And From There, Pandemonium

It’s hard to believe that it’s been fifteen years since the infamous “Brawl in Hockeytown” that inspired the Red Wings to make their 1997 Stanley Cup run and really kick-started what was briefly the NHL’s fiercest rivalry.

It’s kind of funny that the game is so celebrated, as removed from the emotion of it all, it really was a dirty affair. Darren McCarty jumping Claude Lemieux, Brendan Shanahan and Mike Vernon teaming up on Patrick Roy and Adam Foote. In today’s NHL, I have to think we would have seen suspensions galore.

But at the time, it was a kind of catharsis. Until then, the league knew that the Wings were a soft team that wouldn’t stand up for themselves. The league’s two-game suspension to Claude Lemieux for breaking Kris Draper‘s face in the 1996 playoffs was light and there was almost an unspoken mandate that if the Red Wings didn’t like it, they’d have to do something about it themselves.

That they did, with McCarty playing the hero with his fists and his stick.

Fifteen years removed, I won’t say it was good hockey but it was what the Red Wings needed and it’s still fun to go back and re-watch.

Red Wings to Face Avalance in Second Round

With San Jose’s defeat of Calgary in Game Seven of their first round series, the Red Wings’ second round opponent will be the Colorado Avalanche. The series schedule has been added to DH.N’s schedule page.

Detroit and Colorado have faced each other five times in the playoffs, with the Avs owning a 3-2 lead, having won both matchups that did not occur in the Western Conference Finals.

The last time the two teams met in the postseason was 2002, when the Red Wings rallied from a 3-2 deficit in the series to win in seven games, with Dominik Hasek blanking Colorado in Game Six and Game Seven.

The Red Wings ran the table against the Avalanche this season, winning all four games. All of those games were played before Colorado reacquired Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote.

Sloppy Red Wings Fall to Blue Jackets

Bad passing and off-target shooting in the first two periods Friday night helped lead the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

By the time they found their game in the third period, the Red Wings were already down 2-0 and were unable to recover.

Johan Franzen cut Columbus’ lead to a goal at 4:53 of the third with the teams playing four aside. Niklas Kronwall fired a long shot on net that was stopped by Blue Jackets netminder Fredrik Norrena but Franzen was on the doorstep to swat in the rebound.

Adam Foote put the Blue Jackets back up by a pair on a power play goal with 2:05 remaining in regulation.

Dan Fritsche had opened the game’s scoring with 3:20 remaining in the first period, banking in a shot from the left circle while Jason Chimera crashed the side of the net.

Alexander Svitov put Columbus up by two with a power play goal at 7:43 of the second, deflecting a shot from the top of the right circle by Foote past goalie Dominik Hasek.

The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Red Wings. They’ll look to rebound Saturday night when they visit the Colorado Avalanche, the team they beat to start the now-ended streak.

Cleary’s Hat Trick Carries Red Wings over Blue Jackets

Dan Cleary‘s first career hat trick helped lead the Detroit Red Wings to a 7-4 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night in a see-saw matchup between the Central Division foes.

The third meeting in the last eleven days between the two teams saw the Red Wings score the first three goals before Columbus countered with four of their own. Detroit then answered with four more to retake the lead as the game closed.

Cleary’s third of the game was the game-winner for Detroit, came with the Red Wings on the power play and 5:19 remaining in the game. Robert Lang, who assisted on all of Cleary’s goals, rifled a shot from the left circle that was deflectd by a Columbus defender before being knocked out of the air and past goalie Fredrik Norrena by Cleary.

Detroit had tied the game 3:17 earlier on a strong individual effort by Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk held the puck in the Columbus zone at the right point on an attempted clear by the Blue Jackets, then carried along the blue line and down through the left circle – weaving around defenders the whole way – before lifting a shot into the top of the net.

In the final two minutes of play, Datsuk added a second goal and Danny Markov scored into the empty net to close out the scoring.

