Recently we at Red Wings on Tap were able to catch up with the guys from The Grind Line Podcast (GLP). It was fun learning about the background and memories from three guys who have produced a top 50 hockey podcast. They discuss how the podcast formed, milestones they’ve hit along the way, and what is on the horizon. Afterward, we chatted about past and current Detroit Red Wings players, and what the future looks like.
Getting to Know the Guys Behind The GLP
Before we get into the podcast, can you tell the readers of Red Wings On Tap what experience you have in the hockey world? Did all of you play growing up? Do you currently?
GREG: “If by play NHL on Xbox then yeah we play a lot. But no, Tyler plays rec hockey, I’ve never played but I’m looking into beer league. We really love the sport and we have one thing in common. When we latch on to something like a sport we really get into it. The quest for knowledge on the subject doesn’t stop. We want to let everyone know about it. We are like the reverse gatekeepers.”
RYAN: “I haven’t played ice hockey since around 10 or so. The school I went to didn’t have hockey, so I would’ve had to move to play. It sort of just died off from there, unfortunately. I kept playing street hockey for several years after, but if I tried that now it would probably end in a horrible injury. Outside of that, my dad got me watching the Detroit Red Wings starting back around 1995. He had a “hacked” cable card so we could get PASS sports to watch the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings. The Brawl in Detroit is really when I started to get into it, and where my original hatred of the Colorado Avalanche started. It’s a 1A/1B for my hatred of Colorado and the Chicago Blackhawks and a lot of it, for whatever reason was due to Ed Belfour and Patrick Roy.”
TYLER: “Hockey has been a huge part of my life since I was three years old learning how to skate. I then played AAA hockey as a kid, then in high school, and some juniors. I’ve taken a break from playing the game for the last few years but am getting back into it this fall. As for the Red Wings, I live in Massachusetts which is a huge hotbed for hockey, but I just never really had much (love) for the Boston Bruins. Steve Yzerman was my favorite player growing up and it just stuck as time went on. I also have family in Michigan and have been a University of Michigan fan since I was born.”
Formation of the Podcast
Please walk our readers through the formation of the GLP. How did the vision originate? What are some thresholds that you have progressed to that you are proud of? What future aspirations for the podcast do you have that you can share?
GREG: “It started from a blog called The Winged Octopus. I was brought in to host and produce since I had editing experience. That was October of 2017? So it’s been almost four years which is crazy to think about. Then we brought in Ryan when someone had to drop out and did a rebrand to The Grind Line when the blog folded. It’ll be four years for us as a group in February. I remember being super excited when we hit like 150 downloads in a month.
To think we are in the thousands now and ranking in the top 50 Hockey Podcasts on iTunes is a huge deal for us. Our partnership with The Hockey Podcast Network has helped us expand. The constant interaction with listeners has propelled us forward also. We have talked to a couple of people about partnering with their news outlet but talks continue. We are also locking in some great guests and looking at ways to expand our reach using different platforms.”
RYAN: “When we actually got to talking about it, I didn’t realize how long we had been doing this until Greg did a deep dive on the episodes. I would say, I’m close to at least 100 episodes now since joining (I’ve missed some here and there which is why I’m probably just short). It’s funny to think that it all just came about from having Red Wings Twitter conversations back in the day with Tyler. He was sort of who “recruited” me, if you will, to join them and give it a go. It’s basically been that way ever since. What’s nice is to see, for one, how the podcast has grown even while the team hasn’t done well. The interactions that we’re able to have with other Red Wings fans is what I think is important for us to continue to be “successful”.”
TYLER: “A podcast was something I had always wanted to do. My everyday life of talking about the red wings to Bruins fans wasn’t fun. They weren’t knowledgeable about my team which obviously is expected. So we’ve had 4-5 different iterations of the podcast, but none better than this one. The biggest accomplishment is cracking the top 50 in hockey podcasts in the US and Canada. The sky is the limit as long as we have us 3 together!”
The GLP Reflects On The Red Wings
Turning the focus to our Detroit Red Wings, who is your favorite player? What is your favorite Red Wings memory?
GREG: “Right now it’s Larkin. I don’t think there is a more hockey-driven player on the team. He lives and breathes the game. If you asked him what his hobbies are all he would say is hockey. Plus I think his leadership is unmatched on the team and the guys really believe that he can lead this team back to a cup.”
RYAN: “If we’re talking current players, it would also have to be Larkin. I think the way he plays on the ice is a reminder of some of the greats I grew up watching (you know, guys like Yzerman). To see him finally named Captain of the team was just right and I can only hope he can continue to lead this team to great things.
