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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.

 

Gordie Howe circa 1966.
Arnie Lee / Wikimedia Commons

Hockey legend Gordie Howe has died. He was 88 years old.

Howe played pro hockey longer than anyone else, and he remains “Mr. Hockey” to generations of fans.

Gordie Howe played hockey with an intensity he learned as a boy in Saskatoon during the Depression.

In his 2014 autobiography, Howe wrote about playing for his school team -- not on the right wing where generations of hockey fans were used to seeing him -- but as a goaltender.

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?

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.

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.

red wings warming up before a game
Flickr user Ellen / Flickr

The Detroit Red Wings face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight in Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round series. This is the 24th straight season the Wings have made it to the playoffs.

G.P. Putnam & Sons

DETROIT (AP) - Hockey great Gordie Howe has lost some function on the right side of his body after having a stroke Sunday in Texas.

  Howe's daughter Cathy says the 86-year-old Detroit Red Wings legend has lost much use of his right arm and right leg. Howe suffered the stroke in Lubbock, Texas, where his daughter lives.

NHL Network / via Twitter

Downtown Detroit is alive with the sounds and smells of outdoor hockey right now, as the city enters the fifth and final day of the Hockeytown Winter Festival.

And those festivities are just a prelude to the big event in Ann Arbor — the 6th annual NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium on New Year’s Day.

That outdoor game will feature two of the NHL’s Original Six teams, the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The game alone is expected to draw well over 100,000 fans to the Big House.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Red Wings’ charity and the National Hockey League have teamed up to refurbish Detroit’s only outdoor hockey rink.

The gift, which benefits southwest Detroit’s Clark Park, was announced there Monday. The facility will get a new Zamboni, new lighting and other upgrades worth about $200,000.

Wikipedia

The Detroit Red Wings are a step closer to getting a new home.

Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority approved a concession management agreement that provides the framework for a new $450 million sports and entertainment arena Friday.

Professional hockey is coming to Ann Arbor after all.

The National Hockey League announced today that the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings will play next year at Michigan Stadium.

The NHL's Winter Classic was scheduled to be played in Ann Arbor this past January.  But the game was canceled due to a contract dispute between team owners and the players.

When this year's event was canceled, the league had said it would schedule the next Winter Classic at the stadium, which holds more than 100,000 people.

User: dmealiffe / flickr.com

Canada might be the only nation on earth that invented its favorite sport, has no other sport that’s even half as popular, and remains arguably the best in the world at playing it. How big is hockey in Canada?  They put the sport on their five-dollar bill.  It has a drawing of kids playing a pick-up game outside, and a quote from a beloved children’s story, “The Hockey Sweater.”  It goes like this: