Chelios Officially Back with Wings, Quincey Also Signs

The Red Wings announced today that Chris Chelios will return to the team for his 25th NHL season.

Chelios agreed to accept a lesser role this season, noting that many of the younger defensemen – namely Brett Lebda, Kyle Quincey, Derek Meech and Jonathan Ericcson – need more ice-time.
“The only difference is that guys have to play. It’s understandable,” Chelios said. “But when you watch and see what happened with Brett Favre – and I don’t put myself in the same class as him by no means – but that’s the nature of the beast. For now, I’m happy to be back, and I’m looking forward to another great year.”

Thanks to George Malik for pointing it out.

Additionally, the Red Wings announced that the team had resigned restricted free agent Kyle Quincey. As per club policy, terms of the two-year deal were not announced.

Red Wings Sign Stuart to Four-Year Deal

The Detroit Red Wings signed defenseman Brad Stuart to a four-year contract on Tuesday. The deal – worth $15 million – was agreed to just before Stuart would habe become an unrestricted free agent.

Detroit acquired Stuart at the NHL’s trade deadline in February. He was paired with Niklas Kronwall in a highly-effective second-pairing through the Red Wings’ run to the Stanley Cup.

With the signing, the Red Wings’ defensive corps from the Cup run remains intact. Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski remain the top pairing with recently-resigned Andreas Lilja and Brett Lebda as the third pair. The team will carry eight defensemen, one being Derek Meech and the other expected to be current free agent Chris Chelios.

“We’re obviously done on defense,” said Detroit GM Ken Holland. “We’re still looking for a back-up goalie. If we can find a forward on a short-term deal to fill out our needs, great. But will that be this week or later in the summer, who knows?”

Stuart’s deal includes a no-trade clause for the first two seasons and a limited-trade clause for the final two.

“They were pretty sure he could get $4 to $4.5 million,” said Holland. “We paid a little bit more than we wanted to and he took a little bit less than he wanted to. But all deals made a compromises. He’s got a home now.”

Zetterberg Leads Red Wings over Columbus

Henrik Zetterberg scored a third-period natural hat trick Wednesday night, helping the Detroit Red Wings come from behind to earn a 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Chris Osgood stopped 22 of 23 Columbus shots, keeping the Red Wings in the game after a slow start.

After outshooting Detroit 8-3 in the first period, the Blue Jackets opened the game’s scoring on a power play at 7:05 of the second, with Manny Malhotra banging a loose puck past Osgood.

Zetterberg would begin his run at 6:43 of the third period on a rush from his own blue line. He came down the left wing and cut to the middle before crossing the Columbus blue line and splitting the defense, poking the puck between the pads of Fredrik Norrena.

With just 1:54 remaining and the Red Wings on a power play, Nicklas Lidstrom fired from the blue line. It was deflected to Pavel Datsyuk at the edge of the slot, who slowed it up and threw it to the left circle where Zetterberg put a shot into the open side of the net.

Zetterberg completed his hat trick just 35 seconds later, stealing the puck at center ice and racing in alone on Norrena. The Columbus netminder came out to challenge and Zetterberg skated around him, putting it into the empty net.

Norrena finished the night with 24 saves on 27 shots.

Both teams scored one power play goal. Columbus had seven chances with the extra attacker and Detroit had five.

The Red Wings are back in action on Thursday when they visit the Nashville Predators.

Detroit defenseman Derek Meech played as a forward, replacing the injured Valtteri Filppula.

Red Wings Snap Skid Against Sabres

The Detroit Red Wings snapped a four-game losing streak Sunday night, defeating the Buffalo Sabres for just their second win in the last twelve games.

The win was a first for goalie Dominik Hasek, who had never won at HSBC Arena as a member of the opposition after spending nine seasons with the Sabres.

The game started ominously for the Red Wings, with the Sabres scoring on their first shot just 2:59 into the game.

After the puck bounced over defenseman Derek Meech‘s stick inside the Sabres’ blue line, Buffalo rushed in on a three-on-one. Maxim Afinogenov got the puck to Patrick Kaleta in the slot for a rifled shot past Hasek, putting the Sabres up early.

