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

Wings Fall to Lightning in Exhibition Opener

Joe Louis Arena hosted its first National Hockey League game in seventeen months on Monday, as the Detroit Red Wings opened their 2005 exhibition season with a 5-3 loss to the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

The difference between the hockey that used to be played at the Joe and that which will be played (for at least the first month of) this upcoming season was evident immediately. The NHL’s crackdown on obstruction led to 18 penalties and half a game’s worth of specialty teams play.

“The first thing is, obviously, we’ve got to learn the rules and how to play within them,” coach Mike Babcock said. “Because it’s hard to get any kind of momentum or any feel when you’re on the power play all the time or on the penalty kill. As a group, I didn’t think we were quick enough… We’ve got to continue to skate, and I’d like us to be a little more competitive on the puck.”

Detroit goalie Manny Legace allowed two goals on fifteen shots, one to Conn Smythe Trophy winner Brad Richards and the other to Fredrik Modin. Rookie Jimmy Howard took over the crease for the third period and the shootout, allowing goals to Martin St. Louis and Evgeny Artyukhin on the first three shots he faced.

The Lighning scored an empty-net goal late in the third period to ice the game.

Detroit’s first goal came from Nicklas Lidstrom while the Wings enjoyed a 5-on-3 manpower advantage. Kris Draper scored the Red Wings’ other two goals.

St. Louis and Richards scored for the Lightning in the shootout, while Jason Williams notched the Wings’ lone shootout tally.

Team Canada Bounces Back, Defeats Team USA 3-1

After falling to the Americans, 3-1, on Monday night, Team Canada bounced back and turned the tables on Team USA, beating them by an identical score in an exhibition game in Ottawa on Wednesday. All of Canada’s goals came in the second period.

Vincent Lecavalier, Joe Sakic and Brad Richards each scored for the Canadians, who were unable to crack US goalie Robert Esche in the first period. Ty Conklin was in net for all of Canada’s goals.

Lecavalier opened the scoring on a 2-on-1 with Mario Lemeiux on the power play 5:25 into the game’s middle frame.

Just 2:20 later, Sakic scored on another 2-on-1.

“We just made some mistakes, turnovers, that you make in exhibition games,” said U.S. defenseman Brian Leetch. “Halfway through the game we’d allowed only 12 shots but half of them were 2-on-1s against our goaltender.”

Roberto Luongo, who allowed all three Team USA goals on Monday, didn’t allow a goal on Wednesday night. He was replaced by Jose Theodore midway through the second period. Theodore allowed the American’s lone goal of the night when Chris Drury scored 4:10 in to the third period.

Lightning Strike in Game Seven: Tampa Bay Claims Stanley Cup

Monday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning completed their comeback from a 3-2 series deficit to the Calgary Flames after five games of their Stanley Cup Finals matchup, claiming Game Seven by the score of 2-1 after forcing the deciding game with a 3-2 double-overtime win in Game Six. It was the only time in the series that a team won two games in a row.

Ruslan Fedotenko, injured earlier in the series but back on the ice, scored both goals for the Lightning, giving Tampa Bay an early lead and putting pressure on the Flames to make risky plays.

Fedotenko opened the game’s scoring on the power play 13:31 into the game. Fredrik Modin fought for the puck along the boards and sent it out to Brad Richards – the eventually Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP – at the right point. Richards fired a shot that was stopped by Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff but Fedotenko picked up the rebound and put it into the net for his 11th goal of the playoffs.

Tampa Bay went up by two with 5:22 remaining in the second when Fedotenko took a beautiful pass from Vincent Lecavalier and fired a shot over Kiprusoff’s glove.

Calgary cut the lead in half on a power play at 9:21 of the third. With Nolan Pratt in the penalty box on a strange interference call, Craig Conroy sent a shot through a screen and past the glove of Lightning netminder Nikolai Khabibulin.

Both teams had their chances as the Flames turned up the pressure in the game’s final minutes.

