Psychic Game Recap: Wings Lose Bad

The Wings and Sabres aren’t done yet but I’m following Malik’s lead and calling this one early.

From what I understand (I haven’t actually had the game on since midway through the second) Detroit is currently losing 6-1 early in the third. Fantastic. I think we can guess how this one’s gonna end.

To me, Buffalo’s fifth goal shows just how this game went. Derek Roy drives to the net. Niklas Kronwall and Chris Osgood hold him off but the puck comes to the open side of the net. There’s no Detroit defender there. Brad Stuart stopped skating in the slot. Thomas Vanek is untouched as he puts in the rebound.

Yeah, that’s the kind of effort the Wings put forth tonight. Well done, guys.

Red Wings – Sabres Pregame Notes

The Red Wings are back to .500 and look to improve tonight in Buffalo. They’ll do so without both Kirk Maltby and Kris Draper as Darren Helm returns to the lineup.

Helm is making his first appearance of the season after suffering a sprained AC joint during the preseason. He takes Draper’s spot in the lineup while Maltby remains out in favor of Patrick Eaves.

Eaves and Helm will join Brad May on the Wings’ fourth line. All other lines are expected to remain the same as were used in the third period of Detroit’s 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Saturday.

No changes are expected on defense and Chris Osgood will start in goal.

Zetterberg Moves to First Line in Franzen’s Absence

The Red Wings get a rare look at Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals tonight as the defending Southeast Division Champions visit Joe Louis Arena.

It will be the first match of many this season where Detroit will be without Johan Franzen, who suffered a torn ACL during Thursday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks. To compensate, coach Mike Babcock has shuffled the forward lines.

Henrik Zetterberg will be moved up to the first line, at least temporarily.

“I wouldn’t count on it staying like that,” Babcock said following today’s morning skate.

Valtteri Filppula and Ville Leino will move up to the second line, joining Dan Cleary. Todd Bertuzzi shifts down to the third line along with Jason Williams and the recently-recalled Justin Abdelkader. Kris Draper continues to center the fourth line with Brad May. Kirk Maltby and Patrick Eaves will rotate in and out on that line, with Eaves getting the nod tonight for his Detroit debut.

Game time is 7:00 with television coverage by Fox Sports Detroit.

May Asks for Chelios’ Sweater Number, Sparks Jersey Retirement Talk

Brad May could be switching to a new sweater number.

The enforcer was given #20 when he joined the team on a pro tryout at the end of the preseason and kept that number for his first regular season game after signing a one-year deal on Thursday. Ansar Khan reports that May has asked Chris Chelios for permission to switch to #24.

“(Chelios) was really cool,” May said. “I just figured it’s his (number). He’s such an icon, I figured I’d call him.”

“I like the number – Chris Chelios, Bob Probert. But I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I may ask, but now that I’m 20, who knows?”

May had previously worn #24 during his stint with the Anaheim Ducks.

Like May, Chelios also asked permission to wear #24. When he came to Detroit in 1999 he called the number’s previous owner – Probert – to run it by him.

George Malik asks whether or not the Wings should retire #24 for Chelios.

He mentions Brendan Shanahan‘s #14 being put back into use but Sergei Fedorov‘s #91 remaining out of circulation, as well as the #16 of Vladimir Konstantinov.

Personally, I think it’s a travesty that the #6 of Larry Aurie is not represented in the Joe Louis Arena rafters and would not raise any of those numbers before Detroit’s first real star was recognized. The Ilitch family’s refusal to honor Aurie is confusing and downright ridiculous.

At this point the only numbers I’d even think about retiring are #6 and (when the time comes) Nicklas Lidstrom‘s #5. After Aurie’s number is retired we can talk about another old-timer in Red Kelly‘s #4.

Chelios should have his number retired, just not here. Though he won two Cups and ended his career with the Red Wings (and one more Cup with Montreal) I believe he’ll always be remembered as a Blackhawk and his #7 should hang at United Center.

Shanahan and Fedorov should wait, we shouldn’t even be talking about them until they retire from playing. And as I said above, they don’t get consideration until Aurie is taken care of.

Konstantinov, as much as it pains me to say it, should not have his number permanently retired. It should remain out of circulation until all of his former teammates have left the Red Wings. Only then should it be brought back.

Franzen Out Four Months with Torn ACL

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Friday that forward Johan Franzen is expected to miss four months with a torn ACL.

The injury to his left knee occurred during Detroit’s 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.

“I’m a little surprised because he finished the game,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He said after the game the knee was bothering him and didn’t know exactly when he injured it. The doctor said it was before he scored his goal.”

Justin Abdelkader was recalled from the Grand Rapids Griffins to fill Franzen’s spot in the lineup.

Red Wings Hold off Blackhawks for Season’s First Win

The Detroit Red Wings held off early and late pushes by the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night en route to a 3-2 victory. It was the first win of the three-game old season for the Red Wings.

Chicago carried the play early, outshooting the Wings 12-7 in a scoreless first period and getting the game’s first goal in the second.

The ‘Hawks opened the game’s scoring when Patrick Sharp tipped a pass from Kris Versteeg past Detroit goalie Chris Osgood just 1:23 into the middle frame.

Momentum shifted to the Red Wings several minutes later when Niklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart led the team in killing a long five-on-three.

Just past the game’s midway point Nicklas Lidstrom put Detroit on the board, bouncing a cross-ice pass off the skate of a Chicago defender and past netminder Cristobal Huet with the Wings on a power play.

Kris Draper converted on a bouncing puck turnover at the Chicago blue line with 3:45 left in the period to put Detroit out in front. Draper coralled the puck on the right wing and ripped a shot into the top of the net.

