Detroit Red Wings Filip Zadina, has a renewed confidence

In 2019-20 Detroit Red Wings prospect Filip Zadina gave flashes he was ready for the NHL. During last years training camp Zadina was sent to the Grand Rapids Griffins lacking confidence in his game. Filip Zadina was loaned by the Red Wings to a European league after the COVID-19 forced NHL shutdown. While playing in the league Zadina found his confidence and is now on a different level.

After being recalled last November, Zadina had 8 goals and 7 assists in 28 games for the Detroit Red Wings. Zadina missed a chunk of time with a broken ankle.

DETROIT, MI – APRIL 19: Steve Yzerman, the new Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Detroit Red Wings talks to the media during a press conference at Little Caesars Arena on April 19, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

For a young player, to miss 10 months due to the shutdown would have stunted growth. That is why Red Wings general manager, Steve Yzerman made the right call in lending out some of the organizations prospects. Development is critical for young players.

The Red Wings and Zadina used the time in Europe to both rehab from his broken ankle as well as get back into game shape. It is important to mention that the Red Wings gave Zadina some key things to work on. Compete on the puck something the young forward has gotten better at, but needed to clean up.

Zadina also focused on playing strong. He was knocked around during his NHL time and needed to play up to his strength and not be moved so easily off the puck. Upon his return to Detroit for training camp Filip Zadina said he feels more confident.

It is early but with the time in Europe Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said that Zadina has developed a much better give and go game. Zadina, showed up at camp sporting more muscle and weight.

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 22: Detroit Red Wings right wing Filip Zadina (11) during the first period of a preseason game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings on September 22, 2019, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The 2018 first round draft pick for the Detroit Red Wings, Zadina looks like his is on a collision course to become a go-to player for the Red Wings offense. His game is now coming close to resembling his scouting report.

For the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings this is very much welcomed.

At 5-7 the Detroit Lions are one game out of an NFC Playoff spot

Chalk it up to 2020. That could be the only logical explanation. The Detroit Lions who have underachieved for much of the season sit just one game out of a playoff spot. No kidding. The same Detroit Lions who fired general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia are in the playoff race. Though it will be difficult for them to get there.

Detroit Lions interim head coach,  Darrell Bevell told his team he wanted them to play loose, free and have fun. Those words seemed to have impacted the Lions in a positive way.

Yesterday the Lions beat the  Chicago Bears 34-30 in Chicago. Helping the Lions playoff cause both the Arizona Cardinal and  Los Angeles Rams lost moving the Lions to one game out of the playoff picture.

After getting blown out in four of the teams last five games, things seemed bleak for the Lions. The team had sunk to the NFC North cellar. While the “same ‘ole Lions” showed up for the first three quarters vs the Bears, somehow through the defensive struggles the team fought it’s way back into the game.

The same defense that has looked suspect for much of the season (yes that is a very kind way to put it) came up with a huge fourth down stop to seal the Lions win at Soldier Field.

There is no way to know for certain if the Lions do make the playoffs Bevell will get the head coaching job, that will be up to the new general manager when they are hired.

One thing is for sure the next four weeks will be very tough games for the Detroit Lions to win. The team plays the Green Bay Packers next Sunday at Ford Field, followed by games against the Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings.

One thing that could help is that only the Titans are on the road. The other three games are in Detroit.

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – SEPTEMBER 20: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions celebrates a touchdown during the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 20, 2020 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

So the Lions are in the playoff race. Only in 2020 could this sort of season happen.

Baseball America unveils the Detroit Tigers top 10 prospects

Founded in 1981, Baseball America covers the game at every level. The popular publication which is released bi-weekly focuses on high school, college, Japan and minor league prospects. Baseball America is a go-to resource for MLB scouts, general managers and players themselves. The publication just released their list of top 10 Detroit Tigers prospects. Some names fans know and some new names have made the list.

