In the AHL, Matthew Ford and Ben Street (2) scored goals, Matt Puepel had 2 assists and Tom McCollum posted a 21-save shutout as the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Hershey Bears 3-0. The Griffins’ website posted a recap:
The Detroit Red Wings face the San Jose Sharks this evening (10:30 PM EDT on FSD/NBCS Bay Area/97.1 FM), and this is going to be a difficult game for the Wings as the Sharks are facing some serious playoff pressure.
STATS’ game preview sets up tonight’s game from the Sharks’ perspective:
DetroitRedWings.com’s Arthur J. Regner spoke with the Red Wings’ players and coach regarding the team’s attempt to scale a near-vertical incline as the team insists it can still push for a playoff spot:
They trail Columbus for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference by 14 points with 14 regular season games left on their schedule, but despite the near impossible odds, the Wings are approaching each game with a must-win mentality.
“I think it’s a process,” defenseman Mike Green said. “It’s a mindset right now, obviously this time of the season a big chunk of it is mental. We have to make sure we’re going into these games with the right process, right mind frame. Not only that, we’ve got to compete really hard every night to make sure we’re giving ourselves a chance. I think with that mentality we’ll get our wins here. It’s just unfortunate we have to make sure we win pretty much every night. There is a big task ahead of us.”
If Detroit cannot string together a plethora of wins in the coming weeks, the players vow they will continue to play hard with their sole purpose of winning hockey games and getting better.
“Regardless of where we are in the standings, it’s about coming in and doing it right every day,” alternate captain Niklas Kronwall said. “You work hard and you get rewarded for it. If you don’t work hard, it’s going to show right away.
“We haven’t been good enough here as of late. We need to get out of there as soon as possible. It just hasn’t been nearly good enough when it comes to all the small details of the game — the stick battles, the positioning. And when we do get our chances, we have to make the most of them.
“If you look at the bigger picture, this isn’t just now. What we’re doing right now is preparing ourselves, the young guys, for next year and for their careers, really. You (have to) learn to do it right and learn that you’re coming to work every day.”
The Red Wings practiced on Sunday prior to flying out to San Jose for tonight’s game (10:30 PM on FSD/NBCSN Bay Area/97.1 FM), and here are some of the storylines from said practice:
1. According to Hockeybuzz’s Bob Duff, Frans Nielsen skated with the team on Sunday, and Nielsen is hoping to return sometime during the Wings’ upcoming 4-game road trip:
“I don’t anticipate him ready tomorrow (at the San Jose Sharks),” Wings coach Jeff Blashill told Detroitredwings.com. “I anticipate him being ready for Thursday (at the Los Angeles Kings), but we’ll see. I think it’s good that he seems to be progressing fast here.”
Nielsen is also feeling confident that the end of his idling is near. He was able to skate with the team on Sunday and hopes to ramp up his on-ice participation during Monday’s morning skate.
The Detroit News’s Louis Aguilar reports that the City of Detroit is trying to find ways to redevelop Joe Louis Arena, which isn’t easy given how isolated the site is from the rest of downtown Detroit:
A study done for the city and private land owners near the arena shows there are talks to find the money and create a consensus to tear down major structures, including a freeway exit, along with the vacant arena later this year. New pedestrian links to the West Riverfront area and possibly nearby streets would be created, according to a copy of the study obtained by The Detroit News.
“We are looking at the demolition of Joe Louis Arena as way of turning around the site, from what’s now considered the back door of everything, to the front door of the West Riverfront area,” said Maurice Cox, director of the city’s Planning and Development Department.
The city is in talks with major land owners — including the authority that controls the adjoining Cobo Center, the company that acquired the Joe Louis property during the city’s bankruptcy and DTE Energy — to come up with funding to “create a holistic development framework,” according to the study. The area being looked at is generally bounded by Cobo Center to the east, West Riverfront Park to the west, Lafayette Street to the north and the Detroit River to the south.
Joe Louis Arena is slated to be razed later this year. There also is an effort to get rid of some of the infrastructure around the 5.1 acres of land occupied by the arena.
MLive’s Ansar Khan reveals the reason why teams didn’t trade for Mike Green in a weekly mailbag feature:
New deal looming for Mike Green?
