Red Wings Earn First Exhibition Win

The Detroit Red Wings picked up their first win of the exhibition season Friday night, defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in overtime, 5-4.

With just 7.3 seconds remaining in the extra period, Jason Williams scored to give Detroit the win.

Tampa Bay had the lead twice early but had to stage a late comeback in the third, with Vincent Lecavalier scoring twice to even the game at four.

Although they got the win, the Red Wings did learn some bad news, as newly-acquired defenseman Danny Markov left the game in the first period with slight MCL strain in his knee.

“That’s all I know,” coach Mike Babcock said. “We played five defensemen all night. It’s tough in some ways, especially playing against the type of players we played tonight.”

The Red Wings expect to know more about Markov’s condition later in the weekend.

Former Wing Johnson Returns to Detroit

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Monday that they have signed Greg Johnson as an unrestricted free agent, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal.

Johnson has served as the captain of the Nashville Predators since 2002. He joined the Predators through the 1998 Expansion Draft.

Originally drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1989, Johnson broke into the NHL with the Red Wings during the 1993-94 season. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Tomas Sandstrom during Detroit’s 1997 Stanley Cup run and sent to the Chicago Blackhawks the following year.

In a 785-game NHL career, Johnson has totalled 145 goals and 224 assists for 369 points.

“We know he has character, he has speed,” said Red Wings general manager Ken Holland. “We were looking for someone with speed.”

Johnson is the second Nashville free agent to sign with Detroit this summer, following Danny Markov, who came to the Red Wings in on July 26.

Detroit Signs Defenseman Markov

The Canadian Press reported on Wednesday that free agent defenseman Danny Markov has agreed to terms with the Detroit Red Wings.

Earlier in the day the Detroit Free Press had reported that the Red Wings were close to signing an unnamed “top four defenseman.”

The Red Wings will be Markov’s sixth NHL team and his fifth in the last five seasons. He entered the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who selected him in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft.

Markov spent last season with the Nashville Predators. In addition to Nashville and Toronto, he has also played with Phoenix, Carolina and Philadelphia in a career spanning 472 games.

The deal is for one year at $2.5 million, a small raise from Markov’s last contract.

Markov will be expected to help fill the role of Jiri Fischer, who the Red Wings do not expect to return from the heart ailment that caused him to collapse during a November 21, 2005, game against the Predators.

“He’s tough to play against,” Detroit general manager Ken Holland said. “He has a reputation as an agitator, and he brings a different dimension to our team. He’s a top-four defenseman who can play a lot of minutes, and we expect he’ll be a good fit for our team.”

Red Wings Fall to Predators in Rescheduled Matchup

The Detroit Red Wings scored the same number of goals as the Nashville Predators on Monday night but came away from the game with a loss in what is likely an NHL first.

The Predators started the game ahead by a goal, having been credited for the goal that Greg Johnson scored on November 21 before that game was postponed when Detroit defenseman Jiri Fischer collapsed on the bench.

Johnson’s goal, with assists to Ryan Suter and Scottie Upshall, was the only statistic retained from the postponed game. Upshall’s assist becomes an interesting statistic, as he did not play in the rescheduled game and is not currently on the Nashville roster, having been assigned to Milwaukee of the American Hockey League.

Although approximately seven minutes remained in the first period that night, the clock was reset for the makeup matchup.

The Predators scored the game’s first true goal to take a 2-0 lead at 3:56 of the first period. Steve Sullivan took a long pass from Danny Markov to start a breakaway into the Detroit zone before beating Red Wings’ goalie Manny Legace between the legs.

The Red Wings responded just 40 seconds into the second period with a power play goal just seconds after a five-on-three advantage ended.

Robert Lang flipped a rebound shot on net that seemed to bounce off the padding inside the net and back out. In the flurry that followed, Pavel Datsyuk put another rebound off Nashville netminder Tomas Vokoun and in.

Lang was credited with the goal after the first review but that was later overturned and Datsyuk’s goal was left standing.

Just 4:35 later, the Red Wings evened the game with another power play goal. With the teams skating four-on-three, Mathieu Schneider fired a one-timer from the top of the right circle that beat Vokoun.

At 9:30 of the period, the Predators pulled back ahead when Scott Hartnell tipped a shot from the point by Kimmo Timonen past Legace with Nashville on the power play.

After a scoreless second half of the game, Hartnell’s goal stood up as the game-winner.

