The Athletic’s Luszczyszyn not impressed by Wings’ front office

The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn penned a list of the NHL’s best and worst front offices, and Luszczyszyn is not high on the Red Wings’ brass:

27. Detroit

“Seemingly unable or unwilling to embrace a true rebuild. The most recent draft was a success, but Holland and co. were served a softball when both Zadina and Veleno fell to them. Too many bad contacts, and recent free agent signings seem to indicate they’re more interested in being mediocre for another season than they are in building for the future.”

Detroit needs a full rebuild and fans are clamouring for it, especially after an excellent showing at the 2018 entry draft. The Tomas Tatar trade was a good stepping stone toward that and the team did get a massive haul for him, but there’s still a lot of work left to do and the cap situation is still dire. Detroit is a ways away still. The Red Wings land near the bottom here, but it’s a step up from where they were last year and fans are a bit more confident now, which is a bit funny considering how low the team still ranks across the board.

Continued (paywall)…

Kulfan, St. James: Larkin, Wings hammering out contract

Dylan Larkin took part in the Red Wings’ annual youth hockey camp on Thursday, and afterward he spoke with the media regarding a host of topics, as noted by the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:

The calendar has crawled into August, training camp is a little over six weeks away, but Dylan Larkin isn’t concerned.

Larkin is a restricted free agent, and still without a new contract, although indications are he and the Red Wings are close to a long-term deal.

“A lot of talking and negotiating; it’s a bit of a process,” said Larkin, who was a guest instructor Thursday at the Red Wings’ youth camp at Little Caesars Arena. “It’s back and forth thinking, and everything is definitely a process, (but) you can’t sit by your phone all summer, you still have to train and work out and have fun, go on trips.

“I’m learning the business side of it, but I feel pretty confident that something will get done before training camp. No worries about it.”

It is expected that Larkin, 22, will sign a five- or six-year deal, probably in the neighborhood of $6 million per year. For the Red Wings to make that kind of commitment, Larkin would feel a sense of “honor.”

“You have to definitely continue to work hard and want more for yourself and for the team, and the city and organization,” Larkin said. “I’m still not sure where it’s going to end up, but if they are willing to give a commitment (of that kind), it’s going to be a pretty good honor.”

Kulfan continues

Update: The Free Press’s Helene St. James also spoke with Larkin

The youth camp comes after Larkin held his own hockey school and helped out at Danny Cleary’s Hockey School. It’s part of why the Wings think he’s worth a big investment: Larkin never seems to be far from a hockey rink.

In what he hopes will become an annual event, Larkin was a driving force behind the just-announced Stars & Stripes Showdown, a benefit hockey game featuring top American-born hockey stars scheduled for Aug. 26 at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth. The event is in honor of the late Jim Johannson, who passed away at the age of 53 this past January. Johannson spent the two decades as assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey, and was renown for his positive impact.

Proceeds will benefit both the Jim Johannson Legacy Fund and the Ellie Johannson College Fund.

The idea for the game gestated at the World Championship in May.

“Everyone was rallying around J.J. at the World Championships and I saw that and I thought it would be a great idea,” Larkin said. “A lot of superstars coming into town. Auston Matthews. Charlie McAvoy. They are all coming into to honor him and raise money for a great cause.”

To make it happen, Larkin did what Johannson would have done: Made phone calls.

“My job has been to recruit players, which is ironic — I feel like J.J. himself when he was calling guys for the World Championship,” Larkin said. “You get every answer and you have to understand it’s summer and guys have things going on. It’s been interesting talking to different guys, but mostly great feedback from that.”

St. James also continues

Joe Veleno nursing minor injury at the World Junior Summer Showcase’s Adam Kimelman reports that Red Wings prospect Joe Veleno is nursing a minor injury as he battles for a spot on the Canadian World Junior selection camp team:

Joseph Veleno (Detroit Red Wings) has an injury that will keep him out against Finland on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; NHLN, TSN2).

Veleno was scratched from Canada Red’s game against USA White on Tuesday. Canada coach Tim Hunter said he’s hopeful Veleno can play against Sweden on Friday (9 p.m. ET; NHLN, TSN2).

