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Quick Hits: The New Balance Edition

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Detroit Red Wings v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

In Red Wings Land

Red Wings seeking balance of players in their system

This article by Dana Wakiji of DetroitRedWings.com covers a wide range of topics with Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill.

She asks him about the draft, losing Nosek in the expansion draft, and young player Tyler Bertuzzi, Martin Frk, and Evgeny Svechnikov. Blashill specifically points out Bertuzzi as having elements to his play that will help the team (while intentionally or unintentionally criticizing the rest of the roster.

"Bert looks to me like he's on the verge of becoming a good NHL player," Blashill said. "He brings a lot of qualities that we don't have. He's hard and has skill. We got a lot of guys with skill that might not be hard and we got some guys that are hard that might not have as much skill. He's got pretty good package as a fit on our team. I think the playoff he had certainly puts him in a position to grab a spot next year and make our team better."

Around the NHL

30 Thoughts: What is the trade value of a first-round pick? - Sportsnet.ca
While there are, as always, interesting NHL items around the league in Friedman’s column, two connected items later down the list caught my attention. The NHL should always look to grow the game as many places as possible. Hopefully the project described below will help with that.

24. It was lost in all the Blackhawks’ trade excitement Friday morning, but the NHL and NHLPA joined together on an interesting project. They announced a partnership with the University of Illinois to evaluate adding hockey as a varsity sport. And, both agreed to fund up to five feasibility studies that would explore the potential of adding NCAA Division I men’s and women’s programs across the United States. “We’ve had three enquiries already,” said Mike Snee, executive director of College Hockey Inc. on Monday. “That’s quite a statement when the NHL and NHLPA see the opportunity for growth, whether it’s the chance to develop more high-end players or have more people watching. If you are an interested school or a potential donor, there really wasn’t a 1-800 number to call.”

25. I’m a big believer in growing the game, expanding it to unserviced areas or allowing lower-income families to embrace an expensive sport.

What does Snee hope this initiative accomplishes? “The short aspirational answer is that many years from now, a lot more than 60 schools offering Division I hockey spread around the country. More people playing, coaching, reffing, enjoying hockey.” He talked about Alabama-Huntsville as an outlier. A successful program in an unconventional location. “That’s how you grow a hockey culture. We’d like to find 12 more Huntsvilles and have them fill in the NHL gaps nicely.” Snee grew up in Duluth, MN and loved the NCAA Bulldogs. “For me, it was more about the Bulldogs than the (NHL) North Stars. They got me into the game. I coached in the game, got kids in the game. There’s no NBA team in Kansas, but there are basketball fans because of (the Jayhawks). There’s no NFL team in Alabama, but they love their football. I don’t think Oklahoma or Alabama will ever have an NHL team, but let’s say you put a 4,200-seat arena in Oklahoma or Oregon — I’m certain it would work. Six-year-old girls and boys would tell their parents, ‘I want to play hockey.’”

The entire article is, as per usual, worth the read.

And lastly...

Eff Foo

SPENCER FOO COMMITS TO FLAMES

The Calgary Flames announced today that free agent right wing Spencer Foo of Union College (ECAC) has committed to the Flames. As per CBA regulations, the standard player's contract will be finalized and made official on July 1st.

(Just in case it needs to be said, the sub head here is a joke. I would have liked to basically get a free player, but his not signing here is not the end of the world.