Postgame: Red Wings @ Blues – 4/13

There was something ridiculously frustrating about the Red Wings’ regular season-ending 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues on Sunday: The question of “Where was this team on Friday?”

Two days after dropping a 2-1 decision to the lottery-bound Carolina Hurricanes, the Red Wings – minus the resting Daniel Alfredsson, Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall, and Danny DeKeyser and starting third-string goalie Petr Mrazek – smacked down the Blues in a game in which St. Louis could have claimed the Central Division.

Okay, some of that is the Blues’ complete implosion. They had maybe two good scoring chances all game. Without Ryan Miller, it would have been even worse. In fact, Detroit’s goals required a bit of luck (two deflections by Justin Abdelkader and a snipe by Riley Sheahan that redirected off former Red Wing Carlo Colaiacovo), so it’s not like the Wings’ offense was entirely clicking. Detroit carried the play, though, and did it missing some big names.

And if they’d gotten a single point against Carolina, they’d be playing the Pittsburgh Penguins this week instead of the Boston Bruins.

But speaking of missing big names, defenseman Ryan Sproul did a fantastic job of stepping up in his NHL debut. I feel like I heard his name every minute or so. Aside from a rookie mistake early and maybe committing early on a St. Louis three-on-one, he looked like he belonged. Moved the puck well on the power play, good positionally, even threw a big hit. Based on one game, I’d say put him in instead of Brian Lashoff, but it’s too small of a sample size to actually make that call.

I didn’t hear Xavier Ouellet‘s name as much but in that good way that means he didn’t make any mistakes. Sproul got the flashy power play time, Ouellet got the penalty-kill time.

Of the other fill-ins, we may have seen Todd Bertuzzi and Joakim Andersson as Red Wings for the last time. Bertuzzi is a free agent who probably won’t be brought back this summer and Andersson has been replaced by Luke Glendening, making him a tradeable asset (not that I expect him to actually be dealt).

Mrazek ends up with a strange stat line this season, as both of his wins were by shutout (and were both on the road, against teams wearing blue). He looked confident, coming out to cut down angles. He made a big stop on the three-on-one I mentioned earlier, where Sproul may have gone down early, getting his leg up to knock down a shot after sprawling out to take away the bottom of the net.

Now it’s on to Boston.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Devils – 3/4

Well, that was heartbreaking but not entirely unexpected.

Detroit spent the entire third period running around looking lost, aside from the power play on which they scored their third goal. It was like after Daniel Alfredsson lost his teeth, so did the Red Wings.

Some things were good on the night. Johan Franzen is playing like a man possessed. Todd Bertuzzi looked good. Brendan Smith really did make a smart play to jump up on Detroit’s second goal.

Many things weren’t good, though, and those stick out. Two goals against due to defensive miscues and another due to the ridiculously bad break of Jonathan Ericsson knocking the puck out of Jimmy Howard‘s glove. The game-winner was the only goal that wasn’t entirely set up by a Detroit failure.

In all, the bad outweighed the good. It was a pretty ugly effort and the Wings probably didn’t deserve to win.

And as I mentioned on Twitter, this marks the Red Wings’ first-ever regulation loss at Prudential Center.

Ten From Red Wings Organization Named to Olympic Teams

A total of ten players from the Detroit Red Wings have been named to the Olympic teams for their respective countries, as the final teams announced their rosters today.

Goaltender Jimmy Howard was revealed as a member of Team USA immediately following the Winter Classic in Ann Arbor last week. He is expected to be the third goalie behind Jonathan Quick and Ryan Miller, brother of Detroit’s Drew Miller. It will be Howard’s first Olympic experience.

Forwards Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco will represent their native Slovakia, each for the first time. After making his NHL debut and playing seven games with Detroit, Jurco was returned to the Grand Rapids Griffins last week.

Six Swedes lead the way for the Wings. Henrik Zetterberg, Daniel Alfredsson, Niklas Kronwall, Johan Franzen, Jonathan Ericsson and Jonas Gustavsson will represent Tre Kroner. Only Ericsson is a first-time Olympian of the group. Franzen and Gustavsson played for Sweden in 2010. Kronwall represented his country in 2006 and 2010. Alfredsson is the long-timer, making his fifth appearance after 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010.

Zetterberg, who was on the Swedish team in 2002 before transitioning to the Red Wings and again in 2006 and 2010, will serve as the team captain.

Rounding out the Sochi-bound Red Wings is forward Pavel Datsyuk, the team’s lone representative on the host Russian squad. He’ll be making his fourth (2002, 2006, 2010) Olympic appearance.

Though no Red Wings players were named to the Canadian contingent, that team will be coached by Detroit bench boss Mike Babcock.

Pregame: Winter Classic 2014 – Maple Leafs @ Red Wings

Kicking this off now so I don’t have to worry about it in the morning. Let’s get the lineup stuff out of the way first…

Tomas Jurco has been sent back to the Grand Rapids Griffins, making him the unlucky one who plays in neither of the organization’s outdoor games this season as he was in Nashville with the Red Wings on Monday while Grand Rapids played the Toronto Marlies at Comerica Park.

