Hatcher Suspended for Three Games

The National Hockey League announced on Tuesday the suspension of Detroit Red Wings defenseman Derian Hatcher for the first three games of a 2004-05 regular season following an incident in Game Six of Detroit’s second round series with the Calgary Flames on May 3.

In the first period of the game, which the Flames won to eliminate the Red Wings from the playoffs, Hatcher elbowed Calgary forward Matthew Lombardi in the head. Lombardi stayed in the game but missed Games One and Two of the Flames’ Western Conference Finals series with the San Jose Sharks. No penalty was called on the play.

It is the second suspension to arise from the Detroit-Calgary series. Calgary’s Ville Nieminen was suspended for one game after skating out of his way to elbow Detroit goaltender Curtis Joseph in the closing seconds of Game Four.

Hatcher missed most of the 2003-04 season, his first with the Red Wings, with a torn ACL suffered in only the third game of the season.

Wings Go Home Empty-Handed After OT Thriller

It wasn’t for a lack of trying, but Miikka Kiprusoff was too hard a nut for the Red Wings to crack. Martin Gelinas scored with 43 seconds left in the first overtime period to give the Calgary Flames the victory in the Western Conference Semi-Finals, four games to two.

The Red Wings were, of course, playing without Steve Yzerman, after the Captain underwent surgery to repair a fractured orbital bone damaged in Saturday’s Game Five. “I’m travelling with the team,” Yzerman said as soon as he came out from under the anesthetic. “No, you aren’t,” said the doctors. The pressure changes of air travel would easily damage the delicate orbital bone. The Captain spent hours on the phone encouraging his teammates late Sunday and early Monday. Before the game, the coaching staff carried a Number 19 jersey into the locker room. “How many of you,” they asked, “are going to play like this guy would play?”

It’s generally expected in Detroit that the Red Wings fall apart without their Captain. This game, they did no such thing. Brendan Shanahan and Kris Draper stepped up and showed the way, leading volley after volley of attacks towards Kiprusoff’s net. Nicklas Lidstrom and Mathieu Schneider barely left the ice, sitting on the bench only long enough to give Derian Hatcher or Jamie Rivers a chance to lay a hard check on one Flame or another and give Mathieu Dandenault or Jason Woolley a chance to get out and skate down loose pucks before the speedy Flames could get to them.

Curtis Joseph excelled under the pressure, making saves at least as phenomenal the saves Kiprusoff made at the other end of the ice. All night long, he stopped backhanders from Jarome Iginla and screened shots from Andrew Ference and Chris Clark. He stopped a high shot by Matthew Lombardi with his helmet.

In the end, Gelinas was only able to score due to a missed defensive coverage. Somehow, he managed to sneak into the Red Wings’ zone and wait by the corner of the net. Craig Conroy was tied up in the corner, but managed to bank a centering pass off the skate of Derian Hatcher. Joseph was facing his right to guard against Conroy and Iginla, which meant that Gelinas was able to fire the puck into an open net.

Now What?

Last year in this situation, writing my last game summary of the season, I strung together a list of predictions for how the Red Wings would pull themselves back together in the off-season.

This year, I don’t feel I can do that. The uncertainty of the collective bargaining agreement and the state of the NHL, not to mention the number of free agents the Red Wings will have come July 1, make it nearly impossible for me to think of what might happen.

The only prediction I have for next season is this one: if there is a season, Stevie Yzerman will play again.

Wishful thinking? Maybe. But the NHL is a changing place. The days of the defensive trap are passing, as young, speedy teams like the Flames, Sharks, and Lightning come to the forefront of the league. The Red Wings’ management is intelligent enough to see this and retool to meet the changing demands of professional hockey. The Captain, old-school player he may be, will wish to be there to help his team on its transition into the future. And the team would be foolish not to keep him and his wisdom.

Wings Even Series: Yzerman Leads Detroit to 5-2 Win

Steve Yzerman scored two second-period goals and the power-play converted three times as the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Calgary Flames by a score of 5-2. The Red Wings and Flames are now even in their second round playoff series at a game apiece.

Detroit opened the game’s scoring on the power play. Tomas Holmstrom scored his second goal of the playoffs just 3:02 into the period, deflecting a Nicklas Lidstrom shot from the high slot between the legs of Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff.

