Second Period Sinks Red Wings in 4-2 Loss to Coyotes

The Red Wings scored first on Thursday night in Glendale but a three-goal second period propelled the Phoenix Coyotes to a 4-2 win over Detroit.

Valtteri Filppula opened the game’s scoring just 1:56 into the first period on a power play. Gustav Nyquist‘s chance from the slot was knocked down and Nyquist caught up with the puck for another try. Phoenix netminder Chad Johnson knocked it aside but Filppula got to the rebound in the left faceoff circle and backhanded a shot into the open side of the net.

Michael Stone knotted things up at 1:47 of the middle period with a blast from the top of the left faceoff circle through Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

Former Red Wing Chris Conner put the Coyotes out in front at 8:08. Mikkel Boedker carried the puck into the Detroit zone and as soon as Detroit defender Brendan Smith shifted to pressure him, he passed the puck off to Conner all alone in the left circle to snap a shot between Howard’s legs.

With 3:59 remaining in the period, Shane Doan made it 3-1. Doan and Martin Hanzal were left all alone at the Detroit blue line during a Red Wings’ line change and Keith Yandle hit Hanzal with an outlet pass. Hanzal passed it around a diving defender to leave Doan all alone in front of Howard for a wrister into the back of the net.

The Red Wings made it close with 1:13 remaining when Henrik Zetterberg threw the puck on net and it deflected off Daniel Cleary to get past Johnson for a power play goal with Howard on the bench for yet another attacker.

Hanzal would add an empty-net goal to round out the scoring in the game’s final second.

Detroit finished the night with two power play goals on six tries with the man-advantage. Phoenix was scoreless on four attempts.

Howard stopped 34 of 37 shots he faced while Johnson made 34 saves on 36 shots.

The Red Wings are right back in it on Friday night in Colorado.


Brian Lashoff, called back up from the Grand Rapids Griffins with the NHL’s roster limits no longer in place, swapped into the lineup for Ian White… Henrik Zetterberg returned from a groin injury to replace the injured Damien Brunner (hip flexor) in the lineup.

Griffins 2012-13 Jersey Number Changes

With twenty-two players having been sent to Grand Rapids by the Red Wings in advance of the expected NHL lockout, the Griffins web site has updated the team’s roster with all the new player jersey numbers. Here’s a look at the changes we’ll see for the 2012-13 season.

Incoming netminder Petr Mrazek picks up the #34 worn last season by Ty Conklin during his AHL demotion, making him one of two Griffins wearing the same number as they are assigned by the Red Wings.

Nathan Paetsch takes the #4 vacated by Travis Ehrhardt. Adam Almquist switches from the #6 he got at the end of last season to the #5 that had been worn by Riley Sheahan, who takes the #19 from outgoing Mike Thomas.

Luke Glendening gets Jamie Johnson‘s old #10. Chad Billins claims the #14 last worn by Chris Minard after having shared #23 with Ryan Sproul last year, with #23 going to Triston Grant.

Fabian Brunnstrom‘s #17 goes to Max Nicastro and Chris Conner‘s #25 goes to Damien Brunner.

Tomas Jurco claims #28 from Alan Quine, making him the second Griffin with the same number he’s currently assigned with the Red Wings, pending Carlo Colaiacovo‘s number selection. Colaiacovo wore #28 with the St. Louis Blues and could request it in Detroit.

Finally, Brennan Evans will wear the #44 of the deceased Bryan Rufenach.

Free Agency 2012: Day 2

The Red Wings opened free agency on Sunday with four signings but on Monday it was all about who was leaving the team.  Jiri Hudler and Chris Conner are both now former Red Wings, with Hudler heading on to the Calgary Flames and Conner going to the Phoenix Coyotes.

Neither’s departure is a surprise.  Conner was looking for a place where he might be able to latch on full-time (and as I said yesterday, Detroit already has too many forwards) and Hudler was essentially replaced by Detroit’s signing of Mikael Samuelsson.

