The Detroit Pistons summer league is ramping up

Embed from Getty Images It starts soon in Las Vegas. A collection of young NBA players looking for development time and to sharpen they’re game. For the Detroit Pistons fresh off a first round series loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Pistons are looking for young talent to begin showing signs of taking the next step.

Svi Mykhailiuk who had a great showing at the summer league last season will be looking for a repeat performance. 2019 Pistons first round draft pick Sekou Doumbouya who just signed a contract on July 4 is one of the players Detroit Pistons coaches and front office will be watching closely.

At 6′ 9″ can dunk with ease. The Pistons need to find out how he handles getting acclimated from basketball in Guinea to hoops in the U.S. His mix of size and athleticism with a sweet shot may make it hard for Detroit to keep him on the bench. They will find out more very soon.

Khyri Thomas joins Svi Mykhailiuk , in needing to prove to the Pistons they are indeed a part of the teams future. Point guard Bruce Brown will be one of the players Detroit counts on next season. Brown is working on cleaning up his shot selection and shooting this summer.

This is an important time for players just draft as well as players on the roster bubble for any team. For the Detroit Pistons who are looking to take the next step, this summer is critical to find out what young players can be counted on.

After the 2019-20 NBA season the Pistons have a lot of contracts coming off the books. Which means they can and most likely will dip into the free agent pool. That means it will become more difficult for players to make the final roster. Competition is a great tool. The Detroit Pistons are in good position to begin to join the NBA elite very soon.

Star Wars: what is going on with the Death Star in “The Rise of Skywalker?”

Embed from Getty Images Could it be Yavin 4? Could it be Endor? That is what fans first thought was when “The Rise of Skywalker” teaser trailer was  finally released. There is a clear shot of Rey looking out at a chunk of what is could be the second Death Star from 1983’s “Return of the Jedi.”

In a new book from famed Star Wars author Timothy Zahn, “Thrawn: Treason, the book may and I stress may offer some clues. An excerpt from the new new book has been released and Star Wars fans now know, Palpatine, Thrawn, Director Krennic and Grand Moff Tarkin were together. Palpatine put Thrawn in charge of a massive project.

Perhaps the Yavin 4 or Endor is the wrong thought. What if Rey went somewhere else entirely like where the very first Death Star protocol was? What if the very first Death Star either was not up to standards and crashed as they worked on perfecting it? Or it was complete and it was destroyed to get rid of evidence?

Those rabid Star Wars fans also know that as part of cannon, Emperor Palatine and Thrawn have a close connection. Thrawn also helped get the First Order up and running. The same First Order that is chasing Rey and company.

It is also known Thrawn has extensive knowledge on many unknown regions. Including Jakku. Which all leads to a very interesting question, With Thrawn’s deep history and place in the Star Wars universe, with Emperor Palpatine seemly set to make an appearance in “The Rise of Skywalker,” Could Grand Admiral Thrawn also make an appearance?

That would please a very scared fan base. It would also set up what could be the next wave of Star Wars stand-alone films. The Thrawn trilogy. I know I said trilogy right after stand-alone. Disney/Lucasfilm could break the films up into three stand alone films and not run an entire trilogy.

Whatever happens, the plot has thickened. That is the great thing about Star Wars in my opinion, it lets the imagination run wild.

Detroit Lions legend: Cory Schlesinger

Embed from Getty Images During his 12 NFL seasons 11 with the Detroit Lions, Cory Schlesinger never ran for more than 154 yards in a single season. He never had more than 466 receiving yards in a single season, during his career Cory Schlesinger scored 14 touchdowns rushing and receiving. Yet, Schlesinger may be one if not the best draft picks in the history of the Detroit Lions.

Cory Schlesinger, a fullback drafted was drafted in the sixth round of the 1995 NFL draft. Schlesinger knew his job  was to block for Barry Sanders through the second half of Sanders’ career, including his 2,053-yard season in 1997. It did not matter that Schlesinger had seven carries that season for 11 yards.

During his playing days the Detroit Lions had some  bad Lions. In 2003, Cory’s numbers were   16 yards and 34 catches for 247 yards. He was named MVP of the Lions offense. A rare award for a fullback to be sure.

Cory Schlesinger, was one of the biggest fan favorites during his playing career. Fans loved his passion and the way he went about his job. Detroit is  Blue Collar city. So was Schlesinger’s playing style. In fact, Cory Schlesinger’s jersey can still be spotted at Ford Field during Lions game days.

