Detroit took two games in a row against Buffalo, and takes momentum into a weekend that sees two games in the next two nights. Friday against Dallas, and Saturday at Nashville.
Once again, Buffalo’s been just what the doctor ordered coming off 4 brutal losses, including a west coast road trip, where at least the team was able salvage 2 points. (OT and shootout losses)
In Saturday’s 4-0 win. Alex Nedeljkovic got his first shutout as a Wing, in front of his parents and grandparents. (I said Heartwarming Hockey Tales..) They started off with the best period Detroit has played in a while, up 2-0, easily could’ve been more and absolutely buzzing. Continued on with Lucas Raymond and Michael Rasmussen breaking multiple game scoreless streaks. Love to see it all over.
Since the calendar flip, the Wings have struggled to put together a string of consistently strong games. After dominance in Saturday’s game, Monday’s 3-2 overtime win, also against the Sabres, took third period heroics coming back from being down 2-0 with about 10 minutes left. Dylan Larkin was able to tie the game, and eventually get the game-winner in OT. 1pm start on a Monday in the middle of a snowstorm.. just saying. They got the W.
Other Heartwarming Tales
In no particular order…
The Boston Bruins retired Willie O’Ree’s Number 22.
Willie O’Ree broke the color barrier in hockey in 1958, suiting up with the spoked B despite being blind in one eye by a puck; The “Jackie Robinson of hockey.” His number was also retired by the San Diego Gulls of the AHL. He continues to be an inspiration to this day. During the week, the House and Senate voted unanimously, which is an amazing feat in itself, to award Willie O’Ree the Congressional Gold Medal.
PHF (Premier Hockey Federation) Leaps Forward
Their league’s governing board approved a $25 million investment over next three years. This money will go toward a huge salary cap increase, full healthcare benefits for players from the teams, expanding/improving equipment and facilities, and adding 2 new teams.
While women’s hockey gets more of the spotlight, with the “My Why Tour” between the US and Canada’s national teams and the Olympics. Great time for this. Girl’s hockey is still one of the fastest growing youth sports in the US, and well, in Canada, hockey is life. Good stuff.
More PHF News: PHF Players join ECHL All Stars in their All Star Game Festivities.
The ECHL All Star Showcase; game and skills competition, included 3 players from the PHF. Jillian Dempsey joined the Jacksonville Icemen team, Sophia Shaver and Allie Thurnstrom played with the rest of ECHL All Star Team. Thurston ended up getting a tally. Not too bad..
Pat Nagle On USA Olympic Team
One of those players with a strong background in the state of Michigan was selected to join the Olympic team. Nagle is from Bloomfield, Michigan and spent his college time playing for the Ferris State Bulldogs, in the CCHA. He has spent his career bouncing between the ECHL and AHL, including time in the Red Wings organization playing for the Toledo Walleye and the Grand Rapids Griffins. One of my favorite players to watch when he was with the Walleye, getting his career high 37 wins in 2017/18. Dominate. He’s currently with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Let’s Go.
That USA Team includes players Michigan hockey fans know well; Matty Beniers, Brendan Brisson, Strauss Mann and Steven Kampfer
Wings Pick Up Gamel Smith (Givani Smith’s Brother) Off Waivers.
Givani Smith has become a fan favorite for his time with the Griffins and with the Wings. He’s found a place in the NHL, with his energy, and physical play.
Coach Blashill said Gamel could available on Friday, but didn’t say if he would play against Dallas. In his career, in 88 NHL games with the Stars, Bruins, and Lightning, Gamel Smith has 12 goals, and 12 assists. He has not played this season, due to an injury in training camp with Tampa.