Franzen Leads Red Wings over Panthers

Johan Franzen scored 4:40 into the third period Friday night, giving the Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers. It was his 14th game winning goal in his last forty games played.

Franzen tipped a blueline shot from Niklas Kronwall past Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun with the Red Wings on a power play.

Detroit had taken a 2-0 lead early on goals by Marian Hossa.

With 2:53 remaining in the first period, Hossa threw a shot on goal from the corner, banking it off of goaltender Craig Anderson and into the net.

At 1:37 of the second, Hossa scored again on a slapper from the top of the faceoff circle, chasing Anderson.

The Panthers rallied before the end of the middle frame on goals by Richard Zednik and Stephen Weiss.

Zednik scored at 6:02 of the period, backhanding the rebound of a Bryan McCabe shot past Ty Conklin.

Weiss snapped a wrister past Conklin with 8:09 left in the second, evening the game up.

Parity by Officiating

If I was a Tampa Bay Lightning fan I’d be pretty upset this morning. I’m a Red Wings fan and I’m still not happy with the officiating last night.

I thought the five-on-three that started Pittsburgh’s comeback on Tuesday was a joke and the one that put the Red Wings in front last night in Tampa was just as bad, if not worse.

The Paul Ranger penalty to start things I can almost understand ’cause it looked worse than it was but I still call it weak. The Adam Hall penalty I have no complaints about. Chris Gratton’s penalty to make it three calls in 18 seconds? I still don’t even know what it was.

Two of three calls probably undeserved. Detroit scores twice on the ensuing power play to go from being down 2-1 to up 3-2.

With Detroit up 4-3 in the game’s final seconds, Marian Hossa skates in on an empty net. He’s hooked, poked, and otherwise assaulted and does not score. No call.

Almost a quarter of the season is down and it’s becoming abundantly clear that in the eyes of the officials the team with the lead can do nothing right while the team looking to pull even can do little wrong.

Players and coaches who can be fined for complaning about the refs and announcers who are supposed to be impartial are making little effort to hide their opinions on the matter. Chris Osgood, Andreas Lilja, Mike Babcock, Philadelphia’s Mike Richards, Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond have all spoke about how the officiating is seemingly being used to keep games close.

The cynical part of me thinks the NHL could never keep a conspiracy like this under wraps so this can’t be possible. That said, that there is so much discussion of it might mean that it hasn’t been kept as secret as it should be.

I don’t know what to think of what’s going on with the guys in the striped shirts. I don’t know if it’s a league mandate or circut-wide bad reffing. I just know I don’t like it.

Wings – Lightning Pregame Notes

The Red Wings look to bounce back from their OT loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday in Tampa tonight. It’s a 7:30 start time on FSN.

Dan Cleary is still out, missing this short Florida road trip with an eye infection. Chris Osgood gets the start, with Ty Conklin going tomorrow in Miami so the only lineup change comes in the form of Brett Lebda returning to the blue line in place of Derek Meech.

Mike Babcock admits that it’s change for the sake of change and that he would have made a switch up front if he had the bodies to do so.

Wings – Penguins Postgame Notes

Tuesday night’s Red Wings – Penguins game is another one of those where I feel like I need to find something profound to say but I just can’t get my head wrapped around the sheer ridiculousness of it.

The part of me that’s biased against the officials wants to pitch a fit about this game. It’s not that the refs cost Detroit the game. I rarely say that no matter how much I might want to simplify it down to being the refs’ fault. It’s just that it was yet another game that was unevenly called.

Go back to the video tape and compare the “hook” called on Valtteri Filppula to give Pittsburgh a five-on-three to the takeaway by Jordan Staal on Pavel Datsyuk in overtime. They look the same to me. Neither should have been called but if you’re going to call one you have to call the other, otherwise you’re forcing the teams to play by different rulebooks.

Ignoring the officiating, it’s hard for me to see exactly what the Red Wings did wrong tonight.

Lack of killer instinct? They were still trying to score late in the game.

Poor defense? Yeah, they failed to clear the zone a few times. Look at the goals, though. Pittsburgh clogging the slot on all three of Staal’s tallies. Defensemen aren’t allowed to clear that space anymore, what did you want the Wings to do about it?

