Lidstrom Agrees to One Year Deal with Red Wings

Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom has agreed to a one-year deal with the Red Wings, remaining with the team for a 20th season.

Lidstrom and general manager Ken Holland announced the deal via conference call from Las Vegas. The two are there for the NHL Awards, where Lidstrom is nominated for the Norris and Lady Byng Trophies.

“I wanted to make sure I was ready. I’m very happy to be back for my 20th season for the Wings,” Lidstrom said of the decision.

The Wings have already lost blueliner Brian Rafalski to retirement this summer. “If we’d have lost both, it would have been devastating. These guys are special players,” Holland said.

Lidstrom’s deal is reportedly worth $6.2 million, the same amount he made last season.

With the NHL’s salary cap expected to reach $62 million, the Red Wings now have almost $14 million to sign two defensemen, two forwards and a backup goalie.

Wings Defenseman Rafalski Retires

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski announced his retirement on Wednesday, ending an eleven-year NHL career.

“This was probably the most challenging season of my career, physically, mentally, emotionally,” Rafalski said during a Joe Louis Arena press conference.

Rafalski missed time during the 2010-11 campaign with back and knee injuries, limiting him to only 63 games played, the fewest in his career.

He said he made the decision with his wife two months ago.

In 833 regular season games played, Rafalski totalled 79 goals and 436 assists for 515 points.

Rafalski never missed the playoffs in his career, making the postseason in each of his seven years with the New Jersey Devils and then four more times with Detroit. He won three Stanley Cups in that time, two with the Devils and one with the Red Wings.

His route to the NHL was a unique one. After playing four seasons at the University of Wisconsin, Rafalski went undrafted. He headed to Europe, proving himself over four seasons in Sweden and Finland before New Jersey signed him as a free agent in 1999.

A Dearborn native, Rafalski came to the hometown Red Wings in 2007 via free agency.

Outside of his NHL career, Rafalski made two Olympic appearances for the United States, helping the team to silver medals in 2002 and 2010.

Rafalski to Retire?

Twitter is abuzz with the news that Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski is set to retire.

Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos broke the news via Twitter Monday afternoon, with TSN’s Darren Dreger and Craig Custance of the Sporting News confirming shortly thereafter.

The Detroit Free Press declares Rafalski as undecided, with Ken Holland quoted as saying the following:

I do know he’s doing a lot of thinking. I did meet with him at the end of the year. I’ve had conversations with him. For lack of better words, I do know he’s doing a lot of thinking about next year. HeĆ¢’s got to make some decisions. I haven’t talked to him in a week. He hasn’t told me he’s retiring.

There are rumors of a Wednesday press conference to announce the retirement.

Rafalski has one year remaining on the five-year contract he signed with Detroit in 2007. As he signed the deal before he turned 35, the $6 million he is due to make would not be applied to the team’s salary cap for next season.

Helm’s Late Goal Keeps Red Wings Alive Against Sharks

Darren Helm scored with 1:27 remaining in regulation Friday night, giving the Detroit Red Wings a 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks and forcing a Game Five in their Western Conference Semifinal series.

The Sharks lead the series, 3-1, and could have finished the Red Wings off in Game Four.

After a faceoff in the San Jose end, Brian Rafalski held the puck in and fired a shot on goal from the right point. Sharks goalie Antti Niemi made the stop but the rebound came out to Patrick Eaves in the right faceoff circle, who pushed it across to Helm in the left circle for a wrister past Niemi.

The tally made up for a first-period turnover by Helm, leading to San Jose’s first goal and the start of a comeback after Detroit took a 3-0 lead in the first period.

With 1:44 left in the first, just 15 seconds after the Red Wings extended their early lead to 3-0, Helm turned the puck over to Ryane Clowe at the Detroit blue line. Clowe carried the puck down low along the left wing boards and threw it on net. Logan Couture got a piece of it on the way through and it trickled through Jimmy Howard‘s pads to make it 3-1.

