2021-22 Detroit Red Wings season preview: The Wings are coming

The Detroit Red Wings lead by General Manager, Steve Yzerman have been in rebuild mode for a few years. But many of the big pieces for the Red Wings future are in the organizations system. While the 2021-22 Red Wings will not be a playoff team they will show that the rebuild is headed in the right direction. The team will give up fewer goals while earning more wins all by showcasing the teams future.

DETROIT, MI – JANUARY 18: Filip Zadina #11 of the Detroit Red Wings shoots the puck during warm-ups before an NHL game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Little Caesars Arena on January 18, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

One of the worst kept secrets in the NHL is Steve Yzerman is very good at drafting players. Yzerman is so good at drafting that during his time as the Tampa Bay Lightning’s GM he sped up a long rebuild. Fast forward to Detroit, where Yzerman has you guessed it, sped up the Red Wings rebuild by simply drafting well.

Yzerman is putting on a “how to” rebuild clinic. The past three season have been and brutal ones as far as on-ice product and production go. That has been by design. As Steve Yzerman and the Red Wings scouting department have gone to work. Now the trajectory of the roster and management are on the uptick.

The 2021-22 Detroit Red Wings will give a clear look into the future. As Yzerman has been collecting pieces as well as prospects and trades for the past few years that will begin to show fruit this season.

For this reason the Red Wings will show improvement. It will not be eye-popping, no playoffs or competing for the Stanley Cup, the Red Wings will show more competitiveness as a result they should show a jump in the standings to demonstrate the organizations improvements.

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 22: Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider (53) during the second 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)

I understand, Detroit Red Wings fans do not want to go through another long season. That is what the 2021-22 season will be as far as wins losses go. However, this season should be the last long one for  a while.

Steve Yzerman has done a masterful job at rebuilding the Detroit hockey team, it is about to pay off in big ways.

Fourth round draft pick, Derrick Barnes is set for a larger role with the Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions General Manager, Brad Holmes continues his purge of former Lions GM Bob Quinn’s roster. This time linebacker Jamie Collins has one foot out of town as the Lions announced they are shopping the linebacker and looking for a trade partner. Enter fourth round draft pick Derrick Barnes, the former Purdue Boilermaker is set to make a bigger impact on the Lions starting Sunday.

DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 27: Detroit Lions linebacker Derrick Barnes (55) during the Detroit Lions vs Indianapolis Colts preseason game on Friday August 27, 2021 at Ford Field in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Detroit Lions are not only one of, if not the youngest teams in the NFL, are set to get both younger and more athletic with Derrick Barnes in the lineup. Jamie Collins is a good linebacker, this is not a slam on him. Collins simply does not fit the vision of the Detroit Lions front office and coaching staff.

Derrick Barnes enjoyed a standout preseason. So much so that he left both fans and the Lions coaching staff to wonder what more he could offer. Now he gets his chance. It appears that Barnes will play most if not all the Lions base defensive packages. Linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin will enter games in nickel situations.

Other than his speed and explosiveness to the point of contact, Barnes’ ability to drop back in coverage, is what the Detroit Lions coaching staff likes about the young Barnes who is also a film junkie, he studies opposing teams and then applies what he finds during film sessions.

For the Detroit Lions who are rebuilding, and adding more speed and athleticism to the roster, giving Derrick Barnes a chance to show what he can do in an expanded role is what is best for both player and organization.

Brad Holmes and the Detroit Lions had a very solid 2021 NFL draft. To date six players drafted have all seen playing time. This is what Holmes has been known for.

Detroit Lions linebacker Derrick Barnes (55) reacts after a play during the first half of an NFL preseason football game between the Detroit Lions and the Indianapolis Colts in Detroit, Michigan USA, on Friday, August 27, 2021. (Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

As for Derrick Barnes, his time has come. It is up to him to show he can stick in a larger role. Popular thought is he will.