Detroit went two-for-nine on the power play and stopped six of Nashville’s seven chances with the man-advantage, including one five-on-three. Detroit had two five-on-three opportunities on the night.

Legace faced only 14 shots on the night, making 12 saves. Vokoun turned aside 39 of the 41 shots he faced.

The Red Wings and Predators will meet again Tuesday night, also in Detroit.


The game originally scheduled to be played in Nashville in place of this game has been rescheduled for March 30… Henrik Zetterberg returned to the Detroit lineup after missing two games with a hip flexor… The Predators are now just one point behind the Red Wings for first place in the Central Division.

Locked-out Wings Help Honor Larionov

When former Red Wing Igor Larionov retired from the NHL last spring, he knew he had one game left in him. For a year, Larionov had been planning one final game in Moscow, where is Russian fans could see him skate for the last time.

With the NHL locked out and games put on hold, many of Larionov’s former teammates were able to make the trip to Russia with him, to honor the player who last year was the oldest in the NHL.

Larionov assembled a team of Russian All-Stars to take on a team representing the rest of the world, comprised mostly of his former teammates. Retired Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman returned to the bench along side former associate coaches Dave Lewis and Barry Smith to lead the world team while Larionov’s former linemates from the Soviet Red Army team, Sergei Makarov and Vladimir Krutov, coached the Russian team.

New Jersey Devils Martin Brodeur, Patrick Elias, Scott Gomez and Jay Pandolfo joined Red Wings Steve Yzerman, Chris Chelios, Mathieu Dandenault, Kris Draper, Jiri Fischer, Tomas Holmstrom, Nicklas Lidstrom, Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty, Brendan Shanahan, Ray Whitney and Henrik Zetterberg on the World team. Former Red Wings Steve Duchesne, Martin Lapointe, Chris Osgood and Luc Robitaille also played.

The Russian squad was made up of Pavel Datsyuk, Sergei Fedorov, Viacheslav Fetisov, Sergei Gonchar, Valeri Kamensky, Nikolai Khabibulin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Vyacheslav Kozlov, Larionov, Danny Markov, Evgeni Nabokov, Andrei Nikolishin, Sergei Samsonov and Oleg Tverdovsky.

The World team, most of whom hadn’t played competitively since last season, got off to a slow start and Brodeur allowed early goals to Nikolishin and Samsonov. McCarty responded later in the period and the Russians had a 2-1 lead after one period.

Osgood replaced Brodeur between the pipes for the second period but couldn’t stop Larionov from scoring on a quick shot from the slot, as Larionov capped his career with a goal in his final game in front of his home crowd.

For the third period, Larionov and Yzerman switched teams, complete with Yzerman donning a Russian jersey with his name in Cyrillic on the back. Yzerman, possibly playing in his final game as well, scored twice for the Russians as they held off the World team for a 6-5 win.

St. Louis, Philly Upgrade for Playoff Run

The St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers announced major trades Monday as the two teams gear up for the run to the playoffs.

In the day’s first deal, St. Louis sent a fifth-round pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft to the Flyers for defenseman Eric Weinrich.

With bluelines Barret Jackman and Al MacInnis out for the remainder of the season and the Blues fighting the a playoff spot, St. Louis made the move to solidify their defensive corps. Weinrich was made expendable in Philly by the midseason acquisitions of Mattias Timander and Danny Markov.

The bigger deal of the day, one rumored to be in the works over the All-Star weekend, the Flyers sent forward Mike Comrie to the Phoenix Coyotes for goaltender Sean Burke, forward Branko Radivojevic and prospect Ben Eager.

The Flyers had two callups between the pipes before the trade as Jeff Hackett and Robert Esche were both out with injuries. Hackett, who had been battling vertigo all season, announced his retirement after the deal was announced.

Philadelphia had acquired Comrie earlier this season from the Edmonton Oilers for defenseman Jeff Woywitka.

Wings Take Goalie with Lone Day One Draft Pick

With their lone pick on the first day of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, the Detroit Red Wings selected goaltender James Howard of the University of Maine.

The Red Wings had no picks in the first or third rounds, having traded their first-round pick to the Los Angeles Kings in the March deal for defenseman Mathieu Schneider and their third-round pick to the Nashville Predators in return for a third-round pick in last year’s draft (used to select Valtteri Filppula).

