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Gaudreau joins Eichel as latest additions to USA’s Worlds roster

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Another big score for USA Hockey on Friday.

Calgary forward Johnny Gaudreau — whose season ended earlier Wednesday with a playoff sweep at the hands of Anaheim — told reporters today he’d be joining Team USA for the upcoming World Championships in Germany and France.

Gaudreau’s announcement comes just days after another big name — Buffalo’s Jack Eichelalso agreed to join the squad.

All this makes for a pretty intriguing roster.

USA Hockey has adopted a youth movement, selecting collegiate players like Notre Dame goalie Cal Petersen (a Buffalo draftee), Boston University forward Jordan Greenway (a Minnesota draftee), Notre Dame forward Anders Bjork (a Boston draftee) and Daniel Brickley, an undrafted free agent out of Minnesota State-Mankato.

In addition to those, some quality NHL youngsters are also in the mix: Noah Hanifin, J.T. Compher, Andrew Copp and a pair of prized Arizona prospects — Christian Dvorak and Clayton Keller. Detroit sophomore Dylan Larkin will also suit up for the Americans.

The 2017 Worlds get underway on May 5.

 

 

USA Hockey names 15 players to Worlds roster

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USA Hockey named 15 players to its initial World Championship roster today.

It’s a mostly young group, including NHL prospects Jordan Greenway (Wild), J.T. Compher (Avs), and Cal Petersen (Sabres).

But there are also some veterans, the oldest being Jimmy Howard, 33, of the Red Wings.

Here’s the full list of 15:

In case you’re wondering, Daniel Brickley is an undrafted 22-year-old. Despite drawing significant NHL interest, he decided to return to school for his junior year next season.

The 2017 Worlds will be held May 5-21 in Cologne, Germany, and Paris, France. The Americans will be coached by Jeff Blashill.

Detroit owner gives Holland vote of confidence

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With only one playoff series win over the past six seasons, and their streak of consecutive playoff appearances coming to an end this season at 25, it would not be terribly unfair to say the Detroit Red Wings have become a little stagnant.

That does not mean you should expect any drastic changes to the team or the management team in charge of constructing it.

Owner Chris Ilitch said on Tuesday that he has “100 percent confidence” in general manager Ken Holland, giving him a vote of confidence and all but assuring he will be back in charge of the team next season.

“We are all disappointed in this season — from an ownership perspective, I know Ken Holland is disappointed, our coaching staff is disappointed, and I know the players are disappointed,” said Ilitch, via Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. “Having said that, we have 100 percent confidence in Ken Holland. He is an excellent general manager and executive vice president.”

Holland will also decide the future of coach Jeff Blashill, and it seems that he also will be back for a third season behind the team’s bench.

Even though the Red Wings fell short of the playoffs and haven’t had much success in the postseason in their recent appearances, Holland has already said that he has no intention of tearing the team down and going through a full-scale rebuild, saying back in January, “To me, rebuild means eight to 10 years, and there are teams that have made the playoffs one year in 10 while rebuilding.”

Blashill said in March that the Red Wings are committed to keeping their winning culture.

Given that the Red Wings are moving into a new building next season it is not a huge surprise that they want to remain competitive. But actually being able to do it with the current in place is going to be quite a challenge.

Scoring two goals on final day of season was a ‘huge relief’ for Riley Sheahan

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The 2016-17 season couldn’t have been easy for Red Wings forward Riley Sheahan, but at least he managed to finish it off on a positive note.

Going into the final game of the season (last game at Joe Louis Arena), this edition of the Wings knew they had failed to make the playoffs for the first time in over 25 years and Sheahan still hadn’t found the back of the net.

But at the 7:09 mark of the opening period, Sheahan finally managed to get himself on the board. With less than three minutes remaining in the third frame, he did it again and that one proved to be the final goal at Joe Louis Arena.

“It was a huge relief,” said Sheahan, per MLive.com. “Unfortunately, it came a little late but I think the guys rallied pretty hard tonight and we ended off this final season at The Joe with some good effort.

“It’s kind of a blur. (Frans Nielsen) made a great play on the first one. I just found a little patience and got a good shot off. The second one was just kind of a good bounce there through the crease and I had a wide open net.”

In his previous two seasons, Sheahan had scored 13 goals (79 games) and 14 goals (81 games). His shooting percentage was 10.6 percent in 2013-14 and 10.9 percent in 2014-15. This season, he finished with a 1.8 percent shooting percentage.

It’s fairly obvious that his confidence took a significant hit this year, but don’t be surprised if his shooting percentage climbs closer to 10 next season.

Red Wings say goodbye to Joe Louis Arena in style

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Despite having their streak of consecutive playoff appearances recently snapped, the Detroit Red Wings still bid farewell to Joe Louis Arena in style on Sunday.

The Red Wings closed the doors of their aging home arena since 1979, their home for four Stanley Cup titles and a wealth of memories over the years, with a 4-1 victory over the visiting New Jersey Devils.

And of course, why break from another tradition?

Riley Sheahan, early in the first period, finally snapped his scoring drought after going an astounding 79 games without a goal this season, and Detroit continued to a season-ending victory from there.

Wouldn’t you know it: Sheahan scored Detroit’s fourth goal and the final goal at Joe Louis Arena.

Henrik Zetterberg, playing in career game No. 1,000, all with Detroit, also had a goal and an assist in the win.

Next season, the Red Wings move into their new home — Little Caesars Arena.

But Sunday provided an opportunity for former Red Wings legends and fans of the team to have one final moment with The Joe.

“I thought it was a great building to play in,” Lightning GM and Red Wings great Steve Yzerman told NHL.com. “Every time you stepped on the ice for a game, you were always excited to play the game. It just had a really nice atmosphere in there. It was beautiful in its simplicity.”