Wings Defeat Kings as Yzerman, Woolley Return

Steve Yzerman and Jason Woolley each played their first game of the season Thursday night as the visiting Detroit Red Wings picked up a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Both players were held without a point on the night.

Johan Franzen‘s first career NHL goal ended up being the game-winner for the Red Wings. With 4:52 remaining in regulation and just 53 seconds after the Kings had tied the game, Franzen took a pass from Mikael Samuelsson that was tipped by Dan Cleary and wristed a shot past the left side of Los Angeles goalie Mathieu Garon, making the score 3-2.

The goal deflated the Kings, who had been buzzing after Jeremy Roenick tied the game at two with 5:45 remaining. Dustin Brown drove the net with the puck and was stopped by Red Wings goaltender Manny Legace. The puck bounced out to Roenick at the top of the crease and deflected off his skate and into the net.

The Red Wings had opened the scoring late in the first period. With 2:15 remaining, Jason Williams broken into the LA zone with Brendan Shanahan and Robert Lang. Williams fired a pass past Lang to Shanahan on the far side of the ice. Shanahan deflected the puck into the top of the net for his first even strength goal of the season.

The Kings tied the game 3:04 into the second, when Tim Gleason sent a long pass to Derek Armstrong at the Detroit blueline. Armstrong gained the zone and passed cross-ice to former Red Wing Sean Avery, who stepped into the slot alone and rifled a shot past Legace.

The Red Wings regained the lead momentarily in the third on a shorthanded goal by Kirk Maltby 5:29 in. Kris Draper chased Joe Corvo from behind the Kings’ net and forced him to make a bad outlet pass at his own blueline. Maltby jumped up from center ice and picked it off, skating in alone on Garon and beating him for his first of the season.

After the Red Wings killed off a late penalty, Henrik Zetterberg added an empty net goal to increase the Detroit lead. Avery started some pushing and shoving that ended with a Los Angeles power play, so the Kings pulled Garon again but Jiri Fischer closed the game’s scoring with a second empty net goal for Detroit.

Legace finished the game with 26 saves on 28 shots, while Garon stopped 16 of the 19 shots he faced. Neither team scored on the power play, Detroit having three chances and Los Angeles having seven.

The Red Wings are back in action on Saturday night from Phoenix, where they will meet former Wings Brett Hull and Boyd Devereaux, longtime Detroit associate coach Barry Smith will be behind the bench, and former Detroit goalie Curtis Joseph could be between the pipes.

Week 2: October 9-15

Sure, the Red Wings can beat a St. Louis team which added a new goalie and lost two all-star defensemen, but what does that mean?

Detroit had a light first week this season with only two back-to-back games, the same way they started out the 2003-2004 season. That year, they quickly beat the Los Angeles Kings and the Ottawa Senators for a 2-0-0-0 start. They have won the season opener for six straight seasons, and have finished the regular season in the top five of the Western Conference for a long time. There isn’t much you can take from the first two games, but here are a few notes:

The new guys are contributing already. Mikael Samuelsson and Brett Lebda have more points than Kris Draper and Nicklas Lidstrom. Jason Williams isn’t new, but he’ll get more ice time this year and had three assists on Thursday.

There should not be a goalie controversy. Manny Legace has proven himself as a great goalie no matter how often he plays, and you can bet on Chris Osgood to win 30 games every year if healthy. Jim Howard might get in a game or two this month, but he looked good in preseason and is well liked so far by the other goalies.

Draper and Kirk Maltby will have to go above and beyond what they’ve normally done as defensive forwards. The Wings were shorthanded 11 times in Thursday’s game at St. Louis, and these two are the best penalty killers on the team.

With the signing of Jason Woolley, the Wings can make the decision to either rest the veterans Chris Chelios and Lidstrom a bit or take time away from youngsters Lebda and Jiri Fischer. These players are all going to have to adjust with the penalties being called, and a deep defensive core will help.

This Week’s Matchups:

October 9 vs. Calgary – Steve Yzerman may not play, but you can be sure Darren McCarty will. He won’t take it easy on his former team, but claims his heart is still wearing red. Many are picking Calgary to once again win the Western Conference, so this should be a good game. (Update: Detroit wins 6-3)

October 10 vs. Vancouver – Finally knocking Colorado off the top of the Northwest Division, Vancouver remains dangerous. Like Detroit, they’ve had good regular seasons and that doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy. They usually give the Wings a hard-fought game; the teams split four games last season.