Just 1:34 later the Red Wings were up by a pair when Johan Franzen tapped home a loose puck behind Huet on a power play. Pavel Datsyuk had fired a shot from the right wing that deflected off of a screening Tomas Holmstrom to slip past Huet.

Versteeg added a power play goal with 9:36 remaining in the third to pull Chicago to back within one but the ‘Hawks couldn’t close the gap, even after outshooting Detroit 15-4 in the final frame and ending the game on a power play and with an empty net.

Chicago outshot Detroit 34-23 on the night. Osgood made 32 saves while Huet stopped 20 shots.

The Red Wings scored on two of their five power play opportunities. The Blackhawks converted once in as many chances with the extra attacker.

Detroit newcomer Brad May – signed to a one-year deal earlier in the day – made his debut with the team. He fought Radek Smolenak midway through the first period.

Blackhawks – Red Wings Pregame Notes

Though they’ve already got a “home” game under their belts, the Red Wings have their home opener tonight hosting the Chicago Blackhawks. Like the Wings, the ‘Hawks opened their season in Europe, going 1-0-1 against the Florida Panthers in Helsinki, Finland.

Tonight’s matchup will be the Detroit debut for Brad May, who signed a one-year deal with the team earlier in the day. His visa paperwork came through meaning Patrick Eaves will have to wait for his first game as a Red Wing.

May will take the place of Justin Abdelkader, who was sent down to Grand Rapids to make room in the lineup when the enforcer was signed.

The Red Wings will be going with one other lineup change, adding Derek Meech to the blueline in place of Brett Lebda.

Chris Osgood will start in goal.

Former Red Wing Tomas Kopecky gave Detroit some bulletin board material, telling the Chicago Sun-Times, “It’ll be fun, and more fun when we beat them.” Kopecky will be playing his first career game against Detroit.

The Blackhawks will be without Marian Hossa, who also left the Wings for Chicago over the summer. He is recovering from shoulder surgery and will be out for two more months.

Game time is 7:30 with television coverage by Fox Sports Detroit.

Red Wings Sign May, Send Abdelkader to Griffins

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Thursday that they have signed forward Brad May to a one-year contract. Financial terms were not announced but TSN of Canada reports the deal is worth $500,000.

With the signing, Justin Abdelkader was assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins. Abdelkader had played in both of the Wings’ season-opening games in Sweden. He was expected to be sent to Grand Rapids when Darren Helm returned from a shoulder injury.

May failed to latch on with a team over the summer and was extended a pro tryout by the Red Wings late in the exhibition season. He was released from the tryout when the Wings went to Sweden and signed a second tryout with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

At the time, rumors circulated theorizing that Detroit might sign him to a two-way deal that would see him spending most of the season in Grand Rapids. Aaron Downey filled a similar roll between the Red Wings and Griffins last season.

May has split 1,001 career games between the Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, Phoenix Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs. He has 127 goals, 160 assists and 2,182 penalty minutes.

Swedish Crickets?

It looks like talk about the NHL Premiere games not generating any buzz may be true.

I don’t claim to have my ear to every news source in Detroit at all times, but I’m shocked at how few reports on the Wings’ two games in Stockholm came across my RSS reader this weekend. Yeah, there are the usual blog posts balancing overreaction with panic (I’ll get to that in a minute) but mainstream media coverage of what is supposed to be a major event has been minimal.

Me? I have an excuse, I was working all weekend. That’s why I didn’t get my thoughts together until midway throught Monday. The mainstream media gets paid for this, I can only take their silence to mean that no one cared about these games.

As for whether or not to panic based on what happened on Friday and Saturday, I’m not ready to give up just two games into the season.

What those games reminded me of were back-to-back games in Calgary and Edmonton late in November on a Western Canada road trip. The Red Wings always play horribly in those games and they’re scheduled every year. The fact that those kind of games came at the start of the season against the St. Louis Blues is the only difference.

Yes, the number of turnovers and the five power play goals against are things to be concerned about. There are 80 more games to work that out.

Yes, Jimmy Howard as the backup is still a concern. But there’s absolutely nothing that can be done for that aside from signing Dan Cloutier or bringing up Daniel Larsson, both of which would require Howard to be abandoned after the team spent five years developing him. It’s not gonna happen right now.

The losses were not a matter of needing more grit or any other change to the lineup. They were an issue of consistency. Every line had moments where they played well. They also had giveaways and goals against. We’ll see if those even out as the season continues.

Kariya Scores Twice as Blues Rebound to Beat Red Wings

Paul Kariya scored two second period goals to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 4-3 comeback win against the Detroit Red Wings at Stockholm, Sweden, on Friday.

The game is the first in a neutral site home-and-home series between the two teams, to be concluded on Saturday. Friday’s game was considered a Detroit home game.

Kariya’s first goal came on a St. Louis power play with 7:29 left in the second, scored on a shot from the point to pull the Blues to 3-2.

After B.J. Crombeen tied the game by backhanding a rebound chance past Detroit goalie Chris Osgood, Kariya scored again to put the Blues in front for the rest of the game.

Kariya’s second goal came after Brian Rafalski turned the puck over to T.J. Oshie at the Detroit blue line. Oshie shoveled it on to Kariya who broke in on Osgood alone and beat him stick side.

Jay McClement had give the Blues an early lead, scoring off a feed from behind the net by Brad Winchester at 7:54 of the first period.

Jonathan Ericsson drove to the net and tapped in a rebound chance to tie the game 2:48 later and Kirk Maltby beat St. Louis netminder Chris Mason on a shorthanded breakaway with 5:59 left in the first.

Ville Leino scored on a Detroit power play at 7:17 of the second period, the Wings’ lone goal with the man advantage in five tries, including a long five-on-three.

St. Louis went one-for-four on the power play.

Osgood finished the game with 19 saves on 23 shots against. Mason made 31 saves on 34 Detroit shots.

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