On Larkin, Joseph, Benn, and Supplemental Discipline

Dylan Larkin deserves to be suspended for his punch to Tampa Bay’s Mathieu Joseph on Thursday night.  There’s no place for that in the game.

The problem, of course, is that there’s no place in the game for Joseph’s hit from behind on Larkin that precipitated the punch.  There’s no place in the game for the cross-check to Larkin’s neck from Jamie Benn that ended his season last spring.  Of the three incidents, though, the Department of Player Safety only thought one was deserving of a hearing.

We don’t know that Larkin wouldn’t have punched Joseph if Joseph’s hit on Larkin had been called and play blown dead.  Maybe he was mad enough that it didn’t matter what the officials did.  But we’ll never know, because the officials didn’t do their jobs, just like they didn’t do their jobs last spring.

What we know is that Larkin retaliated and was ejected for it.  What we know is that the Lightning scored twice while Givani Smith was in the penalty box serving Larkin’s major penalty, getting them back in the game when they seemed done.

You could argue that without those goals, it’s a very different game, one that Detroit might have even been able to win.

For Tampa, Joseph’s cheap-shot worked.  It removed Larkin from the game and, after all the power plays shook out, got them one more goal than Detroit.  There is no reason for them not to make that trade every single time.

In a league where protecting its stars is supposedly a priority, Larkin was hit in the neck twice in a span of about 30 minutes of game time with seemingly no punishments to the people who did it. When he took matters into his own hands, it may very well have cost his team the game. That’s a broken system.


Update, 6:05 PM: As expected, the Department of Player Safety announced a suspension for Larkin earlier today.

One game is less than I expected.

Red Wings Name DeKeyser, Staal as Alternate Captains

The Red Wings announced on Wednesday that defensemen Danny DeKeyser and Marc Staal will serve as the team’s alternate captains for the coming season.

They join returning captain Dylan Larkin, who will wear the C for Detroit for his second season.

The pair take over for Frans Nielsen and Luke Glendening.  Nielsen was bought out by the team over the summer and Glendening departed as a free agent for the Dallas Stars.

As I wrote on Sunday, DeKeyser and Staal wore the A for all three of their preseason games and were two of four players that appeared to be in the running to get the alternate captain designations for the 2021-22 campaign.  The other two players were Sam Gagner and Robby Fabbri.

It will mark the first time in over forty years that two defensemen have been assigned letters for the Red Wings.

Wings Announce Initial 2021-22 Roster

The Detroit Red Wings announced their initial roster for the 2021-22 NHL season on Monday, making their final cuts by sending Riley Barber, Taro Hirose, and Joe Veleno to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

The team also announced the termination Bobby Ryan‘s pro try-out, removing him from their roster.

As had been previously announced, Detroit is opening the season with 13 forwards, eight defensemen, and two goalies.

The most notable item in the team’s initial 23-man roster might be the inclusion of 2020 first-round draft pick Lucas Raymond, who practiced with Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi on the team’s top line in preparation for the Red Wings’ season opener on Thursday.

While Ryan and Raymond may not have been fighting for the same roster spot, the fact that Raymond made the team while Ryan didn’t does seem to be a change for the Red Wings.  Under previous general manager Ken Holland, “the tie goes to the veteran” was a common refrain.  Current GM Steve Yzerman could have made room for Ryan at the expense of a number of younger players and the fact that he didn’t may show that veteran status won’t always be the tiebreaker going forward.

In addition to Raymond, 2019 first-round pick Moritz Seider will start the season in Detroit, though this was expected after his breakout campaign in the SHL last season.

One of the Red Wings’ young prospects who had been expected to challenge for a roster spot didn’t make it, with Veleno having been sent to Grand Rapids.  There’s an argument that Veleno could have been picked over Mitchell Stephens or Carter Rowney for a spot on the Wings’ fourth line and but one could also say he’s better suited playing top-line minutes with the Griffins than fourth-line minutes in Detroit.

It’s also important to note that, while this is Detroit’s initial roster, required to be set by 5:00 PM today, there is plenty of time between now and Thursday’s opener for things to change.  Notably, Adam Erne, Givani Smith, and Michael Rasmussen are all nursing injuries.  With only 13 forwards on the roster, a call-up will be necessary if more than one of them is unable to play.

