Recap: Griffins drop Halloween game vs. Chicago

The Grand Rapids Griffins are not off to the best start. They dropped a 6-3 decision to the Chicago Wolves on Sunday night at Van Andel Arena, and Grand Rapids now sits at 2-4-and-1, good for 5th in the 7-team Central Division.

To the positive, Grand Rapids received two goals from Riley Barber on Sunday, and another goal from Jonatan Berggren, as well as a pair of assists from Taro Hirose, who has posted an assist-per-game over the course of Grand Rapids’ seven games…

But Victor Brattstrom’s 0-2-and-1 with an ugly 4.59 goals-against average, and the Griffins have given up 22 goals and scored only 18 thus far.

They also surrendered a hat trick on Sunday, with Andrew Poturalski scoring a “tour de chapeau” on Sunday, as the Griffins’ game recap notes:

Continue reading Recap: Griffins drop Halloween game vs. Chicago

Kulfan’s notebook II: Mo learning for Mo Seider

The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan filed a second notebook article this evening. He discusses the Red Wings’ penchant for giving up late/early goals against Toronto last night, Jordan Oesterle’s play in his Red Wings debut, and the “teachable moments” that Moritz Seider is still having as a rookie:

A snippet in Saturday’s 5-4 loss to the Maple Leafs, on a Wings’ power play, showed the trials and tribulations of being a young NHL defenseman.

Early on the power play, Seider attempted a no-look pass that Toronto’s Pierre Engvall intercepted for a breakaway that goaltender Thomas Greiss stopped. But moments later, Seider set up Filip Zadina for a goal, tying the game.

The entire sequence was a teachable moment for the coaching staff, showing the good and bad for Seider, and how he can get better.

“He’s a real good talent, there’s no doubt,” Blashill said. “I don’t want him to be a good talent, I want him to be a great player. You can’t give up a breakaway on a power play that is unforced like that, he knows what. He did a lot of other good things and that’s what he does and how we want him to minimize the unforced errors.

“You’re always going to make mistakes, that’s the reality of hockey. But you want to minimize those unforced errors. I have a lot of confidence in Moritz Seider. He has to get better at things, too, so he’s getting minutes because we think he puts us in position to win hockey games.”


Roughly translated: Joe Veleno speaks with TVA Sports regarding his trip to Toronto with Steve Yzerman

Red Wings prospect Joe Veleno spoke with TVA Sports’ Anthony Martineau regarding his trip with Steve Yzerman to Toronto yesterday afternoon. What follows is roughly translated from French:

“Tim Horton’s, a burger, and…Four hours with Steve Yzerman!”

You have the opportunity to spend four hours in the car with Steve Yzerman. You are just you and him.

What are you talking about, and how do you behave?

Often, this kind of scenario is imagined by a gang of “pals,” who, beer in hand and gathered around a fire, have fun plunging into a fictional universe that they know is impossible.

Except that for Joe Veleno, a young Quebec-born hopeful for the Detroit Red Wings, the fictional universe turned into a concrete event on Saturday: He did indeed find himself in the passenger seat of Steve Yzerman’s car, his general manager. yes, the same Steve Yzerman who had 1,755 points in 1,514 NHL games. And yes, the “tete-a-tete” lasted four hours.

Continue reading Roughly translated: Joe Veleno speaks with TVA Sports regarding his trip to Toronto with Steve Yzerman

Kulfan’s notebook: on Joe Veleno’s ‘drive’

MLive’s Ansar Khan and the Free Press’s Helene St. James spotlighted Joe Veleno’s performance over the course of the Red Wings’ 5-4 loss to Toronto last night. This afternoon, the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan has filed a notebook article discussing Veleno’s trip to Toronto (via a ride from Steve Yzerman), and his performance during the game:

With a third-period goal and assist, Veleno sparked a Red Wings comeback attempt in a 5-4 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Veleno played five games at the end of last season with the Wings, scoring one goal. But Saturday’s effort is the best Veleno looked in an NHL regular-season game.

“He was good in the third. It took a little bit to get his feet underneath him, which is understandable considering he had a day of travel, but he played well,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “He has strength on the puck, a good skill set, so we thought he could come in and give us our best chance to fill in for the guys that were missing. Certainly the way he played in the third gives a coach confidence to put him out there. That’s a good step.”

Veleno was recalled with Tyler Bertuzzi unavailable (unvaccinated, can’t enter Canada), and Adam Erne day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. If the Wings keep Veleno after they return from Canada, they must make another personnel move. That may not occur just yet. But Veleno is inching closer to a regular NHL lineup spot.