October 13 at Los Angeles – The Kings may have lost the biggest offensive output of any team in the off-season, parting ways with Zigmund Palffy, Jozef Stumpel, Jason Allison and Martin Straka. To counter, they did sign Pavol Demitra and Jeremy Roenick. If the Kings want any chance of making the playoffs, goalies Mathieu Garon and Jason Labarbera have to immediately make an impact. Lababera won his first game, stopping 27 of 29 shots against Phoenix.

October 15 at Phoenix – Call it the sequel to the Wings’ Red vs. White game in training camp. Lots of familiar faces are in Phoenix now: Brett Hull, Curtis Joseph, Boyd Devereaux and assistant coach Barry Smith. Speaking of coaches, Wayne Gretzky is still in the spotlight – not for what he has done, but what he can do. There have been reports of the players being intimidated by the presense of The Great One, which may explain their 0-2 start. The Coyotes are re-tooling quickly, acquiring Geoff Sanderson from the Blue Jackets in a five-player deal.

Wings Announce More Coaching Changes

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Thursday that associate coach Barry Smith and assistant coach Joe Kocur will not return to the team for the 2005-06 season.

One of their replacements will be Paul MacLean, who was an assistant to new Wings head coach Mike Babcock in Anaheim. The other new assistant will be announced on Friday.

MacLean spent 11 years as a player in the NHL, splitting time between Winnipeg, Detroit and St. Louis. He has been a coach in various levels of hockey since 1993.

“Paul brings a great deal of experience as player and coach,” said Babcock. “The success we’ve had in the past and the relationship we have will help us do great things in Detroit. He’s a former Red Wing and will be a great addition to our staff.”

Lewis Out as Wings’ Coach

Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland announced Friday that Dave Lewis would not return as Detroit’s head coach for the expected 2005-06 season. While no replacement was named, it appears highly likely that the Red Wings will hire former Anaheim head coach Mike Babcock, who turned down an offer from the Mighty Ducks for a one-year deal on Thursday.

Lewis has been behind the Detroit bench since 1987, first as an assistant under Jacques Demers, Bryan Murray and Scotty Bowman, then as head coach. He was on the staff when the team won the Stanley Cup in 1997, 1998 and 2002.

As an assistant, Lewis was known as the person players could talk to about coaching decisions made by Bowman. During his tenure as head coach, many questioned whether or not he was too approachable and not authoritative enough.

“I worry that Dave has made the transition as much as he could from assistant to head coach,” Holland explained. “Of course, how could Dave grab their attention? He’s been here forever. I think he did an unbelievable job of making the transition, but you can only go so far.”

While Holland confirmed that Babcock “is not hired,” he did say that he has “had conversations with Mike Babcock and his adviser over the past week” but that “[he has] other people in mind that [he has] not talked to.”

Newly-named Anaheim general manager announced that he had not been contacted by Detroit about hiring Babcock, an unnecessary move as Babcock’s contract – as well as Lewis’ – ended on June 30. He nonetheless declared that if the Red Wings hired Babcock, it would be a “shocking breach of etiquette.”

No announcements were made regarding associate coach Barry Smith and assistant Joe Kocur, whose contracts also expired on June 30.

Report: Wings Eyeing Babcock as Lewis Replacement

A report in Toronto’s Globe and Mail states that the Detroit Red Wings could be looking to replace current head coach Dave Lewis with Mike Babcock, the current coach of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

Lewis’ contract expired on July 30th. The Red Wings have stated that they would wait until after the end of the lockout to negotiate new coaching contracts for Lewis, associate coach Barry Smith, and assistant coach Joey Kocur.

New Anaheim general manager Brian Burke made Babcock an offer for a one-year deal with a deadline of Thursday to accept or decline.

The Lewis-led Red Wings had regular-season success in 2002-03 and 2003-04 but couldn’t get past the second round of the playoffs. Lewis took over the team after the retirement of legendary head coach Scotty Bowman.

Babcock coached the Ducks to a first-round upset of the Wings in 2003, en route to the Stanley Cup Finals. In 2004 Anaheim missed the playoffs.

