Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. This past Saturday, NHL.com’s Mike Zeisberger posted an article in which Niklas Kronwall addressed the fact that this season may be his last, and the article’s gotten a lot of traction in both North America and Sweden.
Today, the Free Press’s Kirkland Crawford and The Hockey News’s Jared Clinton weighed in on Kronwall’s remarks, and for reasons beyond my unerstanding, Aftonbladet’s Linus Norberg wondered aloud whether Kronwall would turn down a spot playing for his hometown team, Djurgardens IF, after this season (see: the state of his arthritic knees);
“Personally I would love to finish my career here as a Red Wing,” Howard said. “If I had a crystal ball and is that going to happen? I’m not 100 percent sure. We’ll have to wait and see and just see how everything sort of pans here over the course of the year. I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to ending my career here in Detroit.”
Is that going to be in the best interests of the team? Should the Wings again slide out of the playoff – and realistically, only the most optimistic of fans could see any other outcome – Howard could prove to be very attractive trade bait. And if they opted to go that route, the Wings would always be left with the option to sign Howard as a free agent in the summer.
Certainly, they’ve provided themselves with cover for this opportunity by signing veteran Jonathan Bernier to a three-year deal.
“From what I’ve heard and from what I’ve heard from Sal (goalie coach Jeff Salajko), he’s an extremely hard worker and that’s great,” Howard said. “I think that’s something we both have in common. Just to be able to push each other and learn from him, I’m sure there’s going to be things that he does a little bit better than me, like maybe post play or something along those lines.”
Howard and Keith Petruzzelli took part in USA Hockey’s Warren Strelow Goaltending Camp at USA Hockey Arena last week, and USA Hockey posted a clip highlighting the camp:
I’m fascinated by Detroit, the league’s worst 3-on-3 team over the last two years. It’s worth noting that this wasn’t one year of randomness – the Red Wings were the league’s worst team by goal differential here in each of the past two seasons. They have also been outshot over that same interval and Corsica’s expected goal model has them in the red as well. So we can reasonably conclude that this is a serious area of improvement for Detroit.
Digging into Detroit’s play a little bit deeper, there is no single area of concern. Red Wings goaltenders have stopped only 77 per cent of shots at 3-on-3 – median save percentage in this game state is around 86 per cent for a frame of reference. But they don’t generate a lot of offence either. Their 10 per cent shooting in 3-on-3 is second worst in the league and they barely generate anything in terms of volume.
If you look at who they are frequently putting over the boards at 3-on-3, you start to see the issue. Whereas most teams can throw one or two superstars on the ice consistently, Detroit just doesn’t have that right now in the player personnel department. Their most commonly leveraged players are a 32-year-old Mike Green, a 32-year-old Henrik Zetterberg who may seriously be considering retirement, and 22-year-old Dylan Larkin.
5. On Twitter and YouTube:
A. The Ilitch Charities Charity Golf Classic took place today:
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) August 20, 2018
B. Red Wings TV followed Jonathan Ericsson and Ken Kal to a season ticket-holders’ event at the Detroit Zoo:
— MSU_Hockey (@MSU_Hockey) August 17, 2018
The Joe Kocur Foundation’s charity softball game will take place in Highland, MI this Saturday…
Only 1 month away!!! Please join us at our 10th annual charity softball game on Aug 25th. Purchase tickets in advance for only $10 at https://t.co/BFnG90nha6
— Joe Kocur (@kocurfoundation) July 25, 2018
And the Stars and Stripes Showdown takes place at USA Hockey Arena on Sunday:
Fans with Stars & Stripes Showdown tickets can help the charitable cause by purchasing autograph tickets for Patrick Kane, Dylan Larkin, Jimmy Howard & Auston Matthews! #ForJJ
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) August 20, 2018
Update: According to the Grand Rapids Press’s Peter J. Wallner, the West Michigan Whitecaps will be wearing Grand Rapids Griffins-themed jerseys as part of a charitable promotion on Saturday:
The West Michigan Whitecaps won’t break out skates, but they will call upon their inner hockey vibe Saturday with a “Salute to the Grand Rapids Griffins” night.
The Whitecaps, the Class-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, will wear jerseys themed after the Griffins, the AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, during the game against Great Lakes at Fifth Third Ballpark.
The jerseys will be auctioned off online during the game with the proceeds benefitting the family of Jake Engel, a former employee for both the Whitecaps and Griffins who died suddenly in February.
Among other events will be a Teddy Bear Toss after the Whitecaps score their first run, just like the Griffins do. Fans are asked to bring teddy bears to the game and all bears tossed on the field will be donated to Billy Bear.
Dominik Shine, a second-year forward with the Griffins – and a Michigan native – will throw, er, shoot the ceremonial first “wrist shot.”
Griffins personnel and team mascots will also be on hand.