Taro Hirose has turned into a diamond in the rough for the Detroit Red Wings

Embed from Getty Images Taro Hirose signed with the Detroit Red Wings as a free agent last March. He took the ice with the Red Wings and made a good impression right off the bat. Hirose amassed seven points in his first 10 NHL games. This preseason Taro has picked up where he left off.

Taro Hirose, has shown to be crafty and smart. He is always one play ahead on the ice. The good one usually are. For a player who appears to be unassuming Hirose, let’s his play speak for him.

Last season Taro Hirose was paired with Fans Nielsen and Thomas Vanek. the players quickly gelled. In Hirose’s favor he has great hockey sense and know how to find lanes. Being undersized has not hampered Hirose’s game.

What coach’s and fans have come to appreciate about Hirose, is he creates. He makes plays with and without the puck. This is going to sound a bit odd, but Taro Hirose is better playing with better players. Before you roll your eyes, let me explain. When young players come into the league the trend is they shy away from the style of play that earned them a callup.

Hirose, because he has a sharp hockey mind, understands he needs to play his game no matter who he is paired with. Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill said the young forward is making a strong case to land on the second or third line.

While that is a good thing, I for one would like to see Hirose paired on a line with Andreas Athanasiou. Those two on a line would open up scoring opportunities. While is Hirose was paired with Nielsen and Valtteri Filppula, he would be the main and possible only scoring chance for that line. Nielsen and Filppula are defensive centers who do not take a lot of shots.

Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman announced last week there are open roster spots to be won, Taro Hirose seems to be a roster lock. That is a good thing for the Detroit hockey team.

After a lackluster performance the Michigan State Spartans football is left with questions

Embed from Getty Images Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio blamed game officials, the Spartan fan base joined the football teams head coach in blaming the officials. Both head coach and fans need a healthy dose of reality. The Michigan State offense is once again a train wreck. That is where Saturday’s home loss to Arizona State stemmed from.

I stand by my statement that simply moving coach’s around instead of firing coach’s and bringing in new ones very rarely works. That was on full display Saturday afternoon in East Lansing. I will be the first to say the Spartans defense is flat out nasty. A fantastic group. The offense is the polar opposite.

Through the early part of the season the Michigan State offensive line has found something it lacked last season. Consistency. Albeit, the offensive line is consistently getting shoved back. So not quite the consistency coach’s were looking for.

Make no mistake about it. Saturday’s loss is squarely on the shoulders of head coach Mark Dantonio. It should have never come down to a last second field goal. Moving coach’s around has lead to Michigan State scoring a single touchdown for the second time in three weeks. Go ahead blame the officials.

Michigan State’s offense is nearly unwatchable. It is certainly frustrating for fans and football fans in general. Dantonio is not one to blame others, yet after the schools loss he stood at the podium and did just that. Pointed the finger at officials while making excuses.

This week brings Northwestern. It is not too early to call this a make-or-break game for the Spartans. Because that is exactly what it is. Northwestern can score in bunches. Something Michigan State can not. Michigan State’s defense is beyond good enough to keep the Spartans in the game. Yet, if the offense struggles again and the defense is on the field often, they will begin to wear down.

No one from Michigan State is saying it right now, but you have to imagine the seat under Mark Dantonio is starting to warm up. Blame the officials.

In prospect Isaac Paredes the Detroit Tigers have a building block

Embed from Getty Images In a minor league pipeline in need of more bats, Isaac Paredes stands out. Paredes is a vey solid hitter and a very solid infielder. At just 20 years old Isaac Paredes has a lot of plus gradings. In a pipeline primed with excellent pitching Paredes stands out with his offensive skill set.

Isaac Paredes’ numbers jump out on the stats sheet. playing the entire season at Double-a Erie, Isaac batted .336 in August and .321 in September. he sported on OPS of .866, no that is not a misprint.

Where things get a little less clear is where Paredes will end up playing in the field. He broke into baseball with the Chicago Cubs as a shortstop. Paredes played two games a week at the position with the Seawolves. There are some scouts who do not think he will stick at shortstop.

At 5′ 11″ Isaac Paredes weighs 225 LBS. making it difficult to get to ground balls in the hole. Many believe Paredes is destined for third base. He gets a good jump on the ball and has shown good range at the hot corner, with a strong arm to boot.