I honestly don’t think the $4 million per year for for years that Calgary ponied up for Hudler is awful, but it’s still too much.  I joked on Twitter today that Hudler and the Flames are a perfect dysfunctional fit so it’ll be interesting to see how that works out.

It’s tough for the Wings organization to lose Conner but you can’t blame the guy for leaving.  I expect the same from most of the veterans the Wings have had in Grand Rapids.

With no decisions (at least none made public) from Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, the Wings are in a holding pattern on the buying front.  I think they’re going to miss out on Parise but I’m not certain about Suter.

Suter’s the one they need, there’s no one else like him available.  If Parise goes elsewhere, the Wings will look at Alexander Semin, but Semin is smart enough to know to wait until Parise signs to get his own bidding war.

Hockeytown Shifts Gears To Watch Worlds: Americans Discover Yearly Hockey Tournament

Five games into the post season (one game short of my playoff tickets) and the Detroit Red Wings have done the unthinkable.

Started their golf season early – just not as early as the Leafs, Blue Jackets, etc.

The Detroit Red Wings have become the first team to be eliminated from the playoffs; which means no more hockey for Detroit fans to enjoy (well other than if the Flyers beat the Penguins).

All of the Detroit stars and done, gone, no more hockey until the fall right. Well maybe, but adds are that is not true either.

You see there is this “little” known hockey tournaments every year (well not on Winter Olympic years) called the IIHF World Championship; and guess what. NHL players are allowed to play.

HOLY CRAP.

Now that the Red Wings have been eliminated early there is a chance that some of them will be asked to join their native country in the tournament that is taking place split between Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland.

Currently none of the Red Wings have agreed to join their teams; however, other than for injury reasons I am sure a few may. Especially the Swedes and the Finn.

Team Sweden has gained Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, Johan Franzen, Jonathan Ericsson, Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Fabian Brunnstrom and Tomas Holmstrom to their potential player pool. I know Nicklas Lidstrom is a Swede, he was captain for Tre Kronor in the Vancouver Olympics; but The Perfect Human is still injured and I do not see him joining the team.

Event co-host Finland now has Valtteri Filppula available. Last year Finland won gold without Filppula; however with Mikko Koivu‘s injury during the NHL regular season and the loss of goaltender Niklas Backstrom to surgery Filppula is probably already receiving calls.

Russia has been lackluster in the international tournaments as of late and could use the help of Pavel Datsyuk; however, injury may keep the Magician off the ice.

Justin Abdelkader, Chris Conner, Doug Janik, Drew Miller, Jimmy Howard and Ty Conklin have become available for Team USA. With the horrible finish in last years tournament the USA needs a strong push this time around and hopefully Miller, Howard and Abdelkader can have a better ending to their season by helping out the national team.

Hockey Canada… Detroit gives to you Todd Bertuzzi, Danny Cleary, Riley Sheahan, Garnet Exelby, Kyle Quincey, Brendan Smith, Corey Emmerton, Brad Stuart, and Ian White… if you shall choose.

To the Czech Republic Jiri Hudler and Jakub Kindl would be good additions to your team.

Tomas Tatar has seen two season end thus far but could still be a big part for Slovakia.

And Slovenia The Red Wings have given you Jan Mursak.

Now Detroit fans and National Team fans sit and wait to see who will be joining as the Red Wings clear out their lockers and scatter for what is the longest off-season they have had since before winning the cup in 2008.

Helm Injured as Red Wings Fall to Predators in Game One

Detroit forward Darren Helm returned from injury only to suffer a new one, leaving Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup between the Red Wings and the Nashville Predators before the Predators earned a 3-2 win.

Helm missed the final ten games of the regular season with a sprained MCL. Tuesday’s playoff opener was his first game back but he cut his forearm on Andrei Kostitsyn’s skate in the first period and immediately left the ice.