Tampa essentially clinched the game when Andrew Ference high-sticked Martin St. Louis and was called for charging at 18:59 of the period. Tampa Bay captain Dave Andreychuk went to the box for tripping with 23 seconds left in the NHL’s season but Calgary’s momentum was already gone and the Flames failed to force overtime.

Richards, who led the NHL in the postseason with 26 points and set a new NHL postseason record with seven game-winning goals, was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy following the game.

Lightning Force Game Seven

Tampa Bay Lightning playoff hero Martin St. Louis scored 33 seconds into the second overtime period to give the Lightning a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames and force a Game Seven in their Stanley Cup Finals matchup. This is the second consecutive year and third of the last four that seven games will be required to determine a Stanley Cup Champion.

St. Louis picked up a rebound as he skated in at the Calgary net. He lifted a shot over the shoulder of Flames’ goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff and gave the Lightning the win.

Martin Gelinas had almost won the Cup for Calgary in the first overtime when a puck deflected off his skate and appeared to cross the goal line before it was kicked away by Tampa Bay goalie Nikolai Khabibulin. The scoring chance was not reviewed and play continued.

After a scoreless first period, the Lightning opened the game’s scoring on the power play when Brad Richards beat Kiprusoff for the first of his two power play goals.

Chris Clark tied the game before Richards’ second goal put the Lightning back in front. Marcus Nilson scored before the end of the second to tie the game again.

Both teams were held scoreless on seven shots in both the third period and the first overtime period. St. Louis’ goal came on the second shot of the second overtime.

Khabibulin stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced while Kiprusoff made 24 saves on 27 shots. Tampa Bay went 2-for-4 on the power play as Calgary was held without a goal on three chances with the man-advantage.

The Stanley Cup will be awarded in Tampa on Monday night to the winner of Game Seven.

Bolts Even Series at Two

Lightning forward Brad Richards‘ scored the lone goal of Tampa Bay’s Game Four matchup with the Calgary Flames, setting a new NHL record with his seventh game-winning goal of the playoffs and lifting the Lighting into a 2-2 series tie with the Flames.

Tampa Bay is now 8-0 this postseason when Richards scores. The Lightning went 30-0-2 when the center scored during the regular season.

Richards’ goal came just 2:48 into the game. Calgary’s Mike Commodore and Chris Clark were sent to the box for holding and cross-checking, respectively, at 1:52 of the first period. Tampa Bay used the two-man advantage to get Richards open for a one-timer off a pass from captain Dave Andreychuk. Richards put the shot past Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff‘s glove and into the net.

“When you get the shot in your wheelhouse, you have to do something with it,” Richards said. “(Rhett) Warriner was on (Kiprusoff’s) stick side and that left a lane on the glove side and I shot it.”

Tampa Bay goaltender Nikolai Khabibulan stopped 29 shots for his fifth shutout of the postseason.

The series returns to Tampa for Game Five on Thursday.

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

Despite High Scoring Reputations, Wings & Lightning Tie At 1

It would be ironic to think that two of the three highest scoring teams in the NHL would end up in a 1-1 tie in their only meeting of the season, but that’s exactly what the Red Wings and the Tampa Bay Lightning did. The defensive trap can’t be blamed for this one since both teams disdain that system; give credit, rather, to stingy goaltending by Manny Legace and Nikolai Khabibulin.

Legace had to be sharp right away, when Chris Chelios stumbled and Vincent Lecavalier brought the puck in alone on a breakaway. Not only was Legace ready for Lecavalier’s low shot, but he made two more excellent saves on Lecavalier before the first period was done. At the other end of the rink, Khabibulin had his hands full knocking down shots by Brett Hull and Ray Whitney.

Legace kept Detroit in the game through the second period by flopping to stop Ruslan Fedotenko from point blank range during a Lightning power play, then following up with a big save against Brad Richards on a clean breakaway.

Tomas Holmstrom was the Wing to finally break the scoreless tie. Steve Yzerman made the rink-wide pass to Holmstrom as he skated across the blue line. Holmstrom squeezed in between Lightning defenders Dan Boyle and Brad Lukowich, then beat Khabibulin high on the glove side as he was being pulled down to the ice, with 4:41 left in the second.

