Detroit Red Wings: Houston we have a problem

Embed from Getty Images While the Detroit Red Wings have entered a painstaking rebuild. While Wings general manager, Ken Holland has amassed draft picks and shed salaries.

Red Wings notorious for making prospects not named Dylan Larkin play 3 full seasons in the lower levels in order to develop them. There is help on the way. I fully expect Dennis Cholowski to develop into a top 4 pairing defenseman. And a couple others.
But, for me the problem is not with the lower level prospects. It’s with the Detroit Red Wings themselves. In particular head coach Jeff Blashill. He is not leading the young players on the important things. Instead he calls them out to the media. That is no way for a coach to keep a peaceful locker room.
The young Red Wings are not grasping and growing how to play and win. Last week Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg voiced his frustration with young players but was wise to not call the coach out.  Perhaps, Zetterberg should have given a slight nod Blashill’s way.
The Red Wings, will most likely have a new general manager after the season. In a rebuild where teaching young players is of utmost importance it is clear the Red Wings need a new face on the bench. Jeff Blashill must be replaced.
Even if the unthinkable happens and Ken Holland is brought back. It would be best if the Wings went in a new direction entirely. Fans want to see it happen.  We will soon find out if the rest of the front office feels the same way.

Ken Holland’s last stand

Embed from Getty Images His time in Detroit with the Red Wings appears to be running out. Last Saturday his boss and Red Wings and Detroit Tigers owner, Chris Ilitch chose not to give him a vote of confidence while taking in a Tigers spring training game.

However, working to what again appears to be the end Holland pulled off a trade last week and as it stands right now the Red Wings have 13 draft picks in the first 3 rounds of the 2018 NHL draft.
Trading Tomas Tatar to the Vegas Golden Knights for a first, second & third round pick reminded Red Wings fans that despite being on thin ice with fans and team management Holland is still more than capable of improving the teams future.
In a year where there is fantastic talent this is a great year to amass draft picks.
The Red Wings rebuild is in full swing. Suddenly it’s much easier to stomach. The Red Wings will be back to their winning ways soon.

The Detroit Red Wings: The only trade fans want

As the clock ticks on the 2018 NHL trade deadline names familiar to Red Wings nation are being tossed out as trade bait. Tatar, Nyquist, Green and a few others could most likely will be moved.

There is really truly only one trade Red Wings fans want. Ken Holland in exchange for Steve Yzerman. It’s not as unrealistic as it seems.
Last years closing of Joe Louis Arena, brought “come home Stevie” chants from the sellout crowd.  As Red Wings legends lined the fabled arena. There is no way that went unnoticed by Detroit Red Wings and Tigers owner Chris Ilitch.
Yzerman has proven in his time as Tampa Bay Lightning general manager he can build a winner and has a great eye for talent. We can only imagine what Ken Holland, was thinking and feeling as the Joe crowd chanted the guy they view as the savior.
There have been whispers if the Lightning get to the conference finals or skate for the Stanley Cup, Yzerman could make his exit and come back to the city he played in for 20 years. Not to mention a fan base who would greet him with open arms.
Will Chris Ilitch who is a hands on owner be willing to take a step back and allow Yzerman the room to run and improve the Wings? I believe he would. He’s a very smart person and knows like his father before him how to give the fans what they want.
I think if offered the job Yzerman would not think twice as he still live in Michigan during the offseason.

Detroit rebuilds in full swing

Let’s do this Detroit!!

With the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings pawning off players while bringing in marginal players but stocking up draft picks the rebuild is in full swing for these beloved franchises.
Both teams have ample minor league players that can play. I’m the Detroit Red Wings case should play.
The Red Wings who before another trade is made has stock piled nine draft picks in the first three rounds of the 2018 amateur draft. That will help speed things up. Mind you that number is expected to increase to fifteen picks including three picks in the first round.
The Tigers are getting a good close up look at the future during spring training. I don’t think this season will be all doom and gloom as predicted. 72 to 74 wins seems about right. But help is on the way and big time.
Let’s enjoy this rebuild and perhaps pray everything turns out to the teams.

