Sunday’s ‘Stars and Stripes Showdown’ will honor Jim Johnasson’s legacy

The “Stars and Stripes Showdown” will take place at USA Hockey Arena on Sunday afternoon, with the Dylan Larkin-organized event paying tribute to USA Hockey executive director Jim Johansson, who passed away last January.

The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan penned an article about the game’s nexus…

Larkin spearheaded Sunday’s Stars & Stripes Showdown at Plymouth’s USA Hockey Arena, a charity game — and great opportunity for a no-hitting, fast-skating workout with drop-in team skates beginning soon — honoring Johannson’s impact on USA Hockey, and benefiting the Jim Johannson Legacy Fund of the USA Hockey Foundation and the Ellie Johannson College Fund.

During this endeavor — nearly every NHL team is represented, a sign of the league-wide support — Larkin found out how much work Johannson would typically put in while attempting to assemble national teams.

Larkin was at this spring’s world championships talking with Johannson’s brother, John, and USA Hockey executive director Pat Kelleher, and finalized the game with Kelleher and Scott Monaghan, senior director/operations.

“We were talking about how great of an idea it would be,” Larkin said. “We had a lot of steam behind the idea, everyone was rallying around JJ at the (tournament), and I saw that and thought it would be a great idea.

“It’s going to be special. A lot of superstars are coming into town. It’s going to be a star-studded lineup so it’s pretty cool they are all coming in to honor him and raise money for a great cause.”

Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary), Patrick Kane (Chicago), Auston Matthews (Toronto), Zach Parise and Ryan Suter (both Minnesota) are just some of the players committed to the game.

Red Wings players include Danny DeKeyser, Luke Glendening and Jimmy Howard, joining Larkin. Numerous local pros such as Kyle Connor (Winnipeg), Alex DeBrincat (Chicago), Cam Fowler (Anaheim), Connor Hellebuyck (Winnipeg), Jacob Trouba (Winnipeg) and Zach Werenski (Columbus) also are playing.

Jeff Blashill, Tony Granato (former Wings assistant/current Wisconsin head coach), John Hynes (New Jersey) and David Quinn (New York Rangers) will serve as coaches.

As did The Athletic’s Craig Custance:

“I didn’t think it was going to be this big,” Larkin told The Athletic during a phone conversation this week. “No way I thought it was going to be this big.”

But it is. It’s a testament to Larkin’s tenacity and dedication. But mostly, it’s a testament to just how much Johannson meant to these guys.

This is one of the last weekends before the grind really starts churning for NHL players. It’s one of the last weekends they can hang out with family. It’s one of the last weekends before they can avoid the spotlight and media glare that comes with being an NHL player.

And they’re giving it up. Giving it to the Johannson family. All the proceeds from the game will go to the Jim Johannson Legacy Fund of the USA Hockey Foundation and to the college fund for his 2-year-old daughter, Ellie.

It’s not just players and fans coming for the event. Dignitaries from international hockey federations all over the world have committed to going. The coaching staff features Jeff Blashill, Tony Granato, John Hynes and David Quinn. John Johannson will be sitting with David Brooks, Herb Brooks’ brother. It’s quite the event, especially considering it was put together in just a couple of months.

It says a lot about the impact one person can have.

“Jimmy would be so incredibly proud of this,” his brother [John] said. “He’d be embarrassed. He’d be totally embarrassed by it. But his answer would be, ‘OK, our program. It’s working.’”

The Joe Kocur Foundation’s charity softball games take place today

The Joe Kocur Foundation’s charity softball games will be taking place today at Duck Lake Pines Park in Highland, MI starting at 12 PM today. Tickets are $15 at the gate, and WXYZ’s Brad Galli has a little more about the games:


LCA’s center ice logo goes ‘Hockeytown’-less

According to MLive, the Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, WDIV and’s Clark Rasmussen, the Red Wings have at least chosen to paint center ice at Little Caesars Arena with a plain Red Wings logo instead of the team’s “Hockeytown” moniker, and the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan received a prepared statement from the team regarding the logo on Friday afternoon:

At center ice, we will debut a fresh, new look: the Winged Wheel, one of the most iconic logos in professional sports, will be prominently featured. Also, in the coming days, several new initiatives that celebrate the fans and passion of Hockeytown are scheduled to be announced.