Rounds Four through Nine will take place on Sunday. The Red Wings have picks in each of the remaining rounds.

The Wings chose Howard with the sixtieth overall pick late in the second round. The Hockey News had rated him at fiftieth overall. The 19-year-old, 6’0″, 218 pound netminder was ranked by NHL Central Scouting as the No. 2 North American goalie available in this year’s draft.

Howard had an 8-1-0 record at Maine prior to the World Junior Championship but his play tailed off at the end of the season. He finished at 14-6-0 with a .916 save percentage.

The feeling among NHL scouts is that Howard could become a top NHL goalie.

“I look at so many college goalies who are 20 or 21, and he was every bit as good as them,” said one scout.

Day One Draft Notes:
Ninety minutes into the draft, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the passing of Ottawa Senators assistant coach and Hall-of-Famer Roger Neilson. Neilson died at his Peterborough, Ontario home after a lengthy battle with skin and bone cancer. He was 69.

Several trades took place on Saturday. Florida traded their first-overall pick along with their third-round pick to Pittsburgh for the third-overall pick, a second-round pick and Mikael Samuelsson. Carolina acquired defenseman Danny Markov and a conditional pick from Phoenix for d-man David Tanabe and prospect Igor Knyazev. The Colorado Avalanche sent enforcer Scott Parker to the Tampa Bay Lightning for a fifth-round pick and got forward Andrei Nikolishin from the Chicago Blackhawks for future considerations. The Atlanta Thrashers traded their second round pick to the Florida Panthers for defenseman Ivan Majesky. The St. Louis Blues picked up a second-round draft pick from Tampa Bay for forward Cory Stillman and either a fifth-round pick this year or a fourth-rounder next year from Phoenix for forward Tyson Nash.

The Penguins selected goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury with the first-overall pick.

No Goal Drought In The Desert

The Red Wings got their two game road trip off to a good start, gaining a 5-3 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Detroit led 2-0 before the game was even two minutes old. Darren McCarty scored the first goal at 0:18 by taking a centering pass from Sean Avery and backhanding a shot low past goalie Brian Boucher. Avery had forced a turnover behind the Coyotes’ net, and McCarty was able to sneak up to the front of the net to be in the right place to take Avery’s pass.

Brendan Shanahan increased the lead at 1:37. A good poke check by Mathieu Dandenault forced Phoenix to turn the puck over to Sergei Fedorov in the neutral zone. Fedorov took off down the right wing, Shanahan keeping up on the left. Defenseman Danny Markov was unable to block the pass, and when it came across, Shanahan slapped it into the net past Boucher.

The Coyotes got themselves on the board at 3:11. Kelly Buchberger sent the puck out front from behind the net, and Andrei Nazarov was able to hit it so that it deflected just slightly on its way to the net, fooling Curtis Joseph for the goal.

After the three minutes of rapid goal scoring, the two teams settled down a little, both tightening up and looking for opportunities.

An obstruction hooking call to Ladislav Nagy just at the end of the first period translated into a Detroit power play goal at the beginning of the second. Jason Woolley shot the puck hard from the blue line, and Tomas Holmstrom was in front of the net to tip it past Boucher.

Phoenix got back within one goal because of a holding-the-stick call to Chris Chelios. The penalty had just run out, but Chelios had not yet made it back to the play, when Tony Amonte put his team back in the game by tapping in a puck which had been pinballing off of Joseph and Jesse Wallin.

The Red Wings stole the momentum the Coyotes’ goal generated when only four-tenths of a second remained in the period. Kirk Maltby took a whack at the puck in front of the net, and it angled between the defenseman’s legs, then between Boucher’s legs.

Shane Doan beat Joseph with a high shot from up close with 6:36 remaining in the game, bringing the Coyotes again within one. Phoenix got their break of the game when only 1:44 remained. Brett Hull was given a high-sticking penalty and sent off the ice. The Coyotes pulled Boucher from the net when about half a minute remained, hoping for an advantage from the extra skater, but Joseph made a huge save and gave the puck to Nick Lidstrom. Lidstrom shot it down the ice and into the empty net to put the game away for the Red Wings.

The score certainly does not indicate it, but Phoenix outshot Detroit by a count of 30 to 23. The Red Wings will attempt to increase their shot totals and maintain their high shot percentage with a Friday night game against the Western Conference-leading Dallas Stars.