With 9:54 remaining in the middle frame, Detroit went up by a pair of goals. As a Mathieu Schneider roughing penalty came to a close, Mathieu Dandenault got the puck in the Detroit zone and raced up the near-side boards. He carried the puck all the way behind the Calgary net and wrapped around before sending a pass to Yzerman, perched on the doorstep. Yzerman put the puck into the net for his first home playoff goal in 11 games and his second goal of this postseason. The goal came one second after Schneider stepped out of the penalty box.

Yzerman didn’t wait long to score his third playoff goal of the year. With 7:41 remaining in the second, Yzerman again was parked on the doorstep when Kirk Maltby sent a pass to him. This time Kiprusoff was in better position, but Yzerman hesitated just long enough to roof a shot over the Calgary goalie’s shoulder and put the Red Wings up by three.

The Flames responded 1:31 later, when Shean Donovan held off Derian Hatcher and reached to deflect a Marcus Nilson pass by Detroit goaltender Curtis Joseph, who had hardly been tested to that point.

The Red Wings clamped down defensively in the third period and Calgary’s frustration showed. With 6:06 remaining, Donovan went off for slashing. Mike Commodore put the Red Wings on a 5-on-3 just 49 seconds later when he slashed Holmstorm in front of the goal.

The Wings needed only six seconds of the two-man advantage to score. Robert Lang won the puck back to Pavel Datsyuk, who passed it off to Lidstrom. Lidstrom fed Brett Hull for one of his trademark one-timers, giving the Red Wings a 4-1 lead with 5:11 remaining in the game.

With Commodore still in the box and 4:35 remaining on the clock, Robyn Regehr was called for cross-checking Holmstrom. The Red Wings converted on the 5-on-3 again with 3:52 remaining when Lidstrom scored on a shot from the blue line that may have been tipped in the slot by Brendan Shanahan.

Although the Red Wings were in firm control of the scoreboard, the physical play didn’t stop. With 3:18 remaining Chris Chelios went to the box for slashing and Calgary’s Martin Gelinas scored just eight seconds after the penlaty expired.

With 40 seconds remaining in the game, Calgary’s Matthew Lombardi and Detroit’s Jason Williams went off for roughing and Shanahan went for charging.

Sixteen seconds later, Calgary captain Jarome Iginla slashed at the back of Detroit defenseman Derian Hatcher’s legs and the two dropped the gloves. Iginla landed the first shots but Hatcher tore off Iginla’s visored helmet and landed several hits to the head before he was pushed down. Meanwhile, Commodore and Darren McCarty fought, keeping Commodore from stepping in on the Hatcher-Iginla fight.

The final half-minute of the game was penalty- and goal-free.

The Red Wings finished 3-for-6 on the power play while the Flames went 0-for-5. Joseph stopped 14 of the 16 shots he faced. Kiprusoff made 27 saves on 32 Detroit shots.

The series moves to Calgary for Game Three on Tuesday night.


Calgary defenseman Rhett Warriner left the game in the first period and was taken to a hospital for a possible eye injury. He returned to the game in the third period but did not play a shift… Detroit defenseman Chris Chelios suffered what appeared to be an arm injury in the second period but missed only one shift.

Vokoun Blanks Wings as Preds even Series

Nashville Predators’ goaltender Tomas Vokoun stopped all 41 shots the Detroit Red Wings fired at him Tuesday night as the Predators defeated the Red Wings, 3-0. The first round playoff matchup between the two teams is now tied at two games apiece.

Vokoun’s first career playoff shutout came with some help. A third period goal by Detroit’s Robert Lang was called off when Tomas Holmstrom was judged to have interefered outside of the crease with Vokoun.

The Red Wings put pressure on the Predators early but lost their momentum when a power play was negated by a Brendan Shanahan penalty for holding just before the period’s midway point.

While the teams skated four-on-four, Nashville got on the board with just their second shot of the game. Steve Sullivan took what may have been an offsides pass from Scott Walker and skated in all alone on Detroit goalie Manny Legace, beating him high with 9:16 left in the period.

