Archive for January, 2013

Hey, did you hear the news? No? Come closer and I will tell you.

HOCKEY IS BACK!!!

What’s that you say? This sport we call hockey has never left? Are you trying to pull the hockey sweater over my eyes?

Oh, the Whalers have been playing this sport the whole time? Huh. Well… this is awkward.

/sarcasm

The NHL is back and while people have been caught up in the hype of lockout by claiming that “Hockey Is Back”. You and I both know that the sport never left. It was just one league that had a labor dispute that lasted for four months.

With Joe Louis Arena being rented out by Ford for the North American International Auto Show, the Wings needed a place to hold training camp. What better place could there be than the home of the Plymouth Whalers?

After the memorandum of understanding was signed and in place, the Wings took to the ice Sunday. The training camp was open to the public and the Wings followed it up with a Red and White scrimmage game on Tuesday night that was also aired live on Fox Sports Detroit and re-aired on NHL Network.

Oh did I also mention the Wings held a press conference while they were there? Something about a “new” captain. Ok, I will stop with the sarcasm. Before the Red and White game, the Red Wings announced that Henrik Zetterberg will be the new captain of the team.

There was a lot going on at Compuware Sports Arena this past week, gaining some valuable positive coverage of the arena and the teams that play there.

Yet, not everybody was happy as Hometownlife.com explains:

True fans of the Plymouth Whalers understandably must be having a spike in blood pressure this week.

Numerous media reports keep returning to the phrase “hockey finally is back,” when it never left venues such as Plymouth Township’s Compuware Arena, longtime home of the OHL Whalers.

As for now, the Wings will be gone by Thursday and Compuware will be back to normal. The Whalers play Friday and Saturday and not one TV station will be there.

That’s just how it is in Red Wing Town. It’s enough to give headaches to genuine hockey lovers who appreciate all levels of the game.

Look, I agree with Tim Smith here to a point. Yes this has been a Red Wings dominated media town, and you don’t hear the Whalers on the sports talk stations (unless you are listening to Sean Baligian), and the statement that hockey is back is an exaggeration at best. The Whalers have been here playing some great hockey since the start of the season, albeit their December showing was a little lacking.

What I have a hard time figuring out is the segment of the Whalers fan base that is hurt that Compuware Arena was filled with people who love pro hockey that may have little to no knowledge of who the Whalers are.

I’m going to be completely serious here. Why should we be mad?

Starting off as a hockey fan I grew up as a fan of my hometown Red Wings. As I grew I learned to love the sport. That grew to other players and teams. Even to other leagues. That’s how I found the OHL and the Whalers. Now I am running a blog and a twitter account dedicated to this OHL team.

Go back to me from ten years ago, would the fan base be angry that I had no clue what the OHL was and really only knew who the Red Wings were? If they were, would I even want to join that fan base that judged me for a lack of knowledge?

We all get in to this league sometime for some reason or another. We should open and respectful to the visitors that come out here. They will learn what a great team we have here, and that should start with the fans and go all the way up to the management.

I have a small issue with the article by Mr. Smith as well. Where are articles like this when the Wings are playing? Also, take a look at the other side of the story as well. Are the Red wings the only reason why people don’t know of the Whalers, or does it have to do with the marketing of the team?

BIG HINT: It’s both.

How we the fans portray ourselves is also a form of marketing. If we turn our backs on the new people coming into this arena, be prepared for them to turn their backs on us.

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Last year the Whalers sat tight and did nothing at the trade deadline. Having four OA’s guaranteed that would not happen this year.

Monday we got word that Aleardi was traded to Windsor for Zach Lorentz solving their OA situation. All was silent until Wednesday night as the Whalers were taking on the Saginaw Spirit at the Dow Event Center.

With Payne being scratched for the game, speculation started to run wild on Twitter that he was the next Whaler to be traded.

Thursday morning we found out that the Whalers acquired the Spirit’s captain Vincent Trocheck for Zach Bratina, a third round pick in 2016, and two conditional picks (Plymouth’s 2015 second round pick and Kitchener’s third round 2016 pick)

Whalers still had one more move to make before the deadline hit. Simon Karlsson was traded to Oshawa for Sebastian Uvira and a fifth round pick.

Looking toward the rest of the season the Whalers are solid in net with Nedeljkovic backstopping Mahalak. Yes, Mahalak has had his off nights, but Nedeljkovic has been strong in net having yet to come up with a regulation loss this season.

The defensive unit is a bit banged up. Losing Jones for at least four weeks does not help the situation. No word yet when Crombeen might be returning to the line up. The defense looks good, providing they stay healthy.

Looking at the offense, The Whalers loaded at the deadline. Trocheck, Uvira, and Lorentz being added to the lineup just makes this team more of a scoring threat then they were the first half of the season. Granted the Whalers lose some of their power with Noesen, Wilson and Rakell to NHL camps starting this week. If the game against Brampton was any indication, the Whalers are going to try to make it deep into the playoffs this year.

Well, that was quick. According to the OHL website the trade between Saginaw and Plymouth is complete.

Bratina, 2016 3rd round pick, 2015 2nd round pick (conditional), and Kitchener’s 2015 3rd round pick (conditional) for Vincent Trocheck. 

The title might seem a little strange, but it’s accurate. The Whalers have made a deal with the Saginaw Spirit to acquire the talents of Vincent Trocheck, but there is only speculation on what the Whalers gave up.

This morning Trocheck tweeted thanking the support from everyone involved with the Spirit, and that he was starting fresh with the Whalers.

There is speculation that the Whalers gave up Cody “Max” Payne and/or Zach Bratina. There is also speculation that there is a second deal with the Spirit.

The trade deadline arrives in close to two hours. We will keep you updated as this story develops.

I find it hard to believe that he (Heard) will be sent back to Plymouth. I could be proven wrong. I never said I was always right, but I think Lake Erie wants to keep him. –Whalers On The Moon – October 9th, 2012

Ok, so I was proven wrong. Heard did get sent back to Plymouth at the most unusual time in the season. Then again, with the NHL Lockout, this season has been far from ordinary.

Remember when I said at the half way point of the season that the Whalers needed a spark to get them going in the second half? That happened on New Years Day when Lake Erie reassigned Mitchell Heard back to Plymouth to finish out the season.

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