Detroit Pistons: banking on a trainer

Embed from Getty Images How important are athletic trainers to sports teams? They are often overlooked, until injuries both set in, and pile up. The Detroit Pistons having been bit by the injury bug the past few seasons are bringing back a familiar face to help them stay healthy.

Point guard Reggie Jackson has missed 67 games the past two seasons. Power forward Blake Griffin has missed 107 the past four seasons. Health is critical to the life of any team. Without it seasons come crashing down.

Arnie Kander, who was with the Detroit Pistons as head trainer in the mid 1990’s and early 2000’s is returning to the same position after a stint with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Shortly after being named senior adviser back in May, Ed Stefanski reached out to Kander and asked him to return to the team. That is a good move.

Arnie Kander is a former  ballet dancer. He is known around the NBA for his focus on stretching. He also designed specific workouts for basketball players that is used around the league.

He is a very wanted man in  basketball circles. The fact that Arnie Kander spent 23 years in Detroit, gave the Pistons a leg up on bringing the famous trainer back.

During his time with the Pistons, they were the healthiest team in the NBA. He left the team and the Detroit Pistons became the team with the most injuries in the NBA. So it is not hard to see why they would bring an old friend back into the fold.

With a roster that by all accounts is ready to win now. Arnie Kander may be the most important signing of the offseason. The Pistons are banking on it.

Detroit Lions: the curse of Bobby Layne

Embed from Getty Images From 1950 to 1958 Bobby Layne quarterbacked the Detroit Lions. After he was injured in a game the Lions thought he was through and traded Layne to Pittsburgh upon legend Bobby Layne placed a curse on the Detroit Lions.

‘They (Detroit) will not win for 50 years.” That is what Bobby Layne told a group of reporters when he arrived in Pittsburgh. The Detroit Lions have been well a mess ever since.

Layne, perhaps the greatest quarterback Detroit has ever had. He led the franchise to back to back NFL championships (pre Super Bowl) in 1952 and 1953.

Then like so many other football players who have been injured he was kicked to the curb by Detroit. It is true Bobby Layne never did regain his per- injury playing level. But he went out on a somber note.

Once a decorated athlete in Detroit. His popularity was over the top. His performance on the field made him a legend.

Back to the curse. The bible tells us in Proverbs 18:21 “death and life are in the power of the tongue.” That is a both powerful yet truthful fact. We have the power to speak life to people, things and issues. We also have the ability to speak death to people, things, and issues.

I know some think the curse of Bobby Layne has just been an excuse for the Detroit Lions struggles. I  myself think there could be a real curse. I do not laugh.

That said it have been 60 years since Layne offered his choice words. And the Detroit Lions now seems to have ownership, general manager, and head coach who know how to lead the team past the dark curse years.

Detroit Lions fans hope this is indeed the case.

Detroit Red Wings: a bright future

Embed from Getty Images With a surplus of very good young talent. The 2018 NHL entry draft pushed the Detroit Red Wings and the rebuild forward at a faster pace. This team is going to be outstanding.

 

The Detroit talent pool had some good prospects who were set to push for a roster spot for the upcoming 2018-19 NHL season. But, things changed after the Detroit Red Wings, lead by general manager Ken Holland had a fantastic haul at the draft.

Lead by 2016 first round draft pick Dennis Cholowski and 2017 first round pick Michael Rasmussen added into the mix 2018 first round draftees Filip Zadina and Joe Veleno. The Red Wings now have a must see training camp set up.

Suddenly, prospects who were widely viewed as can not miss. May have a hard time making the cut as more talent has been added to the organization. The competition is sure to be intense.

This is a great situation. The Red Wings who need to be younger, faster and have players who play with a chip on their shoulders. Will get a group of prospects in training camp doing just that.

The ones that are blessed and make the team will rejoice. The hope is the ones that narrowly miss the cut. Well, that they gain a chip on their shoulder. That they will not be happy with being sent to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Most of all, for the players that do not make the final roster spot. That they will up their game and their play will show their lack of pleasure in the choices the front office and coaching staff made when making final roster cuts.

It is a new dawning of Detroit Red Wings hockey. Lots of young fresh talent. Hockeytown will be great again. Very soon.  Do not count on the playoffs this coming season. But it is okay to expect this Detroit Hockey team to take a big step forward.

Detroit Lions: a voice silenced

Embed from Getty Images 31 loyal seasons. He was the voice of Detroit Lions football. Until today when the Detroit Lions radio home WJR informed beloved broadcaster Jim Brandstatter, he was being replaced by former Lions offensive linemen Lomas Brown.

He was as announcers go an icon in the city of Detroit. For 31 NFL seasons that dated pre-Barry Sanders, Jim Brandstatter called the games. Like no other.

Many people would mute the t.v. and listen to “Brandy” call the games. He was that good. It is the radio stations right to bring in whoever they please. Lomas Brown is a very solid choice as he has done work on ESPN.

But for Lions fans Sunday’s will never be the same. Many say Jim Brandstatter is one of the best in the booth. That reaches outside Detroit. No person in Michigan would or could argue.

