Wings Rout Flu-Ridden Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets came to Detroit missing thirteen players from their normal starting roster and certainly played like it, allowing nine goals and scoring none en route to a loss to the Red Wings.

Detroit got goals from Nicklas Lidstrom, Robert Lang (2) and Kyle Quincey in the first period to take a 4-0 lead into the intermission. The Blue Jackets managed only two shots to the Red Wings’ twenty-one on the period.

Dan Cleary and Rem Murray added goals in the second before Columbus goalie Marc Denis was replaced by Pascal Leclaire. Mathieu Schneider scored one more goal in the second before Johan Franzen and Tomas Holmstrom added goals in the third.

Lidstrom scored the only goal of the shootout in the fifth round.

The Blue Jackets roster has been decimated by a flu bug going around the team.

The Red Wings were without captain Steve Yzerman, defenseman Jamie Rivers and goalie Chris Osgood, all suffering from groin injuries. Pavel Datsyuk did not play after practicing with the team for a second day and Andreas Lilja sat after playing the night before in Colorado. Niklas Kronwall was out with the knee injury he suffered in Denver.

Wings Fall to Avs, Kronwall Injured

The Colorado Avalanche scored two goals in 1:36 in the second period on Tuesday to bounce back from being down 1-0 and earn a 2-1 win over the visiting Detroit Red Wings.

With 7:36 remaining in the middle frame, Andrew Brunette scored Colorado’s first goal of the game. With 6:00 remaining in the period, Alex Tanguay added another goal for the Avalanche.

Dan Lacouture scored Detroit’s only goal just 3:12 into the game.

Overall, Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard stopped 30 of the 32 shots he faced, while Colorado’s David Aebischer made 26 saves on 27 shots.

Late in the first period, Colorado’s Dan Hinote hit Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall‘s knee with a hip check. Kronwall left the game with what Red Wings’ communications manager John Hahn, described as a “left leg injury.”

Early in the second period, after the injury, Lacouture fought Hinote.

Wings Down Stars to Sweep Preseason Home-and-Home

Two days after defeating the Dallas Stars in Dallas, the Detroit Red Wings earned a 4-2 win over the Stars in Detroit, sweeping the preseason home-and-home matchup between the two teams.

Dallas put pressure on the Red Wings early, with good scoring chances coming twice in the first six minutes of the game. Just over two minutes in, the Stars missed a chance by sending the puck wide of the net while Detroit goalie Manny Legace was sprawled out of position. Two-and-a-half minutes later, Legace made a big save to shift the momentum.

At the 8:46 mark, Brendan Shanahan scored on the rebound of a shot by Jason Williams to put Detroit on the board.

Just 37 seconds later, at 9:23, Jason Arnott tied the game. Dallas netminder Marty Turco came out of his net to play the puck, seemingly outside of the trapezoid-shaped area where goalies are now allowed to stickhandle. Turco stopped the puck before it entered the restricted area but Detroit’s forechecker had already pulled back. Turco got the puck to a Dallas defender who sent it up to Arnott. Arnott skated in alone and blasted a shot past Legace.

The Red Wings regained the lead with 7:32 remaining in the second period while skating shorthanded. Detroit forecheckers Johan Franzen and Dan Cleary stole the puck at the side of the Dallas net and Cleary stuffed it past Johan Hedberg, who had replaced Turco in the Stars’ crease earlier in the period.

As with the first Detroit goal, Dallas responded quickly, retying the game just 2:03 later. Again, Legace was caught out of position, this time during a delayed penalty. A Dallas shot bounced off the back boards and came to Antti Miettinen, who fired it into the net under a diving Legace.

Kris Draper scored his first goal of the night to give the Red Wings the lead again early in the third period. Just 5:05 into the game’s final frame, he took a pass from Kirk Maltby, kicked it from his skate to his stick, and wristed a shot past Hedberg from the right circle.

Draper scored again to put the game away with 7:45 remaining in the game, punching the rebound from a shot by Cleary between Hedberg’s pads.

The Red Wings also won the shootout, scoring twice while the Stars only managed one goal. Sergei Zubov beat Legace on his glove side in the opening round, while Draper was stopped by Hedberg’s left pad. Miettinen fired into Legace’s pads while Lang froze Hedberg and scored 5-hole in the second round. In the final round, Legace stopped Niko Kapanen while Cleary scored his third shootout goal in as many games, coralling a bouncing puck and putting it between Hedberg’s pads.

The Red Wings are off until Tuesday, when they travel to Colorado. They’ll be in Columbus on Wednesday and then have a home-and-home series with Toronto over the weekend before opening the regular season against St. Louis on October 5.