He was taken to Vanderbilt Medical Center for unspecified surgery during the game. Detroit head coach Mike Babcock would later say “We don’t know to what extent or how severe, if any tendons or anything were cut we don’t know but it was pretty severe.”

The Predators were already up by a goal when the injury happened. At 6:59 of the period, Paul Gaustad threw the puck from the left corner to the front of the Detroit net, where it deflected off defenseman Brad Stuart and past goalie Jimmy Howard to make it 1-0.

Detroit got on the board at 2:29 of the second period. Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne knocked aside a Niklas Kronwall shot from the blue line but Henrik Zetterberg got to the loose puck and knocked it in behind Rinne for a power play goal.

The Predators regained the lead with 7:31 to go in the second when Matt Halischuk‘s long shot deflected off the outstretched stick of Gabriel Bourque and floated past Howard.

Bourque added another with 8:25 left in regulation, snapping a shot over Howard’s glove after he was left all alone in the slot.

Tomas Holmstrom knocked home a loose puck from the edge of the crease on a power play with 2:07 remaining to make it 3-2 but the Red Wings would be unable to tie it, even with a late six-on-four manpower advantage.

The Red Wings finished the night with two goals on eight chances with the extra attacker. Nashville was scoreless in six power play tries.

Howard finished the night with 23 saves on 26 shots while Rinne stopped 35 of 37 shots.

In the closing seconds of the game, Nashville captain Shea Weber grabbed Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg by the sides of his head and slammed his face into the glass, earning a two-minute roughing penalty. The NHL has yet to announce whether they will review the play for a possible additional penalty.

Game Two between the teams will be Friday night.


The Red Wings scratched forwards Gustav Nyquist, Jan Mursak, Chris Conner and the injured Patrick Eaves, defenseman Jakub Kindl, and goalie Joey MacDonald.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Predators – Game 1 – 4/11

I want to start off with the end of the game and Shea Weber‘s manhandling of Henrik Zetterberg, but I still can’t find the words for that.

It was just such a stupid play by a player who’s good enough not to need to do that. It was so blatant and has no place in the game, but #BecauseItsTheCup I don’t have any faith in the NHL to deliver an appropriate punishment.

Speaking of punishment… I had the FSD feed so I didn’t see Mike Babcock‘s in-game interview but I saw that he criticized the officiating, basically saying they were calling things just to get noticed by Gary Bettman, who was in the arena for Game One. Will he be fined for it? If so, TPL and I are already talking about a HockeyRodent-like fundraiser to cover the cost.

I just posted the question of whether or not a better-officiated game would have prevented Weber’s actions. I personally don’t think it would have, as we’ve seen many times that players aren’t afraid to take a penalty in the final seconds because it won’t actually hurt their team. In Weber’s case, if a penalty had been called it would have been at 20:00, with no time on the clock for the Wings to do anything with it. He wasn’t taking advantage of a poorly-officiated game, he would have done that anyway.

As for the rest of the game…

This could have gone Detroit’s way, so it’s disappointing that it didn’t. That said, they didn’t learn from what worked for them so they kind of deserved to lose.

Two of Nashville’s three goals were incredible luck that the Red Wings couldn’t duplicate. Those breaks happen, can’t do anything about it. That said, both of Detroit’s goals were scored by getting bodies around the net and knocking in a rebound, yet the team seemed afraid to throw the puck at the net and see what happened. They spent too much time looking for the perfect play. Unfortunately, that’s a common issue for the Wings.

Also unfortunate, the injury to Darren Helm in the first period. He caught a skate to his arm in what looked like a play very similar to what injured Mike Modano last season. He reportedly had surgery at Vanderbilt Medical Center, so if it is indeed like Modano, he’s out for the playoffs.

With Helm back out, it would appear that Gustav Nyquist will jump back into the Wings’ lineup. I have to imagine that Justin Abdelkader slides back up to third line center, with Cory Emmerton taking over centering the fourth line and Nyquist taking Emmerton’s spot on fourth-line wing. I wish the Wings could swap Emmerton for Chris Conner but they’ll want a natural center on that line so I don’t see that switch happening. I’m told that Conner did play center at Michigan Tech but I don’t think that’ll be enough.

