Why The Lockout?

During the Great Hockey Stoppage of 2005-06, the Hockey Rodent put together some of what I consider the best coverage of the worst that the NHL had to offer. Over a year later, he’s continuing with a rant posted at his site called “Why The Lockout?

The Rodent should be required reading for anyone who vaguely paid attention to the lockout and once again he cuts to the heart of the issues.

I won’t copy him word-for-word, of course, but his basic idea is just reiterating the fact that the NHL lied to the fans the whole time. It comes down to the question of how can so many teams be spending at (or over, in the case of the New Jersey Devils) the salary cap if the league’s argument during the lockout was that the teams were too poor to do so.

As I said all along, lowering player salaries doesn’t increase revenue. Where did the teams find that extra cash?

And to make matters worse, New Jersey is actively trying to get around the cap in order to have all their players on the roster for opening night.

Read the Rodent for the whole thing, just don’t expect to be happy with what you see.

Red Wings Drop Another Shootout to Avs

The Detroit Red Wings fell in a shootout to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night, marking the second time in less than a week that Colorado has defeated Detroit in the tiebreaker.

In the fourth shootout round, Brett McLean beat Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood and then Colorado netminder Jose Theodore stopped Mikael Samuelsson to give the Avalanche the win.

Jiri Hudler and Jason Williams also scored for Detroit in the shootout, while Wojtek Wolski and Paul Stastny scored for Colorado.

McLean had earlier tied the game with 27.8 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.

The Red Wings got goals from Williams, Matt Hussey, and Jakub Kindl, as well as a goal credited to Niklas Kronwall that was knocked into the net by Colorado defenseman Karlis Skrastins.

The Avalanche scorers were Stastny, Brad Richardson, and Johnny Boychuk before McLean tied the game.

Red Wings Rally for Second Exhibition Win

The Detroit Red Wings started slow Sunday night but bounced back for a 4-2 win over the visiting Florida Panthers, evening their exhibition record at 2-2.

Florida scored twice in the first period before the Red Wings notched three goals in the second, two of those coming on the power play. Detroit added an empty-net goal to close the game.

Johan Franzen, Mathieu Schneider, Kris Draper and Robert Lang were the Red Wings’ goal scorers.

Dominik Hasek worked the Detroit crease for the first two periods and Stefan Liv came in for the third. Ed Belfour, who almost signed with the Red Wings over the summer, played the entire game for the Panthers.


Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock said that injured defenseman Danny Markov is expected to play in an exhibition later this week.

“He’ll be ready to go in no time.”

Yzerman Named Red Wings VP

Former Detroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman was named vice president of the team on Monday, just fewer than three months after retiring as a player.

“After retiring as the longest serving captain in NHL history and the on-ice leader of our franchise for 23 years, it is only fitting that he join our management team,” Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch said in a statement.

Yzerman retired on July 3, with Red Wings legends Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay present at the press conference.

For years leading up to his retirement, Yzerman and the Red Wings had discussed his options for remaining with the team after leaving the game as a player.

The Red Wings will retire Yzerman’s No. 19 jersey on January 2 before they host the Anaheim Ducks.

Red Wings Earn First Exhibition Win

The Detroit Red Wings picked up their first win of the exhibition season Friday night, defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in overtime, 5-4.

With just 7.3 seconds remaining in the extra period, Jason Williams scored to give Detroit the win.

Tampa Bay had the lead twice early but had to stage a late comeback in the third, with Vincent Lecavalier scoring twice to even the game at four.

Although they got the win, the Red Wings did learn some bad news, as newly-acquired defenseman Danny Markov left the game in the first period with slight MCL strain in his knee.

“That’s all I know,” coach Mike Babcock said. “We played five defensemen all night. It’s tough in some ways, especially playing against the type of players we played tonight.”

The Red Wings expect to know more about Markov’s condition later in the weekend.

Avalanche Pick Up Shootout Win over Red Wings

Colorado Avalanche forward Paul Stastny beat Detroit Red Wings netminder Joey MacDonald in the third round of a shootout Thursday night to give the Avalanche a 3-2 win over the Red Wings in Detroit’s exhibition home opener.