Cleary had opened the game’s scoring 4:21 into the opening period, setting what was then a new career high with his 15th goal of the season. He would add to that total with 4:00 remaining in the first to give the Red Wings a 2-0 lead.

Henrik Zetterberg stretched Detroit’s lead to three goals at 8:45 of the second before the Blue Jackets took over.

Ron Hainsey scored a near-side goal from the left circle to get Columbus on the board with 7:28 left in the middle period and David Vyborny added another 1:28 later, stealing the puck from Nicklas Lidstrom before moving in alone on goalie Chris Osgood and outwaiting him.

A pair of early third-period power plays put the Blue Jackets out in front, with Dan Fritsche picking off a clearing attempt by Niklas Kronwall and firing it past Osgood at 3:15 and Adam Foote scoring on a blast from the blue line 2:02 later.

Osgood finished the night with stops 21 on 25 shots against, while Norrena made 29 saves on 35 shots.

Detroit had three chances on the power play, scoring only once. Columbus had four tries and picked up two goals.

The Red Wings’ next game is Sunday night when they host the Los Angeles Kings in Detroit’s annual New Year’s Eve game.

Draper Picked for Team Canada

Detroit Red Wings forward Kris Draper was announced as a member of Canada’s entry in the coming Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament on Wednesday night. It marks the first time that Draper will represent his country in the Olympics.

“Being selected has to be the highlight of my career,” Draper said after the announcement was made. “Being picked for the World Cup was an absolute thrill, but to play in the Olympics is something that is just huge. It’s the biggest sporting event in the world, and to be able to represent Canada, I’m just very honored.”

Draper joins teammates Mathieu Schneider and Chris Chelios as Olympians. The two defensemen were named to Team USA on Monday.

Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman had earlier removed himself from the running for a spot on the Canadian team, stating that he did not want to keep a younger player who deserved to make the team off the roster.

Kirk Maltby and Brendan Shanahan were also considered for the team but were not selected. Shanahan and Yzerman played for Canada in the 2002 Olympics, becoming the second and third players ever to win an Olympic gold medal and the Stanley Cup in the same year.

Joe Sakic was named the team’s captain. Canada’s roster is as follows:

Goaltenders (3)
Martin Brodeur
Roberto Luongo
Marty Turco

Defensemen (7)
Rob Blake
Adam Foote
Ed Jovanovski
Scott Niedermayer
Chris Pronger
Wade Redden
Robyn Regehr

Forwards (13)
Todd Bertuzzi
Shane Doan
Kris Draper
Simon Gagne
Dany Heatley
Jarome Iginla
Vincent Lecavalier
Rick Nash
Brad Richards
Joe Sakic
Ryan Smyth
Martin St. Louis
Joe Thornton

Long Division: NHL Schedule Ignores History to Focus on Geography

While the Detroit Red Wings may be happy with the new division-friendly schedule in terms of team travel, the fans don’t seem to be.

As per the new NHL schedule, teams will now face divisional opponents a whopping eight times each, or 32 of their 82 total games. Seventy-two games are against teams in their own conference, and games against the other conference (one game each against two divisions, alternating yearly) will round out the final ten. Wouldn’t you know it – the Central Division, featuring two Original Six teams, will not face the Northeast Division, featuring two more. Detroit will not play the Montreal Canadiens or Toronto Maple Leafs this season. Well, after September. The Wings do meet the Leafs for a home and home series to close out the exhibition schedule. Does that really even count?

Not seeing the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres can be forgiven. Sure, the Bruins are part of the Original Six too, but there doesn’t seem to be the sense of a classic battle with them. As exciting as the Ottawa Senators can be, that’s fine too. We won’t get to see Dominik Hasek in what could be his final season, but we all know how his retirements go. Oh, we’ll sit through three straight games against the Chicago Blackhawks from October 27 to November 1. They have Nikolai Khabibulin and Martin Lapointe and Adrian Aucoin now! Those games might be fun. We’ll even accept the two games in a row visiting the Columbus Blue Jackets right before that. The rivalry might build there with Adam Foote donning the green bee. But the fans want to see Toronto and Montreal. To try and rebuild the game around the fans and to take a part of history away from them can’t be the right thing for the NHL to do. Sure, when April comes and the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins are points away from each other, one team could get an edge playing them late in the season. Only problem is — they don’t. Those two teams square off once in March and once in April. They meet eight times, but not when it counts. The Edmonton Oilers play the Calgary Flames eight times (twelve if you count preseason), and yet just twice after January 23.

