Red Wings Lose Marchenko to Leafs via Waivers

The Detroit Red Wings lost defenseman Alexey Marchenko to the Toronto Maple Leafs via waivers on Saturday.

Marchenko was waived to clear a roster spot for Brendan Smith, who is slated to return from injury tonight as the Red Wings visit the Nashville Predators.

Marchenko made the Red Wings’ roster out of camp last season, then went on to play for his native Russia at the World Championships last spring and the World Cup of Hockey.  Despite that, he lost his roster spot to Nick Jensen this season and fell behind Ryan Sproul on the team’s depth chart.

I’m not surprised that Marchenko was claimed, given how many teams have been clamoring for right-handed shooting defensemen.  I can’t help but think that this is yet another case of asset mis-management by the Red Wings’ brass.

Red Wings Place Marchenko on Waivers

The Detroit Red Wings have placed defenseman Alexey Marchenko on waivers.

The move comes with defenseman Brendan Smith scheduled to return from injury tomorrow against the Nashville Predators, requiring that the Red Wings open up a roster spot.

It would appear that Marchenko, who made the Red Wings’ roster out of camp last season and played for his native Russia at both the 2016 World Championships and the World Cup of Hockey, has been passed on the depth chart by Xavier Ouellet, Nick Jensen, and Ryan Sproul.

I had expected Sproul to be the one to get the axe, given criticism of his play.  I suppose the Red Wings brass sees more upside in him than Marchenko.

With the number of teams looking for right handed shots right now, I find it hard to believe Marchenko won’t get claimed.  That said, I’m still surprised Teemu Pulkkinen is in the AHL right now so what do I know?  If he does make it through, he’ll head to the Grand Rapids Griffins and re-join their already-packed blueline.

Red Wings Call Up Nosek, Lashoff

The Red Wings announced a slate of roster moves this morning as they head into back-to-back games this weekend while dealing with injuries to Justin Abdelkader and Brendan Smith.

To make room for Nosek and Lashoff, they shuffled Abdelkader and Andreas Athanasiou around on various forms of injured reserve.

My initial thought is that the Red Wings will try to see if Niklas Kronwall can go for both games, which is why Lashoff got the call instead of Robbie Russo.  I mean, if the call-up is actually going to get minutes, don’t you want the guy who has a future in the organization getting a look?  Call up Russo or Nick Jensen and see what they can do.  If the guy is expected to just sit in the press box, go ahead and call up Lashoff, and if he ends up being needed then you already know what he’s capable of.

I’m curious whether Nosek will actually play, and where he’ll play.  If he’s on the third line, I guess I’m okay with it.  I’ve already said that I wanted to see Evgeny Svechnikov and that Matt Lorito would be an interesting option.  I just don’t want to see the Wings do the whole “call up a grinder, drop him on the fourth line, and pull Drew Miller or Steve Ott up to the third line” thing they’ve traditionally done.  Scratching Nosek and bringing back the OMG line also works, I suppose.

Red Wings Injury Updates

The Detroit Red Wings made a handful of announcements regarding injuries on Monday.  Any time you make a handful of injury announcements is a problem.

On the positive side of things, Tomas Jurco was re-called from his rehabilitation stint with the Grand Rapids Griffins, where he had a goal and an assist – along with six penalty minutes – in two games played.  He wore #13 in Grand Rapids with his old #28 having been taken by Matt Lorito this season.

Jurco will have a chance to slide into the Detroit lineup immediately in part due to an injury to Tyler Bertuzzi.

Bertuzzi left Saturday’s matchup with the Montreal Canadiens with a high ankle sprain after a hit by Alexei Emelin.  He’s expected to miss three- to five- weeks.

Meanwhile, defenseman Brendan Smith is expected to miss four weeks after a knee-on-knee collision with Phillip Danault.

Both Bertuzzi and Smith were placed on the seven-day disabled list while Jurco came off long-term injured reserve.  As of today, the Red Wings have seven players on various forms of IR: Andreas Athanasiou, Johan Franzen, Darren Helm, Joe Vitale, Alexey Marchenko, Jimmy Howard, Bertuzzi, and Smith, though neither Franzen or Vitale are expected to play this season.

The team will go with six defensemen for now, with no call-up planned to replace Smith.

Over the weekend, the Red Wings called up goalie Jared Coreau after Jimmy Howard left Friday’s win over the New Jersey Devils with a groin injury.

Pregame: Red Wings @ Sabres – 11/23

In previous years, much has been made of the fact that, for the most part, if a team isn’t in a playoff spot by Thanksgiving, they won’t be in one come the end of the season.

It’s the day before Thanksgiving and not only are the Red Wings sitting out of the playoffs, they’re dead last in the Atlantic Division and only one point up on the New York Islanders for the last spot in the Eastern Conference.  A win over the Sabres would lift them past Buffalo tonight but, at 8-10-1 on the season, they’d still be under .500 at Thanksgiving.