If the Wings can get the bounces that Nashville got tonight in Game Two, or at least prevent the Predators from getting them, while still playing just as good of a game, they’re going to get a win. If the Wings can win Game Two, it becomes a five-game series with Detroit having home ice. Pressure is still on Nashville here but a win for the Wings tonight would have bought them a lot of breathing space that they don’t have now.

On Cleary and Playing Through Pain

Craig Custance sent the Red Wings Twitterverse into a bit of a spin this afternoon with a tweet about Detroit forward Danny Cleary‘s status:

Dan Cleary says he’s about 50 percent. Will play game 1 in Nashville.

The question most seem to be asking: Is Cleary at 50% better than anyone else the Wings could plug in on the second or third line?

Personally, I don’t think so. To be effective, Cleary needs to be able to skate strong, which he can’t do on one knee. He’s not Steve Yzerman, who made a legend out of doing that in 2002.

More importantly, as calming of a veteran presence as he may be, his style of play is not irreplaceable. Chris Conner could step onto the third or fourth lines and the Red Wings as a whole wouldn’t blink.

If it’s experience the Wings are worried about, they had no problem putting Cleary out in the 2006 playoffs having played a total of 10 NHL playoff games to that point. Conner sits at nine playoff games played in his career.

I understand loyalty to the guys who got you there but it’s a long season, sometimes getting you there is all they can do. When the Red Wings were beat up and had a ton of injuries, Cleary played through his to make sure the Wings made the playoffs. Now that they’re there, it’s time for someone to take over for Cleary.

Red Wings to Open Playoffs in Nashville on Wednesday

The National Hockey League released the schedule for the first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Sunday. The Detroit Red Wings will begin their postseason on Wednesday, April 11, hosted by the Nashville Predators.

Detroit’s shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday locked Chicago into the Western Conference’s sixth seed, Detroit in the fifth seed, and Nashville in the fourth seed, giving the Predators home ice against the Wings.

The Detroit – Nashville series schedule is as follows:

April 11 – at Nashville – 8:00 PM
April 13 – at Nashville – 7:30 PM
April 15 – at Detroit – 12:00 PM
April 17 – at Detroit – 7:30 PM
April 20 – at Nashville – 8:00 PM
April 22 – at Detroit – TBD
April 24 – at Nashville – TBD


The Red Wings also announced on Sunday that forward Chris Conner has been called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Red Wings Remain Winless in Philly Since 1997, Drop 3-2 Decision to Flyers

The Detroit Red Wings lost in Philadelphia Tuesday night, running their winless streak there to seven games with a 3-2 loss to the Flyers.

The Wings haven’t beaten the Flyers on their home ice since a pair of wins there en route to a sweep of the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals. In 62 total regular season and playoff matches, Detroit is 15-36-11 on the road against Philadelphia, with one of the ties coming in a Flyers’ “home” game in Cleveland, Ohio.

Henrik Zetterberg opened the game’s scoring at the game’s four-minute mark. Jiri Hudler gained the Flyers’ zone on a three-on-two and passed it off to Valtteri Filppula in the right circle. Filppula looked as though he would shoot while cutting to the slot but dropped it to Zetterberg, who cut to the bottom of the circle and roofed a backhander over Philadelphia goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.

The Flyers responded on a Detroit miscue with 6:10 left in the period. Detroit netminder Joey MacDonald came behind his net to stop the puck for defenseman Doug Janik, who thought MacDonald was going to pass to him. The Flyers’ Jakub Voracek ended up being the first one to the puck and his wraparound attempt went off the skate of defenseman Brendan Smith, slipping past MacDonald.

