Red Wings – Capitals Pregame Notes

The Red Wings look to snap their skid in Washington this afternoon, an early game starting at 12:30.

Ty Conklin gets the start for Detroit, who will be without Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom. Ville Leino makes his NHL debut and Justin Abdelkader makes his first appearance of the season. Derek Meech will play up front if game-time-decision Jiri Hudler can’t go.

Downey Returned to GR, Abdelkader Called Up

The Red Wings have announced another set of roster moves, sending Aaron Downey back to the Grand Rapids Griffins and calling up forward Justin Abdelkader.

Downey played last night against Dallas after having been called up earlier in the day along with Ville Leino. It was his first game of the season.

Abdelkader played two games with the Red Wings last season and spent the playoffs with the team’s black aces. He will make his season debut on Saturday in Washington – as will Leino – as the Wings will be without Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom.

Red Wings – Stars Pregame Notes

Aaron Downey returns to the Red Wings lineup tonight as Detroit hosts the Dallas Stars. Downey has spent the entire season thus far with the Grand Rapids Griffins but was called up with Ville Leino today when Brad Stuart was placed on the long-term IR.

Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom also return to the ice, having served their suspensions.

The Wings will be without Henrik Zetterberg, whose back spasms have continued. Downey takes his spot in the lineup instead of Derek Meech being shifted to forward again. Meech joins Leino as a healthy scratch.

Chris Osgood gets another start in the Detroit net.

Marty Turco will go for Dallas, who will be without Mark Parrish (flu) and Fabian Brunnstrom (AHL conditioning stint) in addition to long-term injuries Brenden Morrow and Sergei Zubov.

I’ll be missing the start of this one as I’ve got another 7:30 soccer game. I’ll catch up when I get back.

Stuart on IR, Leino and Downey Called Up

The Red Wings announced this morning that defenseman Brad Stuart has been placed on long-term injured reserve, meaning he will miss at least ten games.

Stuart was injured during the Wings’ matchup with the Phoenix Coyotes, suffering rib injuries after slamming head-first into the boards.

The Red Wings are opting not to replace Stuart on defense, instead adding some depth to the forward ranks by calling up Ville Leino and Aaron Downey from the Grand Rapids Griffins. Both players will be available for tonight’s matchup with the Dallas Stars.

Red Wings Sign Zetterberg to Twelve-Year Contract Extension

The Detroit Red Wings officially announced on Wednesday that they have signed forward Henrik Zetterberg to a twelve-year contract extension.

The deal is essentially a lifetime contract for Zetterberg as it will keep the 2008 playoff MVP in Detroit until he is forty years old.

As per club policy, financial terms were not announced. Reportedly the deal is a front-loaded contract worth $73 million for a cap hit of just over $6 million.

Both sides described the negotiations – which began last summer – as long. Zetterberg joked, “I’m real happy I don’t have to do it again.”

“I believe I have twelve years in me. I don’t wanna play anywhere else.”

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland compared Zetterberg to longtime team captain Steve Yzerman. “I think a lot of the attributes Steve has, Henrik has.”

Thoughts on the Zetterberg Extension

I’m going to get some of my thoughts out of the way before this deal is officially announced.

One of the comments I heard today was “I would have only done six years.” That kind of comment bothers me.

If the rumors are true, this deal is structured so that its length is what pays for the incredibly nice cap hit. The last two years of this deal are supposedly at $1 million each. Zetterberg does not sign a six-year deal where the last two years are that low, which means your six year deal has a cap hit of $7 million instead of $6 million.

Yes, the length is something to be worried about but because of when it’s being signed the Wings have several outs.

Zetterberg is signing this while he’s under 35 so if he has to retire early, the cap hit disappears. If he’s ever stuck going on long-term injured reserve, his cap hit disappears. If he ever has to be bought out (due to the cap decreasing or his abilities decreasing or whatever) the deal is front-loaded so the buyout will cost the Wings less.

Basically, Ken Holland has done everything he can to protect the team here, and I trust that.

Shorthanded Red Wings Fall to Blue Jackets

The Detroit Red Wings were without two of their top three forwards and two of their top four defensemen Tuesday night and the Columbus Blue Jackets took advantage, with their top player scoring all three of the team’s goal in a 3-2 overtime win.

The Red Wings started the game short a man due to the suspensions of Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk and the injury of Brad Stuart. They then lost Henrik Zetterberg to back spasms with about 5:00 left in the first period.

Rick Nash scored on the power play, while shorthanded, and during the four-on-four overtime to carry his team to the win. Detroit got goals from Marian Hossa and Brett Lebda.

Hossa opened the game’s scoring on a power play at 8:55 of the first period, banging home the rebound of a Niklas Kronwall shot from the blue line that missed the Columbus net.

Nash tied the game with 8:55 left in the second period, scoring a shorthanded goal on a breakaway after a giveaway by Derek Meech.

Lebda put the Wings in front again 29 seconds later, hesitating at the blue line to let a screen form in front of goalie Steve Mason before blasting a shot over his shoulder.

Nash’s power play goal evened things up less than two minutes after that as he scored on a seemingly-harmless shot from along the goal line that deflected off of Brian Rafalski before bouncing off of netminder Chris Osgood‘s back and in.

The game-winning goal came 3:27 into OT when a bouncing puck came to Nash at the side of the net and he put it in behind Osgood.

Osgood finished the night with 20 saves on 23 shots against. Mason made 21 saves on the same number of shots.

Zetterberg Contract Extension to be Announced Wednesday

As mentioned in the GDT for the Blue Jackets game, John Keating confirmed during Red Wings Live postgame that the Red Wings and Henrik Zetterberg have agreed to a long-term contract extension.

A 2:00 PM press conference has been called for tomorrow to announce the deal.

Recent rumors put the contract at roughly $70 million over ten years.

Red Wings – Blue Jackets Pregame Notes

It’s the beginning of the end of the All-Star mess. Once this game’s out of the way the psuedo-suspension of Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk will be over and maybe we can talk about something else.

Obviously those two are out tonight. Brad Stuart is also out, recovering from the crash into the boards he suffered in Phoenix. Johan Franzen is expected to be back in the lineup so with Chris Chelios and Derek Meetch on the blue line that leaves the Wings down just one man, going with 17 skaters.

Chris Osgood gets the start in net and he’s pretty p*ssed about being without Datsyuk and Lidstrom.

“In the salary-cap era, the league is built for different teams to win every year, so it wouldn’t be good if we won again, would it?” Osgood says. “You see a lot of commercials with us in it? Most of it is Pittsburgh scoring on us (in the Final) and we’re the team that won. I think we’re the New York Yankees of the N.H.L. People dislike us. We have our fans, but there probably are a lot of people that love to see us lose and love to see us get guys suspended. We look at that as a nice challenge.”

Expect him to be “suspended” when the league determines he needs extra time to rest his tongue or something like that.

Columbus gets to have Steve Mason start in net, even though he skipped out on the YoungStars game on Saturday. Colin Campbell says that’s not even a real game, as opposed to the uber-important ASG in which no defense is played and there is no hitting.