The Michigan Wolverines football team has put the Big Ten on notice

It is not the fact the Michigan Wolverines football team has started the season 3-0. They have done that often over the past few seasons. In fact Michigan has looked good enough to beat anyone the past few seasons and then cracks in the foundation appear and the football team falls back to earth. The start of this season feels different, it feels different because it is.

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN – SEPTEMBER 28: Christian Turner #3 of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates his third quarter touchdown with offensive coordinator Josh Gattis while playing the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Michigan Stadium on September 28, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh brought in new coaches to help breathe life into the football program. The moves are paying off. Michigan’s defense looks like well Michigan again. The offense looks unstoppable.

The Michigan Wolverines running game is moving the ball at will. A big credit goes to the offensive line who are blowing would be defenders off the ball and opening running lanes. Critics have said Michigan needs to pass the ball more. In yesterday’s blowout win against Northern Illinois the Wolverines aired it out for 233 yards.

Offensive coordinator Josh Gattis, now in his third season of play calling has found his groove. When Gattis arrived in Ann Arbor from the Alabama Crimson Tide football program, he insisted Michigan’s offense would resemble Alabama’s in terms of getting speed in space.

It has taken the Wolverines two seasons to get here, but now players and coaches are on the same page. Michigan is getting players in space and allowing athleticism and speed to do damage. Making the Wolverines look like one of the Big Ten Conference’s better teams.

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN – SEPTEMBER 18: Blake Corum #2 of the Michigan Wolverines looks to get around the tackle of Eric Rogers #12 of the Northern Illinois Huskies during the first half
at Michigan Stadium on September 18, 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Sure the schedule as some tough games upcoming. If this was last season or the one before it would be sketchy at best to think Michigan could beat a Penn State or Ohio State. Now it seems like the Wolverines can win those games.

From week one to yesterdays win, Michigan is opening the offensive playbook more. They have established a dominate running game. Now they are getting the passing game cranked up. Meanwhile the Wolverines defense is stout and looks to be ready for stiffer competition.

San Francisco 49ers vs Detroit Lions game recap

There was bad, there was awful, there was some good sprinkled in and a rally that fell short. Just like that the Detroit Lions 2021 home and season opener came and went. The Lions had eight new players on offense and four newcomers on defense. The team also have a new head coach and coaching staff and a new general manager. No other NFL team has undergone more substantial changes.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – SEPTEMBER 12: Jamaal Williams #30 of the Detroit Lions carries the ball against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half at Ford Field on September 12, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Let’s dive right into the bad. I mean there is no sugarcoating it. The Lions defense is bad. Bad may be a kind word to use. Former Lions head coach Matt Patricia was viewed as one of the problems of the defense. That simply is not entirely true. The Lions gave up 31 first half points to the 49ers.

New Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff looked, well bad and lost at times. To be fair the Lions roster is void of playmaking wide receivers. Still Goff is a good deep ball passer and did not attempt very many deep passes.

Some good news 2021 Detroit Lions draftee Derrick Barnes played well. The young linebacker played well and made some very nice tackles. Barnes looks like a player who should see more playing time until he cracks the starting lineup. If he continues to play well his time should come quickly.

One unit that was viewed as the Lions strength lived up to the billing. The offensive line. They opened running space for the backs. The Lions ran for 116 yards a marked improvement over the past several seasons. Second year player Jonah Jackson and rookie Penei Sewell stood out. Both players held their own vs a 49ers defense that is one of the leagues best.

ALLEN PARK, MICHIGAN – JULY 28: Detroit Lions head football coach Dan Campbell speaks with the media before the Detroit Lions Training Camp on July 28, 2021 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

The Lions had a late flurry and almost pulled off a comeback. The team showed fight and fought until the end. That is something head coach Dan Campbell vowed when he took the head coaching job his team would do.

Rebuilds are not fun and losses mount. But if the Detroit Lions can come away with positives and fight until the end, the losses will be easier to take.

