Maltby Out for Season, Lilja Cleared to Play

Salary cap woes for the Detroit Red Wings disappeared on Wednesday as veteran forward Kirk Maltby opted for season-ending surgery on his injured right shoulder.

The Red Wings will place Maltby on long-term injured reserve, freeing up $750,00 in cap space. Combined with Brad May being sent to Grand Rapids, the Wings have cleared enough room to activate now-healthy defenseman Andreas Lilja.

Lilja will be available to the Red Wings on Monday when they visit the Colorado Avalanche. It will be exactly one year and one day since he last played in the NHL, having suffered from post-concussion symptoms since a fight with Nashville’s Shea Weber on February 28, 2009.

Maltby’s recovery period is expected to be four to six weeks, meaning he could return for the playoffs, should the Red Wings make the postseason.

Holmstrom Out, Franzen In for Team Sweden

Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom has been forced to withdraw from the Swedish Olympic team due to a recurring knee injury. He will be replaced in the lineup by Wings teammate Johan Franzen.

Holmstrom left Saturday night’s Detroit – Ottawa matchup during the first period after reinjuring his left knee.

After suffering a broken foot in early January, Holmstrom returned for three games only to then suffer a bruised left knee. He missed one game, played one more, and attepted to play against Ottawa on Saturday before leaving the game early.

Franzen was originally left off the Swedish roster due to injury. He missed 55 games with a torn ACL before returning to the Detroit lineup on Tuesday in St. Louis.

Red Wings Enter Olympic Break with Win over Senators

Playing their last game before the Olympic Break on Saturday night, the Detroit Red Wings snapped a four-game losing streak with a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.

Coming into the game, the buzz was that forward Kirk Maltby might not be available as he faces season-ending shoulder surgery. Maltby remained in the lineup, however, and opened the game’s scoring.

At 9:33 of the first period, Maltby backhanded a rebound chance past Ottawa goaltender Brian Elliot to give the Red Wings the early lead.

With 3:27 left in the opening frame, Pavel Datsyuk put Detroit up by a pair. Nicklas Lidstrom faked a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle, then intentionally fired the puck wide for Datsyuk to deflect in from a sharp angle.

The Senators got on the board at 8:13 of the second as Peter Regin put a rebound opportunity past Jimmy Howard but Detroit extended their lead again 2:56 later when Dan Cleary tipped the puck past Elliot off a cross-crease pass from Todd Bertuzzi for a power play goal.

Johan Franzen added an empty net goal to wrap up the game’s scoring.

Elliot finished the night with 36 saves on 39 shots. Howard made 29 saves on 30 Ottawa chances.

Detroit scored two goals on four power play tries while the Senators were scoreless on their two chances with the extra attacker.

The Red Wings won’t play again until March 1 when they visit the Colorado Avalanche.

Olympians from both the Red Wings and Senators were honored in a pregame ceremony… The Red Wings were without forward Valtteri Filppula, who was out with a groin injury… Forward Tomas Holmstrom left the game during the first period after aggravating a knee injury.

Red Wings Roster Moves Recapped

The recap of the Red Wings’ recent roster moves, heading into tonight’s game against Ottawa…

Brad May has cleared waivers and has been given ten days to decide whether to report to Grand Rapids or retire. He’s done as a Wing, at least until the playoffs, and his $500,000 cap hit comes off the books.

Kirk Maltby could be done for the season but hasn’t decided yet. He’s been battling a shoulder injury that requires surgery. If he decides to have the surgery he’ll be out for two months – the rest of the regular season. Putting Maltby on long-term injured reserve would save the Red Wings $700,000, which when added to the savings from waiving May is enough to bring back Andreas Lilja.

Lilja did not play in the last game of his rehab stint with the Griffins on Friday, having been called to Detroit. He remains on LTIR but is likely to be cleared to play sometime during the Olympic break.

Red Wings Drop Fourth Straight with Shootout Loss to Sharks

The Detroit Red Wings returned home from their five-game road trip Thursday night but the while the venue changed the results stayed the same as they dropped their fourth decision in a row, this one a shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks.

Patrick Marleau scored the only goal of the tiebreaker, faking out Jimmy Howard to win the game for San Jose.

