With Ewan McGregor set to return as Obi-Wan Kenobi, will Star Wars see Ray Park return as Maul?

Embed from Getty Images Last week the news broke and Star Wars fans world-wide rejoiced. Ewan McGregor will be returning to the Star Wars universe as Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. Fans quickly turned their attention to another Star Wars actor, Ray Park who portrayed Darth Maul in ‘The Phantom Menace” and again in “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”

Ray Park has advocated for the return of Maul after Solo. Park has been vocal on social media. Posting videos and photos with the hashtag tied to Maul. It could be he was using hashtags so Star Wars fans could have an easier time finding his comments.

Even without his lobbying, a return of Maul made sense. Fans of Star Wars know Maul started the crime syndicate Crimson Dawn. There was not enough time in Solo to bring the whole story into view. But in an Obi-Wan streaming series it could be done.

Also, in Star Wars Rebels, Maul and Kenobi had their final battle together. The show saw Maul rise out of the sands of Tatoonie, to face his most hated rival, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

After Kenobi sliced him in half during “The Phantom Menace” Maul survived and reconstructed himself as half cyborg. The loss to Kenobi drove Maul insane until his brother, Savage Opress was able to help him regain his focus using pure hatred for Kenobi.

During his healing time Maul left the Sith order and Darth Sidious. He became just Maul. He set up Crimson Dawn. His plan was to destroy the Sith and become sole ruler.

Needless to say, Maul in the Obi-Wan Kenobi could work very well. It would be just what Star Wars fans want to see. Will it happen? We will find out Friday when Disney at D23 is set to announce future projects, including the Kenobi show.

Detroit Red Wings: The importance of Tyler Bertuzzi

Embed from Getty Images As the Detroit Red Wings continue to sort out players who will be on the roster when the rebuild reaches it’s end, one player that is sure to be there is Tyler Bertuzzi. Last season Bertuzzi (or Bert as he is known to teammates, coach’s and fans) became the first Detroit Red Wing player ever to record four consecutive three-point games.

Tyler Bertuzzi isn’t flashy. He is not the fastest, or strongest, or quickest or flashiest player on the ice. That is perfectly fine with the Detroit Red Wings organization. What Bertuzzi is, is a hockey player, who does the hard work and gets results.

2018-19 stats: 73 games, 21 goals, 26 assists, 47 points, plus-11 rating, 36 penalty minutes, put Bertuzzi on the map. It gets better for the young forward, named NHL’s second star of week on April 1 after tallying 10 points three goals, seven assists in four games. Career highs in goals, assists and points. … First career hat trick Jan. 12 at Minnesota in 100th career game.  Six power-play points three goals, three assists.  Tied for team lead with four game-winning goals. Tyler Bertuzzi led the  team in plus-minus rating plus-11 at home, even on road. Bertuzzi also led the team in shooting percentage 16.0%. Showing some defensive skill Tyler was third on team in takeaways 34.  winning 33%  of faceoffs 10-of-30. Showing he is not afraid to get under opposing teams skin, Bertuzzi was suspended two games Dec. 4-6 for punching Colorado’s Matt Calvert from bench. Tyler missed seven games Feb. 1-14 due to a concussion.

Those are working mans numbers. Make no mistake it was Bertuzzi’s ability to play the same type of hard working game every night that made Bertuzzi’s season so successful. Tyler Bertuzzi’s first full NHL season was a huge success. Bertuzzi, showed he can be an offensive threat in addition to providing grit, physicality and abrasiveness. He has a knack for being around the puck and he goes to the hard areas with reckless abandon , in the corners and in front of the net, making him an ideal complement on the top line with Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha.

Tyler Bertuzzi has flashed his worth and is they type of player the Detroit Red Wings need going forward.

With right tackle Andrew Steueber injured the Michigan Wolverines are shuffling the offensive line

Embed from Getty Images Michigan Wolverines right tackle, Andrew Stueber has suffered a significant injury to his knee. The injury could have Stueber  out for an indefinite amount of time. The Wolverines are now shuffling the offensive line around to find the right combination.

Michigan offensive line coach Ed Warinner spoke to the media on Monday afternoon saying,  “We moved Joel (Honigford),” Warinner said, via The Michigan Insider. “He had been playing right guard. With (Andrew) Vastardis playing so well at guard/center, we felt very comfortable having Andrew Vastardis as a right guard and then bumping Joel out. Joel has only been there a couple of days but he’s looking real comfortable. That may be a better position for him. A year ago when I first got here I tried him out there, he struggled in the pass protection. Now, he’s over a year working that and some of his fundamentals we were able to develop with him, he’s really looked good out there in terms of that. That was the piece that kept him from playing tackle a year ago. Now, I feel real comfortable in his pass protection, he knows what’s going on and I think it’s going to be a good move for him. Vastardis is a solid guy inside.”