On the flip side, Luke Glendening will get to play in both games, having been sent down to the Griffins in time for Monday’s game and called back to appear in the Winter Classic. And we’re told he will play. I’m sure one of the beat writers being shuffled back and forth between Ann Arbor and Detroit saw the actual practice lines but I’m out of the loop, having been at Comerica Park for the Alumni Showdown all day, so I’m assuming Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg will be put on the same line so the Wings needed an extra center. Or maybe they just want that option.

Daniel Alfredsson could miss the game. He’ll make the decision himself in the morning.

Jimmy Howard will get the start in goal even after his awful outing in Nashville. With Jonas Gustavsson hurt, you knew the team wouldn’t go with Petr Mrazek so that’s no surprise.

Here’s some super-sized stupid stats to go with the super-sized venue…

  • The Red Wings are unbeaten all-time in outdoor games. (Their only outdoor game being a win in the 2009 Winter Classic.)
  • The Red Wings organization has never won an outdoor game it hosted. (Griffins lost to the Marlies on Monday.)
  • No team in the Red Wings organization has ever hosted an outdoor game in their actual host city. (Grand Rapids hosted a game in Detroit, Detroit will host a game in Ann Arbor.)
  • The home team has never lost in regulation in any high-level outdoor hockey game in Michigan. (MSU tied U-M in the Cold War, U-M beat MSU in the Big Chill, Griffins lost in a shootout on Monday.)
  • The Red Wings are 1-2 all-time in “home” games played outside their normal home arena. (Lost to Washington in Milwaukee, 3/16/1993. Beat Hartford in Cleveland, 2/24/1994. Lost to St. Louis in Stockholm, 10/2/2009.)
  • The Red Wings are 11-4-3 all-time when playing in an arena other than the home team’s normal home arena.

Game time is 1:00 PM on NBC.

Red Wings Injury Recap

Gustav Nyquist joined the long list of the Red Wings’ walking wounded today, as it was revealed that he is day-to-day with a groin injury.

By my count, Nyquist is the fifteenth Detroit player to miss time due to injury this season. Darren Helm and Stephen Weiss have missed time twice for seventeen total injuries.

The full list is as follows:

Player Injury
Justin Abdelkader Head
Daniel Alfredsson Groin
Todd Bertuzzi Shoulder
Pavel Datsyuk head
Danny DeKeyser Shoulder
Patrick Eaves MCL
Jonathan Ericsson Shoulder
Johan Franzen undisclosed
Darren Helm Back, Shoulder
Niklas Kronwall Head
Gustav Nyquist Groin
Brendan Smith Shoulder
Jordin Tootoo Shoulder
Stephen Weiss Groin (twice)
Henrik Zetterberg Back

The breakdown by injury type is as follows:

Injury Times Occurred
Shoulder 6
Groin 4
Head 3
Back 2
undisclosed 1

Read into that what you will.

H2H3 Pledge Season is Here

For those who may have missed it, the H2H3 fundraising pledge games begin today with the Red Wings visiting the Ottawa Senators.

As with the original H2H and H2H2, the pledge games are central to fundraising efforts in support of Childrens’ Hospital of Michigan. The idea is simple: Pick virtually any quantifiable event that can happen over the next eleven games and pledge a dollar amount. If your event happens, you donate that amount to Childrens’ Hospital of Michigan.

For example, I’ve got $11 pledged towards Daniel Alfredsson scoring a goal today. For each point he scores, I’m on the hook for $1.11. For each shot he takes against his former club, $0.11 (with the total rounded up to the next dollar just to make the accounting easier).

Earlier this week, J.J. from Kansas over at Winging it in Motown re-shared the story of his daughter’s birth as an example of why these fundraisers are so important. Unfortunately, his story is not unique.

Meet Ellie. My daughter was born at 11:04 AM on April 27, the morning of the day that the Red Wings would round out the regular season with their fourth consecutive win and clinch a playoff berth. She wasn’t supposed to be born until the day that ended up being Game Five of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Ellie is one of three babies born eight weeks early on that day alone in our hospital. They each had their own challenges as they spent roughly the first month of their lives in the NICU. PICC lines for intravenous feeding, later upgraded to a relatively standard feeding tube. A nasal cannula for when they had trouble breathing. A tanning bed (okay, phototherapy) for when the bilirubin levels got to be worrisome.

As a parent, eight weeks early is a terrifying number. Seeing your child in that situation is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But to anyone who ends up there anyway I can confidently say that the professionals taking care of your child are some of the most amazing people on the planet.

While we spent four weeks camped out in the NICU we saw some incredible things. Our neighbor when we first got there had been born at 26 weeks and was going strong a couple weeks in. A child was delivered at 23 weeks, an event for which the staff was completely prepared.

What you support when you make your pledge is a facility that makes positive outcomes for these extraordinary events so possible. You support the doctors and nurses and specialists who see a 32-weeker as no big deal. You support the families who are terrified at being there eight weeks before they expected to be.