The newest edition of Baseball America has a player all Detroit Tigers know well, top prospect Spencer Torkelson on the cover

The young Tigers corner infielder has unseated Casey Mize as the organizations top prospect. This after a 2020 season in which Mize made his major league debut.

While Mize is still on the list of top 10 Detroit Tigers prospects he has been passed by fellow starting pitcher Tarik Skubal. Skubal also reached the major leagues in 2020 and flashed some promising outings to give the Tigers and the fan base a look at the bright future for the left handed pitcher.

DETROIT, MI – JULY 18: Isaac Paredes #19 of the Detroit Tigers looks on during the Detroit Tigers Summer Workouts at Comerica Park on July 18, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

It should be noted the Tigers did have three prospects drop out of the top 10.  Shortstop Willi Castro, catcher Jake Rogers and pitcher Franklin Perez. The three players who exited the list opened the door for new faces.

The Detroit Tigers top 10 prospects now reads as such:

1. 1B/3B Spencer Torkelson (n/a)

2. LHP Tarik Skubal (3rd)

3. RHP Casey Mize (1st)

4. RHP Matt Manning (2nd)

5. OF Riley Greene (4th)

6. 3B Isaac Paredes (5th)

7. C Dillon Dingler (n/a)

8. OF Daz Cameron (7th)

9. OF Daniel Cabrera (n/a/)

10. RHP Alex Faedo (6th)

DETROIT, MI – JULY 06: Dillon Dingler #79 of the Detroit Tigers looks on while waiting to bat during the Detroit Tigers Summer Workouts at Comerica Park on July 6, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

The draft saw the Tigers organization bring in hitters. Not just hitters but big time hitters as well as fill positional needs within the organization. Now armed with a top five minor league system and having the No. 3 overall pick in next summer’s draft, the Detroit Tigers future is looking much brighter.

In selecting a new head football coach the Detroit Lions must look for these key ingredients

With the recent departure of former Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia, much was brought to light about what Patricia did not do during his time on the Lions sidelines. The list is long and I do not feel like rehashing. That said, with the organization now searching for a new general manager and a new head football coach here is what I feel the Lions need to look for.

Whoever is chosen to be the Detroit Lions next head coach, that person must be flexible. Flexible in terms of schemes as well as in-game changes when things are not going well. That is one of my biggest issues I had with Matt Patricia. He simply refused to change anything during a game. He was going to stick to the game plan come hell or high water. Most of the time the water was over Patricia’s head.

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 24: A general exterior view of Ford Field as fans line up to enter before the game between the Detroit Lions and the San Diego Chargers at Ford Field on December 24, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Chargers 38-10. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/Detroit Lions/Getty Images)

Understanding. The next head coach in the Motor City needs to have a clear understanding of every situation, not only gameday, but in the practices and film studies leading up to a game. Understanding other teams weaknesses as well as creating mismatches and exploiting them. That is another area Patricia struggled in mightily.

The one characteristic the new Detroit Lions must have in my opinion is strong leadership. A team can never and will never have or develop a winning culture unless the main leader is strong. Strong leaders also command the respect of players, assistant coaches, front office personnel and owners. Good leaders are willing to listen to others for the greater good.

First and foremost the Detroit Lions need to hire a new general manger. That said the front office needs to be doing homework on possible head coaches. There needs to be open discussions and finally an agreement on all sides.

For an organization that is about to rebuild yet again, the next step is critical.


The Star Wars franchise loses another original cast member as David Prowse passes away

From the very first time Darth Vader walked onto movie screens in 1977, fans were roped in. Former bodybuilder and strongman competitor David Prowse was the man inside the Darth Vader costume while the character was voiced by James Earl Jones. Yesterday, David Prowse died at age 85. He joins Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) Kenny Baker (R2-D2) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) as original cast members who have passed away.

Yesterday, Star Wars actors took time to remember David Prowse with nothing but love, adoration and respect for many described as a gentile giant.

