Of disparate Red Wings-related note this evening:
- In the “big picture,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman mentioned the Red Wings 2 times in his “31 Thoughts” column:
That would be very kind to X, who’s been a good soldier despite no ice time…
And, regarding college free agents-to-be, should they not sign with their NHL teams:
29. Just some names to keep an eye on, with NHL team followed by school: Brian Pinho (Washington/Providence), Ryan Donato (Boston/Harvard), Anthony Angello (Pittsburgh/Cornell), Louis Belpedio (Minnesota/Miami), David Pope (Detroit/Nebraska-Omaha), CJ Suess (Winnipeg/Minnesota St.), Jake Evans (Montreal/Notre Dame), Brandon Hickey (Arizona/Boston University — traded to the Coyotes in the Mike Smith deal), Nolan Vesey (Toronto/Maine) and Nolan Stevens (St. Louis/Northeastern). The latter Nolan, John Stevens’s son, scored a beauty in the Beanpot final.
Pope told The Athletic’s Craig Custance that he will be signing with the Red Wings…
2. “Closer to home,” CBS Detroit’s Will Burtchfield spoke with the Red Wings’ players regarding the lack of NHL participation in the Olympics:
“The Olympics is supposed to embody the best athletes in the world,” said Jimmy Howard, who played for Team USA in Sochi 2014. “I feel like, in my opinion, NHL players should be there.”
“I just don’t understand why we’re not there,” said Gustav Nyquist, who represented Sweden in 2014. “It’s such a cool thing and it’s great exposure for the league, too. It’s a brand new market over there.”
In the eyes of the NHL, sending its players to the Olympics no longer made sense. The International Olympic Committee said it wouldn’t pay for costs related to travel and insurance that it had covered for the players (with help from the International Hockey Federation) since 1998. That, coupled with the fact the IOC refused to share video rights with the NHL, meant the league couldn’t justify halting play at a crucial juncture of its season.
“When the IOC and the IIHF said they weren’t going to pay the expenses,” Bettman said at this time last year, “it opened a can of worms in terms of teams saying, ‘Why are we doing this? And why are we disrupting the season for two and a half weeks at a vital point where we just completely disappear? And we can’t even promote the fact that our players are there playing?’”
Tomas Tatar, who represented Slovakia at the 2014 Games, feels the NHL’s reasons keeping its players out of this year’s competition aren’t satisfactory.
“I think their answers don’t make any sense,” said Tatar. “But we are here to play hockey, and that’s the decision that they made. We just have to respect it. Obviously we made it somehow work previous years, so it was frustrating why we couldn’t do it this year.”
3. The Orange County Register’s Eric Stephens asked the Ducks’ players and coach to weigh in on Little Caesars Arena:
Modeled in large part after Montreal’s Bell Centre, Ducks coach Randy Carlyle was left with a highly favorable first impression of LCA. He liked the “great, bright sightlines” and thinks the facility will help continue the resurgence of downtown Detroit but also found it odd not to be at “The Joe.”
“It is a little weird,” Carlyle said. “The funny part about it is I played in the Joe when it first opened. I played a couple games in the old Olympia and then moved over the Joe. It was state-of-the-art at that time. And it was a special place. It’s amazing how many years have gone by.
“This seems to be another step up obviously in what they’ve done here. It’s a beautiful building.”
Cam Fowler, who was raised in nearby Farmington Hills, Mich., also had some lament for the old arena, which was built in 1979 to replace the Detroit Olympia.
“I was lucky enough to play my first NHL game at Joe Louis in front of all my friends and family so that’s a memory that will stick out to me for a long time,” Fowler said. “Any time I come to Detroit, it’s a special place for me. Obviously it’s where I grew up and I watched the Red Wings all growing up.
“Kind of sad to see the Joe go. I really enjoyed playing there. Everything I’ve heard about this rink is all great things and I know they’ve put a lot of work and effort into it. I’ve only got a little taste of it so far. But I’m looking forward to tonight’s game.”
4. And Hockeybuzz’s Bob Duff penned an article about Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha’s search for consistency:
Mantha is certain that more is better. His goal is to average five shots on goal per game. With only seven shots over his last three games, he isn’t reaching that output, but on the flip side Mantha has three goals on his last five shots, a 60 percent success rate.
“If you bring in stats, it’s somewhere between 15 to 20 percent for shooters when they score, so with five shots your chances are 20 percent for a goal,” Mantha said. “Obviously, you may get one, you might get two if you get lucky.”
There are other variables at work as well. With today’s emphasis on shot blocking, a player getting five shots on net in one game is quite an achievement. In fact, Mantha has accomplished this feat just once in the past 21 games, registering six shots Feb. 2 at Carolina, and he’s done it only three times all season long.
“You need to have the perfect timing because a shot attempt you could miss the net, it could be blocked, stick on puck, so you need to be quick, you need to find the perfect time to shoot the puck,” Mantha explained. “Like I said, that’s my goal (five shots a game) every game and sometimes you don’t reach it, but when you do good things happen.”