It is his advanced hitting skills that has executives around MLB drooling. As of this moment Isaac Paredes is the only Erie Seawolf regular player to be a sure-fire major league player.

Paredes again at just 20 years old is so advanced offensively, the Detroit Tigers plan on giving him time next season at Triple-A Toledo with the Mud Hens.

Isaac Paredes has rocketed through the Tigers farm system. Just last season at 19 years old he batted .321 with a .864 OPS at Single-A Lakeland. A sluggish  star to this season (by Paredes’ standards) saw the young player catch fire as mid-season approach.

Paredes has something many young hitters need time to develop, an advanced approach at the plate. Paredes does not swing at bad pitches. Paredes credits his good eye at the plate during the winter he spent playing ball in the Mexican league. He said his manager, Jose Luis Sanibel, told him being picky would help him advance faster.

Wherever Isaac Paredes winds up playing he is set to make an impact. He is a very good building block for the future Detroit Tigers team post rebuild.

Detroit Red Wings prospects get an opportunity to impress

Embed from Getty Images Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said last week he is encouraged by the young group of players in the organizations pipeline. He also said “We need more.” Yzerman then announced there are open roster spots available. Making this a very interesting training camp for the rebuilding Red Wings.

Joe Veleno, Filip Zadina and Moritz Seider are all trying to make the jump to the NHL. In just four games the Red Wings won the Prospects Tournament while fielding the youngest team.

Yzerman, was ho-hum about the tournament championship. “You like to win more than lose,” he stated. “More importantly, the kids competed real hard.” the Detroit Red Wings average age in the Prospects Tournament was 18 years old. They played against teams who averaged 24 years old.

The Detroit Red Wings are not picked to make the NHL Playoffs again this season. That is okay. This season is about beginning to turn the roster over to younger more skilled players.

Steve Yzerman, is overseeing the remainder of the Red Wings rebuild. He will make his roster based on two key areas.

  1. Is a prospects ready for the NHL grind. If Yzerman said prospects can take an open roster spot, he may have a few in mind. But, he also said he will not just give a player a spot on the team. It will be earned.
  2. Is a prospect better than the player he will be pushing out of a job or perhaps a reduced role on the team? This may be the key question in the general manager’s thinking.

This preseason is critical to the future of the Red Wings. Even though Detroit could be a bottom five team. They have some key pieces in place. Players who took a big step in development last season. Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi just to name a few.

Now Detroit will add talent to those talented players. The 2019-20 NHL season will hardly be a lost one in Detroit. It will be a very important next step in bringing consistent hockey back to Hockeytown.



The Detroit Red Wings will head into a second straight season with four alternate captains

Embed from Getty Images In what turned into  an outpouring of vocal shocked and angry fans the Detroit Red Wings announced they would not name a team captain. It has been widely assumed since the team drafted him that Dylan Larkin would be the successor to Henrik Zetterberg. Larkin has been the face of the Detroit rebuild.

Dylan Larkin, Frans Nielsen and Justin Abdelkader will return with an “A” on the front of their sweaters.  Luke Glendening will replace newly retired Niklas Kronwall as an alternate captain.

Detroit Red Wings general manager said upon the press conference to announce him as the organizations new architects that he needed time to get to know the entire team. The fact that he is unwilling at this time to place a “C” on a players jersey should come as no surprise.

Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill did say that  “we reserve the right to change our mind.” He hinted Dylan Larkin could still be named captain at some point this season, but “right now, that’s not our focus. Our focus is on how we’re going to attack the year.”

Blashill said after talking with new general manager Steve Yzerman, it was determined to go with the four alternates. In my opinion there could be a couple reasons for the decision. Only Yzerman and Blashill know for sure.

The Detroit Red Wings pipeline is the strongest it has been in a very long time. The Red Wings prospects just finished a tournament and players like Joe Veleno and Moritz Seider, showed on ice leadership. With the eyes of the general manager watching.

Yzerman, sat in his box with the rest of his Red Wings staff with him. The smart thinking is he may want to do the same thing for the first month or two of the 2019-20 Red Wings season.

In the grand scheme, this is a good move. It is important to have the right captain. The Red Wings last three captains served a long time. Steve Yzerman 1986-2006,  Nicklas Lidstrom 2006-2012 and Henrik Zetterberg 2013-2018.

The choice will come soon enough. But, first the general manager needs to get a pulse on his team.

