Red Wings Could Dress 17 Skaters Against Coyotes

The Red Wings appear in their fourth home opener in five games tonight, visiting Glendale for the Phoenix Coyotes’ first true home game of the season.

The Coyotes are coming off of a split of their NHL Premiere season-opening series in Prague against the Boston Bruins.

Detroit is expected to ice 17 skaters tonight, as they’re too close to the cap to call up a replacement for Johan Franzen. Justin Abdelkader did take the morning skate but the team has not said whether he would be able to go tonight.

Continuing the goalie rotation used for the first four games of the season, Jimmy Howard gets the start tonight.

Red Wings – Stars Postgame Notes

I’ll admit that I turned the game off after the second period and was barely paying attention after it went to 3-0.

I can’t stand watching sloppy hockey and for two games in a row, that’s what the Red Wings have played. Poor coverage in their own end, lazy passes leading to turnovers in the neutral zone, no forecheck.

I’m not even going to really talk about goaltending ’cause I’m biased by being p*ssed at my own efforts in goal a couple hours before Chris Osgood took to the ice in Dallas. He and I had similar games – at least one we wanted back and a couple where we wondered what our defense was doing.

The second Dallas goal is the one that describes the game as a whole, to me. Loui Eriksson, surrounded by Red Wings, no one close enough to actually cover him. Detroit was just off all night.

Unless, of course, they were great in the third. I feel safe assuming they didn’t turn it around, despite Niklas Kronwall‘s power play goal.

And it wouldn’t be a ridiculous Red Wings loss without an injury. Johan Franzen thinks he’ll miss a week with a concussion. Mike Babcock says to wait for the doctor to determine that.

So right now we’re at Franzen, Brian Rafalski, Justin Abdelkader and Kris Draper. Abdelkader could possibly return Saturday, thankfully, negating the need to call anyone up from Grand Rapids to fill Franzen’s spot on the roster.

If the Wings turn things around, this two-game hiccup will be nothing. They happen from time to time. This early in the season, though, they look awful.

Red Wings – Stars Pregame Notes

Mike Modano makes his return to Dallas tonight as the Red Wings visit the Stars. It’ll be the first time a Stars team that Modano wasn’t a part of ever takes the ice in Dallas and he’ll be lined up across from them as the third line is slated to start.

Also starting: Chris Osgood, who traditionally does very well against Dallas. Being superstitious, I don’t like how much the media was making of that when it was announced.

Kari Lehtonen gets the start for the Stars, the first time he’s faced the Wings since being moved to Dallas last spring.

Tuesday in Review

It’s been a busy day for the Red Wings, with a retirement, an injury and a loss in about a six-hour span. Let’s get going then…

Veteran forward Kirk Maltby announced his retirement at a 5:30 press conference at Joe Louis Arena. Rather than accept assignment to the Grand Rapids Griffins, he’ll move into the Detroit front office to replace Pat Verbeek as one of the team’s three pro scouts.

I haven’t exactly hidden the fact that I think Maltby could have retired a year or two ago but I think you have to respect everything he’s done for this team. Four Stanley Cups is not something to take lightly. Best of luck to Malts in his new career.

Where the hell did this come from? Brian Rafalski leaves practice early on Monday and now he’s out for a month?

Rafalski had his knee scoped this afternoon and will miss three to four weeks. The timeline seems to be the only bad news, thankfully, as the procedure went off without a hitch and, as GM Ken Holland put it, “They cleaned out some loose particles.”

With Jonathan Ericsson still nursing his injured back, Doug Janik was called up to play against Colorado. Kris Draper was placed on short-term injured reserve to make room for Janik; I’m not entirely certain why Rafalski wasn’t.

Colorado 5, Detroit 4 (SO)
We get to tonight’s game, in which the Red Wings played like a team that had a lot going on off the ice.

On the plus side, it looks like every forward line is clicking. There’s some great passing going on out there and it’s leading to goals. Datsyuk’s goal, one of Franzen’s, Eaves’… All preceded by at least one nice pass.

On the negative side, several things. The team looked sloppy and tired. They did a bad job of breaking up Avalanche passes, leading to Colorado getting a ton of scoring chances. The exception being the five-minute OT period, where I thought the Wings dominated.

I’m not going to throw him under the bus for the loss but Jimmy Howard did not look fantastic to me. He was great in the shootout but I think one or two of the regulation goals he might want back.

Detroit’s shooters in the shootout put on some nice moves but couldn’t finish. Lots of posts, but if you can’t score a single goal on six shots it’s gonna be embarrassing.