The NHL can’t predict who will be fighting for a division title in April. They did make the final week of the season all divisional games, didn’t they? Considering the Red Wings play the Dallas Stars one night before they close the season in Nashville, it doesn’t appear they did. Let’s be realistic here, no matter what moves these teams made during the off-season, does it make much sense for the Wings to play every team in the Central except St. Louis in April? Since the divisional re-alignment of the league created the Central Division, only one season did one of those two teams not win the Central, and the Dallas Stars that did aren’t there anymore.

So, what does this new schedule do? Games against your own division really only matter if winning them counts for something other than two points nobody needs. If those games are going to be scattered throughout the season and not near the end when winning games is more crucial, why not cut them by two or four apiece, and let the fans see the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens in December?nbsp; In either 2006-2007 or 2007-2008, the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks won’t play games against the Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs or Montreal Canadiens. The All-Canadian triple-header that has been so successful in the past few seasons won’t exist. And it’s a good bet that that will be harder to swallow than St. Louis not getting to play Carolina this season.

The NHL brought in shootouts and eliminated tie games to please the fans. Their marketing plan will allow fans to see things they couldn’t see before. Yes, they did have to throw together a 2,460-game schedule rather quickly, although this format seems rather thought out, but for the wrong reason. The fans want to see all rivalries, not just divisional.

Would we be that upset if the Wings play Columbus only six times?

After Slow Start, NHL Free Agent Frenzy Picks Up

When the National Hockey League’s free agent signing period opened at noon on Monday, many fans were surprised to see a league that was relatively quiet as GMs and players alike took a wait-and-see approach.

Early on Monday, only two notable signings – Gary Roberts and Joe Nieuwendyk agreeing to terms with the Florida Panthers – were on record. The Boston Bruins’ trade for Edmonton Oiler Brad Isbister rounded out the major moves.

Things picked up Monday night, as the Columbus Blue Jackets made their first-ever major free agent signing, picking up defenseman Adam Foote from the Colorado Avalanche.

The signings and trades continued into Tuesday as the Philadelphia Flyers made the first big splash in the free agent pool, signing defensemen Derian Hatcher (Detroit Red Wings), Mike Rathje (San Jose Sharks), and Chris Therien (Dallas Stars) and resigning forward Jon Sim.

The Chicago Blackhawks picked up one of the top remaining free agent defensemen, signing Adrian Aucoin of the New York Islanders.

Shortly thereafter, the Atlanta Thrashers signed forward Bobby Holik from the New York Rangers.

In one of the more inevitable signings of the offseason, the Red Wings re-upped longtime captain Steve Yzerman, who will return to the team for at least one more season.

The Bruins continued on Monday’s moves by resigning winger Glen Murray and bringing in forwards Shawn McEachern (Atlanta) and Dave Scatchard (NY Islanders), while the Panthers continued their signings by bringing in Martin Gelinas (Calgary Flames).

Calgary moved to replace Gelinas with grinding forward Darren McCarty (Detroit) and add to an offense already boasting Jarome Iginla by signing Tony Amonte (Philadelphia).

The Los Angeles Kings broke into the free agent market by signing All-Star winger Pavol Demitra from the St. Louis Blues and AHL goaltender Jason Labarbera from the Rangers organization.

The Rangers then shored up their goaltending by resiging Kevin Weekes. They added to both offense and defense by bringing in forward Martin Straka (Los Angeles) and defenseman Marek Malik (Vancouver). Meanwhile, the cross-island rival Islanders filled the gap left by the departure of Aucoin by signing Buffalo’s Alexei Zhitnik.