British actor David Prowse on the set of Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back directed by Irvin Kershner. (Photo by Lucasfilm/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
The stars of ‘Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back’ attend a photocall outside the Savoy Hotel, London, 19th May 1980. Left to right: Harrison Ford, David Prowse, Carrie Fisher, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew and Mark Hamill, 19th May 1980. (Photo by Alisdair MacDonald/Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)Mirror/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

For those of us blessed to be raised with Star Wars as our childhood backdrop, it is a sad time. Another actor is a film franchise that is so endearing has passed away.

As a young kid in 1977, I did not know weather I should cheer, scream in horror or run for the exit when Darth Vader walked on screen. I ended up riding it out, although my initial thought and impulse was to run for the hills screaming the whole way.

At 6′ 6″ and built like a sheet of muscle David Prowse, was perhaps the perfect choice to bring the iconic Darth Vader to life. As imposing a figure as Prowse was he was equally as gentile according to those who knew him best.

It is never fun when a person dies. But those of us who grew up seeing the original Star Wars films in their first theater run’s was pure magic. We grew to know the actors and actresses names and talked about them like they were close friends or family members.

For Star Wars cast members I am sure it is a sad time and time to reflect on a person who they knew better than any fan could. For Mr. Prowse family I’m sure it is an even sadder time.

British actor David Prowse on the set of Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back directed by Irvin Kershner. (Photo by Lucasfilm/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

For us fans, it is sad as well. But we are grateful to get a glimpse of the skills David Prowse brought to Star Wars.

One thing the Detroit Lions need to do in order to move the franchise forward

I have been a Detroit Lions fan since 1980. That makes me a bit of a Lions historian. I’m not bragging nor am I trying to brag. It just comes with time served as a Lions fan. During that time I have seen a lot of bad football, moments of good football while great football has been mostly absent. There is a reason for that, let’s dig in.

Detroit Lions running back Billy Sims receives a hand off in a 23-7 win over the Chicago Bears on November 22, 1981 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

When I first began watching the Detroit Lions they had just drafted Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims from the Oklahoma Sooners. Sims would be the featured player for the Lions until a knee injury ended his playing career. Did you catch that? Billy Sims was the Lions featured player. No other name. One guy to carry the entire team. The question is would Sims have had a career ending knee injury if there were others to help out?

Barry Sanders, he of some of the most jaw-dropping moves I or anyone has ever seen. He was a human highlight reel. This time the Lions sort of came to their senses and also drafted wide receiver Herman Moore. Together Sanders and Moore brought the Detroit offense more balance than it had had before. Yet, two players are not enough to get a team to a championship.

DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 18: Wide receiver Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions celebrates after catching a six yard touchdown reception against the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter of the NFL game at Ford Field on October 18, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Bears 37-34 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Calvin Johnson, here is one of the best wide receivers the NFL has ever had. The Lions reverted back to their bad ways and did not put anyone around him. Like Barry Sanders, by the age of 30 Calvin Johnson had had enough and retired. Figuring the Lions would not bring in enough talent to seriously compete.

For current Detroit Lions owner Shelia Ford Hamp, she has taken over a team with some talent. No really. Even though former head coach Matt Patricia could not figure out how to make it all work there is actually more than one player to set the Lions up for a positive future.

Kenny Golladay, T. J. Hockenson, Taylor Decker, D’ Andre Swift, Amani Oruwarye and a few others, give the Lions some young base talent for the next general manager and head coach.

Yes the Lions are going to rebuild. But the players listed are building blocks. It will be interesting to see the process they franchise takes moving forward. But the cupboard is not bare.

Detroit Lions owner Shelia Ford Hamp delivered on her word, general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia have been fired

How will the Bob Quinn/ Matt Patricia era be remembered in Detroit?  Disheveled?  Uninspired? Ill-equipped? How about disconnected? The answer may just be all of it. Certainly the two former New England Patriots empolyees were in over their head from day one and it snowballed from there. Today Detroit Lions owner Shelia Ford Hamp pulled the plug and fired both general manager and head coach.

