The Bad and Worse of Striking Out in Free Agency

That the Red Wings struck out in their search for a right-handed defenseman on the free agent market is bad, there’s no denying that. It’s also something that can be explained, though.

Sometimes there’s no amount of money you can throw at a player to make them sign with you. We saw that in 2012 when Ryan Suter and Zach Parise chose the Minnesota Wild over Detroit because it was closer to home for them. Sometimes you do everything you can and it’s just not enough.

Worse, though, is then compromising and making a signing for the sake of making a signing, as the Red Wings appeared to do today. For weeks the story was that they wanted a right-handed defenseman; that they wanted to upgrade. The names weren’t always the same, sometimes it was Dan Boyle and sometimes Matt Niskanen. And then they missed out on Boyle. And Niskanen. And Anton Stralman. And the left-handed Christian Ehrhoff.

As the list of players spurning Detroit grew longer, the goal seemingly changed. It no longer became about getting a right-handed defenseman or an upgrade but about signing someone, anyone, for the sake of making a signing.

With the signing of Kyle Quincey, Detroit has not found a right-handed shot (something that could have been done by simply not signing anyone and promoting Ryan Sproul from Grand Rapids). The blueline has not been upgraded as it’s the exact same septet as skated there last season.

Bad is not being able to draw in free agents. When you’re not a destination, you have to do more to pull people in. We saw that in 2008 when the Chicago Blackhawks had to overpay to bring in defenseman Brian Campbell. In that case, money was enough. Sometimes it takes something else.

Worse is not knowing what the something else is.

“We made pitches to a number of defensemen,” general manager Ken Holland said. “For a variety of reasons, they opted to go elsewhere. I don’t know why they’re not coming here.”

The NHL now has an interview period prior to the opening of free agency. It’s no longer a matter of throwing your best cash offer out there on July 1 and hoping it’s good enough, you’ve got an opportunity to sell the player on your team.

But it works both ways. GMs have the opportunity to talk to players, see what fit they’re looking for, see what makes them tick. And if July 1 comes around and you’re left saying that you don’t know why a player isn’t coming to your team, it means that you didn’t do your job in the lead up to free agency.

Datsyuk, Howard Selected by Team Chara for All-Star Game

Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk and goalie Jimmy Howard were selected by All-Star team captain Zdeno Chara at the NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft on Thursday.

Datsyuk was the first overall selection of the draft. Howard was the last goalie selected, going in the tenth round (the round by which all goalies were required to be selected).

Team captains were Boston’s Chara, with Toronto’s Joffrey Lupul as an assistant, and Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson, assisted by Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers.

The full draft list is as follows:

Round 1
Team Chara: Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit
Team Alfredsson: Erik Karlsson, Ottawa

Round 2
Team Chara: Tim Thomas, Boston
Team Alfredsson: Jason Spezza, Ottawa

Round 3
Team Chara: Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh
Team Alfredsson: Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles

Round 4
Team Chara: Marian Hossa, Chicago
Team Alfredsson: Claude Giroux, Philadelphia

Round 5
Team Chara: Kimmo Timonen, Philadelphia
Team Alfredsson: Kris Letang, Pittsburgh

Round 6
Team Chara: Corey Perry, Anaheim
Team Alfredsson: Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay

Round 7
Team Chara:Carey Price, Montreal
Team Alfredsson: Brian Elliott, St. Louis

Round 8
Team Chara: Phil Kessel, Toronto
Team Alfredsson: Shea Weber, Nashville

Round 9
Team Chara: Ryan Suter, Nashville
Team Alfredsson: Daniel Sedin, Vancouver

Round 10
Team Chara: Jimmy Howard, Detroit
Team Alfredsson: Dan Girardi, NY Rangers

Round 11
Team Chara: Brian Campbell, Florida
Team Alfredsson: Keith Yandle, Phoenix

Round 12
Team Chara: Patrick Kane, Chicago
Team Alfredsson: Milan Michalek, Ottawa

Round 13
Team Chara: Dion Phaneuf, Toronto
Team Alfredsson: Henrik Sedin, Vancouver

Round 14
Team Chara: Jarome Iginla, Calgary
Team Alfredsson: James Neal, Pittsburgh

Round 15
Team Chara: Dennis Wideman, Washington
Team Alfredsson: Alexander Edler, Vancouver

