Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Detroit Red Wings.
The Detroit Red Wings finally got what they wanted last season with the league’s realignment: A move from the Western to Eastern Conference. That gave them a far more favorable travel schedule and the chance to play against some classic rivals more frequently.
Now in the new Atlantic Division, Detroit got off to a 6-2-0 start, but they hit some rough patches, due in large part to injuries. Forwards Johan Franzen, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Stephen Weiss were among those that missed substantial chunks of the season.
In the end, it was the rise of promising young forwards Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, and Riley Sheahan that helped the team squeak into the playoffs and extend the franchise’s streak of postseason appearances to 23 seasons.
Detroit didn’t do much once it got to the playoffs as Boston dismissed the Red Wings in five games, but the campaign can still be viewed as a step in the right direction as far as their rebuilding effort goes.
The larger issue at this point is if the Red Wings will be able to lure talent to help compliment their rising young players and have at least one more serious playoff run with 33-year-old Zetterberg and 36-year-old Datsyuk before they’re slowed down by age.
Detroit used to be a choice destination for free agents, but that hasn’t been the case in recent years and this summer was no exception. Detroit wasn’t able to sign a single noteworthy defenseman and instead brought back Kyle Quincey at a cost of $8.5 million over two years.
With the Red Wings largely unchanged from 2013-14, they will enter the season as contenders for a playoff spot once again, but some serious question marks remain.
One of the driving forces behind the NHL’s growth over the last decade is moving on.
John Collins, who’s served as the league’s chief operating officer for the last seven years, will be leaving his post to embark on a new business opportunity.
More, from the League:
Collins, who joined the NHL in November 2006, had been COO since August 2008.
“John leaves a lasting mark,” said Commissioner Bettman. “His energy, creativity and skill at building strategic partnerships helped drive significant revenue growth for our League. We are grateful for his many contributions and wish him the best in his new endeavors.”
Said Collins, “I’m grateful to Commissioner Bettman for his leadership and friendship over the past nine years. He had a vision for extending the reach of the NHL and supported us completely as we set out to make the game as big as it deserves to be.
“The NHL’s future is filled with promise and potential and I will admire and cheer the League’s successes to come on the global stage.”
Collins, 53, was regarded as one of main presences behind a number of the NHL’s most successful initiatives, including the Winter Classic and Stadium Series, the HBO 24/7 collaboration, the relaunched World Cup of Hockey, Canadian and American television deals and partnerships with companies like SAP, Adidas, Major League Baseball Advanced Media and GoPro.
During Collins’ tenure, the NHL was twice named “Sports League of the Year” by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily — once in 2011, and again in 2014.
Columbus will have some reinforcements up front when it takes on the Devils tomorrow in New Jersey.
Brandon Dubinsky, who’s missed the last six games with an elbow injury, and Alexander Wennberg — who’s also missed the last six games, but with a foot ailment — have both been activated from injured reserve, and should be available for selection on Wednesday.
The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.
Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.
The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)