After and epic fail, the Detroit Lions should not panic

Embed from Getty Images “Same old Lions!” You could hear Detroit Lions fans shout after the team completing a fourth quarter collapse that ended in a tie with the Arizona Cardinals. Don’t go there. Not yet.  While the Lions do have many questions it is not time to panic after one game.

While this one game feels achingly familiar, fans need to remember the Detroit Lions are technically rebuilding. Yes, it has been an ongoing rebuild since 1957, so what’s a little longer? Not too mention blowing an 18 point lead in the fourth quarter to the Arizona Cardinals  led by a rookie quarterback and rookie head coach is inexcusable.

Still there was some good to come out of the disappointment. Quarterback Matthew Stafford along with his teammates T.J. Hockenson,  Marvin Jones, Kenny Golladay, Danny Amendola and Kerryon Johnson looked as if they had a plan. And then penalties began to stall their new offense.

Then Matt Patricia called for a timeout that nullified a first down play which was a maddening, mind numbing timeout that should have never been.  In the post game media session Patricia absorbed the blame for the timeout mishap and for the tie in general, chalking it up to “bad coaching,” he said more than once.

For as hyped as the Detroit Lions defense was, Matt Patricia couldn’t adjust his defense as the Cardinals rookie quarterback scrambled for long runs and ran around to find open receivers.

While this year Lions squad could be the makings of another 10 loss team. It could also maybe the making of a team that could still surprise. This is a team that is hard to get a handle on. The next two games do not hold a lot of promise the L.A. Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs.

After those games the Lions season should be in better focus. So should the job security for general manager Bob Quinn and his hand picked head coach Matt Patrica.

But a tie in game one is not a loss. It is a lot like kissing your sister though.

Detroit Red Wings Moritz Seider is becoming a fan favorite

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Red Wings prospects are on full display in Traverse City, Michigan. While Joe Veleno and Filip Zadina are there and playing very well, it is the Detroit Red Wings 2019 first round draft pick that is putting on a show. Moritz Seider, the big German defenseman has earned high praise.

The prospects tournament Has seen Seider flash his great skating and skill with a physical edge bringing the Traverse City fans to their feet roaring with approval. In games against the Chicago Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs prospects, Moritz Seider showed something else, he played with a physical   snarl.

Seider, also has been very physical in the corners. For a player who some thought may need to polish some aspects of his game up. Moritz Seider is showing to be further along in his development than first thought on draft night.

Seider played against men back in the German league last season, Detroit Red Wings general manage Steve Yzerman and Kris Draper director of amateur scouting knew getting Seider reps over in North America against a bunch of other hungry prospects would be a very important next step for the defensive prospect.

The German ice rinks are bigger than the rinks in the AHL and NHL arena’s. The smaller ice makes for a faster, more aggressive game. Even with a rather drastic change in ice, Seider has adjusted his game and played with very good speed. He is feeling more and more comfortable with every game played. So much so that Moritz Seider has ruled out returning to the German league this season and is opting to play in Grand Rapids Michigan, with the Griffins.

He has bonded with players who will be in Detroit shortly. “Everybody is hanging around with everybody,” Seider said. “We’re having a good time and you can see that on the ice. We’ve played solid.”

While  Seider will be challenging for time in Detroit during the main training camp. He is expected to head to the AHL. But his time in Detroit will arrive soon.

Detroit Red Wings fans can dream of a first line pairing on Filip Hronek and Moritz Seider. That dream soon could be reality.

New and notes from the Detroit Red Wings Prospect Tournament

Embed from Getty Images Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman is watching. The Detroit Red Wings host the annual prospect tournament in Traver City, Michigan home of the Red Wings training camp. This will be Yzerman’s first camp with the Red Wings.

With the watchful eyes of the teams general manager, Detroit Red Wings prospects should not need motivation to impress the teams new GM. As training camp draws near Steve Yzerman has reminded the young prospects there are spots he is looking to fill. A couple defensemen as well as a couple forwards.

This is where the fruits of the rebuild begin to show. Detroit has some prospects that are knocking on the NHL door. Yzerman was quick to point out, roster spots are earned. No player in entitled just because of prospect rankings or where they were drafted.

Last season defensemen Filip Hronek  and forward Taro Hirose and forward Chirstoffer Ehn played big minutes for the Red Wings. They are now going to be counted on heavily as the Red Wings begin to transition out of the rebuild stage in the next two seasons.

