Red Wings – Canucks Pregame Notes

The Red Wings will keep the same lineup they beat the Anaheim Ducks with on Monday as the Vancouver Canucks visit the Joe tonight.

Tomas Holmstrom says he could play tonight but is being kept out of the lineup as a precaution.

The Canucks, having lost their past three games, will start Curtis Sanford in net.

Hall-of-Famer Igor Larionov will be honored before the game. The Canucks were Larionov’s first NHL team and the Red Wings were the team he won three Stanley Cups with.

Avery’s Suspension a Joke

Former Red Wing Sean Avery has been suspended indefinitely by the NHL following comments made to the press about Calgary Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf and Phaneuf’s girlfriend (Avery’s ex-girlfriend) Elisha Cuthbert.

“I am really happy to be back in Calgary, I love Canada,” Avery said on camera this morning in Calgary. “I just want to comment on how it’s become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don’t know what that’s about. Enjoy the game tonight.”

I’m no fan of Avery. I wasn’t sad to see him go when the Wings traded him to LA. That said, I think the NHL’s handling of him is absolutely pathetic.

In a league where players throw elbows at each others heads with no penalties called, where slew-foots and hits from behind are still issues, Avery is suspended indefinitely for an off-the-ice insult? At least the league has its priorities in order.

Was what he said tasteless? Absolutely. Was it true? Seems kinda like it. If Phaneuf was offended he could reply off the ice with words or on the ice with fists. Instead, the league stepped in where it had no right to.

And, yeah, the Dallas Stars support the suspension. Of course they do, none of them like Avery, he’s a locker room cancer. That doesn’t mean the suspension is right.

It’s the second time in less than a year that Avery has been targeted. In last year’s playoffs Avery annoyed Devils’ goalie Martin Brodeur by waving his stick in the netminder’s face. In that case the league was quick to announce an unprecedented mid-playoffs rule change banning that behavior.

I scream all night, nearly every game for the officiating to be consistant. Here is a prime example of the NHL’s bias against certain players and its tendency to use the officials (both on- and off-ice) to met out punishment not for breaking the rules but for p*ssing off someone at NHL HQ. It’s sad but its true and I hope blind hatred of Sean Avery doesn’t stop people from seeing it.

Red Wings – Ducks Pregame Notes

This pregame report is brought to you by hand-me down-snowblowers. Hand-me-down snowblowers, clearing my driveway since about 45 minutes ago.

Mike Babcock did his equivalent of tearing his team a new one in the press today. You’re not gonna get any argument from me.

It looks like the Wings will use the same lineup they lost in Boston with, save for Chris Osgood getting the start. Hopefully that’s not a pun.

Tomas Holmstrom and Chris Chelios practiced but will not return tonight, instead aiming for Thursday.

Anaheim’s starting goalie is unknown. Jonas Hiller has filled in remarkably for Jean-Sebastien Giguere but faced a heavy workload last night in Raleigh. Giguere has been on the ice only once in the last week, having had to left the team to deal with a family issue.

Chelios to Join Griffins

Khan reports that Chris Chelios will join the Grand Rapids Griffins for a pair of home games this weekend to help get back into game shape as he returns from a fractured shin bone.

Chelios will see action against the Toronto Marlies and the Hamilton Bulldogs.

“I’m going to play Friday and Saturday just to get some minutes in and then come back and be ready,” Chelios said. “Playing at this level, it would be a lot tougher to get ready than it would be (in the AHL). Not a knock against the American League, but it’s going to be a little slower pace. It’s probably better for me to start there and get hopefully 20-some minutes a game and get ready for the pace here.”

Red Wings Shut Down Ducks, Rally for Win

The Detroit Red Wings held the Anaheim Ducks to a season-low 16 shots Monday night, with goaltender Chris Osgood stopping all but one as the Wings earned a hard-fought 2-1 win.

Chris Kunitz scored Anaheim’s lone goal just 1:50 into the game as he and Teemu Selanne pressured Detroit defenseman Brad Stuart into coughing up the puck behind the Wings’ net.

Selanne moved out to Osgood’s left but pushed the puck off to Kunitz, who came out to the right side of the Detroit netminder and backhanded a shot into the back of the net.

The Red Wings battled back, firing 38 shots on Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere in the first two periods. With 5:34 left in the second, one of those found its way through as Nicklas Lidstrom sent a shot from the blue line that was tipped in front by Johan Franzen.

The goal was Franzen’s 100th career point and 60th career goal.

Giguere succumbed to dehydration in his first game in over a week and was forced to leave the game to start the third period, replaced by Jonas Hiller.

Hiller would stop eight of nine shots against but it was the first that slipped through, just 1:48 into the third.

Dan Cleary raced into the zone on a two-on-one with Marian Hossa, feeding the puck across for a shot by Hossa off the stick of defender Bret Hedican and between Hiller’s pads.

The Red Wings’ 47 total shots were a season-high for the team.

Neither team scored on the power play. Detroit had four tries with the extra attacker while Anaheim had two.

The Red Wings return to the ice on Thursday when they host the Vancouver Canucks.

Red Wings – Ducks Postgame Thoughts

Aside from the first five to ten minutes, this might have been the Red Wings’ strongest game of the season.

Their defense (again, aside from the start) was rock solid and Chris Osgood made the stops he had to.

It would have been nice to see more pucks behind Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Jonas Hiller but the shots were there and that’s a start.

Ken and Mickey mentioned it but the breakout passes started getting too cute late in the third. There were also a lot of wasted shots, so it’s not as though there aren’t still things to work on, but this was definitely a step forward if the Red Wings can build on it.