Red Wings Alternate Captaincy Watch

With the Red Wings’ exhibition schedule wrapping up in Buffalo today, we may not yet know what their opening night roster will look like but we do have some data to work with towards guessing who the team’s new alternate captains might be.

With the offseason departures of Luke Glendening and Frans Nielsen, both of Detroit’s alternate captain slots opened up.  The expectation was that the team wouldn’t announce replacements until opening night against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday but it would be a surprise if someone who didn’t wear an A all preseason were handed one to start the regular season.

Nine players dressed as alternates at least once over the Wings’ eight preseason games: Adam Erne, Filip Hronek, Vladislav Namestnikov, Robby Fabbri, Sam Gagner, Nick Leddy, Danny DeKeyser, Marc Staal, and Troy Stetcher.

There doesn’t appear to have been any kind of rotation among those players, where some wore the A for home games and other for road games.  As such, I think we can limit the potential new alternates to players who wore a letter for every preseason game in which they appeared.

That removes Leddy, Hronek, Stetcher, Erne, and Namestnikov from the list.

Fabbri wore the A for all three exhibition contests in which he appeared, as did Staal and DeKeyser.  Gagner was an alternate in all four of his games played.

I think this shows that Detroit’s new alternate captains will be some combination of those four players.

I’m already on the record as thinking that Gagner and DeKeyser will be the new alternates and I hadn’t considered Fabbri at all but I admit that I kind of love the idea of number 14 wearing the A for Detroit again, for nostalgia’s sake if nothing else.

2021 Training Camp Jersey Number Notes

The Red Wings announced their 2021 training camp roster on Wednesday and, following the Tuesday announcement of Bobby Ryan joining the team on a PTO, there were no surprises on the roster itself.

Which means I get to move on to my favorite annual tradition: Analyzing jersey number changes.

Between returning players from last year’s roster, incoming players who had already had their numbers announced, and players whose numbers were revealed by Detroit’s prospects tournament roster, there weren’t a lot of surprises left.

The biggest surprise is probably Taro Hirose switching from #67 to #25.  He’d previously switched to #67 after debuting wearing #53, specifically requesting a number with a seven in it, so switching to a number without a seven was unexpected, to me.

Additionally, Hirose’s switch makes Mitchell Stephens having picked #22 interesting.  Stephens had worn #67 with the Tampa Bay Lightning and seemingly wore it whenever his preferred #27 wasn’t available.  With #27 taken by Michael Rasmussen in Detroit and #67 vacated by Hirose, I’m surprised that Stephens went with #22 instead.

Two players making their returns to the Detroit organization also have some slightly-surprising numbers.

Luke Witkowski will wear #20 in Detroit’s camp after having worn #28 in his first stint with the Wings.  I’d wondered if Gustav Lindstrom would give up #28 but he keeps it, and Witkowski’s usual alternate number #82 went to summer free agent signing Jordan Oesterle.

Dan Renouf had previously worn #77 in Detroit but that number is now assigned to Oscar Plandowski.  In camp, he’d also worn the #20 taken by Witkowski, leaving him switching to the #21 made available by Dennis Cholowski‘s departure.

The full training camp roster is as follows:

Forwards

Num. Name
11 Filip Zadina
14 Robby Fabbri
15 Jakub Vrana
22 Mitchell Stephens
23 Lucas Raymond
24 Pius Suter
25 Taro Hirose
26 Riley Barber
27 Michael Rasmussen
37 Carter Rowney
42 Kyle Criscuolo
46 Chase Pearson
48 Givani Smith
50 Dominik Shine
51 Hayden Verbeek
52 Jonatan Berggren
54 Bobby Ryan
56 Pasquale Zito
57 Turner Elson
58 Cameron Butler
59 Tyler Bertuzzi
61 T-Bone Codd
62 Cooper Walker
63 Jon Martin
64 Luke Toporowski
67 Dennis Yan
71 Dylan Larkin
73 Adam Erne
74 Cross Hanas
76 Tyler Spezia
78 Patrick Curry
79 Kirill Tyutyayev
89 Sam Gagner
90 Joe Veleno
92 Vladislav Namestnikov

