The Grand Rapids Griffins have been posting player highlight reels from the 2018-19 season throughout the summer, and today, they focus on a big part of the Red Wings’ future in one Filip Hronek:
I’ve been hemming and hawing regarding this post for a couple of days now, mostly because I don’t like talking money, but here’s the TMR situation as we hit late July:
- The prospect tournament and training camp are going to be held as early as they can be held his season, and as a result, I’m starting the fundraising drive for the events today. I don’t have the luxury of waiting till mid-August to make most of the money before I go and then earn the rest while I’m there–mom’s illnesses drained my bank account, so it’s time to get ‘er going. https://paypal.me/TheMalikReport is the Paypal link, https://patreon.com/TheMalikReport is the Patreon subscription link, you can email me directly for my addy at email@example.com, and I will add more services as necessary.
- This year I’m also going to have to raise funds for the server costs. On August 31st, I get a bill for about $700 for the year for the various WordPress server costs, and for the past two years (yes, TMR was once a “secret blog”), I’ve eaten the costs, but the familial stuff means that it’s gonna be a raise-2K-for-TC + $700 for the server situation. That’s ambitious.
- Just as importantly, I may end up going to the World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, for which I would not raise funds, but I still may end up going on my annual family vacation to Grand Marais, MI, and that’s scheduled for the same week. If I could commute to Plymouth, I would, but that’s an 800-mile round trip, so that’s not possible.
- I’m gonna be blunt about the whole draft analysis thing that didn’t happen but might still happen: I do pay attention to the comments, and the suggestions that I couldn’t possibly offer an remotely objective draft analysis was discouraging. Combine that with some health setbacks in the family department and I didn’t have the time or motivation to get shit done there, and now I’m reconsidering it. Let me know if that has any interest to you, because next week will be busy assuming that I’m going on vacation, but not too busy to write five draft analyses.
- Raising funds long-term, which is going to be the key to this site’s survival, means motivating readers to buy something. That includes more original content, that includes merchandising–so if you want to make some money designing some t-shirts or hats or mugs or pillowcases or whatever and getting a cut thereof, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org–and yes, there is a more eventual goal of paying someone a nice chunk of change to redesign the website.
- So that’s that for now. If you have some constructive suggestions as to how to make TMR better for you (for example: I find the podcasting world to be too crowded to enter, but you may not, especially if the podcast includes TMR readers like you), I am open to suggestions. This blog is small, and it may always be small, but there is a positive to that in that the community members play a big part in the present and future of the blog and the blogger.
- Thank you for reading. I hope that you are staying as cool as possible in this oppressive summer heat.
The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan spoke with Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser regarding the process involved in DeKeyser earning his general studies degree from Western Michigan via an extended study program. DeKeyser tells Kulfan that the past three years’ worth of work were inspired by his family, his wife, and a teammate and coach:
DeKeyser credits Wings teammate Justin Abdelkader, who went back to completed his degree from Michigan State about three years ago, with getting DeKeyser kick-started.
“I remember talking to him about it and not long after that, I kind of started taking my classes again,” DeKeyser said. “Seeing him do it definitely pushed me to get mine finished up. We had both played three years (in college) and had a year left. That gave me motivation.”
DeKeyser also credited former assistant coach Tony Granato, who earned his degree from Wisconsin before taking over as the Badgers’ head coach in 2016.
“That was pretty cool, and I thought about if I would want to coach college hockey one day, or something like that, I would need to complete the degree, and now I have it,” DeKeyser said.
Much of DeKeyser’s family, and many of his friends, were in attendance his graduation day. DeKeyser is a native on Macomb.
“A big group that day, it was fun,” DeKeyser said. “We went to lunch afterward and headed back to the East Side (Macomb County) and had a graduation party the next day. The whole shebang.”
According to Illegal Curve’s Dave Minuk, former Red Wings chief amateur scout Jeff Finley has found a new home:
With the announcement that Marcel Comeau was retiring after the conclusion of the 2019 NHL Draft there were a pair of big shoes to fill in the organization. Comeau began as a scout with the Atlanta Thrashers, became Director of amateur scouting in 2003 and continued in that capacity for the Jets when they moved to Winnipeg until 2015 when he stepped down but continued to work in a scouting capacity.
