Columbus Blue Jackets: NHL refs

Embed from Getty Images To error is human. We have all heard that phrase at some point during our life. NHL referee’s unfortunately take that phrase to a whole new level of bad.

Last night in game one of the Columbus Blue Jackets vs Washington Capitols, playoff series. There were bad calls and flat out no calls both ways. They were in short a joke.

Blue Jackets, winger Josh Anderson, checked a Washington player hard and was called for a 5 minute game misconduct and ejected from the game. Upon further review it was just that a good hard check. Not the boarding call the referee’s cast upon him.

I’m not going to miss the COUNTLESS tripping calls that did not get whistled. Then there was Washington Capitols, defensmen Tom Wilson’s lunge (which by NHL rules is a game misconduct and automatic ejection) at Columbus center Alexander Wennberg’s head what was the call? Charging . A player gets hit in the head and the referee’s call a charge?

The NHL has in my opinion a monumental problem. For a league that beats the player safety drum the referee’s they employ are horrible. And that is putting it kindly.

I really think the NFL needs to either fine or suspend ref’s who miss a call that costs a team a loss or a player who sustains an injury as a direct result of blowing calls.  They have been horribly bad this entire season. Something must be done.

The NHL, is embarrassing it’s self.

Detroit Red Wings: Blashill

Embed from Getty Images Last week when the Detroit Red Wings announces general manager Ken Holland, would return media and fans turned attention to head coach Jeff Blashill.

Ken Holland, recently said that Blashill, would indeed return to his post on the Detroit bench. This was met with a mix of emotions from the Detroit Red Wings, fan base.
While it is absolutely true Blashill, makes some head scratching moves at times. He has transformed the Red Wings, into a two way team and the Wings young players took big steps forward.
What needs to happen is a couple of things. The team must get stronger on the forecheck. They also must form an identity. That is squarely on Jeff Blashill’s shoulders.
I’m not disappointed or surprised Blashill was brought back given the improvement in Detroit’s younger players. Fans should stop complaining and wait to see how this plays out.
With off season conditioning and the NHL draft. Ken Holland doing what he does best scouting. The Red Wings rebuild is worth keeping track of. I know that most fans do not want to hear that. But it is going to be ok. The Detroit Red Wings are close to being good again.

Detroit Tigers; the Candy man

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Tigers made the tough yet expected call last season to begin a time-staking rebuild. In a trade with the Chicago Cubs, they got a player who should be a staple for seasons to come. Jeimer Candelario.

He can hit. He always could. The problem was where would he play in the field? Third base? First base? Let’s start with hitting. Candelario, is very fluid and has tremendous bat control. He has shown himself above average.

He does not hit for a ton of power. So that leads me to believe he is not an ideal first basemen. He has a very good arm and has improved his off season conditioning that has brought him very good lateral quickness. Third base should be his main-stay.

He should handle the hot corner for some time to come at Comerica Park. Jeimer Candelario fights off pitches until he gets one to his liking.  He should hit .300+. What fans should keep and eye on this season is his defense.

It kept him from seeing the field in Chicago but has turned around and he has played well in the young 2018 MLB season. I have watched and he makes difficult plays and his throws across the diamond have been spot on. It will be interesting in a few seasons to see if Isaac Peredes plays third base and Candelario moves to first.

Detroit Tigers: prospect profile Alex Faedo

Embed from Getty Images He was drafted out of the University of Florida last season by the Detroit Tigers. For good reason. Alex Faedo, can be an above average starter or a flat out nasty closer.

First let me get this out of the way. The Detroit Tigers, have a pitching surplus. They are developing them the right way. When the smoke clears and the rebuild is complete. The Detroit pitching staff will rival the early 1990 Atlanta Braves pitching.
Alex Faedo, will be one of the guys who will be counted on heavily. For good reason. He is electric. He stands 6’ 5” and is a four pitch athlete. He touches 95-96 mph with his fastball. Alex’s slider comes in at 87 mph while his change up has been clocked at 81 mph.
He is currently In Lakeland Florida with the Flying Tigers, working on developing a curveball. The Tigers are excited that he can be a very solid second starter in the rotation or be a closer. He offers something no other Detroit pitching prospect offers, flexibility.
Whichever they elect to use him he will excel. He does an excellent job at keeping walks to a minimum. Alex Faedo, is a strikeout machine. He has very good command of the strike zone and should not need much priming in the minors.
One thing he does need to cut down on at times he tends to fall off his delivery which cause the baseball to miss low. Something I’m sure they will help him brush up on in the minors.
Faedo, is a big piece of the rebuild going on in Motown. Before long he will be a fan favorite. I for one am looking forward to seeing Alex Faedo in action at Comerica Park.

