TGTW: Wings’ Skid Reaches Seven Games

The Games That Weren’t is one of many projects simulating the games lost by the NHL lockout. In the absence of actual games to write about, I’ll be checking in periodically on the fictional Red Wings’ season.

Two weeks after sitting in a tie for the top spot in the National Hockey League, the Detroit Red Wings have dropped seven consecutive games and are eight points back of the Carolina Hurricanes for the league lead. The Los Angeles Kings are six points up on the Red Wings in the Western Conference. Detroit remains tied with the Nashville Predators atop the Central Division, with the Columbus Blue Jackets one point back and the St. Louis Blues two points back, each with three games in hand.

The Wings’ abysmal seventh week of the season began with a 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday. Deryk Engelland, Matt Cooke and Chris Kunitz each scored for the Penguins before the Red Wings got on the board with a third-period Johan Franzen goal. Jimmy Howard made 24 saves on 27 shots in taking the loss. Detroit lost forward Pavel Datsyuk to a knee injury in the first period after taking a charge from Brandon Sutter, who was ejected on the play.

With Datsyuk out on Wednesday, the Wings dropped a 3-1 decision to the St. Louis Blues. Patrik Berglund and T.J. Oshie scored in the game’s first 5:43 before Kyle Quincey got the Red Wings on the board with 6:24 left in the second. Kevin Shattenkirk re-extended the Blues’ lead with 2:47 left in the period to round out the game’s scoring. Howard stopped 23 of 26 shots on the night.

Datsyuk returned to the lineup as the Red Wings visited the Florida Panthers on Friday night but his return couldn’t prevent a rout, with an explosive second period propelling the Panthers to an 8-2 win. Jack Skille and Valtteri Filppula traded first period goals to keep the game even after a period but former Detroit prospects Shawn Matthias and Tomas Fleischmann scored three goals in the first 6:16 of the second to put the Wings out of it. Marcel Goc scored just past the game’s halfway point to chase Howard from the net, then Jonas Gustavsson allowed goals by Peter Mueller and Matthias just 18 seconds apart to make it 7-1. Mikael Samuelsson got the Wings’ a second goal late in the second and Fleischmann wrapped up the hat trick late in the third to round out the scoring.

Howard stopped only six of 11 shots in 30:09 of play while Gustavsson stopped eight of 11 in 29:51.

Howard didn’t fare much better on Saturday in Tampa, where the Red Wings took a 4-2 lead into the third period only to lose, 6-4. Filppula gave the Wings’ the lead just 3:41 into the game but Vincent Lecavalier tied things up 34 seconds into the second. Darren Helm and Franzen put Detroit up by a pair with goals at 5:45 and 7:23. Ryan Malone pulled the Lightning back to within one with 2:56 left in the middle period but Drew Miller‘s first of the season made it 4-2 with 58 seconds left.

Malone’s second of the night cut the lead again at 4:13 of the third and J.T. Wyman tied things up on the power play at 9:00. Teddy Purcell chased Howard from the net just 59 seconds later with another power play goal and Lecavalier rounded out the scoring with a third power play tally with 4:48 remaining.

Howard faced 22 shots and made 17 saves in 49:59 while Gustavsson stopped three of four shots in 10:01. Captain Henrik Zetterberg was lost to a shoulder injury in the first period and did not return to play.

After the disastrous seventh week, Howard has fallen off the NHL leaderboard in all goaltending categories. Filppula remains one of the league leaders in scoring, with his 28 points putting him behind only Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin (31). Despite missing time to injury, Datsyuk sits fourth with 25 points, with Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar (27) in third. The pair lead the league in assists with 18 each, tied with Carolina’s Eric Staal.

The next week will see the Red Wings return from their Florida trip to host a trio of Pacific Division teams in the Phoenix Coyotes, Los Angeles Kings, and San Jose Sharks.

NHL Announces Cancellation of Schedule Through December 14, All-Star Game

With no end to the National Hockey League’s lockout of its players in sight, the league cancelled games through December 14th on Friday. They also announced the cancellation of the 2013 All-Star Game, to have been hosted by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The league had previously cancelled all games through the end of November.

Negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA seemed to take a turn for the worse this week. The players’ association tabled an offer that appeared to give the owners much of what they were asking for with regards to a “make whole” provision that would determine how the players’ current contracts would be paid while they took less overall money, however that offer was rejected outright.

With the latest cancellations, 422 games have been lost to this year’s lockout.

Is USA Hockey looking at a Penn State-esque controversy? It is Possible

You don’t have to be a Penn State fan, nor a football fan – heck even a sports fan – to know about what went down at Penn State; is USA Hockey looking at something similar?

I woke this morning to a story by Stepheh Heisler over at JuniorHockey.com that calls into question whether or not USA Hockey’s Executive Director Dave Ogrean should resign.

According to this piece the father of a player from the Massachusetts Maple Leafs emailed Ogrean back in Janurary of 2011 describing what Heisler calls “extremely deviant sexual behavior” that Maple Leafs coach Anthony DeSilva had towards his (at the time) 18 year old son.

Now here is where I have a slight issue. If the player was 18 at the time you can not throw around the child predator aspect as he is an adult; however, just because someone is 18 it does not mean they are unable to be abused. My issue is that for some reason our society has massive outrage for those that abuse children (as they should) but not for those after they turn 18. Why is it at 18 to the masses it doesn’t matter anymore?

Anyway that is an issue for another day – back to the topic at hand with USA Hockey and Ogrean.USA Hockey did launch and investigation; and encouraged the parents to go to the police if they felt the allegations by their son were true. According to Heisler’s piece the parents never went to the authorities.

So is this USA Hockey’s fault?

ESHL Commissioner Andrew Richards was selected to conduct the investigation into DeSilva; however, he was never allowed to even speak with the player himself.”We did what we could. We’re not a legal society,” Says Richards.

USA Hockey appears to now be playing a game of hot potato. Fischer claims that the national office passed the information onto the ESHL and the ESHL’s Richards is saying that he was getting direction from USA Hockey and the Junior Council.

The question is who is to blame for a lack of “results” to this matter? Is Ogrean for allowing DeSilva to remain on the bench? Is Richards responsible because he conducted the investication? What about the parents that knew but did not take it to the police?

What happened at Penn State has left everyone outraged; but shouldn’t all sports organizations be them collegiate, local, or national governing bodies be held to the same standards?

Polk County (Fl.) Sheriff Grady Judd agrees that Ogrean and USA Hockey mishandled the situation. “They don’t want the bad press, and it’s not uncommon for organizations to suppress information,” the outspoken sheriff told us Monday. “We see it over and over that these situations, the Catholic Church, Penn State, everyone has had these same issues and it is very embarrassing for the groups.”

“Going after sexual predators is a difficult task because it’s the silent crime and the kids are embarrassed,” Grady concluded. “A lot of law enforcement agencies go out of their way avoid these cases and in reality, we all need to work together to protect the victims.”USA Hockey appears to now be playing a game of hot potato. Fischer claims that the national office passed the information onto the ESHL and the ESHL’s Richards is saying that he was getting direction from USA Hockey and the Junior Council.

WAIT?!?! Law enforcement goes out of their way to avoid these cases? What is going on in this world? If the police are not contacted how are they to investigate?

There is a lot of passing off who is to blame here and honestly until matters are sorted out I feel those involved should step down from their positions with USA Hockey.

Wings’ Cleary Among Organizers of Windsor NHLPA Charity Game

Detroit Red Wings forward Danny Cleary is one of three NHLPA members organizing a charity game at Windsor’s WCU Centre.

Buffalo forward and former Windsor Spitfire Steve Ott and Edmonton forward Shawn Horcoff are also organizing the event, scheduled for December 8, unless the NHL and NHLPA can come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement before then.

The game would be the latest of several organized by locked-out players, all benefitting local charities.

