Top Detroit Red Wings prospect Filip Zadina is heating up

Embed from Getty Images Last week a t.v. announcer reported Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman is considering trading Filip Zadina. I do not feel there is any traction to that story. Meanwhile, Filip Zadina’s game is heating up for the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Filip Zadina has scored in 3 games in a row for the Griffins. He has 5 goals in his last 7 games. Giving him 6 goals, and 9 points in just 15 games played this season.

Zadina was given a clear shot to make the Detroit Red Wings roster out of training camp. But Zadina did not. He did not score, he wasn’t noticeable  on the ice, also Zadina seemed to be lacking confidence.

There is little question Zadina possesses an NHL quality shot, and he has been working hard at both ends of the ice. The thought with the Red Wings fron office was it would be nice to see Zadina take a big step forward in his development in Grand Rapids this season.

Last season Filip Zadina had 16 goals and 35 points in 59 games for the Griffins and one goal and two assists in a nine game call-up with the Red Wings late in the season.

At just 20 years old,  the Red Wings are going to be patient and do what is best for Zadina’s development. During the Prospect Tournament as well as Red Wings training camp Filip Zadina did not score. For a young player looking to make a good impression it simply did not happen.

Now with his scoring slump behind him Zadina is showing exactly why he is Detroit’s top prospect. The goals are coming in bunches, after all that was on his scouting report. Zadina is one of those rare young talents, who when he get’s it all going can carry a team. That is what is happening in Grand Rapids.

What has been equally impressive is his work away from the puck. Last season that was a clear weakness. Zadina has worked hard to clean that up. He is more attentive in the defensive end as well.

In a rebuilding season, Filip Zadina is giving Detroit Red Wings front office and fans a look at the future. One that is not too far away.

George Lucas was asked to fix “Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker”

OEmbed from Getty Images *This comes from very good sources,* Early screen tests for “Star Wars the Rise of Skywalker” were disastrous. So disastrous in fact that Lucasfilm brought back the one person who could right the ship. Star Wars creator, George Lucas.

With Disney CEO Bob Iger, in attendance director J.J. Abrams tested the final story in the Skywalker saga. The audience was made up of hard-core Star Wars fans, casual Star Wars fans as well as general movie fans who were simply only aware of Star Wars.

The audience was asked to rank/grade the film. The J.J. Abrams/ Kathleen Kennedy ‘Rise of Skywalker” cut had the lowest score 29. The audience sighted a “very lackluster” third act that hurt the film. In other words a flop.

It is said the biggest issue with that version was Rey destroyed Emperor Palpatine in “OP fashion,” causing the film viewers to bust out into laughter. That is said to have enraged Iger, who demanded reshoots.

Iger went to Abrams and specifically told him him to bring Anakin and Luke Skywalker ‘in the flesh.” Following the modifications Iger asked for the film was re-tested. The results were better not great. The audience ranked/graded Iger’s “Rise of Skywalker” 65. In other words good not great, which would have irritated and already on edge fan base.

It was right after the screening Iger made the call to bring in the one person who’s vision is being presented, George Lucas himself! This is where it get’s interesting. Lucas watched both versions. He then went to the editing room. He used both Abrams and Iger’s films and crafted them together.

George Lucas also asked for “certain reshoots.” Abrams agreed. “The Rise of Skywalker” was then tested for a third time to the same audience demographic. This time the J.J. Abrams/ Kathleen Kennedy/ Bob Iger/ George Lucas Star Wars film scored and 88.

In movies anything over 82 is considered a hit movie. There is a bit of irony in all of this. George Lucas who created one of the most successful movie franchises of all-time. Who directed  some of the films, was brought in to fix the last one. Well in terms of the Skywalker portion of Star Wars anyways.

As the Michigan State Spartans football team contiunes to decline, Mark Dantonio must stay

Embed from Getty Images As the Michigan State Spartans football team suffered an epic fourth quarter meltdown at home to Illinois, head coach Mark Dantonio  needs to stay at Michigan State. In my opinion, it would be a mistake to leave a program, his program like this. A shell of what it once was.

Usually when a football coach takes over a college program it is because it is at or near the bottom of the conference it is part of. There is the rare times that a head coach simply moves on.

For the Michigan State football program and for it’s head coach, this is how Dantonio found the program when he arrived in East Lansing, bumbling near the bottom of the Big Ten. Dantonio surely would not walk away as proud a man as he is. He and his program deserve better.

It is not the fact the Spartans have lost three games in a row. Teams have losing streaks, even Ohio State will soon see it’s run come to and end. But two blowouts in a row then followed by a home loss for the ages has left the Spartans football team in disarray.