Injuries are never fun and can be difficult to overcome. The Michigan Wolverines are in good shape to man maneuver through some of the offensive line injuries due to very good recruiting and depth.

To lose a starter on the offensive line so close to the start of the 2019-20 College Football Season has made the Michigan coach’s and players adjust. The offensive line was going to be a really good unit for the football team this season and I believe it still will be.

More will be known about how fast the line can gel when on August 31 Michigan hosts Middle Tennessee for the season opener.

A rumor has sent a rift through Star Wars fans

*Warning: This is a potential spoiler. Please turn away or take with a grain of salt.*

Embed from Getty Images A Darth Vader rumor has hit “The Rise of Skywalker” and has fans freaking out. Not in a good way. While this rumor may or may not be true, it does exactly what a rumor is designed to do. Divides the fans.

According to the rumor, the Darth Vader suit has been spotted on the UK “Rise of Skywalker” set.  The rumor is centered around the suit and Kylo Ren, it seems that Kylo Ren will be wearing the iconic Darth Vade suit.

Fans are unhappy. They do not feel that Kylo Ren is worthy to wear the suit of the greatest villain in cinema history. Star Wars fans on Social Media have been very vocal about the fact they do not want Ren anywhere near the Vader suit.

If it is true then it would link 1977 “Star Wars A New Hope” with the final film in the Skywalker saga.  What seems certain is that Darth Vader is indeed going to be in the film one way or another. Could be a flashback sequence or something similar.

The same rumor also has appearances of Qui-Gon Jinn and the Hutts in the JJ Abrams directed Episode IX. While the last two seem a long shot at best, the Darth Vader seems a bit more realistic. At least in theory.

Anakin Skywalker/ Darth Vader is the grandfather of Kylo Ren, there is not two-ways about it. So that alone makes the Darth Vader suit plausible. What seems out of place is that Kylo Ren would actually put the suit on.

Kylo Ren holds his grandfather on some pedestal. While I believe Emperor Palpatine is connecting with Ren  through Vader’s mask, I do not believe Ren would put on the suit unless he was directed to do so. I believe Ren has too much respect for his grandfather to put the suit on.

I for one hope this is a false rumor. It could end up being just that. Star Wars fans hope that is the case.

ESPN votes the Detroit Lions most likely to go worst-to-first

Embed from Getty Images After simulating the upcoming NFL regular season 1 million times, the Detroit Lions have been picked as the favorite to make the jump from worst to first. Ever since 2002, at least one NFL team has made the jump from worst to first in its division every season outside of one. Last year, both the Houston Texans and Chicago Bears pulled off the feat.

When the NFL realigned the divisions back in 2002, 22 teams have gone from worst to first. An  impressive jump to be sure. The NFL prides itself of parity. 2014, was the only season that no bottom feeder went to the top.

DVOA,  simulated the upcoming season 1 million times. The Detroit Lions are viewed to have a 25.5% chance of winning the division and a 39.8% chance of making the playoffs after the extensive simulation.

“When a team declines as much as the Lions did last season, it usually rebounds a bit the next year. Our system also likes the talent the Lions have added this offseason,” the Football spokesman said when breaking down the upcoming NFL season.

“There are more reasons to be optimistic about the defense hidden among the numbers. The Lions are in the second year of a new scheme, and all else being equal, teams take a little step back in the first year of a new scheme and a step forward once they have more experience in it.” The spokesman added.

Ever since the start of the offseason and free agency the Detroit Lions have been trending upward. Throw in a very good, very solid NFL draft and the recipe for success is there.

Lions head coach Matt Patricia, has taken a softer stance in his second training camp. The former New England Patriots defensive coordinator, was brought in to bring a culture shock to a football team that desperately needed one.

Patricia, knew exactly what it takes to be a championship team. Having been gruff, blunt and difficult for players and media alike has changed this offseason.

Part of it is players now know what to expect. Last season Patricia sent clues to both his team and media by showing up late for meetings and press conferences. I believe that was by design to show who was in charge.

This season Patricia has laughed at practices, shown up on time and been kind to media members. Now the team can move forward.

