Ahead of OHL final, Kaden Fulcher speaks with Hockeybuzz’s Duff

Red Wings prospect and Hamilton Bulldogs netminder Kaden Fulcher will be battling Jordan Sambrook and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for the Ontario Hockey League championship this weekend. Ahead of the match-up, Fulcher spoke with Hockeybuzz’s Bob Duff regarding his roller-coaster of a season and surprise ascension up the Wings’ depth chart as an un-drafted free agent signing:

“[Being signed] was a pretty big surprise, to be honest,” Fulcher admitted. “I was going to camp as a free agent. You don’t really expect much. I think at the end of the day I went in there looking to earn a contract, obviously, but I don’t think you really understand how hard it is. I think just going in and not having any pressure on me was pretty big.”

He’s carried over that belief shown in him by the Wings into a transformative season for both him and his team. The Bulldogs are bound for the OHL championship after whipping the Kingston Frontenacs 4-1 in the East final, and the 6-3, 182-pound Fulcher, 19, leads the postseason in wins (12) and goals-against average (2.35).

“Not a lot of guys on our team have had team success in the years in the OHL,” Fulcher said. “Everyone’s pretty excited for this opportunity. We’re just going to make the most of it.”

Returning to junior with an NHL contract in his pocket certainly motivated Fulcher to have a career year.

“It’s definitely huge to know that they’re making plans for you,” Fulcher said. “I think as a player, you just try to make sure that every day you show up at the rink at the OHL level, that you want to keep putting in the work to get to that next level. I think getting a little taste of it at the prospect tournament and the main camp, you see just how good everyone is, and how good you’re going to have to get to get there.”

Duff continues

Grand Rapids Griffins-Manitoba Moose Game 5 recaps and round-ups: Grand Rapids’ post-season ends far too early

Updated 3x at 1:06 AM: The Grand Rapids Griffins lost 5-1 to the Manitoba Moose on Monday night, ending the Griffins’ Calder Cup defense two months earlier than the Griffins and their fans would have liked.

Grand Rapids bowed out in the first round of the AHL playoffs in no small part due to a cavalcade of injuries and an ill-timed suspension to Eric Tangradi, but the Griffins preferred not to lean upon injuries as an excuse despite 40% of their forward lineup consisting of players who were playing for the Toledo Walleye when Grand Rapids was healthy.

I wrote a “long take” from my perch in press row at Van Andel Arena, and here are the rest of the media’s takes on the Griffins’ loss, starting with the Canadian Press:

Continue reading Grand Rapids Griffins-Manitoba Moose Game 5 recaps and round-ups: Grand Rapids’ post-season ends far too early

Prospect playoff round-up: Sambrook’s Greyhounds capture OHL’s Western Conference title

Of playoff-related prospect note:

In the OHL, Jordan Sambrook finished at -1 with 1 shot in the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds’ 4-3 double overtime victory over Givani Smith’s Kitchener Rangers.

Sambrook’s Greyhounds took the OHL’s Western Conference title and the Wayne Gretzky Trophy via their 4-games-to-3 series win, and they will advance to play Kaden Fulcher’s Hamilton Bulldogs for the OHL championship.

Jared Coreau discusses Griffins’ playoff ouster, his future in post-game interview

The Grand Rapids Griffins have been eliminated from the Calder Cup playoffs early, and as a result, the team will hold its exit interviews on Wednesday.

Red Wings prospect and Grand Rapids Griffins goaltender Jared Coreau will find out a fair bit about his future come Wednesday, and as it was a pleasure to work with Coreau for the better part of eight years, I’m giving his post-game interview–an interview given after the rest of the players and coach Nelson had reflected upon the Griffins’ 5-1 loss to Manitoba–its own topic.

Coreau was thoughtful and insightful regarding the Griffins’ scrappy season, the reality that is the championship hangover, his experiences in Detroit and his future:

Grand Rapids Griffins-Manitoba Moose Game 5 long take: Griffins bow out

The Grand Rapids Griffins attempted to advance to the second round of the playoffs by capturing a winner-take-all Game 5 against the Manitoba Moose on Monday night.

