White Out Two to Three Weeks

Per the Detroit News’ Ted Kulfan, the Red Wings will be without defenseman Ian White for two to three weeks after he suffered a deep cut on his leg from the skate of Jimmy Howard in last night’s 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars.

It’s a tough hit for an already decimated Detroit blue line to take. The team had to sign free agent Kent Huskins just to be able to ice a full lineup last night. If one of Jonathan Ericsson or Jakub Kindl can’t return from their injuries by Friday’s matchup with the Minnesota Wild, they’ll have to make another roster move to complete the lineup.

Of the defensemen in the Wings’s system, only Adam Almquist, Gleason Fournier and Max Nicastro are under contract. Any of those three could be called up but, generally, none of them are deemed NHL-ready.

The other option would be another Huskins-like signing. One reason that drove the Huskins signing was that he could physically make it to Detroit in time for last night’s game, as signing a player who wouldn’t be able to suit up wouldn’t help. With more time to work with, the Wings might be able to find another free agent to bring in for Friday.

And there’s this…

Update, 10:45 AM… Ansar Khan says no roster move will be made, as Jakub Kindl will return for Friday’s game.

Red Wings Veteran Holmstrom Announces Retirement

Longtime Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom announced his retirement on Tuesday, just hours before the team’s home opener.

The move was expected but delayed due to the NHL’s lockout wiping out what would have been the first half of the 2012-13 season. With training camp compressed into a single week after the end of the lockout, there was no time for a formal announcement.

Holmstrom retires having played 1026 career NHL games across 15 seasons, all with the Red Wings. He scored 243 goals and added 287 assists, with 122 of those goals coming on the power play.

“Fierce, fierce competitor. Fearless.” Red Wings’ general manager Ken Holland said in describing him.

He became a net-front specialist in the mold of Dino Ciccarelli early in his career, taking abuse from goaltenders and defensemen alike, which eventually took its toll. He played only 59 games during the 2007-08 season and dropped to 53 the next year. He reached 68, 73 and 74 in his final three seasons, at which point he was reduced mostly to the fourth line minutes and the power play.

Holmstrom was originally drafted by the Red Wings in the tenth round of the 1994 NHL entry draft, 257th overall.

Brunner Scores Shootout Winner for Red Wings in Columbus

Playing in only his second career NHL game, Damien Brunner was the hero for the Detroit Red Wings on Monday night, scoring in the fourth round of the shootout to lift Detroit past the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Brunner faked out Columbus netminder Sergei Bobrovsky, dragging the puck to his left to jam it between the post and Bobrovsky’s outstretched pad for the only goal of the shootout.

Pavel Datsyuk, Valtteri Filppula and Henrik Zetterberg failed to score for Detroit earlier in the shootout. Cam Atkinson, Artem Anisimov, Ryan Johansen and Matt Calvert were held off by Detroit’s Jimmy Howard, though Atkinson appeared to score before video review showed that he took two shots by knocking in a rebound chance.

After a scoreless first period, Red Wings’ defenseman Brian Lashoff, making his first NHL appearance in place of the injured Jonathan Ericsson, opened the game’s scoring at 1:10 of the second. After Mikael Samuelsson‘s one-timer from the top of the left faceoff circle was blocked, Samuelsson got the rebound and sent it to Lashoff at the blue line for a blast that found its way through a Johan Franzen screen and past Bobrovsky.

Detroit’s defense contributed again to make it 2-0 with 5:54 left in the period. Franzen lugged the puck through the left circle and drew a group of defenders to him before sending it across to Ian White in the right circle for a shot over Bobrovsky and under the bar, into the top of the net.

The Blue Jackets began their rally 1:14 later. Atkinson split Kyle Quincey and Brendan Smith after taking a pass from Johansen, breaking in alone to beat Howard.

At 3:24 of the third period, James Wisniewski fired a blast from the blue line with the Blue Jackets on a power play to tie things up.

Vinny Prospal put Columbus out in front with another power play goal at 8:43 of the third. Nikita Nikitin’s shot from up high bounced off the glass behind the net and came back out front. With Howard spun around, Prospal put home the rebound from the slot to make it 3-2.

Datsyuk made it 3-3 with 6:04 left in regulation, just as a Detroit power play expired. Niklas Kronwall got the puck all alone in the slot and raced down the middle. His delay drew everyone to him, leaving Datsyuk wide open at the side of the net to take a pass and knock the puck home.

Because that goal came just seconds late, the Red Wings finished the night scoreless on seven power play tries. Columbus had two goals on seven attempts with the extra attacker.

Howard made 30 saves on 33 Columbus shots on the night to earn his first win of the season. Bobrovsky stopped 39 of the Red Wings’ 42 chances.

The Red Wings are right back in it on Tuesday when the host the Dallas Stars in their home opener.

In addition to Ericsson, Detroit was without forwards Todd Bertuzzi, Darren Helm and Jan Mursak, backup netminder Jonas Gustavsson, and defenseman Jakub Kindl. They also lost defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo to injury in the third period… Forward Patrick Eaves made his first appearance in 14 months, returning from post-concussion syndrome to take Mursak’s spot in the lineup… New Red Wing Jordin Tootoo fought Jared Boll off the opening faceoff.

Red Wings Sign Defenseman Huskins

With their blue line reeling from injury on top of injury, the Detroit Red Wings added veteran depth in the form of Kent Huskins on Tuesday.