Star Wars Theory: Did Palpatine have a contingency plan if he died

Embed from Getty Images Palpatine told Anakin Skywalker that they would find the secret to stopping people from dying. In my opinion, Palpatine may have been plotting to possess Anakin to continue living in him after his body died. As we all know, Anakin/ Darth Vader  killed Palpatine by throwing him over the reactor railing on the second Death Star.

Any good leader is always two steps ahead of everyone. Which leads me to a  contingency plan that could have been put into play by Emperor Palpatine. This plan is focused around the First Order. I believe the First Order was put in place by Palpatine in the event he was overthrown or killed. As in the First Order of business was getting rid of the Resistance.

It has been confirmed, Palpatine has an elite fleet of Sith troopers and ships in the Unknown Regions waiting to be activated. It is possible the  First Order’s Stormtroops and their weapons as well as equipment may have been created in the Unknown Region which explains how they have such a robust army even though the Republic had been reinstated. Palpatine could have had this contingency plan waiting for a while.

Which brings us to the teachings of Darth Plagueis. Plaguies perfected transferring his spirit/soul and be able to live in another being. Palpatine learning under Plaguies learned this as well. Which leads us to Rey.

I believe Palpatine was living in Supreme Leader Snoke, with no true ties to the Force, Snoke knew enough about it because Palpatine was leading him. If this is indeed the case then it lends to “The Force Awakens” when Palpatine/Snoke feels a strong presence of the Force in Rey. Much like I believe he was wanting to use Anakin Skywalker, I think Palpatine realized Rey would be a perfect vessel to possess and return to full strength. Thus allowing Snoke to die.

In “The Rise of Skywalker” Kylo Ren is now Supreme Leader. This has been confirmed by Star Wars director JJ Abrams. Ren seems to be going back and forth between the Dark and Light side of the Force through the past two films.

Palpatine wants and needs someone who is fully committed to the Dark Side which is why I believe he will try to convert Rey. Kylo Ren, is not stable enough for the Emperor’s liking.

It will all play out soon enough.

 

 

Filip Hronek looking to improve in his sophomore season

Embed from Getty Images Do the Red Wings have a special player on their hands? Defensive player Filip Hornek looks to be a top four defensive player for the Detroit Red Wings. During his 2018-19 rookie season, Hornek played in 46 games, tallying five goals and 23 points, his 19:57 average ice time was the third-best among all NHL rookies.

Last season only Rasmus  Dahlin (Buffalo Sabers) at 0.54 averaged more points per game among first year defensemen with at least 45 games played. Filip Hronek will start the season on the second pairing, but if Mike Green begins to have health issues again not too mention the odds of him playing 82 games is highly unlikely, Hronek could be playing top pairing minutes quickly.

At only 21 years old, Hronek looks like the real deal. His output during the 2019 World Championships saw Hronek put up  11 points in 10 games and was named  the best defenseman of the tournament, a strong 2019-20 NHL campaign for the Red Wings seems probable.

Filip Hronek could become a 40 to 50 points player for the Detroit Red Wings. His point totals could be somewhat elevated if Hronek quarterbacks one of Detroit’s power play units which again is something probable.

40 points would be close to his 2018-19 numbers 0.50 points per game in 46 games. The Detroit Red Wings need Hronek to step up and find another level to his game given his work ethic that should not be a problem. Hronek is expected to be one of the teams top defensemen moving into the future post rebuild alongside Dennis Cholowski, Jared McIsaac, and Moritz Seider. Becoming a two way threat on the blue line would help Detroit’s rebuild.

At  the end of the 2018-19 season, Hronek was the Red Wings’ best defenseman. After starting the season is Detroit, Hronek was sent to Grand Rapids to work on his passing and mental mistakes. Having cleaned that up he was recalled and his game took off.

Widely viewed as a pivotal part of the Detroit Red Wings rebuild, Filip Hronek looks like a player who will be in Motown for some time to come.

Detroit Tigers top pick Riley Greene compaired to Ken Griffey Jr.

Embed from Getty Images He is just 18 years old. Yet, one of the Detroit Tigers most prized prospects is being compared to a Hall of Fame player. Starting his professional baseball career at the instructional Connecticut Tigers, Riley Greene lasted just 24 games. Because he was simply too good for the league.

Riley Greene has been promoted to Grand Rapids to the West Michigan Whitecaps. In his first game with the Whitecaps, Greene doubled, had an inside-the-park home run and 3 R.B.I.’s. He was not done. As of Saturday Greene is hitting .306

Coming out of high school scouts reported Greene did not have the speed to play center field. Yet the same night he debuted Riley Greene chased down a hit in the gap, splayed out for an amazing diving catch.