“Joe’s got a bit of a nagging injury and he won’t play tomorrow, but we look to get him into the game against Sweden,” Hunter said. “Just give him a little more time to feel comfortable. Today we didn’t go on the ice, we had a team-building function. … He’ll probably get a little twirl on the ice tomorrow. We only have a half-hour, see how it goes, see if he can play against Sweden.”

Canada plays its final game against the United States on Saturday (5 p.m. ET; NHLN, TSN).

“I don’t know if we’ve ever really seen Joe’s best game,” Hunter said. “He’s kind of been so-so. Been a lot of expectations on him. We just want to him to play relaxed and be himself out there, especially in this environment. No pressure, just go out and be yourself, have fun and play see what you can do.”

Dylan Larkin speaks with the media while attending the Wings’ youth hockey camp

Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin took part in the Wings’ annual youth hockey camp at Little Caesars Arena on Thursday, and after his session with the campers, he spoke with the media, as captured by Michigan Hockey…

 And the Red Wings…

Update: The Free Press’s Helene St. James posted a clip of Larkin’s comments, too:

Update: Larkin spoke with WXYZ’s Brad Galli as well:

Luke Witkowski understands that he’ll have to fight for his roster spot in training camp

Red Wings swing man Luke Witkowski took part in the team’s youth hockey camp on Tuesday, and after working with the kids, Witkowski spoke with the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan regarding battling for a spot on the team’s roster

“Nobody is guaranteed a spot, that’s just how it is,” Witkowski said of the battle for jobs. “It’s going to be competitive. Guys are worried about their jobs. Coaches, the organization, the Red Wings have a history of winning and we want to get back to the playoffs.

“That’s the number one goal. You look at that locker room, everyone is a competitor and we want to be in the playoffs. We were right there in so many games. We have the players, the ability to do so (make the playoffs).”

What may help Witkowski (6-foot-2, 217 pounds) in his attempt to the make the roster is not just his willingness to protect teammates but also his versatility.

The Holland, Mich., native, who played for coach Jeff Blashill at Western Michigan, is capable of manning a fourth-line forward spot along with playing defense.

In essence, Witkowski’s ability to play both spots saves them a roster spot in a way.

“I’m a guy, I’m not going to be complaining about not being in the lineup,” Witkowski said. “But I want to get back into the lineup so they have some options with me.”

And Witkowski also spoke with’s Dana Wakiji:

Now that the calendar has changed to August, Witkowski said it’s time to get even more serious.

“It’s go time,” he said. “Every day you’re thinking you’re going to get the email for camp and then it’s right around the corner. There’s a month and a half left of our summers so those are key days to get ready for camp.”

For today, Witkowski was happy to back on the ice with players who are a little smaller than his Wings teammates. They’re fun to be around and always have some interesting questions for him.

“A lot of it has to do with my beard,” Witkowski said with a laugh. “‘Can I touch your beard? Can I pull your beard? Is that beard real? Are you related to Santa Claus?’ A lot of beard questions.”

But that’s not all. Many of the young campers know of Witkowski’s pugilistic prowess.

“Those are the other questions,” Witkowski said. “‘How many fights have you been in? How many have you won? How many have you lost?’ So either beard or fighting questions, those are probably the top two.”

USA Hockey to hold ‘Stars and Stripes’ game at USA Hockey Arena on August 26th; many Wings will attend

This is interesting, per the Detroit Red Wings and USA Hockey:

Stars & Stripes Showdown Set For Aug. 26 at USA Hockey Arena
Top American Hockey Stars To Play in Honor of Late Jim Johannson

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Stars & Stripes Showdown, a benefit hockey game featuring top American-born hockey stars, will take place Sunday, August 26, at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich. Opening faceoff is set for 2 p.m. ET.

The game is being played in honor of the late Jim Johannson, with proceeds benefiting both the Jim Johannson Legacy Fund of The USA Hockey Foundation, and the Ellie Johannson College Fund.

Johannson, who passed away unexpectedly at the age of 53 this past January, spent the past two decades as assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey. His positive impact on the sport in the United States was significant in many areas, particularly in the success of teams representing the U.S. on the international stage.

