Red Wings’ Rally Falls Short Against Flames

The Detroit Red Wings scored twice in the third period Thursday night but couldn’t make up for allowing three goals in the first 35:47 of play, falling to the Calgary Flames, 3-2.

Curtis Glencross scored twice for the Flames – the game’s opening goal and the eventual game-winner.

With 3:50 remaining in the first and Calgary on a power play, Detroit goalie Ty Conklin stopped an Olli Jokinen chance from the outside but couldn’t control the rebound. Glencross jumped to the side of the net and chipped the puck over Conklin to get the Flames on the board.

Just 1:30 into the second, Blake Comeau made it 2-0. Wings’ defenseman Niklas Kronwall jumped up in the neutral zone to hit Tim Jackman but Jackman got the puck through to Brendan Morrison. Morrison and Comeau continued on a two-on-one and Morrison’s centering pass slipped through the defending Brad Stuart, getting to Comeau for an easy shot into the empty side of the net.

At 5:47 of the middle period, Glencross scored again when he raced down the right wing and fired a shot off the far post and into the net as the teams skated four-on-four.

Detroit wouldn’t get on the board until 4:55 of the third period, when Jiri Hudler evaded a check and backhanded a shot past Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff from in the slot.

With just 4:12 remaining, the Red Wings drew to within a goal when Pavel Datsyuk won a draw in the right circle back to Ian White for a blast that deflected past Kiprusoff.

Detroit would be unable to even things up, though Henrik Zetterberg rang a shot off the post in the closing minutes.

The Flames finished the night one-for-three on the power play with the Red Wings going scoreless on two tries with the extra man.

Conklin stopped 24 of the 27 shots he faced while Kiprusoff made 29 saves on 31 shots.

The Red Wings finished their Western Canadian road trip with one win and two losses. They’ll pick up again in Nashville after Christmas.

Jakub Kindl was a healthy scratch for the Red Wings as Mike Commodore made only his fourth appearance of the season.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Flames – 12/22

I’m not going to say much about this one. It’s late and I’m exhausted.

This was one of those cases that came down to effort. If the Red Wings had put in the effort in the first forty minutes of play that they did in the final twenty, that game is a win. They – as they have too much of a tendency to do – instead played a single period of good hockey and they lost.

Blame the travel if you want, the fact that the third period is when they woke up makes me think they weren’t burned out early. Whatever the reason, that level of effort is unacceptable.

Additional notes: Conklin didn’t look awful, so this might be his first loss of the season that you can’t blame him for. Also, Mike Commodore looked decent out there – not fantastic but he wasn’t awful in only his fourth game of the season. A couple plusses to take away from an otherwise annoying night.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Canucks – 12/21

I’ll try to keep my thoughts quick ’cause it’s late enough as it is.

The Wings deserved to lose this one. Their defense sucked (by Detroit standards) and every Vancouver goal can be traced back to someone not doing their job.

This loss falls squarely on the Red Wings. I hope no one is ridiculous enough to try to blame the refs for it.

That said… I don’t even know what to say about the third period sequence leading up to Alexander Edler‘s shorthanded goal for the Canucks.

Niklas Kronwall certainly left his feet to hit Ryan Kesler but the hit was in this awkward way such that Kronwall went rear-first into Kesler’s chest. It was by no means a head shot, he targeted the body, he just did it with a lower part of his own body and left his feet to get that part high enough. I don’t know why he’d hit like that, seems like a shoulder would be better. Maybe it’s his interpretation of a hip check and the art is so lost that Kronner can’t even do it right? So I call it clean but ugly.

I’m shocked that Kesler got a roughing penalty after the hit. I don’t like that he tried to go after Kronwall for it (since the hit was relatively clean) but it seems like the officials typically let after the whistle junk like that go. I complain about it not being called all the time so I don’t mind that it was called, but it’s certainly not consistent with what we usually see.

Alexander Edler’s shorthanded goal, Vancouver’s fourth goal of the night. Yeah, that one.

We’ve seen time and time again that a goal can be wiped out for “incidental contact” (just ask Tomas Holmstrom about that one). If we say that Jannik Hansen was directed into Jimmy Howard by Henrik Zetterberg, that’s where incidental contact comes in. Hansen couldn’t stop, ran into Howard, not his fault, no goal. Instead, we have a Canucks goal scored with Howard being sat on. I honestly do not understand how one night that goal is allowed to stand and on another night the slightest contact at the edge of the crease wipes out a goal.

That’s all I’ve got. No formal recap tonight, I’m going to bed.

Miller Scores Late to Carry Red Wings Past Oilers

Drew Miller scored his fourth goal in five games with 4:15 left in the third period Monday night, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers.