Tigers rebuild is in gear what to watch for this spring

It’s like a broken record. The Detroit Tigers are in a full blown, time needed (aka trust the process) rebuild. As pitchers and catcher report here’s a list of what I’m looking for this spring:
  1. The kids are coming, The Tigers have invited some of their promising prospects to spring training. I can’t wait to see the young pitchers display their stuff that has the Tigers pitching prospects ranked #2 in all of baseball.
  2. Can Castellanos handle the full time move to right field? He’s a big bat big r.b.i producer. But, it won’t matter if he can’t handle the position day in and day out.
  3. Is Christian Stewart destined for DH? Like Castellanos he’s a big bat run producer. But if he can’t field in what most feel will be in Toledo with the Mud Hens it will feel like a wasted draft pick.
  4. New coaching staff is going to have to work magic to blend raw young players with vets who are stuck because of bad contracts. Not necessarily a bad thing. The vets will give the likes of Issac Parades time to settle in as he develops.
  5. The fans need to understand what lies ahead is better than what’s in front of them right now. That’s the fun part for me. Big picture thinking is your friend

 

Detroit Red Wings trade season

It’s here! Finally! The days leading up to a path to a brighter tomorrow for the Red Wings. 2018 NHL trade season.

I full expect Mike Greene, Gus Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, and even Andras Athanasiou to be dealt. It’s also a good possibility Petr Mrazek will go as well. The return will be too much for Ken Holland to turn down.

The Red Wings, already have 9 picks in the first 3 rounds of the 2018 NHL draft. They can add to the number easily. In a year that has one of the best and deepest drafts in a long time.

Mike Greene, will bring in a first rounder. As will Anthanasiou should the Wings choose to move him. Packaged together Tatar & Nyquist would bring in a first plus a prospect.

The Red Wings, should sell. Often and really improve a nice young core of players who will be the Red Wings next wave of playoff contenders. Dylan Larkin is proving himself worthy of a player to build around.

It’s the end of an era. It’s the beginning of an era. I for one am a sucker for how teams are built. The day to day growth and set backs to eventual playoff team.

Bring it on!!

Optimism when there is not much to be optimistic about

February 14 2018, Valentine’s Day, Detroit Tigers pitchers and catchers will report to Tiger town, in Lakeland Florida. The rest of the team will report February 19.

But, there isn’t the usual buzz around Tigers spring training this season. What with a rebuild and many forecasting a less than favorable season for the Motor City kitties.

I however don’t care. For me there is plenty to keep me interested and keep me headed back to Comerica Park.

I was filled with a rush when this week the Tigers announced they are inviting several of the teams top prospects to join them for spring training.

I enjoy watching a team play and have success. But, I find the building process of the team far to interesting. Anyone can root for a winner. I root for the build. No joke. No kidding.

I am watching several Tigers prospects closely this season. As the farm system has grown in strength.

Alex Faedo (pitcher)

Franklin Perez (pitcher)

Beau Burrows (pitcher)

Jake Rogers (catcher)

Have been invited to show where they stand and where the organization will place them.

There are others I will keep and eye on,

Matt Manning (pitcher)

Daz Cameron (center field)

Christian Stewart (right field)

Kyle Funkhouser (pitcher)

Isaac Paredes (short stop)

Gregory Soto (pitcher)

And others give me a very good feeling about where the Tigers are headed in the not to distant future.

So relax. If you have a big picture thought. Think of what the Tigers are going to be. Don’t get stuck in where they are. But while they struggle enjoy baseball. It’s going to be a fairly quick turnaround.

Will the Lions switch to a 3-4 defense?

Assumed new Detroit Lions head coach, Matt Patricia, who is a big fan of the 3-4 defense, and currently runs the system for the New England Patriots. Patricia has had very good results with it. So the question that must be asked is, will he switch the Lions (currently 4-3 defensive scheme) to a 3-4 scheme?