Henrik Zetterberg did not play against Dallas as expected, he is now expected to return to play on Tuesday… Unsigned restricted free agent Pavel Datsyuk, who agreed to terms with the Red Wings last week, was expected to arrive in Detroit on Sunday night. He will meet with Red Wings general manager Ken Holland on Monday and practice with the team on Tuesday.

Datsyuk Rejoins Wings, Signs Two-year Deal

All-Star forward Pavel Datsyuk officially rejoined the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, signing a two-year contract reportedly worth a total of $7.8 million.

Datsyuk had agreed to the deal over a week ago but remained in Russia to take care of personal business. He arrived in Detroit on Sunday, met with Red Wings’ general manager Ken Holland to sign the contract on Monday, and will practice with the team on Tuesday.

“We’re obviously very happy that we got Pavel back,” Holland said. “He’s a talented young player that had a very good year for us two years ago, and we’re hoping for more of the same. With the new rules, I think skilled players like Pavel are really going to be helped.”

Before agreeing to the deal with Detroit, Datsyuk had signed with Avangard Omsk of the Russian SuperLeague. Dynamo Moscow, with whom Datsyuk played during the NHL lockout, then matched the offer and left his rights to be determined by an arbitrator.

Datsyuk will reportedly play his first preseason game on Wednesday, when the Red Wings host the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Long Division: NHL Schedule Ignores History to Focus on Geography

While the Detroit Red Wings may be happy with the new division-friendly schedule in terms of team travel, the fans don’t seem to be.

As per the new NHL schedule, teams will now face divisional opponents a whopping eight times each, or 32 of their 82 total games. Seventy-two games are against teams in their own conference, and games against the other conference (one game each against two divisions, alternating yearly) will round out the final ten. Wouldn’t you know it – the Central Division, featuring two Original Six teams, will not face the Northeast Division, featuring two more. Detroit will not play the Montreal Canadiens or Toronto Maple Leafs this season. Well, after September. The Wings do meet the Leafs for a home and home series to close out the exhibition schedule. Does that really even count?

Not seeing the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres can be forgiven. Sure, the Bruins are part of the Original Six too, but there doesn’t seem to be the sense of a classic battle with them. As exciting as the Ottawa Senators can be, that’s fine too. We won’t get to see Dominik Hasek in what could be his final season, but we all know how his retirements go. Oh, we’ll sit through three straight games against the Chicago Blackhawks from October 27 to November 1. They have Nikolai Khabibulin and Martin Lapointe and Adrian Aucoin now! Those games might be fun. We’ll even accept the two games in a row visiting the Columbus Blue Jackets right before that. The rivalry might build there with Adam Foote donning the green bee. But the fans want to see Toronto and Montreal. To try and rebuild the game around the fans and to take a part of history away from them can’t be the right thing for the NHL to do. Sure, when April comes and the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins are points away from each other, one team could get an edge playing them late in the season. Only problem is — they don’t. Those two teams square off once in March and once in April. They meet eight times, but not when it counts. The Edmonton Oilers play the Calgary Flames eight times (twelve if you count preseason), and yet just twice after January 23.

The NHL can’t predict who will be fighting for a division title in April. They did make the final week of the season all divisional games, didn’t they? Considering the Red Wings play the Dallas Stars one night before they close the season in Nashville, it doesn’t appear they did. Let’s be realistic here, no matter what moves these teams made during the off-season, does it make much sense for the Wings to play every team in the Central except St. Louis in April? Since the divisional re-alignment of the league created the Central Division, only one season did one of those two teams not win the Central, and the Dallas Stars that did aren’t there anymore.

So, what does this new schedule do? Games against your own division really only matter if winning them counts for something other than two points nobody needs. If those games are going to be scattered throughout the season and not near the end when winning games is more crucial, why not cut them by two or four apiece, and let the fans see the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens in December?nbsp; In either 2006-2007 or 2007-2008, the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks won’t play games against the Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs or Montreal Canadiens. The All-Canadian triple-header that has been so successful in the past few seasons won’t exist. And it’s a good bet that that will be harder to swallow than St. Louis not getting to play Carolina this season.

The NHL brought in shootouts and eliminated tie games to please the fans. Their marketing plan will allow fans to see things they couldn’t see before. Yes, they did have to throw together a 2,460-game schedule rather quickly, although this format seems rather thought out, but for the wrong reason. The fans want to see all rivalries, not just divisional.

Would we be that upset if the Wings play Columbus only six times?

Blue Jackets Defeat Wings in OT

The Detroit Red Wings got a power play goal in the final minute of their exhibition game with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, bouncing back to tie the game at two and force overtime for the second night in a row. It wasn’t enough, however, as Columbus scored late in the overtime period to get the win.