We were not at Childrens’ Hospital of Michigan but it doesn’t matter. Whatever the actual location, these are incredible places that deserve our recognition.

If you haven’t already (or if you have and want to again), I ask you to, please, make a pledge. Any amount – it’s more than they would see if you did nothing.

This now-seven-month-old thanks you.

Postgame: Bruins @ Red Wings – 11/27

Delayed postgame thoughts…

Obviously the Bruins weren’t on last night. A certain amount of Detroit’s dominance can be attributed to that and some lucky bounces. Hardly all of it, though, as the Red Wings were clearly clicking and did a great job of taking advantage of the opportunities given to them.

As I said repeatedly, I can’t believe Boston left Tuukka Rask in for all six goals. That makes no sense to me.

My favorite goal of the night was Gustav Nyquist to Henrik Zetterberg just because that was a play that Nyquist could have easily quit on after missing the open net. He didn’t, he helped keep the play going and got the puck to Z for the goal that should have come earlier.

Darren Helm between Justin Abdelkader and Daniel Alfredsson looks like a legitimate second line. How weird is that?

I’ll be shocked if Mikael Samuelsson isn’t waived before Danny DeKeyser returns from injury. He’s got a no-trade clause but not a no-move clause. Sending him to Grand Rapids wouldn’t save the Red Wings any cap space. If a team were to claim him it’d be a huge help to the Wings. For that same reason, a team probably wouldn’t claim him, but it’s worth a shot at this point.

Similarly, it looks a lot like the Wings recognize bringing Daniel Cleary back was a mistake. He’s been buried on the fourth line with Samuelsson and could be on the chopping block when DeKeyser returns.

After his awful year last year, I never thought I’d be saying this: I wouldn’t mind seeing Jonas Gustavsson brought back next year. Buy Petr Mrazek more time in GR. What a great turnaround he’s had.

Red Wings Rally For 3-1 Win over Sabres

The Detroit Red Wings trailed after the first period on Sunday but scored the game’s final three goals, rallying for a 3-1 win over the league-worst Buffalo Sabres.

Johan Franzen had a goal and an assist in the third period to help his team to the win.

Buffalo’s Cody Hodgson opened the game’s scoring at 7:47 of the first period. Darren Helm turned the puck over to Drew Stafford as he attempted to exit the Detroit zone and Stafford sent it down to Hodgson, who was all alone to draw out Red Wings’ netminder Jonas Gustavsson and stuff a shot around him from the side of the net.

Helm would make amends just thirty seconds into the second period, taking a pass from behind the net by Daniel Alfredsson and spinning in the slot to throw a backhander past Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller, tying things up.

With 8:17 left in regulation and Detroit on a power play, Franzen threw a shot from the left faceoff circle on net. The puck deflected off defenseman Alexander Sulzer and past Miller to give the Red Wings the lead.

Franzen nearly iced the game in the closing minute but his shot towards the empty net from the left wing went off the post. He tracked down the puck, though, and worked it back out in front for Alfredsson to bury, finishing off the scoring.

Detroit finished the game one-for-three on the power play. The Sabres were scoreless on two tries with the man-advantage. Buffalo captain Steve Ott also missed on a second-period penalty shot.

Gustavsson, unbeaten in regulation this season, stopped 21 of the 22 shots he faced. Miller made 31 saves on 33 shots.

The Red Wings were without Pavel Datsyuk, who remained in Detroit after suffering a possible concussion in Saturday’s game against Ottawa… Daniel Alfredsson returned from his groin injury to take Datsyuk’s spot in the lineup. Alfredsson also wore the alternate captain’s A normally assigned to Datsyuk… The Sabres debuted their controversial new alternate jerseys for the game.

Pregame: Senators @ Red Wings – 11/23

The Red Wings host the Ottawa Senators tonight and the Detroit Swede most under the microscope isn’t former Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson but Gustav Nyquist.

Nyquist made his first appearance of the season on Thursday, scoring twice against the Carolina Hurricanes. Playing a second game with the Wings would mean he can’t return to the AHL without clearing waivers, so his appearance in the lineup tonight means he’s up for the rest of the season.

Alfredsson, as well as fellow summer signing Stephen Weiss, remains out injured.

Jimmy Howard is expected to start opposite Robin Lehner.

Stupid stat of the day: The Red Wings are unbeaten this season with Gustav Nyquist in the lineup.

Game time is 7:00 PM on FSD.

Pregame: Predators @ Red Wings – 11/19

The Red Wings go for their fourth consecutive shootout loss tonight as they host the Nashville Predators.

Wait, that’s not the narrative? How about their sixth consecutive overtime or shootout loss? Seventh consecutive loss? Eighth consecutive home loss? Seventh consecutive home overtime or shootout loss?

Yeah, things haven’t been good lately.

With Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss still out, the Wings will roll eleven forwards and seven defensemen as Brendan Smith returns from injury. Jimmy Howard gets the start.

Stupid stat of the day: The Red Wings are unbeaten against Nashville at home in November on days with double digits.

Game time is 7:30 PM on FSD+.