The superb goaltending continued into the third period. Legace made a glove save against the initial shot from a 3-on-1 rush, then stopped two rebounds with the side of his body before being able to cover the puck.

Tampa Bay finally ended Legace’s shutout bid with 7:21 left in regulation. Richards’ shot from the blue line bounced off the stick of Cory Stillman right in front of the goal crease, and Fredrik Modin was able to bang it into the net.

Lecavalier did his level best to end the game in regulation, but Legace stoned him cold again, stopping two quality shots against the big forward in the final minute of the third period. Khabibulin sent the game to overtime with a glove save on a Nicklas Lidstrom shot from the blue line.

The goalies dominated the overtime, just as they had dominated the entire game, and the game ended in a 1-1 tie. Legace made 37 saves on the 38 shots he faced. Khabibulin stopped 28 shots out of 29.

The Red Wings’ next game will be Thursday night, when they travel to Columbus to face the Blue Jackets.

Robert Lang left the game with an upper body injury in the third period and did not return. Team spokespeople said Lang would be out at least through Thursday’s game”¦. The Lightning clinched the top spot in the Southeast Division with the point they earned tonight”¦. The Red Wings have killed off 31 straight penalties, denying their opponents any power play goals for the past 8 games.

Outstanding Netminding Leads Bolts over Wings

The Red Wings put in a solid effort against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin was in his most solid form after allowing nine goals in his past two games, allowing the Lightning to take a 1-0 win and snap a 3-game losing streak.

Detroit most definitely dominated the first period of play. The Lightning looked tentative and unsure of themselves. Only Khabibulin showed any confidence, stopping nine Detroit shots over the period.

Khabibulin’s confidence must have infected his teammates, because the second period was Curtis Joseph‘s turn to shine. The Lightning doubled the Red Wings’ shots on net by a total of 18-9 in the second twenty minutes, but Joseph was up to the challenge, stopping first shots and allowing hardly any rebounds to bounce back out to a waiting Tampa Bay player.

The Lightning finally scored their goal early in the third period by capitalizing on a turnover in the corner behind the net. Vaclav Prospal got the puck away from Jason Woolley, then brought it out front and sent it across the crease to Brad Richards. Richards was able to put the wrist shot into the net before Joseph could slide across to cover.

The Red Wings put all their effort into scoring after that. Khabibulin continued to be huge in net, and the goalposts proved to be a blessing for him and his team. Henrik Zetterberg, Darren McCarty, and Brendan Shanahan all had shots go through which beat Khabibulin, but rang off the metal and out instead of sailing into the back of the net.

Brett Hull, who had six shots on net, was left shaking his head in amazement at the goaltending acrobatics on both ends of the ice. “I thought both goalies were fabulous,” he said. “That, to me, is the way hockey should be played. It’s wide open. There ain’t a guy who left this arena who wasn’t entertained, and I think that’s what the league is going for.”

Hull’s “wide open” comment may have also been referring to the rarity of having very few penalties called during the game: each team had exactly one chance with the power play, both in the second period.

The final count of shots on net was 32-30 in favor of Detroit. The Red Wings’ next game will be Wednesday night against the Florida Panthers.

Chris Chelios reported that a decision about when he will return from his leg injury will be made before Wednesday’s game…. We’re halfway through the season, so it’s time to check the league standings and find out what the matchups would be if the playoffs started today. In the Eastern Conference, it would be the #1 Ottawa Senators vs. the #8 New York Islanders, the #2 Philadelphia Flyers vs. the #7 Washington Capitals, the #3 Tampa Bay Lightning vs. the #6 Toronto Maple Leafs, and the #4 New Jersey Devils vs. the #5 Boston Bruins. The Western Conference would see the #1 Dallas Stars vs. the #8 Colorado Avalanche, the #2 Detroit Red Wings vs. the # 7 Edmonton Oilers, the #3 Vancouver Canucks vs. the #6 Chicago Blackhawks, and the #4 St. Louis Blues vs. the #5 Minnesota Wild.