It was the second time this season that Miller scored the game-winning goal against Edmonton, as he had previously scored Detroit’s first goal in a 3-0 win over the Oilers on November 11.

Darren Helm won a battle in the right corner with Ladislav Smid and sent the puck out to Nicklas Lidstrom at the left point. Lidstrom fired a shot that Miller tipped in the slot, redirecting it past Edmonton goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.

Danny Cleary had opened the game’s scoring at 4:33 of the first period.

After a broken play in the right faceoff circle saw a series of shots blocked before they could get through to Khabibulin, the puck squirted out to Jakub Kindl at the top of the circle. Kindl snapped a shot that Cleary deflected past Khabibulin to get the Red Wings on the board.

The Oilers tied things back up at 2:37 of the second, when Ryan Jones broke in alone on netminder Jimmy Howard and snapped a shot past him to make it 1-1.

Detroit regained the lead with 5:24 left in the middle frame. Jiri Hudler parked himself in front of the Edmonton crease and tipped a Henrik Zetterberg shot from the slot past Khabibulin.

With less than a second remaining and Edmonton on a power play, Jordan Eberle jumped on a loose puck in the high slot and whipped it past Howard to tie things back up heading into the second intermission.

Eberle’s goal was the only power play goal of the night. Edmonton had five tries with the extra attacker while the Red Wings had two.

Howard finished the night with 21 saves on 23 shots against. Khabibulin made 25 stops on 28 shots.

The Wings continue their road trip through Western Canada on Wednesday when they visit the Vancouver Canucks.

Thoughts on NHL Players on Twitter

When Mike Commodore signed with the Red Wings last summer, he became the first active Detroit player with a Twitter account, offering Wings fans insight into the life of one of their own. He was followed by Cory Emmerton, who joined the social networking service in September and made the team in October.

It is undeniable that many fans want the kind of access to players that this provides. Without it, we wouldn’t have moments such as the one that happened earlier this week, when forward Tomas Tatar scooped the Wings’ beat writers and the team itself by Tweeting “Called up.:) #Redwings” (and later announcing his demotion with “thanks for support.Fans are awesome.unfortunately #senddown”).

Within an organization like Detroit, where the players are historically hard to connect with, it provides an opportunity to see a player’s thoughts that never existed before. Depending on the player and how he uses Twitter, it can also mean the chance to interact with an actual Red Wing, as both Commodore and Emmerton (and other Red Wings prospects) are known to reply to some posts.

While fans gain unprecedented access, players are opened up to feedback they may have never asked for. The loudest voices on the Internet are rarely the most level-headed. One bad play and a player on Twitter could be subjected to a torrent of criticism.

Take, for example, the case of Eric Nystrom. On September 30, Nystrom – then of the Minnesota Wild – went into the boards with Taylor Fedun of the Edmonton Oilers. Fedun suffered a broken femur and fans who blamed Nystrom set on him via Twitter. I won’t say that those fans represent a majority but it has to be acknowledged that they exist. Nystrom did what he could to deal with them, explaining his point of view in the allotted 140 characters.

Should he have had to? He chose to open himself up to that, no one made him sign up. A prerequisite for players on Twitter seems to be thick skin. It’s unfair to them but without it, you have the scenario that occurred on Saturday night.

Did the fan cross the line? Absolutely. Is it acceptable for a player to reply like that?

We hold our athletes to a higher standard. In Detroit, on the Red Wings, that standard was set long ago by Steve Yzerman and carried on by Nicklas Lidstrom. The kind of players who wouldn’t say that to a fan. Also the kind of players who wouldn’t put themselves in that position in the first place, as they wouldn’t use Twitter.

It’s also worth noting that, in the lead-up to that exchange, Commodore was posting during the Red Wings’ 8-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Even as a healthy scratch, that’s a violation of the NHL’s new social media policy, quite possibly the first such violation on record.

In the end, I say, no, it is not acceptable for a player to respond that way. If he can’t keep his mouth shut, he shouldn’t be on Twitter. We want a look into the life of a player but we also want to hold them to a higher standard. Sometimes these goals will conflict. In my opinion, the higher standard will always win.

Whether they like it or not, athletes are role models. Mike Commodore telling a fan off or Patrick Kane fighting with a cab driver belie that image. It’s not always fair to the players for us to expect so much of them but it’s just how it is. We know that some fans are jerks. We don’t want to see players prove that they’re no different.

Update – 12/18, 10:40 PM:
I didn’t get a chance to mention this earlier today but, for the sake of completeness, it’s important to note the following exchange:

Fantastic to see the apology from both sides. I’ll give everyone the benefit of the doubt and assume it was all truthful.

