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Quick update - pro hockey rumors posted on article on Detroit’s ability to have the worst record this century (granted it’s only 20 years old) Pro Hockey Rumors
I was a ponderous number. The Florida Panthers with a +15 goal differential but outside of the playoffs. Goaltending had been the issue. That issue has been rectified. Bobrovsky has found his game. And just in time to be a nightmare for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
I loved Detroit’s approach in this game. They were finishing checks, getting pucks on net, and Howard played another very good game. If you believe in balance, these efforts will pay off at some point. The team is sticking up for one another. Hronek has shown that he has a good bit of “nasty” he can bring to the party. Even chiding Frank Vatrano for trying to draw (another) penalty by acting as if he’d been shot and seeking the comfort of a ref’s whistle. Frankie will, most likely, be hearing about his performances from the league.
There are two ways to lose a game. You get beaten by a better team or you get outworked. Florida is a better team. They have developed high draft picks and brought in one of the best coaches in recent history. The investment in Bobrovsky may finally be paying off. Florida could go very deep with this group. For now, they will tussle with Toronto for the 3rd spot in the Atlantic.
The pieces of this game I like: Larkin scores his 100th as a wing, the fourth youngest player in franchise history to do so. Hronek is really taking another step forward in his game. Helm made a lot of very good plays and could be an attractive pickup for a contender pending possible retention. Detroit players were laying on hits. If you are going to lose to a team, make them pay for it physically. Stop being the league doormat. The games after the blowout to the Islanders have seen a greater sense of “team play” and it is a welcome sight.
The unfortunate - Detroit needed to generate more on the power play. The penalty kill was actually fairly effective. Also unfortunate - pulling Howard and giving up that 4th goal. There was really no reason to think Detroit could use the 6th skater at this point. It’s fine to try, but it seemed unnecessary at this point.
This is a team I judge much more by effort than by result. For these 2 games, the effort has been much better. The team is digging in and finding some pride in the way they play. That matters. Especially for a team that somehow ranks 4th in league attendance by numbers nhl attendance
The fans are showing up and that is a blessing and a bit of a surprise. The eye test doesn’t always line up, but considering that Florida, a much better team, is only drawing 13K or 76.3% it is an eye opener. Many clubs have smaller venues and have a higher percentage draw. For instance, Pittsburgh is drawing 18,500 which is more than 100% capacity. Still, Detroit is doing better than “treading water” during the rebuild so far.
Missing Mantha: a clip was shown of Anthony Mantha visiting with Mickey Redmond pregame. Mantha looks distraught. He was having a very good season until the injury at the hands of Muzzin. Ironically, Muzzin is out now with a broken foot. Mantha wants to be part of the team regardless of the record. The big Frenchman loves playing, and is greatly missed.
Trade Stock rising? - with his play of late, Jimmy Howard may be looking more like a good backup option for a team lacking depth headed for the post season. Darren Helm and Luke Glendening both could be attractive depth pieces as well. Helm’s skating and compete are still very high. It’s not “fun” to think about, but it is reality right now. These guys have families and a life here in Detroit. The business side can be a bit rough.
Larkin’s response to his post game interview says a lot about his character. He scored his 100th in a losing effort and focused more on wanting to win than the goal itself. This young man is the real deal, and Detroit found a beauty in a late first round pick.
Detroit will go head to head with the high powered Avalanche on Monday at the Pepsi Center. This trip is another good chance for guys to bond and develop chemistry that will last beyond this season. Check back for a post game write up after that relatively early tilt (3pm EST).
Thanks to everyone who stops by to read and comment. Keep it coming! The trade deadline is inching closer and the opening bell will be ringing soon. We’ll see what assets and picks Yzerman can put together as the season heads to the final 20.
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