Pregame: Devils @ Red Wings – 12/31

The Detroit Red Wings close out 2014 with their traditional New Year’s Eve game at Joe Louis Arena, this time hosting the New Jersey Devils.

Xavier Ouellet will return to the Detroit lineup as Jakub Kindl was injured in practice on Sunday and is now on injured reserve. Brian Lashoff, who had played in Kindl’s slot in Monday’s loss to the Boston Bruins, will be the healthy scratch on defense.

Daniel Cleary and Joakim Andersson will be healthy scratches up front.

Jimmy Howard gets the start in goal for Detroit.

Stupid stat of the day: The Red Wings’ tradition of hosting a New Year’s Eve game began in 1957 and has been interrupted only six times. There were no games in 1994, 2004, or 2012 due to NHL lockouts, 2008 and 2013 due to Detroit’s participation in a Winter Classic the next day, and 1996 due to a Ted Nugent concert at Joe Louis Arena. This is the first time the Red Wings have missed two years in a row in that time. They are 4-0 on New Year’s Eve after missing the previous year in that span.

Game time is 7:30 PM on FSD.

Nyquist’s Overtime Winner Lifts Red Wings Past Senators

Gustav’s Nyquist’s impressive individual effort in overtime carried the Detroit Red Wings past the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.

After an Ottawa turnover, Nyquist controlled the puck on his own for 28 seconds. From the left wing he circled along the blue line, down the right side, behind the goal, then looped again before cutting back from the right side to the left. Finally, with 48 seconds left in the overtime period, Nyquist snapped a shot through traffic and past Senators’ goalie Craig Anderson, ending the game at 3-2.

Mike Hoffman had opened the game’s scoring with 6:19 left in the first period, popping the rebound of a Mark Borowiecki shot past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

Justin Abdelkader evened things up with 14 seconds left in the period. Henrik Zetterberg‘s shot from the left side went wide of the net but the puck bounced off the back boards and came out the other side to Abdelkader, who put the puck off Anderson and in for a 1-1 tie.

With 6:44 left in the second, Clarke MacArthur made it 2-1 for Ottawa. Kyle Turris sent a centering pass from the left wing that Danny DeKeyser got to but the puck went off him and right to MacArthur for a shot past Howard from the slot.

Zetterberg knotted things up just three seconds into a power play at 3:58 of the third. Pavel Datsyuk won the faceoff back to Niklas Kronwall, who moved it on to Zetterberg for a blast from the top of the opposite circle past Anderson.

Zetterberg’s goal was the only power play tally of the night, with the Red Wings getting three chances on the man-advantage and the Senators getting five.

Howard finished the night with 31 saves on 33 shots. Anderson made 24 stops on 27 shots faced.

The Red Wings conclude their short road trip on Monday, visiting the Boston Bruins.


Tom McCollum was returned to the Grand Rapids Griffins before the game, making room for Jimmy Howard’s return from injured reserve… Both Stephen Weiss and Niklas Kronwall, who left Tuesday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres due to injury, were able to play… Daniel Cleary, Joakim Andersson, and Brian Lashoff were the healthy scratches.

Red Wings Rally to End Slump with 6-3 Win over Sabres

The Detroit Red Wings ended their losing streak at six games, rallying from down late in the second period for a 6-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.

The Sabres had a 3-1 lead until Danny DeKeyser scored the first of five consecutive goals for the Red Wings. DeKeyser whipped a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle past Buffalo netminder Michal Neuvirth with 2:06 left in the second period.

Henrik Zetterberg tied things up at 4:19 of the third. After protecting the puck along the left wing boards, Zetterberg gave it to Pavel Datsyuk and moved into the high slot. Datsyuk sent a pass back and Zetterberg blasted a shot through a screen by Justin Abdelkader.

With 8:20 remaining and the Red Wings on a power play, Tomas Tatar made it 4-3. Danny DeKeyser worked it to Gustav Nyquist, who drove to the net but then dropped it back to DeKeyser for a pass over to Tatar in the left circle. Tatar beat Neuvirth with a snapped shot from the faceoff dot.

Johan Franzen put Detroit up by a pair 2:26 later. Franzen’s initial shot from the top of the left circle was knocked down, with the rebound slipping past Datsyuk in the slot and back out to Franzen, who continued into the right circle for a snapper past Neuvirth for another power play goal.

Tatar rounded out the scoring on his second power play tally with 2:12 left. From low in the right circle, Nyquist sent a pass up to Brendan Smith near the blue line for a slap-pass down to Tatar, who lifted it past Neuvirth.