Dan Boyle pulled the Sharks to within a single goal with 6:16 remaining in the second, slipping past Jiri Hudler into the right circle all alone, then taking a pass from Kyle Wellwood and snapping a shot past Howard.

Just 1:14 into the third, Dany Heatley beat Howard from the top of the crease off a pass from Clowe to complete the comeback, but the Sharks would be unable to pull ahead.

Todd Bertuzzi had opened the game’s scoring at 6:22 of the first. Bertuzzi carried the puck into the San Jose zone and spun around Heatley at the top of the left circle before backhanding a shot that deflected and fluttered past Niemi.

Nicklas Lidstrom made it 2-0 with 8:51 left in the period, blasting the rebound of a Danny Cleary shot by Niemi.

Lidstrom’s second of the night made it 3-0 with 1:59 left in the opening frame. In the closing seconds of a Detroit power play, Henrik Zetterberg pulled the puck out of a scramble around the front of the net and brought it to the left circle. He sent a high pass out to Lidstrom in the right circle, who knocked it down off his knee and then whacked a shot out of mid-air on Niemi. The puck bounced off the ice and skipped past the San Jose goalie.

Lidstrom’s second was the lone power play goal of the night. Detroit had four tries with the extra attacker while San Jose had two.

Niemi made 36 saves on 40 shots on the night. Howard stopped 25 of 28 shots.

The two teams will meet in San Jose for Game Five on Sunday.


Mike Modano, Drew Miller and Jakub Kindl were the healthy scratches for the Red Wings.

Red Wings Hold Off Coyotes for Game Two Win

The Detroit Red Wings took a 4-0 lead early Saturday and held off a comeback attempt by the Phoenix Coyoted to pick up a 4-3 win. The Red Wings now lead their Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup, 2-0.

Pavel Datsyuk carried Detroit to their early lead, factoring in on all four goals, scoring once and assisting three more times.

Shane Doan played the same role for the Coyotes in their comeback, scoring twice and adding an assist on three power play goals.

Datsyuk got the Red Wings on the board with 9:18 left in the first period, the first of Detroit’s two goals on the power play. After getting the puck from Nicklas Lidstrom above the left faceoff circle, Datsyuk drifted into the high slot and dragged the puck to his right, snapping a shot past Ilya Bryzgalov to give Detroit the early lead.

Brian Rafalski added another power play goal with 4:10 left in the period, blasting a shot from just inside the blue line past Bryzgalov.

With just 59 seconds left in the first, Darren Helm made it 3-0. Datsyuk broke away from three defenders in the neutral zone and raced in on Bryzgalov, taking the puck between his legs for a shot that the Phoenix netminder got his pad on. After the initial save, no one made a move to stop Helm, who jumped in and banged the rebound over the sprawled-out goalie.

Tomas Holmstrom deflected a Valtteri Filppula shot into the top of the net to make it 4-0 at 1:11 of the second period, at which point the Red Wings seemingly let off the gas.

Radmin Vrbata got the Coyotes on the board at 7:02 of the middle period, snapping the rebound of a shot by Doan through an attempted block by Kris Draper and into the open side of Jimmy Howard‘s net while Danny Cleary was off for elbowing.

Doan’s first came at 5:49 of the third period, pulling Phoenix to within a pair. With Todd Bertuzzi off for slashing, Doan got to the side of the net and backhanded the rebound of a Keith Yandle shot past Howard.

In the closing seconds of a five-on-three, Doan slapped a shot from the high slot past Howard to make it 4-3 at 8:37 of the closing frame.

The Red Wings were outshot 11-10 in the third period but held on, taking back puck control in the final three minutes to limit the Coyotes’ chances with Bryzgalov on the bench for an extra attacker.

Detroit finished the afternoon with two goals on five power play chances. Phoenix went three-for-seven with the extra attacker.

Howard stopped 30 of the 33 shots he faced in net while Bryzgalov made 27 stops on 31 chances.

The two teams will meet again on Monday in Glendale.