The first player to depart the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning was Cory Stillman, who signed with the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday evening.

The biggest move of the day was saved for late Tuesday night, as the Blues, already burdened by the contracts of Doug Weight and Keith Tkachuk, traded former captain and Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Chris Pronger to the Edmonton Oilers for defencemen Eric Brewer, Doug Lynch, and Jeff Woywitka.

Three Red Wings Named to Canadian World Cup Team

Hockey Canada announced Saturday Team Canada’s roster for the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. Included among their selections are three members of the Detroit Red Wings: Centers Steve Yzerman and Kris Draper and left wing Kirk Maltby.

The roster was determined by Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson, Team Canada’s World Cup management team of Wayne Gretzky, Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini, and coaches Pat Quinn, Ken Hitchcock, Jacques Martin and Wayne Fleming.

Yzerman represented Team Canada at the 1996 World Cup, the only other time the tournament has been held. He also played for his country in 1998 and 2002 at the Olympic Winter Games, helping Canada to a gold medal in 2002. Yzerman played on the Canadian squad at the 1984 Canada Cup – the predecessor of the World Cup tournament – as well as at the World and European Championships in 1985, 1989 and 1990, and at the World Junior Championships in 1983.

Draper played alongside Maltby for Team Canada at the 2003 World Championships as the Canadians claimed the gold. He also played for the Canadian National Team in 1988-89 and 1989-90 and for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships in 1990 and 1991.

Maltby’s only previous international experience was in the 2003 World Championships.

The 2004 World Cup of Hockey will take place from August 30 to September 14, 2004. Team Canada will play in the North American Division alongside the United States, Czech Republic and Russia. North American Division games will be played at the Bell Centre in Montreal, the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, and the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Team Canada’s full roster is as follows:

Goaltenders– Ed Belfour (Toronto Maple Leafs), Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils), and Roberto Luongo (Florida Panthers)

DefensemenRob Blake (Colorado Avalanche), Eric Brewer (Edmonton Oilers), Adam Foote (Avalanche), Ed Jovanovski (Vancouver Canucks), Scott Niedermayer (Devils), Chris Pronger (St. Louis Blues), Wade Redden (Ottawa Senators), and Robyn Regehr (Calgary Flames)

ForwardsShane Doan (Phoenix Coyotes), Draper, Simon Gagne (Philadelphia Flyers), Dany Heatley (Atlanta Thrashers), Jarome Iginla (Flames), Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh Penguins), Maltby, Patrick Marleau (San Jose Sharks), Brendan Morrow (Dallas Stars), Brad Richards (Tampa Bay Lightning), Joe Sakic (Avalanche), Ryan Smyth (Oilers), Martin St. Louis (Lightning), Joe Thornton (Boston Bruins), and Yzerman

Lookin’ Good: Wings Shutout Avs

Just as on Thursday night, Manny Legace gave the Colorado Avalanche’s shooters fits of frustration. This time, Legace finally got his shutout, as strong play on both offense and defense lifted Detroit to a 2-0 win over Colorado.

Colorado got the game off to a quick start, peppering Legace with shots in the early stages, but the Red Wings patiently took control of the play and did their own testing of goalie Tommy Salo.

The Avalanche had their big chance of the game midway through the second, when Derian Hatcher received double penalties for roughing and high-sticking. Detroit’s penalty kill did such a good job of breaking up passes and blocking shots that Legace only had to make three saves during the whole four minute power play. The best of the three was a pad save on a fluttering backhand shot by Rob Blake.

Between the excellent goaltending and defensive play on both sides, no one was able to light up the scoreboard until Mathieu Schneider scored a power play goal with just ten seconds left in the second period. Pavel Datsyuk won a draw against Joe Sakic deep in Colorado’s zone. The puck fell back to Schneider, who knocked it left to Nicklas Lidstrom.
Lidstrom passed to Brett Hull, then got it back and sent it across to Schneider at the right point. Schneider took a high shot which hit the underside of the crossbar and angled down into the net.

