USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth to host Under-18 Five Nations Cup

From USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program website…

While the Olympic hockey tournament will be getting underway in PyeongChang, South Korea, there will be another huge international tournament happening in Plymouth, Michigan — the 2018 Under-18 Five Nations Tournament presented by Hines Park Lincoln with bragging rights on the line for each of the countries represented.

The tournament, which runs from Feb. 13-17, features some of the top Under-18 hockey players from the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden and the United States. Many of the players skating in this event are eligible for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, which will allow NHL management and scouts an opportunity to see them play on American soil.

“The Five Nations U18 tournament is a premier event leading up to the annual NHL Entry Draft,” said Ray Shero, executive vice president/general manager of the New Jersey Devils. “NHL teams and their scouting staffs use this opportunity to view best-on-best competition for players from all the top hockey countries. With USA Hockey Arena hosting the event in Plymouth, the venue provides great accessibility for all NHL organizations and fans alike.”

Continued, and the Plymouth Observer’s Tim Smith also weighed in:

Yes, South Korea might be the main focus of the hockey world beginning this weekend at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

But USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth also will be hosting some exciting February hockey of an international variety. The Under-18 Five Nations Tournament is scheduled to take place from Tuesday through Saturday, Feb. 13-17, with the U.S. and four other teams on the docket.

The building (14900 Beck Road) will be jammed with National Hockey League officials and scouts who will be filling notebooks with musings about dozens of players considered the cream of the crop in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.

In addition to the U.S., the round-robin tournament will include Russia, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic.

“The ones who have been here for any international event know they’re fun, the games are great,” said Scott Monaghan, senior director of operations for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, which is based in Plymouth. “(During) the women’s world championship, the USA-Canada games just rocked.

“We hosted a Five Nations in February two years ago, that was the younger age group, U-17s. We had a fantastic final game with USA-Russia. The building was packed and it was rocking.

“This is a bigger event, because it is the last event before the U-18 World Championship, the next-to-last time the NHL teams and scouts can see all these kids. And there’s probably going to be upwards of 60 kids that are ranked in the draft from these five countries.”


Kulfan: Wings’ players bummed that they’re missing the Olympics

The NHL isn’t participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, and the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan reports that the Red Wings’ players aren’t happy about that.

Jimmy Howard and Niklas Kronwall addressed the issue:

“The Olympics are supposed to embody the best athletes in the world, it’s a shame we’re not going to be there,” said goaltender Jimmy Howard, who was on Team USA in 2014 in Sochi. “It’s been great hockey since the pro guys have started going. It made hockey the focal point of the Olympics.”

What has made the NHL uneasy, even when sending its star players for the Olympics, is the overall cost of shutting the league for three weeks.

As the Olympics rolled on, NHL arenas went dark with no games played. Also, several high-level stars were injured, obviously hurting their NHL teams when they returned. Still, Howard would gladly do it again if given the opportunity.

“Every guy that has been able to do it would say the same thing,” Howard said. “It was special to be able to go over there, be part of the Olympics. It was an honor.”


“All the players still don’t quite get why we’re not there,’ Kronwall said. “The possibility of having two Olympics in Asia on top of each other, in an untapped market. We all wish we were there, but we’re not.”

Talkin’ trades?

Today we’re talking trades: CBS Detroit’s Will Burtchfield caught wind of Bob McKenzie’s remarks regarding a Mrazek-or-Howard trade…

And The Athletic’s Craig Custance suggests that a “pure hockey trade”–the kind that was suggested by Elliotte Friedman in his 31 Thoughts column, as in Justin Faulk for Andreas Athanasiou–would be useful for the Red Wings to consider:

Now, Elliotte is careful to frame it in a way that doesn’t suggest it’s been discussed, but it’s exactly the kind of deal in structure that makes sense for the Red Wings.

“I think both of those players are available for a hockey deal,” said one NHL source outside of Detroit and Carolina. “You could definitely see Carolina doing something.”