Cory Schlesinger gave everything he had on the field. Making him not only a Detroit Lions fan favorite, but an icon of the team and a Detroit Lions legend.


Detroit Red Wings: The Yzerman way

Embed from Getty Images Steve Yzerman  worked wonders for a rebuilding Tampa Bay Lightning team and organization. He did it through shrewd trades, contract buyouts and outstanding draft picks. Yzerman has recently said he does not believe you can build a team through free agency. So how does one of the best general managers in sports build his team for prolong success? Let us take a closer look.

To see how Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman is building the Detroit Red Wings, we need to look at the Tampa Bay Lightning roster. Doing this will give a strong indication of where he is taking the Red Wings.

Much like when he took over the Red Wings, Tampa Bay had some nice young players who are now the core of the Lightning’s roster. Steve Stamkos was already in Tampa when Yzerman arrived. That is a nice place to start. Defensive star Victor Hedman was also there.

Yzerman then got to work. One of the best at drafting hidden talent. Yzerman quickly amassed outstanding talent which aided the Lightning’s then rebuild. One thing Steve Yzerman did not do, sign big name free agents. Why not? The reason is free agents give a quick fix, much like a band-aid. Free agents do not equate to long term success.

Yzerman is a big, huge believer in team chemistry. Allowing young players the opportunity to play and grow together. After all, that is what Yzerman was exposed to when he played for the Red Wings.

Detroit has already let young players gel together. Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi, Anthony Mantha, Dennis Cholowski, Filip Hronek. Those players have all been together for two seasons. So soon to be Red Wings Joe Veleno and Filip Zadina will add to the Red Wings offensive fire power.

Yzerman struck again in his first draft as Red Wings GM. Taking Moritz Seider in the first round. Many fans and media were caught off guard. Last week at Red Wings developmental camp Seider stood out. In a good way mind you. He skates very well for a big man and is able to create in the offensive end Seider looks like the franchise defenseman the Wings so desperately need.

It is safe to say, once Yzerman has the young players he deems to be ready to take the next step, he will add bigger name free agents. It is also safe to say he will not sign any big name free agents. Yzerman as good as he was as a player (see NHL Hall of Fame) does not want the drama some players bring.

Right or wrong, Yzerman has a solid history of putting Stanley Cup caliber teams on the ice. This is what has come to Motown.

The Detroit Red Wings have faith in goalie Filip Larsson

Embed from Getty Images Filip Larsson is preparing for his first pro season with the Grand Rapids Griffins. If it is anything like his final two seasons as an amateur, the Griffins and Detroit Red Wings fans will be delighted.

Playing at the University of Denver,  Larsson went 13-6-3, with a 1.95 goals-against average and .932 save percentage. Previously, Larsson was named USHL goaltender of the year by the league’s general managers, going 18-10-0, with a 1.65 GAA, .941 save percentage and seven shutouts for Tri-City, in what was described as one of the best seasons by a goalie in USHL history.

Detroit Red Wings fans wonder is Filip Could Larsson arrive in Detroit in 2020-21? He insists he is only focused on getting better. His numbers suggest that will not be an issue.

Larsson has progressed each season since the Red Wings drafted him in the sixth round in 2016, particularly with his hands and stickwork. Larsson said he’s working with Red Wings goalie development coach Brian Mahoney-Wilson which has helped a lot in his development.

“I played good at every level the last three years, so I think to get that next step is just going to be fun and I’m ready to take that,” Filip Larsson said. The fact that Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman did not make a move at goalie sends a clear signal Filip Larrson is the goalie of the future.

At just 20 years old, the young goalie has made waves in hockey inner circles. Teams asked about him in potential trades. The Red Wings said no and were wise to do so.

Last summer, Larrson missed development camp because he was still recovering from an injury suffered in February 2018. He had surgery last September.  He is in Detroit this summer for prospect camp.

Filip Larsson said he plans to go back to Sweden after development camp wraps up Saturday, and then return in a month to train. One of his goals is to prepare for facing better shooters

Detroit Lions Kenny Golladay ready to breakout

Embed from Getty Images Kenny Golladay, is fresh off a 1,000 yard season and entering his third in the NFL. Golladay, a third-round pick in 2017 out of Northern Illinois is ready to take his game to the next level and the Detroit Lions offense will only benefit from it.

