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The Detroit Red Wings‘ debut season at Little Caesars Arena fell short [url=http://www.officialknightsproshop.com/authentic-adidas-jonathan-marchessault-jersey]Jonathan Marchessault Jersey[/url] , even of low expectations.
Detroit was not projected by many to make the playoffs but the Red Wings didn’t come close.
Detroit won just 30 games and finished 24 points behind the wild-card teams in the Eastern Conference, faring even worse than it did during last year’s farewell season at Joe Louis Arena. And some nights, it was as quiet as a library in their spectacular new home.
”It was a tough year,” forward Justin Abdelkader said. ”Hopefully, we have guys in here that understand the long offseason gives all of us an opportunity to come back bigger, stronger and faster. We’ve got a lot of picks and hopefully some of those guys can help at some point next season and in the years to come. I don’t think we’re far off because we have a lot of pieces in this room.”
The Red Wings, who didn’t miss the playoffs from 1991 to 2016, had their season end in with the regular-season finale in consecutive years for the first time since 1979-83. Back then, fans referred to them as Dead Wings and the team gave away cars to draw fans to the games.
The Red Wings will continue to rely on general manager Ken Holland. He helped the franchise win four Stanley Cups from 1997 to 2008 and was given a two-year deal recently to stay in place and turn things around.
”When I fly in an airplane, I always love to fly with a pilot who’s done it before [url=http://www.officialredwings.com/authentic-adidas-jonathan-ericsson-jersey]Jonathan Ericsson Jersey[/url] ,” team President Chris Ilitch said. ”Ken Holland has had the experience of seeing a Detroit Red Wing team in the 1980s build from the ground all the way up to the Stanley Cup champion.”
ON THE BENCH
Jeff Blashill, who won 33 and 41 games the previous two years as coach, is expected to have his future addressed by Holland after the Red Wings gather Tuesday. On Monday, he was named the head coach for the U.S. national team competing at the world championships in Denmark next month.
The Red Wings don’t have any superstars right now, but they have some younger players who could develop into game-changers.
Dylan Larkin, a 21-year-old center, led the team with 63 points and made a relatively smooth transition from wing.
”We had some guys that are significant in the growth of this team I thought take steps forward,” Blashill said. ”Larkin certainly would be at the top of that list. I’ve said before we need some guys to become elite players in their prime. I thought he took a step from a guy who a year ago in the middle part of the year was struggling on the wing, to a guy who is really coming as a two-way center.”
Anthony Mantha, a 23-year-old wing [url=http://www.officialknightsproshop.com/authentic-adidas-james-neal-jersey]James Neal Jersey[/url] , led the team with 23 goals. Tyler Bertuzzi had 24 points in 48 games in his first extended opportunity to play in the NHL as a 23-year-old wing.
ONE TO WATCH
Andreas Athanasiou, a 23-year-old center, was inconsistent after holding out for a bigger contract last fall. He is a restricted free agent, eligible for arbitration, and may want to be on the move.
Does he want to play for the Red Wings next season?
”I want to be an NHL player,” he said. ”I want to be in this league. I’ve been very happy to wear a Red Wings wheel, but it’s a business so we’ll see what happens.”
The Red Wings have an 8.5-percent chance to land the No. 1 overall pick, a selection that is widely is expected to be Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin. Detroit desperately needs a potential superstar such as Dahlin, but will have a pair of first-round picks and an NHL-high 11 selections in the draft.
Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Ross Stripling is scheduled to make his second major league appearance against the Los Angeles Angels when they meet in the middle game of their three-game interleague series at Angel Stadium on Saturday evening.
He last faced the Angels just over two years ago in his first season with the Dodgers. That game likely stands out to Stripling because it’s the only time he hit a batter in 257 2/3 innings in the majors.
That miscue forced in a run and ended the night after 4 2/3 innings for Stripling, who had walked two other batters in the inning. The bullpen then gave up the lead with the inherited runners and Stripling took the loss in the 7-4 defeat at Angel Stadium.
Stripling (6-2 [url=http://www.officialcapitals.com/authentic-adidas-andre-burakovsky-jersey]Andre Burakovsky Jersey[/url] , 2.27 ERA) has not only avoided hitting another batter since then, but has mastered his overall control, entering Saturday with 96 strikeouts and just 13 walks this season. His ERA is seventh best in the majors among pitchers with at least 12 starts.
Not bad for a pitcher whose first 10 appearances this season came out of the bullpen, where he’s 0-0 with a 0.59 ERA this season.
Stripling will try to get the Dodgers (47-40) back atop the NL West after Kenley Jansen blew a save in the series opener on Friday night and the Angels won 3-2. The Dodgers had taken over first place for the first time this season while idle on Thursday, but the Arizona Diamondbacks moved back into first with the Dodgers’ loss to the Angels (45-44).
Angels rookie David Fletcher continues to cement himself as a major leaguer. He drove in the tying run with a two-out pinch-hit single off Jansen, then scored the winning run from first on a check-swing single by Ian Kinsler, followed by a throwing error by Dodgers right-fielder Yasiel Puig.
“If I can help the team win, it’s a big deal,” Fletcher told FOX Sports West after the win.
Stripling knows he needs to be sharper on Saturday than he was in his last outing, when he allowed four runs and a season-high nine hits in six innings of a 6-4 victory against the visiting Colorado Rockies on Sunday.
Stripling told the Southern California News Group following the game that he didn’t believe he was getting fatigued. Stripling has thrown 83 1/3 innings this season [url=http://www.officialsabres.com/authentic-adidas-jack-eichel-jersey]http://www.officialsabres.com/authentic-adidas-jack-eichel-jersey[/url] , more than the 77 1/3 he logged last season, but less than the 104 1/3 he accumulated during the 2016 season.
“They’ve seen me throw 80 innings now this year,” he said. “I think they’ve got an idea what’s coming. I’ve just got to stay sharp.”
Angels center fielder Mike Trout faced Stripling twice on May 17, 2016, and had a solo homer and a two-run single.
Deck McGuire (0-1, 7.56) is scheduled to make his fourth appearance with the Angels after he was acquired from the Texas Rangers for cash considerations on June 19. Texas had claimed the 28-year-old McGuire from the Toronto Blue Jays a few days earlier.
He made two relief appearances for the Angels before making his first start on Sunday and allowed five runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings of an 8-2 loss against the Baltimore Orioles.
McGuire was sent down to Triple-A Salt Lake following that game, but was recalled on Wednesday, the day Tyler Skaggs was scratched from his scheduled start on Thursday against the Seattle Mariners because of a strained abductor.
McGuire has never faced the Dodgers in his career.
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