Bure a Blueshirt

Pavel Bure, one of the most coveted players available as the NHL’s trade deadline nears, was sent to the New York Rangers Monday night in exchange for Igor Ulanov, Filip Novak and a 2002 first-round pick.

The Florida Panthers are rumored to have listened to offers from the Rangers and the Dallas Stars before trading the “Russian Rocket.” Dallas was rumored to have offered Brendan Morrow, Richard Matvichuk, and a prospect.

Bure has twenty-two goals in fifty-six games this season with the Panthers. He has scored at least fifty-one goals in every season where he played at least seventy games.

Ulanov, signed as an unrestriced free agent by the Rangers last summer, and been a disappointment in New York from the start. He had only six assists in thirty-nine games with the Rangers, and spent fifteen games as a healty scratch. He also spent time with New York’s AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack.

The twenty-year-old Novak has twelve goals and forty-four assists with Regina of the Western Hockey League. He was a second-round pick of New York in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.

The NHL’s trade deadline is at 3:00 PM (US Eastern), Tuesday.

Mac’s Back, With Irish Luck

Darren McCarty made his presence known in a big way, in his first game back from finger surgery, scoring the game-winning goal to put the Red Wings over the New York Rangers, 5-3 at Madison Square Garden.

The Red Wings started off strong in the first period, opening the scoring 6:43 into the game. The Rangers’ Theoren Fleury attempted to clear the puck out of his zone, but Sergei Fedorov knocked it down from midair, and Chris Chelios put it past goalie Mike Richter, off the post and into the net.

The Rangers came back less than a minute later. Petr Nedved carried the puck around the net and fired high, and Michal Grosek redirected it past Dominik Hasek with the tip of his stick.

New York used their momentum from Grosek’s goal to pressure the Wings and take the lead a few minutes later. Matthew Barnaby fired the original shot on Hasek, and Roman Lyashenko got the rebound into the net for his first goal of this season.

The Rangers took a string of penalties early in the second period, and the Red Wings were able to take advantage of this during a cross-checking penalty to Dave Karpa. Fedorov slid the puck along the blue line to Nick Lidstrom, who fired on net. Brett Hull, waiting in front of Richter, redirected the puck in midair and into the net.

Detroit regained the lead during four-on-four play resulting from offsetting slashing penalties to Sean Avery and Vladimir Malakhov. Chelios got the puck to Jiri Fischer at the left wing side. Fischer had plenty of room to maneuver, but took only two strides forward before firing a hard shot on net. Two strides were all he needed, as the puck went through Richter’s armpit and into the net.

The penalties began to go in New York’s favor then, and they were able to tie the game during a high-sticking double minor to Max Kuznetsov. Former Michigan State Spartan Mike York passed to Eric Lindros from behind the net, and Lindros fired on Hasek from a very sharp angle. The puck bounced off the stick of Fischer and into the net.

Both teams played in a more laid back style through the third period, each waiting for the other to make a mistake. New York finally slipped up near the end of the game. Fedorov won the faceoff in New York’s zone, and got the puck back to Lidstrom. Lidstrom fired, and Richter left a huge rebound for Darren McCarty to grab up and scoop into the net.

The Rangers pulled Richter for a sixth skater with just under a minute to play, but Brendan Shanahan got the puck out of the zone and up to speeding Fedorov, who ducked around a hard hit from Fleury and put the puck into the empty net.

Shots on net were thirty-five to twenty-six in Detroit’s favor. The Red Wings’ next game will be at home Tuesday night against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

Steve Yzerman suffered a setback in his knee recovery, and plans to seek a second opinion from a favored doctor in Birmingham, Alabama. Team spokespeople say that the delay in Yzerman’s return to the lineup will be a week at most….. Point of interest: If the playoffs were to start today, the Red Wings would be facing their old rivals the Dallas Stars in the very first round.

Fedorov’s 500th Assist Not Enough For Win

Sergei Fedorov at last reached the milestone of 500 career assists, but that wasn’t enough to help the Red Wings past the Boston Bruins, as they lost 2-1.

The Bruins opened the scoring late in the first period. Brian Rolston carried the puck into the zone with only Jiri Fischer back to defend against him. Rolston’s hard shot got past Fischer and slipped into the net beneath Manny Legace, making his first start for the Wings since February 9.

Kris Draper evened up the game early in the second. Sergei Fedorov brought the puck in onside, then passed to Brendan Shanahan at the right wing. Shanahan put a centering pass across the ice, and Draper redirected the puck into the net past goaltender John Grahame, to score his thirteenth goal of the season, a new career high for Draper.

Boston regained the lead late in the second. Glen Murray took a centering pass from Jozef Stumpel at the boards, and wristed the shot past Legace’s stick side.

