point he may need to be in the NHL in 2021.

Which one is an impact player first might be a different question, but the Red Wings shouldn’t worry about who becomes a difference-maker first so much as who can make the biggest difference overall.

Continued (paywall); I swear to you that I was going to ask for mailbag questions today, but Bultman beat me to it.

Still, if you have Red Wings-related questions, send them my way via the comments section, Twitter or email at rtxg@yahoo.com. It’s just time to start answering some hockey questions on a regular basis.

Handicapping ‘who Wings fans should root for’ in the Stanley Cup Final

It’s a simple question in theory: “Who are you rooting for in the Stanley Cup Final?” For Red Wings fans, it’s not an easy answer:

The Red Wings have significant ties to the Dallas Stars (see: GM Jim Nill, assistant coach Todd Nelson and forward Mattias Janmark), but Corey Perry’s on the team, and we all hate Corey Perry…

And the Lightning also have Red Wings ties as well (assistant coach Derek Lalonde, assistant GM Stacy Roest), and current Wings GM Steve Yzerman built quite a bit of the Lightning’s roster, which may or may not offset the fact that the Bolts have become something of a Wings nemesis (and the Bolts have used the Red Wings as something of a punching bag over the past five years)…

All of that being said, one Down Goes Brown, a.k.a. Sean McIndoe, believes that Wings fans should be rooting for the Bolts in the Stanley Cup Final:

Detroit Red Wings
I’m sure there might be some lingering Jim Nill support, and when I suggested Wings fans root for the Lightning back when this all started, more than a few Detroit fans pushed back. I get that there’s some recent playoff history, and I’m all for a little bad blood. But there’s only a little, and it’s not like the Wings didn’t have some history with the Stars in their glory years. Besides, do you want to know that Steve Yzerman can build a Cup winner or don’t you?

Pick: Lightning

I’m going with the Stars, despite Corey Perry’s presence on the team. Jim Nill is one of the kindest men in hockey, I want to see coach Nelson and Mattias Janmark win, and I’m rooting for coach Rick Bowness and Anton Khubodin in this instance.

Who are you rooting for tomorrow night?

Wings on European loan: Hronek scores a goal, plays 27:31 in HK Mountfield’s season-opening win

European professional hockey seasons are following the early-starting KHL in getting down to regular season business this weekend, and two Red Wings prospects will be in action on Friday and Saturday in the Czech Extraliga.

The Czech league kicked off on Thursday, however, with a game between Filip Hronek’s HK Mountfield and Ceske Budejovice.

HK Mountfield prevailed via a 5-1 decision. Hronek played a massive 27:31, scoring a power play goal, an assist, and a +2. You can watch a clip of Hronek’s goal here via Hokej.cz’s Ondrej Mach.

Hronek did speak to the media after the game, and while attempting to translate Czech is very much so an inexact science, his interview with the CTK News Agency notes that Hronek is playing alongside former Red Wings prospect Richard Nedomlel (as per usual, what follows is roughly translated)…

Continue reading Wings on European loan: Hronek scores a goal, plays 27:31 in HK Mountfield’s season-opening win

Griffins ties to the Cup Finalists

The Grand Rapids Griffins posted a press release highlighting the Griffins’ ties to both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars, who will face off in the 2020 Stanley Cup Final:

FORMER GRIFFINS TO CLASH IN STANLEY CUP FINAL

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – During the 2002-03 American Hockey League season, Grand Rapids Griffins center Stacy Roest and assistant coach Todd Nelson were integral parts of a team that finished first in the Western Conference and eventually fell one win shy of competing in the Calder Cup Finals. Fast-forward 17 years and they now find their National Hockey League teams pitted against each other in the 2020 Stanley Cup Final.

Roest is the assistant general manager for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who completed a 4-2 triumph over the New York Islanders with Thursday’s 2-1 overtime win. Nelson is an assistant coach with the Dallas Stars, who dispatched the Vegas Golden Knights by a 4-1 series score and boast another Griffins alumnus in center Mattias Janmark.

Thanks to this matchup, a former Griffins player will have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup for the seventh time in the last 13 years and the ninth time in the last 16 seasons, joining the names of 16 Grand Rapids alumni that already adorn the most famous trophy in sports. If the Stars prevail, Nelson would also become the first former Griffins coach to celebrate with the Stanley Cup.

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final is set for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. EDT. Visit nhl.com for the complete series schedule.

