One week and counting until the Red Wings regular season begins but a couple leagues’ seasons are opening before then… Woo!
Let’s start with the OHL (Ontario Hockey League) which opens tonight.
In the Michigan/Detroit area, the Windsor Spitfires highlight the teams in action. NHL veteran of 14 seasons and former All-Star Marc Savard makes his coaching debut for the Spits and after 578 days, the boys are ready to go. They take on the Sarnia Sting tonight, whose alumni include Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos, heard of them?
Other OHL Games tonight feature the Peterborough Petes v the North Bay Battalion (All time great name) and the Niagara IceDogs v the Barrie Colts.
As per the other Michigan based OHL Teams:
Flint Firebirds host the Erie Otters on Saturday.
Saginaw Spirit, along with T-Bone Codd coming off his amateur tryout with the Wings, will have to wait until October 16th to start their season, also against Erie.
***Disclaimer: Yes, I know.. Windsor is in Canada, which is not in Michigan… technically. But there’s a team that is literally across the Detroit River, it may be claimed. Also “Born and Raised In South Detroit…” Where do you think they’re singing about!?
Games that count in College Hockey are coming up tomorrow, and into the weekend. Going down the list of Michigan based teams…
– Western Michigan Broncos (Kalamazoo, MI) coming off an exhibition win at Ohio St (yay, F*** Ohio!) take on the Ferris St Bulldogs (Big Rapids, MI) in a 2 game weekend series. (Sat/Sun)
– Michigan State Spartans enjoy home ice all weekend against the Air Force Academy (Fri/Sat)
– Northern Michigan Wildcats (Marquette, MI) opens their season against St. Thomas (Minn) (Fri/Sat).
– Michigan Tech Huskies (Houghton, MI) travel to Wisconsin for an away series against the Badgers (Fri/Sat)
– Michigan Wolverines and their returning first round NHL Draft picks (Sorry, Buffalo fans.. for so many things) coming off an exhibition.. whooping of Bowling Green, open their season against the Lake Superior State Lakers (Sault Ste. Marie, MI), who split an away series last weekend against Nebraska-Omaha. (Fri/Sat)
Back to the Pro Team:
The Red Wings beat the Penquins 4-2 tonight in their penultimate preseason game, with the last preseason game on Saturday against the Sabres. (I lost count of how many times the announce team used that word tonight, so forgive me, it was stuck in my head and I had to use it at least once.)
Roster is starting to slim down and Tyler Bertuzzi is on the ice for the first time since the Red/White game. Bertuzzi is coming off a back injury which kept him out of the lineup for most of last year. Over the offseason, the Wings signed him to a 2-year, $4.75 million per contact.
Before last season, Tyler Bertuzzi was coming off of back-to-back 20+ goal seasons with an All Star Game appearance. Once he readjusts to the speed of the game and gets his timing back, he needs to continue that All Star form and solidify a core for the Wings that can produce and make plays. He’s a big piece and he sealed the win tonight with an empty net goal from way…. downtown.
An Extra Note
Was excited to hear that Manon Rhéaume is going to be a part of the broadcast crew at Bally Sports Detroit. Rhéaume was the first woman to play in the NHL, appearing in preseason games for the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins. She went on to win Gold Medals at the 1992 and 1994 IIHF Women’s Worlds and Silver Medal with Team Canada in the 1998 Olympics. She continues to work with young women in the Metro Detroit area in youth hockey. Great feature done by Bally Sports Detroit.