Adam Erne is a player who last season broke out of the mold that saw him as what I’d described as Abdelkader 2.0. For sure Kooleus will let you know that he was on that one from the beginning. Another season is ahead and it’s a chance for him to prove that he can make the best of increased opportunity. He had an interesting quote, “if we don’t think we can make the playoffs, we shouldn’t be here”. I get where he’s coming from (was a response to The Athletic). You want them to have that attitude. Most of you know that I don’t think this is the year. If you look at this division, you have Boston, Tampa Bay, Florida, Montreal, Toronto, Florida, Ottawa and Buffalo. Buffalo, yes, Detroit should definitely be better than them this year. Ottawa? I think the records will be similar. The rest of the group is in a mode where if they miss the playoffs, jobs will be lost. Montreal won’t have Carey Price off the bat (or Shea Weber possibly at all) so they could slide. Boston, Tampa Bay and Toronto are probably your top 3 in the division. Florida should be close. If you look at the Metropolitan division, you’ve got Pittsburgh, Washington, Carolina and the Isles all looking to lock down the top three. New Jersey and New York, with a fully open schedule, could have some strong seasons with all the talent they’ve added. Those are 6 teams in that division that should all outperform Detroit. Columbus and Philly could have a rough run. I’m just not sure that Detroit can even grab a wild card spot with all these teams in the same division. If we moved to the Pacific, maybe.
One final thought, journalists try to get quotes that back up a theory they want to hold on to. At the end you’ll hear about a minute of questioning regarding Joe Veleno. Someone really wants the sound byte of a player saying that Joe should/could be on the roster. Then the quote can be pasted without the context saying, “Erne thinks Veleno should be on the team”. Etc. i feel bad that Erne had a career year and has to spend that much time talking about someone else.
Seider - Max Bultman from the Athletic is probably my favorite voice in the Q and A. He just seems to be able to ask questions in a way that really gives insight into the player and their game. Seider was a fantastic mixture of humble and hopeful. He referred to making the opening night roster as “the dream”, but also said, “I don’t want to put myself before the team”. Meaning that he wants the best roster on the ice, period. He acknowledged everything so well, and with fantastic focus. It’s hard to believe he’s barely 20. He could well be wearing an “A” some day. So many younger players struggle with these scrums, and he’s fantastic. A trip back to 2019, and remember that he interviewed with all 31 teams. He wanted the experience, so he put himself in that position. He talks a bit about working with Kronwall, and trying to absorb information from veterans. Hard not to like this kid more and more.
Nedeljkovic - very cool interview. Bob Duff asked about the difference in playing for Carolina as opposed to Detroit. Ned gave the answer you want to hear, “no difference. The job was to stop pucks there, and the job isn’t to stop pucks here”. Of course, I think it will be an adjustment. Carolina’s talent and defensive commitment is at a very high level. Detroit will take another step forward this year, but I think he’ll face more high danger chances. He also said something that will stick with me, “the goal is to win a Stanley Cup”. It’s easy as a blogger to sit back and say where the team will probably land. But, at the same time, you want the players going out with belief in what they can accomplish. The Cup is the goal, for sure. I believe Nedeljkovic is going to be an important part of getting back to that mindset and reality. Mentally, as fans we prepare for some tough stretches. If the players did that, it would be a disaster. Erne, Seider and Ned put the priority down there. They want to win. I believe the team will improve, but the East is a beast. Still, they are doing what we want them to do. Change the mindset and change the results. Very good interviews from all three. Enjoy!