The Red Wings attempted to come back in the second but could not gain any momentum as they were forced to kill off three-straight penalties starting just 5:32 into the period, when Tomas Holmstrom was cross-checked to the ice. Holmstrom slashed at Vokoun while on his knees and took a punch to the head from Vokoun but only the slash was called.

Shortly after Kris Draper was cut on the cheek by a Nashville stick in a play where no penalty was called, Darren McCarty was sent to the box for interference. He was accompanied by Derian Hatcher, who was given a roughing penalty along with Jeremy Stevenson.

Brendan Shanahan was sent to the box after the McCarty penalty was killed when he sticked a Nashville player in the face while the Predator was on his knees.

After the Shanahan penalty was killed but with a delayed penalty coming up after Steve Yzerman tripped up a diving Jordin Tootoo, Nashville scored their second goal. WIth 5:39 remaining in the second, Legace made a save and covered the puck with his right pad, but Vladimir Orszagh was allowed to pound away and knocked the puck into the net before the whistle was blown.

Greg Johnson scored 2:04 into to the third period to cap the game’s scoring. Legace was pulled in favor of Curtis Joseph, who played the rest of the game without allowing a goal.

Legace allowed three goals on 11 shots. Joseph stopped all of the nine shots he faced.

The series comes back to Hockeytown for Game Five Thursday night, when the Red Wings will look to regain the series lead. Gametime is 7:30.

Preds Take Game Three

The Nashville Predators were able to celebrate their first-ever home playoff game with their first-ever playoff win. Strong goaltending by Tomas Vokoun and the ability to take advantage of some lucky breaks gave the Predators a 3-1 win over the Red Wings.

The Red Wings were undoubtedly the better team early in the game. They skated hard, slipped through the Nashville defense, and challenged Vokoun with plenty of shots on net. They had their best scoring chance of the period during a slashing penalty to Steve Sullivan. Brendan Shanahan threaded a pass across the goal crease to Tomas Holmstrom, but Holmstrom was too well tied up by Brad Bombardir and couldn’t get his stick on the puck.

That same power play, unfortunately, allowed Nashville to get on the scoreboard. The Predators had cleared the puck into Detroit’s zone. Derian Hatcher made a soft back pass to send the puck back up ice, but the puck hit David Legwand‘s skate and stayed in the zone. Legwand was away with the puck, speeding to the front of the net and putting the puck in over the top of Manny Legace‘s shoulder.
Adam Hall made the score 2-0 with only 14.9 seconds left in the period. He picked up the pass from Greg Johnson in the right corner. Mathieu Schneider noticed Hall with the puck and moved towards him, but Hall let his shot go as Schneider stepped into Legace’s sight line.

Nashville seemed content to sit on their lead for the majority of the second period, although Legace was called upon to make big saves against Vladimir Orszagh on a two-on-one rush and Scott Walker on a wraparound attempt. Detroit, for their part, didn’t seem able to muster enough energy to pressure the Predators’ defense.

Brett Hull finally got the Wings into the game early in the third period, at the end of a long shift for his line. Henrik Zetterberg was being held up in the left corner, but he managed to backhand the puck out to Pavel Datsyuk, who tipped the puck towards the front of the net. Hull took two whacks at it, and the second shot deflected off Vokoun’s pads and up into the net.

The Red Wings came out with much more energy after Hull’s goal, but they still didn’t manage to put much traffic in front of the net to screen Vokoun from seeing their shots until very late in the period. By then, it was too late.

Scott Hartnell put the game away for Nashville with 3:57 left. Steve Yzerman was tripped just inside the Predators’ blue line, which allowed a 4-on-2 rush the other way. Hall was able to flip the puck across to Hartnell, who charged the net and banged the puck in between Legace’s skate and the goalpost.

Martin Erat took a holding penalty with 1:56 left to play, and the Red Wings pulled Legace from the net so they could go in six skaters to four, but they were unable to solve Vokoun in the remaining time.

Detroit doubled Nashville’s shots in the course of the game?42 to 21. Game Four of the quarterfinal series will be Tuesday evening in Nashville.

Jackets Down Wings in Regular Season Closer

In a game of no postseason consequence, the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Detroit Red Wings, 4-1, Saturday night. It was the last game of the season for both teams. The Red Wings had already clinched the NHL’s best record, while the Blue Jackets were already eliminated from the playoffs.