If you’re looking for a positive out of that, the good news is that the Red Wings have been under “true” .500 (same number of wins and losses, whether or not they got a point in the loss) a quarter of the way through the season (or later) six times in their current 25-year playoff streak.  In the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign, they didn’t get “back” to .500 until the last game of the season.  Last year it wasn’t until Game 78.


As for Wednesday’s game itself, the Red Wings are expected to bring Brendan Smith and Tyler Bertuzzi back into the lineup.  Smith replaces the injured Alexey Marchenko while Bertuzzi takes Drew Miller‘s spot.

Jimmy Howard gets the start against Robin Lehner.

Game time is 7:00 PM on FSD+.

Morning After: Senators @ Red Wings – 10/17

That was better.

The Red Wings put forth a nearly-full-game effort on Monday night in the last home opener at Joe Louis Arena, as opposed to the 20-minute efforts to open the season in Tampa and Sunrise, and it got them a 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.

Yeah, there were negatives.  There were shifts where they shot themselves in the foot trying to clear the zone.  There were still too many missed passes.  In a game that it feels like the Red Wings dominated, they still allowed 32 shots.

But there were more positives than we saw in the first two games, too.

Mike Green‘s shot has been unleashed.  He’s doing what he was brought to Detroit to do and has his first career hat trick to show for it.  Two nights after an awful outing, he had maybe his best game as a Red Wing.

And Darren Helm finished, too.  I don’t know what he did over the summer but he looks like he’s skating better than he has in a couple years.

Thomas Vanek with three assists is having an impressive start to the season.

I don’t recall Petr Mrazek having to make any insane saves – like he did in Tampa, for example – but after allowing eight goals in two games, he needed a shutdown night.  Only goal against came on a rush where the puck deflected off a teammate’s stick.  Not bad.

And speaking of that goal…  I said it on Twitter, I’ll say it again here, I really liked Brendan Smith‘s effort on that play.  He forced Dzingel to wait until it should have been too late.  If that pass didn’t go off Sheahan’s stick and past Mrazek, I think it ends up in Turris’ skates, not in the net.

I will say that I don’t love the fights.  I don’t think fighting is a necessary part of hockey.  I liked seeing Chris Neil beg for a fight and then Justin Abdelkader land some solid shots on him, but at the same time I wish Abdelkader hadn’t obliged him.  It is interesting, though that the Wings’ fights this season have all been by players who were with the team last year (since Steve Ott‘s “fight” in Tampa was just roughing).  This isn’t a new player skewing the numbers, it’s the existing players playing differently.  I wonder where that change came from.


Of course, I have to talk about the arena itself and the game presentation.  While there was a lot of talk of this being the last home opener at Joe Louis Arena, I don’t feel like the “last” aspect was played up.  There are at least 40 more games left there, including the actual last game.  This felt like a home opener, not a last game.  As it should.


It kind of annoys me that the Wings ended up dropping the Farewell to the Joe patch from their jerseys.  I didn’t like it, and I think they could have done better on the Gordie Howe patch, but there’s no reason they couldn’t have done both.

Pregame: Red Wings @ Lightning – Game 1

Though they may not deserve it, the Red Wings open their 25th consecutive trip to the playoffs in Tampa tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

These two teams met in the opening round last year, with Tampa Bay rallying from down 3-2 in the series to win in seven games, but there are some differences this year.

For the Red Wings, Jimmy Howard has reclaimed the starting role in goal. Forward Brad Richards – who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs with the Lightning during their Stanley Cup run in 2004 – joined Detroit in the offseason. Mike Green is in on the blueline with Marek Zidlicky having moved on to the New York Islanders. Landon Ferraro is now in Boston. Rookies Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou will be making their playoff debuts.

For the Lightning, a powerhouse team has been crippled by injuries. Forward Steven Stamkos is likely to miss the entirety of the playoffs with blood clots. Anton Stralman is out on the blue line. Tyler Johnson – who the Red Wings couldn’t contain last year – is questionable for Game One. Victor Hedman is returning from injury.

Stupid stat of the day: The Red Wings are a perfect split 17-17 all-time in Game One of the playoffs coming off a loss in their last game of the regular season.

As previously mentioned, Jimmy Howard gets the start for the Red Wings opposite Ben Bishop of the Lightning. Tomas Jurco, Teemu Pulkkinen, and Brendan Smith will be healthy scratches for Detroit.

Game time is 7:00 on FSD and NBCSN.

Trade Deadline Thoughts

The National Hockey League’s 2016 trade deadline came and went on Monday with the Red Wings refraining from making a move. For the most part, I’m okay with that.

Saturday’s trade of Jakub Kindl to the Florida Panthers for a sixth-round draft pick was a great move. GM Ken Holland unloaded the salary of a player who would probably never play for the Red Wings again and actually got an asset in return.