The Red Wings lost Johan Franzen for a significant portion of the first period after he went face-first into the boards on a hit by Doan. He required over twenty stitches and returned early in the second period… Detroit was without Henrik Zetterberg again, still out with a leg injury… Mike Modano and Jakub Kindl were healthy scratches for the Red Wings.

Red Wings Score Four Straight in Game One Victory over Coyotes

The Detroit Red Wings scored four consecutive goals Wednesday night, propelling them to a 4-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes in Game One of their Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup.

Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Brian Rafalski and Jiri Hudler scored in succession for Detroit after the Red Wings gave up the game’s first goal early.

Kyle Turris opened the scoring just 2:16 into the first period, roofing a shot from the near edge of the right faceoff circle over Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard‘s shoulder.

Phoenix was poised to take control of the game for the rest of the first period, as the Red Wings took four penalties in the frame. The Detroit penalty kill came up big, though, killing off every Coyotes chance, including 1:29 of five-on-three.

Datsyuk got the Red Wings on the board at 7:38 of the second period. Franzen drove to the net from low on the left wing but the puck was knocked back behind the goal, where Datsyuk picked it up and wrapped it around, beating Ilya Bryzgalov to the far post to make it 1-1.

Franzen made it 2-1 with 7:58 left in the period, snapping a shot from the high slot past Bryzgalov.

Rafalski blasted a shot from the blue line into the back of the net with 1:44 left in the second and the Red Wings on a power play, giving Detroit a 3-1 lead after two periods.

At 3:16 of the third, Hudler snapped a shot over Bryzgalov’s shoulder after streaking down the left wing, making it 4-1 in favor of Detroit.

Radim Vrbata slapped a bouncing puck from the right wing boards past Howard to pull Phoenix back to within two at 7:38 of the third but the Coyotes would be unable to close any further.

Rafalski’s goal was the lone power play marker of the night, with Detroit having three tries with the man-advantage and the Coyotes having six, including their five-on-three.

Howard stopped 26 of 28 shots while Bryzgalov made 32 saves on 36 chances.

Game Two between the two teams will be Saturday afternoon in Detroit.


With his goal and an assist on Datsyuk’s, Franzen has points in thirteen consecutive playoff games… The Red Wings were without Henrik Zetterberg, still recovering from a lower-body injury… Mike Modano and Jakub Kindl were healthy scratches for Detroit.

Red Wings Rally for 4-3 Overtime Win in Nashville

The Detroit Red Wings scored four consecutive goals Saturday afternoon, turning a 3-0 deficit to the Nashville Predators into a 4-3 overtime win.

Danny Cleary deflected a Brian Rafalski shot from the point past Pekka Rinne at 2:58 of the overtime period, giving the Red Wings the win.

Jakub Kindl started Detroit’s rally at 3:28 of the second period when his shot from the left point found its way through traffic and past Rinne to get the Red Wings on the board.

Justin Abdelkader made it 3-2 just 1:21 later, deflecting a Brad Stuart shot over Rinne’s shoulder from in the slot.

Abdelkader scored again at 3:59 of the third period. Todd Bertuzzi threw the puck to the front of the net and Abdelkader broke free to poke it past Rinne, tying the game up.

The Red Wings thought they had opened the game’s scoring with 3:44 left in the first but Nicklas Lidstrom‘s power play goal was called back when Tomas Holmstrom elbowed Rinne in the mask as the puck went past them.

Ryan Suter put a shot from the high slot past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard with one minute left in the first period and the Predators on a five-on-three to give Nashville a 1-0 lead.

Just 1:42 into the second, Martin Erat added another power play goal to make it 2-0. Erat tipped a Shea Weber shot past Howard for the goal.

Sergei Kostitsyn blasted a shot past Howard to make it 3-0 just 55 seconds later. Mike Fisher‘s shot wide of the net deflected off the back boards to Kostitsyn, who put it in before Howard could get in position.

Howard stopped 31 of the 34 shots he faced, including making a post-to-post save on Joel Ward midway through the third period to preserve the 3-3 tie. Rinne stopped 37 of 41 Detroit chances.