Red Wings Recall Janik, Place Draper on IR

It appears that defenseman Doug Janik will make his Red Wings season debut tonight as Detroit hosts the Colorado Avalanche.

Janik was recalled from the Grand Rapids Griffins today and is expected that he will play in place of Brian Rafalski tonight. Rafalski left Monday’s practice early.

With Jonathan Ericsson also out, the Red Wings needed to call up Janik to have six defensemen. To make room on the roster, injured forward Kris Draper was put on the short-term injured reserve. Draper will be eligible to return on Saturday.

Babcock Signs Four-Year Extension with Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Monday that they have signed head coach Mike Babcock to a four-year extension, keeping him with the team through the 2014-15 season.

Babcock is currently in his sixth season with the team, having come to Detroit following the lockout that cost the NHL the 2004-05 season.

Before that he coached the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for two seasons, leading them to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2003.

With Detroit, Babcock has a regular season record of 259-101-52 and was the first coach in NHL history to lead his team to consecutive 50-win seasons in his first four years. His Red Wings have made the playoffs all five years, reaching the finals twice with one championship.

He also led Team Canada to the gold medal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

Filppula Scores Twice as Red Wings Down Blackhawks

Valtteri Filppula scored two goals and his line added a third, leading the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, spoiling Chicago’s banner-raising ceremony for their 2010 Stanley Cup Championship.

Filppula opened the game’s scoring with 7:01 left in the first period, sneaking to the left side of the crease and tapping the puck past Chicago goalie Marty Turco off a pass from Johan Franzen.

The Blackhawks replied with just half a second left in the first, when Brent Seabrook was left all alone to snap a shot past Chris Osgood for a power play goal.

Detroit’s second line got on the board again at 1:12 of the second. Brad Stuart sent a shot intentionally wide of the net and Todd Bertuzzi was there to jam the puck past Turco.

The lead would be short-lived, as a Bryan Bickell shot from the slot deflected off of Ruslan Salei‘s leg and past Osgood just 37 seconds later.

A broken play put the Red Wings back in front at 6:01 of the third. Filppula carried the puck into the Chicago end on a power play and defender John Scott lost his footing. Filppula skated in on Turco and appeared to lose the puck but it slipped under Turco’s pads and into the net.

The Red Wings killed off three successive Chicago power plays to hold the lead. The Blackhawks finished the night one-for-five on the power play, while the Red Wings scored once on four chances, including 45 seconds of five-on-three.

Osgood made 26 saves on 28 shots in earning his 397th career win. Turco stopped 23 of the 26 shots he faced.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Tuesday as they host the Colorado Avalanche.

Howard Blanks Ducks as Red Wings Win Opener

Jimmy Howard made 21 saves Friday night, stopping every shot he faced as the Detroit Red Wings opened their season with a 4-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks.

It was the fourth shutout of Howard’s career.

It was one of several stories of the game. In addition to the shutout, Michigan native Mike Modano scored in his first game with Detroit. If that weren’t enough, Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk picked up a goal, and assist and a fight for a Gordie Howe Hat-Trick.

Modano’s goal came at 5:35 of the first period. Jiri Hudler and Brad Stuart worked the puck along the left wing boards and got it to Dan Cleary in the slot. Cleary fought off two defenders to get the puck back to Modano, who rifled a shot past Anaheim netminder Jonas Hiller.

The goal came 24 seconds after Johan Franzen had opened the game’s scoring. Franzen and Valtteri Filppula worked the puck on the right side of the ice before Franzen snapped it past Hiller from an acute angle.

Datsyuk scored his goal at 5:29 of the second period. Henrik Zetterberg fired a shot from the top of the right circle intentionally wide of the net and Datsyuk was there to redirect it past Hiller to make it 3-0.

Dan Cleary scored the game’s final goal on a controversial play with 3:05 left in the second. He drove to the net to bang home the rebound of a Datsyuk shot, only for him to crash into the goal, carrying the puck with him.

Video review concluded that the puck cross the goal line before Cleary fully knocked the net off its moorings, overruling the on-ice call of no-goal.

The game got chippy in the third period. With Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf already being called for slashing, he continued roughing Zetterberg. Datsyuk and Corey Perry entered the scrum and ended up pairing off for just Datsyuk’s second career fight.

George Parros tried to fight Dan Cleary several minutes later, then Sheldon Brookbank and Brad Stuart fought in the game’s closing minutes.

The Ducks ended up with 32 penalty minutes in the third for a game total of 46 while the Red Wings had 14 penalty minutes in the final period for a total of 26.