Grand Rapids could not overcome the losses of Eric Tangradi, Matt Lorito, Dominic Turgeon and Axel Holmstrom up front, but the Griffins’ struggles on defense did them in over the course of a 5-1 loss to the Moose on Monday night, ending the Griffins’ season.

Continue reading Grand Rapids Griffins-Manitoba Moose Game 5 long take: Griffins bow out

Kulfan: Frans Nielsen pumped as World Championship set to begin in Denmark

As the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan notes, the IIHF World Championship kicks off in Copenhagen and Herning, Denmark this Friday, and Red Wings forward Frans Nielsen is delighted to have the tournament take place in his home country:

“I don’t think anyone ever thought we were going to get a big tournament like that in small Denmark, it’s exciting,” Nielsen said this month, before the Red Wings went their separate ways for the offseason. “You’re going to have friends and family right there. It’ll be different. It means a lot for Danish hockey.”

For a small country, Denmark is beginning to make its mark in the hockey world — though it’s still a slow process. Nielsen is one of only 13 Danish-born players in the NHL. No Danish player, though, has played more than his 764 NHL games. There are only 27 rinks in the entire country, but hockey is beginning to make major inroads in terms of interest.

More than 250,000 tickets have been sold for the world championships, ensuring the majority of games will be either sold out, or close to it.

Also of note from Kulfan:

IIHF men’s world championships

When: May 4-20

Where: Copenhagen and Herning, Denmark.

TV: NHL Network will televise all Team USA’s games, beginning 10 a.m. Friday against Canada.

Local touch: Team USA: Coach Jeff Blashill (Red Wings), Dylan Larkin (Waterford/Red Wings), Nick Jensen (Red Wings), Quinn Hughes (Michigan), Alex DeBrincat (Farmington Hills/Chicago Blackhawks), Alec Martinez (Rochester Hills/Los Angeles Kings), Jordan Oesterle (Dearborn Heights/Chicago Blackhawks).

Denmark: Frans Nielsen (Red Wings)

Czech Republic: Martin Frk (Red Wings)

Kulfan continues

Givani Smith suspended for flipping off Sault Ste. Marie bench, will miss Game 7 of SSM-Kitchener Rangers series

Via the Free Press’s George Sipple, Givani Smith’s decision to flip off the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds’ bench after scoring during last night’s Kitchener Rangers win = Smith won’t be available for today’s Game 7 of the OHL’s Western Conference Final:

Here’s the OHL’s suspension ruling:

Game of Sunday, April 29, 2108 – Sault Ste. Marie at Kitchener

The Ontario Hockey League today announced the results of a review of an incident which took place in a playoff game played in Kitchener on the 29th of April, 2018, involving the Rangers and the visiting Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds Hockey Club.

The incident reviewed was an inappropriate gesture made by player Givani Smith of the Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club at the conclusion of the above-noted game.

Based on a review of the incident, it is the position of the League that player Givani Smith shall be suspended for two (2) games effective immediately.

Olympia Development announces second phase of District Detroit renovation/expansion plans

Both Crain’s Detroit Business’s Kirk Pinho and WDIV Local 4’s Ken Haddad report that Olympia Development has announced the “next phase” of their District Detroit project:

Olympia Development has announced plans for the second phase of their District Detroit development.

Olympia announced six projects including the restoration of three vacant historic buildings and the construction of three new mixed-use buildings near Little Caesars Arena in Downtown Detroit.

The $200 million investment will create more than 400,00 square feet of office space and nearly 70,000 square feet of street-level retail space.

“We are enthusiastically building on the incredible success of Little Caesars Arena and the upcoming opening of the new Little Caesars world headquarters campus expansion, the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University and the launch of the Columbia Street shopping and dining destination,” said Christopher Ilitch, President and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. “This new investment puts the focus on the redevelopment of historic buildings while bringing high-demand retail and office space that will contribute to Detroit’s economy.”

Continued