“This will be a special day to remember J.J. and help benefit two great causes,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director for USA Hockey. “Dylan Larkin has been a catalyst in this effort and I’d particularly like to thank him for all he’s doing to make this game a reality. It will be a fun event for fans with so many of our top American players on the ice at one time.”

Current athletes committed to attend include Dylan Larkin (Detroit Red Wings), Auston Matthews (Toronto Maple Leafs), James van Riemsdyk (Philadelphia Flyers), Charlie McAvoy (Boston Bruins), Jimmy Howard (Detroit Red Wings), Zach Werenski (Columbus Blue Jackets), Ryan Suter (Minnesota Wild), Zach Parise (Minnesota Wild), Danny DeKeyser (Detroit Red Wings), Kyle Connor (Winnipeg Jets), Anders Bjork (Boston Bruins), J.T. Compher (Colorado Avalanche), Connor Murphy (Chicago Blackhawks), Matthew Tkachuk (Calgary Flames), Noah Hanifin (Calgary Flames), Patrick Eaves (Anaheim, Calif.), Connor Hellebuyck (Winnipeg Jets), Jake McCabe (Buffalo Sabres), Colin White (Ottawa Senators), Andrew Copp (Winnipeg Jets), Connor Carrick (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Luke Glendening (Detroit Red Wings). Fans are encouraged to click here regularly for additional participating players and coaches as they are added.

Coaches for the game to date include Jeff Blashill (Detroit Red Wings), Tony Granato (Wisconsin Badgers), John Hynes (New Jersey Devils) and David Quinn (New York Rangers).

In addition to the game, festivities will include a live game-worn jersey auction; an online auction featuring game-worn jerseys and autographed NHL memorabilia; in-arena raffles; and a post-game meet & greet with players and coaches.

“We are all very excited to honor J.J. with this game,” said Larkin, who will enter his fourth season with the Red Wings this fall. “I, along with many others, am thankful for the impact J.J. had on my career, and we are all eager to help his family and continue his legacy.”

Tickets are available online at, by calling the box office at 734-453-8400 or by visiting the USA Hockey Arena Box Office in person at 14900 Beck Road, Plymouth, Mich., 48170.

NOTES: The Jim Johannson Legacy Fund was established to benefit grassroots community hockey programs across the country, something Johannson was passionate about throughout his life. The Ellie Johannson College Fund will assist in providing a college education for its namesake, the two-year-old daughter of Jim and his wife Abby … For more on Jim Johannson’s legacy, click here … For more on the USA Hockey Foundation, click here.

Red Wings preseason tickets on sale Monday at 10 AM

From the Detroit Red Wings:

AT 10 A.M.

… Detroit Opens Preseason Slate with Three Straight Home Games at Little Caesars Arena Before Welcoming Toronto on Saturday, Sept. 29 …

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today announced that tickets for all 2018-19 preseason home games at Little Caesars Arena will go on sale Monday, Aug. 6 at 10:00 a.m.

The Red Wings will hit the ice for the first time in 2018-19 by hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Little Caesars Arena. The matchup against the Penguins opens a stretch of three home games in four days, with contests against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m. and the Boston Bruins on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7:00 p.m. Detroit will then travel for four road games in a six-day span, visiting Pittsburgh on Sunday, Sept. 23 (3:00 p.m.), Chicago on Tuesday, Sept. 25 (8:30 p.m.), Boston on Wednesday, Sept. 26 (7:00 p.m.) and Toronto on Friday, Sept. 28 (7:30 p.m.). The Red Wings will host the eighth and final preseason game against the division-rival Maple Leafs on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 7:00 p.m. at Little Caesars Arena.

Red Wings preseason tickets can be purchased at the Little Caesars Arena XFINITY Box Office (313-471-7575) or online at Red Wings regular season tickets go on sale Friday, Aug. 24.

