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Some NHL players, like Alex Ovechkin, have said they plan to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics, despite the league announcing it won't send its players to compete.
Jennifer Griggs / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It was recently announced that the National Hockey League (NHL) will not be sending its players to the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The last time NHL players weren't included in the Olympic hockey tournament was in 1998. After nearly two decades, that is expected to come to a close next year when the Winter Games are hosted in Seoul, South Korea.

Empty classroom
Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Hundreds of Detroit parents angered by school closure threats are having their kids opt out of the state's M-STEP test. They say the standardized tests are used to justify closures. 

Joe Louis Arena during its final season
Cynthia Canty / Michigan Radio

It is the end of multiple eras for sports fans in Michigan and specifically metro Detroit. Last night, the Detroit Red Wings played their final game at Joe Louis Arena, a place they have called home since 1979.

Tonight, the Detroit Pistons will play their last home game at the Palace of Auburn Hills, an arena where they've played since 1988.

Mark Goebel / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The longest playoff streak in the NHL officially came to an end last night after the Red Wings lost to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Detroit's playoff streak was the longest run of all four major league sports. In that time, the Wings won four Stanley Cups and six President's Cups.

The last time the Red Wings were not in the playoffs, George H.W. Bush was president, the reunification of Germany was underway, and "The Simpsons" had just aired for the first time.

Kris Draper played 17 seasons and won four Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings.
Dinur / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's been called "Brawl in Hockeytown." Some call it "Fight Night at the Joe."

On March 26, 1997, Darren McCarty of the Detroit Red Wings punched, then kept on punching, Claude Lemieux of the Colorado Avalanche.

The reason for that fight happened 301 days earlier in Game 6 of the 1996 Western Conference Finals when Lemieux hit Wings center Kris Draper from behind, sending Draper face-first into the bench and smashing his face (see video below). He suffered a broken orbital bone, a broken cheekbone, a broken nose, a broken jaw and a concussion. 

The 2008 Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings pose for a group photo on the ice of the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh.
Michael Righi / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

For the first time since 1990, the Detroit Red Wings might not go to the NHL playoffs.

John U. Bacon spoke to Stateside about the Red Wings' playoff chances and his predictions for Michigan’s college basketball teams going into March Madness.

Mark Goebel / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In all the four major sports, no team has had a longer streak of consecutive playoff appearances than the Detroit Red Wings.

The last 25 years, Red Wings fans have enjoyed playoff hockey in the spring, but that could be coming to an end.

Little Caesars Arena under construction in June 2016.
Rick Briggs / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The city of Detroit lost one of its business icons when Mike Ilitch passed away. Many people know him for being the founder of Little Caesars Pizza, but most know him as the owner of the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings.

Michigan Sports Hall of Famer Ray Lane began covering sports in Detroit starting in 1961 and was there when Ilitch bought the Red Wings in 1982 (for $8 million!), and later the Tigers in 1992. Lane joined Stateside to look back at the sports side of Ilitch's legacy.

For many Detroit Tigers fans, the demolition of Tiger Stadium remains a source of anger.
Michael Kumm / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Mike Ilitch certainly left his mark on downtown Detroit, beginning with the major renovation of the Fox Theatre in 1988 and continuing to this day with the ongoing construction of Little Caesars Arena for the Red Wings and the Pistons.

There are those who found a lot to criticize in the way the Ilitch family acquired downtown property, maintained that property, and financed its arenas.

Michigan Radio's senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry joined Stateside to talk about Ilitch's legacy when it comes to the business side of his life and what he did for the city of Detroit.

Did the sun set on the Lions' playoff hopes at MetLife Stadium on Sunday?
Gabriel Argudo Jr / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

There were plenty of missed opportunities, but in the end, the Detroit Lions fell short against the New York Giants on Sunday. They lost 17-6 and while they are still sitting in first place in the NFC North division with two games to play, they have a tough task ahead of them.

Watch highlights of the Lions at the Giants below:

tyler scott / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The return of professional basketball to downtown Detroit adds another piece to the city's fast-paced economic rebound two years out of bankruptcy, but some say all neighborhoods have to share in the turnaround.

The Pistons are expected to start next season at Little Caesars Arena, which is the centerpiece of a coming 50-block entertainment district in a part of downtown that's already nearly at capacity with new residents and new businesses.

Michigan is undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the country heading into next weekend's rivalry game in East Lansing against Michigan State.
Flickr user Anthony Gattine/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

One thing that college football fans love about the sport is that you never really know what's going to happen from week to week. It's tough to predict, and there are a number of interesting stories happening across the Michigan sports landscape that very few people saw coming. 

Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon admits that he knew Michigan would be good under Jim Harbaugh, but not this good this quickly. He knew Michigan State would have a down year (by their standards), but not bad enough to have their first five-game losing streak in 25 years. He knew Western Michigan would be good, but not good enough to be 8-0 and ranked in the Top 20 for the first time in school history.

Little Caesars Arena under construction in June 2016.
Rick Briggs / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit officials say an estimated half-million dollars in fines have been levied on contractors working on the new Red Wings arena because the companies haven't hired enough Detroit residents.

Little Caesars Arena's developer, Olympia Development of Michigan, is required to ensure at least 51% of the workers live in Detroit.

