Wings Won’t Bring Back Lang

The Detroit News reports that Red Wings GM Ken Holland has opted not to offer a contract to forward Robert Lang. Lang will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

“With the salary cap, you can’t bring back everyone,” Holland said. “It forces you to make decisions.”

Holland will be meeting with the agents for defensemen Danny Markov and Mathieu Schneider and goalie Dominik Hasek during the draft this weekend.

I don’t think a lot of people will be too surprised that Lang won’t return. He saw decreased playing time during the playoffs and has been a constant target of criticism across the blogosphere (I hate that word).

To replace him, I expect either that Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg will be split up to center the top two lines or Valtteri Filppula will jump up to second-line center.

Red Wings Steamroll Blackhawks to End Season

Neither the Detroit Red Wings nor the Chicago Blackhawks needed a win in Saturday afternoon’s matchup between the Original Six rivals but only the Blackhawks played like it, as the Red Wings rolled to a 7-2 win to clost out their regular season schedule.

A shootout loss by the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night assured the Red Wings that they had clinched the Western Conference’s regular season championship but that didn’t stop them from jumping out to an early lead and staying in control for the rest of the game.

Danny Markov got the Red Wings on the board just 4:31 into the game with a shot from the point that deflected off of a Blackhawk defender, hit the back boards, came out in front of the net, bounced off the skate of goalie Patrick Lalime, and went into the net.

It was 1:03 later that Detroit got a goal that did not require a series of lucky bounces, when Mikael Samuelsson scored the first of two on the afternoon with a quick shot from the right faceoff dot past Lalime.

Kyle Calder added a power play goal with 8:30 remaining in the period, deflecting a blast by Samuelsson.

Detroit kept the pressure on in the second, scoring at 3:51 when Tomas Holmstrom slipped a shot from the slot under Lalime.

Calder notched his second of the day against his former team 1:36 later. After a Blackhawk giveaway in their own zone, Robert Lang sent the puck up to Samuelsson, who threaded a pass back down low to Calder alone in front of the net to roof a shot over Lalime.

Samuelsson added his second with 7:30 remaining in the middle period with the Red Wings on a power play, seconds after the expiration of a four-on-three, when his wrister from the top of the right circle got past Lalime with Dan Cleary screening him.

Radim Vrbata got Chicago on the board with 1:46 remaining in the second but Kyle Quincey‘s first career goal put the Red Wings back up by six just 12 seconds later.

Nikolai Khabibulin replaced Lalime to start the third period and did not allow a goal.

Jeff Hamilton closed out the game’s scoring at 7:37 of the final period when his wrister from the top of the right circle deflected off of Markov and past Detroit netminder Chris Osgood.

Osgood finished the game with 19 saves on 21 shots against, the first of which didn’t come until the Red Wings already had a three-goal lead. Khabibulin stopped all 15 shots he faced in the third while Lalime made 17 stops on 24 shots in the first two periods.

Detroit scored twice on eleven power play chances. Chicago was held off the board on their four tries with the extra skater.

The Red Wings now await to find out whether their first round playoff opponent will be the Calgary Flames or the Colorado Avalanche. The two teams meet on Sunday in what would be a de facto playoff if the Flames lose to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night and the Avalanche defeat the Nashville Predators.

Whichever team Detroit faces, general manager Ken Holland expects the series to begin on Thursday or Friday night, with game two to be held on Sunday afternoon.

The Red Wings were prevented from claiming a third-straight Presidents’ Trophy by the Buffalo Sabres’ win over the Washington Capitals, clinching Buffalo’s first regular season championship.

Red Wings Winning Streak Continues Against Coyotes

The Detroit Red Wings won their eleventh-straight home game on Wednesday night, picking up a 4-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes. The win was Detroit’s fifth in a row overall and pulled them to within a point of the idle Nashville Predators for first place in the Central Division and Western Conference.

The Coyotes got on the board first 9:06 into the game, when Owen Nolan swatted the puck past a sprawling Dominik Hasek from the top of the crease, where it was bouncing around several players’ skates.