The news caught many Michiganders off guard. It seems the choice was WJR’s alone. The Detroit Lions, were said to be just as taken back. This is like when the late Mike Ilitch owned the Detroit Tigers, and fired Ernie Harwell.

Detroit Lions fans, can only hope like Mr. Ilitch WJR  realizes they made a mistake in a year or two and bring Brandstatter back.

Will there be push back against the radio station? You can count on it. People who follow sports include the people calling the game as part of the team. Detroit, is no different.

It is a shame of epic proportions. A talent like Jim Brandstatter should not be forced out but choose when they walk away. 31 years is a long time. Perhaps now Jim will be with his family Thanksgiving Day when the Lions play.

But for the fans, city and team it will not be the same.

Star Wars: and the power of costume

Embed from Getty Images Being a lifelong unapologetic Star Wars fan. I took some time and headed to Detroit and visit the power of costume exhibit at the Detroit institute of art.

It was a day trip. But, not just any mind you. Since I was a kid just the excitement of anything Star Wars, was an adrenaline rush greater than any caffeine rush.

Hopped in the SUV and made the three plus hour trek to my favorite city. It did not disappoint! Not for Star Wars, fandom reasons mind you. It did not disappoint because it was a well put together exhibit.

From the Prequel trilogy, up to Episode VII “The Force Awakens.” The Costumes from the original trilogy were simple. It was layered fabrics. Simple and it did not take away from the all important character introduction of Star Wars “A new hope.”

I must say seeing Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Jedi robe from 1977 and Luke Skywalker’s outfit from 1983’s “Return of the Jedi” were great. My personal favorite was the Tusken Raider. The detail was fantastic!

The prequel trilogy, saw much more complex costumes as many characters had been established already. I must say the inner bounty hunter in me loved Jango Fett’s, Mandalorian aromor.

My two favorite exhibit displays (in no certain order) were the evolution of the Stormtroopers. And the Tie pilots. But Darth Vader, stops people in their tracks. His mask from “Revenge of the Sith” is way cool. As is the full Vader costume from “Return of the Jedi.’

Also, seeing C3PO, R2D2, and BB8 is all their glory was a fun moment. A lot of people seemed to enjoy the droids.

It is a fantastic event. It is well worth the drive. Not to mention Detroit’s Greek food is out of this world. It has a great family feel. The rest of the art museum is well worth checking out before or after depending the tour time.

Take time and go to that galaxy far, far away.

Detroit Red Wings: fans need to chill out

Embed from Getty Images Yes, it is true the Detroit Red Wings, had a tremendous 2018 NHL draft. Yes, it is also true that last week Wings general manager Ken Holland, signed 3 veteran free agents. Yes, predictably Detroit Red Wings, fans are freaking out.

Detroit Red Wings, fans are angry. Filip Zadina, Joe Veleno should be slam dunks to make the rebuilding Detroit, hockey team. While Evgeny Svechnikov should also be given a good long look during 2018 training camp.

Ken Holland, says they will be given every opportunity to win a roster spot. Red Wings fans don’t think he is being honest. I however do. Fact is the Detroit Red Wings, added a goalie, a forward and resigned their own defensmen.

Fans in Hockeytown, need to relax. Ken Holland surly knows that his team must get younger, faster and play with more snarl. He also understands the Detroit, defense needs a face lift. A major overhaul.

It can not be stressed enough that this organization is in the early stages of a total rebuild. It would be incredibly stupid to ice a team of young player with no veterans to help them.

I believe in the end Detroit will have 1-2 offensive rookie and 1-2 defensive rookies on the roster after they break training camp. With an eye on the future and not the now.

Red Wings nation, should hop on this way of thinking. Fans second guess. What else is new? They have been doing it longer than I have been alive and will continue long after I am in the after life.

As a microwave society, we want things right now. But as I grew up I found the best things come in time. With the right seasoning. That is what Ken Holland understands. I understand his thinking.

Let the process take root. It will not be much longer.

Detroit Lions: player to watch, Kenny Golladay

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Lions, have a wide receiver problem. They have a bunch of good ones. So maybe problem is a good thing as it creates competition and forces already good players to ramp it up a notch.

Kenny Golladay, is electrifying. He is the fastest of the Detroit Lions, wide receivers. Kenny, had what may would call a typical rookie NFL season. Looked great one week. Looked not so great the next week.

There is no reason for concern. The former Northern Illinois Husky, star is my Detroit Lions player to watch in 2018-19. Not too mention he has all the tools to be a great player.

The Detroit Lions, have Golden Tate and Marvin Jones jr,  who are very good receivers. Detroit, has missed and lacked that big threat downfield when Calvin Johnson retired.

Kenny Golladay, can do that. He can be Calvin Johnson-like. He is 6′ 4″ runs the 40 in 4.50. Once he finds consistency Golladay, is set for take off. Adding to the weapons quarterback Matthew Stafford, and the Lions have on offense.

Kenny Golladay, can be the guy to take his game and the Lions, offense to the next level. As he becomes more and more reliable the Detroit offense will open up even more. Golladay’s game will open spots for the other receivers and tight ends. Not to mention open running lanes for running backs.

