Red Wings Free Agency Recap: Day 1

The Red Wings made quite the splash as the NHL’s 2013 free agency period opened on Friday. Here’s the breakdown of what happened:

Arrivals
The big surprise to start the day was that longtime Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson would be spurning the Senators and joining the Red Wings for a (presumably) final run at the Stanley Cup. There’s a lot of drama around how he left the Sens but he arrives in Detroit on a $5.5 million deal. The base salary is only $3.5 million, so the final $2 million could apply to the Wings’ 2014-15 cap instead of the 2013-14 one. Alfredsson is penciled in to play the right wing on the second line as Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg will be reunited on the top line.

Centering Alfredsson will be new addition Stephen Weiss. Signed from the Florida Panthers on a five-year deal with a $4.9 million cap hit, Weiss replaces the departed Valtteri Filppula. Detroit won a bidding war with the St. Louis Blues for the onetime Plymouth Whaler. The $4.9 million is a steal compared to the $6 million it was rumored Weiss was asking for.

Departures
As mentioned, Weiss replaces Valtteri Filppula, who signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning shortly after the Weiss deal was announced. Filppula reportedly was looking for first-line center pay and a first-line center role. He’ll be the number two center in Tampa behind Steven Stamkos, making $5 million per season for the next five years.

Though not yet signed by anyone else Damien Brunner seems to be out in Detroit. Red Wings general manager says he expects Brunner to go “in a different direction” for his next deal. The rumor is that Brunner is asking for guaranteed top-six minutes, something he couldn’t get with Detroit after falling to the third line (but having success there) late last season. There has been little buzz on where he might end up.

It seemed like Daniel Cleary was on his way out of Detroit but there are still rumors that the door is open for his return. The Dallas Stars and Pittsburgh Penguins were vying for his services but both teams dropped out. The Anaheim Ducks were also reportedly interested at one point. The Red Wings have continued to be reported as “in” on Cleary, to the extent that at one point it was thought he’d be back in the Winged Wheel by the end of the day. As of right now, Cleary is still on the market.

Defenseman Ian White – who no one expected to return to Detroit – is also still on the market with no apparent suitors.

Grand Rapids
The first of two Griffins-centric came when former Ferris State defenseman Chad Billins signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Calgary Flames. Billins spent all of last season on an AHL-only deal with Grand Rapids and was rumored to be a Red Wings target for a deal similar to what he took with Calgary.

Former University of Michigan forward Luke Glendening did stick with the organization. After spending last year on an AHL-only deal with the Griffins, he signed a one-year, two-way deal with Detroit today. He’s expected to stick with the Griffins next season but will provide additional depth if the Red Wings need a call-up.

Additional Moves
In addition to being in on Cleary, the Wings are reportedly interested in former Dallas captain Brenden Morrow. This makes absolutely no sense, so I have no idea why the team would be interested.

Detroit still has four restricted free agents to sign. Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Brendan Smith and Tom McCollum will be looking for deals but restricted free agents tend to sign after their teams are done with the unrestricted market, so it’s likely only a matter of time.

On top of those moves, the Wings will need to make at least one trade before the start of the season. After all of the RFAs are signed, the team will be maxed out at 50 player contracts and have 16 NHL forwards. If Cleary or Morrow were signed, there wouldn’t be room to sign all of the RFAs. Trade bait includes Cory Emmerton, Jordin Tootoo, Patrick Eaves, Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson. Samuelsson has a no-trade clause but could be convinced to waive it if the alternative was to be buried in the lineup. The Wings are reportedly in the market for a top-four defenseman on the trade block.

NHLPA Charity Game Rosters Announced

Per the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff, rosters for Saturday’s “Rock Out the Lockout” NHLPA charity game in Windsor have been announced.

Team Red
Justin Abdelkader, #8 (Detroit Red Wings)
David Clarkson, #23 (New Jersey Devils)
Johan Franzen, #93 (Detroit Red Wings)
David Legwand, #11 (Nashville Predators)
Jamal Mayers, #22 (Chicago Blackhawks)
Steve Ott, #29 (Buffalo Sabres)
Mikael Samuelsson, #37 (Detroit Red Wings)
Drew Stafford, #21 (Buffalo Sabres)
Thomas Vanek, #26 (Buffalo Sabres)
Kyle Wellwood, #13 (Winnipeg Jets)
Kevin Westgarth, #19 (Los Angeles Kings)

Jonathan Ericsson, #52 (Detroit Red Wings)
Niklas Kronwall, #55 (Detroit Red Wings)
Jordan Leopold, #3 (Buffalo Sabres)
Nick Schultz, #55 (Edmonton Oilers)
James Wisniewski, #21 (Columbus Blue Jackets)