Locked-out Wings Help Honor Larionov

When former Red Wing Igor Larionov retired from the NHL last spring, he knew he had one game left in him. For a year, Larionov had been planning one final game in Moscow, where is Russian fans could see him skate for the last time.

With the NHL locked out and games put on hold, many of Larionov’s former teammates were able to make the trip to Russia with him, to honor the player who last year was the oldest in the NHL.

Larionov assembled a team of Russian All-Stars to take on a team representing the rest of the world, comprised mostly of his former teammates. Retired Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman returned to the bench along side former associate coaches Dave Lewis and Barry Smith to lead the world team while Larionov’s former linemates from the Soviet Red Army team, Sergei Makarov and Vladimir Krutov, coached the Russian team.

New Jersey Devils Martin Brodeur, Patrick Elias, Scott Gomez and Jay Pandolfo joined Red Wings Steve Yzerman, Chris Chelios, Mathieu Dandenault, Kris Draper, Jiri Fischer, Tomas Holmstrom, Nicklas Lidstrom, Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty, Brendan Shanahan, Ray Whitney and Henrik Zetterberg on the World team. Former Red Wings Steve Duchesne, Martin Lapointe, Chris Osgood and Luc Robitaille also played.

The Russian squad was made up of Pavel Datsyuk, Sergei Fedorov, Viacheslav Fetisov, Sergei Gonchar, Valeri Kamensky, Nikolai Khabibulin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Vyacheslav Kozlov, Larionov, Danny Markov, Evgeni Nabokov, Andrei Nikolishin, Sergei Samsonov and Oleg Tverdovsky.

The World team, most of whom hadn’t played competitively since last season, got off to a slow start and Brodeur allowed early goals to Nikolishin and Samsonov. McCarty responded later in the period and the Russians had a 2-1 lead after one period.

Osgood replaced Brodeur between the pipes for the second period but couldn’t stop Larionov from scoring on a quick shot from the slot, as Larionov capped his career with a goal in his final game in front of his home crowd.

For the third period, Larionov and Yzerman switched teams, complete with Yzerman donning a Russian jersey with his name in Cyrillic on the back. Yzerman, possibly playing in his final game as well, scored twice for the Russians as they held off the World team for a 6-5 win.

Lewis Signs Contract Extension

Detroit Red Wings head coach Dave Lewis signed a one-year contract extension at the NHL Entry Draft Saturday, ensuring that two early playoff losses in two years will not cause him to be replaced this summer.

Since Lewis took over head coaching duties from Hall-of-Famer Scotty Bowman in the summer of 2002, the Red Wings have had little success in the playoffs. In 2003 they were eliminated in the first round by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and in 2004 they fell in the second round to the Calgary Flames. Both seasons, the team that eliminated them advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals before losing in seven games.

“We’ve talked about some of the areas that hasn’t been as good in the playoffs,” said general manager Ken Holland, specifically mentioning a need to get bodies in front of the net. “We need to focus on scoring those ugly goals.”

Associate coach Barry Smith and assistant coach Joe Kocur are expected to return to the bench alongside Lewis next season but their contracts have yet to be worked out.

Hatcher Signs With Wings

Detroit general manager Ken Holland announced Thursday that the Red Wings had signed free agent defenseman Derian Hatcher to a five-year deal. Following club policy, the financial terms were not announced but the contract is reportedly worth $6 million per season.

The former Dallas captain spent his entire carrer in the Stars organization. He was drafted in the first round of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by Minnesota and followed the team to Dallas in 1993. He later led the Stars to claiming the Stanley Cup in 1999. Hatcher has scored 71 goals and added 223 assists in 827 career games. He has racked up 1380 penalty minutes. He has scored six goals and 21 assists in 27 playoff games, accumulating 35 penalty minutes.

A native of the Detroit area, Hatcher acknowledged he was excited to have the opportunity to play for his hometown team.

“I’m just ecstatic to be here,” he said. “It would be really special to win a Stanley Cup in the town I grew up in.”

“Obviously growing up, I was a Red Wing fan.”

Hatcher was a Norris Trophy finalist last season for best defenseman in the NHL. Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom claimed the award for the third consecutive year.

“He has such a tremendous presence as a defenseman,” Detroit associate coach Barry Smith said. “He competes at such a high level every game and is so hard to play against.