The Red Wings’ full preseason schedule can be found below:


                  DATE     DAY                                                       SITE                                   TIME (ET)
September   19       Wed.       PITTSBURGH                          Little Caesars Arena         7:30
20       Thu.        CHICAGO                                Little Caesars Arena         7:30
22       Sat.         BOSTON                                  Little Caesars Arena        7:00
23       Sun.        at Pittsburgh                              PPG Paints Arena           3:00
25       Tue.        at Chicago                                United Center                   8:30
26       Wed.       at Boston                                  TD Garden                       7:00
28       Fri.          at Toronto                                 Scotiabank Arena             7:30
29       Sat.         TORONTO                               Little Caesars Arena         7:00



Ticket plans are now available for the 2018-19 season. Red Wings FLEX partial plans are back to give fans the opportunity to design a plan based on their schedule. Fans can purchase convenient half-season ticket plans (22 games) or new quarter-season ticket plans (11 games). Red Wings partial season ticket plans feature savings on box office prices and increased savings on premium games. Partial season ticket holders also have the opportunity to lock in their tickets before single game tickets go on sale to the general public. Additional benefits include flexible payment plans, access to the Ticket Donation Program to put unused tickets to good use in the community, presale opportunities for 313 Presents events, a dedicated personal Ticket Service Executive and much more.

In addition to the benefits of FLEX plans, full season ticket plans feature an action-packed 45-game schedule, giving fans the opportunity to see every NHL opponent at the state-of-the-art Little Caesars Arena. Full season ticket holders receive a 10 percent discount on all merchandise at the Little Caesars Arena Team Store and Hockeytown Authentics in Troy, invitations to exclusive team autograph sessions and events, personalized entry on the arena’s Season Ticket Holder Interactive Touchscreen Displays, a complimentary in-game welcome on the Little Caesars Arena Scoreboard and much more.

Information on Red Wings full and FLEX partial season ticket plans can be obtained by visiting or by calling the Red Wings’ Ticket Sales & Service Office at 313-471-7575.

Remembering Charlie Inman

The community in “Hockeytown North” received sad news recently as long-time prospect tournament and training camp volunteer Charlie Inman passed away recently.

Charlie was a tremendous character and kind soul who would do the jobs that even the equipment managers wouldn’t, and he volunteered his own time to do so. The Traverse City Record-Eagle’s Brett A. Somers penned a remembrance of someone I admired greatly:

Chartwell Drive marks the final half mile of the Grand Rapids Griffins and Detroit Red Wings’ annual trips to Traverse City.

The teams come for the prospect tournament and training camp, respectively, but the organizations’ people have grown particularly fond of one welcoming face — that of Charlie Inman.

Long-time Griffins equipment manager Brad Thompson said he could always count on seeing Inman, a volunteer for two decades, waiting on his four-wheeler for the team to arrive, ready to direct parking and help in any way he could.

But when the Griffins turn off Hammond Road and on to Chartwell in September for the latest prospect tournament, Inman won’t be there to greet them. Inman, of Cedar and in his 70s, died Thursday following a heart attack, sending the Centre Ice community and its extended Red Wings camp family into mourning.

“I’m hoping somebody up there will give him a moment,” Thompson said. “For me, it will be a sad day when I roll into Traverse City and look around and not see my buddy after 15 or 16 years. It’s sad.”

Facebook posts and Twitter messages have poured out over social media since news of Inman’s death first went out. Centre Ice and Red Wings Camps online pages posted notes commemorating Inman and his service, work ethic and hockey fandom, to which hundreds of people reacted to, commented on and shared.

Update: Here’s a bit more from UpNorthLive’s Rachel Schuit:

Centre Ice Executive Director Terry Marchand says Charlie Inman passed away of a heart attack last week.

Inman was 73 years old.

Marchand says Inman was their number one volunteer and that he knew the players on the teams as well as fans who came to watch.

“He was our go to guy. If we were close to running out of water or needed someone to run and get stuff everybody thought Charlie Inman. He was counted on more than any other volunteer,” said Marchand.

Funeral arrangements for Inman are still pending.

Centre Ice Arena plans to have a memorial for Inman during the main training camp in September.

Toledo Walleye re-sign Jenks, Berschbach

From the ECHL:

Berschbach, Jenks back with Walleye

Toledo, Ohio – Forwards Shane Berschbach and A.J. Jenks have each agreed to terms with the Toledo Walleye for the 2018-19 season.