Detroit Lions: Jared Goff and General Manager, Brad Holmes are not tied together

As far as the NFL goes there is a rule of thumb. That rule of thumb is that quarterbacks are tied to general managers. Meaning, when drafted or signed as a free agent or even traded for, the general manger (GM) and his job security is directly tied to the quarterback that is brought in. When Detroit Lions general manger Brad Holmes traded longtime starting quarterback (QB) Matthew Stafford and received draft picks and Los Angeles Rams starting quarterback Jared Goff many believed Holmes and Goff were tied together. I do not view that as the case here is why.

ALLEN PARK, MICHIGAN – JULY 28: General Manager Brad Holmes of the Detroit Lions looks on during the Detroit Lions Training Camp on July 28, 2021 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

No matter if Brad Holmes is true to his word (no reason to think otherwise) and he and the Detroit Lions were happy to get Jared Goff in the blockbuster trade or if Goff was a salary dump by the Rams, it does not change the fact Goff is now the starting QB in Detroit.

Due to his contract Goff will need to be on the Lions roster at least two years before the team can move on if that is what they choose. That said, I do not believe Brad Holmes job is in any trouble as long as Goff is the Lions quarterback win or loss.

The Lions are in a rebuild. A rebuild that in the early stages is off to a solid start. Holmes has focused, both his first draft as Lions GM and free agency on building the offensive and defensive lines. Which in my opinion is the right way to build a team.

It is also my opinion that Jared Goff will at the very least serve as the rebuild QB. This can work in the Lions favor. If Jared Goff can recapture his Pro Bowl form he could be a longer-term solution for the Lions who then would not need to use a high draft pick for a quarterback. If Goff’s play continues to decline, the Lions are only on the hook for two years before they can move him.

ALLEN PARK, MICHIGAN – MAY 27: Principal Owner and Chairman Sheila Ford Hamp and General Manager Brad Holmes watch the afternoon practice session on May 27, 2021 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

This is one case I feel where GM and quarterback are not tied at the hip. It is a rare exception dues to the rebuild that is taking place.

What will success look like for the 2021 Detroit Lions

It is nearly here again. The 2021-22 NFL football season which started this past Thursday. For the rebuilding Detroit Lions and a roster that is in transition this will be a difficult season for wins to be found. Losses will be aplenty. That is alright, this will hardly be a throwaway season. The Lions have plenty to play for and that is what the focus should be on. So for this season and most likely next forget about wins and losses. Here is what the team needs to focus on.

ALLEN PARK, MI – AUGUST 10: Detroit Lions Jalen Elliott safety (42), Detroit Lions Alex Brown cornerback (27), and Detroit Lions safety Booby Price (47) wait their turn to run drills during Detroit Lions Training Camp on August 10, 2021 at Lions Practice Facility in Allen Park, MI (Photo by Allan Dranberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The first focal point for the Detroit Lions should be the development of this years draft class. A class that was widely praised as one of the best in the NFL. Lions General Manager, Brad Holmes, really made a mark with the solid draft class.

Many of the Lions draftees showed themselves very well during preseason games. Many people would argue it was just preseason. But young players are made or broken in preseason games.

Next the Lions need to focus on compete level. While the team will loses more than they win, they need to compete in games. By compete I mean fight and keep fighting until the final tick of the clock. Do not give in, do not give up.

The final focus for the 2021 Detroit Lions is to show improvement in December. Why December? Well the season will be nearing the end. It is also enough time for young players to establish themselves in terms of growth. There still will not be many wins, but more importantly young players stepping up into a more defined role and gaining more playing time is much more critical that wins.

LANDOVER, MD – NOVEMBER 24: A Detroit Lions helmet rests on the field before the game between the Washington Redskins and the Detroit Lions at FedExField on November 24, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Sure there are other things that the Detroit Lions can and perhaps should focus on. In my opinion development, compete level and improvement late in the season are the most pressing focal points that can lead to a bright future.