Round 16
Team Chara: Marian Gaborik, NY Rangers
Team Alfredsson: John Tavares, NY Islanders

Round 17
Team Chara: Jordan Eberle, Edmonton
Team Alfredsson: Scott Hartnell, Philadelphia

Round 18
Team Chara: Tyler Seguin, Boston
Team Alfredsson: Jason Pominville, Buffalo

Round 19
Team Chara: Jamie Benn, Dallas
Team Alfredsson: Logan Couture, San Jose

Howard, Datsyuk Named to NHL All-Star Teams

The National Hockey League announced the list of 36 players selected to the 2012 All-Star teams on Thursday, joining six player voted in by the fans.

The Red Wings will be represented by goaltender Jimmy Howard and forward Pavel Datsyuk.

It will be Howard’s first All-Star appearance. In his third full NHL season, he has a league-leading 24 wins, with a .924 save percentage and a 2.05 goals-against average.

Datsyuk will make his second trip to the All-Star Game, having previously appeared in the 2004 contest. He was also selected to the 2009 roster but skipped the game with an injury. He currently leads the Red Wings in points with 43.

A notable omission from the roster is Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who reportedly requested the weekend off.

The All-Star Game will be played on January 29, hosted by the Ottawa Senators.

The full list of selected players is as follows:

Forwards
Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
Tyler Seguin, Boston Bruins
Jason Pominville, Buffalo Sabres
Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild
John Tavares, New York Islanders
Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs
Joffrey Lupul, Toronto Maple Leafs
Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Defensemen
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
Brian Campbell, Florida Panthers
Ryan Suter, Nashville Predators
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
Dan Girardi, New York Rangers
Kimmo Timonen, Philadelphia Flyers
Keith Yandle, Phoenix Coyotes
Alex Edler, Vancouver Canucks
Dennis Wideman, Washington Capitals
Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets

Goaltenders
Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings
Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
Brian Elliott, St. Louis Blues

Blackhawks Take Early Lead, Cruise to 4-1 Win over Red Wings

The Chicago Blackhawks scored twice in the first 4:32 Friday night, all the scoring they’d need as they held off the Detroit Red Wings for a 4-1 win.

Patrick Sharp opened the game’s scoring with a power play goal just 1:04 in. Jonathan Toews won a faceoff in the right circle back to Brent Seabrook on at the point. Seabrook sent it along the blue line to Sharp for a one-timer past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

It was 2-0 3:28 later, when Bryan Bickell jumped off the bench and into the play in the Detroit end, snapping a shot from the high slot past Howard.

Just 27 seconds later, Patrick Eaves got Detroit on the board. A Jonathan Ericsson shot went wide of the net and off the boards behind the goal, bouncing back out the other side for Eaves to put past Chicago netminder Corey Crawford.

Former Red Wing Tomas Kopecky restored the two-goal lead at 11:22 of the second. On a delayed penalty, Kopecky got in behind the defense and took a feed from Brian Campbell, beating Howard one-on-one.

Kopecky added an empty-net goal in the game’s closing minutes to wrap up the scoring.

Chicago scored on their only power play, as well as on the delayed call of the only other penalty of the game. The Red Wings were without a power play for the first time in six years.

Crawford stopped 29 of 30 shots against. Howard made 27 saves on the same number of chances.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Sunday when they host the Dallas Stars as Chris Osgood goes for his 400th career victory.

Game Four: Red Wings – Blackhawks Pregame Notes

Injuries abound for both the Red Wings and the Blackhawks heading into Sunday’s Game Four in their Western Conference Final matchup.

Detroit will be without Kris Draper with a groin injury. Pavel Datsyuk, who missed Game Three with a foot injury, will be a game-time decision once again. Justin Abdelkader returns to the Wings’ lineup to replace Draper, unless Datsyuk is able to go. In that case Ville Leino will stay in the lineup while Abdelkader sits.

Chicago calls both Martin Havlat and Nikolai Khabibulin game-time decisions. Havlat left Game Three after being crushed by Niklas Kronwall, while Khabibulin was replaced for the third period by Christobal Huet after suffering an undisclosed lower-body injury.

‘Hawks defenseman Brian Campbell has essentially called for Kronwall’s head after the hit on Havlat, calling it gutless. Kronwall was not suspended for the play after being given a five-minute interference penalty and an ejection.