Columbus opened the game’s scoring 6:27 into the game. On the power play, former Red Wing Anders Eriksson fired a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle. Just outside the crease, the puck was deflected downwards and slipped under the glove of Detroit goalie Manny Legace.

The Red Wings tied the game just 50 seconds later. Defenseman Derian Hatcher fired a shot from the blue line that went wide of the net and bounced off the boards behind Columbus netminder Marc Denis. Steve Thomas picked up the loose puck at the other side of the net and banked a shot off Denis, tying the game.

Rick Nash scored his league-leading 41st goal of the season 4:07 into the second period to put the Blue Jackets back on top. Nash beat Legace with a shot from the bottom of the right circle.

Just 3:45 later, Trevor Letowski lifted a shot over Legace from in close to put Columbus up by two.

The Red Wings were unable to score to even the game up, and the Blue Jackets added a goal by David Vyborny with eight seconds remaining in the game.

Legace stopped 13 shots out of the 17 he faced in the game, while Denis made 32 saves on 33 shots.

The Red Wings will open the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday or Thursday night against either the Nashville Predators or the Edmonton Oilers.

Wings Show Wild Some Variety in Win

If it’s true that a team needs offense from all possible sources in order to succeed in the playoffs, then the Red Wings look to be in pretty decent shape headng into next week. Five different players scored goals to overcome the normally stifling defense of the Minnesota Wild in a 5-3 win.

Darren McCarty opened the scoring early in the first. Kirk Maltby carried the puck into Minnesota’s zone and dropped a pass back to McCarty, who took a wrist shot from the top of the left circle. Wild goalie Manny Fernandez was sliding to his right, and the puck sailed over his catching glove.

Andrei Zyuzin tied the game up with a power play goal midway through the period. Zyuzin was able to drive to the net with no one covering him, then slam Pierre-Marc Bouchard’s centering pass past Manny Legace.

Jiri Fischer regained the lead for Detroit late in the first with a similar goal””he pushed his way to the net and banged in a centering pass from Brendan Shanahan.

Shanahan and Boyd Devereaux scored in quick succession to open the second period. Shanahan scored off a hard wrist shot set up by Ray Whitney‘s hard work shaking off a Minnesota defenseman in the right corner. Devereaux’s goal came after Jason Williams‘ shot bounced off the back of Willie Mitchell, who was tussling with Tomas Holmstrom in front of the goal crease. Devereaux was able to scoop up the loose puck and put it into an empty corner of the net while Fernandez was screened by Holmstrom and Mitchell.

Alexandre Daigle brought the Wild back within a pair a few minutes later. Wes Walz cleanly won a faceoff in Detroit’s zone, and Daigle one-timed the shot before Legace was quite ready for it. The puck barely squeezed through between the goalie’s pads.
Daigle outskated Derian Hatcher and put his own rebound into the net at a very tight angle to bring the Wild within one goal with 8:32 left in the game, but Pavel Datsyuk put the game out of reach with his 30th goal of the season. Datsyuk picked up the rebound from Brett Hull‘s shot, danced around three Minnesota skaters in the slot, then whipped the puck past Fernandez.

Detroit outshot Minnesota by a count of 38 to 24. The Red Wings will head out for their last road trip of the regular season after tonight. They’ll play the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday and the St. Louis Blues on Thursday before returning home to close the season against Columbus on Saturday.


Detroit only needs one more point in the standings to clinch the Western Conference title”¦. Kris Draper and Robert Lang should be back in the lineup for Wednesday’s game. Mathieu Dandenault could return for Saturday’s game”¦. The Detroit chapter of the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association has nominated Steve Thomas as the Red Wings’ candidate for the Bill Masterton Trophy, which is awarded to the player who most exemplifies perseverance and dedication to hockey.

Lookin’ Good: Wings Shutout Avs

Just as on Thursday night, Manny Legace gave the Colorado Avalanche’s shooters fits of frustration. This time, Legace finally got his shutout, as strong play on both offense and defense lifted Detroit to a 2-0 win over Colorado.