Another source pointed out that another contract negotiation with Athanasiou this offseason in a time when the Red Wings also have to get deals done with Dylan Larkin and Mantha might make a deal more of a possibility, even if Athanasiou has played his way back into management’s good graces.

“The whole team, there’s question marks,” said the NHL source of the Red Wings. “Kenny has to make room financially. He still has to sign Athanasiou. It starts all over again (this offseason).”

Custance continues (paywall), and while we’re talking in theoretical terms…

It may not come in this exact form, but these are the kind of trades the Red Wings have to aggressively pursue. Even if it’s been awhile.

I’m just not sure. I see the Wings trading Mike Green for sure, and as McKenzie suggested, Detroit won’t enter the 2018-19 season with both Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard on the roster, but after that?

The notoriously loyal KH appears to still have ownership’s mandate to manage the team as he chooses, and this team has been hesitant to make substantial changes on the roster for a long, long time.

I don’t know if that changes just because it sounds like a good idea.

Here’s the Griffins’ Game-Day Preview video ahead of Friday night’s game vs. San Antonio

The Grand Rapids Griffins posted a Game-Day Preview video ahead of tonight’s 7 PM-starting game against the San Antonio Rampage:


Is tonight’s game vs. the Islanders a must-win?

WDIV’s Dave Bartkowiak Jr. suggests that the Red Wings absolutely must win tonight’s game against the New York Islanders if the Wings are planning on making a playoff push:

If the Detroit Red Wings have any final hopes of making a push for the playoffs this year, then Friday night’s game against the New York Islanders is a must-win.

And it can’t be an overtime or shootout win. It has to be a win in regulation. The Islanders are knocking on the door to the Wild Card spot with 58 points (55 games played) while the Red Wings have 50 points (52 games played).

Bartkowiak continues

Red Wings-Islanders morning skate Tweets and articles: Game previews as we wait for the skate

The Detroit Red Wings play the New York Islanders this evening (7:00 PM EST on FSD Plus/MSG+/97.1 FM) hoping to gain points on a Wild Card foe.

The Islanders played in a 4-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night, so they didn’t hold a morning skate; Petr Mrazek will start for the Wings, most likely facing Thomas Greiss, and the Islanders website’s Cory Wright filed a Wings-Islanders game preview:

Continue reading Red Wings-Islanders morning skate Tweets and articles: Game previews as we wait for the skate

Three Things: On Nostalgia, McKenzie on Green and Iyer on the Wings’ offensive attack

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. Via Kukla’s, TSN’s Cabbie Richards spoke with Dylan Larkin, Trevor Daley and Justin Abdelkader about a potential “Nostalgia Night” at Little Caesars Arena:

2. TSN’s Bob McKenzie is quoted by TSN’s Tradecentre webpage regarding a possible Mike Green trade:

Bob McKenzie is confident that the Tampa Bay Lightning will be buyers ahead of the trade deadline with an addition to their blueline.

“I will make this prediction right now, Tampa will not go by the deadline without picking up what they believe to be a significant top-six defenceman,” McKenzie added on TSN Radio 1050’s Overdrive. “And I don’t know whether it’s Mike Green or Ryan McDonagh, or Jack Johnson, or Cody Ceci. The point being is Tampa, for me, is as close to being all-in as they can be and they’ve got the draft picks and prospects to move. I don’t think they’re too worried about what they would have to give up to get a guy.”

McKenzie added the price for Green from the Red Wings could be a first-round pick and he believes Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman would be willing to pay that price.

McKenzie also spoke about Mike Green during last night’s Insider Trading segment:

Detroit Red Wings defenceman Mike Green  is one of the most sought after blueliners on the market but he has a full no-trade clause. Is he driving the bus on his future?