Dallas Drake tied the game up with 8:04 left in the first. Niklas Kronwall came down low along the left-wing boards and threw a shot to the front of the net. Drake’s tip didn’t make it through but the puck bounced back off a Sabres defenseman and past goalie Ryan Miller.

A Valtteri Filppula power play goal gave the Red Wings the lead at 5:11 of the second. Tape-to-tape passing from Johan Franzen and Jiri Hudler worked the puck from the left wing to the bottom of the right faceoff cicle and back out into the slot for Filppula’s tap-in.

Franzen added a goal of his own with 5:44 left in the period when Kronwall faked a blast from the top of the right circle and drew Miller to him before passing off to Franzen to put the puck in the open side of the net.

Jason Pominville briefly got Buffalo back in the game with an odd power-play goal at 3:12 of the third.

A Kirk Maltby hit along the boards in the neutral zone led to pushing and shoving between the two teams. Detroit’s defenders moved in to take part but the play was never blown dead and the puck came out to Pominville, who broke in alone and put the puck past Hasek.

Kirk Maltby iced the game with 4:08 remaining, putting a one-timer past Miller from the left circle after Pavel Datsyuk won a one-on-two battle for the puck in the corner.

Hasek stopped 22 of 24 shots against his former team while Miller made 35 saves on 39 shots.

Osgood, Red Wings Blank Kings

The Detroit Red Wings and goaltender Chris Osgood shut out the Los Angles Kings Tuesday night, with Detroit cruising to a 3-0 victory.

Osgood stopped 27 shots en route to his third shutout of the season and the 46th of his career. The win moved him past Rogie Vachon for sole possession of 15th place in all-time career wins.

Detroit scored one goal each period on the offensive side of the game.

Tomas Holmstrom got the Red Wings on the board at 6:57 of the first. Rushing into the Los Angeles zone, Pavel Datsyuk stepped around Dustin Brown on the left wing and threw the puck out front for Holmstrom to one-time past goalie Jason Labarbara.

Strong defensive play by Matt Ellis led to Detroit’s second goal with 5:13 left in the middle period.

Ellis forced the puck loose along the left wing boards in the Detroit end and Mikael Samuelsson picked it up, racing down the ice almost alone. Just as Rob Blake caught up with him, he snapped a shot into the top corner over Labarbara’s glove.

Johan Franzen finished the scoring at 2:55 of the third. A Samuelsson shot went wide of the net and off the back boards, coming back to Franzen at the side of the crease. He pulled it back in front of the goal between his own legs and jammed it across the goal line.

Labarbara made 24 saves on 27 Detroit shots on the night.

No power play goals were scored, with the Red Wings having three opportunities with the extra attacker and the Kings having two.

Henrik Zetterberg sat out with a sore back. Matt Ellis was in the lineup in his place… Chris Chelios also sat out, with Derek Meech taking his spot in the lineup.

Red Wings Hold Off Avalanche, Win Fourth-Straight

The Detroit Red Wings lost a two-goal lead in the second period Thursday night but fought off the charge by the Colorado Avalanche to earn a 4-2 win. The victory was their fourth in a row, all coming on the road.

Valtteri Filppula scored twice for the second game in a row, giving the Red Wings a 2-0 lead late in the first period.

With 7:04 left in the period, Filppula raced down the right wing and threw a backhander on net. Goalie Peter Budaj made the stop but the rebound deflected off of defender Brett Clark and back into the net.

Just 4:09 later, a long shot by Niklas Kronwall was knocked aside by Budaj at the top of the crease. Filppula was at the side of the net to control the puck, putting it with Budaj still out of position.

The Avalanche countered with 1:23 left in the period, when Cody MacLeod picked off a Brian Rafalski pass at the Detroit blue line, breaking in alone on Dominik Hasek and putting a quick shot past him.

At 5:56 of the second period, Marek Svatos tied the game up. Svatos went uncovered on a Colorado odd-man rush and after Hasek made the initial stop on a chance by Jaroslav Hlinka, Svatos was free to put in the rebound from the slot.

Jiri Hudler scored the go-ahead goal with 9:00 left in the middle frame. Hudler was outmanned carrying the puck down the right wing and waited for Kris Draper to catch up, passing to him. Draper sent it right back to Hudler, calling for a shot. Hudler, who had been looking to pass, snapped a shot over Budaj’s shoulder and into the net.