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 29: Detroit Lions Vice Chair Sheila Ford Hamp watches the pregame warms ups prior to the start of the game against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on December 29, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

By cutting ties, Shelia Ford Hamp has bought herself and the organization she owns time to collect her thoughts and come up with a strategy on what direction she would like to see the Lions go in next.

Ford Hamp knows what she does not want in her next head football coach. She does not want someone who struggles to communicate in the locker room, in the film room, and then come up with some odd-ball game plan.

General manager Bob Quinn has failed time and time again in the NFL draft. Quinn has been consistent at missing the mark in free agency as well. But the biggest mistake Bob Quinn made was bringing in his friend Matt Patricia to coach the team.

The Detroit Lions never looked ready to play and next to never did the team make adjustments in games let alone week to week. Shelia Ford Hamp can do something her father and mother could not do during their time as Lions owners. She can bring a winning culture and team to Motown.

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – DECEMBER 30: General manager Bob Quinn of the Detroit Lions walks across the field before the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 30, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

After last season both Quinn and Patricia were given a win or else mandate by Ford Hamp. At 4-7 on the season the Lions owner had seen enough to know it was time to make a change. Hats off to her for doing so during the season which does not happen often in sports.

As the Detroit Lions will now surely be holding daily meetings as to what is next, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has been appointed interim head coach. Ford Hamp is planning on using Len Perna and Turnkey Sports to help with the GM and head coach search.

Firing Quinn and Patricia had to be done. The next move is important as is the rebuild that will follow.

While the Detroit Pistons, Red Wings and Tigers are all rebuilding the Detroit Lions need to join them

Enough is enough! The Detroit Lions fans base is loyal to a fault. But, even the fan base is angry, it is time the Lions end the Bob Quinn/ Matt Patricia era now. It has not worked and is not working. The Lions have regressed every season under the duo’s time in Detroit. The Lions like the Pistons, Red Wings and Tigers need a total makeover.

I have put this down in a blog entry before and will do so now, the Detroit Lions have been in a rebuild since 1957. Yikes! For 63 years Lions fans have watched and endured some awful football, sprinkled with teases of decent football. The decent has been far and few between the awful.

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 29: Detroit Lions Vice Chair Sheila Ford Hamp watches the pregame warms ups prior to the start of the game against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on December 29, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Detroit Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp said “I think the overarching thing is that we want to see major improvement,” when she took over ownership of the franchise. Breaking news to Miss Hamp there has been no improvements. None, zero, zilch.

The Detroit Tigers and Red Wings came to the understanding the general managers who put winning teams on the field and ice were no longer bringing in the top talent needed to sustain that level of play. Both teams changed general managers and entered complete rebuilds and both have bright futures. The Detroit Pistons also joined the Tigers and Red Wings in the rebuild and by all accounts the Pistons suddenly look like a basketball team on the rise.

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 29: Detroit Lions Executive Vice President & General Manager Bob Quinn watches the pregame actives prior to the start of the game against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on December 29, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Green Bay defeated Detroit 23-20. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

A new general manager and head coach are needed at Ford Field. That means current players will need to go so the new regime can put whatever system they want to run in place. That may mean moving on from longtime starting quarterback Matthew Stafford.

The Lions have not advanced with Stafford under center, though that is absolutely not all on him. But, that must be factored in when any possible new GM and coach take over.

Back to Sheila Ford Hamp she needs to show that she is true to her words and also acknowledge that no improvement has taken place. It is time for a change for the Detroit Lions.