“That was my mentality (Saturday), I wanted to work hard and show what I could bring at this level, and how I can play,” Veleno said. “But at the same time I wanted to play with confidence and have some fun and I tried my best to do those things and be successful. It went fairly well. It would have been nice to have a ‘W,’ but it was a good hockey game to be a part of.”

Continued; Veleno may not make the Wings’ roster on a full-time basis just yet, but there’s no doubt that he’s going to be a player who provides a positive impact when he does. The fact that Jonatan Berggren and Chase Pearson had big games in Grand Rapids last night reminded us all that there are reinforcements coming.

Sunday mishmash: Post-Wings-Leafs tidbits and Halloweenies

Of Red Wings-related note the day after Detroit’s 5-4 loss to Toronto:

  1. This Tweet from the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons, via Kukla’s Korner, is telling:

Surprised and pleased to see the speed, talent and tenacity on the Red Wings. This has the makings of a very good hockey team. It will take time. NHL is always better when Hockeytown has a competitive team.— steve simmons (@simmonssteve) October 31, 2021

2. At the other end of the spectrum, the Maple Leaf navel-gazing is in full effect with this non-geoblocked video headlining TSN right now:

3. In the Halloween vein, the Red Wings posted a clip of players discussing their favorite Halloween costumes…

Happy Halloween, #Hockeytown! 👻

What’s your favorite costume?— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) October 31, 2021

4. And Detroit Hockey Now’s Bob Duff penned a subscriber-only article discussing some of the most famous goalie masks in team history:

Red Wings Engine: Dominik Hasek

A two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Red Wings, when Hasek returned for his third tour of duty with Detroit in 2006, he added artwork to his helmet and cage-style mask.

The Dominator’s mask displayed an engine block coming off a winged wheel, flaming exhaust shooting out the tail pipes.

I’m an old helmet-cage kind of guy, so I’m a fan of these two “masks”:

DETROIT – OCTOBER 26: Detail view of the goalie mask of Dominik Hasek #39 of the Detroit Red Wings at his locker before the game against the San Jose Sharks on October 26, 2007 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Prospect round-up, Europe: Eliasson has a rough day in the Allsvenskan

Of prospect-related note in Europe this afternoon:

In the Swedish Allsvenskan, Jesper Eliasson stopped 24 of 29 shots in Almtuna IS’s 5-1 loss to Mora IK. Neither Albin Grewe or Gustav Berglund played for Mora;

And in the Swedish J20 league, Liam Dower Nilsson did not play in Frolunda HC’s 3-2 loss to Malmo as LDN is up with the men’s team right now.

Via KK: As Brooks says, it’s time that the NHLPA gave a damn about its members’ physical and mental health

Last night on Hockey Night in Canada, Ron MacLean had a very lengthy conversation with The Athletic’s Katie Strang, former Wing Sheldon Kennedy and SafeSport’s Allison Forsyth to discuss the Kyle Beach incident.

It’s an incredibly difficult clip to watch, but the proliferation of sexual assault in sports and life–and, as Strang says, the systemic failures of the NHL, NHLPA and the Chicago Blackhawks to protect a player from a sexual predator–are inexcusable.

Last night, Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman also reported that the NHLPA’s Executive Board is going to meet on Monday via phone, and there is some speculation that Donald Fehr’s job as the PA’s executive director is at stake.

Early this morning, Paul Kukla of Kukla’s Korner posted a very good article from the New York Post’s Larry Brooks, a long-time supporter of the NHLPA, who suggests that it’s the players’ job now to address the failures that led to Beach’s abuse at the hands of Brad Aldrich. Brooks rightly suggests that the NHLPA has become a union that focuses on trying to make sure its players don’t get suspended for violent hits, instead of working to protect the physical and mental health of its constituent members, and that’s got to change:

Long before this report was issued, Fehr and the PA have been criticized repeatedly on social media by Daniel Carcillo and Robin Lehner for the union’s failure to protect the physical and mental health of NHL players. The union reflexively defends perpetrators of on-ice violence at the expense of its victims. So it is not clear at all that the PA perceives its singular priority as protecting the players at all costs.

Each generation of NHL players has become less and less engaged with the Players’ Association since the upheaval generated by the 2004-05 canceled season and introduction of the hard cap. Players, of their own choosing, know little of management-labor issues. The constitution has been rewritten under Fehr’s direction to deconstruct player power-centers within the union. The Executive Board consists of the 32 team player-reps and Fehr, a non-voting member.

A conference call meeting of the Executive Board has been called for Monday. If the subject is Fehr’s conduct, the board can go into executive session that would exclude him from the meeting. Fehr, conducting his annual fall tour, met with the Oilers on Friday.

The Blackhawks failed Beach. Bowman failed Beach. Quenneville failed Beach. His teammates failed Beach. The NHLPA failed Beach.