The Spartans must now try to rally and head to Ann Arbor to face not only there must hated and heated rival, but a Michigan Wolverines football team that since eliminating turnovers have played some very good football.

Walking off the field after yesterday’s loss the Spartans football players looked in despair. Had they won, there could have been some hope. Albeit slim, with Maryland and Rutgers as the last two football games, those are no longer guaranteed, slam dunk wins. Not for this Michigan State team anyways.

If the Spartans should win two more games they could get an invite to the Quicken Loans Bowl, December 26, at Ford Field in Detroit Michigan. This is where Dantonio’s football program is right now.

When asked after the game what would he tell the students, the alums many who are unhappy with the direction of Spartans football and what the future will look like, Mark Dantonio replied “Next question.”

One problem, the “next question” is Saturday against the Michigan Wolverines.

Detroit Tigers great Lou Whitaker has another crack at the Hall of Fame

Embed from Getty Images Detroit Tigers greats  Alan Trammell and Jack Morris were elected to the MLB Hall of Fame in 2017, Lou Whitaker was always expected to be the next former Tigers great for consideration.  Whitaker’s wait has been long drawn out and well overdue.

The case for Lou Whitaker to be enshrined with fellow Baseball greats is a strong one:

Baseball historian and author Bill James, who helped bring in the era of modern baseball statistics, ranked Lou  Whitaker in last year’s Bill James Handbook as the second best player not in the Hall of Fame based on Win Shares and Wins Above Replacement, trailing only MLB star Bill Dahlen. In terms of win shares, Whitaker is better than 139 players already in the Hall. James also ranked Whitaker as the 13th best second baseman of all time.

Lou Whitaker was one of the most dynamic offensive second basemen  of all time. With a wRC+ of 118 ranks 21st all time among second basemen with at least 5,000 career plate appearances, and he ranks in the top 12 at his position in home runs and runs scored.

Whitaker played second base for his entire 19 year Major League career 2,308 games to be exact. Ranking him fourth all time behind Hall of Famers Eddie Collins, Joe Morgan and Roberto Alomar. Whitaker’s 75.1 career WAR ranked fifth all time among players who spent at least 75% of their career at second base, ahead of Hall of Famers Ryne Sandberg 68.0, Alomar 67.1, Nellie Fox 49.0 and many more.

Lou Whitaker the 1978 rookie-of-the-year in MLB, was also a All-Star for five consecutive years from 1983-1987, his age 26 through age 30 seasons. He won three Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers in that stretch and was a Top 10 finisher in AL MVP Award voting in 1983. The Tigers won two AL East titles and a World Series crown during that time.

The talk with the Hall of Fame players when Trammell and Morris were elected was that they are going to right the wrong and put Sweet Lou in the Hall. It has been reported, players pointed directly at Whitaker (as he spoke at the enshrinement ceremony about Alan Trammell) and declared “you’re next.”

Baseball fans, not just Detroit Tigers fans need to hope the players were both serious and keep the words they spoke.

Iconic Star Wars actor Anthony Daniels teases a possible final scene with C-3PO

Embed from Getty Images Say it is not true! Could the very first character to be scene in the very first Star Wars movie teases the iconic C-3PO could be headed to an emotional farewell. Anthony Daniels has played the character ever since 1977, recently wrote a boo “I am C-3PO”

*There is potential spoilers ahead so proceed with caution.*- In a recent interview Anthony Daniels had this to say about “The Rise of Skywalker,”  “It was difficult not to tear up a bit. Partly because J.J. Abrams (director) said some really nice things and all the crew were listening and watching. I have to admit it was an emotional moment, but I knew it was coming. It wasn’t even a scene in which I said anything. For once, Threepio was in a scene without butting in. But I felt it’s such a terrific movie that I thought it was okay to say goodbye. I feel satisfied with this one. I have something to be proud of that, you know, as I say goodbye.”

It is no secret C-3PO has had a huge role of the Star Wars history. With the December release coming like a freight train, The final film in the Skywalker saga promises to be a bit of an emotional roller coaster for those of use who have been able to see every Star Wars film in their original runs in theaters.

For an actor who generally has never praised a Star Wars film he has been in Daniels offered this about the upcoming film, saying it had  “a terrific script that seemed heading for a very satisfying conclusion.”