Detroit Pistons general manager Troy Weaver is retooling, reshaping and rebuilding the team

There is no way around it. The Detroit Pistons have joined two other Detroit sports teams (Tigers and Red Wings) by officially entering a total or very near total teardown and rebuild. New Pistons general manager Troy Weaver was very active this past week first with the 2020 NBA draft and then free agency. The Pistons gutted the bulk of the teams roster, now youth is being served in Motown and that is just fine.

Whenever and new general manager takes over a team he generally begins to make changes to meet his idea of a successful roster and even coaching staff. The Detroit Pistons are already fortunate to have a very good head coach so Dwane Casey was not going anywhere.

That did not stop Weaver from taking an axe to most of the Detroit Pistons roster. During the 2020 NBA Draft the Pistons entered the draft with just one pick at No. 7 overall. Weaver then weaved some magic and the Pistons had two more first round draft picks.

When the dust had settled, Bruce Brown, Tony Snell, Luke Kennard, Thon Maker, as well as others were jettisoned off. A few players survived Troy Weaver’s purge.

Gone is the bulk of a roster that struggled both as a group and as individuals to fine consistency on the court. Enter a young roster with more athleticism than the Pistons have had in recent years.

With any roster change over there are risks. Players may not pan out. Players may not quite live live up to scouting reports. However, Troy Weaver did the right thing. Get as many draft picks as possible and roll the dice a few players will pan out.

This is at the heart of any teams rebuild. The Detroit Pistons had a nationally praised 2020 draft. The players selected have high upside with as expected a few red flags. That did not stop nor should it have Weaver from going through with some big daring moves.

SALT LAKE CITY – OCTOBER 4: Troy Weaver of the Utah Jazz poses for a portrait during NBA Media Day on October 4, 2004 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2004 NBAE (Photo by Kent Horner/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Detroit Pistons are the talk of the NBA. Troy Weaver has deconstructed a roster that by and large failed. He has begun to put players together that are both young and athletic.

It will be interesting to see this group of Pistons players grow and mature both next season and beyond.

Detroit Red Wings prospect Jonatan Berggren is stepping up his game

For any rebuild to be deemed a success a lot of draft picks are needed but more important, players selected in the drafts must pan out. It is a given not every player drafted will make it to the NHL. The Detroit Red Wings, Jonatan Berggren is a player that being drafted buy the organization in 2018 is a case of a prospect taking the next step which should prove good for the Red Wings.

At just 5 feet 11 inches there is a lot of hockey in Jonatan Berggren small frame. Who’s scouting report indicated a solid player was in there and just needed time to come out. Coupled with a few injuries it took perhaps a tad bit longer to show why the Red Wings drafted him, yet Berggren is now showing it on a more consistent basis.

PLYMOUTH, MI – FEBRUARY 15: Jonatan Berggren #17 of the Sweden Nationals skates up ice with the puck against the Finland Nationals during the 2018 Under-18 Five Nations Tournament game at USA Hockey Arena on February 15, 2018 in Plymouth, Michigan. Finland defeated Sweden 5-3. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)*** Local Caption *** Jonatan Berggren

Currently playing in the Swedish Hockey League, Jonatan Berggren is playing at a better than a point a game clip. In 17 games played Berggren has four goals and 15 assists. 

When the Detroit Red Wings drafted Jonatan Berggren it was for his well known ability to be a a play-maker. The smallish forward’s game is well rounded. His combo of speed and skill makes him dangerous in the offensive zone while Berggren’s defense is solid as well.

Given the growth Berggren’s game has seen, it is very possible the Red Wings will bring him back to Detroit in time for training camp whenever the NHL figures out the logistics of how the 2020-21 season will be played.

“Playing in the NHL is something I’ve been thinking about, and dreaming of since I started playing,” Jonatan Berggren said recently. “And now I’m closer to realizing that dream than ever. It’s all about that final push. And if I think about all the work I’ve put in to be able to try to make that push. It has all been worth it.”

The work Jonatan Berggren has put in is about to pay off for him and the Detroit Red Wings will be the beneficiaries of the young forwards improved play.