Checking in from flu land

Hi, everybody. I wanted to let you know how things are going health-wise.

Both Aunt Annie and I got the flu–plain old influenza–about two weeks ago, and things got particularly bad last week. We both had the kind of body aches that people write about in tales of hospital-bound flu, our fatigue was off the charts, so we were both sleeping most of the day and night, I had a fever, and both of us had “grumbly tummies.”

It took a full week’s worth of being very, very quiet and taking a lot of Tylenol to deal with the physical pain to come out on the “still exhausted” side of things, but AA and I are starting to get better. I’m not going to put a date on when I’m coming back as that’s often a dangerous self-fulfilling prophecy, but this week seems likely.

I’d like to do two things: 1. Thank you for your support and; 2. Remind you to get your flu shot if you have not gotten it (it’s never too late to get your vaccine).

Even with the influenza vaccine, this bugger of a flu bug hit me rather viciously hard, but I know people who’ve been hospitalized with influenza this year, and I got to skip that part of the physical fandango.

Hockey-wise, the Wings are doing okay, and I miss talking with you guys and gals, so I’ll get back to work as soon as I can.

For the present moment, stay safe if you are in Southeastern Michigan as we’re going to get somewhere between 5-10 inches of snow overnight, get your flu shot if you haven’t gotten it, and know that I’ll be back ASAP because I miss talking with you. Again, thanks for your well-wishes.

See you soon!

As predicted, Smith and Brome head to the taxi squad

This is the definition of a “paper move,” a transaction which means nothing save filling up roster spots on the taxi squad so that the Wings don’t have to recall anyone from Grand Rapids:

Free Press’s Ford: It only took 41 non-Bernier starts for the Wings’ goaltenders to earn their first win

The Free Press’s Ryan Ford writes a “NHL Central Division Misery Index” column every Monday at, and this morning, Ford’s column focuses upon the Red Wings’ struggles winning when Jonathan Bernier is not in their crease:

On Oct. 29, 2019, Jimmy Howard picked up the win for the Detroit Red Wings, stopping 31 of 32 shots against the Oilers — yes, we’re surprised too, and we watched that game — for what would turn out to be his final career victory.

The Wings won 13 more games in the 2019-20 season, all with Jonathan Bernier in net. Howard retired and the Wings brought in Thomas Greiss as a free agent in the offseason — only to see him go winless wearing the Winged Wheel.

Finally, 467 days after Howard’s win, the Wings had a goalie other than Bernier get a W, as Greiss stopped 36 of 37 shots by the Panthers on Sunday in Sunrise, Florida.

It wasn’t for lack of variety, either. The Wings had 40 non-Bernier starts over the streak, with Howard picking up 27 losses last season, Greiss taking those nine L’s this year and Eric Comrie and Calvin Pickard each going down twice.

Meanwhile, every other NHL franchise had at least two goalies win a game. In fact, four — the Hurricanes, Avalanche, Canadiens and Devils — had five goalies each nab wins.

Continued; ouch. That’s all I’ve got to say about this one.

Morning Khan: on Smith’s presence in the Red Wings’ lineup

MLive’s Ansar Khan filed a morning notebook discussing the play of Givani Smith, Thomas Greiss’s first win and the Wings’ work to “clog up” the neutral zone.

Regarding Smith, nobody’s suggesting that he’s the second coming of Darren McCarty, but the Gordie Howe Hat Trick-holder in yesterday’s game vs. Florida displayed both the offense and toughness he can bring to the Wings’ “middle six” forwards:

Smith has been shuffled from the taxi squad to the Grand Rapids Griffins and back to the Red Wings over the past few weeks as the NHL club juggled its lineup due to COVID issues, injuries and ineffectiveness.

He has appeared in only five of 13 games, but Smith is tied for sixth on the team with four points. He has earned a regular spot in the lineup, at least for an extended time.

“Tonight was a great example of what he brings to the team, what he’s been bringing every night he’s been in the lineup,” Robby Fabbri said. “He’s got a great mentality and mindset around the rink, coming in when he’s needed and doing his job. You saw tonight he did a little bit of everything – hits, a fight, a goal, and an assist. That’s what we need out of him every time he’s in the lineup.”

Smith brings several elements the Red Wings (3-8-2) need – size, toughness, strong forechecking and a net presence.

“He’s a big, big body and he’s got better skill than people might understand,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “He can make a play with the puck. He’s still got to get better on the wall breaking pucks out, but I think he’s done a good job of using his skill and getting to the net front and ultimately, he’s a big man around the net and he’s just hard to contain.”

Continued (paywall); don’t be surprised if Smith is continually moved up and down from the taxi squad as a “paper move” during off days over the next couple of weeks. It won’t affect his status as playing on a regular basis.