It is not all up to one player. But, if certain players step it up the team or unit of a team becomes better balanced. That will happen as Golladay, matures into the player NFL experts say he will be.

I believe Kenny Golladay will take that next step this coming season. And Lions, fans will enjoy watching his growth as will Kenny’s teammates.

 

Detroit Red Wings: no embracing the tank

Embed from Getty Images While the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings, could tank in an attempt to get the first pick in the 2019 NHL draft. That does not seem to be the plan. Free agent signings show the team is re-writing the rebuild rule.

While players who have been developing in Grand Rapids with the Griffins will vie for roster spots. Ken Holland Red Wings general manager, made a few shrewd moves. That will help the Winged Wheels hover around .500.

Defensmen Mike Green who’s contract was up was resigned to a 2 year contract. He will in all likelihood tutor two or three Detroit, rookie defensmen. Green, and all-star is a great pick to help the young players reach their NHL stride.

Thomas Vanek, who played in Motown two seasons ago will help Red Wings, young offensive talent. Players like first round draft pick Filip Zadina, can learn a lot from the crafty veteran Vanek.

With Detroit Red Wings, captain Henrik Zetterbergs future up in the air due to a lingering back injury. Vanek, appears to be the insurance policy. A very solid signing by Ken Holland.

Next the Detroit, brain trust went with what has been a sore spot for four years. Goal tending help.  Jonathan Bernier, who spent last season in net for the Colorado Avalanche. Is certainly and upgrade over Petr Mrazek and others who tried yet failed in the Detroit pipes.

The easy way out is to tank and attempt to get a lottery draft pick. But that is not a given. The lottery ping pong ball does not always come up with the worst teams logo on it.

Ken Holland, is re-writing the rebuild. His way. Bringing in players to help the team stay competitive while younger players are introduced and inserted into the Detroit, starting lineup.

In my opinion, other teams should attempt this. It makes it a lot less complicated if there is talent to work with. Players like Evgeny Svechnikov, Filip Zadina, Joe Veleno, Joe Hicketts, Filip Hronek and a few others give the Detroit Red Wings a bright future.

Detroit Red Wings: infuse young defensmen is a must.

Embed from Getty Images I don’t pretend to know more than Detroit Red Wings, general manager Ken Holland. But when a team is rebuilding they tend to move out under preforming  veterans and bring in younger players.

In my opinion, Jonathan Ericsson, Nicklas Kronwall and Danny DeKeyser should be replaced. Ericsson has woefully under preformed for three seasons now. Kronwall, once a defensive force because of two bad knees is a shell of his former self. Danny DeKeyser’s play has taken a nose dive.

The rebuilding Red Wings need to and should being giving roster spots to Filip Hronek, Joe Hicketts and  Dennis Cholowski. Joe Hicketts is the shortest defender in the Detroit Red Wings pipleline. But, he just may be the best.  Filip Hronek, may be the biggest riser in the Detroit system. He will remind many of the Anaheim Ducks Sami Vatanen. Great speed and great vision. Solid on offense. A force on defense. Dennis Cholowski’s game has grown by leaps and bounds. Nobody out works Cholowski in practice or games.

These three defensive players are all ready. To send them to the minors would be a slap in the face to the players, the rebuild, and Detroit Red Wings fans. It would also stunt the players growth.

With that Ken Holland, must do the hard thing. Remove players who are past their prime or who have under preformed. It is nothing personal. I really liked Nicklas Kronwall but it is painful to watch him struggle on two bad knees.

It is time for the future. Detroit, selected four more defensive players in the 2018 NHL draft. They will be ready soon. It is time to move on.

Detroit Pistons: add front office and coaching assistants

Embed from Getty Images Wanting to groom a young general manager Detroit Pistons, president Ed Stefanski, who is also acting general manager went out and found the Malik Rose. Also this week Pistons head coach Dwane Casey brought in two assistant coaches.

Malik Rose, a thirteen year NBA veteran player. Began his post playing days as a memeber of the New York Knicks, broadcast team. He also did announcing work with the Philadelphia 76ers. A total of five years in the broadcast booth.

The Atlanta Hawks, offered Rose the position of president basketball operations. Seen as a quick riser and a man with a big vision. Malik Rose, had his eye’s set on being an NBA general manager. This week the Detroit Pistons, helped Rose get one step closer to his dream.

In other Pistons news. Head coach Dwane Casey, hired Former Detroit player and coach Sidney Lowe and former Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Sean Sweeney.

Dwane Casey who has a reputation of being one of if not the best player developer in the NBA went after two coaches who also share the label of developing players.

This seems to be a very good fit. The Detroit Pistons, got an up and coming general manger. One they can groom to run the show on his own. The coaching staff is committed to developing players. Not just rookies mind you. But veterans as well.

Pistons fans, hope the team is on solid ground for the first time in Tom Gores seven year ownership of the franchise. It certainly has the appearance of brighter days.

Now the team needs to get rid of dead weight contracts. Something that has plagued Detroit sports teams for some time.