Legace made some spectacular saves over the course of the game, but Detroit’s offense was unable to get the puck past Grahame a second time, even though shots on net were thirty to twenty-two in Detroit’s favor.

The Red Wings’ next game will be Sunday afternoon against the New York Rangers.

Home Sweet Home

Igor Larionov led the team with four assists, and Nick Lidstrom, Jason Williams, and Chris Chelios all contributed goals to give the Red Wings a 4-3 overtime victory over the Edmonton Oilers at Joe Louis Arena.

Like a shadow of Sunday’s game against Buffalo, the Red Wings had to start out by killing off a penalty. This time, it was a four minute double minor to Igor Larionov for high sticking. And this time, the Detroit penalty-killers kept control of the puck and kept Edmonton out of the net for the full four minutes.

The Red Wings looked sharp and ready to play, and spent most of the first period in Edmonton’s zone. When their first power play came along, from a tripping call on Steve Staios, they were ready. Larionov won the faceoff and got the puck back to Freddy Olausson, who passed along the blue line to Nick Lidstrom at the right point. Lidstrom fired a hard shot which dipped down and between the leg pads of goaltender Jussi Markkanen, exactly five seconds after the power play began.

Edmonton applied more offensive pressure in the second period, testing Dominik Hasek with twelve shots on net. Hasek made the saves, however, and Lidstrom increased the Red Wings’ lead, again on the power play. Georges Laraque was in the box for holding, and Luc Robitaille passed the puck from behind the net to Larionov at the right wing side. Larionov passed across to Lidstrom, coming up deep on the left side, and Lidstrom put a perfectly aimed wrist shot into Markkanen’s net.

The Oilers finally found some luck in the third period. Marty Reasoner scored twice on power plays within the first five minutes- the first during a holding call on Chris Chelios and the second during an obstruction hooking call on Kris Draper, tying the game at two goals apiece.

Sean Avery sought to re-energize his team by winning a fight against Scott Ferguson, and Jason Williams put the Red Wings back into the lead. Robitaille again centered the puck from behind the net, and Williams skated around Rem Murray and slapped the puck past Markkanen.

The Red Wings tried to protect their lead with defensive play, but when the Oilers pulled their goalie for an extra skater with just over a minute to play, the protection was not enough. Mike Comrie, whose earlier goal was waved off after review because it was kicked into the net, carried the puck towards Hasek while having his stick tied up by Lidstrom. Just as Hasek came out to poke the puck away, Comrie got his stick free, and put just enough on the puck to lift it over Hasek and send the game to overtime.

Luck was with Detroit in the overtime period, as a slashing call to Ryan Smyth gave them two minutes of a four-on-three penalty. Larionov passed from the blue line to Chelios at the left wing side, and Chelios blasted a hard one-timer past Markkanen, for what was, surprisingly enough, his first ever overtime goal.

Shots on net were thirty-eight to thirty-one in the Oilers’ favor. Detroit was three for six on power plays. The Red Wings next game will be Saturday afternoon, when they will travel to Boston to face the Bruins.

Team officials expect that Darren McCarty will be recovered from his finger injury by this weekend and Steve Yzerman will be recovered from his knee injury by next week. Max Kuznetsov returned to the lineup for the first time since December. This game was Hasek’s thirty-eighth win of the season, which is a new personal best record for him.

Sabres Prove Themselves On Dom

Even the team with the best record in the NHL needs to get a good night’s rest between games, especially when they go up against an inspired team, as the Red Wings discovered in a 5-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday afternoon.

The Red Wings had planned to travel from St. Louis to Buffalo on Saturday evening, but due to high winds, the plane was forced to land in Cleveland, and the Wings did not make it to Buffalo until a few hours before the game. They found the Sabres ready to take revenge on their former star goaltender, who left them this summer on bad terms.

Dominik Hasek‘s return to Buffalo to face his former teammates did not get off to the start he had hoped for. Detroit had to deal with over a minute of five-on-three play early in the first, during penalties to Jason Williams and Sergei Fedorov. Miroslav Satan received the puck from teammate Tim Connolly, and fired on net from a few steps past the blue line. Hasek, screened by Curtis Brown, was unable to see the shot, and the Sabres were up by one.

The goal ended the penalty to Williams, but Buffalo still had some time at five-on-four, and they were able to make the most of it. Kris Draper got the puck away from a Buffalo attacker along the boards, but his pass was intercepted by Maxim Afinogenov, who sent the puck cross-crease to Brown. Brown one-timed the shot, and the puck was in Hasek’s net.

The Red Wings had a power play chance of their own when Afinogenov was sent off for tripping. The power play kept control of the puck for most of the two minutes, but were unable to score.