PlayStation announces the remake of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

In what started out many years ago as a roleplaying game, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic which was made for Xbox and released for PC and mobile devices is getting a makeover. Star Wars fans are thrilled. The announcement was made yesterday.

A Sony PlayStation 5 home video game console and DualSense controller, taken on October 29, 2020. (Photo by Olly Curtis/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic allows game users and players to to either serve the light side or dark side. The game gave birth to some new  characters who fans quickly identified with.

“KOTOR” is what fans refer to Knights of the Old Republic as is getting a total remake. Could there be more behind the game remake? Like say live action shows or full length featured films, this in my opinion is something to keep a close eye on.

Not long ago Star Wars books released The High Republic. A book series that has gained popularity with each book release. The High Republic and Knights of the Old Republic are in the same timeline.

It could be that plans are to work the stories together. Or keep it as is. The safe bet is that fans of KOTOR who have wanted to see the games characters come to life will get some wishes fulfilled.

After all Darth Revan is widely popular within Star Wars fandom as are other Sith such as Darth Malak and Darth Nihilus. There is so much Disney/Lucasfilm could do with these characters that would please fans.

A Star Wars: A New Hope movie original lightsaber used by Luke Skywalker and valued between $150,000 to $200,000 that will be auctioned on December 13 at the Paley Center for Media, by the ‘Profiles in History’ auction house in Calabasas, California on December 6, 2018. (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Until then, the satisfaction of an updated Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic will keep fans attention. After the game comes out what comes next could set the fan base in total euphoria or cause a rift. There is no need to add more games to the already two game story.

But, perhaps films and other merchandise would be a good start.

A new rumor suggests that Disney is planning a new Star Wars trilogy

It’s only a rumor….. it’s only a rumor….. it’s only a rumor. Keep that in mind when reading and sifting through what is about to be presented to you. Den of Nerds, over at Youtube, who have excellent sources and have never missed the mark dropped a bombshell. It seems that Disney understands the mess they have on their hands with the widely disappointing Star Wars Sequel Trilogy would like to right the ship.

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 26: A view of Kylo Ren on display as part of a Star Wars themed holiday window at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street Store on November 26, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

It seems that “The Rise of Skywalker” may not be the last story in the Skywalker Star Wars arc. That is just fine with me. What is interesting is that Den of Nerds says that the show will focus around Ben Solo/ Kylo Ren. How? After all he died.

Kylo Ren was 100% the best part of the Sequel Trilogy. The character returning would be an interesting move after all he seemingly died. But then again Emperor Palpatine seemingly dies in “Return of the Jedi.”

But then again there is that whole cloning thing. I’m not going to deep on that right now. Also, in what now appears to be more than a rumor it seems that a Finn series is in the works. Which seems likely. Finn actor John Boyega swore off any return to Star Wars shortly after the release of “The Rise of Skywalker.”

HOLLYWOOD, CA – DECEMBER 14: Actor John Boyega attends the World Premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at the Dolby, El Capitan, and TCL Theatres on December 14, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images)

Then a bit later Boyega changed his tune and said he would not mind a return at some point. It was about that time a Finn series was rumored to be in development. Not only is a Finn series getting more real by the day, but it seems that Disney is planning other Sequel Trilogy stories as well.

This seems to signal Disney is trying to right the wrong  as seen by the fans. Time will tell if the rumor is more than just that at least at the moment. But again, Den of Nerds has a very solid track record with these sorts of things.

Can Jack Roslovic be a top line center for the Columbus Blue Jackets

As NHL training camp is about two weeks away, the Columbus Blue Jackets have some serious work to do. At the top of the training camp list is finding a top line center. At the moment the reshaped Blue Jackets roster is void of any such vital position player. It is being widely speculated the team is going to give a long look at Jack Roslovic to see if he can step in and step up.