Buffalo’s Nicolas Deslauriers had opened the scoring at 2:36 of the first period. Drew Stafford threw the puck out front from the corner and it bounced off Deslauriers’ chest and past Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek for the early lead.

With 9:10 left in the opening period, Stephen Weiss deflected a Jakub Kindl shot from the blue line past Neuvirth for the Red Wings’ first power play goal of the night to tie things up.

Chris Stewart put the Sabres back in front 2:45 later, racing past Kindl to get open for a pass from Cody Hodgson on a rush and tapping it past Mrazek.

Andre Benoit made it 3-1 at 9:00 of the middle frame, beating Mrazek on a shorthanded two-on-none with Brian Flynn.

Mrazek finished the night with 13 saves on 16 shots against. Neuvirth stopped 33 of 39 shots.

Detroit went four-for-six on the power play but allowed one shorthanded goal. The Sabres did not score on their lone power play attempt.

The Red Wings are now off for Christmas. They’ll return on Saturday when they visit the Ottawa Senators.


Weiss returned to the Detroit lineup after missing four games due to injury. Goalie Jimmy Howard was placed on short-term IR to make room for Weiss in the lineup. With Weiss back, Daniel Cleary was a healthy scratch… Weiss’ return was short-lived as he left the game in the third period with an apparent head injury… Niklas Kronwall left the game with an “upper-body injury” in the second period… Joakim Andersson and Brian Lashoff were healthy scratches.

Pregame: Sabres @ Red Wings – 12/23

The Red Wings get one more shot to end their losing streak before Christmas tonight, as they host the Buffalo Sabres having lost six games in a row.

Detroit will get some help up front as Stephen Weiss returns from injury. He’ll replace Daniel Cleary in the lineup, leaving Cleary and Joakim Andersson as healthy scratches.

There will be no changes on the blue line, with Brian Lashoff once again the odd-man out.

Petr Mrazek gets the start in goal with Jimmy Howard still unable to go. Howard was placed on short-term IR to make room for Weiss’ return and Tom McCollum remains as Mrazek’s backup.

Stupid stat of the day: Detroit is 37-34-14 all-time in their last game before Christmas.

Game time is 7:30 PM on FSD.

Red Wings’ Slump Reaches Six with Shootout Loss to Avalanche

The Detroit Red Wings lost their sixth consecutive game on Sunday night, a 2-1 shootout decision to the Colorado Avalanche.

It was the fourth loss of the sixth to come in the tiebreaker.

Petr Mrazek took the loss for the Red Wings, making the start in goal in place of the injured Jimmy Howard. Mrazek stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced and six of nine shootout attempts.

Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene beat Mrazek to start the shootout, then Mrazek made six straight stops before Jarome Iginla scored what would be the game-winner.

Avalanche netminder Calvin Pickard stopped Pavel Datsyuk before Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar scored to force sudden death rounds. Pickard wouldn’t allow a goal the rest of the way, stopping Brendan Smith to secure the win in the ninth round.

Pickard made 34 saves on 35 shots in regulation and overtime.

After two scoreless periods, Pavel Datsyuk opened the game’s scoring at 4:52 of the third. With Detroit on a power play, Datsyuk took a feed from Riley Sheahan in the left faceoff circle and snapped a shot past Pickard.

With 4:15 left in the period, the Avalanche tied things up on a power play of their own. Erik Johnson‘s blast from the top of the right circle appeared to deflect off defenseman Jonathan Ericsson‘s stick on its way past Mrazek.

Detroit finished the night one-for-four on the power play while Colorado went one-for-two.

The Red Wings have one more game remaining before the Christmas break, Tuesday night against the Buffalo Sabres.


With Howard injured and Jonas Gustavsson still weeks from returning, Tom McCollum was called up to back up Mrazek… Jakub Kindl was back in the lineup as Xavier Ouellet was sent back to the Grand Rapids Griffins to make room for McCollum… Daniel Cleary replaced Joakim Andersson for his tenth appearance of the season, triggering a $1 million bonus in his contract.

Pregame: Avalanche @ Red Wings – 12/21

With their losing streak now at five games, the Red Wings host the Colorado Avalanche tonight in their penultimate game before the Christmas break.

The Red Wings will look a little different, as starting goalie Jimmy Howard is out with a groin injury. Tom McCollum has been called up to back-up Petr Mrazek. To make room in the lineup for McCollum, Xavier Ouellet was sent back to the Grand Rapids Griffins, so Jakub Kindl will slot back in on the Detroit blueline.

Unrelated to any injuries, Daniel Cleary will replace Joakim Andersson at forward. It will be Cleary’s tenth game of the season, triggering a $1 million bonus in his contract.