Chris Chelios attempted to make a pass along the blue line just as the power play was ending, but it went wide and out of the zone, and Afinogenov grabbed it up as he stepped out of the penalty box. Nick Lidstrom tried to catch up, but Afinogenov was away, and tricked Hasek by putting the puck high into the net with a backhand shot.

Detroit tried to play with a little more energy in the second period, but the Sabres scored again just over a minute in. Chris Gratton brought the puck in on the left wing side, and Hasek came out of the net expecting to block a passing lane. Instead of passing, Gratton put the puck into the open net.

Detroit finally got on the board a few minutes later. Boyd Devereaux got the puck to Brett Hull behind the net, and Hull passed it out front. The puck deflected off the stick of goalie Martin Biron, and straight to the stick of Pavel Datsyuk, who lifted the puck into the net.

Scotty Bowman pulled Hasek from the game to put Manny Legace in net for the start of the third period. Without their former goalie to shoot at, Buffalo lost much of their incentive to play hard, but neither did Detroit gain inspiration from the goalie switch. The Sabres did score once more. Satan took a pass from Gratton and put the puck in the net with 14:58 remaining.

Hasek stopped eighteen of twenty-two shots in two periods, while Legace stopped six of the seven he faced in the third. Biron stopped nineteen of the twenty shots the Red Wings sent against him. The Red Wings next game will be at home against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday evening.

Datsyuk’s goal, his eleventh of the season, puts him into fifth place in NHL rookie scoring.

Wings at Home on the Road

The Detroit Red Wings downed the Blues in St. Louis on Saturday, lengthening their road winning-streak to a team record of eight games.

Detroit started the scoring early, with Tomas Holmstrom putting a rebound past St. Louis netminder Brent Johnson 6:24 into the first period.

Luc Robitaille put the Wings up by two when he pushed in a rebound just over seven minutes later.

“The goal was a result of a great play by Steve Duchesne,” Robitaille said. “I just kept pushing at the puck.”

St. Louis struck back late in the period. Scott Mellanby fired a shot off the post but the puck hit Detroit goaltender Dominik Hasek and bounced in.

The Blues tied the game early in the second period when Cory Stillman put a power play goal past Hasek.

Detroit regained the lead on a Sergei Fedorov power play goal just past the midway point in the game.

Robitaille scored his second late in the second period. Jason Williams fed Robitaille a perfect pass at the side of the net, and Robitaille redirected it past Johnson to put Detroit up by two.

Detroit fought off a tough St. Louis attack early in the third and held the lead. With Johnson pulled for the extra attacker late in the game, Pavel Datsyuk added an empty net goal to cap the Wings’ 5-2 win.

Several Red Wings are nearing career milestones… Brendan Shanahan is at career goal 499, Sergei Fedorov is at career assist 499, Chris Chelios is four assists away from 700 career, and Scotty Bowman needs only eight more victories to tie Jack Adams for most by a Red Wings coach.

Falling Leafs

Brendan Shanahan did NOT manage to get his 500th career goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs. But Jason Williams got his first, and Sean Avery got his second, and Sergei Fedorov, Luc Robitaille, and Igor Larionov all contributed to give the Red Wings a true team victory of 6-2 over the Maple Leafs in their first game at Joe Louis Arena in over a month.

With star goaltender Curtis Joseph out of the lineup with a broken wrist, it seemed like the Maple Leafs would be an easy mark for the Red Wings. Detroit opened the scoring just over halfway through the period. Chris Chelios brought the puck into the Leafs’ zone and passed to rookie Jason Williams at the right point. Williams fired a hard shot which redirected slightly off the skate of Cory Cross and into the net past goalie Corey Schwab, giving Williams his first NHL goal.

Detroit scored next during a tripping penalty to Bryan McCabe. Defenseman Aki Berg had lost his stick, and Brendan Shanahan neatly feathered a pass right by to Sergei Fedorov, who tipped the puck into the net.

Luc Robitaille put the Red Wings up by three goals during another power play, this time on an unsportsmanlike conduct call against Shane Corson. Nick Lidstrom‘s shot from the blue line was deflected wide of the net. Robitaille caught the puck and banged it in from the right side of the net, getting it in on the second try.

Toronto started the second period with a goalie switch, putting in 20-year-old Sebastien Centomo. It looked as if the Leafs would be able to get on the board, when Igor Larionov and Brendan Shanahan were sent to the penalty box within five seconds of each other, but Dominik Hasek stayed steady, and the penalty killers Chelios, Lidstrom, Fedorov, and Kris Draper stayed strong, allowing the Leafs only two shots on net during a full 1:55 of five-on-three hockey.