The Walleye are the ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Detroit Red Wings and the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins.

Continue reading Toledo Walleye re-sign Jenks, Berschbach

Catchy-uppy post for Wednesday, August 1st

Of Red Wings-related note over the past couple of days (the vacation is going well, but it’s a cloudy day, so it’s time to work!), on a source-by-source basis:

A. Detroit Red Wings:

  1.’s Dave Hogg penned a profile of Red Wings draft pick Jonatan Berggren;
  2. Arthur J. Regner wrote a “By the Numbers” look back at Dylan Larkin’s 2017-18 campaign;
  3. And Dana Wakiji wrote a “By the Numbers” assessment of Dominic Turgeon’s 2017-18 season.

B. MLive:

1. MLive’s Peter J. Wallner posted an article regarding 9 of the Grand Rapids Griffins’ roster players who are no longer with the team as the Griffins re-tool this summer with the aim of getting younger.

C. Detroit Free Press:

  1. The Free Press’s Helene St. James penned a mailbag feature in which she addresses Jeff Blashill’s future with the team, Dan Bylsma’s addition, Evgeny Svechnikov’s immediate future and who’s next-in-line to replace Zetterberg as captain;
  2. Marc Daalder reports that the beloved Cobo Joe’s bar has closed;
  3. Jamie Samuelssen mentioned several Wings in an article discussing Detroit pro athletes’ social media habits.

D. Detroit News:

1. Ted Kulfan penned a profile of Otto Kivenmaki.

E. Hockeybuzz:

1. Bob Duff wrote an article about Joe Veleno’s desire to prove the teams that passed upon him at the draft wrong.

F. The Athletic:

  1. Craig Custance examined the possibility that former Toronto Maple Leafs executive Mark Hunter might land with the Red Wings, Islanders, Canucks or some other team:

Detroit Red Wings — There have at least been discussions about the possibility of Hunter joining the Detroit front office, but nothing appears to be imminent. GM Ken Holland got a two-year extension and there currently isn’t a clear succession plan if this is Holland’s last extension. Bringing in Hunter to create one would certainly run counter to how Holland traditionally operates; he typically prefers to promote from within. And there’s no shortage of front-office executives in Detroit eager to one day become general managers who might be irked about an outsider jumping to the front of the line. Considering the departures from the organization over the years, the Red Wings definitely have space for another assistant GM to complement Ryan Martin, but the preference may be to promote Kris Draper, Shawn Horcoff or Jiri Fischer into that role.

2. The Athletic’s Corey Pronman spoke with Sweden’s World Junior Summer Showcase coach, Tomas Monten, about a multitude of topics:

CP: Last guy we’ll talk about today is Jonatan Berggren (DET). He had an interesting season. He had a lot of points with his junior team, with the U18 team his role got bigger as the year went on, he wasn’t a power play guy initially and by the World Championships he was your go-to guy.

Monten: Ya, I agree. He was our top scorer in April and that’s why he’s here. He wants to have the puck, he wants to shoot, he wants to make a difference. I see a lot of Jesper Bratt in him. We’ll look to him to be an offensive forward who can change the pattern in the game and put up points.

G. WHMI 93.5 FM:

1. According to WHMI 93.5 FM, Darren McCarty is hosting the Huron-Clinton Metroparks Foundation’s charity golf classic on September 14th at the Kensington Metropark.

H. USA Hockey:

1. Keith Petruzzelli made the final U.S. roster for the latter half of the World Junior Summer Showcase;

2. Coach Jeff Blashill will be one of the presenters at USA Hockey’s coaching symposium in Lake Placid, New York from August 23rd to 26th.

Other Stuff:

1. The Charlotte Checkers signed Zach Nastasiuk to an AHL contract;

2.’s Brett Amadon suggested that the Red Wings are an “overlooked fantasy hockey team” for the 2018-19 season;

3. The Toledo Walleye re-signed Kevin Tansey.

4. According to Michigan Hockey’s Michael Caples, on August 11th, several current and former Red Wings will take part in the “Play With Purpose” charity game in Plymouth, MI.