Bad goaltending? Ozzie looked out of position on the game-winner but otherwise had probably about the best game you can have giving up seven goals.

Pittsburgh capitalized on every single chance they got. The Wings limited the Penguins chances but that wasn’t enough.

Yes, I want to blame what I think was an ill-gotten five-on-three for turning the tide. In the end, though, it seems like the only thing the Wings could have done differently was have fewer turnovers. I don’t know how to make that happen but the team will have to figure that out if they expect to convince anyone that they’re set to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions.

Red Wings – Penguins Pregame Notes

News out of Detroit’s morning skate is that Dan Cleary will miss tonight’s matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Cleary has an eye infection that’s been causing him some irritation.

Johan Franzen returns from his knee sprain so the Red Wings won’t need to call anyone up to take Cleary’s spot. Franzen skated on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula while Mikael Samuelsson took Cleary’s spot alongside Kris Draper and Jiri Hudler.

Brett Lebda will be a healthy scratch for the third game in a row and Chris Osgood gets the start in net for the Wings.

Hossa Scores Twice as Red Wings Down Devils

Marian Hossa scored two goals and Chris Osgood made 24 stops to lead the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-1 win over the visiting New Jersey Devils Saturday night.

Hossa’s first goal came just 3:30 into the game, disproving the idea that the Red Wings might need time to get their legs back after five days of rest following a ten-day West Coast road trip.

Former Devil Brian Rafalski shot the puck in off the end boards behind goalie Kevin Weekes. Hossa jumped on the puck and put a quick shot to the near side off of Weekes and in.

New Jersey tied the game at 4:15 of the second period when Zach Parise tipped a shot by Johnny Oduya past Osgood.

Hossa scored his second of the night with 9:19 left in the middle frame, breaking into the New Jersey zone on a two-on-one with Tomas Holmstrom. Hossa faked a pass across and then snapped a shot between Weekes’ pads to put the Wings back up by a goal.

Osgood was called on to preserve the lead with three minutes remaining in the period and the Devils on the power play. Patrik Elias drove to the net to deflect a Jamie Langenbrunner chance but Osgood dove across the crease, knocking the puck out of the air and grabbing it before it could cross the goal line.

Kirk Maltby added an insurance marker for Detroit, scoring his first of the season at 4:11 of the third period.

The Devils lost forward Brian Gionta with just over seven minutes remaining in the second period. Gionta moved to hit Detroit defenseman Derek Meech but Meech braced himself and put a shoulder into Gionta, who went down, hitting his head on the boards.

Red Wings – Devils Pregame Notes

The Red Wings are back after the week they got off following their long West Coast road trip. They host a New Jersey Devils team that’s battling a whole mess of injuries.

Unless you’ve been living under a hockey rock for the last week, you’ve heard that Martin Brodeur is on the shelf for up to for months. Kevin Weekes replaces him in the New Jersey crease.

Brodeur is one of seven Devils on the IR. Also out are Paul Martin, Brian Rolston, Bobby Holik, Barry Tallackson, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, and Andy Greene.

The Wings will still be without Johan Franzen, who hopes to return to the lineup on Tuesday.

This will be Brian Rafalski‘s first matchup against his former team (the Wings and Devils didn’t play each other last season).

No player who will be in the New Jersey lineup tonight has ever been present for a New Jersey win in Detroit.

DetroitHockey.Net Launches New Design

As frequent visitors of the site can see, DetroitHockey.Net has launched a new look. This design has been months in the making and was originally intended to roll out at the start of the season but had to be put on hold.

Most of the individual pages will look much the same as they did. The new template is designed to fit more information onto a page and to put more important information at the top of the page. The information that has been moved up includes the site login box / user menu, the search form and the forum information.

Additionally, information from deeper levels of the site is now easier to access as drop-down menus have been added to the site’s navigation, meaning that almost every page is accessible from any page on the site.

New functionality includes the ability to reply to news articles directly through the article itself, rather than needing to come to the forums first. Your replies will be posted to the forums for you, meaning that both blog-style and forum-style commenting is possible.

The new design comes as the second phase of a larger redevelopment project, following work to make the databases that support DetroitHockey.Net cleaner and more efficient. A third round of changes will be coming shortly, aimed at making the site forums better.