As if to add insult to injury, the Red Wings scored yet again on their power play, when Marc Moro was in the box for holding the stick. Pavel Datsyuk sent a perfectly aimed pass from the corner to Igor Larionov waiting in front of the net, and Larionov was easily able to redirect the puck past Centomo.

Tomas Kaberle finally ended Hasek’s potential shutout with six and a half minutes left in the second. The Wings were again killing off a five-on-three penalty, and Kaberle took a shot from the blue line which redirected off the stick of Draper and past a screened Hasek.

Mats Sundin scored while the Leafs were shorthanded, putting the game within reach. Sundin stole the puck from Larionov. Hasek came out to cut down the angle of Sundin’s shot, but Sundin instead kicked it between Hasek’s legs. Just before two Detroit defensemen could get back to clear it away, Sundin made a diving play and tapped the puck into the empty net.

The Red Wings answered both Toronto goals in the third period. Fedorov scored his second of the night just thirty-eight seconds in, going to the front of the net and tipping in Mathieu Dandenault‘s pass from the right wing corner.

Sean Avery put the game out of Toronto’s reach for good midway through the period. Angering Toronto tough guy Tie Domi with a hard, clean hit early in the game just wasn’t enough for Avery, so he skated hard for the front of the net, trailing Kirk Maltby on the right wing. Maltby faked a goal line shot, but instead passed across the crease to Avery, who flipped the puck into the wide open net.

Shots on net were thirty-five to twenty-five in Toronto’s favor. Detroit converted on three of six power plays, while Toronto converted on one of five. The Red Wings’ next game will be Saturday afternoon in St. Louis.

Darren McCarty had surgery on his infected finger, and should be back in the lineup by next week. The Red Wings record now stands at 45-11-6-2, meaning that even if they win only half of their remaining eighteen games, no other team in the Western Conference will be able to pass them.

Goals 499 And 1

Brendan Shanahan and Sean Avery both contributed with their respective milestone goals, helping lead the Red Wings to a 4-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The first period passed by quietly for both teams: no hits, no penalties, and no scoring. Pittsburgh, feeling the offensive lack with both Mario Lemieux and Marty Straka lost to injuries, managed to make only one shot on goal in the first twenty minutes of play.

The Penguin’s second shot of the game was the one that made it past Dominik Hasek. Jan Hrdina fired on net, and the puck bounced off Hasek and in to give Pittsburgh the lead just over a minute into the second period.

The Red Wings tied the game up just a few minutes later. Chris Chelios fired a hard shot from the right point. The puck was headed wide of the net until Boyd Devereaux neatly deflected it past Jean-Sebastien Aubin.

Detroit took the lead less than five minutes later. Nick Lidstrom shot the puck from the blue line. Aubin stopped that initial shot, but Brendan Shanahan skated out from behind the net and grabbed the rebound, then wristed a turnaround shot into Aubin’s net.

The Penguins put up a fight in the third period, trying to regain their lead. The play became more physical and more likely to bang up against the boards. Pittsburgh also increased their shots on net- there was nothing more for them to gain from playing defensive hockey. Even though the Penguins got past Detroit’s defense a number of times, they were still unable to get the puck past Hasek, at his unorthodox best stopping breakaways and point-blank shots which might have easily gone past any other goaltender.

With just over five minutes left in the game, the Red Wings increased their lead. Sean Avery pulled the puck out of a tangle of players along the boards in Pittsburgh’s end, and skated with it to the goal line left of the net. Then, just as Shanahan has done so many times, Avery shot the puck along the line, banking it off Aubin and into the net for his first ever NHL goal.

Pittsburgh wasn’t ready to give up just yet. With just over a minute to play, they won a faceoff deep in the Detroit zone and proceeded to crash the net. The third rebound got past Hasek, as Stefan Richer sent the puck skimming above the ice and through the tiny spot left open between Hasek’s closing legs.

As soon as Pittsburgh controlled the puck again, they pulled Aubin in exchange for the sixth skater. Shanahan nearly scored his 500th goal into the empty net, but the aim was just barely wide. Pittsburgh brought the puck back to Detroit’s end again, but were unable to get a quality scoring chance. Finally, with just four seconds left, Lidstrom shot the puck down the ice and into the empty net from just inside his own blue line.

Shots on net were thirty to twenty-two in Detroit’s favor. Neither team was able to score on the power play.

The Red Wings next game will be on Wednesday, when they return home to the Joe to face the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Igor Larionov sat out once again due to his sore leg- a precautionary measure, according to team spokespeople. Darren McCarty was out due to an injured finger, giving Mathieu Dandenault a chance to move back to his natural position at right wing. Steve Yzerman‘s knee treatment is going as planned; he hopes to be back in the lineup by March 19.

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