Defensemen

Num. Name
2 Nick Leddy
3 Jared McIsaac
17 Filip Hronek
18 Marc Staal
20 Luke Witkowski
21 Dan Renouf
28 Gustav Lindstrom
32 Brian Lashoff
44 Donovan Sebrango
47 Wyatt Newpower
49 Seth Barton
53 Moritz Seider
65 Danny DeKeyser
70 Troy Stetcher
77 Oscar Plandowski
82 Jordan Oesterle
83 Mason Ward
84 Alex Cotton
86 Adam Brubacher
87 Ryan Murphy

Goalies

Num. Name
29 Thomas Greiss
31 Calvin Pickard
33 Sebastian Cossa
34 Victor Brattstrom
36 Kaden Fulcher
39 Alex Nedeljkovic
60 Jan Bednar

Twenty-five Years

Today marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the day I started the site that would become DetroitHockey.Net.  As has become the norm on the site’s anniversary, I feel like I should say something profound and find myself coming up short.

When I think about those bad old days of the Internet and compare them to now, I feel very “old man shakes fist at cloud.” Back in my day, we didn’t have Twitter/Facebook/podcasts/YouTube/running water/WordPress.

There’s a bit of “the more things change, the more things stay the same,” too, though.  Take a look at accreditation and access.

In the bad old days, “fan sites” would never be given media credentials.  This later extended to blogs, especially through the late-aughts.  Now, with the collapse of the journalism industry, PHWA members have had to resort to blogging and, for some reason, suddenly that “no blogs” rule doesn’t apply to them.

¯_(ツ)_/¯

But, as I said off the top, that’s nothing profound.  I’ve been at this for a long time.  Maybe I’ll be at it for a long time more.  We’ll see.


I’ve made a tradition of talking about the jersey numbers matching each of DH.N’s anniversaries.  Number 25 is an easy one.

Darren McCarty was wearing #25 when this site first started and held onto it until his post-lockout buyout in 2005.  He then reclaimed it when he returned to the team in 2008 and wore it through the 2009 season.

Brian Lashoff was assigned the number in camp in 2010, having previously worn #65 and #49 in various camps.  He would eventually switch to #23 before giving it up to Dominic Turgeon and switching to #32.

When Lashoff switched to #23 in 2012, it gave Cory Emmerton the opportunity to take #25, having debuted with the Wings wearing #48.

Upon Emmerton’s departure for the KHL in 2014, #25 was assigned to Dylan Larkin at the Wings’ summer development camp.  He would never wear it in a game for Detroit, though, as Mike Green was signed that summer and claimed the number.  Larkin was set to switch to #17 in honor of Doug Brown but it ended up being taken by free agent signee Brad Richards, leading to Larkin ending up with #71 and Vili Saarijarvi switching from #71 to #28 (and later to #29, though he only wore these numbers in camps).

Since Green’s departure, #25 has gone unassigned, but the pending announcement of Detroit’s training camp roster could change that.

AHL Expansion Names: Coachella Valley Replaces Palm Springs?

If a series of trademark filings made earlier this week are to be believed, the American Hockey League expansion team previously referred to as Palm Springs could instead be using “Coachella Valley” as their place name.

Trademarks for the names Coachella Valley Firebirds, Coachella Valley Dragons, Coachella Valley Eagles, and Coachella Valley Falcons were all applied for on August 31, by the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.  That firm had previously worked on trademarks for Oak View Group, owners of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken and the incoming AHL franchise that will be Seattle’s affiliate.

All four nicknames were previously attached to trademark filings with “Palm Springs” as the place name.

The trademark application for Palm Springs Firebirds had initially been rejected by the US Patent & Trademark Office, citing the “Firebirds” name being in use by the Ontario Hockey League’s Flint Firebirds.  That issue was later resolved.  Given that the OVG organization took steps to make sure that “Firebirds” would be available to them, it looked a lot like the team was likely to be the Palm Springs Firebirds.