Robert Lang got the Red Wings back even just 4:51 into the second, taking a perfectly-placed pass from the left wing boards by Brett Lebda at the far side of the crease and tipping it past former Detroit netminder Curtis Joseph.

Henrik Zetterberg‘s first goal of the night put the Red Wings out in front with 3:33 remaining in the period. Zetterberg attempted a wraparound but started to lose control of the puck. As he moved into the left circle, he backhanded a shot that went over the diving Joseph and into the net.

Shane Doan pulled Phoenix even with 17 seconds remaining in the period, skating down the left wing and cutting to the goal. As Hasek came out to knock the puck away, Doan moved around him and put it into the empty net with one second remaining on a power play.

Zetterberg’s second of the night was the eventual game-winner. Just 3:22 into the third, his wrister from the top of the right circle deflected off of a Phoenix skate and over Joseph’s shoulder.

Pavel Datsyuk would add a mostly-empty-net goal with one minute remaining to clinch the victory. With Joseph at the bench but not off the ice, Datsyuk whipped a shot into the open net.

Doan’s goal was the only power play goal on the night, with Phoenix going 1-for-4 and Detroit going 0-for-5.

Detroit fired 48 shots on Joseph and he stopped 44 of them. Hasek made 20 saves on 22 shots against.

The Red Wings will get their chance to pass Nashville in the standings Thursday night when they visit the St. Louis Blues while the Predators host the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Defenseman Danny Markov left the game late in the third period with an apparent chest injury after taking a hit from Jeremy Roenick. He was taken to Detroit Medical Center for precautionary x-rays.

Red Wings Ride Wild Finish Past Blackhawks

The Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks combined for three goals in a span of 50 seconds late in the third period on Saturday, with the Red Wings holding on and adding an empty-net goal in the final minute en route to a 6-3 win.

Detroit was up 3-2 when Jason Williams scored his second of the night on a blast from the blue line on the power play with 6:23 remaining in the period.

Just 27 seconds later, Tony Salmelainen slipped a shot between the pads of Detroit netminder Chris Osgood on a broken play.

Only 23 seconds after that, Danny Markov blasted a shot that bounced up and over Chicago goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and into the net, restoring Detroit’s two goal lead.

Kris Draper scored the empty-netter with 17 seconds left in the game to round out the scoring efforts.

Chicago had taken a lead at 5:18 of the first with a blast from the left point by Brent Seabrook that bounced off the skate of defender Niklas Kronwall just seconds after the expiration of a Detroit penalty.

Tomas Holmstrom would put the Red Wings on the board with 4:01 remaining in the period. Pretty passing got the puck from Pavel Datsyuk to Henrik Zetterberg and then to Holmstrom at the top of the crease before Holmstrom faked out Khabibulin and put it past him.

Williams’ first of the night, also a power play goal, put Detroit in the lead. Williams got the puck in the slot with his back to the net and lifted a backhander between the legs of a screening Dan Cleary and past Khabibulin with 7:00 remaining in the period.

Robert Lang would score 1:42 later for Detroit’s second power play goal of the night, giving the Red Wings a 3-1 lead by blasting home the rebound of a Nicklas Lidstrom shot.

Craig MacDonald cut the lead back to one with 3:46 left in the second, poking home the rebound of a Martin Havlat shot that Osgood lost track of in his skates.

The Red Wings killed off a two-minute five-on-three split across the end of the second period and the start of the third period to hold on to the one-goal lead. It was one of six power play chances that Chicago failed to score on. The Red Wings were 3-for-7 with the extra attacker.

Osgood stopped 33 of 36 shots against to earn the win while Khabibulin made 26 saves on 31 shots.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Monday night when they host the Montreal Canadiens in a nationally-broadcast Original Six matchup.

A short ceremony prior to the game featuring Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm recognized Saturday as Steve Yzerman Day throughout the state.

Wings Woes Continue

This late, I’m not even sure what to say about Detroit’s loss to the Los Angeles Kings.

As I said in the forums, I hate staying up late for a West Coast game only to have the Wings seemingly go to sleep early. Unfotunately, that happened again tonight.