Jonas Gustavsson, #50 (Detroit Red Wings)
Michael Leighton, #49 (Philadelphia Flyers)

Team Black
Todd Bertuzzi, #44 (Detroit Red Wings)
Adam Burish, #37 (San Jose Sharks)
Dan Cleary, #11 (Detroit Red Wings)
Matt Ellis, #37 (Buffalo Sabres)
Cory Emmerton, #48 (Detroit Red Wings)
Darren Helm, #43 (Detroit Red Wings)
Shawn Horcoff, #10 (Edmonton Oilers)
Matt Martin, #17 (New York Islanders)
Brenden Morrow, #10 (Dallas Stars)
James Neal, #18 (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Sergei Samsonov, #14

Trevor Daley, #6 (Dallas Stars)
Mike Komisarek, #8 (Toronto Maple Leafs)
John-Michael Liles, #24 (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Jeff Petry, #58 (Edmonton Oilers)
Ian White, #18 (Detroit Red Wings)
Ryan Wilson, #44 (Colorado Avalanche)

Jimmy Howard, #35 (Detroit Red Wings)

All players will be available for a free autograph session in the WFCU Centre concourse from 4:45 – 5:30 PM. The game is scheduled to begin at 6:30 PM.

Update, 12/8 – 10:10 AM: Event co-organizer Steve Ott tweeted a full roster including jersey numbers this morning. There will be overlapping numbers in some cases. On Team Red, Drew Stafford and James Wisniewski will wear #21 while Niklas Kronwall and Nick Schultz will wear #55. For Team Black, Todd Bertuzzi and Ryan Wilson will both wear #44, Shawn Horcoff and Brendon Morrow will both wear #10, and James Neal and Ian White will both wear #18.

Wings’ Cleary Among Organizers of Windsor NHLPA Charity Game

Detroit Red Wings forward Danny Cleary is one of three NHLPA members organizing a charity game at Windsor’s WCU Centre.

Buffalo forward and former Windsor Spitfire Steve Ott and Edmonton forward Shawn Horcoff are also organizing the event, scheduled for December 8, unless the NHL and NHLPA can come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement before then.

The game would be the latest of several organized by locked-out players, all benefitting local charities.

In addition to the three organizers, the following players are tentatively scheduled to appear:

From the Red Wings, Todd Bertuzzi, Justin Abdelkader, Jimmy Howard, Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Ian White, Cory Emmerton, Darren Helm and Jonas Gustavsson.  From the Colorado Avalanche, Windsor-native Ryan Wilson.  From the Oilers, Eric Belander and Jeff Petry.  From the Chicago Blackhawks, Jamal Mayers.  From the Pittsburgh Penguins, James Neal.  From the Phoenix Coyotes, Keith Yandle.  From the Dallas Stars, Brenden Morrow.  Former Carolina Hurricane, Boston Bruin, and Detroit Viper Sergei Samsonov.

Hudler Scores Lone Goal of Shootout as Red Wings Down Stars, 3-2

Detroit forward Jiri Hudler scored the only goal of the shootout Tuesday night, giving the Red Wings a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars.

The goal kept the Red Wings unbeaten in the tiebreaker this season and at least temporarily moved them into first place in the Western Conference.

Hudler faked twice on Dallas netminder Richard Bachman but couldn’t sell anything before resorting to the cutting to his left and pushing the puck out to the right, into the open side of the net. It was the same “Forsberg move” that Henrik Zetterberg successfully executed last week against Phoenix.

Pavel Datsyuk hit the post on Detroit’s first shot and Todd Bertuzzi fired into Bachman in the third round.

Wings’ goaltender Ty Conklin stopped Loui Eriksson, Michael Ryder and Trevor Daley in earning the win.

Detroit opened the game’s scoring at 6:41 of the first period. Jan Mursak beat Bachman to the puck behind the net and sent it to Justin Abdelkader, who only tipped the puck on his shot attempt from the side of the net. The puck slid out into the slot where Tomas Holmstrom fired a slapper back past Bachman for the early 1-0 lead.

Brenden Morrow tied things up with 9:01 left in the opening frame. With the Stars on a power play, Alex Goligoski fired a shot from above the slot. The puck deflected off of a jumping Morrow at the top of the crease and bounced past Conklin.

With 3:32 remaining, Eriksson made it 2-1 by backhanding the rebound of a Sheldon Souray chance past Conklin with a broken stick.

