Detroit had high hopes for 2013 first round draft pick (20th overall) Anthony Mantha this training camp. They were counting on the 20 year old, big bodied, junior goal scoring machine making the team and contributing this season. The Wings could really use some secondary scoring from some young players on entry level contracts, giving Mantha a golden opportunity to seize here.
After dominating a rookies tournament, unfortunately Mantha suffered a broken tibia and was announced he would be out 6-8 weeks, missing the start of the season. He still very likely will see time with Detroit this season, though I suspect he may now start the season in the minor leagues as part of his rehabilitation.
Here's an interesting factoid about Anthony Mantha - his grandfather played in the NHL and is a four time Stanley Cup champion with the Montreal Canadiens. Andre Pronovost, who is the brother of Hockey Hall of Famer Marcel Pronovost (making Mantha his grand-nephew), was a solid NHL citizen for several years.
Stocked with talent like Rocket Richard, Jean Beliveau and Boom Boom Geoffrion, even during their dynasty years the Canadiens always tried to bring up young talent to keep the team fresh and young.
Andre Pronovost joined the Canadiens in 1956, just in time to capture the final 4 of the Canadiens 5 consecutive Stanley Cups. He found a home on a checking line with Phil Goyette and Claude Provost.
"We were the third line, they called it," he recalls. "We played mostly defensively."
Pronovost enjoyed the Canadiens magical spirit.
"It was the kind of attitude we had in junior," he recalls. "They were great guys, guys that were just there to help out. They'd say you guys are here to help us out and whatever we can do to help you out, it's better for us. It was a great team spirit all the way."
In 1960 Pronovost was traded to the weak Bruins team in Boston. Jumping from the most successful team in hockey to the hapless team in Beantown was a tough transition for the native of Shawinigan Falls, Quebec. Pronovost even considered retirement.
"That's why when they traded me, I was thinking of quitting hockey and going back to school. Maybe that would have been the best move I could have made. You can't go back but you can think about it," said a reflecting Pronovost years after retirement. Pursuing an university education Bruins boss Lynn Patrick convinced him to stay.
The Bruins traded Pronovost to Detroit two years later, coming close to another Stanley Cup championship in 1964. After asking for a raise, Pronovost found himself demoted to the minor leagues. He briefly resurfaced with the expansion Minnesota North Stars in 1967-68, but he spent the remainder of his career in the minor leagues until he retired in 1971.
Through all the minor league stops, Pronovost never lost his love for the game.
"I loved the game and year after year, I'd say, 'Well, this is the year I quit and look for something new to do,' and one year, I decided that was it. I was 35."
Pronovost moved back to his native Quebec, opening and managing a restaurant in Longueuil. He also tried his hand coaching junior hockey in Shawinigan. for a season, but to mixed results. He got out after one year, fearing he was being too demanding of junior players.