In the 2018-19 NFL season Kenny Golladay had one of the quietest 1,000-yard receiving seasons last year. Mostly because the Detroit Lions were learning a new coaching system. Golladay has shown improvement each of his seasons in Detroit.

Golladay sure seems like he is quarterback  Matthew Stafford’s favorite target. Now, headed into his third pro season as the team’s top wideout, and it would not be a stretch to suggest Kenny could   reach 1,200-1,300 receiving yards this season.

Slowly but surely  Golladay has learned to use his size and ability to create separation on defensive backs. Being one of the more dangerous wide receivers Golladay will certainly get more opportunity to flash his skills.

Last season Detroit began to give Kenny Golladay more plays. He delivered. Now it looks as though the Detroit Lions are prepared to make him the centerpiece of the offense. Which is a good thing.

The Lions would like to run the ball. Successful running games open up the passing game. With Marvin Jones Jr and Golladay on the outside, Golladay should be one on one more often. Which will lead to big plays for the Lions offense.

Kenny Golladay, is one of the top young players in the NFL. This season he is ready to take the next step. Odds are he will.

Joe Veleno thinks he can play for the Detroit Red Wings this season

Embed from Getty Images “I do, I think so,” Joe Veleno said. “For any guy here, it’s a big opportunity. Detroit’s in a big rebuild and there’s a lot of open spots. I’m definitely taking that into consideration and giving it my best to play on the team next year.” Responding to the question if the young center feels he can make it to Detroit at some point this season.

After spending the last four years in juniors, 19 year old Joe Veleno is confident he can take the next step. That next step will most likely see Veleno start the 2019-20 season in Grand Rapids with the Griffins.

Rewind for a moment to the 2018 NHL draft. Joe Veleno was widely viewed as a first round 10-15 draft pick. He fell all the way to #30 in the first round. Then Detroit Red Wings general manager, Ken Holland made an easy call.

Joe Veleno understands his season will start in Grand Rapids, in the AHL. It will allow him to adjust to the pro game away from the pressures of the NHL. If he adjusts well, he could be summoned to Detroit.

Development camp is underway at Little Caesars Arena. This is the time for prospects to show how much they have grown and where they’re placement could be. The five-day event kicked off with a dinner highlighted by a speech from Steve Yzerman, two months into his reign as general manager.

Veleno said Yzerman’s speech was centered on the fact the Red Wings are in a rebuild and there are open roster spots to be won. “He was telling us there are going to be a lot of open spots and it doesn’t matter if you’re a first round draft pick or a camp invite, everyone is battling for a position,” Veleno said.

Veleno wrapped up his junior career with 104 points in 59 games for Drummondville in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Solid number to be sure. Joe Veleno said he is going to work on  how to create time and space for yourself and how to make plays at a higher pace.

It will be interesting to how Joe Veleno develops this summer and upcoming season.

How I evaluate talent

Embed from Getty Images I was asked how I evaluate talent recently. While I am absolutely not a trained scout, I do have a firm understanding of skill, sports IQ and how a potential prospect fits the dynamics of a team. With that said, I will walk you through how I identified Moritz Seider as a good draft pick for the Detroit Red Wings.

The first thing I look at are strengths and weaknesses. Moritz Seider’s strengths are: Skating, decision making and defensive awareness. While his weakness is puck control. So as you can see strength outweighs the weakness. That is a plus.

Next it is a bit more involved, I try to weed through (in this case) NHL potential. Which means a lot of Youtube. Player highlights, complete games and spotlight (on that prospect only.)


Moritz Seider, is a big, mobile and very smart two-way defenseman with few weaknesses. Seider plays a mature game with strong and consistent defensive decisions. Offensively, his vision allows him to be a very good passer and he is also good at getting his shot through. As you can see in the highlight provided by Youtube.

Seider’s best attribute is his hockey IQ. . He can anticipate plays, sometimes two steps ahead of his opponents,  his backward speed and mobility allow him to play a tight gap in the neutral zone,  defensively sound and can be relied upon on the penalty kill because of his great gap control,  He recognizes his options when playing the puck and rarely makes an unforced errors.
Moritz is a big. Something the Detroit Red Wings lack on defense currently. Detroit Red Wings general manager, Steve Yzerman made it know he likes to build his teams from the back-end out. With that in mind. A big defensman, Yzerman likes to build defense first. It was easy for me to come to the conclusion Detroit was going defense with they’re first round draft pick. Over the glam names and centers that were still on the board.
Yes the Detroit Red Wings have some very good defensive prospects. In my opinion Moritz Seider is right there with Filip Hroneck at the top of the list for the Wings.
So that is how I identify prospects for the teams I follow.

