We are only 29 days til the Wings home opener versus the Buffalo Bandits. But more importantly 8 days til the Wings play back to back preseason games in Toronto at the newly built Toronto Rock practice facility. The first of the two will be on Dec 21st against the Buffalo Bandits, and the second game will be the following night Dec 22nd versus the Toronto Rock. Both these games will be a measuring stick for the Wings as they will arrive with the 26 man roster the teams are to be down to by this weekend (23 roster, 3 Practice Squad). The coaches are still frantically making choices of players who will become members of the Wings family and wear the colors. Some players have already been notified, some are still waiting for the call.
For those who will be flying to Toronto for these games, they realize there’s no room for mistakes. There are veterans from the other teams being released that would love to get a call by another team, and also some of the players can be placed from the 23 man roster, down to the practice squad. The main thing for next weekend is to shake the game rust off, and not get hurt.
The past couple days saw the Wings make a few signings. Kevin Crowley and Chad Wiedmaier each signed 1 year agreements. The Wings are returning 18 players from last years roster, leaving 8 spots open.
In my interview with Eric Hoffman Tuesday night, he will not see action next weekend, but the team is looking for his return at either the Calgary or Rochester home game. Eric said he has worked very hard in his rehab, some days he would get no movement in the knee, then he have the motion in bending of the knee and doing what needs to be done. He is very anxious to get back to action, and hearing the roar of the Wings faithful. “We have some making up to do” said Hoffman. Losing the last 6 in a row including the playoff game leaves a bad taste in your mouth, especially when we were doing so well and should of won the East and given the fans a home playoff game. Hoffman and the rest of the Wings know that starting the season off with a win is huge, especially against Buffalo. The Wings then go on the road the next 2 weeks as the visit Toronto and Buffalo. So starting the season strong is vital.
Hopefully next week the roster will be released on who is traveling with the team and is playing in the games.
If you are planning on going up next weekend to the pre-season games, be warned…the facility only seats about 800 people, so get there early for a seat.