Kindl became expendable with the emergence of Alexey Marchenko and Xavier Ouellet, both of whom had passed Kindl on the Red Wings’ depth chart and both of whom will have to clear waivers to be assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins next season.

Assuming Kyle Quincey is not re-signed this summer, there will be room on the Detroit roster in 2016-17 for both Marchenko and Ouellet – but not Nick Jensen, who has yet to get a real look at the NHL level (he was a healthy scratch during his call-up earlier this season).

So the Kindl move makes sense on several levels. From there the Red Wings could decide to either load up for a playoff run, as they traditionally do, sell off any additional parts, which they rarely do, or stand pat.

Unless an exceptional deal to add a piece came along, I’d have liked to see them deal away Brendan Smith. His name came up as a player who would be available at the deadline, often compared to Kris Russell. With Russell fetching Jyrki Jokipakka, Brett Pollock, and a conditional second round pick, I’m really curious as to what Holland turned down for Smith, assuming anyone called. Smith has seemingly been demoted to being the Red Wings’ seventh defenseman and $2.25 million is too much to pay for someone who’s in the pressbox most nights.

I’m sure Holland thinks he can keep Smith for the run to the playoffs and then deal him at the draft but I’m not sure the market will be as favorable then.

I didn’t want to see the Red Wings load up without an exceptional deal because, frankly, this team is too many missing pieces from being a Stanley Cup contender. It’s possible they ride Petr Mrazek to an extended playoff run but without that, they’re not going to go far. It would have taken something like a trade for Eric Staal, combined with Staal returning to his early-career form, to be enough. Looking at the players traded on Monday, none of the, would have been enough on his own.

Red Wings Rally for Stadium Series Win

The Detroit Red Wings rallied from down 2-1 entering the third period on Saturday for a 5-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche in their Stadium Series matchup at Denver’s Coors Field.

Gustav Nyquist‘s scored just 1:27 into the third period. Nyquist lifted a no-look backhander from the left faceoff circle past Colorado netminder Semyon Varlamov to tie the game, 2-2.

With 6:32 left in the period, Darren Helm fed Justin Abdelkader from behind the goal for a quick shot from the side of the crease past Varlamov for a 3-2 lead, Detroit’s second of the night.

The lead was short-lived, as Alex Tanguay blasted home a rebound over sprawling Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek just 14 seconds later.

The game seemed to be headed to overtime until Brad Richards banged the rebound of a Niklas Kronwall shot from the point off Varlamov’s pad, through the air, and into the net for a 4-3 win.

Helm added an empty-net goal to wrap up the game’s scoring.

Tomas Tatar had opened things up 5:07 into the first period. After a brief scramble around the side of the net, Tatar collected the puck and snapped a shot from the bottom of the left circle through a screen by Nyqyust,

Nathan MacKinnon tied things up at 7:44 of the period, rifling a shot from the left wing past Mrazek on a rush.

With 5:22 remaining in the first, Tyson Barrie lifted a shot over Mrazek to make it 2-1. The Red Wings challenged the goal, saying Carl Soderberg interfered with Mrazek, but the call stood.

The Red Wings went scoreless on five power play tries while the Avalanche didn’t score on either of their chances with the man-advantage.

Mrazek finished the night with 24 saves on 27 shots. Varlamov stopped 23 of 27 chances.


Detroit’s healthy scratches were Brendan Smith and Teemu Pulkkinen… The game was briefly interrupted in the third period as wind lifted fake snow into the air, dumping some of it onto the playing surface.

Jensen, Tangradi Called Up as Andersson Demoted

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Sunday that defenseman Nick Jensen and forward Eric Tangradi were called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins. To help make room for the pair, forward Joakim Andersson – who cleared waivers at noon on Saturday – was sent to the Griffins.

Jensen gives the Red Wings seven defensemen on the roster with Niklas Kronwall recovering from knee surgery. The extra blueliner may be required, as Brendan Smith left Saturday’s game late in the third period and has been dealing with an unspecified injury.

Originally Detroit’s fifth round selection (150th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Jensen, 25, has eight goals and 36 assists over the last three seasons with the Griffins. He has yet to make his Red Wings debut.

Tangradi, signed as a free agent by the Red Wings last summer, is the Griffins’ heading scorer with 31 points in 36 games. He was called up to Detroit earlier this season but did not make an appearance in the lineup. In 143 career NHL games, Tangradi has five goals and ten assists for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Winnipeg Jets, and Montreal Canadiens.

Andersson will rejoin a Griffins team for whom he scored 38 goals and 63 assists in 189 career games. In 25 games with the Red Wings this season, he has one goal and two assists in a fourth-line role.

Jensen and Tangradi could be in the lineup for the Red Wings on Monday when they visit the New York Islanders.