Now though, the players have the power. The rank and file have the chance to make their voices heard after Beach used his own so eloquently while mixed with tears.

The players now have the opportunity to chart their course and transform their union into one whose priority is to preserve and protect the membership’s mental and physical well-being. We are all watching.

Just as we live in a world where it’s no longer a player’s fault if he gets lit up by a dangerous, head-hunting hit by an opponent, it’s no longer a world where it’s a player’s fault if his physical or mental health is placed in peril by an off-ice issue, and I agree with Brooks that the NHLPA has to transform itself going forward.

We keep on learning about more and more players who, like the general public, feel all too alone battling mental and physical health issues, battling addiction issues, financial problems, and all the other issues that normal human beings deal with, and the PA has done a shitty job of supporting its members through tough life issues.

In a better world, a union helps you when the shit hits the fan, and in a better world, a union at the very least ensures that predators like Brad Aldrich never get past a mandatory background check.

What happened to Kyle Beach is horrific, and the fact that the NHL failed its players is inexcusable–as is the fact that the players’ union let down one of their own.

There is no reason that players who are entitled to a 50-50 split of revenues in a multi-billion-dollar business should have a union that does anything less than protect them from sexual abuse, at the very, very, very least.

Prospect news: Simon Edvinsson, responsible for getting hit in the head?

As noted in yesterday’s prospect round-up, Red Wings prospect Simon Edvinsson was shaken up by a hit from Farjestads BK’s Pontus Widerstrom yesterday, and Widerstrom got a 5-minute match penalty for the hit.

According to Expressen’s Mikaela Lindhal, Widerstrom’s hit was reviewed by the SHL and determined to be punished enough by the 5-minute major. Henrik Lehman, a.k.a. Rakapuckar, posted an extremely sarcastic response to the decision, suggesting that “hockey needs players like Pontus Widerstrom, and it’s honestly kind of hilarious to read his “my Sunday was saved by the Disciplinary Committee’s decision” response.

Long story long, it was a dirty hit, dirty enough that Frolunda HC’s coach, Roger Ronnberg, got into a shouting match with Farjestad’s coach, Johan Pennerborn, when the two did a press conference together after yesterday’s 4-1 Frolunda win.

Most importantly, as IceHockeyGifs reported, Edvinsson is okay, though he was shaken up by what I would argue is a head-hunting hit (even if it was an ill-timed one):

We live in a different hockey world than the one where it was the responsibility of a player to keep his head up when going for the puck, and, again, Widerstrom may not have intended to hit Edvinsson so high (Edvinsson is 6’5″ and Widerstrom is 6’3″)…

But you’re not supposed to target another guy’s shoulder/head in a hit any more, and if you hit someone in the head as the principal point of contact, you should be penalized at the very least, kicked out of the game most of the time, and, in this instance, probably suspended.

As Lehman says, in his, “Thank you, Disciplinary Committee” article, the concept that a “north-south hit” still means that the player getting hit is the one responsible for getting hit in the damn head is outdated at best and dangerous to the health of skilled players who are just trying to do their damn jobs most of the time.

I can’t adequately translate the level of sarcasm in Lehman’s post, but it really is classic in its level of smarm toward the SHL’s disciplinary committee for insisting that it was Edvinsson’s fault for getting hit in the head.

Khan, HSJ in the morning: Veleno joins Wings’ youngsters starring over course of first month of the season

The Detroit Red Wings lost a 5-4 decision to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night, but Joe Veleno’s NHL debut was a bright spot as the youngster scored his first NHL goal and added an assist in the plucky Wings’ effort.

MLive’s Ansar Khan took note of the circumstances of Veleno’s trip to Toronto…

After being recalled from the Grand Rapids Griffins late Friday night, Veleno got a lift to the game in Toronto from general manager Steve Yzerman.

“I had to wake up early in GR, head to LCA and get tested (for COVID-19) and then Steve was on his way (to Toronto),” Veleno said. “It just made sense to drive with him rather than going to the airport and taking a commercial flight and having to do the cross-border stuff.”

Following the four-hour drive with the boss, Veleno scored a goal and assisted on another in his team’s 5-4 loss to the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena.

“I wanted to work hard and show what I can bring at this level and how I can play, but at the same time I wanted to play with confidence and have some fun,” Veleno said. “I tried my best to do those things to be successful and I thought it went fairly well. It would have been nice to have a ‘W,’ but it was a good hockey game to be a part of.”

And the Free Press’s Helene St. James took note of the Red Wings youngsters’ performances thus far:

Continue reading Khan, HSJ in the morning: Veleno joins Wings’ youngsters starring over course of first month of the season