A strong push by Colorado in the third period wouldn’t be enough to even the game. With 11 seconds left, Mikael Samuelsson added an empty-net goal to wrap things up.

Neither team scored any of their goals on the power play. Detroit had only one chance with the extra attacker while the Avalanche had four.

Hasek stopped 22 of 24 shots against to get the win. Budaj made 25 saves on 28 shots.

The Red Wings will wrap up their season-long five game road trip on Saturday in Phoenix.

Playing their second game in as many nights, the Red Wings only lineup changes were Derek Meech in for Chris Chelios on defense and Hasek starting in goal in place of Chris Osgood.

Streak Continues as Red Wings Hold Off Predators

The Detroit Red Wings extended their winning streak to seven games Monday night, holding off a comeback attempt by the Nashville Predators to earn a 2-1 victory.

Martin Gelinas scored a shorthanded goal late in the second period to cut a 2-0 Detroit lead in half but the Predators were unable to beat goalie Chris Osgood in the third period as the Red Wings survived to get the win.

The Gelinas goal came with just 24 seconds left in the middle period. David Legwand drove the net with the puck and went down in front of Osgood, leaving Gelinas free to put a shot under the goaltender’s pads and into the net.

Tomas Kopecky had gotten the Red Wings on the board at 7:10 of the first period. Pavel Datsyuk fought off a hit by Jordin Tootoo and carried the puck down the left wing and into the Nashville zone before sending a cross-ice pass to Kopecky for a one-timer past Nashville netminder Dan Ellis.

The eventual game-winner was scored with 4:54 left in the period, when Valtteri Filppula was awarded a penalty shot after being tripped up by Jerred Smithson while breaking in on Ellis. Filppula looked to his forehand but was closed off, then switched to his backhand and lifted a shot into the net.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night. Detroit had six chances with the extra attacker and Nashville had seven.

Osgood stopped 30 of 31 Nashville shots for his 14th win of the season. Ellis made 33 saves on 35 Detroit shots.

Derek Meech replaced defenseman Chris Chelios in the Detroit lineup, with the Red Wings attempting to keep Chelios from playing on back-to-back nights.

Wings’ Roster Set

Bruce MacLeod blogs that the Red Wings’ final roster has been announced.

As expected, Derek Meech claims a spot as the 7th defenseman. The injured Kyle Quincey will work out in Grand Rapids and join the Griffins when healthy.

Matt Ellis will remain in Detroit. Free agent try-out Aaron Downey has been offered a contract and will play in Detroit if he accepts, which he’s expected to do.

Igor Grigorenko will head down to Grand Rapids. This is likely only to last through the end of the month as he’ll have the ability to return to Russia. At that point, Ellis or Downey would have to be sent down.

Mark Hartigan has been placed on waivers and will go to Grand Rapids if he clears.

More Wings Number Changes

George Malik points out this morning that Red Wings Central has their training camp roster posted. I try not to pay too much attention to camp in seasons when the roster is virtually set, such as this one, but I do like taking a look at what sweater numbers the players are assigned.

Most players will never see time with those digits on their backs (does anyone really think Dominic Vicari would show up in the Detroit crease wearing #70?) but for players that have either spent time on the Red Wings’ roster in the past or are expected to make the team out of camp, this can be the first time we see what number they will wear.

The previously confirmed number change for Tomas Kopecky (from #28 to #82) is reflected on the roster, as is the re-assignment of #28 to newcomer Brian Rafalski and #17 to Dallas Drake. We also find that Russian prospect Igor Grigorenko has been given the #21 that was to be worn last season by Greg Johnson before he was forced to retire.

Two unexpected changes are found on the blueline. Kyle Quincey (who may or may not make the lineup this season, a casualty of limited roster spots) is switching from #45 to the #4 last worn in 2006 by Cory Cross. Derek Meech, who has spent limited time with the Red Wings wearing #36 but is expected not to be sent to Grand Rapids as he would have to clear waivers, has taken on the #14 formerly worn by Brendan Shanahan.

I’m a bit surprised by the Red Wings giving out Shanahan’s number only a season after his depature to New York. It had to happen sometime, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of a push to have the #14 retired for Shanny, but it seems like the team would have waited longer.