Matthews: These Red Wings Are A Powerhouse So Far


The Rochester Red Wings were billed as a power-laden team coming out of spring training and they have performed as advertised.

Through 10 games, the Wings are 6-4 and have put up some impressive offensive numbers (rank in the 14-team International League in parentheses):

.285 batting average (1st)

15 home runs (1st)

57 runs (3rd)

161 total bases (tied for 2nd)

.361 on-base percentage (1st)

.478 slugging percentage (1st)

.838 OPS, on-base + slugging % (1st).

The 15 HRs don’t shock me. But ByungHo Park has a hamstring issue and had zero HRs in his four games and I am impressed how the rest of the team’s hitters have picked up the slack.

The pitching has been decent – Rochester’s 3.56 ERA ranks 5th – and the Wings have outscored opponents 57-37.


The Rochester Americans ended a disappointing season with a 3-0 loss Saturday at the Albany Devils.

It was the seventh time the Amerks were shut out this season. They also scored one goal 11 times and two goals 18 times in the 76-game season.

Rochester’s record was 32-41-0-3 and the team ranked 26th in the 30-team American Hockey League in point percentage.

The Amerks were outscored by 35 goals (240 to 205) and ranked 25th in power-lay percentage (15.1 percent; 45-for-299) and 19th in penalty killing (81.1 percent; 231-for-285).

Rochester was fairly decent at Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial (19-16-0-3; outscored opponents 116-112) and mostly awful on the road (13-25-0-0; outscored buy opponents 128-89).

In an oddity, the Amerks were 6-0 in overtime. They were the only team in the league without a loss in overtime. Rochester was 1-3 in shootouts.

Goalie Linus Ullmark was an easy choice for team MVP. He faced by far the most shots in the AHL and he saved the team from disaster in the standings. There is speculation that he could be playing for the NHL expansion team in Las Vegas next season. If so, good luck to him.

Alexander Nylander was chosen team Rookie of the Year – by default. I guess. In 65 games, the 2016 first-round draft pick had 10 goals and 18 assists for 28 points. He was a team-worst -24 in plus/minus.

Thumbs up to left wing Cole Schneider for a solid season: 71 games; 24 goals; 39 assists; 63 points; +9 plus/minus.

Center Derek Grant was a better-late-than-never addition to the Amerks. Here’s hoping the Buffalo Sabres offer him a healthy two-way contract for next season.


The Rochester Knighthawks have a winning tradition so they were due for a tough season. The team is very young – particularly up front – and the first half last Saturday night at the Colorado Mammoth was particularly demoralizing. At halftime, the Mammoth led 9-1 en route to a not-as-close-as-the-final score suggests 13-7 victory.

The K-Hawks have the worst record in the nine-team National Lacrosse League (5-10). Have the worst goal differential (minus-34) and are averaging a league-worse 9.4 goals per game.

Rochester has three games remaining in the regular season and winning them all probably would not result in a playoff berth. New England and Toronto both are 8-8 and lead fourth-place Buffalo by 2 games and the K-hawks by 2 ½ games. The top three in the five-team East Division will make the playoffs.

The K-hawks host New England Saturday and the Georgia Swarm Friday, April 28. They’ll play at the Swarm Saturday, April 29. The Swarm are the NLL’s best team (11-4 record, outscoring opponents 225-187)).

Georgia has the best chance to foil West Division-leading Saskatchewan’s bid to join Rochester (2012, 2013 and 2014) as the only teams in NLL history to win three straight championships.


Visiting teams were 3-1 Sunday and are 11-9 in the first 20 games of this unpredictable 16-team tournament.

Margins of victory for the 20 games: one goal 13 times...two goals 5 times...three goals 1 time...five goals one time.

There have been 87 goals in the 20 games (4.35 goals per game).

There have been five shutouts, including two by Nashville over Chicago.


