On Banners in the Joe Louis Arena Rafters

Over at Puck Daddy, Greg Wyshynski brought up the topic of teams raising banners for regular season accomplishments earlier today. I’ve discussed the banners at Joe Louis Arena a bit before so this was particularly interesting to me.

My thought on the matter is that no award is given out for a regular season division championship or conference championship. As such, no banner should be raised. The champion of the NHL’s regular season is recognized by an award so it is the only regular season accomplishment that should be honored in the rafters.

If I had my way, the rafters at Joe Louis Arena would look like this:

Proposed JLA Rafter Diagram
Click for full-sized image

That would be eleven Stanley Cup banners, eighteen total regular season championships, six Campbell Bowls as Western Conference playoff champions, and seven retired numbers. Yes, as long as I’m picking my own banners I put Larry Aurie’s #6 up where it belongs.

Stanley Cup banners remain at the end over the zamboni tunnel. They get that space to themselves, as is befitting for that accomplishment.

Retired numbers are no longer crammed up next to the Cup banners, instead getting the space above the opposite goal. Plenty of room for expansion of both sets of banners.

The remaining 24 banners are split in four groups of six, one on each side of both blue lines, just as the current banners are situated. I’d update the old “League Champions” banners to match the current style while we’re at all of this.

For those who say that all of the red banners hanging from the JLA rafters serve as intimidation for the opposition, I think it would be more intimidating to remove the “unimportant” banners and still have that many up there.

I’m all for celebrating the Red Wings’ history but I’m of the belief that this is a team that has better accomplishments to recognize than divisional championships.

Hudler Scores Lone Goal of Shootout as Red Wings Down Stars, 3-2

Detroit forward Jiri Hudler scored the only goal of the shootout Tuesday night, giving the Red Wings a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars.

The goal kept the Red Wings unbeaten in the tiebreaker this season and at least temporarily moved them into first place in the Western Conference.

Hudler faked twice on Dallas netminder Richard Bachman but couldn’t sell anything before resorting to the cutting to his left and pushing the puck out to the right, into the open side of the net. It was the same “Forsberg move” that Henrik Zetterberg successfully executed last week against Phoenix.

Pavel Datsyuk hit the post on Detroit’s first shot and Todd Bertuzzi fired into Bachman in the third round.

Wings’ goaltender Ty Conklin stopped Loui Eriksson, Michael Ryder and Trevor Daley in earning the win.

Detroit opened the game’s scoring at 6:41 of the first period. Jan Mursak beat Bachman to the puck behind the net and sent it to Justin Abdelkader, who only tipped the puck on his shot attempt from the side of the net. The puck slid out into the slot where Tomas Holmstrom fired a slapper back past Bachman for the early 1-0 lead.

Brenden Morrow tied things up with 9:01 left in the opening frame. With the Stars on a power play, Alex Goligoski fired a shot from above the slot. The puck deflected off of a jumping Morrow at the top of the crease and bounced past Conklin.

With 3:32 remaining, Eriksson made it 2-1 by backhanding the rebound of a Sheldon Souray chance past Conklin with a broken stick.

Hudler scored the last goal of regulation at 1:43 of the second, bouncing the puck off Goligoski’s skate and past Backman on a crossing attempt.

Bachman stopped 30 of the 32 Detroit shots he faced on the night. Conklin made 25 saves on 27 shots for his third win of the season.

Detroit went scoreless on four power play chances. The Stars scored on one of their two tries with the extra attacker.

The Red Wings will continue their road trip on Thursday when they visit the Phoenix Coyotes.

Jakub Kindl and Cory Emmerton were healthy scratches for the Red Wings, with Mike Commodore and Mursak in the lineup in their respective places.

Red Wings Blank Sabres for Franchise-Record 15th Straight Home Win

Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard stopped all 27 shots he faced Monday night as the Red Wings cruised to a 5-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres for their 15th consecutive home win, a new franchise record.

The previous record was set during the 1964-65 season, which saw the Red Wings finish first overall in the six-team league but lose to the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs.

Henrik Zetterberg opened the game’s scoring at 5:20 of the first period when he carried the puck from the right faceoff circle through the slot and into the left circle to snap a shot past Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller.

With 1:49 left in the period, Johan Franzen took a long pass through the neutral zone from Pavel Datsyuk to break in on Miller before rifling a shot from the inside edge of the right circle past Miller.

Nicklas Lidstrom made it 3-0 with just 17 seconds left in the first, jumping in from the left point all alone to bang the rebound of a Todd Bertuzzi chance past Miller from the bottom of the left circle.

Bertuzzi added a goal of his own at 4:19 of the second. Datsyuk stole the puck behind the net and sent it out to Bertuzzi at the bottom of the right circle. Bertuzzi cut across the top of the crease with it but couldn’t get to the open net, so he spun back around and backhanded a shot under Miller.

Just 13 seconds later, Darren Helm made it 5-0 beating Miller on a shot from the slot off a feed from the Buffalo goalie’s brother, Drew Miller.

Having allowed five goals on 14 shots, Ryan Miller was pulled after the Helm goal. Jhonas Enroth played the final 35:28 of the game for the Sabres, stopping all 12 shots he faced.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night. The Sabres had three power play chances while Detroit had four.

The Red Wings next travel to Dallas to face the Stars on Tuesday night.