With 1:49 left in the first, the Flyers took the lead when Niklas Kronwall failed to hold the puck in at the Philadelphia blue line, leaving Claude Giroux clear for a breakaway, on which he beat MacDonald stick-side to make it 2-1.

Kronwall would be involved in another big play in the first half of the second period, when he stepped up on Voracek, who was attempting to carry the puck out of the Philadelphia zone down the right wing. Voracek didn’t see Kronwall coming and put his head down as Kronwall slammed into him.

Voracek also hit his head on the ice on the way down after the hit. He did not return to play.

The Flyers took a 3-1 lead with 5:50 left in the middle period on a shorthanded goal by Maxime Talbot. Giroux had another break in towards MacDonald when Ian White flubbed the puck at the Philly blue line, but White and Kronwall got back to cover him and MacDonald was able to make the initial stop. Talbot jumped up to bang the rebound past MacDonald for the ninth shorthanded goal against Detroit this season.

Johan Franzen made it close at 8:47 of the third, snapping a shot from the inside edge of the left faceoff circle past Bryzgalov just after the expiration of a Detroit power play. The Wings would be unable to pull even, however.

Detroit went scoreless on four power play tries. The Flyers couldn’t score on their two attempts with the extra attacker but did add the shorthanded goal.

MacDonald stopped 20 of 23 shots he faced. Bryzgalov made 37 saves on 39 shots.

The Red Wings’ next game will be Friday when they host the Los Angeles Kings.


The Red Wings were without Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom, Todd Bertuzzi, Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Ericsson, Jakub Kindl and Patrick Eaves for the game. With Howard out, Jordan Pearce backed up MacDonald. Chris Conner replaced Bertuzzi up front while Doug Janik replaced Kindl on the blue line… Before the game, Philadelphia retired the jersey of former Flyer and Red Wing Mark Howe, a current Detroit scout.

Red Wings Lose Howard, Kindl, Game

The Detroit Red Wings had a hat trick of losses Sunday afternoon. Defenseman Jakub Kindl left the game in the first period with what the team called an upper-body injury. Goaltender Jimmy Howard did not take to the ice for the second period with an unspecified lower-body injury. Then the remnants of the team dropped a 2-1 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The loss was the first of the season at Joe Louis Arena for Detroit backup goalie Joey MacDonald and ended his personal winning streak at seven games. He has lost both games in which he’s appeared but did not start.

The Blackhawks opened the game’s scoring on the power play, just 3:17 in. Patrick Sharp‘s shot from just in side the left point deflected off Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall‘s skate and past Howard to give Chicago the early 1-0 lead.

Kronwall answered back for the Red Wings at 6:03 of the period. Darren Helm gained the Blackhawks’ zone, jumping around Patrick Kane before circling back as the teams completed line changes. Kronwall stepped up to the blue line to take a pass from Helm and rifle a shot past netminder Ray Emery.

With 1:19 left in the second period, the Blackhawks capitalized on a Detroit turnover to score what would be the game-winning goal.

Wings’ defenseman Brad Stuart had the puck behind his own net when he sent a soft pass that was picked up by Sharp. Sharp sent it to the front of the goal to Kane, who outwaited a sprawling MacDonald and slipped a shot past him.

The Red Wings would be unable to even things up, even in the game’s final minute with MacDonald on the bench for an extra attacker.

Detroit finished the game scoreless on four power play attempts, while Chicago scored on one of their three tries with the man-advantage.

Howard stopped four of the five first-period shots he faced in the Detroit net before MacDonald took over to stop 12 of 13 Chicago chances. Emery made 23 saves on 24 shots.

The Red Wings’ next game will be Tuesday when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers.


Both Howard and Kindl are listed as day-to-day by the Red Wings… Detroit was already without forwards Pavel Datsyuk (knee) and Patrick Eaves (concussion), as well as defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom (ankle) and Jonathan Ericsson (wrist)… Forward Chris Conner did not play and was sent back to the Grand Rapids Griffins following the game, having been called up in case Todd Bertuzzi was unable to go.