Scouts have changed their tune. Riley Greene is the total package. One scout said “It has been a small sample size, but the polish to his game is more than I expected.” Greene’s play and speed has pushed another Detroit Tigers top prospect (Parker Meadows) to right field.

One long time MLB general manager said “Riley Greene is a generational player. You can see the skill set and it compares to Ken Griffey Jr. Same smooth swing, makes consistent contact with the ball and can run down anything in the out field.”

It is one thing for fans of a team to compare players, it is another thing all together when a long time well respected general manager makes the comparison.

It is still early in the process, but the Detroit Tigers appear to have the next face-of-the-franchise player. Before the Tigers 2019 first round draft pick ever played a game, he was tabbed to arrive in Detroit in 2023. Given his current trajectory Tiger and baseball fans will not have to wait that long. I think 2021 is a more realistic time frame.

Anthony Mantha is ready to breakout for the Detroit Red Wings

Embed from Getty Images When the 2018-19 NHL season was nearing it’s end. Detroit Red Wings Anthony Mantha was on a roll. Mantha had achieved a level of consistency in his all around game that had eluded him. In the last eight games, Anthony Mantha had 8 goals and 15 points, and came alive on Detroit’s power play. It looks like Mantha is ready to take another step for the Red Wings.

This past spring, Anthony Mantha played in the IIHF World Championship. The big forward put up 14 points in nine games for Team Canada. Mantha had just finished his Red Wings season with a third 20 plus goal season, then turned in a fantastic tournament.

Through the first 3 season of his career, Mantha has been plagued by both injuries and inconsistency in his play. Often a target of Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill. Everyone can see the possibilities Mantha has. He looks ready to take the next step.

This coming NHL season, the question is once again, is this the season Mantha joins his Red Wings teammates, Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou in the 30 goal club, or another 20 plus goal season.

If Anthony Mantha can stay healthy and consistent the 30 goal plateau will be within reach. Playing on Detroit’s top line with Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi gives Mantha the talent he needs to advance his game. Yet, when top Red Wings prospect forwards Filip Zadina and Joe Veleno are ready, Mantha could slide on a line with Athanasiou and one of the top young forwards.

The sky is the limit for a player like Anthony Mantha. A big, fast player with a wicked one-timer. Anthony Mantha is perhaps the key player in the Detroit Red Wings rebuild. A rebuild that is nearing it’s end.

The Red Wings who the past two seasons were blown out in many games. Are in much better position to compete and they should not be blown out this coming season. If Anthony Mantha can find the back of the net 30 times, it sets the Detroit Red Wings up for a playoff run in the 2020-21 season.

Star Wars: How Kylo Ren, Darth Vader, Supreme Leader Snoke, Darth Plagues and Emperor Palpatine are connected

Embed from Getty Images “The Dark Side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural,” Palpatine told Anakin Skywalker. This is the quote that will serve as a backdrop. One that will link five major Star Wars characters to paint a bigger picture.

In “The Force Awakens” we know Kylo Ren is drawn to the mask of Darth Vader. In my opinion this goes beyond family. In Charles Soule’s Darth Vader comic series it ends with Darth  Momin performing a  Force ritual that got interrupted by Jedi. The imbalance in the Force caused Momin’s ritual to go wrong, and his spirit was trapped inside the mask he wore. That mask became one of Palpatine’s treasured possessions, and one that would end up on the head of Anakin Skywalker.

Having learned how to achieve the ability to live on through studying his master Darth Plaguies work. Palpatine killed him. Or so we are lead to believe.

The  connection between Snoke and Palpatine, is interesting. Palpatine was killed by his apprentice Darth Vader, Snoke is also killed by the very person he had been grooming as well Kylo Ren. Darth Nihilus and accent Sith Lord, became so corrupted by the Dark Side he just became a spirit who was able to live in a mask and robe. This coupled with the teaching of how to cheat death from Plaguies lends it’s self to Emperor Palpatine saving himself as he was thrown over the reactor chamber in “Return of the Jedi.”

Like Darth Plaguies, Palpatine could use his spirit to enter people and control them. Someone like Supreme Leader Snoke. Once he no longer need Snoke he allowed Kylo Ren to strike him down.

In “Return of the Jedi” Vader asked Luke Skywalker to take the mask off so he could see him through untainted eyes. Kylo Ren smashed his mask after he took it off and was conflicted between the Light and Dark Side of the Force.

With “The Rise of Skywalker” set to hit theaters this December, In my opinion we will find that it has been Emperor Palpatine calling the shots the whole time. Including using the possessed Darth Vader mask to control Ren.