In addition to the three organizers, the following players are tentatively scheduled to appear:

From the Red Wings, Todd Bertuzzi, Justin Abdelkader, Jimmy Howard, Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Ian White, Cory Emmerton, Darren Helm and Jonas Gustavsson.  From the Colorado Avalanche, Windsor-native Ryan Wilson.  From the Oilers, Eric Belander and Jeff Petry.  From the Chicago Blackhawks, Jamal Mayers.  From the Pittsburgh Penguins, James Neal.  From the Phoenix Coyotes, Keith Yandle.  From the Dallas Stars, Brenden Morrow.  Former Carolina Hurricane, Boston Bruin, and Detroit Viper Sergei Samsonov.

TGTW: Wings Drop Three Consecutive Games in Week Six

The Games That Weren’t is one of many projects simulating the games lost by the NHL lockout. In the absence of actual games to write about, I’ll be checking in periodically on the fictional Red Wings’ season.

Three consecutive losses dropped the Detroit Red Wings out of a tie for first place in the National Hockey League in the season’s sixth week but the team remains in a tie with the Los Angeles Kings atop the Western Conference.

The Red Wings dropped their first overtime game of the season on Tuesday when they hosted the Dallas Stars.  Dallas’ Vern Fiddler opened the game’s scoring at 9:27 of the first but Johan Franzen responded for the Wings with 49 seconds left in the period to even things up.  Pavel Datsyuk made it 2-1 in Detroit’s favor at 1:51 of the second, a score that would hold until Michael Ryder made it a 2-2 tie with 7:38 left in regulation.  At 1:34 of the overtime period, Eric Nystrom gave Dallas the win.

Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard allowed the three goals on just 19 shots while Dallas netminder Kari Lehtonen made 19 saves on 21 shots.  The lone bright spot for the Red Wings was the return of Todd Bertuzzi to the lineup after missing two games with concussion-like symptoms.

The Wings’ skid continued on Thursday with a 5-3 loss to the visiting New Jersey Devils, fueled by three quick goals in the middle of the third period.  Datsyuk got the Red Wings out to a quick start, scoring just a minute into the game and adding another at 9:38 of the first on a power play.  Ilya Kovalchuk got the Devils on the board at 3:21 of the second and Dainius tied things up with a power play goal at 6:14 of the third.  Jordin Tootoo‘s first as a Red Wing put Detroit back out in front at 8:05 but Tim Sestito re-tied it 23 seconds later.  Adam Larsson gave the Devils their first lead with 9:32 remaining and Zubrus extended after only three seconds, chasing Howard from the crease in favor of Jonas Gustavsson.

Gustavsson stopped the three shots he saw in the final 9:29 of play after Howard made 24 saves on 29 shots.  New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur stopped 29 of the 32 shots he faced.

A six-round shootout loss in Minnesota closed out the week for the Red Wings.  Cal Clutterbuck got the Wild out to an early lead at 1:04 of the first before Darren Helm responded with his first of the season at 6:46.  Valtteri Filppula put the Red Wings out front at 6:58 of the second with a power play goal and Jakub Kindl extended the lead 53 seconds later.  With 8:35 left in the third, Jared Spurgeon cut Detroit’s lead to a goal.  Just eight seconds later, Kyle Brodziak tied things up.

Franzen and Brodziak scored to open the shootout.  Datsyuk was stopped and Devin Setoguchi scored in the second round but Henrik Zetteberg scored and Howard stopped Pierre-Marc Bouchard to keep the Wings alive.  Mikael Samuelsson, Matt Cullen, Bertuzzi, Steven Kampfer and Drew Miller would all fail to score before Ryan Suter beat Howard to give the Wild the win.

Howard finished the night with 24 saves on 27 shots.  Niklas Backstrom made 29 saves on 32 chances.

After six weeks of play, Filppula remains the team’s leading scorer with 26 points, five more than Datsyuk and good for second in the NHL, one behind Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin.  Datsyuk sits fourth in the league in scoring.  Howard’s 2.09 GAA puts him at fifth in the league.