Datsyuk’s assist on Bertuzzi’s goal was his third of the night and his 700th career point, reaching the milestone in 706 games played… Jan Mursak and Mike Commodore were scratches for Detroit.

Postgame: Sabres @ Red Wings – 1/16

I managed to harp on the negatives even after a big OT win for Detroit over the Blackhawks on Saturday, so let’s start there for tonight’s win over the Sabres.

The Wings definitely let up after Ryan Miller got pulled from the Buffalo net. They did that after the first period against Chicago and it nearly bit them in the ass. I don’t like seeing it, but it’s easier to understand tonight than it was on Saturday with the Red Wings up by five rather than only two.

And that final score may have been 5-0 but that wasn’t entirely because the Red Wings were that good. The Sabres were absolutely awful. Give the Red Wings credit for some great plays and for taking advantage of what they were given, but if I were a Buffalo fan I’d be p*ssed at that team’s effort.

But like I said, Detroit did make some great plays.

Todd Bertuzzi‘s spin-o-rama in front of the goal reminds you that, for a big guy, he has soft hands. He’s on a roll and it’s good to see.

Henrik Zetterberg finally got a goal, Johan Franzen had a hell of a shot for his goal. Nicklas Lidstrom‘s goal… How the hell did no one have him?

And Jimmy Howard with the shutout is fantastic. Didn’t have to make a ton of big stops or anything but consistency counts.

Great to see the fifteenth consecutive home win. Records are fun. This one’s a little weird ’cause the Wings are so (relatively) awful on the road that they need these wins at home just to make up for it. It’d be a lot easier to celebrate a major home winning streak if they weren’t in a three-way battle for first in the division.

Bertuzzi Lifts Red Wings Past Blackhawks in OT

Todd Bertuzzi scored with 39 seconds remaining in overtime on Saturday afternoon, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks.

It was Detroit’s 14th consecutive home win, tying a franchise record.

Bertuzzi banged the rebound of a Valtteri Filppula chance past Chicago netminder Corey Crawford from the slot to give the Red Wings the win. It was his second goal of the afternoon.

Tomas Holmstrom had opened the game’s scoring with 7:04 remaining in the first period, tipping an Ian White shot from the high slot past Crawford on a power play.

Bertuzzi’s first of the game extended Detroit’s lead with 3:50 left in the period, as he beat Crawford with a backhand shot on a breakaway.

The Red Wings outshot the Blackhawks 21-4 in the opening frame but only carried the 2-0 lead into intermission.

Chicago would halve that lead with 5:06 left in the second. Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard went behind the net to play the puck but it took a funny bounce and deflected off the heel of his stick to the side of the net, where Andrew Shaw jumped on it and put it into the open net.

The Blackhawks dominated the third period in an effort to get even They took the first eleven shots of the period and outshot Detroit 16-5 but needed until the game’s final minute to tie things up.

With 52 seconds left, former Red Wing Marian Hossa fired a shot from the blue line that deflected off of Wings’ defenseman Niklas Lidstrom and Chicago forward Jonathan Toews to get past Howard, knotting the game at two.

The Red Wings seeminly flipped a switch in the overtime, outshooting Chicago 9-0 before Bertuzzi’s game-winner.

Howard finished the afternoon with 25 saves on 27 shots against. Crawford made 40 stops on 43 shots.

Holmstrom’s power play goal was the only goal scored with the man-advantage on Detroit’s only chance with the extra attacker. The Blackhawks were scoreless on three power plays.

The Red Wings look to extend their home winning streak on Monday when they host the Buffalo Sabres.

Bertuzzi was a late addition to the Red Wings’ lineup, having recovered from the injury that kept him out of Detroit’s win over Phoenix on Thursday. Jam Mursak was a healthy scratch to make room for him. Injured defenseman Mike Commodore was the other Detroit scratch… The game was the 700th of head coach Mike Babcock‘s career.

Postgame: Blackhawks @ Red Wings – 1/14

I had joked before the game that Todd Bertuzzi was in the lineup for the Red Wings today because his skills would be needed for the inevitable shootout against Chicago. I was close, as it was Bertuzzi scoring with 39 seconds left in overtime to keep the Wings from a shootout with a 3-2 win.

Bertuzzi’s winner (and his breakaway goal in the first) were fantastic and it’s great to come away with two points, but I’m going to be a downer about this game.

The Red Wings absolutely dominated the first period. They had ten shots before the Blackhawks had one. If not for Chicago goalie Corey Crawford, Detroit could have had this game wrapped up in the first twenty minutes.

But they didn’t. They carried only a two goal lead into the second period and then proceeded to play as if Chicago was out of it.

An odd bounce got the Blackhawks back into the game and then it was their turn to dominate in the third period, firing the first eleven shots of the frame. It took them the entire period but eventually they tied things back up.

Thankfully, the Red Wings dominated the OT and pulled out the win. That said, they had nine shots in OT, compared to only eight in the second and five in the third. That’s a sign of how bad they were in those two periods, that they got more shots in a five-minute overtime than either of two entire twenty minute periods.

So, positives: Jimmy Howard was a rock, once again. Domination of the first period and overtime.

Negatives: Absolutely fell asleep in the second and most of the third. Let the Blackhawks back in it enough that they got a point in the standings to stay ahead of the Wings.

I’ll take the win but they’ve got work to do.