Roest only spent that lone 2002-03 season in Grand Rapids but made an indelible mark. After placing third on the team in scoring during the regular season with 72 points (24-48—72) in 70 games, he led the Griffins with 10 goals and 16 points during their playoff run. Roest set the franchise’s single-postseason records by scoring a pair of overtime goals and five game-winning goals in all before Grand Rapids lost to eventual champion Houston in Game 7 of the conference finals.

Nelson’s name is synonymous with the Griffins. The first player ever signed by the club in 1996, he logged four seasons as a bedrock defenseman (1996-98, 1999-2000 and 2001-02) plus that one campaign as an assistant coach (2002-03) before returning to spend three seasons as Grand Rapids’ head coach (2015-18). He led the Griffins to their second Calder Cup championship in 2017, becoming just the third person ever to win the Calder Cup as a player (1994 Portland), assistant coach (2008 Chicago) and head coach, joining Bob Woods and one-time Griffins head coach Mike Stothers. Should Dallas defeat Tampa Bay, Nelson would be the first member of that exclusive trio to win the Stanley Cup and would join the ranks of more than 100 players and coaches who have won both the Calder Cup and Stanley Cup in their careers. He already is just the second former Griffin to coach in a Stanley Cup Final, on the heels of former head coach Bruce Cassidy’s appearance last season with the Boston Bruins.

Janmark, originally the third choice (79th overall) of the Detroit Red Wings in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, made his North American debut with the Griffins in 2013-14, playing two regular season contests before contributing one assist in six playoff games. Now in his fourth full NHL season with Dallas, he shows five assists in 20 appearances during these playoffs after totaling 21 points (6-15—21) in 62 games during the regular season.

Former Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill is the Stars’ general manager as well, and former Toledo Walleye coach Derek Lalonde is an assistant coach for Tampa Bay.

Griffins auctioning off game-issued jerseys from their ‘Purple Game’

The Grand Rapids Griffins are auctioning off game-issued jerseys from their March 11th-scheduled “Purple Game” to help raise funds for the Van Andel Institute:

Even though our Purple Community game in March was canceled, you can secure one of the game issued jerseys NOW in the 2020 @VAInstitute Golf Outing auction! 😍

Bid Here >> https://t.co/qjO9O8zaYp pic.twitter.com/0jEHj11llP— Grand Rapids Griffins (@griffinshockey) September 16, 2020

The auction is open until Friday at 12pm.— Grand Rapids Griffins (@griffinshockey) September 16, 2020

Because the jerseys were game-issued and not game-worn, they’re available at pretty darn reasonable prices.

Wakiji profiles Cole Perfetti

DetroitRedWings.com’s Dana Wakiji profiles Saginaw Spirit center Cole Perfetti this evening, and Perfetti’s been linked to the Red Wings on a regular basis over the past couple of months. As Wakiji notes, Perfetti himself has discussed the connection:

“I’ve had some good talks with them (the Red Wings), a couple of times,” Perfetti told The Hockey Writers. “I have another talk with them coming up this week. It’s crazy to hear people talking about that. I don’t think they even know who they’re taking yet with there still being 3 1/2 weeks to go. There’s a lot of great hockey players in this draft. I’m just trying to stay away from that and keep my head focused. When I have an interview with any team, I want to make the most of it and show who I really am.

“It would be really cool to play in Detroit being only an hour down the road from them and then be really close to my billets who I’ve grown very close to. I consider them my second family. I talk to them almost every day since I’ve been home. They’ve been amazing to me and I can’t thank them enough. To be only an hour away from them would be awesome. At the end of the day any team would be amazing and I’d be honored and thrilled to hear my name called to play for any organization.”



Continued

Wakiji examines Alex Biega’s ‘numbers’

DetroitRedWings.com’s Dana Wakiji examines significant figures from defenseman Alex Biega’s 2019-2020 season with the Detroit Red Wings:

115 – While not the biggest guy, Biega believes in finishing his checks and his 115 hits ranked third on the Wings. Luke Glendening was first with 147 and Adam Erne was second with 142.

46 – Biega was sixth on the team in blocked shots with 46. Fellow defenseman Patrik Nemeth led with 92.

55 – Biega had 55 shots, which ranked 16th on the Wings. Dylan Larkin led with 223. Filip Hronek led Detroit’s defensemen with 125.

Continued