Today the team announced that they hired Jeff Finley as Comeau’s replacement. Finley has spent the past seven seasons in the Red Wings organization amateur scouting department which included being their chief scout for the last three seasons. Folks around here may remember Finley as a member of the Winnipeg Jets 1.0 in the lame duck season before the team relocated to Arizona.
Of disparate hockey-related note this afternoon:
- According to the Cadillac News’s Rick Charmoli, Kraft and the NHLPA have given Cadillac, MI $20,000 to help the 2nd-place town in the Kraft Hockeyville USA competition to improve their facility and purchase equipment for young players:
After being named one of the four finalists this past spring, the Wex and its supporters celebrated finishing in second place for the Kraft Hockeyville USA 2019 competition by hosting a barbecue Thursday.
At the event, Shopper Marketing Analyst at The Kraft Heinz Company Emily Kosmin was in Cadillac to deliver a check for $10,000 to the facility for the second-place finish. Kraft’s Hockeyville was in its fifth year of providing finances to ice rinks across the nation through a social media nomination and polling process.
During the competition, residents of a community are asked to submit photos, videos and stories as to why their local ice rink is so important to them. It was those submissions that led to the Wex becoming a finalist.
Cadillac Area Visitors Bureau Joy Van Drie said the donation is special because it infuses dollars from outside the area into the community that will support the community. In addition to the $10,000 to be used toward the facility, the National Hockey League Players’ Association also donated $10,000 to be used toward equipment purchases for the youth hockey programs in Cadillac as part of its Goals and Dreams fund.
2. Also, in the Red Wings alumni category, Eishockeynews.de reports that former Wing and Grand Rapids Griffins forward Mitch Callahan has signed a one-year deal with the Augsburger Panther of the DEL.
DetroitRedWings.com’s Dana Wakiji examines Red Wings prospect Seth Barton’s 2018-19 campaign this morning, discussing Barton’s freshman season at UMass-Lowell and speaking with Wings director of player development Shawn Horcoff regarding the lanky defenseman:
Quotable: “Seth is a guy that we didn’t know too much about as a development staff last year. He came in and he impressed obviously in camp. He was just a small, scrawny kid but had good vision, moved the puck well, and then thanks to injury, got thrust into a bigger role in college and did very well. We were really happy with his year last year. He’s another kid though that just needs to put strength on. It’s going to take time. He’s in that process and he’s doing well.” — Shawn Horcoff, Red Wings director of player development
The significant number of defensemen already under contract to the Red Wings means that there is tremendous competition for the few open spots on the Red Wings’ blueline.
In the case of the recently re-signed Joe Hicketts, Hockeybuzz’s Bob Duff wonders aloud where the now 23-year-old free agent signing fits into the picture five years into his career as a Wing:
Hicketts, 23, signed as an undrafted free agent in 2014, has played just 16 games for the Wings over the past two seasons. While he’s certainly shown plenty of jam and a bit of an offensive upside, the diminutive 5-foot-8, 180-pound blueliner has also displayed a knack for getting caught out of position via his over-aggressive approach to defending.
“It’s not being erratic, not making big mistakes,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill has listed as the key to Hicketts making it for good as an NHLer. “It’s a hard balance for Joe because he’s a gamer. He wants to go make plays. He wants to make things happen.
“You want to be able to do those things without making the big mistakes and causing the big chances against. I think that’s the biggest thing. If he can play his game without making those big mistakes then he’s a real effective hockey player. I like Joe a lot. He’s a real good player.”
Last season, Hicketts led all defensemen in assists and points with AHL Grand Rapids, collecting 3-24-27 numbers in 64 games.
Duff continues, and I’m afraid that the Wings will have to watch the contracts of Mike Green, Jonathan Ericsson and Trevor Daley expire before players like Hicketts, Madison Bowey, Dennis Cholowski, Vili Saarijarvi, Jared McIsaac, Gustav Lindstrom and Oliwer Kaski are given some room to breathe.
