“The Day in the D”, takes a look back at the five most important local sports stories of the past 24 hours.
1. Mikael Samuelsson’s injury complicating amnesty options
The Detroit Red Wings will have two amnesty clauses available to them as of later this week — the NHL’s new collective bargaining agreement permits each team to buy out two players, erasing those players’ contracts from the salary-cap books. Mikael Samuelsson’s an obvious candidate to be amnestied, too, as he’s set to earn another $3 million next season and barely played at all this past year.
One potentially huge hurdle, though, as Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press pointed out over the weekend: Teams cannot use an amnesty on an injured player. And since Samuelsson continues to deal with the pectoral/shoulder injury that drove him out of the playoffs, doctors must first clear the aging forward before GM Ken Holland could consider sending him packing.
Should Samuelsson not be deemed healthy before the amnesty window closes on July 4, the Wings will be stuck with him — an issue since it would eat up $3 million in cap space and take a roster spot Detroit might have reserved for a youngster like Tomas Tatar or Gustav Nyquist.
2. Pistons shifting focus to Georgia guard?
Prepping for the NBA Draft on Thursday? Remember this name: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
The 6-foot-6 Georgia shooting guard could be high on the Pistons’ radar at No. 8 — MLive’s David Mayo ranked him as the third-best draft option for Detroit, behind potential 1-2 Nerlens Noel and Ben McLemore — and Brendan Savage spent some time breaking down Caldwell-Pope’s game.
USA Today also tabbed Caldwell-Pope as the Pistons’ pick at No. 8 in its latest mock draft, writing “Needing some 3-point shooting help, Detroit could target Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Caldwell-Pope would also bolster the Pistons’ rebounding and help out a team that had trouble scoring. Caldwell-Pope may be the deepest shooter in the draft.”
3. Michigan State’s schedule set for a title run?
Given that Michigan State dropped all of its conference home games last season, it’s tough to scroll through the Spartans’ 2013 schedule and make predictions with any real confidence.
Still, SBNation’s Maize N Brew wonders if the upcoming MSU slate might be laid out in such a way that it propels Mark Dantonio’s crew to the B1G title game.
The nonconference schedule could be tricky, with a September visit from South Florida and then trip to Notre Dame two weeks later. The Big Ten setup also features some potential pitfalls, with road games at Iowa, rebuilding Illinois, Nebraska and Northwestern plus a home showdown against Michigan. Getting through the conference at 6-2 would be a strong showing — and it might be enough to send the Spartans to Indianapolis.
4. Riley Reiff bulking up for 2013 season
Riley Reiff has put on at least 10 pounds this offseason in preparation for his (permanent?) move to left tackle, according to Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com.
“Riley’s doing great,” Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan told Twentyman. “When we drafted him that was a role we envisioned for him. He’s done a great job there and he’s making progress every day.
“I hope he keeps making those steps every day of practice come training camp. We feel really, really confident in his ability to do a great job for us.”
5. Ex-Michigan defensive back staying in state
Former Michigan DB Marvin Robinson will transfer to Ferris State for the 2013 season, it was reported over the weekend.
The senior safety could have been in line for at least a depth role in Ann Arbor, but instead opted to leave the Michigan program and drop down a level for more playing time. Robinson will be eligible to suit up this year, since he is not transferring to another Division-I school.