Datsyuk cemented Detroit’s lead 4:06 into the third period, during four-on-four play with coincidental penalties to Brendan Shanahan and Adam Foote. Chris Chelios passed to Datsyuk as the young Russian crossed Colorado’s blue line. Datsyuk centered the puck for Hull, but Hull’s shot was blocked by Bob Boughner. Datsyuk was able to get to the loose puck, skate around Boughner and Salo, then put the puck high over Salo’s blocker.

Colorado pulled Salo from net with 1:36 left to play, but the six skaters were simply unable to put the puck past Legace, who had to make one last good kick save in the final second to preserve his shutout.

Shots were even, with 27 per team. The Red Wings’ next opponent will be the Minnesota Wild, Monday night at the Joe.

The Red Wings have a 26-5-6-1 record in games in which Datsyuk has at least a point”¦. Curtis Joseph had an MRI on his injured ankle, which revealed that a piece of cartilage has pulled away from the bone. He is receiving cortisone injections, in the hope that the swelling will go down enough to allow him to play before the regular season ends on April 4″¦. The team also hopes to bring Kris Draper, Mathieu Dandenault, and Robert Lang back into the lineup before the playoffs begin.

Special Teams Lead Wings to OT Win over Avs

The penalty killers for the Detroit Red Wings successfully defended all five chances the Colorado Avalanche had against them and Detroit’s power play units scored twice to help the Red Wings to a 3-2 overtime victory over the Avalanche.

Colorado opened the scoring early, beating Detroit netminder Curtis Joseph twice in the first two minutes of the game.

The game’s first goal came on a bad clearing attempt by Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom. Teemu Selanne blocked the outlet pass and picked up the puck. He fired a weak backhander that slipped by the screed Joseph just 1:34 into the game, putting the Avs on the scoreboard.

Alex Tanguay put Colorado up by two just 18 seconds later. Tanguay got the puck from Milan Hejduk after the faceoof following Selanne’s goal. He sped up the left side of the ice and outraced a Detroit defender. He then outwaited the sprawling Joseph and put the puck in the net.

At the 1:52 mark of the first period, the Avalanche led by two. They would not score again in the remaining 59:05 of the game.

Ray Whitney got the Red Wings back in the game with a power play goal 6:40 into the first. With Avalanche tough guy Peter Worrell in the penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct, Whitney took a cross-ice pass from Pavel Datsyuk and fired a blast from the high slot area. The goal was the 200th of his career came 28 seconds into Worrell’s penalty.

Darren McCarty and Mathieu Dandenault, two unlikely heros, combined to tie the game with 8:01 remaining in the second period. McCarty carried the puck into the right corner of the Avalanche zone and backhanded a pass out to Dandenault as he cut through the slot. Dandenault bounced a backhand shot through Colorado goaltender David Aebischer and the game was tied.

The third period was scoreless dispite an early Avalanche power play when the Red Wings were called for an argueable too many men on the ice penalty.

With 1.6 seconds remaining in regulation, the Avs took a penalty of their own as Steve Konowalchuk high-sticked Kris Draper. Blood was drawn, so the penalty was an automatic double-minor. On the ensuing faceoff, Adam Foote lifted his stick into Detroit captain Steve Yzerman‘s face and took another double minor penalty. Heading into overtime, the Red Wings had a two-man advantage.

Skating five-on-three in the extra period, Detroit had an early chance bounce off the post but Brett Hull capitalized on the chance with the man-advantage 57 seconds into overtime. Hull one-timed a pass from Lidstrom past Aebischer to give the Wings the win.

Joseph stopped 29 of the 31 shots he faced in net for Detroit. Aebischer made 28 saves on 31 shots for Colorado.

The Red Wings are back in action on Wednesday night against the San Jose Sharks. In the meantime, Lidstrom and Datsyuk will be in St. Paul, Minnesota for the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday.

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