The Detroit Red Wings 2019 NHL draft: Day 2

Embed from Getty Images April 19, 2019, Steve Yzerman returned to the Detroit Red Wings organization. The only organization he knew during his 20 year Hall of Fame career. When he fielded questions from the media right after accepting the general manager position, Yzerman was asked what his first order of business would be. His answer, “To assess the entire organization and go from there.”

Steve Yzerman’s assessments have become crystal clear. Clearly we was not happy with the current state of the Detroit Red Wings defense. Friday nights first round of the NHL draft saw Yzerman and his scouting department begin to overhaul and reshape the defense.

Starting with first round draft pick Moritz Seider, The Red Wings would continue to add defense. With the first of three second round draft picks Detroit picked Finnish defensemen Antti Tuomisto.  standing 6′ 4″ he is the same size as Moritz Seider.

Tuomisto, is fast he has a powerful stride he reaches top speed quickly with his above average acceleration. Tuomisto is hard to knock off the puck. He absolutely needs to add upper body strength to improve leverage.

Red Wings fans will be happy Antti Tuomisto is an offensive defensemen. He is nasty on the forecheck and is a very good passer, allowing him to quarterback the power play. He needs to polish his defensive skills up a bit. Once he adds some muscle Tuomisto will be very dangerous in the dirty areas. He excels at blocking shots.

With the next second round pick, Detroit went offense. Robert Mastrosimone. In Mastrosimone the Red Wings get a left wing/ center who is a good not great skater. Robert does possess a explosive first step and acceleration. He has some rough aspects to his game that need to be refined.

What Mastrosimone is, is a sniper. He has an above average heavy wrist shot and excellent release. He has very good stick handling ability and is dangerous one on one. His defensive game needs to be more consistent.

With they’re third and final second round draft pick, The Detroit Red Wings selected a prospects I am very high on. Going defense for the third time in the first four draft picks, Detroit picked Albert Johansson.

Albert Johansson is shorter than both Moritz Seider and Antti Tuomisto. Johansson stands an even 6′ 0″.  Albert becomes the Detroit Red Wings best skating defensive prospect. Great speed, great acceleration combined with the ability to pivot crisply allows Albert to transition quickly from defense to offense and vice versa.

Johansson has great stickhandling control has has very good vision up the ice. He is very good at avoiding defenders in the offensive end while above average passing sets up teammates very well.

He possesses a nice slap shot but needs to clean up on accuracy. Johansson’s defensive game is stellar. He has great gap-control and is hard to beat one on one. He is very good at poke check and stealing the puck. He also needs to clean up containing opposing forwards.

All and all the Detroit Red Wings had a very solid second round. The defense is in better shape for years to come.

The Detroit Red Wings select Moritz Seider in the first round

Embed from Getty Images Exhale Detroit Red Wings fans. It is going to be okay. No really. First year general manager Steve Yzerman walked up and announced the pick. Many fans and media were caught off guard. But Detroit picked a very good hockey player.

German defensemen Moritz Seider, is big, 6′ 4″. Seider is fast, his first few step acceleration are well above average. He does need to add some weight and build his core.

Moritz Seider is good along the boards. He possesses a very good arsenal of point shots. He picks and chooses his shots. being a big player he generates power behind his shots. That power will increase as he puts on weight.

On defense Moritz Seider plays a very physical game, he looks for the big hit on opposing forwards. There are times he gets himself out of position by seeking the big hit. With development Seider should be able to clean that up. It should be noted, that as good as Moritz Seider projects to be, he will need time in the minors to clean up his defensive game some.

Being that, a prospect with things to work on, Moritz Seider has high-end upside. He could be a boom or bust type player. But given the success Steve Yzerman has had in the NHL drafts, I lean towards boom.

For Detroit Red Wings fans, patience is needed. I believe it will yield high dividends in a short time. Seider’s game is a mix close to Columbus Blue Jackets defensive players Seth Jones and Zach Werenski.

In the end, I am happy with this pick. Yzerman went big. Because he rarely misses Detroit Red Wings fans can relax. Relax and exhale.