As far as my favorite memory, I would have to say it was the breakaway goal scored by Gus Nyquist versus the Bruins. I was sitting in section 213B, as part of the season tickets I had that year, and had the view of it head-on. Not sure there was a better goal to watch in person because of that atmosphere and what was on the line trying to make the playoffs.”
TYLER: “As a kid, my favorite player was Steve Yzerman, and as a second favorite was Sergei Fedorov. It killed me when he signed in Anaheim. As I got older Pavel Datsyuk’s creativity was just amazing. If someone were to ask me my favorite hockey player in the last 10-15 years it would absolutely be the magic man. Nowadays it’s Dylan Larkin. He just is everything you could ever ask of a captain I was so glad he got it and I think he’s in for a big 2021-22.
The Guys from GLP Discuss the Current State
In terms of the state of the current Red Wings, does General Manager Steve Yzerman have this team ahead of, or behind where you thought they would be at this point in his tenure?
GREG: “Oh I think he has turned the ship around fairly quickly. What? Three years? This season the only players left from the Holland era are Larkin, Bertuzzi, Nielsen, Hronek, DeKeyser, and Rasmussen. Nielsen and DDK fall off next season. Plus bringing in guys like Vrana and Suter and drafting what looks like a star defenseman in Seider. I think we are ahead of schedule.”
RYAN: “I think that Yzerman is about on pace with what I was expecting. The biggest thing he had to do was shed the contracts left by Ken Holland. With many of those signings on the books, it was going to take a lot to right the ship. With Justin Abdelkader bought out, other deals expiring (Darren Helm and Luke Glendening most recently), and Danny Dekeyser and Frans Nielsen on their final years, I think that we’re now starting to see the team become his. That’s a great feeling. To me, you can start seeing the vision take shape. The team has been getting faster, younger, and more offensively focused.”
TYLER: “I think the Wings are ahead of schedule when it comes to the rebuild. The current roster is getting better, the bad contracts are pretty much all off the books. The prospect pipeline is almost what you’d want. The only gripe I have is, I still think we need a second center unless Veleno can become that which remains to be seen.”
Aside from Mo Seider, what young Red Wing are you most eager to join the Wings?
GREG: “Lucas Raymond is being compared to Mitch Marner so that’s pretty exciting. I think the one that may take more people by surprise though is Jonatan Berggren. His playmaking is just so smooth, and his creativity is off the charts. I think he could be a top 6 player in a few years.”
RYAN: “I could go simple and say Raymond, but I am going with another Swede in Jonatan Berggren. I think we’ve sort of been waiting for his coming out party the past few seasons, or for him to finally make it to North America in Grand Rapids. We have finally been given that opportunity. It’s especially great because he’s HEALTHY. Watching his game gives me glimpses of what Henrik Zetterberg could do with the puck when it comes to playmaking ability. He’s also got a wicked wrister to back it up. I’m super eager to see what he may do this season. I think he has a great chance to crack the roster out of camp.”
TYLER: “As far as young guys go obviously looking forward to seeing more of Joe Veleno this season. Hopefully, Filip Zadina can become that goal scorer we all want him to become. Preseason wise I am really excited to see what Lucas Raymond brings to the table. He looks like the real deal.”
Predictions From The GLP
When do the members of The Grind Line podcast expect the Red Wings to make the playoffs? Compete for cups?
GREG: Playoffs in 2022-23 or 23-24 and contending in 2026-27. And I think that’s the timeline we have held since Yzerman got here. He gave the impression when he got here that he was looking to make the playoffs in 3-4 seasons.
RYAN: I think what Greg said could be totally realistic. A lot has to go right for that to happen. I think after this season we may see Yzerman do what Chris Illitch publicly said he’d do for the Tigers, and start going after some solid free agents. Young talent like Raymond, Seider, Zadina, etc. will be on this roster. You’ve got to think we’ll be there in a similar fashion as Carolina in about 2-3 seasons.
TYLER: I think if things went right and we got off to a good start the wings could be in the mix for a wildcard spot in 2021-22. It’s not likely, but it’s possible. As for a Stanley Cup contender, I said when Yzerman got hired the wings were gonna win the 2025-26 Stanley cup so I’ll stick with that.
How Can You Keep in Touch with the GLP?
Is there anything else you would like to pass along to the On Tap readers?
GREG: ” We have a Discord now! We are trying to build out a community there and have some cool stuff going on and are planning watch parties for the season. You can join by clicking the link.”
RYAN: Join in on the fun that is Red Wings Twitter! Greg is always hammering away on there from the GLP account (@GrindLinePod), but Tyler and I are out there too having fun conversations.
TYLER: Join us on the discord, and definitely keep up with us on Twitter. We’re always happy to discuss all things Red Wings, Grand Rapids Griffins, and anything hockey-related.