Stupid stat of the day: The Red Wings are 1-2-2 against Brad Stuart‘s teams since he left Detroit in 2012.

Game time is 6:00 PM on FSD.

Red Wings Logjam Won’t Get Better On Its Own

Xavier Ouellet is back in Grand Rapids and Mattias Backman has returned to Sweden. For the time being, the Red Wings’ logjam on the blue line is resolved. Seven defensemen in Detroit, seven with the Griffins (Scott Czarnowscan was called up from Toledo when Ouellet was brought to Detroit).

That the Red Wings aren’t icing the best lineup they can right now is irrelevant. That one of their prospects is now disgruntled is as well. There is now a spot for everyone, that’s all that matters, fixing it is a problem for the future.

So let’s look at that future.

We’ll assume that the Red Wings don’t trade anyone (because they haven’t yet) and sign all of their restricted free agents. We’ll also assume that the Griffins bring back Nathan Paetsch and Brennan Evans because they’re a couple of blue line leaders in GR. None of the unrestricted free agents return.

That means that Niklas Kronwall is back. And Jonathan Ericsson. And Kyle Quincey. And Danny DeKeyser, and Brendan Smith, and Jakub Kindl, and Brian Lashoff. Ouellet and Ryan Sproul and Alexey Marchenko and Nick Jensen. Evans and Paetsch and Backman. Richard Nedomlel, currently in Toledo.

Joe Hicketts, who just made the Canadian World Junior team? He’s probably turning pro. Marc McNulty? Mitch Wheaton? Ben Marshall? James DeHaas? Not under contract yet but very well could be by next year.

The Red Wings have zero unrestricted free agents on defense next summer. Their two RFAs are Smith and Jensen, both of whom will return. In short, there are exactly as many roster spots available throughout the organization next year as there are right now. And in all likelihood there will be even more players fighting for them.

Without the Red Wings making a trade – dumping one or more players – their current roster crunch isn’t getting any better until at least the summer of 2016. That’s one more full season before there’s even a roster spot in Detroit available, which means another full season before there’s even a spot in Grand Rapids available, which means the Wings are dumping their prospects straight to the Walleye.

Or back to Sweden, in the case of Backman, ’cause why should he stick around for that?


I’ve been among the crowd clamoring for the exit of Jakub Kindl (and, to a lesser extent, Brian Lashoff) as a means to clear up the logjam. At varying points the Red Wings have said they’re trying to move Kindl but just how hard they’re trying is up for debate, as the Carolina Hurricanes just managed to get a sixth round pick back for Jay Harrison while Kindl remains in Detroit.

I see three possibilities: The Red Wings see value in Kindl and want a return that reflects that. Teams are interested in Kindl but not given his current contract. No one is interested in Kindl.

All three of these reflect poorly on Detroit.

If the Wings want more for Kindl than anyone is willing to give, then they’re overvaluing him and are no better than the Buffalo Sabres asking for Anthony Mantha for Tyler Myers. This is an addition by subtraction move, stop worrying about the return.

If the contract is the issue, it means the Red Wings gave him a contract that no one else would have.

If no one is interested, then Detroit continues to employ a player that no other team wants.

Red Wings’ Skid Continues with 2-1 Loss to Islanders

The Red Wings’ losing streak reached five games on Friday night, as Detroit dropped a 2-1 decision to the New York Islanders.

Detroit also lost starting goalie Jimmy Howard, who left the game after the first period for “precautionary” reasons after suffering a lower-body injury. Petr Mrazek replaced him in net for the final forty minutes of play.

Henrik Zetterberg scored his first goal since November 26 to open the scoring. Darren Helm outworked Thomas Hickey along the boards and sent a pass to Zetterberg at the inside edge of the right faceoff circle for a snap past Jaroslav Halak at 8:49 of the first period.

With 3:57 left in the first, Brock Nelson swatted the rebound of a Lubomir Visnovsky chance past Howard to tie things up.

The game-winner came at 10:41 of the second period, when Mrazek stopped Nelson all alone in front but Anders Lee jumped in to knock the loose puck into the net.

Halak finished the night with 17 saves on 18 shots. Mrazek stopped 22 of 23 while Howard made eight saves on nine chances.

Neither team scored a power play goal, with Detroit having two chances and New York three.

The Red Wings next host the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday.


Johan Franzen returned to the lineup after missing one game due to illness… Daniel Cleary, Jakub Kindl, and Brian Lashoff were healthy scratches… After the game, the Red Wings called up goalie Thomas McCollum and demoted defenseman Xavier Ouellet.