Daniels went on, “I tried hard to concentrate as finally, the cameras moved to my closeup,” Daniels wrote in I Am C-3PO. “For Threepio, this was going to be a telling moment in his existence. Because, suddenly, I had uttered his last line in a Star Wars film.” He hinted this sequence, with C-3PO’s final line, is “the closing moments of the film itself,” As it should end with the final shot of C-3PO who has   spanned more than 40 years of cinematic history. Overall, Anthony Daniels seems happy with how Star Wars is ending.

Detroit Red Wings prospect report

Embed from Getty Images One day after I offered reasons why Steve Yzerman should dismiss Jeff Blashill as head coach,

Steve Yzerman’s next move for the Detroit Red Wings may be replacing Jeff Blashill

today, we look at the next wave of prospects in which the Detroit rebuild hinges on.

The struggling Detroit Red Wings are a bit of a mess. That said,  it is very encouraging that the best players are the ones the Red Wings  franchise drafted and developed. Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Hronek all have important roles and are playing heavy minutes.

The  reports on several of the organizations top prospects are very encouraging for a team that still needs a good deal of growth from within, so let us take a closer look.

Antti  Tuomisto, Tuomisto is a big 6 foot 4, a right-shot defender who plays well on both ends of the ice. He leads all defensemen in Finland’s Jr. A SM-liiga with  22 points eight goals, 14 assists in 21 games for Assat U20. Antti is said to be playing 25 minutes a night, all special teams, every situation. He’s doing  really well.

Albin Grewe, Grewe a 6-foot,  scrapper who patterns his game after Boston well known pest Brad Marchand. Every shift he goes out there on the ice and he plays 100%. He goes to hard areas, he takes the puck to hard areas, he’s not afraid to get physically involved.

Moritz  Seider, Seider is playing in all situations, playing big minutes. He likes to jump up in the play, but he has good awareness. Seider has grit to his game. He  also likes to go into battles. He gets back for pucks quickly. He’s very mobile.

Filip Zadina, The Red Wings are happy with Zadina’s game, happy with his solid progression. He’s playing a much better 200 foot game. He’s defensively more responsible. He’s working hard away from the puck. He is learning how to play pro hockey. His growth has been a welcome sight.

Joe Veleno, Veleno is going through growing pains as he adjusts to pro hockey. The AHL  is not an easy league and Veleno is finding that out first hand. He does not have as much time with the puck. But he is learning what it is going to take to create chances. He has made some good plays as of late.

The days are dark at Little Caesar’s Arena these days. The good news is top Detroit Red Wings prospects are developing giving rays of light along the way.

Steve Yzerman’s next move for the Detroit Red Wings may be replacing Jeff Blashill

Embed from Getty Images While the 2019-20 NHL season is only a moth old. While the Detroit Red Wings are are in a rebuild. Changes both need to becoming and have already started. Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman has said patience is needed. One problem, while the Red Wings are void of a ton of talent, the team has regressed from last season. A change at the top is needed. Jeff Blashill needs to be replaced as head coach.

The thought among Detroit Red Wings fans is that Jeff Blashill would be gone after this season. The Red Wings have been blown out in some losses. The team was expected to play hard, continue to grind and be in every game. That has not happened. The Red Wings clearly lack confidence, never a good thing with young player.

The Detroit Red Wings are on their way to a 48 point season. Let that sink in. That would be the worst point total since the 1985-86 season for the Red Wings. Weather the team tanks or does not tank 48 points should not be tolerated.

I will be the first to say I am for the tank. Next summer’s NHL draft is the deepest most talented draft in a long time. But in a rebuild, point totals need to go up every season, not down.

The team genuinely seems disengaged on the ice. They look flat and as if they do not care. That is on the head coach. Jeff Blashill has been the Detroit Head coach since Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi were all rookies. The team is getting worse.

Here is one example, the Ottawa Senators are one of the NHL bottom feeders. The Red Wings lost at home to the Sens 5-2. The Red Wings have a more talented roster. That should never happen. There is zero focus and zero desire to win right now. All on Blashill.

While a coaching change alone does not cure all ills, it is a starting point. Steve Yzerman could (and most likely will) send a clear message to his team. This will not be tolerated.

The longer Blashill is allowed to stay as head coach things could get worse. The Time for change is now!

Juwan Howard and the Michigan Wolverines basketball team debut an aggressive offense

Embed from Getty Images The much talked about, eagerly anticipated Juwan Howard-led Michigan basketball team  took the court last night and showed off a brand new offense. Michigan wasted no time is cranking-up a much faster pace, getting out on transition while amassing quick shots.

While the Michigan Wolverines, have a much different feel on the court heading into this season, the did hit some snags. Juwan Howard’s team struggled from 3-point range and went through a prolonged offensive drought.

