Detroit Red Wings: Cholowski is Here to Stay, Others hold their Own

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 04: Dennis Cholowski #21 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates his first NHL goal in the first period while playing the Columbus Blue Jackets at Little Caesars Arena on October 4, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 04: Dennis Cholowski #21 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates his first NHL goal in the first period while playing the Columbus Blue Jackets at Little Caesars Arena on October 4, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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When the Detroit Red Wings locked horns with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Thursday night excitement surrounded the young Wings roster.

The preseason has concluded, now the games count.  The Detroit Red Wings youngsters will be facing the oppositions “A” group on a nightly basis.  During the preseason a lot of the times, both teams are inserting a mix of stars with prospects and journeymen.

It is safe to say Dennis Cholowski is here to stay in Motown.  The young Wings excellent play has overflown into the regular season at least through game one.  Cholowski potted a beautiful goal as he busted down Woodward Ave all alone yelling for the puck.  Dylan Larkin spotted him and delivered a beautiful pass from the half wall right on the tape and Dennis didn’t miss.

Cholowski controlled his gap play and stayed strong for the most part in his own zone.  He was playing with an active stick and held his own shift after shift.  It was a real positive night of the kid.  Cholowski demonstrated the ability to skate the puck out of danger.

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The Wings have had to many defensemen over the last couple of seasons with cement in their skates. It is critical in today’s’ NHL to be able to skate the puck confidently out of your own zone rather than sending an errant pass that could lead to a turnover or scoring chance against you.

Libor Sulak had an excellent showing in game one as well.  The big defender similar to Cholowski often displayed beautiful skating ability.  He played with confidence and poise.  The Wings took to many penalties, 6 trips to the box make it difficult to find sustained offensive pressure.  They saw themselves chasing much to often.

Two of the penalties were delay of game infractions; those are stupid penalties that are difficult to overcome.  Those are the kind of calls that end up in the back of your net, that’s what happened to the Wings.

With all the penalties Sulak and Joe Hicketts were called upon often to kill penalties and they stood strong.  As a fan, you hold your breath; you see these young players who are trying to find their way and they are always in high-pressure situations battling because the club is in the box over and over again.  The pair did a fantastic job under pressure and the firing barrage from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Filip Hronek played quietly well.  I say quietly because he didn’t need to be flashy and was consistently making the right read, the correct pinch, and an excellent first pass.  He also has the ability to skate his way out of trouble.  He only played a tick over 16 minutes, but the Detroit Red Wings didn’t have many power-play opportunities.  The lack thereof impacted Michael Rasmussen and Hronek’s minutes.

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We can’t fully judge the group on one game.  Remember mistakes will be made, adjustments will be expected.  It will be interesting to see this group continue to work and develop.  The Wings will have decisions to make once Niklas Kronwall and Mike Green return.  Also, will Jonathan Ericsson be able to unseat one of these kids?  Dennis Cholowski isn’t going anywhere.  For the time being, Nick Jensen has fallen down the pecking order.