Falkner profiles Marco Rossi

The Detroit News’s Mark Falkner posted a profile of top 2020 NHL draft prospect Marco Rossi this afternoon:

Ottawa coach Andre Tourigny feels it’s unfair to compare the 19-year-old Rossi to future Hall of Famer Datsyuk, but he said Rossi is “NHL-ready in terms of his approach to the game” and wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the big leap to the pros.

“He’s a super driven kid who is willing to do whatever it takes to become a pro player,” Tourigny said. “He’s the best player in our league, super competitive on and off the ice, really good defensively on both sides of the puck. His goal is to play in the NHL and that’s the way it should be. It all depends which teams takes him in the draft.”

Just as Stutzle could become the highest-drafted German hockey player ahead of Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award winner Leon Draisaitl (No. 3 overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2014), Rossi could surpass Austrian and former Red Wings forward Thomas Vanek (No. 5 overall by the Buffalo Sabres in 2003).

Vanek, who has offered advice to Rossi and was a hometown hero for most of the younger 15 Austrians who have played in the NHL, scored 31 goals in his freshman season with the 2003 NCAA champion Minnesota Golden Gophers, 42 goals in his rookie season with the AHL Rochester Americans and 373 career goals in 1,029 NHL games, including 31 goals in two stints in Detroit in 2017 and 2019.

“Even if I get drafted before Vanek, it doesn’t mean you’re going to have a better career or something,” Rossi said. “To be honest, I try to control what I can control like my work ethic, how I work on my body, how I work on my game. If you compare me back to March, I’m two completely different persons. I’m faster and I’ve had a big improvement in my speed, stride and explosiveness. I’m just getting ready for the season.”


Custance confirms that the Wings are engaged in contract talks with Anthony Mantha

Last week, The Fourth Period reported that the Red Wings were engaging in contract negotiations with restricted free agent forward Anthony Mantha, and today, The Athletic’s Craig Custance confirms the news:

Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman has been taking care of business and made it clear that Detroit is willing to add salary to acquire more young assets for the rebuild. One thing that will help clarify how much he can spend on that front is a new contract for restricted free agent Anthony Mantha. Talks have progressed on that front and are moving in the right direction. It wouldn’t be surprising if that contract is shorter than originally thought. If he were to do a, let’s say, three-year extension, that would allow him to hit free agency before he’s 30 and in a time where there should be more clarity on the financial landscape of the league.

Continued (paywall); given the financial uncertainty around the league, as well as Mantha’s injury history, I’m not expecting him to sign a long-term deal.

MLive: YouTube TV will be dropping Fox Sports Detroit, FS regional networks

Not good news if you’re a cord cutter, per MLive’s Josh Slaghter:

Effective Oct. 1, YouTube TV subscribers will lose access to Fox Sports Detroit and other regional networks.

The streaming service announced the change Tuesday, noting it was unable to come to a deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group, the parent company of 19 FOX regional sports networks. An agreement had been reached in March after the channels initially were dropped. That extension expires this week.

FOX Sports Detroit exclusively airs most regular-season matchups for the Pistons, Red Wings and the Tigers

Khan profiles Cole Perfetti

MLive’s Ansar Khan has posted a profile of Saginaw Spirit Center Cole Perfetti, who’s been linked to the Red Wings on a regular basis as we approach the 2020 NHL draft:

Perfetti likes playing a fast-paced, puck-possession style, like they do in Saginaw under coach Chris Lazary. Perfetti produced 37 goals and 74 assists in 61 games.

“He coaches a pro style and he’s playing the new style of hockey,” Perfetti said. “A lot of coaches are stuck in their olden ways, kind of chip pucks in and crash and bang, play hard, and you have to play within this structure to a T. Whereas with Chris, as long as you’re within this structure, he gives you leeway to make plays, be your own player and have a brain. Be creative and have fun.

“I think that’s really allowed me to flourish. I think if I was under a head coach where I had to dump the puck in every time I got over the red line and get on the forecheck, it would be frustrating and I wouldn’t be able to express how I really am as a player. We play fast and off the rush and as long as we’re within the system, filling in for one another and making sure we’re in good spots, we’re allowed to be creative.”

Perfetti played mostly wing his rookie season and split this past season between wing and center, his preferred position.

“I feel like I make more of an impact through the middle of the ice and I’m able to impact the game in greater ways as a centerman,” Perfetti said. “Being able to play both is going to be very beneficial when making the jump next year or the year after. I think it’s going to help me to get into the lineup and play key minutes and make an impact.”


Toledo Walleye, ECHL partner with ‘FloSports’ to air regular season, playoff games

The Toledo Walleye are partnering with FloHockey (whose subscription plans begin at $12.50 per month) to air their regular season and playoff games online:

We’re excited to announce our partnership with @flosports, bringing all @ECHL games and Kelly Cup Playoffs LIVE on @FloHockey. 🏒

Read more ➡️ https://t.co/HhIiAgfF8w pic.twitter.com/g8ugGd9nyX— Toledo Walleye (@ToledoWalleye) September 30, 2020

Here are more details from the Walleye:

Continue reading Toledo Walleye, ECHL partner with ‘FloSports’ to air regular season, playoff games

Coronavirus affecting Wings prospect Robert Mastrosimone’s preparations for sophomore season at Boston University

Boston University forward Robert Mastrosimone spoke with the Daily Free Press’s Joe Porhoryles regarding the ways in which the coronavirus has impacted his on and off-ice preparations for this year’s NCAA hockey season:

Entering his sophomore year in what will be a very different 2020-21 season, Mastrosimone has already felt drastic changes compared to his freshman season. 

The team first took the ice together on Sept. 7 and practices have continued since then. Normally, the whole team would be on the ice at the same time. But given the group restrictions brought on by the pandemic, changes had to be made.

“It’s not even the full team [on the ice]. It’s two groups split in half,” Mastrosimone said. “It’s not a lot of contact and six feet apart, and all those mandates.”

The limited contact will make getting back to game speed difficult, Mastrosimone said, but he said he made sure to address that facet of the game over the extended offseason. Listed at 5-feet-10-inches and 170 pounds, Mastrosimone gets into board battles with bigger players on a game-by-game basis, so adding muscle to his frame was a top priority.

With few gyms and ice rinks open on Long Island this summer, Mastrosimone said he had to get creative when it came to training. Having just a small ice sheet to work with may have been a blessing in disguise, as it forced him to work with the puck in tight spaces.

“I think it really helped me work on my small area, corner game, which is going to be really good for me,” Mastrosimone said, “just battling in the corners and getting out of tight spaces and fighting them guys.”


Detroit News, Free Press report furloughs and layoffs on business side of Tigers, Red Wings

This was coming, per the Detroit News’s Chris McCosky

Ilitch Holdings Inc. announced a realignment of business operations Wednesday that includes temporary furloughs and layoffs.

The move comes after six months paying salaries and benefits for all employees of the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings, and at the Fox Theatre, despite the cancellation of more than 200 sporting and entertainment events during measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Baseball and hockey operations staffs are expected to be unaffected by the realignment.   

Chris Granger, group president of sports and entertainment for Ilitch Holdings, sent emails to the affected employees Wednesday morning.

“Our industry, one predicated on bringing people together and designed to bring joy to so many, was the first to shut down and, most likely, will be one of the last to return,” Granger wrote.  “Indeed, even as capacity restrictions are relaxed, we remain severely limited in our ability to welcome back guests in any meaningful way.  Of course, we are not alone. COVID-19 has negatively impacted the entire sports and entertainment industry, including our partners, our vendors, our sponsors, and our guests.

“It is in this environment that we have had to make the difficult decision, with respect to our business operations, to put in place some temporary furloughs, as well as layoffs.”

And the Free Press’s Evan Petzold:

Continue reading Detroit News, Free Press report furloughs and layoffs on business side of Tigers, Red Wings

The Athletic’s Custance, Bultman weigh in on the Wings’ past and future

The Athletic’s Craig Custance took on the gargantuan task of ranking the NHL’s best post-salary-cap teams today. Custance believes that the 2007-2008 Red Wings gave the Red Wings a significant boost in his rankings, but today’s Wings are obviously not what they used to be per his points scale:

6 (tied). Detroit Red Wings

Total: 27

The Red Wings gathered most of their points early on in the cap era with a 2008 Stanley Cup and 2009 near-miss. The rebuild under Steve Yzerman is still early in the process and the Red Wings are likely years away from adding to this point total but fans can look to Yzerman’s fingerprints on the 2020 Stanley Cup champions for a little optimism of what may be coming when he’s done building in Detroit.

Total playoff years: 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 09SCF, 08SC, 07CF, 06

Average: 1.80 points per season

Continued (paywall); along the rebuilding lines, The Athletic’s Max Bultman also wondered aloud whether these Red Wings can be built into a Stanley Cup contender again by their current GM, Steve Yzerman:

Even if he stopped short of claiming satisfaction for his former team’s success, the fact Yzerman has been most of the way down that path as a GM is meaningful. Just as the Lightning fell short last year before reaching the pinnacle, and just as the Red Wings first stumbled before becoming a dynasty when Yzerman was a player, coming up short can be a hell of a teacher.

And now, the successes, failures and lessons from his time in Tampa Bay can still be applied in Detroit, while inevitably carrying more weight as tried-and-true. Even if he won’t get plaudits for finding the final puzzle pieces in Tampa, his role in the foundation is unquestionable.

So, with a crucial 2020 offseason now officially in full gear, Yzerman is out of the Lightning’s championship frame, working again just to establish the foundations of an organization. He has essential RFA deals to ink, impossibly important draft picks to make, and, maybe, another surprise or two yet to come.

He won’t do any of that with a 2020 championship ring sitting in the background.

But as Detroit looks up from the bottom, seeing its GM’s former team now at the top, the climb up has to look a bit more attainable.

And if Yzerman can some day get the Red Wings back to that summit, for this city, satisfaction won’t even begin to cover it.

Continued (paywall)…