Round One Draft Notes

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t usually pay too much attention to the draft because the Wings are picking so late and so rarely that there’s no need to stay glued to it. When Detroit does pick, it’s likely to be someone you’ve never heard of and won’t hear of again until four years later when they crack the lineup and become a superstar. Works for me.

I expected the Red Wings to deal their first round pick but it didn’t happen and they took goalie Thomas McCollum from the OHL’s Guelph Storm. This was the pick they had to make with all of their goalie prospects now in Detroit or Grand Rapids. Jimmy Howard should be the backup to Chris Osgood next year and Daniel Larsson will come over from Sweden to take Howard’s place with the Griffins so before this pick, there wasn’t anyone on the depth chart beyond that.

That said, the Wings would have no problem picking up a free agent goalie if none of these guys panned out, so I would have understood if they didn’t go for a netminder.

The trades are more interesting to me than anything.

This year we have Olli Jokinen going to Phoenix for Nick Boynton, Keith Ballard and the #49 pick. I think Phoenix absolutely screwed Florida on this one but it’s not like you’ll notice in the end ’cause the Panthers will remain mediocre; I don’t think the deal makes them worse, just that they could have gotten more.

Mike Cammalleri to Calgary came first and was a surprise to me ’cause I didn’t think the Flames would be the team to get him. I saw him going out East if anywhere.

Calgary getting Cammalleri finally made Alex Tanguay expendible and he was shipped to the Montreal Canadiens. This deal had been rumored back at the February trade deadline as Tanguay for Michael Ryder but ended up being a pick-based deal. It sounds like Montreal was the only possible destination for Tanguay, who Canadiens GM Bob Gainey said “was not comfortable with the Calgary Flames.”

The Philadelphia Flyers made two moves to wrap up the player trades. R.J. Umberger was moved to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a late first round pick in a deal that seems to show that Columbus will not persue Pittsburgh’s Ryan Malone, as had been rumored earlier this week. Umberger had a breakout season and I’m really not sure why the Flyers would deal him.

The Flyers then picked up Steve Eminger from Washington in another deal that surprises me a little ’cause I don’t know why the Caps would want to do that trade. Maybe those last two are a sign that I don’t pay enough attention to the Eastern Conference.

Babcock Signs 3-year Extension

The Detroit Red Wings will announce on Wednesday that head coach Mike Babcock has been signed to a three-year contract extension.

An 11:00 AM press conference has been called at Joe Louis Arena to make the announcement.

Babcock has coached the Red Wings to three consecutive fifty-win seasons after coming to the team from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2005. He replaced Dave Lewis, who was Detroit’s head coach for two seasons.

After a first-round loss to Edmonton in 2006, the Babcock-coached Red Wings went to the Western Conference Finals in 2007 and won the Stanley Cup this year.

Hasek Retires

Dominik Hasek officially announced his retirement this morning. He read a statement during a press conference at Joe Louis Arena recounting his career highlights and thanking those who helped him along the way.

He said that despite playing only 40 regular season games and the first four games of the playoffs, he was happy to have come back for one more season.

Parade Thoughts

I think my ranking of the championship parades now sits as follows:

#1 – 2002
#2 – 2008
#3 – 1998
#4 – 1997

This one was almost as good as 2002 but there were some gaps and the heat was awful.

Edit: My photos are now available.

Red Wings Hold Off Pittsburgh Comeback to Claim Cup

After scoring with just 34 seconds remaining to force overtime on Monday night, the Penguins looked for late goals to pull even again on Wednesday. This time, Detroit’s defense held strong and prevented Pittsburgh from tying things up, giving the Red Wings their fourth Stanley Cup in the past eleven seasons.

Marian Hossa‘s power play goal with 1:27 left in the third pulled the Penguins to within a goal but Chris Osgood stopped Hossa as the clock ran out to finish off Detroit’s championship run.

The Red Wings took the lead early with Brian Rafalski scoring at 5:03 of the first period on a power play. Rafalski snapped a shot from the left faceoff circle off the shin pad of Hal Gill and past Marc-Andre Fleury for his fourth goal of the playoffs.

Valtteri Filppula put Detroit up by two at 8:07 of the second, banging the rebound of a Mikael Samuelsson shot between Fleury’s legs.

A power play goal by Evgeni Malkin with 4:34 left in the period put the Penguins on the board, scoring on a blast from the top of the left circle that went between Chris Osgood’s pads.

Henrik Zetterberg, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as MVP of the playoffs, scored the eventual Cup-winning goal at 7:36 of the third.

He snapped a shot on Fleury from the left wing and the puck trickled through before stopping in the crease. No one but the referee could see where it was and when Fleury fell to try to cover it, he knocked it back into the net.

Pittsburgh went two-for-four on the power play and Detroit went one-for-three.

Fleury finished the night with 27 saves on 20 Detroit shots, finishing the playoffs with a .933 save percentage and a 1.97 GAA. Osgood stopped 20 of 22 attempts to finish the postseason with a .930 save percentage and a GAA of 1.55.

The Red Wings will celebrate their championship with a parade through Detroit on Friday.

Champions Again

I have absolutely nothing profound to say tonight. For the first time in months, I feel a profound sense of peacefulness, like I can finally stop worrying. Maybe tomorrow night I’ll even be able to sleep a little.

I’ll post a game recap tomorrow night. Some video and photos, too. In the meantime…

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