Commodore has also deleted the original post. I’m not sure where I stand on that. I’ve deleted Tweets before myself but never after such a long time. It seems like rewriting history. But that’s an issue for another day.

I still contend that players are going to be held to a higher standard than fans, and as such will have to watch what they say on Twitter. In this case, though, I guess we can go with “All’s well that ends well.”

Miller, Emmerton Each Score Twice as Red Wings Rout Kings

The Detroit Red Wings got two-goal efforts from both Drew Miller and Cory Emmerton Saturday night, en route to a 8-2 rout of the Los Angeles Kings.

For Emmerton, his was his first career multiple-point game and his first goals since the season opener. For Miller, it continued a scoring trend that’s seen him more than double his season output in the last week.

Miller opened the game’s scoring only 1:45 into the game. Darren Helm put a shot on net from the right faceoff circle and LA goalie Jonathan Quick kicked the puck into the slot. Miller, driving to the net, picked it up and knocked it back past Quick.

Just 15 seconds later, Emmerton deflected a Jonathan Ericsson shot from just inside the blue line past Quick to make it a two-goal lead.

A Niklas Kronwall blast from the top of the right circle bounced off the post and into the net at 8:32, giving the Red Wings a 3-0 lead and ending Quick’s night, as he was replaced in the Kings’ crease by Jonathan Bernier.

Davis Drewiske got Los Angeles on the board with 2:45 left in the first. After the Red Wings twice failed to clear their zone, Justin Williams sent a pass to Drewiske, who was wide open in the left circle to snap a shot past Jimmy Howard.

Emmerton’s second of the night restored Detroit’s three-goal lead with 1:25 left in the period. Justin Abdelkader sent a pass from the left corner to Emmerton alone in the slot for a quick shot past Bernier, making it 4-1.

The Kings pulled to within a pair again in the second period. With 8:57 left, Jarret Stoll knocked home the rebound of a Williams shot, getting LA back in the game.

Henrik Zetterberg ended any thoughts of a comeback just 1:03 later, powering to the net with Alec Martinez and Dustin Brown on him, lifting a backhander over Bernier’s shoulder and into the top of the net.

Pavel Datsyuk made it 6-2 with 22 seconds left in the middle frame. Todd Bertuzzi made a diving play in the neutral zone to knock the puck to Johan Franzen at the blue line, who carried it into the Kings’ zone and sent it to Datsyuk in the slot. Datsyuk tipped it past Bernier as the goaltender got stuck moving from right to left.

Miller added his second of the night at 7:34 of the third period, snapping a loose puck in the slot past Bernier to make it 7-2.

Brad Stuart rounded out the scoring on a power play goal with 8:42 remaining, putting a booming shot from the top of the right circle through a screen by Tomas Holmstrom and past Bernier.

Stuart’s goal was the only power play marker of the night for either team. The Kings had four tries with the extra attacker while the Red Wings had three.

Howard finished the night with 27 saves on 29 Los Angeles shots. Quick stopped four of the seven shots he faced before being replaced by Bernier, who made 15 saves on twenty shots.

The Red Wings are next in action on Monday when they visit the Edmonton Oilers to kick off a Western Canadian road trip.

With forwards Jan Mursak, Patrick Eaves and Chris Conner all on injured reserve, defenseman Mike Commodore was Detroit’s only healthy scratch.

Postgame: Kings @ Red Wings – 12/17

Well, the Wings are loving Saturdays this December. Combined score of 15-3 in the two games on that night this month. They’ll get another chance on December 31st against the St. Louis Blues.

Even with the early lead, the Kings refused to go away for the first half of the game or so, partially because Detroit kept letting up. LA scored twice to cut a three-goal lead down to two but the Wings responded both times, leading by three to end both the first and second periods.

The big story is the third and fourth liners getting goals. Drew Miller and Cory Emmerton had fantastic games and it’s great to see them get on the scoresheet. With the big lead, they each had a chance to finish their hat tricks on a third-period power play but it wasn’t to be.

Not to be overlooked, the Wings stars had some nice plays too. Henrik Zetterberg‘s goal was an unreal shot and Pavel Datsyuk‘s came off a string of three fantastic plays – Todd Bertuzzi at center ice, Johan Franzen‘s pass, and Datsyuk’s tip. Niklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart each scored on rocket shots.

The diversity in scoring really shows how well the Wings were clicking as a team tonight.

Two crazy stats…

Kronwall had three points in a game where the opposition only scored twice and he still managed to go minus-one on the night. He was out for both Kings goals and scored a goal but neither of his assists got him a plus. On Zetterberg’s goal, he’d already left the ice. On Stuart’s goal, it was a power play.

Simpler but no less odd: The Wings were outshot in this one. Honestly, I have no idea how that happened.

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