Detroit Lions: too buddy, buddy

Embed from Getty Images In any sport it is a very good thing when everyone is on the same page. Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn have brought that to the Detroit Lions. But is it too much?

As soon as the Lions hired Matt, all we heard about was not only how close he was to general manager Bob Quinn from days gone by in New England as part of the Patriots organization. But how close the two co-workers families are.
They have been seen everywhere together seemingly joined at the hip if you will. Which begs the question can coach and general manager be too close?
It is both human nature and healthy to have disagreements on issues. That opens up communication. If two people never disagree it’s not always bad.
I dare say if they work together day in and day out (which they do) and they have a history together (which they do) then they truly could just be of one accord. Great!
In my opinion this is good in free agency. The coach should have a say. But ultimately the general manager should make the final call. The same process is true in the NFL draft.
In the end it is not a bad thing the two are friends. In fact it is kind of refreshing. As the Detroit Lions prepare for this year draft. We will see what they’re minds have come up with as a way to help push the team forward.

Detroit Red Wings: shocker

Embed from Getty Images What seemed like a slam dunk sure fire ending turned into a surprise when the Detroit Red Wings brought general manager Ken Holland back on a two year extension.

 

In a move that both shocked and angered Red Wings fans Chris Ilitch has picked Holland to finish the rebuild he started. It actually may not be a bad idea. Here’s why.

For starters young players stepped up. Dylan Larkin showed he is ready for a job anchoring the first line. Young Winger Anthony Mantha grew as well as left wing Tyler Bertuzzi. Other young players showed they are ready to help out as well.

This speaks volumes for Holland and the player development  Detroit has in place. Now the hard part comes. It would seem like having a bunch of draft picks would be a great place for the Wings to be in. Holland and his scouting department must be spot on in this years draft in order to speed the rebuild up.

As for owner Chris Ilitch he seems to be signaling he wants a veteran to spear head a difficult rebuild.  In his time before he was a general manager Holland, was a top amateur scout. He is getting back to his roots as he plans to go and personally scout players. In my opinion that is a very good move.

After all is said and done Ken Holland was only given a two year deal. Perhaps, they want to keep him on a short leash. There is still a lot of work to be done. The Detroit Red wings lack an impact player and goalie Jimmy Howard will be 34 years old entering next year and on the last year of his contract. With no goalie help in sight.

Only the Red Wings front office brass knows if head coach Jeff Blashill will be back. Based on player growth I’d say he will.

 

 

Detroit Tigers: prospect profile Christian Stewart

Embed from Getty Images He is the best power hitting prospect in the Detroit Tigers minor league system. He can hit for both power and in the gap. Christian Stewart is on tract for Motown.

 

He was a compensation draft pick when the Tigers lost free agent pitcher Max Scherzer, to the Washington Nationals in 2015. Stewart ,played his college baseball at the University  of Tennessee. He was a gap hitter at Tennessee , who transformed himself into a power hitter.

 

Throughout playing in Erie, Pa with the Seawolves, Christian Stewart cut down his strikeouts and improved his walk. At 6′ 0″ hes not a prototypical power hitter. He has a compact swing and can pull the ball.

Even though Stewart, Has a good eye at the plate his is aggressive that is what makes him on the fast track for Detroit. His defense lacks as he does not have very good range. His arm is strong enough and he doesn not make many errors.

Given he bats left-handed he fits nicely in Detroit’s long term plans when the teams rebuild is done. Because he lacks range I have to believe he projects as a corner outfielder.

Christian Stewart, had a very solid spring training in Lakeland Florida, with the Tigers. In the end he was sent to Triple A Toledo, and will get some at bats with the Mud Hens. Christian Stewart should make it up to the show this season.