“We haven’t had a defenseman like that since … Vlady.”

Since the 1997 limo accident that ended the career of Vladimir Konstantinov, the Red Wings have been looking for a hard-hitting blueliner.

“I think it’s going to be a great addition to our team,” Lidstrom said. “That’s the kind of defenseman that we need that can play hard and tough like that.”

Detroit had been courting Hatcher since the NHL’s free agency period began on Tuesday. His signing was only the fourth major move made this summer, after the Philadelphia Flyers signed goaltender Jeff Hackett and the Colorado Avalanche agreed to terms with forwards Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya.

Penalties Tell the Game Story

The one and only matchup this season between last year’s Stanley Cup finalists should have been an intense, entertaining game. Instead, it became an overload of penalties. The Carolina Hurricanes scored on five of a ludicrous nine power plays they were given, and in spite of the Red Wings’ best efforts to score during their rare times at even strength or with the man advantage, they still wound up on the losing end of a 6-4 game.

Detroit scored twice in the first period, both times in four-on-four play. First Brett Hull waited patiently in the high slot, as he does. When Nick Lidstrom sent a well placed pass across from the right side, Hull sent a one-time shot soaring into the net past goalie Kevin Weekes. The second goal came from Kirk Maltby, who crossed the blue line with the puck and wristed a shot past the partially screened goaltender.

Weekes was injured shortly after Maltby’s goal, while the Wings were attempting to score shorthanded. Maltby shoved Bret Hedican towards the net after the play stopped. Hedican fell on top of Weekes, who hit his head. Weekes was helped off the ice and Arturs Irbe came out to take his place.

Pavel Datsyuk was also injured in the first period. He was shoved and fell into Sean Hill. It seemed at first as if he had hit his head, but team personnel later reported that Datsyuk had actually hurt his knee and would need to go for further testing.

The second period saw the Hurricanes come back to tie and take the lead, with one power play goal after another. Jan Hlavac was able to score by tapping the rebound from a Bates Battaglia shot in past Curtis Joseph. A few minutes later, David Tanabe scored the equalizer with a hard shot from the blue line. Igor Larionov dropped to block the shot, but the shot was high enough to glance off the top of his skate and fly past Joseph into the net. Hlavac scored again to take the lead, this time on a tidy passing play. Erik Cole sent a pass from the left boards to Battaglia at the right side of the net, and Battaglia put it out front for Hlavac to whack in for the goal.

Henrik Zetterberg scored just before the period was over, tying the game back up. Tomas Holmstrom made a play to Luc Robitaille, who left a saucer pass for Zetterberg. The rookie made a move around Hill and put the puck in on Irbe’s far side.

Carolina’s fourth power play goal was Hlavac’s third of the game. He waited in front of the net, got a rebound from Rod Brind’amour’s shot, and put it high past Lidstrom and Joseph both.

Hull tied the game again when the Red Wings got the best break they had all night. Penalties to Glen Wesley and to Cole resulted in a 5-on-3 power play, and the Detroit power play used the opportunity to show off its best passing skills. Igor Larionov sent the puck from the right side of the net down to Lidstrom at the right point, and Lidstrom sent the puck across to Hull. Hull’s hard one-time shot flew into the net before Irbe even had a chance to see it.

Unfortunately, a questionable hooking call against Chris Chelios (he lifted the stick of Sami Kapanen to keep him from shooting the puck, and Kapanen’s feet somehow just flew out from under him) gave the Hurricanes the chance to get their fifth power play goal and take the lead for good. Brind’amour’s shot went off the skate of Mathieu Dandenault, and the rebound came out to Jeff O’Neill, who was able to slap it past Joseph.

Carolina actually did manage to score an even strength goal. Kapanen received the puck from Ron Francis. He turned with it and fired. Joseph was partially screened, and the puck just glanced off the top of his catching glove.

Detroit took a total of 28 shots on net. Carolina, aided by their power plays, had 41.

The Red Wings’ next game will be Sunday night at home against the Calgary Flames.


Brett Hull is now on an eight-game point streak, and just 12 goals away from the 700th of his career…. Associate coach Barry Smith said that Pavel Datsyuk’s knee had been “wrenched,” and information about the extent of the injury would be given as it became available.