The Red Wings finished the afternoon scoreless on three power play opportunities while Nashville went two-for-eight, including one-for-three on five-on-threes.

Detroit is next in action on Sunday hosting the Minnesota Wild.


The Red Wings clinched their twentieth consecutive playoff berth with the win.

MacDonald Blanks Blue Jackets as Red Wings Win, 2-0

On a night when he wasn’t even supposed to be on the roster, Detroit goaltender Joey MacDonald led the Red Wings to a 2-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

MacDonald stopped all 37 shots he faced on Thursday, a game that Chris Osgood was scheduled to start. Osgood was unable to return from his groin injury as expected on Wednesday and MacDonald was brought back from the Grand Rapids Griffins, getting the nod in his place.

Drew Miller and Valtteri Filppula scored for the Red Wings, who extended their winning streak to four games.

Miller – who had been a healthy scratch for the two previous games – opened the game’s scoring just 33 seconds in. Darren Helm‘s shot from the right faceoff circle was kicked aside by goalie Steve Mason but Miller picked the puck up in the slot and knocked it into the back of the net.

Filppula’s goal came on a Detroit power play with 8:37 left in the period. Johan Franzen carried the puck at the side of the goal for what looked like a wraparound attempt but instead passed it out to Filppula in the left faceoff circle for a wrister into the open side of the net.

The goal gave Detroit one on four power play tries. Columbus had six chances with the extra attacker, including 43 seconds of five-on-three in the third period.

Mason finished the night with 25 saves on 27 Red Wings shots.

Detroit lost both Pavel Datsyuk and Brian Rafalski to injury in the final frame. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock later said that Rafalski would be fine but that Datsyuk had suffered a lower body injury.

Zetterberg Scores Twice as Red Wings Down Capitals, 3-2

Henrik Zetterberg scored twice Wednesday night, including the game-winning goal, leading the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals.

Brian Rafalski, returning to the lineup after missing eight games with back spasms, assisted on all three goals as the Red Wings ended the Captials’ winning streak at nine games.

Zetterberg opened the game’s scoring with 7:37 left in the first period, taking a pass from Rafalski and one-timing a shot from the high slot past Washington goalie Michal Neuvirth.

The Caps responded just 33 seconds later, when John Carlson’s one-timer from the top of the right faceoff circle went through a screen and past Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard.

Valtteri Filppula put the Wings back out in front with 5:15 left in the opening frame, tipping a Rafalski chance from the point past Neuvirth.

Alex Ovechkin knotted the game back up at 5:53 of the second period, snapping a shot from the high slot between the legs of defenseman Brad Stuart to beat Howard.

Zetterberg’s game-winner came at 9:57 of the third period. With the Red Wings on a power play, Zetterberg drove to the net along the goal line and lifted a backhander off the side of Neuvirth’s mask and into the net.

Detroit finished the night one-for-two on the power play. Washington was scoreless on four tries with the extra attacker.

Howard stopped 26 of 28 shots in the win. Neuvirth made 32 saves on 35 chances.

The Red Wings return to the ice on Thursday as they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets.


Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller were healthy scratches up front for Detroit… Defenseman Ruslan Salei was given the night off to visit his pregnant wife in California… Goaltender Chris Osgood did not return to the lineup as expected, citing soreness after the team’s morning skate.

H2H2 and Oilers – Red Wings Pregame Notes

H2H2 is here so I’m kicking off today’s gameday thread before heading down to Hockeytown Cafe for the pre-game party.

As per John Keating via Twitter… Doug Janik, called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins after Brad Stuart missed practice yesterday, has already been sent back down as Stuart will be able to go tonight. Good news for a Detroit blueline that’s already missing Brian Rafalski (Khan says he’s aiming to return next Wednesday but would play now if it were the playoffs).

Jimmy Howard gets the start.

The Oilers are missing a bunch of their stars (Hall and Gagner are both out for the season) and sit last in the league, so they’ll be looking to play the spoiler tonight.

I’ll post updates as I can. More likely to post to Twitter (@detroithockey96) than here depending on network availability.