Gilbert Brule put a shot past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard after a flurry by Columbus that started with Niklas Kronwall‘s broken stick and a 3-on-2 for Columbus. Howard made stops on several Columbus chances before Brule got the game-winner.

Howard looked good in his first career start, allowing only three goals and making several timely stops. Likewise, Columbus goalie Pascal Leclaire was strong in his bid for the Blue Jackets backup spot.

Detroit’s lone shootout goal came from Dan Cleary while Columbus got goals from Jaroslav Balastik and Brule.

The Red Wings are next in action Friday night in Dallas in another preseason matchup.

Wings Down Avalanche in OT

The Detroit Red Wings bounced back from being down 2-1 in the third period to defeat the Colorado Avalanche, 3-2, in overtime of their preseason matchup on Wednesday.

Nicklas Lidstrom scored on a one-timer while the Red Wings were on the power play in the overtime period to win the game for Detroit. Skating four-on-three, the Red Wings just kept cycling the puck and waiting for good shots before Lidstrom was able to put one past Colorado netminder David Aebischer.

Kyle Quincey had opened the scoring for Detroit in the first period on a goal originally credited to Valtteri Filppula.

Paul Healey tied the game in the second and Antti Laaksonen gave Colorado the lead early in the third period, breaking in alone on Detroit goalie Manny Legace and putting a shot over his shoulder.

Jason Williams tied the game late in the third, breaking into the Colorado zone and taking a cross-ice pass from Brendan Shanahan before slipping the puck between Aebischer’s legs.

Shanahan scored the lone goal of the shootout, which was not required but was played anyway to educate the players and the fans.

Detroit netminder Chris Osgood will be out two to three weeks with a tear on the right side of his groin muscle. He will miss the remainder of the preseason schedule… Rookie Jimmy Howard is slated to start in net for the Red Wings against Columbus on Thursday.

Wings Fall to Lightning in Exhibition Opener

Joe Louis Arena hosted its first National Hockey League game in seventeen months on Monday, as the Detroit Red Wings opened their 2005 exhibition season with a 5-3 loss to the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

The difference between the hockey that used to be played at the Joe and that which will be played (for at least the first month of) this upcoming season was evident immediately. The NHL’s crackdown on obstruction led to 18 penalties and half a game’s worth of specialty teams play.

“The first thing is, obviously, we’ve got to learn the rules and how to play within them,” coach Mike Babcock said. “Because it’s hard to get any kind of momentum or any feel when you’re on the power play all the time or on the penalty kill. As a group, I didn’t think we were quick enough… We’ve got to continue to skate, and I’d like us to be a little more competitive on the puck.”

Detroit goalie Manny Legace allowed two goals on fifteen shots, one to Conn Smythe Trophy winner Brad Richards and the other to Fredrik Modin. Rookie Jimmy Howard took over the crease for the third period and the shootout, allowing goals to Martin St. Louis and Evgeny Artyukhin on the first three shots he faced.

The Lighning scored an empty-net goal late in the third period to ice the game.

Detroit’s first goal came from Nicklas Lidstrom while the Wings enjoyed a 5-on-3 manpower advantage. Kris Draper scored the Red Wings’ other two goals.

St. Louis and Richards scored for the Lightning in the shootout, while Jason Williams notched the Wings’ lone shootout tally.

Holland Expects Datsyuk to Return

Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told reporters on Monday that he thought restricted free agent Pavel Datsyuk would return to the team by the end of the week.

“I think he’s coming back to Detroit, unless I get a major curveball,” Holland said before the Red Wings’ preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning. “My expectation is that he’s coming back by the weekend.”

Datsyuk signed with Russian team Avangard Omsk on September 5 but his 2004-05 team, Dynamo Moscow, later matched the deal. A Tuesday hearing to decide which of the Russian teams holds his rights is expected to favor Dynamo, for whom Datsyuk reportedly does not want to play.

Holland has not spoken to Datsyuk directly since he signed the Russian contract. He has, however, been in contact with Gary Greenstin, Datsyuk’s agent.

Wings Sign Swedish Forward Samuelsson

The Detroit Red Wings announced the signing of Swedish forward Mikael Samuelsson to one-year contract on Saturday. As per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not announced.

Samuelsson was set to play for Swiss team Rapperswil-Jona this season. He split the NHL lockout season between Servette Geneve in Switzerland and Sodertalje SK of the Swedish Elite League. He last appeared in the NHL in 2003-04, playing 37 games for the Florida Panthers.

Originally drafted by the San Jose Sharks (fifth round, 145th overall) in 1998, Samuellson has appeared in 188 career NHL games, scoring 19 goals and adding 30 assists for San Jose, the New York Rangers, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Florida.

During the lockout he scored two goals and four assists in twelve games with Servette Geneve, adding seven goals and thirteen assists with Sodertalje SK.

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