After getting the early lead, it didn’t exactly look like the Wings were going to quit, but once again they didn’t get the breaks they needed while their opponents did.

The Kings got on the board with a goal that never should have happened. Vishnevski carries the puck the length of the ice, pushes past Kronwall, and bounces the puck in off of Osgood.

Most of the time something happens in that sequence to stop the goal. He gets stopped by Kronwall, or Osgood doesn’t give him a gap, or he doesn’t get the bounce off of Osgood’s padding. None of those came through for the Wings.

The game-winning goal was an attempted pass tipped into the Detroit net by defenseman Danny Markov. How often do we see the Wings score into their own goal? Hardly ever, but it happened tonight.

Detroit put forth an effort that would win on some nights but on nights when all the bounces are going the other way, they have to do more. They didn’t and they got the loss.

Cleary’s Hat Trick Carries Red Wings over Blue Jackets

Dan Cleary‘s first career hat trick helped lead the Detroit Red Wings to a 7-4 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night in a see-saw matchup between the Central Division foes.

The third meeting in the last eleven days between the two teams saw the Red Wings score the first three goals before Columbus countered with four of their own. Detroit then answered with four more to retake the lead as the game closed.

Cleary’s third of the game was the game-winner for Detroit, came with the Red Wings on the power play and 5:19 remaining in the game. Robert Lang, who assisted on all of Cleary’s goals, rifled a shot from the left circle that was deflectd by a Columbus defender before being knocked out of the air and past goalie Fredrik Norrena by Cleary.

Detroit had tied the game 3:17 earlier on a strong individual effort by Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk held the puck in the Columbus zone at the right point on an attempted clear by the Blue Jackets, then carried along the blue line and down through the left circle – weaving around defenders the whole way – before lifting a shot into the top of the net.

In the final two minutes of play, Datsuk added a second goal and Danny Markov scored into the empty net to close out the scoring.

Cleary had opened the game’s scoring 4:21 into the opening period, setting what was then a new career high with his 15th goal of the season. He would add to that total with 4:00 remaining in the first to give the Red Wings a 2-0 lead.

Henrik Zetterberg stretched Detroit’s lead to three goals at 8:45 of the second before the Blue Jackets took over.

Ron Hainsey scored a near-side goal from the left circle to get Columbus on the board with 7:28 left in the middle period and David Vyborny added another 1:28 later, stealing the puck from Nicklas Lidstrom before moving in alone on goalie Chris Osgood and outwaiting him.

A pair of early third-period power plays put the Blue Jackets out in front, with Dan Fritsche picking off a clearing attempt by Niklas Kronwall and firing it past Osgood at 3:15 and Adam Foote scoring on a blast from the blue line 2:02 later.

Osgood finished the night with stops 21 on 25 shots against, while Norrena made 29 saves on 35 shots.

Detroit had three chances on the power play, scoring only once. Columbus had four tries and picked up two goals.

The Red Wings’ next game is Sunday night when they host the Los Angeles Kings in Detroit’s annual New Year’s Eve game.

Red Wings Hold Off Wild

The Detroit Red Wings scored all of their goals in the first 30 minutes Wednesday against Minnesota, holding off the Wild for the last 30 minutes of play to pick up a 3-1 win.

After Detroit finished scoring, Minnesota outshot the Red Wings but couldn’t get the puck in the net enough to even things up.

Kirk Maltby got Detroit on the board just 16 seconds into the game. Johan Franzen threw the puck on net from the right circle and Maltby tipped it into the pads of goaltender Niklas Backstrom. The rebound deflected off the leg of defender Keith Carney and back past Backstrom to put Detroit up, 1-0.

Henrik Zetterberg extended the lead at 4:03 of the second, getting a pass from behind the net and kicking it from his skate to his stick before wristing a shot over Backstrom’s blocker.

Franzen added a goal of his own 2:44 later, putting the puck past Backstrom from an acute angle in the left circle.

After that, the Red Wings were content to sit back and hold on to their lead.

Pavol Demitra scored Minnesota’s lone goal with 2:46 remaining, putting in the second rebound off a series of Wild chances that left Detroit netminder Dominik Hasek lying on the ice.