The Red Wings had opened the game’s scoring with 7:47 left in the first period when Johan Franzen snapped a shot from the right faceoff circle over the shoulder of Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov while on a power play.

Just 35 seconds later Joe Thornton tied the game, crashing the net and banging the puck in from the side of the crease after it bounced off the back boards on a shot by Niclas Wallin.

Dwight Helminen put the Sharks in front with 10 seconds left in the period, taking a centering pass after being left uncovered in the slot and snapping a shot into the open side of the net.

Jason Williams, the subject of many trade rumors with scouts from ten teams in the stands, tied the game with 7:05 left in regulation, skating around one San Jose defender before lifting a shot over Nabokov’s shoulder.

Nabokov stopped a career-high 50 shots on Detroit’s 52 chances in earning the win. Howard made 24 saves on 26 San Jose shots.

The Red Wings went 1-for-5 on the power play while the Sharks were scoreless in two tries with the extra skater.

Detroit plays their last game before the Olympic break on Saturday as they host the Ottawa Senators.

Saturday Wrapup

In the words of Bill Clement, “Well, where do you wanna start?”

The Red Wings started today with cap issues and extra forwards. In about a seven hour span they lost four forwards and a game. At least the cap isn’t an issue anymore.

Ville Leino was shipped to the Philadelphia Flyers this morning in return for Ole-Kristian Tollefsen and a fifth-round draft pick in 2011. Tollefsen was immediately placed on waivers and will be sent to the Grand Rapids Griffins if he clears.

The move cleared $800,000 in cap space for Detroit and freed up a roster spot, meaning that Johan Franzen can return from injury as scheduled on Tuesday.

I can’t say it’s a move I’m thrilled about. Leino still has a lot of potential. That said, in the salary capped NHL it was the right move to make.

If Tollefsen ever plays a game for Detroit I’ll be surprised. He’s a restricted free agent this summer, though, so the Wings might be able to get something for him.

Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller earned their roster spots this season and Leino played his way out of one. Detroit didn’t have the luxury of keeping all three and Leino was the right one to move. He may blossom with the Flyers but the Red Wings can’t wait for that to happen right now.

Eaves and Miller, unfortunately, finished the day in the Detroit dressing room, alongside Tomas Holmstrom.

All three were injured in Detroit’s 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, begging me to ask when was the last time you saw an entire forward line’s worth of players go down to injury in an NHL game?

Ansar Khan says

Red Wings Blow Three-Goal Lead, Fall to Kings

A three-goal lead after the first period wasn’t enough for the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday as they allowed four unanswered goals in the final forty minutes of play and lost to the Los Angeles Kings, 4-3.

It was the ninth consecutive win for the Kings, a franchise record.

Alexander Frolov started the LA comeback at 9:16 of the second period. Detroit defender Brad Stuart sent a bad outlet pass from behind the Red Wings’ goal straight into Kings’ posession and Frolov drove to the net, banging a rebound past goalie Jimmy Howard.

A turnover by Howard led to the Kings’ second goal with 5:13 left in the period. The puck came to the side of the Detroit net on a dump-in and Howard came out to play it. He couldn’t control the puck and Michal Handzus raced it, swatting it into the net.

Just 1:34 later, Ryan Smyth tipped a the puck in from the front of the net to tie the game.

After the Red Wings controlled the first fifteen minutes of the third period without a goal, Los Angeles took the lead when Handzus cut across the top of the crease and put a shot around Howard with 2:11 remaining.

The Red Wings had opened the game’s scoring at 8:44 of the first period, when Henrik Zetterberg took a centering pass from Pavel Datsyuk and tipped a shot into the open side of the Kings’ net, past goaltender Jonathan Quick.

Just 16 seconds later, Valtteri Filppula put a shot on goal that deflected off of an LA defenseman and past Quick for a 2-0 lead.

Zetterberg added Detroit’s third goal with five seconds remaining in the period, swatting a rebound chance over the sprawling Quick.

Neither team scored a power play goal in the game. Detroit had four tries with the extra attacker while Los Angeles had three.

Howard stopped 23 of 27 shots against. Quick made 20 saves on 23 Detroit chances.

The Red Wings lost Tomas Holmstrom to a bruised knee after the first period. Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller left the game after the second with ankle injuries after blocking shots.

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