COLUMBUS, OH – FEBRUARY 2: Patrick Laine #29 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates after the puck during the game against the Dallas Stars at Nationwide Arena on February 2, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

With newly drafted centers Kent Johnson (heading back to the University of Michigan) and Cole Sillinger (could be headed to the Cleveland Monsters) not expected this season in Columbus, the Blue Jackets still have a major issue at center. Both Johnson and Sillinger are projected to be very good NHL players, but first development must take place.

Jack Roslovic, who can play center and in fact did so for the Blue Jackets last season has never been viewed as a player who can handle the top line. Yet, that is what the Blue Jackets need. They also need a center who can feed the puck to Patrik Laine.

There is a lot of pressure playing on the top line in the NHL. After all that is the line that is supposed to lead the way in terms of goals and minutes played. One thing that Jack Roslovic will have going for him is he will have Jakub Voracek (right wing) and Laine (left wing) on either side of him. That can do nothing but help the young Roslovic.

Playing two minutes per game longer than he did the season prior with the  Winnipeg Jets (2019-20), Roslovic tied his NHL high with 12 goals and set career marks with 22 assists and 34 points.  Offense is not really an issue for Roslovic.

On defense however, Roslovic was a bit of a hot mess as was his alarming struggles in the faceoff circle. To be fair he did improve a bit on faceoffs late in the season. But, in today’s NHL top line centers are expected to be solid two-way players.

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 04: Jakub Voracek #93 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates with the puck against the Washington Capitals during the first period at Capital One Arena on March 4, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

His growth into a top line center has a lot of variables to it. First, Roslovic needs lean into his work ethic and work his tail off. Secondly, Blue Jackets head coach Brad Larsen and his new system must be solid to give the young center an chance to grow his game. Assistant coaches will be counted on heavily.

It is not ideal, but this is what the Columbus Blue Jackets are going to see through, one way or another.

With the release of “Senjutsu” Iron Maiden show why they are metal’s best

Iron Maiden established themselves as one of the most original metal bands to date. While most heavy metal bands focus on doomsday material, Maiden found footing diving into subjects like history, war, God, Satan success and failures. The band took the COVID shutdown of sports, entertainment and may other things to record a new album. “Senjutsu” released 9/3/2021 has immediately taken it’s place as one of Iron Maiden’s best albums, ever.

Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden during OZZFEST 2005 at the PNC Arts Center in Holmdel – July 26, 2005 at PNC Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey, United States. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)

Iron Maiden is and always has been a fearless band that never repeats the bands past accomplishments. Always looking for new material both in song writing as well as musically.

With “Senjustsu,” Maiden has top themselves yet again and show why there is no threat to them losing the crown as metals best band. The album is long ( 1 hour and 21 minutes) it dives into a of a rang of subjects such as “The writing on the wall” which has an Old Testament feel to it. “Days of future past” which looks at the end of the world.

While the band has successfully found a new sound (again) the album’s spotlight is on lead singer Bruce Dickinson. Dickinson who survived a cancerous tumor on the back of his tongue in 2015. Shows absolutely no ill effects from the cancer or from the treatment he endured.

Musically, Iron Maiden has never and I stress never sounded better. “Senjustsu” is a more free sounding album than than many of the bands past material.

From the opening track “Senjustsu” until the finale track “Hell on earth,” Maiden is at their best. Standout tracks are difficult to identify as each track holds it’s own.

As a big fan of Iron Maiden, it is both exciting and rewarding it is also a  privileged to have “Senjustsu” to listen to.  It is a must have for Maiden fans everywhere or metal fans. If you just want good music to listen to you could do worse.

DONNINGTON PARK, ENGLAND – MAY 31: Iron Maiden perform live on stage at the “Download Festival” on May 31, 2003 in Donnington Park, Derbyshire, England. (Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images)

Iron Maiden’s “Senjustsu” is so good that upon it’s release it joins such Maiden classics such as “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son,” “Somewhere in Time,” “Powerslave” and “The Number of the Beast” as the best Iron Maiden albums. The album also cements Maiden as metal’s greatest band ever.