Q:Was the Red Wings’ reluctance to trade Mike Green an indication that he’s coming back or that maybe they have an agreement in place? – Morty
A: There’s a decent chance he returns, on a two- or three-year deal, at maybe a little less than the $6 million he’s currently earning. They’ve already told Green they’re interested in re-signing him. But that’s not why he wasn’t traded. He has a herniated disc that might require surgery and the three teams that were most interested in him (Tampa Bay, Washington and San Jose) apparently weren’t willing to risk giving up much for him.
The Lightning had the most interest, but it cooled after he was injured (ironically, on a hit from Tampa Bay’s Adam Erne on Feb. 15) and Ryan McDonagh become available.
Of Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins-related note this afternoon:
- Here’s the Griffins’ Game Day Preview ahead of this afternoon’s game against Hershey…
Nielsen out on ice going through all the drills at Wings practice. #RedWings
— Arthur J. Regner (@ArthurJRegner) March 11, 2018
Of brief Red Wings-related note this morning:
- The Red Wings posted an “On the Forecheck” video in which Manny Legace and Carley Johnston discuss the Wings’ upcoming opponents:
Brian Mahoney-Wilson, Detroit’s Goaltending Development coach joins us on Episode 52 of The Red and White Authority to discuss and evaluate the #RedWings‘ goaltending prospects –> https://t.co/G3U5XAVjPV pic.twitter.com/DDuzNdBWwP
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) March 10, 2018
4. On Twitter…
Tell us why you LUV the #Griffins & you could win a trip for 2 to the games on April 6 & 7 in Tucson, AZ on @SouthwestAir courtesy of @FlyGRFord! ✈ Click the link to enter: https://t.co/dXdEqUo2eg pic.twitter.com/jDoog083ub
— Grand Rapids Griffins (@griffinshockey) March 11, 2018
5. Also in the Grand Rapids Griffins category, GriffinsHockey.com’s Jason Pearson penned an article about Filip Hronek for TheAHL.com:
Hronek currently ranks in the league’s top-20 defensemen in points, goals, assists and plus-minus rating, and he’s on pace to post one of the top-three highest-scoring seasons by a Griffins first-year blueliner.
“I’ve been impressed with the way he’s learned the game, produced for us and how he’s progressed,” Griffins third-year head coach Todd Nelson said.
Hronek’s first full professional season and second year in North America began with its share of bumps. Scratched eight times in the team’s first 31 games, Hronek was filtered in and out of the lineup, partly due to inconsistent play and partly due to the Griffins’ roster; the team had eight rostered defensemen. Ryan Sproul was traded on Oct. 21 to bring the defensive lineup to a much more manageable number of seven, and as the season marched through its third month, Hronek developed a steadiness to his game play.
The 6-foot, 178-pound Hronek has been a mainstay in the lineup since Dec. 29, during which Grand Rapids’ 20-6-0-2 record has vaulted them into position for a sixth straight Calder Cup playoff bid. He’s spent considerable time throughout the year on the man-advantage, verified by 14 power play points, the most among team defensemen.
“After the trade for Sproul, he got an opportunity to get in the lineup on an everyday basis and he really took advantage of that,” assistant coach Bruce Ramsay said. “His work on the power play has become elite. He’s running the first unit right now and doing a great job. His defensive capabilities have grown.”
Hronek posted a particularly effective 17-game stretch from Jan. 12-Feb. 25, posting 15 points (5-10—15) and a team-best plus-14 rating.
“I try working hard every day,” Hronek said. “I think I’m getting better at things. Last couple of games, I’m getting better at everything.”
The Free Press’s Helene St. James posted a mailbag feature this afternoon, and among her answers to reader questions is this estimation of Ken Holland’s future plans:
’ve talked to a lot of people around the hockey world, and no one has heard anything one way or the other. Owner Chris Ilitch parried the question when he spoke to reporters at Detroit Tigers training camp, saying he was there to talk baseball. He did give Holland a vote of confidence after last season, saying coach Jeff Blashill’s future was in Holland’s hands.
Holland wants to continue to work, in Detroit or elsewhere. He has been working on rebuilding the team, keeping first-round draft picks since 2013 and last year and this year, stockpiling picks. Does he continue as GM? Does he slide into an advisory role like Jimmy Devellano did? Do the Wings part ways with Holland? We should find out soon after the season ends.