Do the Lions currently have the personnel to make such a switch? In a 3-4, the defense is arranged with a front row of two defensive ends and a nose tackle.

The second line consists of four linebackers that have the ability to move up to the line of scrimmage as needed.

Two cornerbacks as well as two safeties.

There is an issue on the Lions defensive depth chart. They need more beef on the first line. Here’s a sample:

Ezekiel Ansah, DE 6’ 5”, 275 lbs.

A’Shawn Robinson, DE 6’ 4”, 322 lbs.

Jeremiah Ledbetter DT, 6’ 3”, 298 lbs.

Christian Ringo DT, 6’ 1”, 298 lbs.

Akeem Spence DT 6’ 1”, 307 lbs.

Anthony Zettle 6’ 4”, 270 lbs.

I can make a case that currently A’Shawn Robinson and Akeem Spence could play on a 3-4 scheme. With an outside chance of Ezekiel Ansah, if he can consistently rush the passer and stay healthy.

Big linemen are much preferred because they need to fill the gaps. The bigger the player the more gap they fill. I’m not going to worry about the linebackers right now. The defensive line needs fixed first. They secondary is a solid group.

The reason the New England Patriots run the 3-4 so well is they have beef up front. Here’s a sample:

Alan Branch DT, 6’ 6”, 350 lbs.

Malcom Brown DT, 6’ 2”, 320 lbs.

Adam Butler DT, 6’ 4”, 300 lbs.

Trey Flowers DE, 6’ 2”, 265 lbs.

Lawrence Guy DE, 6’ 4”, 305 lbs.

Ricky Jean Francois DT, 6’ 33”, 313 lbs.

The Patriots have the size up front to roll with the scheme.

The good news for the Lions is they have roughly $50 million in cap space. That will help be because it seems highly probable Patricia will want to stick to what he knows and is good at. Which means the Lions would make the switch.

Will there be learning difficulties? Absolutely. No way to sugar coat it. But in the not to distant future, given draft and free agent success, they’ll be a good unit.

So many ifs, ands, or buts. That’s part of the excitement of a new head coach and a GM (Bob Quinn) who actually seem to know what they are doing.

To tank, or not to tank

Tanking in sports is an incredibly fascinating subject. It’s gone on for well quite a while. Why?

Well (and that is a deep subject) there are various reasons this takes place:

1. The team has an aging roster and see top picks as a quick fix.
2. A teams payroll is out of control and it’s a way to get it under wraps.
3. The team is really that bad with no chance of winning so they implement tanking with eyes on the future.
Agents hate it. With a passion. They claim it slows down the free agent market and teams would rather gather draft picks and young prospects for their farm teams.
As a fan of the rebuilding Detroit Tigers I have no problem with the team if the MLB draft is stacked with good talent.
The fact that the Tigers owner Chris Ilitch has poured money into analytics and upgrading all the minor league facilities shows the switching of a mind set. Instead of winning now as his late father Mike Ilitch aimed for. The younger Ilitch has an eye on the future and prolonged winning.
So to the Tigers I say “as long as the scouting is spot on. Tank away. Lose now, win later and for a prolonged period of time.”

Why 2018 & 2019 will not be lost Tigers seasons

While the baseball season is about to kick off with winter caravans and spring training. The thought of a bad bordering on hideous Tigers season leaves fans wondering what’s the point?
Fair question. Let’s start with the fact the Tigers must see what’s in the minors as far talent.
At some point or points during the season Tigers fans can expect to see Beau Burrows, Christian Stewart, Gregory Soto (who I’m very high on) and perhaps Dawel Lugo get a look with the parent club.
Not to mention fans will want to see if Nicholas Castellanos (baring a trade) can continue to improve his bat skills. Not to mention if they don’t trade him what can a fully healthy Michael Fulmer give you.
GM Al Avila,said he believes the arms in the minors will “bring a championship to Detroit in the very near future.” Bold words. Dangerous words if he and the Tigers don’t deliver. The future begins in earnest this season.

I and Tigers fans will be keeping a close eye on the Tigers farm system. It should be fun!