Despite outshooting Detroit 10-5 in the final frame, Minnesota couldn’t get another goal.

Hasek finished the night with 32 saves on 33 shots, while Backstrom stopped 29 of the 32 shots he faced.

Neither team scored on the power play. Detroit had six chances with the extra skater and Minnesota had three.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Thursday night when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets. As it will be the second game in as many nights, Chris Osgood will be expected to start in goal for Detroit.

Danny Markov made his return from injury, playing 18:05. To make room for Markov, Andreas Lilja was a healthy scratch… Robert Lang played only 6:05 before leaving the game with the flu during the first intermission… Mikael Samuelsson did not return from a groin injury as had been previously expected, Josh Langfeld was called up from Grand Rapids to take his place in the lineup.

Red Wings Fall to Oilers in Shootout

A goal by Raffi Torres in the seventh round of the shootout lifted the Edmonton Oilers over the Detroit Red Wings Saturday night, just one night after the Red Wings fell to the Calgary Flames.

Edmonton had a late 3-2 lead but Jiri Hudler tied the game with just over three seconds remaining in regulation, deflecting a shot from the right circle by Dan Cleary past Edmonton goalie Dwayne Roloson.

The Red Wings never led the game, with Shawn Horcoff opening the scoring for Edmonton at 4:38 of the first period beating Detroit netminder Joey MacDonald on a one-timer from Ryan Smythe.

Kris Draper tied the game 2:50 later on a shorthanded 2-on-1 with Henrik Zetterberg, putting a shot into Roloson’s glove which was – after lengthy review – determined to have crossed the goal line.

Joffrey Lupul put the Oilers back out in front 3:18 later, bouncing a shot from behind the goal line off of MacDonald’s pad and into the net.

Danny Markov‘s first goal as a Red Wing pulled Detroit even again at 5:11 of the second period but Torres snuck a shot past MacDonald at 8:52 of the third to restore Edmonton’s lead.

In his first NHL start, MacDonald stopped 18 of Edmonton’s 21 shots. Roloson made 38 saves on 41 shots.

Neither team scored on the power play, with Detroit getting two tries and Edmonton taking three attempts with the extra attacker.

Having closed out their road swing through western Canada, the Red Wings will return to the ice on Wednesday when they host the Vancouver Canucks.

Jason Williams made his return to the lineup after missing three games with a concussion. Darryl Bootland and Evan McGrath were returned to Grand Rapids to make room in the lineup… Continuing the effort to keep Dominik Hasek from playing on back-to-back nights and with Chris Osgood still injured, Stefan Liv backed up MacDonald.

Wings Close Out Preseason with Shootout Win

The Detroit Red Wings wrapped up their exhibition schedule Sunday night with a 3-2 shootout win over the Original Six rival Toronto Maple Leafs.

Jiri Hudler and Henrik Zetterberg scored in the shootout while only Mats Sundin could beat Detroit goalie Chris Osgood.

Sundin and Pavel Kubina – who was later ejected after cross-checking Hudler in the face – scored Toronto’s regulation goals, while Kris Draper and Danny Markov scored for Detroit.

Osgood stopped 23 of 25 shots. Toronto goalie Andrew Raycroft made 28 saves on 30 Detroit attempts.

Red Wings Rally for Second Exhibition Win

The Detroit Red Wings started slow Sunday night but bounced back for a 4-2 win over the visiting Florida Panthers, evening their exhibition record at 2-2.

Florida scored twice in the first period before the Red Wings notched three goals in the second, two of those coming on the power play. Detroit added an empty-net goal to close the game.

Johan Franzen, Mathieu Schneider, Kris Draper and Robert Lang were the Red Wings’ goal scorers.

Dominik Hasek worked the Detroit crease for the first two periods and Stefan Liv came in for the third. Ed Belfour, who almost signed with the Red Wings over the summer, played the entire game for the Panthers.

Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock said that injured defenseman Danny Markov is expected to play in an exhibition later this week.

“He’ll be ready to go in no time.”

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