The next week will see the Wings host the Penguins and Blues before visiting the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Filppula Out Two Months with Knee Injury

Locked out Detroit Red Wings forward Valtteri Filppula suffered a knee injury that will sideline him for two months in a game for Jokerit Helsinki, the Finnish club announced on Wednesday.

Filppula had played 16 games on a lockout contract with Jokerit, returning to the team he came up with and reuniting with his brother, one-time Red Wings’ prospect Ilari Filppula.  He currently sits third on the team in scoring with six goals and nine assists.

The injury – which MLive’s Ansar Khan reports is a sprained right MCL – occurred in a game on Monday.

Filppula is the third Red Wing to have been injured during the lockout.  Cory Emmerton broke a finger in his debut for Finland’s SaiPa Lappeenranta and Darren Helm fractured his cheekbone during an informal skate in the Detroit area.

To Canada and Back! : Running to Raise Money and Awareness for Special Hockey

I’ve decided that I am going to run across the board to Canada and back to raise money for the American Special Hockey Association.

Don’t worry it’s totally legit; as the Detroit Marathon course takes runners over the Ambassador bridge, through the streets of Windsor and back thru the Detroit-Windsor tunnel.

So I have decided that I am going to run the half-marathon this coming October and try and raise money for the American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) in the process.

I’ve been a volunteer with ASHA for a few years now and love everything about this organization; why wouldn’t I do my part to try and raise them some more money.

Now that I have decided to run the international half marathon I am looking for those that may want to join my running team. There is a U.S. only half marathon, the full marathon, a 5K, and a 5 person relay. Just because I am doing the international half doesn’t mean you can’t go along with me – and probably beat me to the finish line.

You can go to the event page on Crowdrise at: http://www.crowdrise.com/runningforasha/fundraiser/monicamcalister to check in on the progress of reaching the goal of $5,000. I figure we have until the end of October 2013 we can make it with some help!

If you are interested in joining the “Running for ASHA” team email me at SinbinChronicles@gmail.com

Wings’ Prospect Sheahan Arrested

Peter Wallner of MLive reports that Detroit Red Wings’ prospect and current Grand Rapids Griffins forward Riley Sheahan was arrested in October for drunk driving.

Sheahan was stopped going the wrong way on Ottawa Avenue, near Pearl Street, in Grand Rapids just before midnight on October 29.  He was recorded as having a blood-alcohol content of .17 – more than twice the legal limit.  He also gave officers false information.

In a November 6 hearing, Sheahan pled not guilty to the charges.

The twenty-year-old Sheahan was Detroit’s first selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.  This is his first full professional season, having played seven games with the Griffins and one with the Red Wings to wrap up the 2011-12 campaign.

In 2010, during his freshman year at Notre Dame, Sheahan was charged with public intoxication and minor alcohol consumption.

TGTW: Wings Lead NHL After Week Five

The Games That Weren’t is one of many projects simulating the games lost by the NHL lockout. In the absence of actual games to write about, I’ll be checking in periodically on the fictional Red Wings’ season.

After finshing their first four-game Western Canadian road trip since the return of the Winnipeg Jets with a 3-1 record, the Detroit Red Wings returned home this week for rematches with the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames and a visit from the Minnesota Wild.

On Tuesday, Jordan Eberle scored twice to lead the Oilers past the Wings to sweep their home-and-home series. Eberle opened the game’s scoring at 4:25 of the first. Kyle Quincey‘s third goal of the season tied things back up on the power play at 2:36 of the second, but Eberle put the Oilers back out in front with 24 seconds left in the middle frame. Also in the second period, Edmonton defensemen Jeff Petry left the game after taking an elbow to the face from Johan Franzen, for which Franzen was ejected.

Edmonton’s Devan Dubnyk made 33 saves on 34 shots to get the win while Detroit’s Jimmy Howard made 16 saves on 18 shots against.

The Red Wings rebounded on Friday with a 4-1 win over the Flames, in a game in which all goal-scorers played for Detroit last season. Jiri Hudler scored the game’s opening goal just 1:48 into the first period. Todd Bertuzzi tied things up with 5:26 left in the period and the Red Wings never looked back. Pavel Datsyuk put Detroit in front at 8:43 of the second and Valtteri Filppula extended his team scoring lead with 4:55 left in that period. Ian White added his first goal of the season with ten seconds remaining in regulation on the power play to finish off the win.