Neither team scored a power play goal in the game, with Detroit getting six tries with the extra attacker – including an extended five-on-three – and Anaheim getting one.

Hiller finished the night with 39 saves on 43 Detroit shots.

The Red Wings now travel to Chicago for the Blackhawks’ home opener on Saturday. Faceoff is expected to be 9:00 after the banner-raising ceremony for Chicago’s 2010 Stanley Cup Championship.

Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson left the game in the second period with back spasms. He did not return and will be replaced in the lineup by Jakub Kindl for Saturday’s game.

Red Wings – Ducks Postgame Notes

Well that was a great way to start the season. The Red Wings looked solid all game. They did make some mistakes but nothing glaring, of course the outcome helps gloss over any negatives.

Fantastic to see Mike Modano scoring in his return home. That was a great play all around, from Jiri Hudler and Brad Stuart along the boards to Dan Cleary in the middle to Modano finishing. Cleary took a bit of a beating to make that happen and Modano finished like we all know he can. It’d’ve been the story of the game in a lot of games but this was a bit wild.

Since I go on and on every time I think the Wings are robbed of a goal I’ve gotta bring up Cleary’s replay-aided tally from the second period.

At first, I thought this was a good goal because I thought the rule was that the goal could be knocked off its pegs as long as it didn’t affect the puck. If the puck is going in the middle of the net but the goal is off at the side, the goal being off doesn’t change that the puck is going to the right place.

Turns out, I had the rule wrong, it’s not quite as subjective. The goal can be up but not off its pegs. Personally, I thought the overhead replay FSD kept showing proved that it was off the pegs but maybe there was an angle Toronto got that showed it was still barely on. I can believe it was but it would have to have been very close. As I said during the game, I’m surprised that one counted.

Jimmy Howard opens the season with a shutout. He didn’t have to be spectacular but he was solid when he was needed. The 21 shots he faced weren’t the 43 that Jonas Hiller saw at the other end of the ice but that’s how the Wings play. Howard’s going to need to be able to make the stops when he’s not seeing a lot of action. He stopped them all tonight and you can’t ask for more than that.

On a night when a hometown hero comes back and scores a goal for his local team and a young goalie gets a shutout, you know something big happened when neither of those is the top item of the night.

Gordie Howe Hat-Trick. Pavel Datsyuk. There’s a part of me that doesn’t believe it.

It’s a little funny, my dad was over to watch the game and he hasn’t really paid a lot of attention to the Red Wings in the last couple years. I was explaining how Datsyuk’s gotten more physical and doesn’t back down as much, then this happens. It’s great to see Pavel stand up for himself but at the same time it’s a bit terrifying.

My dad and I were discussing the role of the enforcer because of it. He says that the Wings still need a fighter to keep their stars safe. He used Brad May as an example (proving that he wasn’t completely ignoring last season). It’s the traditional idea, May would “keep the flies off” by being a kind of nuclear deterrent. You attack our stars and you’ll answer to our fighter.

The way I see it, there are two problems with that. The first is that May didn’t get in a single “useful” fight last year, they were all the typical choreographed fights that do absolutely nothing. The second is that Anaheim dresses George Parros on a nightly basis. May wouldn’t have fought Perry tonight, he would have fought Parros, at which point we can just refer to my first point.

Someone needed to take on Perry (and Getzlaf, for that matter). Fighters go after fighters, Perry is an agitator. That means either another agitator would have to fight Perry or Datsyuk would have to stand up for himself. Datsyuk took care of it.

Of course, there’s a third option that I’ve been pushing for for years but I know will never happen. The refs can call the after-the-whistle B.S. so it never gets to that point. There are those who say that’s part of the game, I don’t agree with them, the NHL does agree with them right now.

A fantastic night all around and a great way to kick off the season. There’s 81 more of those to go so we shouldn’t take too much from it but it’s a good start.

Bertuzzi In, Maltby Out for Red Wings Against Ducks

Todd Bertuzzi will be in the Detroit Red Wings’ lineup tonight as they host the Anaheim Ducks, leaving Kirk Maltby on the outside looking in for the first time since 1996.

Bertuzzi, recovering from a sore back, was questionable for tonight’s game. With Justin Abdelkader and Kris Draper also injured, the possibility of Maltby, who was waived earlier this week and assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins, stepping into the lineup was very real.

Instead, Maltby will take the weekend to consider his options. Reportedly he is leaning towards retirement rather than accepting assignment to the American Hockey League.