The Wings have tended to employ a “Hockeytown”-less center ice logo for their annual fantasy camp, which took place this past week at LCA, for the last couple of seasons, so I wouldn’t exactly have suggested that fans freak out if the logo was different…

But if the Wings are “tuning down” their “Hockeytown” marketing campaign, as Rasmussen suggests, it strikes me as somewhat ironic, because it took 20-or-so years for the city and region to really develop into a place where elite hockey programs are present at every level at which the sport is played.

We’ll see whether this “sticks” to center ice come the regular season.


Here’s the Red Wings’ promotional schedule for the 2018-19 season

The Detroit Red Wings have announced their promotional schedule for the 2018-19 season:

… Five Bobblehead Giveaways, Community Impact Nights Highlight Exciting Home Schedule at State-of-the-Art Little Caesars Arena …   
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today announced the promotional schedule and theme nights for the upcoming 2018-19 season. In addition to the unparalleled fan experience and innovations within the state-of-the-art Little Caesars Arena, fans in attendance for Red Wings home games can look forward to exciting one-of-a-kind giveaways and commemorative items for more than 20 of the team’s 41 regular-season home games during the 2018-19 campaign.

Highlighting the list of giveaways are five Bobblehead Nights, starting with Tyler Bertuzzi on Nov. 28 vs. St. Louis (presented by Comerica Bank). The Red Wings will host four additional Bobblehead Nights on Dec. 4 vs. Tampa Bay (presented by Coca-Cola), Jan. 8 vs. Montreal (presented by Saint Joseph Mercy Health System), Feb. 14 vs. Ottawa (presented by Meijer) and Feb. 26 vs. Montreal (presented by Huntington Bank). The players featured on the four additional Bobblehead Nights will be announced at a later date. The first 7,500 fans in attendance at Little Caesars Arena will receive bobbleheads.

Continue reading Here’s the Red Wings’ promotional schedule for the 2018-19 season

Roughly translated: Filip Larsson speaks with about his recovery from injury, NCAA plans

Red Wings prospect and goaltender Filip Larsson engaged in a lengthy interview with’s Uffe Bodin today, discussing last season’s significant groin injury and his college hockey plans.

What follows is roughly translated:

The goaltender’s long way back after the nightmare injury: “The groin moved eleven millimeters”

His dream season ended just too early. In an unfortunate moment, goaltending talent Filip Larsson broke his groin. After a frustrating half-year of rehab, the 20-year-old travels to the United States tomorrow to begin the next chapter of his career at the University of Denver. “You don’t feel the same as before, but it’s it’s fixed,” he told about his injury.

Solna. Tomorrow the eventure starts. World Junior Championship goaltender Filip Larsson flies to the United States to commence his college career at the renowned University of Denver. Passing across the Atlantic, the former Djurgarden goaltender is not only concerned about starting in a new school and testing a brand new league in the NCAA, but he also carries nervousness about where he stands physically.

Continue reading Roughly translated: Filip Larsson speaks with about his recovery from injury, NCAA plans

Custance discusses three consequences of a possibly Zetterberg-less Wings team

The Athletic’s Craig Custance examines what might happen if Henrik Zetterberg is unable to play this season. Custance addresses Zetterberg’s absence as it would affect the Wings’ captaincy, the team’s salary cap situation, and the loss of Zetterberg’s on-ice presence.

As Custance notes, the Wings’ lack of depth at center would be exposed if Zetterberg is unable to play:

This is where it could get ugly for the Red Wings. The key to winning consistently in the NHL is to have a distinct advantage on the ice over your opponent in different areas of the game. Where a player slots in the lineup is a huge part of that. For example, if you have Phil Kessel as your top-line winger, your team might be pretty good. If you have Phil Kessel as your third-line winger, you’re going to win multiple Stanley Cups. That becomes a legitimate competitive advantage.

Even at this point in his career, Zetterberg can play other top lines and hold his own. That allowed Larkin to grow into the second-line center role last season and Frans Nielsen to slot in at No. 3, which is where he should be at this point in his career. It wasn’t necessarily a competitive advantage but it also wasn’t a huge mismatch against the Red Wings.