Hudler scored the last goal of regulation at 1:43 of the second, bouncing the puck off Goligoski’s skate and past Backman on a crossing attempt.

Bachman stopped 30 of the 32 Detroit shots he faced on the night. Conklin made 25 saves on 27 shots for his third win of the season.

Detroit went scoreless on four power play chances. The Stars scored on one of their two tries with the extra attacker.

The Red Wings will continue their road trip on Thursday when they visit the Phoenix Coyotes.


Jakub Kindl and Cory Emmerton were healthy scratches for the Red Wings, with Mike Commodore and Mursak in the lineup in their respective places.

Red Wings – Stars Postgame Thoughts

As I said earlier, this is why you don’t go planning around possible milestones.

Midway through the third period you’ve got fans chanting “Ozzie, Ozzie” after routine saves. Signs celebrating the not-to-be win number 400 are in the crowd like Chris Osgood‘s milestone had already been reached. Then the team started playing like they believed it was.

Not surprisingly, they lost.

The shift leading up to Brenden Morrow‘s tying goal with 3:14 left in regulation was colossally bad. The puck could have been cleared several times, with each failed attempt worse than the previous one until finally Brian Rafalski put it right on Jamie Benn‘s stick. Benn put it to Morrow all alone in front of the goal and the puck ended up in the net.

Blame Osgood if you want. I see some already are. The third and fourth goals could have been stopped. Typical weak Osgood goals, they might say.

I say they those chances never should have happened. If it comes down to Osgood having to make a superb stop, something has already broken down to get to that point. It’s the goalie’s job to make stops but if the entire team quits in front of him then I don’t blame him.

Role Players Carry Red Wings over Stars

Detroit’s role players stepped up Monday night, accounting for all four of the Red Wings goals en route to a 4-1 win over the visiting Dallas Stars.

Drew Miller, Darren Helm, Dan Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi all scored in game where Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk could not beat Dallas netminder Marty Turco.

Backup goalie Jimmy Howard made 29 saves in the victory.

Miller got the Red Wings on the board with 6:12 left in the first period. Brett Lebda dumped the puck into the Dallas end on what should have been an icing play but Miller beat Stars defender Karlis Skrastins to the puck and threw it to the front of the net, banking it off of Trevor Daley and in behind Turco.

Brenden Morrow tied the game with 15 seconds left in the first but Helm put Detroit back in front at 5:35 of the second, taking a cross-ice pass from Kris Draper and banking a shot off of a sprawling Turco.

Cleary banged home a chance from the side of the net with 7:54 left in the period to put Detroit up by a pair.

Bertuzzi, the hero of Sunday’s shootout win over St. Louis, wrapped up the scoring with a shot from the right faceoff circle that deflected off of a Dallas defenseman on its way over Turco’s shoulder 3:35 into the final period.

Neither team scored a power play goal, each getting four tries with the extra attacker.

Turco made 28 saves on 32 shots as his career regular season record at Joe Louis Arena dropped to 1-9-2.

Red Wings – Stars Pregame Notes

Aaron Downey returns to the Red Wings lineup tonight as Detroit hosts the Dallas Stars. Downey has spent the entire season thus far with the Grand Rapids Griffins but was called up with Ville Leino today when Brad Stuart was placed on the long-term IR.

Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom also return to the ice, having served their suspensions.

The Wings will be without Henrik Zetterberg, whose back spasms have continued. Downey takes his spot in the lineup instead of Derek Meech being shifted to forward again. Meech joins Leino as a healthy scratch.

Chris Osgood gets another start in the Detroit net.

Marty Turco will go for Dallas, who will be without Mark Parrish (flu) and Fabian Brunnstrom (AHL conditioning stint) in addition to long-term injuries Brenden Morrow and Sergei Zubov.

I’ll be missing the start of this one as I’ve got another 7:30 soccer game. I’ll catch up when I get back.

Wings and Stars Tie Again

The Red Wings and the Dallas Stars are quite possibly the two most evenly matched teams in the NHL right now. Their previous three meetings all ended in ties, and this fourth and last meeting of the regular season ended the same way, a 2-2 overtime decision.

Tomas Holmstrom, who has played remarkably well paired with Sean Avery and Boyd Devereaux, opened the scoring just over a minute into the game. Chris Chelios shot on net from the blue line. Goalie Marty Turco was out of position from making the first save, and Holmstrom was able to flip the rebound high into the net.

The Stars had plenty of scoring chances of their own through the first period, most notably the 41 seconds of 5-on-3 play they gained with overlapping penalties to Sergei Fedorov and Maxim Kuznetsov. Kris Draper, Chris Chelios, and Nicklas Lidstrom did a good job of blocking shots before they could get through to Curtis Joseph.