Darren McCarty’s goal was his 250th career point and his 6th goal of the season. 26 games in, and he’s already passed his goal total for last season? Not bad…. The Red Wings confirmed today that Jiri Fischer underwent successful knee surgery, but he is expected to be out for the rest of the regular season. The team expects to have him back in time for the playoffs.

Habs Spoil the Home Opener

Before the game, the 2001-2002 Stanley Cup Championship banner was raised to the rafters of Joe Louis Arena with all due ceremony. Scotty Bowman, Dominik Hasek, Steve Duchesne, and Vladimir Konstantinov all were on hand to salute the Stanley Cup one last time before it was taken back to its home in Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame. It was one last chance for fans, players, coaches, and staff to revel in last season’s glorious ending before settling down to the regular season grind and hopeful road to the 2003 playoffs.

Detroit’s Original Six rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, were on hand to be the first home opponent of the young season. The Canadiens got a slow start in the game, but their excellent goaltending bought them the time they needed to find their rhythm, and they wound up beating the Red Wings by a score of 3-2.

The Red Wings got a power play early in the game, when Richard Zednik was sent out for hooking, and that was all they needed to jump out to an early lead. Tomas Holmstrom brought the puck into the zone and made a short pass to Henrik Zetterberg on the left side. Zetterberg headed for the goal, drawing the defensemen to himself. Meanwhile, Brendan Shanahan had quietly maneuvered in behind the two defensemen. Zetterberg passed across the goal crease, and Shanahan’s tap-in goal caught all of the Canadiens by surprise, including goaltender Jeff Hackett.

The bigger surprise for both teams was that Detroit only had a 1-0 lead at the end of the first period. They applied steady offensive pressure to a Montreal team who looked to be not entirely prepared defensively. Perhaps Hackett sensed a chance at becoming the Canadiens’ starting goalie if last year’s star Jose Theodore is unable to break out of his slump soon; the winner of last year’s Hart and Vezina Trophies has allowed twelve goals in Montreal’s past two games. Hackett came up huge for his team, stopping eleven shots in the first period alone.

The Canadiens regained their rhythm in the second period, their confidence aided by scoring a goal in the early going. Andreas Dackell was able to backhand the rebound into the net after Joe Juneau’s shot just barely trickled free from Curtis Joseph‘s catching glove. The Red Wings continued to put the puck on net at every opportunity, but Hackett remained solid, and the game was tied after two periods.

The Red Wings lost their lead a few minutes into the third period. Zednik and Saku Koivu got away on a two on one rush against Dimitri Bykov, with defensive partner Max Kuznetsov held up in the neutral zone. Bykov tried to take the passing lane away, while Pavel Datsyuk tried at top speed to get to Koivu and take him out of the play, but the pass was released and Koivu sent the shot into the net just as Datsyuk got him enough off balance to send them both sliding into the end boards.

Danny Markov scored what would be Montreal’s eventual game-winner just about midway through the period. The teams were four-on-four, resulting from overlapping penalties to Kirk Maltby and Joe Juneau. Yanic Perreault shot the puck towards the Detroit net. The puck deflected off the stick of Nick Lidstrom, but with Joseph out of the net a little way to challenge Perreault’s shot, Markov was able to get the deflection and put it in behind Joseph before Luc Robitaille was able to get himself properly positioned to cover Markov.

Datsyuk brought the Wings back within one with just over six minutes left to play. Robitaille got the puck from a left side scrum and centered it to Datsyuk, who let fly a fast, hard, one-time shot that Hackett didn’t even see until it was behind him and the red goal light was already on.

The Red Wings went on the attack then. Most of their third period shots on net came in these last few minutes. Hackett was ready. Even when Detroit pulled Joseph to send in the extra attacker, Hackett kept the Canadiens in the lead, stopping shots by Holmstrom, Brett Hull, and Sergei Fedorov in quick succession. Eventually time ran down, and the banner celebrating last year’s glory looked down over the reminder that this season still has many, many games left to go.

Shots on net were thirty-two to fourteen in favor of the Red Wings.

The Wings’ next game will be on the road; they travel to Minneapolis to face the as-yet unbeaten Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.


Boyd Devereaux returned to the lineup tonight. His broken thumb healed more quickly than expected, and his “Two Kids and an Old Goat” line with Pavel Datsyuk and Brett Hull was reunited. Stacy Roest was moved to the Grand Rapids Griffins to make room for Devereaux in the lineup.