Now, remove Zetterberg and move everybody up a spot, and it becomes a real disadvantage down the middle.

Custance continues (paywall)

Khan examines Luke Glendening’s 2018-19 possibilities

MLive’s Ansar Khan discusses Luke Glendening’s 2018-19 season possibilities this morning:

2018-19 outlook: Glendening has always been one of those role players that coaches covet – from Red Berenson at Michigan to Mike Babcock and Jeff Blashill in Detroit. His work ethic on and off the ice sets an example for others to follow.

Once again, expect Glendening to do the gritty things teams need from a grinder – block shots, lead the penalty kill, be abrasive, agitate opponents, be hard to play against. He’s developed into the team’s best faceoff man. He can play center or wing on the fourth line. It took him 52 games to score his first NHL goal; he’s scored 34 since in 310 games, a decent pace for a fourth-liner.

Babcock tried to acquire Glendening leading up to the 2018 trade deadline, but the Maple Leafs former general manager, Lou Lamoriello, wasn’t as interested, and the Red Wings weren’t inclined to part with him for a low draft pick.


Wakiji discusses Matt Puempel’s potential’s Dana Wakiji examines the 2017-18 season stats of a “dark horse” prospect in Grand Rapids Griffins forward Matt Puempel. Pumpel’s a bit older at 25, but he displayed a scorer’s form after being traded to Detroit from the Rangers.

Here’s what Wings assistant GM and Griffins GM Ryan Martin had to say to Wakiji about Puempel:

Quotable: “He’s a guy that we kind of watched from afar. He’s had a couple of stints in the NHL but hasn’t been able to stick as a full-time player so when we made the trade for Ryan Sproul for him, I think it was a win-win. It was a situation where the Rangers needed a depth defenseman and we had too many defense(men) in Grand Rapids and the chance to get a guy like Matt into the organization where he’s not in his entry-level contract, he’s not in the first couple of years pro, he’s sort of what we like to call a middle-tier prospect where he’s 25 years old and maybe a new organization and change of scenery gives him the opportunity to show what he can do and then try to sort of establish himself as a more consistent NHL player.”


The Athletic posts a Top 25 Wings prospects feature

The Athletic’s Max Bultman posted a list of the Red Wings’ top 25 prospects–“plus 8 more to know”–this afternoon. We’ll start at the top:

1. Filip Zadina, RW, Grand Rapids (AHL)/Detroit

The jewel of the farm system right now, Zadina should add serious skill and swagger to the Red Wings as soon as he takes the ice. The question is: when exactly will that be? It may depend in part on factors outside his control — such as Henrik Zetterberg’s health — but a strong training camp would go a long way in proving he’s ready to make the leap. It could take him some time to adjust, but Zadina has already shown a remarkable ability to score, and his attitude alone should bring a new element to Detroit’s on-ice demeanor. His creativity will be an asset as soon as he joins the team. He’s a crucial piece of the organization’s future, and a near no-brainer at No. 1 on this list.

Continued (paywall)

Khan examines Jonathan Ericsson’s 2018-19 season possibilities

MLive’s Ansar Khan wrote an article regarding defenseman Jonathan Ericsson’s 2018-19 season outlook:

2018-19 outlook: Ericsson, for the second year in a row, played well at the start of the season. After Danny DeKeyser was injured in the fourth game, Ericsson joined Trevor Daley to form the team’s top defense pairing. Daley’s mobility complemented Ericsson, and they were a good match the first half.

But Ericsson didn’t maintain that consistency, which has been an issue. The message from coaches has been to hold onto the puck a little longer, utilize his big frame to protect the puck and move his feet while passing. Otherwise, he’s prone to turnovers and getting caught flat-footed and out of position.

Quotable: “You’re never going to be perfect with a partner but we’re always talking about situations on the ice. He’s more offensive-minded than I am. We’re just trying to complement each other’s weaknesses and strengths. He’s a really good skater, smooth skater than can handle the puck well. He’s got the offensive abilities and I’m pretty much the stay-at-home guy.” – Ericsson, on pairing with Daley.