Two-year-old champion Classic Empire, set back by a foot abscess and a back issue in recent months, bounced back with an impressive victory last Saturday in the $1-million Arkansas Derby, the last major prep race for the May 6 Kentucky Derby.

A crowd of 62,500 wagered $13.5 million on the 12-race program to close the meet.


Baltimore Orioles rookie Trey Mancini hit two home runs in Sunday’s 11-4 home romp over Toronto and tied a Major League Baseball record with 7 HRs in his first 12 MLB games. He shares that mark with current Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story and Dino Restelli.

Story you might have heard of. But Dino Restelli? I admit it. I was stumped.

Restelli . nicknamed “Dingo”, was 24 years old in the summer of 1949 and having a big season in the Pacific Coast League (.351 batting average ; 94-for-268; 21 doubles; 2 triples; 10 HRs; 65 RBI in 72 games) for the San Francisco Seals.  The Pittsburgh Pirates were impressed and obtained him via trade.

Restelli was an instant sensation with 7 HRs in his first 12 games for the Pirates. But he quickly fizzled. In 72 games, he batted .250, with 12 HRs and 40 RBI.

He was back in the PCL in 1950 and had a short stint with Pittsburgh in 1952: .184 (7-for-38) with 1 HR and 3 RBI in 21 games.

He never returned to the majors and retired from baseball after the 1955 season. He became a policeman in San Francisco and was prominent in the Bay Area as a tennis player and a swing and tap dancer. He was born in St. Louis of Italian immigrants, was a rare bespectacled baseball player, and died in 2006 at age 81.

The Orioles are hoping Trey Mancini has a longer MLB career than Dingo Restelli did.


Center Pavel Datsyuk played 14 NFL seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and the team made the playoffs every oner of those seasons. He was a two-time Stanley Cup championships.

Datsyuk, 38, decided to leave the NHL after last season and signed with SKA St. Petersburg in his native Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League.

St. Petersburgh beat Mettallurg Magnitogorsk 5-3 Sunday to win the Gagarin Cup (Russia’s equivalent of the Stanley Cup). Datsyuk missed Sunday’s game due to injury, but in 7 playoff games, he had 4 goals and 5 assists. In 44 regular-season games, he had 12 goals and 22 assists.

This season’s Detroit Red Wings – minius Datsyuk -- missed qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in 25 years.


The first day of the live thoroughbred racing season at Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack is Saturday. Post time is 1:10 p.m.

The North Carolina Courage, the transplanted National Women’s Soccer League champions formerly called the WNY Flash, opened the 2017 NWSL season with a 1-0 victory at the Washington Spirit before 2,500 fans. Midfielder McCall Zerboni scored the only goal as the Courage outshot Washington 23-4.  North Carolina’s home opener will be Saturday against the Portland Thorns FC at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC.

Former (very briefly) WNY Flash star Sydney Leroux scored in a 2-1 victory Sunday over the visiting Boston Breakers. She also hit two posts.

NBA Most Valuable Player balloting was conducted before the playoffs. The probably wasd a good thing for Oklahoma City MVP favorite Russell Westbrook, who was outplayed by a wide margin by Jamers Harden in Sunday’s 118-87 Houston romp over the Thunder.


Monday, April 17 – Ali Marpet (24)...Cleanthony Early (26)...Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (32)...Tony Boselli (45)...Marquis Grissom (50)...Craig Worthington (52)...Boomer Esiason (56)...Dave Huppert (60). Victoria Beckham (43) and Jennifer Garner (45) are invited to the birthday party.

Tuesday, April 18 – Bojan Bogdanovic (28)...C.J. Miles (30)...Billy Butler (31)...Miguel Cabrera (34)...Scott Hartnell (35)...Haile Gebrselassie (44)...Derrick Brooks (44)...William Roaf (47)...Wilber Marshall (55)...Geoff Bodine (68)...Tiny Archibald (69).  Conan O’Brien (54), Eric Roberts (61), Rick Moranis (64) and James Woods (70) are invited to the birthday party.

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