The Red Wings, who utilized a new rule allowing the home team to choose whether to shoot first or second, got a first-round goal from Jiri Hudler. Wojtek Wolski scored for Colorado in the first round before Tomas Holmstrom, Tyler Arnason and Robert Lang were denied.

The Red Wings had opened the scoring with a power play goal from Nicklas Lidstrom in the first period but the Avalanche evened the game with a power play goal of their own in the second.

Hudler put Detroit back out front in the third, scoring on the rebound of a Niklas Kronwall blast, before Brett MacLean stole the puck from Valtteri Filppula and skated in and put a shot over MacDonald’s glove to tie things up.

Chris Osgood started the game in net for Detroit before being relieved to start the third period. Jose Theodore made the start for Colorado and was replaced by Tyler Weiman at the same time.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Friday, when Dominik Hasek is expected to make the first start of his third stint in Detroit as the Tampa Bay Lightning visit Joe Louis Arena.

Red Wings’ New Captain to be Announced on Opening Night

The Detroit Red Wings will announce Steve Yzerman‘s successor as captain of the team on October 5, head coach Mike Babcock revealed on Thursday.

“We’re going to name a captain opening night.”

The Detroit Free Press and Detroit News are already referring to defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom as the team’s captain. Babcock previously denied that report but few doubt that the defending Norris Trophy-winner will be named Yzerman’s replacement.

Yzerman retired on July 3 as the longest-serving captain in NHL history. He was named Detroit’s captain for the 1986-87 season, his third of 22 years with the team.

The Red Wings open their season at home against the Vancouver Canucks.

Wings Fall to Wild in Preseason Opener

A shorthanded Detroit Red Wings team dropped their first exhibition game of the season Tuesday night, picking up a 3-2 loss against the Minnesota Wild.

The Red Wings skated without most of their expected regular season roster, leaving them behind in Traverse City and taking a lineup of prospects and try-outs to St. Paul.

The Wild opened the scoring with two quick goals on netminder Joey MacDonald.

Just 32 seconds in, Marion Gaborik ripped a shot from the left circle between MacDonald’s pads. Only 57 seconds later, Minnesota newcomer Pavol Demitra put in the rebound of a Brian Rolston shot to add to the lead.

The Red Wings bounced back with 3:16 remaining in the first, when Johan Franzen put a shot past goalie Manny Fernandez after a Minnesota defensive mix-up.

Eight minutes into the second period, try-out Boyd Devereaux banged in the rebound of a Krys Kolanos shot to even the game.

To start the third period, Stefan Liv replaced MacDonald in the Detroit crease. He allowed his only goal of the game 5:28 later, when Gaborik put the puck on net on a five-on-three, bouncing it in off of a body in front.

The Red Wings will play more of their regulars on Thursday when they host the Colorado Avalanche in their first home game of the exhibition season. Chris Osgood is expected to start in goal.

Johnson’s Physical Reveals Abnormal EKG

Greg Johnson’s return to the Detroit Red Wings will have to wait.

The former Nashville Predators captain who previously played with Detroit from 1993 to 1997 and rejoined the Red Wings as a free agent this summer failed his physical on Thursday. He has not scrimmaged with the team in the first two days of training camp.

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland revealed on Saturday that the failure was caused by an abnormal EKG. Johnson, who was not available for comment, was reportedly surprised by the findings.

“I would think he’s surprised,” Holland said. “I go back again to the fact he’s 35 years of age and has been in the league for 12 or 13 years. I’d guess he’d be surprised by an abnormal EKG.”

Johnson is expected to see a specialist by Wednesday.

The Red Wings are being cautious with Johnson after defenseman Jiri Fischer went into cardiac arrest during a game against Nashville last season. Fischer hasn’t played hockey since and, although he remains hopeful, isn’t expected to.

Earlier this week, a heart abnormality was discovered during Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Konowalchuk’s physical. He, too, is expected to miss time in training camp to undergo more tests.