Dallas did manage to score on a regular 5-on-4 penalty near the end of the period. Mike Modano‘s shot had Joseph sliding one way to make the block, and Jere Lehtinen was able to put the rebound into the net with a quick shot.

The Red Wings scored a power play goal of their own early in the second period to regain the lead. Again, the goal came through Holmstrom’s hard work. Jason Woolley took a shot from the left point. Holmstrom was able to deflect the puck in from in front of the net, even though Darryl Sydor was trying to shove him out of the way.

The Stars scored a controversial goal a few minutes later to even the game. Video replay later showed that an icing call should have been made, as Lidstrom touched the puck before the Dallas player did, but the linesman didn’t see it and waved off the call. That led directly to Niko Kapanen’s shot which Brenden Morrow tipped in for the equalizer.

The third period was intense on both sides. Play went repeatedly end to end, with neither team able to get more than one shot away before the defensemen or the goalies pounced on the rebounds. The overtime went just the same way. The Red Wings had a good chance to make the win when Scott Young was sent out for high sticking with just 2:21 left in overtime. They did set up some good chances, but then Brendan Shanahan was penalized for holding the stick, which gave the teams 1:01 of 3-on-3 play, followed by 20 seconds of Dallas power play time to close the game and the regular season series.

The final count of shots on net was 29-28 in Detroit’s favor. The Red Wings next game will be at home on New Year’s Eve against the St. Louis Blues.


Holmstrom’s goals were his 8th and 9th of the season. Last season, he scored only 8 total…. Coach Dave Lewis was full of praise for his fourth line of Holmstrom, Avery, and Devereaux. “They played a very good game again,” he said after yesterday’s win over Nashville. “They’re maximizing their minutes and contributing goals.”…. The point gained from the tie with the Stars gives the Red Wings a total of 50 points and puts them in sole possession of first place in the NHL standings.

Yet Another Tie?

The third game this season between the Red Wings and the Dallas Stars would have had a tough time being a more even match. Shots on net were 31 to 30. Penalty minutes? 15 to 13. Faceoffs? 33-32. And finally the score: it was 1-1. It was fast. It was intense. It looked a lot like playoff hockey, never mind that it’s December on the calendar. If this was a preview of the Western Conference Finals, as many hockey analysts are predicting, then hockey fans are in for an entertaining spring.

Meanwhile, it is still December, and it was the 32nd game of the Red Wings’ season. The playoffs are months away, 50 games away, but mid-season doldrums were nowhere to be found at the Joe for this game.

The game was intense from the start. There was no scoring in the first period, even though both teams had chances. There was wonderful goaltending from both Manny Legace and Marty Turco, and there was quite a lot of checking. Not the questionable obstruction kind causing so much confusion this season, just plain old clean body checking on both sides. There was a fight- Sean Avery had some “words” with Stefan Robidas, and they both wound up being sent to the penalty box to cool down. There was even a successful three-man penalty kill by Detroit. Kirk Maltby and Max Kuznetzov were sent to the box just twenty seconds apart, giving the Stars a full 1:40 of five-on-three advantage. Legace, Sergei Fedorov, Nick Lidstrom, and Chris Chelios did a phenomenal job in keeping the puck out of the net.

The second period was just as intense and tight defensively as the first, but the Wings finally scored with only 3:19 remaining. Kris Draper‘s shot was deflected by Turco, but the rebound went all the way back to Kuznetsov at the left point. Kuznetsov made a hard pass to Brendan Shanahan at the right corner of the net, and Shanahan scooped the puck high over Turco to take the lead.

Fedorov had a chance to increase the lead with a one-on-one breakaway early in the third period, but his shot rang off the goalpost. The Stars managed to score instead. Scott Pellerin got the puck to Philippe Boucher on the right side boards. Boucher’s shot deflected off the stick of Jason Woolley and high into the net before Legace could adjust to the changed direction of the puck.

Both teams played a cautious game through the rest of the third period and the overtime. With such a close match in the Conference standings (Dallas has 45 points, Detroit has 41), neither team seemed willing to take a risk of making a mistake that could give their opponent the extra point from the win, so they settled for the tie, their third tie of the season.

Legace and Turco played extremely well, with 30 and 29 saves respectively. The Red Wings continue their season with a game Saturday night against the New York Rangers.