Players who need to step up and grab a roster spot for this years Detroit Red Wings are forwards Evgeny Svechnikov, Michael Rasmussen, Filip Zadina as well as defensemen Dennis Cholowski.

In the first two games of the double elimination prospect tournament, Red Wings forward Joe Veleno and Filip Zadina have developed some very good chemistry. These are the things that catches a general managers eye. Not only who is going to step out and shine, but who has good chemistry.

2019 Detroit Red Wings first round draft pick defensemen Moritz Seider, looks the part. As the Red Wings front office sort out if Seider will return to Germany this season or if he is ready to make the jump to the AHL and the Grand Rapids Griffins. One thing that is becoming more and more clear. Moritz Seider will not be in the lower levels very long.

When Steve Yzerman, patience at his Red Wings introductory press conference this is what he was talking about. Yzerman, knew the Red Wings had some good solid young players who needed more seasoning. Starting next week Yzerman and his staff will begin to map out a plan for the players.

The Detroit Tigers bad season could net another first pick in the 2020 MLB draft

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Tigers are bad. No, they are bordering on historically bad. Yet for the rebuilding Tigers, that is not all that bad. No really. It is true the 2019 version of the Detroit Tigers were not supposed to be this bad, they are. Or perhaps they are tanking for the top pick in the 2020 MLB Amateur Draft.

Major League Baseball team are allowed to expand team rosters in September. For the teams in the playoff race it gives them a chance to rest starters for a playoff push. For teams out of the playoff race it is a time to see how top prospects are performing. It is also a chance for the bottom feeders to play prospects and possibly aid better draft position. Which is exactly where the Detroit Tigers find themselves.

Double-A Erie has most of the Detroit Tigers top prospects. The Seawolves find themselves in the playoffs as a result of having the best best pitching staff seen in the minor leagues since the late 1980’s Atlanta Braves.

The Detroit Tigers “lead” the Baltimore Orioles by 4 ½ games in the race for the No. 1 overall pick.  The Tigers had the No. 1 pick in 2018’s draft and took pitcher Casey Mize , and the Orioles had the top pick in 2019 catcher Adley Rutschman.

The Detroit Tigers need to go 10-17 in their final 27, which would give them a final record of 50-112. While that is as bad as it looks. Next June’s draft is loaded. It is a draft the Tigers could get the generational bat they so desperately need to speed the teams rebuild up.

Baltimore, on the other hand, have kept up losing with Detroit. Yet the Tigers hold the upper hand. These final games will find both teams in “tank mode.”  As Blaze Jordan, Spencer Torkelson and Enrique Bradfield all figure to hear their names called early in the Draft. Those three players will jump start any team that drafts them.

The Detroit Tigers are about set (in the next two seasons) to pull out of the rebuild phase. They are a team that has outstanding young pitching and some above average bats in the farm system. One more big bat will be the icing on the cake.

Breaking news, Detroit Red Wings Niklas Kronwall announces his retirement

Embed from Getty Images Drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2000 NHL entry draft, Niklas Kronwall was a Red Wing lifer, playing his entire 953 game NHL career with the Winged Wheels. He ranks 10th all-time in games played for the franchise. He played along side many greats, including the likes of Steve Yzerman, Niklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, and Henrik Zetterberg, on his path to being part of Red Wings lore forever.

Age and bad knees have caught up with Detroit Red Wings Nik Kronwall. Kronwall will be remembered for his on and off ice leadership, dangerously raised visor, and of course, his major open ice hits near side the boards which fans dubbed “getting Kron-WALLED!”

Niklas Kronwall is not going away all together, he will remain with the Red Wings organization as an “Adviser to the General Manager.” During his playing career, Kronwall may not have worn the “C” on his sweater but he sure acted like the team leader. He was a warrior, who battled through constant knee pain.

Steve Yzerman,  gave Kronwall the entire summer to consider whether to retire or return. Kronwall sounded conflicted as the 2018-19 season came to a close.

Kronwall who wore  No. 55 gained notoriety as one of hockey’s most efficient  and clean  body checkers, and most feared hitters in the NHL. When he announced his retirement Niklas Kronwall said his best memory as a Red Wing was when the team won the Stanley Cup in 2008.

He then stated about the current Red Wings rebuild, “We’re gonna get back there,” he said,  “I just won’t be a player when it happens next time.”

From Detroit Red Wings fans everywhere, Thank you Nik!