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Assessing the Red Wings, Blue Jackets, Islanders and a couple of rookies

Let's answer some questions from the old #TwitterBagSkate:

Dustin Byfuglien will be a free agent after this season. He turns 31 and is making $6 million this season. He will get big contract offers this summer; someone will give him $7 million per year. He's viewed as an in-and-out kind of player, not an organizational pillar. The Wings are set up well salary-cap-wise, but I don't think they will go in this direction. I do think Detroit is a playoff team.

They had to work so hard for their first win in Denver. Brandon Dubinskyplayed very well in the first two games under new coach John Tortorella. Can they finish 43-22-7 in their last 72 games, get 97 points and squeak into the playoffs? They have to have some really hot stretches and can't have any more cold stretches. Columbus was 6-15-2 (14 points) after 23 games last season. If the Blue Jackets go, say, 7-5-1 in their next 13, they would still be just 9-13-1 (19 points) after 23 games this season. They missed the playoffs by nine points last season. It will be very difficult.

I don't see any scenario where Dylan Larkin plays another game in the AHL for the rest of his life. Pavel Datsyuk should be back in two weeks.

For Jack Eichel, it's his reach, unique skating stride and strong hands. He has great hockey sense and makes other players better. Connor McDavidhas the quickest, smoothest feet I can recall seeing. I think he is currently better around the net than Eichel; he really understands how to navigate there. He has a real, determined zest to finish. McDavid's acceleration is like the fastball that is on you before you know it. He has a fantastic hockey IQ as well. What I also like about Eichel and McDavid is their demeanor. They are very cool customers with a rink-rat mentality.

Since the Fourth of July, I have felt McDavid is a lock for rookie of the year.

I would eat Fruity Pebbles out of the Stanley Cup.

One NHL bigwig said there are plenty of outs in the deal with the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and that he wouldn't be surprised if they returned to somewhere near their old stomping grounds on Long Island once Charles Wang is no longer majority owner (which is next summer). That's all I know.

1. Carey Price

2. Henrik Lundqvist

3. Martin Jones

Scoring goals has been an issue for the Flyers early as they try to prevent goals and help out a thin defensive group. I think it will be difficult for the Flyers to sustain for 82 games.

College spotlight: Soren Jonzzon, Quinnipiac University

Wicked smaht: "I was able to graduate in three years in biomedical science. Now I'm finishing my last three classes to get my master's in health science and biomedical science focus. I'll graduate in May. The school offers a five-year master's program, but I had credits coming in from advanced placement classes in high school and will do it in four. I had a 3.94 undergrad GPA, and my master's GPA is 4.0."

Childhood: "I was born in California and lived in a middle-class family in Silicon Valley south of San Francisco, and lived there until I was 16, when I moved away to play in the USHL. My mom works in dental insurance and my dad stayed at home. I was a big San Jose Sharks fan and my favorite player was Owen Nolan. He was my guy."

Being Quinnipiac's captain: "It's a huge honor. One of our strengths this year is our depth. It's like my freshman year, when we went to the national championship. It's difficult to line-match against us. Off the ice, we have a great dynamic."

After Quinnipiac: "I'd like to try to play pro hockey. Europe would be awesome, especially Sweden, where my dad was born and lived until he was 30. If not, then I will do to medical school. I'm in the application and interview process now. Harvard, Yale, Vanderbilt and others.

"I want to go into trauma surgery in an emergency room. Coming from sports, the fast-paced environment and the quick decision making appeals to me. The idea of someone coming in close to death and me having something to do with bringing them back must be the most powerful feeling. Knowing the impact I can have on them and their family is powerful."

What makes a great surgeon: "Obviously, you have to have good motor skills. And being able to lead a group of individuals. Teamwork. As medicine is changing, there are countless nurses and others. If you can't communicate quickly, there will be delays or mistakes."

Mmmmm, beer: "My parents met in Oregon at Oktoberfest. They are now more into wine."


Related Topics:
sportsespnnhlnew york islandersbuffalo sabrescolumbus blue jacketsdetroit red wingsjohn buccigrossdylan larkincawlidgehawkeyconnor mcdavidphiladelphia flyersedmonton oilerscollege hockeyjack eichel
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