One of the young players who Ken Holland spoke of at his recent press conference will be a step closer to breaking into the Red Wings future. Defenseman Dennis Cholowski will join the Grand Rapids Griffins, writes the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James, as his Portland Winterhawks were eliminated from the second round of the WHL playoffs. Cholowski has been tied to much of the criticism Red Wings fans have about Holland, being that the former was considered a “reach” by many draft analysts while Detroit traded out of a chance to grab Jakob Chychrun, who already has 118 NHL games to his name. The development of Cholowski will be watched closely by fans and Detroit’s brass. A solid year with both Prince George and Portland has seen his stock rise. St. James writes that Cholowski is expected to report to Grand Rapids as early as Tuesday.
- Sportsnet’s Sean McIndoe believes that the Maple Leafs-Bruins tilt tonight will be a better offering than what was seen during Thursday’s 5-1 game. McIndoe writes that a game two loss won’t spell doom for the Leafs, but it would certainly make for a tough hole to climb out of, needing to win four out of five against a tough Boston squad. With regards to losing Nazem Kadri, McIndoe wonders if Auston Matthews, William Nylander and James van Riemsdyk will compensate for his loss, as the Leafs forwards had a “quiet night.”
- McIndoe’s colleague Chris Johnston agrees with the Kadri analysis, writing that the loss of Kadri for three games was a “significant blow.” Johnston reports that the Leafs can still without him and compares it to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who played without Kris Letang, and even lost Sidney Crosby for a few games en route to their second consecutive Cup. The key, Johnston adds, is for the Maple Leafs to embrace the challenge instead of rueing it. He quotes bench boss Mike Babcock, who said: “(so) Let’s just get on with it. We went without a number of centers this year. Let’s play.” Known for his background in psychology, it benefits Toronto even more to have Babcock there to focus on the sunnier side of their predicament.