The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan spoke with concussion research advocate Daniel Carcillo regarding the death of former Red Wings forward Greg Johnson, and Carcillo suggested that a history of concussion issues may have contributed to Johnson’s suicide:
“There’s been a pretty steady amount of death it seems,” Carcillo said. “I didn’t know Greg personally but when you hear something like that about a former player — and I’ve battled a fair share of mental health issues — it definitely hits home.
“You want to be respectful to the family, but you also have to talk about it honestly and talk about what happened, because in an effort to educate people about possible signs or symptoms — or getting a discussion going about suicide, mental health, concussions — it all ties in to each other.
“In talking (to former players, teammates of Johnson’s) you get the sense he was a really good guy, from that region of Thunder Bay (Ontario), down to earth, and you feel for everybody involved.”
Continued; I’ll be blunt here–until there’s an autopsy, I believe it’s too early to suggest that Johnson died due to the cumulative effects of brain injuries.
Yes, former and current NHL players are dealing with what is clearly a health crisis regarding cumulative concussions, but suicide is the result of a unique set of circumstances in most cases, and those circumstances have to be respected.
Via the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Anthony Allocco, Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno is holding a charity game on August 11th to raise funds for pediatric care in his hometown for Sudbury, Ontario, and Tyler Bertuzzi will be taking part in the event:
The NHL vs. Docs fundraiser, hosted by CBJ captain Nick Foligno, will take place August 11 in Sudbury, ON with the goal of raising funds and awareness of expanding pediatric care options in the Greater Sudbury area.
After raising $215,000 a year ago, this year’s lineup of NHL talent could push the fundraiser above and beyond that benchmark. Representing the Blue Jackets will be Foligno, Cam Atkinson, Josh Anderson, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Seth Jones. Also in attendance will be; Tyler Bertuzzi, Matt Duchene, John Travares and Marc Staal.
"You try to leave the world a better place than when you came into it,” says @NickFoligno, who with the helping hands and dedication of his fellow players and @NEOKidsFDN, is doing just that through the annual #NHLvsDocs game.— NHLPA (@NHLPA) July 16, 2019
Full story: https://t.co/PHyWKuYQ5k pic.twitter.com/HigCOUhwZj
NHLPA.com’s Chris Lomon also wrote an article about the event:
Foligno will welcome several familiar NHL names to this year’s event. Many of the players have been to past editions, but others, like Tavares, will be taking part for the first time.
The 31-year-old forward is grateful for the widespread support he’s receiving from his fellow NHLPA members, including brother and fellow NHL forward Marcus, Cam Atkinson, Josh Anderson, Tyler Bertuzzi, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Matt Duchene, Seth Jones, Marc Staal, and John Tavares.
“I always say that hockey players are the most generous people in the world when it comes to charities and their time,” offered Foligno.
“These guys don’t really have a personal tie to what I’m doing, but they know the cause is near and dear to my heart. They know how much this means to kids too. They realize the importance of it all. A lot of these guys are from small communities as well, so they appreciate the importance of something like this and what it means to a place like Sudbury.
The Hockey News’s Steven Ellis predicts fantasy hockey break-out stars who might shine as sophomore NHL’ers, and he suggests that poolies pay attention to Filip Hronek as the 2019-2020 season approaches:
Filip Hronek, D, 21 (Detroit)
Do the Red Wings have a gem on their hands? As the team looks destined to finish near the bottom of the standings in 2019-20, Hronek will be given ample opportunities to become a leader on the back end after a solid half-season in Detroit. Even though he only played in 46 games, tallying five goals and 23 points, his 19:57 average ice time was the third-best among all rookies, and only Dahlin (0.54) averaged more points per game among first-year defensemen with at least 45 games played. Hronek will start the season on the second pairing, but if Mike Green runs into health issues – and let’s be realistic: the odds of him playing 82 games is unlikely – Hronek could be playing top-pairing minutes quite quickly.