With the new filings, it would appear that Coachella Valley Firebirds is now the front-runner.

It should be noted that, despite not being rejected by the USPTO, neither Palm Springs Eagles nor Coachella Valley Eagles is an option for the incoming expansion team, as the Colorado Eagles are already in the AHL.

The change of place name is likely related to arena issues for the new team.  Originally, the team was slated to play in a new arena in Palm Springs, with OVG partnering with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians on the arena.  That partnership later broke down and OVG moved on to a different arena property near Palm Desert.


Update, September 5, 3:50 PM: In addition to the above trademarks, domain registrations also seem to point to Coachella Valley Firebirds as the incoming AHL team’s name.

On September 3, the following domains were registered representing names from the trademark applications on August 31:

coachellavalleyeagles.com
coachellavalleyfalcons.com
coachellavalleydragons.com

These were all registered after the trademark applications would have become public.  Noticeably absent from the list is coachellavalleyfirebirds.com, which was registered on July 13.

All four of the domains were registered privately so ownership information is unavailable.  However, the timing of the registrations could tell us something.

The registrations that came after the trademark applications became public look a lot like the M.O. of a domain squatter; someone who could be monitoring trademarks and then registering related domain names in the hopes of turning around and re-selling the domain(s) to the trademark holder.

The registration of coachellavalleyfirebirds.com, however, came before the trademarks were filed.  While it could still be the work of a squatter making an educated guess, a squatter probably would have protected their investment by going after all of the rumored team names instead of just Firebirds.  The registration of a domain related to a single team name prior to public acknowledgement of that team name seems to imply inside knowledge that the team had already made its choice.

Red Wings Re-Sign RFA Hronek

The Detroit Red Wings announced yesterday the signing of restricted free agent defenseman Filip Hronek to a three-year deal.

As per usual, the team did not announce the financial terms of the deal. It was later reported to carry a $4.4 million salary cap hit.

With Hronek signed, Givani Smith is the only remaining restricted free agent left without a contract for Detroit.

Hronek has been Detroit’s top defenseman but that has been more by default than due to his skills.  It feels somewhat unfair to knock him for that, but it does make me wonder if $4.4 million is too much.  How do you judge a number one defenseman who’s not really a number one defenseman?

That said, the Wings aren’t up against the cap and aren’t projected to be anytime soon so even if $4.4 million is too much, it probably won’t be a problem.

Red Wings to Buy Out Nielsen

Per CapFriendly, the Detroit Red Wings have opted to use their second buyout window to buy out the final year of forward Frans Nielsen‘s contract.

The Wings have no use for Nielsen going forward, so to that extent is makes sense to just cut him loose now. That said, the team isn’t exactly hurting for cap space, so I’m not sure what the benefit is to spreading the cost of a buyout over two seasons rather than just burying him in Grand Rapids and eating the cap hit all in one year.

Of course, it could be just that I’m a lot more willing to dump guys in GR than Steve Yzerman is. I would have done that with Nielsen and with Justin Abdelkader last summer (at least for one more year). It seems like Yzerman might be doing the “honorable” thing and not forcing veterans to ride the bus in the AHL.

Either way, Nielsen is gone at little future cost to the Wings, with a roster spot cleared up.

This also means that, combined with the departure of Luke Glendening as a free agent, both of the alternate captains from Dylan Larkin‘s first year wearing the C for Detroit are gone.  My guess is that Sam Gagner and Danny DeKeyser will each wear an A next season.

Wings Sign Center Pius Suter to Two-Year Deal

The Detroit Red Wings announced the signing of center Pius Suter to a two-year deal on Wednesday.

The deal reportedly carries a $3.25 million salary cap hit.

Suter comes to Detroit from the Chicago Blackhawks, who signed him as a free agent last offseason but did not give him a qualifying offer this summer, rendering him an unrestricted free agent.

Suter had a great rookie year – including scoring his first career hat-trick against Detroit – and I kind of love this pick-up, but I do worry that he could be Damien Brunner 2.0.  Even if he is, though, this seems like a low-risk, high-reward move, the kind that Detroit GM Steve Yzerman has mostly done well with since taking over the Red Wings.