Howard made 21 saves on 22 shots while Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 21 of 25 chances. Todd Bertuzzi left the game with concussion-like symptoms after being boarded by Lee Stempniak late in the third.

With Bertuzzi injured, Cory Emmerton made his first appearance of the season the next night against the Wild, a 4-0 win for Detroit. Henrik Zetterberg opened the scoring with 5:31 left in the first period and Mikael Samuelsson made it 2-0 at 9:08 of the third. Samuelsson and Filppula added goals in the final minute to round out the scoring.

Minnesota free agent signings Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, who both spurned contract offers from Detroit over the summer, finished the night -2. Howard made 20 saves in his third shutout of the season. Niklas Backstrom of the Wild made 26 saves on 30 shots.

After five weeks, the Red Wings sit tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals atop the NHL standings. Filppula leads all NHL scorers with 23 points, two more than Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin. Howard is tied for the league lead in shutouts (three) and wins (10) and second in goals-against average (1.72).

Next week the Red Wings host the Dallas Stars and New Jersey Devils, then visit the Wild.

TGTW Week Four: Wings Almost Sweep Western Canadian Trip

The Games That Weren’t is one of many projects simulating the games lost by the NHL lockout. In the absence of actual games to write about, I’ll be checking in periodically on the fictional Red Wings’ season.

The Detroit Red Wings opened up their first four-game Western Canadian road trip with a win in Winnipeg last week and continued their streak into Vancouver and Calgary before dropping the final game of the swing in Edmonton.

Former Canuck Mikael Samuelsson was the hero in his return to Vancouver on Tuesday, scoring a hat trick that included the game-winning goal in the game’s final minute.  Vancouver’s Mason Raymond had opened the game’s scoring at 8:33 of the first before Samuelsson responded at 11:40.  Niklas Kronwall made it 2-1 for the Wings at 9:15 of the second.  Keith Ballard tied things back up 39 seconds into the third, then Samuelsson put the Wings ahead again at 4:47.  David Booth knotted it at three at 9:50.  Samuelsson potted the game-winner on a power play with 46 seconds left in regulation.

Jimmy Howard made 20 saves on 23 shots to get the win while Canucks’ starter Cory Schneider made 25 saves on 29 shots.

Samuelsson notched another game-winner on Thursday in Calgary, when his second-period goal put the Wings ahead in an eventual 4-2 win.  Roman Horak opened the game’s scoring for the Flames at 2:50 of the first period and Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk responded just 53 seconds later.  Henrik Zetterberg put the Wings out front 1:09 later before Mike Cammalleri tied it back up at 5:19.  Samuelsson scored at 4:04 of the second to put Detroit back out in front and Danny Cleary added an insurance marker on the power play at 3:27 of the third.

Again, Howard faced 23 shots, stopping 21.  Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff made 30 saves on 34 shots.

On Saturday in Edmonton, the Oilers got out to a strong start and the Red Wings couldn’t recover.  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins opened the game’s scoring at 7:00 of the first and Ryan Whitney added another goal at 10:07.  Ben Eager made it 3-0 in Edmonton’s favor just 53 seconds into the second period, with Samuelsson finally getting Detroit on the board with 1:25 left in the middle frame.  Zetterberg pulled the Wings to within a goal with 9:04 left in the third but they’d be unable to pull even.  Howard stopped 27 of 30 shots on the night and Edmonton’s Devan Dubnyk made 24 saves on 26 chances.

After four weeks, the Red Wings sit atop the Central Division and team-leading scorer Valtteri Filppula (seventeen points) is atop the league in assists with twelve.  Howard has a 1.92 goals against average and a .914 save percentage, having made every start (though he was pulled in favor of Jonas Gustavsson at the end of the first game of the season).

The fifth week of the schedule will see rematches with the Oilers and Flames and a visit from the Minnesota Wild.