Steven Depolo / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

It was a full weekend of sports across the state of Michigan, headlined by the Wolverines and the Spartans hosting games in their respective home stadiums. Michigan, which remains ranked No. 4 in the nation, flexed its muscles with a 49-10 blowout of Penn State. Meanwhile, in East Lansing, it was a battle between two Big Ten teams ranked in the top ten. However, Michigan State suffered a rare one-sided loss, 30-6, to the Wisconsin Badgers.

Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon provides a round-up of everything Michigan sports.
Flickr user Michael Righi / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

Although it’s the offseason for most major American sports, there’s still plenty of action in the sports world. Michigan sports has seen some important moves in both professional and collegiate athletics.

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joined Stateside to explain all the recent moves.

 

A tribute wall for Gordie Howe outside Joe Louis Arena.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit Red Wings fans and former hockey greats alike lined up at Joe Louis Arena Tuesday to pay their last respects to Gordie Howe.

The legendary player known as Mr. Hockey died last week at age 88.

Howe’s family and the Red Wings organized a day-long public visitation for him from 9 am-9 pm, honoring his iconic number.

Howe’s pro hockey career spanned five decades, making him one of the most durable and greatest players of all time. He spent most of that career with the Red Wings, leading the team to four Stanley Cup championships during the 1950s.

Red Wings player hoists the Stanley Cup
Michael Righi / wikimedia commons - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

For a record 25th straight season, the Detroit Red Wings made the playoffs. For the seventh straight season, they didn’t get past the second round.

Well, no matter, Wings fans because whether the Pittsburgh Penguins or the San Jose Sharks raise the Cup, they will be following in your favorite players’ footsteps.

How so?

Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy
Keith Allison / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

It has been a rough week for Detroit sports over the last week. The Pistons and the Red Wings both had their seasons come to an end in the first round of their respective playoffs. The Tigers were swept at home by their division rival, the Cleveland Indians. But on the horizon later this week, the Detroit Lions are getting ready for the 2016 NFL Draft.

Mark Goebel / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It’s playoff time for a pair of Michigan sports teams as the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Pistons have kicked off their respective post seasons.

The Wings emerged from the weekend trailing the Tampa Bay Lightning two games to one, with the all-important Game 4 at the Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday.

The Pistons are in what many are calling a “David vs. Goliath” matchup with the top-seeded Cavaliers, and dropped the first game of the series 106-101 in Cleveland.

Both teams have challenges in front of them. But can they advance?

Jim Harbaugh watches closely during Michigan's Spring Game.
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Last week, the NCAA finally ruled on Jim Harbaugh's satellite football camps for the University of Michigan.

They said that teams are no longer allowed to hold camps outside of their own facilities.

Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions
Mike Morbeck / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

As spring approaches here in Michigan, we near one of the most exciting times of year for a sports fan in the Great Lakes state.

Right now, the Red Wings and Pistons are heading down the stretch of the regular season, fighting for playoff spots, while the Lions are making big offseason moves. On the hardwood, the NCAA tournament is just around the corner as Michigan State and Michigan are hoping to be a part of “March Madness” next month. Not to mention pitchers and catchers have reported for spring training as the Tigers get ready for another season.

According to Laura Reese, while Midtown Detroit is seeing some income growth, the rest of the city is only getting worse
Wikimedia user, Andrew Jameson / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Construction is moving along in Detroit on the new Red Wings arena scheduled to open in 2017.

It’s right across from the Comerica Park, which is across the street from Ford Field.

Do economic development tactics like shiny new stadiums and arenas, casinos, and festival marketplaces really pay off for cities? What really works in urban development?

John U. Bacon

Michigan Radio’s sports commentator John U. Bacon joins us again for this week’s sports roundup.

Replica of the Epiphone Texan played by Paul McCartney. McCartney played a right-handed Texan modified for left-handed play.
Wikimedia user CasinoKat / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Beatles’ Yesterday is widely considered one of the most iconic songs of all time.

On the track, you can hear Paul McCartney playing his famed Epiphone Texan.

For nearly four decades, the Epiphone has sported a Red Wings decal, all thanks to Mike Kudzia of Clinton Township.

Kudzia tells us he was just swinging by Olympia Stadium the night of the Wings concert in 1976 to pick up a paycheck when his coworkers invited him to stay for the rest of the show.

“It was a great show, I was really enjoying it,” he says. And then he was struck with an idea.

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon joins us again for this week’s sports roundup.

Tigers lose to Royals

According to Bacon, the Tigers' story hasn’t changed.

“There’s nothing to see here, people,” he says, explaining that the team showed their hand at the end of the trade deadline some weeks ago.

John U. Bacon

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joins us for this week’s sports roundup.

John U. Bacon

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon brings us this week's sports roundup:

Tigers approaching the trade deadline

The Tigers came out of this past weekend 11.5 games behind AL Central Division leaders the Kansas City Royals.

After the Red Sox, “beat the crap out of us,” as described by Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, there’s some question as to how things are going to play out approaching Friday’s trade deadline.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

It’s official: Jeff Blashill is the Detroit Red Wings’ new head coach.

Blashill was widely considered the heir apparent to Mike Babcock, who just left to coach the Toronto Maple Leafs. He signed a four-year deal with the team worth an undisclosed amount.

Blashill has been the popular and successful coach of the Wings’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, for three seasons.

Covering the planned Red Wings arena construction
User: WXYZ-TV Detroit / YouTube

After weeks of delays, Detroit's city council has finally voted to let major construction start on the new Red Wings arena.

The city's been going back and forth on the details of this $450 million arena for months with Olympia Development – which is owned by the Ilitch family, who also own the Red Wings and Little Caesar’s.

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