Huskins, originally drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1998, has six seasons of NHL experience with the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, and St. Louis Blues. In 299 career NHL games, he has 13 goals, 54 assists and is a plus-49 with 169 penalty minutes.

He will be in the Red Wings’ lineup for their home opener against the Dallas Stars tonight, filling the spot of Carlo Colaiacovo, who was injured in Detroit’s shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets last night.

His deal is reportedly for one season and is a one-way contract.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Blue Jackets – 1/21

Well I’ll be damned if that wasn’t an exciting finish. Let’s take a step back, though.

With the Red Wings up by two and dominating in the second period, that game never should have made it to the shootout. The Wings got sloppy (again) and Columbus made them pay.

The Jackets’ first goal never should have happened. Once again, the Kyle QuinceyBrendan Smith pairing got split and let someone in behind them, and Jimmy Howard got burned on the breakaway. If we can count on that happening once a game, it won’t be a good season.

And, of course, the injuries keep piling up. Carlo Colaiacovo is expected to miss weeks after being hit hard into the boards in the third period. If Jonathan Ericsson can’t go tomorrow, the Wings only have three signed defensemen in their system. Adam Almquist, Max Nicastro and Gleason Fournier. Almquist has at least spent the whole season in GR, as opposed to Nicastro and Fournier who have spent time in Toledo, but Almquist looks terrified of contact at the AHL level. Not ready for the NHL.

On the plus side, Brian Lashoff steps into a hole on the blue line to make his NHL debut and scores. He may have been the second or third best defenseman on the ice for the Wings tonight. Hell of a job by him.

Also great to see Johan Franzen looking like he cares. Great individual effort carrying the puck on the play to set up Ian White for the second goal, playing like the big man he is. And I mentioned it at the time but I love his defensive effort late in the OT, lying down to block a clearing attempt.

I also said this at the time, but I thought for certain I’d be bitching about Niklas Kronwall not shooting when he had the chance on the play that led to the tying goal. Great patience to see and get the puck to Datsyuk.

And, of course, Damien Brunner. Highlight-reel shootout game-winner in his second NHL game. Video will be going on the site shortly.

So not a perfect game by any means but the effort and the outcome were needed after the debacle in St. Louis on Saturday.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Blues – 1/19

Much has been said already about how one game does not a season make and how the Red Wings have had bad games before. Both are entirely true. I’m not going to say that the season is over after sixty awful minutes of play.

That said, they were sixty very awful minutes of play. How the Wings rebound on Monday will be very telling, as we’ll see if tonight was part of a trend or a one-off occurrence.

I will say that the performance of the defense is why I wanted Detroit to sign Wade Redden. They don’t have a lot of options right now in case the lack of defense is indeed a trend.

Of course, you’re not going to win a ton of games with only 14 shots, so it’s not just the defense that needs work.

If we want to look at some historical perspective, there are a couple things about previous first games with a new captain, as tonight’s outing was for Henrik Zetterberg.

The Red Wings lost the first games with both Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom wearing the C. Like Zetterberg, in Yzerman’s first game Detroit allowed six goals. Things worked out pretty well eventually in both cases.

Red Wings Shelled in Season Opener, Drop 6-0 Decision to Blues

The Detroit Red Wings’s porous defense couldn’t stop the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night and their offense never got going, with the Blues taking a 6-0 win in the opening game of the 2013 season.

Special teams led the way for the Blues, with four of their goals coming with the man-advantage and a fifth coming while shorthanded.

The Red Wings, meanwhile, took only 14 shots on the night. None particularly challenging to Blues’ netminder Jaroslav Halak, save for one third-period goalmouth scramble.

Rookie Vladimir Tarasenko opened the scoring for the Blues at 6:36 of the first. Detroit defenseman Kyle Quincey couldn’t cut off a long pass from Ian Cole to Tarasenko at the Detroit blue line, leaving Tarasenko on a breakaway where he beat goalie Jimmy Howard high on the stick side.

Chris Stewart’s power play goal with 6:14 left in the period made it 2-0. After Stewart’s wraparound attempt, Howard lost track of the puck and sprawled out on his stomach facing the goal. By the time he realized he hadn’t covered it, Stewart had the puck in the slot and snapped a shot into the net.

Tarasenko’s second of the game put the Blues up by three just 29 seconds into the second period. Skating up the left wing, Tarasenko blew past Quincey to break in on Howard, beating him stick-side again.

T.J. Oshie scored a shorthanded goal with 4:51 left in the period to make it 4-0. Oshie slipped past the Detroit defense at the St. Louis blue line and Alex Pietrangelo hit him with a long pass to spring him in alone on Howard for a breakaway goal.

Stewart’s second of the night at 1:15 of the third was the end of the night for Howard. Stewart beat Howard on another power play breakaway opportunity to make it 5-0 and bring Jonas Gustavsson into the game in the Red Wings’ crease.

Patrik Berlund rounded out the scoring with 5:25 left in regulation, a power play deflection past Gustavsson.

The Blues finished the night with four power play goals on five attempts with the extra attacker. Detroit had four power play tries.

Howard stopped 23 of the 28 shots he faced in 41:15 of play. Gustavsson made seven saves on eight shots in 18:45.

The Red Wings are back at it on Monday when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Detroit forward Jan Mursak left the game with a shoulder injury after the first period. He is expected to undergo testing on Sunday.

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