Bob McKenzie: There’s not much question about that. He decides when he’s traded, where he’s traded, or if he’s traded. There’s no question the Red Wings want to get a return on Green and Green is okay with that. But I would suspect the list of teams that he’s prepared to go to is relatively short. The price that the Red Wings are asking for is somewhere between what St. Louis got for Kevin Shattenkirk last year, a first-round pick and a prospect. Or between what Brendan Smith fetched last year as a rental for the Detroit Red Wings, that was a second-round pick and a third-round pick. Tampa Bay is the team that is often linked to Green. They certainly have a need for defencemen but they’re considering all their options at this point. One would have to think that Tampa might be an aggregable spot for Green but we’ll have to see how this one plays out.

3. The Athletic’s Prasanth Iyer used zone entry tracking to discuss the Wings’ offensive issues:

The data presented above makes it clear Detroit’s offensive attack is inconsistent. Outside of the Zetterberg line, the team struggles to consistently generate shots in the offensive zone. The Red Wings have been able to hang around the playoff race largely because of unexpected scoring from their bottom six. However, given the relative lack of dangerous passing plays, it’s hard to imagine that scoring persisting.

Similarly, it’s hard to imagine the Zetterberg unit scoring only two goals on 66 shots, which may make up for the drop-off in scoring from the bottom six. The lack of effectiveness from the Larkin line has been surprising. Even though it has outscored the opposition, the line has been heavily outshot. Given that, the Red Wings’ team offense may benefit from splitting it up and spreading out its talent through the bottom three lines.

Iyer continues

The overnight report: Red Wings-Islanders set-up–youth movement vs. playoff movement

The Detroit Red Wings will face a roadblock in their attempts to earn a playoff spot in the New York Islanders on Friday evening (7:00 PM EST on FSD Plus/MSG+/97.1 FM).

The 26-23-and-6 Islanders sit 8 points ahead of the 21-23-and-8 Red Wings in the Wild Card standings;

Petr Mrazek’s Wings (Mrazek starts Friday night) are catching the Islanders in a “down” portion of their schedule as New York has dropped 4 of their past 5 games, including a 4-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday evening.

The Islanders managed to rally from a 3-0 deficit, but they fell to 1-3-and-1 over their past 5 games as they surrendered the game-winning goal late in the 3rd period, as Newsday’s Mark Hermann noted:

Continue reading The overnight report: Red Wings-Islanders set-up–youth movement vs. playoff movement

Duff, Nyquist talk trade rumors (or, ignoring them)

Hockeybuzz’s Bob Duff spoke with Gustav Nyquist regarding dealing with the uncertainty surrounding the trade deadline:

“There’s always the possibility,” Nyquist admitted of a potential moving involving him. “It’s part of being in this league. I’ve heard rumors before. I’m sure I’ll hear rumors again. You never know what’s true or not. It goes for all the guys in the room. I’m sure they’ve heard their name pop up at some point.”

As much as the players insist they don’t read the papers, the fact of the matter is that there are secondary sources – friends, family – who will bring up the subject to a player if they happen to come across the mention of their names in trade talk.

“I’m not a big social media guy, but you watch Twitter or whatever and you see a bit,” Nyquist said. “But I think guys start paying more attention as we’re getting closer to the deadline. I think right now, I don’t think you hear too many rumors. I think they’ll start heating up closer to the deadline.”

Duff continues

Prospect round-up: SHL, OHL action; Griffins return Tansey to Walleye

In the SHL, Christoffer Ehn finished at -1 with 3 shots, winning 50% of his faceoffs in 12:02 played in the Frolunda Indians’ 4-2 loss to Skelleftea AIK;

In the Finnish Liiga, Julius Vahatalo finished at -1 with 1 shot, winning 41% of his faceoffs in 17:00 played in Jukurit’s 8-0 loss to IFK Helsinki;

In the OHL, Kaden Fulcher stopped 23 of 27 shots in the Hamilton Bulldogs’ 5-1 loss to Barrie;

Jordan Sambrook finished at -1 with 1 shot in the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds’ 4-3 win over Niagara;

And the Grand Rapids Griffins returned Kevin Tansey to the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye, retaining Patrick McCarron’s services as Joe Hicketts recovers from an injury:

Continue reading Prospect round-up: SHL, OHL action; Griffins return Tansey to Walleye