Much like the Michigan Wolverines football team, there is going to be an adjustment period. That is the nature of the beast when a new coach or coach’s are brought in. Sophomore forward Brandon Johns Jr. said ” We’re still getting used to the offense a little bit. Sometimes we go too fast for our own good, but that is something we really want as part of our game.”

Juwan Howard, saw room for improvement as well, “offensively we did not do a good job sharing the basketball. there were 19 possessions (in the first half) where it was one pass-shot. That is not how we play. We need more ball movement by making extra passes.”

Juwan Howard, played in the same offense he is putting in place with the current Wolverines. During his Fab 5 day, the team would push at lightning pace the pace of the game. Forcing defense’s into bad match ups.

Howard has charged senior point guard Zavier Simpson as the focal guy to push his offense up the court. In last nights exhibition against Saginaw Valley State, Simpson showed why his head coach has tabbed him.

His transition passes were spot on, also he hit players on the pick-and roll with ease. One issue that really stood out, when Zavier Simpson was not in the game, the offense looked sluggish.

Again the Michigan football team finally found it’s footing eight games into the season with new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis calling the shots. There is going to be some early season bumps while the Wolverines basketball team is learning Juwan Howard’s new offensive system.

Howard has landed three 5-star recruits since taking over the basketball program for John Beilein. While it will be rough in the beginning, there is little question Juwan Howard is up to the task.

Filip Hroneck is becoming a cornerstone of the Detroit Red Wings rebuild

Embed from Getty Images Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi are the names that grab the headlines in Detroit. While Detroit Red Wings top prospects Filip Zadina and Joe Veleno as well as Moritz Seider grab more headlines. Lost in the shuffle is defensemen Filip Hronek.

Filip Hronek is cementing himself as a major part of the Detroit rebuild. A deeper look show us, Hronek leads the Red Wings defense in average ice time or ATOI,  averaging 23 minutes per game. Hroneck currently ranks 33rd among all defensemen in the NHL. Placing him in the company of players like Erik Karlsson, Drew Doughty, and Mark Giordano all elite defensive players.

Filip Hronek seems to have the trust of Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill. Hroneck is not even 22 years old and already plays on Detroit’s top power-play unit. It gets better for the budding young defensive star.

Hroneck, has 3 goals and 4 assists for 7 points in 13 games this season. This comes following a strong finish to the 2018-19 NHL season. The last 36 NHL games, Hronek has scored 5 goals and 15 assists with 20 points. Over a full season would be around 46 points, which would have been in the top 20 of all NHL defensemen last year.

Of the young NHL defensive players, Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes may have a tad-bit more talent. Filip Hronek is silently solid. So what is Hronek’s ceiling in Detroit, with the Red Wings? He projects as top line defensive player. It is safe to say Hroneck will not fully hit his ceiling for a few more seasons.

Filip Hroneck is key piece of the franchise and will be going forward. One thing for Detroit Red Wings fans to watch is, just how good Hroneck is at making something out of nothing offensively, given how often he enters the ice in his own end.

Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Mike Sainristil coming into his own

Embed from Getty Images Freshmen wide receiver Mike Sainristil was poised to play a big role in the Wolverines offense after spring practice ended for the Michigan football team. Back in  April, Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh named Sainristil a star and his teammates and coaching staff raved about him.

When the Wolverines entered fall practice Mike  Sainristil did not hold onto the starting position. That went new starting slot receiver, Ronnie Bell. Bell was injured Saturday night, enter Sainristil.

All Mike Sainristil did was  lead the Wolverines with three catches for 73 yards and a score, displaying the potential that had everyone praising him in the spring, against  Notre Dame.

Sainristil, plays with a high motor. He also blocks well, and is always hustling around. Harbaugh said  last four weeks especially in practice, that he is seeing a lot of growth from Mike.

Mike Sainristil,  always been really good route-running, but he went through a short period there he wasn’t catching the ball great. But now his confidence is back and surging.

The Wolverines offense is is now armed with Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins, Ronnie Bell and Sainristil making it much more difficult for defenses to double one of them.

At 5 foot 10 inches and 183 pounds, Sainristil is short but makes up for that with his speed and athleticism which adds a new wrinkle to Michigan’s new offense.

Mike Sainristil, a three-star athlete coming out of high school who played cornerback and wide receiver, has the ability to make a big impact from here on out. Given his break-away speed, he showed Saturday night against a very good Noter Dame secondary he can shred right through it.

The Michigan Wolverines seem to have found their groove on offense and defense. They will be a tough match up for teams coming down the stretch. That includes Ohio State.