Also: Alex Wood, a.k.a. AWood40 on YouTube, happened to post an extended highlight clip from yesterday’s game:

Red Wings-Panthers Game 3 wrap-up: No Mantha, no problem? Smith’s ‘Gordie Howe hat trick,’ Greiss’ goaltending power Wings to big win

The Detroit Red Wings’ first road win of the season, a 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Sunday, was almost as shocking as Anthony Mantha’s healthy scratch. The Red Wings snapped an 8-game losing streak, a 6-game winless streak, and ended the 6-0-and-2 Panthers’ 8-game unbeaten streak. According to Ken Daniels, Sunday’s win was the first Red Wings win in the state of Florida in 20 tries, which isn’t necessarily surprising given how much the Wings struggle against the Panthers and Lightning.

More surprisingly, the Wings did all of the above while playing without the services of the injured Tyler Bertuzzi, the healthy Anthony Mantha, and, for the majority of the game, Luke Glendening, who absorbed a nasty hit to the chin from Radko Gudas halfway through the first period.

The near-shocking nature of the Wings’ ability to knock off the NHL’s last unbeaten team was no less satisfying due to its complications. The Wings will doubtlessly face a tougher Panthers team come Tuesday, when the teams rematch in Sunrise, but the Wings–and their fans–desperately needed some good things to happen, from the previously-winless Thomas Greiss to Givani “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” Smith, and everyone in between, and Sunday’s game was finally an example of the “repeatable” hockey that the Wings insisted could produce a winning game for them.

Our friends from the Sunshine State were not thrilled with themselves after Sunday’s loss, as Florida Hockey Now’s George Richards noted

Continue reading Red Wings-Panthers Game 3 wrap-up: No Mantha, no problem? Smith’s ‘Gordie Howe hat trick,’ Greiss’ goaltending power Wings to big win

FSD Red Wings-Panthers Game 3 post-game: Greiss, Fabbri, Smith, Blashill

The Detroit Red Wings delivered a mildly surprising 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Sunday, and after the game, Fox Sports Detroit posted several post-game videos, including interviews with Thomas Greiss, Robby Fabbri, Givani Smith and coach Jeff Blashill:

Here are Sportsnet’s highlights, too:

Beat writers clarify Mantha’s status, and it’s weird: Healthy scratch?

#RedWings Blashill said Mantha was a healthy scratch.— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) February 7, 2021

Wouldn’t comment further.— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) February 7, 2021

Mantha was a healthy scratch today— Max Bultman (@m_bultman) February 7, 2021

Mantha a healthy scratch #RedWings— Ted Kulfan (@tkulfan) February 7, 2021

Jeff Blashill says Anthony Mantha was not an injury issue. Was sent a message by being made a healthy scratch.— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) February 7, 2021

I’m baffled. Mantha was fine against Tampa Bay, and the Wings could have used him.

Update: Here’s the full quote from MLive’s Khan:

“I just made a decision to go with the group I went with and any conversations I have with Anthony are private, between Anthony and I, and I’m not really going to comment further on it,” Blashill said.

Red Wings-Panthers series 2, game 1 quick take: Well that was fun (for once!)

The Detroit Red Wings attempted to snap their 6-game losing streak and 0-6-and-2 overall losing streak opposite a team which they have trouble beating in the Florida Panthers this afternoon.

Sunday’s game kicked off the second 2-game series between the teams, and the Red Wings…won…in stirring fashion?

According to Ken Daniels, the Red Wings earned their first win in 20 tries in the State of Florida via a 4-1 victory over the Panthers, a win in which Givani Smith got a Gordie Howe Hat Trick, Troy Stecher had 2 assists, Thomas Greiss earned his first win as a Wing with 36 stops, and Detroit kicked the Panthers off their winless-to-start-the-season streak with a complete game–minus Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi, and, for most of the game, Luke Glendening.

Continue reading Red Wings-Panthers series 2, game 1 quick take: Well that was fun (for once!)

Prospect round-up: Sektov scores a game-tying marker; Providence vs. Merrimack at 2 PM

Of prospect-related note today:

In Europe, in the ICE Hockey League, Jesper Eliasson served as the back-up in the Red Bulls Salzburg’s 4-3 win over the Graz99ers;

Malte Setkov scored a late-game game-tying goal, finishing even with 4 shots in 25:35 played as AIK Stockholm lost 3-2 in OT to Vasteras IK. Gustav Berglund finished at -1 with 1 shot in 15:15 played for Vasteras;

And, at 2 PM EST today, in NCAA Hockey, Jack Adams and the Providence College Friars will battle Patrick Holway and the Merrimack College Warriors.

Update: Patrick Holway finished at -1 with 3 shots in the Merrimack College Warriors’ 3-2 win over Providence. Jack Adams finished at +1 for Providence.