Jesse Wallin sat out this game with a hyperextended elbow. Patrick Boileau, recently recalled from the Griffins, was in the lineup in Wallin’s place…. Mike Modano and Brenden Morrow of the Stars were also out, Modano with a concussion and Morrow with a groin injury…. Brendan Shanahan’s goal was the first even strength goal scored against Marty Turco in 230 minutes and 19 seconds of game time.

Wings Tie Stars While On the Mend

Twenty-four hours can improve a team’s defensive outlook greatly. It might be an exaggeration to say that the Red Wings looked like a completely different team against the Dallas Stars than they did the night before against Ottawa, but they certainly looked like a team ready to put a bad game behind them. The Stars, on the other hand, had an embarrassing loss of their own against the Columbus Blue Jackets to shake off, and the two determined teams skated to a 3-3 tie.

Dallas got the first goal of the game 5:49 into the first period. The puck bounced away from a tangle of players along the right boards. It went right out in front of the net, where Ulf Dahlen was able to flip it past Curtis Joseph and just under the crossbar.

Shortly afterwards, Brenden Morrow was given a penalty for interference against Kirk Maltby, and the Red Wings’ power play extended its scoring streak for another game. Pavel Datsyuk passed the puck from behind the net to Brett Hull. The rebound from Hull’s shot came back to him, and he sent it back to Datsyuk. Datsyuk then slipped a pass through to Nick Lidstrom at the left faceoff circle. Lidstrom took a split second to settle the puck before wristing the shot high past goalie Marty Turco.

Joseph and Turco both made some impressive saves throughout the first and second periods, but Turco blinked first. Jason Williams made a pass which sent Boyd Devereaux and Datsyuk up the ice on a two-on-two rush. Devereaux stumbled slightly as he carried the puck over the blue line, but he got back up and made a clean pass across to Datsyuk anyway, and Datsyuk tapped it right into the net to give the Red Wings the lead.

The Stars began to lay on the offensive pressure then, trying to get back into the game, but Joseph and the reinvigorated Detroit defense held them off until only 8 seconds remained in the second period. Scott Young took a wild shot on net from the right half-boards. Joseph made the save, but the rebound bounced straight out front to Mike Modano. Modano’s shot deflected slightly off the leg of Jiri Fischer and past Joseph to tie the game back up.

The Stars took the next lead of the game 7:30 into the third period while Henrik Zetterberg was serving a penalty for holding. Sergei Zubov took a shot from the right side. The rebound bounced off the skate of Darrell Sydor and over to Dahlen, who had skated around behind the net without attracting attention. He was able to stuff the puck past Joseph before anyone quite realized he had it.

A Detroit power play tied the game back up. Brendan Shanahan faked a shot from his usual power play spot on the left side, but instead he passed the puck to Williams waiting in front of the net. Williams was able to angle a shot into the tiny space between Turco and the goalpost.

The Red Wings dominated the overtime play. Sergei Fedorov had two breakaways, but he shot the puck wide of the net both times. Turco held his ground against the seven shots that did get to him. Meanwhile, Joseph made two huge stops at the other end of the rink, and the game ended with a 3-3 tie.

The game was also nearly equal in terms of total shots on net: the final count was 37 to 35 in favor of the Stars. The Red Wings’ next game will be on Tuesday evening when they host their ancient rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks.


Igor Larionov was a healthy scratch for tonight’s game, allowing Sean Avery to rotate into the lineup. Tomas Holmstrom and Dmitri Bykov are still out with their respective injuries”¦.Head coach Dave Lewis used Scotty Bowman‘s example and rearranged the forward lines to shake up the team after Saturday’s game. What did he come up with?
Line 1: Brett Hull, Henrik Zetterberg, and Sergei Fedorov””A goat, a kid, and Sergei, who is neither goat nor kid, but certainly seemed to match well with the other two.
Line 2: Brendan Shanahan, Kris Draper, and Kirk Maltby””Not sure if it was a demotion for Shanny, or a promotion for Draper and Maltby, but with Shanahan’s innate grittiness and Maltby’s and Draper’s tendency to score goals exactly when no one expects them to, it could work pretty well.
Line 3: Jason Williams, Pavel Datsyuk, and Boyd Devereaux””a high-energy line of three young guys who are excited to be playing. They will make some rookie mistakes sometimes, but this is a line that can make good things happen.
Line 4: Luc Robitaille, Sean Avery, and Darren McCarty“”Leftovers? Okay, they were the three left without anywhere else to go, but a line with the highest scoring left winger of all time and two of the best agitators in hockey is bound to accomplish something. Just let it remind you of Steve Yzerman playing with Joey Kocur and Bob Probert, back in the day.