He is a very nice  “compensation” player the Detroit Tigers should be able to count on for a while.

 

 

Columbus Blue Jackets Bobrovsky

Embed from Getty Images He is one of the top goalies in the world. He is a two time Vezina Trophy winner (best goalie.) The Columbus Blue Jackets hope Sergei Bobrovsky  is about to become a playoff rock.

 

For all of his achievements Sergei, has yet to help his team make it out of the first round of the playoffs. Before it is even a thought. Yes other players need to step up as well. It is after all a team game.

Bob, as he is known to everyone in the hockey world is one of the best regular season goalie. He is a highlight reel in and of himself. Yet, when the Blue Jackets make the playoffs his play goes down. A lot. It very well could be a confidence issue. Or the fact playoff hockey in much more intense that regular season games.

Sometime goalies need to get in there a few times to get the timing down. Because this is the first time in franchise history the Columbus Blue Jackets, have made back to back play appearances that may go along way in help Sergei Bobrovsky get over his playoff funk.

The Blue Jackets have one of the NHL’s young and deepest bluelines. Not to mention they are a very solid group. This years playoff birth finds the Blue Jackets pitted against the Washington Capitols. This should be a very interesting match up. As Bob is 7-10-4 lifetime vs the Caps.

Soon the hockey world will know if the struggles are confidence related or something else. Or if Bob is indeed ready to take the next step. If he does the Columbus Blue Jackets will be one step closer to being a Stanley Cup championship caliber team.

Bobrovsky’s contract is up next season. This years playoffs may determine if he gets and extension or if the Columbus Blue Jackets choose to move on.

Detroit Tigers in Gardenhire we trust

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Tigers rebuild is under way. Young players are in the lineup and others will be called up from the minor leagues throughout the season. General manager Al Avila, tabbed Ron Gardenhire as manager to over see the project.

Ron Gardenhire, a baseball lifer who has been there and done that. He is well respected around the league and all of his former players have nothing but glowing words and love for him. Given his work with young players it was a great hire by the Detroit Tigers.

There are plenty of young prospects in the Tigers system who will soon by the Motown. Under Gardenhire’s watch they will be ready for the daily challenges that each day presents. Former Detroit skipper Brad Ausmus seemed lost at times and unprepared other times.

Gardenhire, is a notorious stickler for doing things the right way and honoring the game of baseball and it’s history. He has gone on record as saying “we may or may not win a lot of games. But, I’ll tell you this we will be prepared.”

That is very good to hear. I feel the Detroit Pitching prospects will shine when they get to Comerica Park. Because Gardenhire will have it no other way. That should make Tigers fans happy. It is yet another reason to follow the team during this learning period known as a rebuild.

Columbus Blue Jackets: The Breadman

Embed from Getty Images  During the 2017 NHL playoffs the Columbus Blue Jackets struggled to score goals against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Blue Jackets general Jarmo Kekäläinen, set out to find a difference maker.

The talented young Columbus hockey team had a year earlier made a trade that brought Brandon Saad, to the team from the Chicago Blackhawks. He achieved all-star status and seemed to be on his way to greatness.
Then in the playoffs he disappeared. For large chunks of time. He looked lost and was benched by head coach John Tortorella who is known for benching anyone who is not giving their all including veterans and star players.
After the season team president John Davidson, Tortorella and Kekäläinen all pointed out that Brandon Saad needed to step up. Then they traded him back to the Blackhawks.
This time the return was far greater. Artemi Panarin, who had played with the great Patrick Kane, and excelled. He is a great hockey talent. Who has taken off in Columbus.
Upon his trade he was asked if his success was due to playing with Patrick Kane. He looked less than thrilled with the question. He replied that he is his own player and CBJ fans would be happy.
That is an understatement. Panarin who’s nickname is The Breadman, has lived up to scouting reports. He has become a fan favorite and is a human highlight reel ever Blue Jackets game. From the outside it seems to me Panarin, chose to prove he did not need Kane to be great. Instead, he came to Columbus and made the players around him  better. The sign of a great player.
Now with the team in back to back playoff appearances for the first time in franchise history you get the feeling Panarin will not disappear for any stretch of time during games.