Colorado got the game off to a quick start, peppering Legace with shots in the early stages, but the Red Wings patiently took control of the play and did their own testing of goalie Tommy Salo.

The Avalanche had their big chance of the game midway through the second, when Derian Hatcher received double penalties for roughing and high-sticking. Detroit’s penalty kill did such a good job of breaking up passes and blocking shots that Legace only had to make three saves during the whole four minute power play. The best of the three was a pad save on a fluttering backhand shot by Rob Blake.

Between the excellent goaltending and defensive play on both sides, no one was able to light up the scoreboard until Mathieu Schneider scored a power play goal with just ten seconds left in the second period. Pavel Datsyuk won a draw against Joe Sakic deep in Colorado’s zone. The puck fell back to Schneider, who knocked it left to Nicklas Lidstrom.
Lidstrom passed to Brett Hull, then got it back and sent it across to Schneider at the right point. Schneider took a high shot which hit the underside of the crossbar and angled down into the net.

Datsyuk cemented Detroit’s lead 4:06 into the third period, during four-on-four play with coincidental penalties to Brendan Shanahan and Adam Foote. Chris Chelios passed to Datsyuk as the young Russian crossed Colorado’s blue line. Datsyuk centered the puck for Hull, but Hull’s shot was blocked by Bob Boughner. Datsyuk was able to get to the loose puck, skate around Boughner and Salo, then put the puck high over Salo’s blocker.

Colorado pulled Salo from net with 1:36 left to play, but the six skaters were simply unable to put the puck past Legace, who had to make one last good kick save in the final second to preserve his shutout.

Shots were even, with 27 per team. The Red Wings’ next opponent will be the Minnesota Wild, Monday night at the Joe.


The Red Wings have a 26-5-6-1 record in games in which Datsyuk has at least a point”¦. Curtis Joseph had an MRI on his injured ankle, which revealed that a piece of cartilage has pulled away from the bone. He is receiving cortisone injections, in the hope that the swelling will go down enough to allow him to play before the regular season ends on April 4″¦. The team also hopes to bring Kris Draper, Mathieu Dandenault, and Robert Lang back into the lineup before the playoffs begin.

More Problems on the Road: Cujo hurt in 5-2 loss to Sharks

The injury bug just doesn’t seem to want to go away. Oh sure, Derian Hatcher made it back into the lineup after recovering from a bruised shoulder, but now the Wings have lost Curtis Joseph again. Joseph tweaked his sore right ankle during the pre-game warmup, and nothing went quite right for Detroit after that. Jonathan Cheechoo scored two goals to help lift San Jose to a 5-2 win.

Detroit outshot San Jose through the first period, but the Sharks got out to an early 2-0 lead, thanks to sloppy defensive play by the Red Wings. Scott Hannan opened the scoring by skating to the slot alone and swatting a loose puck, which had just ricocheted off Hatcher’s skate, into the net.

Cheechoo increased the lead 9:40 into the game. Manny Legace made the first save against a hard shot from Mike Ricci, but Cheechoo was able to pick up the rebound, circle the net, and whack at the puck until he finally stuffed it in on the left side.

Pavel Datsyuk got the Red Wings on the board with 1:18 left in the period. Brett Hull intercepted a pass deep in the Sharks’ zone, then passed to Datsyuk at the right circle. Datsyuk moved to the net, faked out goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, then slipped the puck over the goal line.

The Sharks regained their two-goal lead early in the second. Chris Chelios tried to clear the puck, but it hit a partition in the glass and stayed in the zone. Cheechoo got hold of the puck and blasted a shot from the left circle. Legace wasn’t quite able to get his glove up high enough and the puck sailed into the net.

Jiri Fischer brought the Wings back within one goal with a point shot midway through the period, but the Sharks responded with two goals in the third. Alyn McCauley beat everyone to a loose puck while Legace was tangled up with Anders Myrvold and Niklas Ekman. McCauley threw the puck into the crease, and Alexander Korolyuk outraced Henrik Zetterberg to get to the puck and direct it into the net with his skate.

Vincent Damphousse capped off the scoring by poking in a rebound from a shot by Patrick Marleau with just over four minutes left to play.

Detroit outshot San Jose by a count of 39 to 20. The Red Wings will finish up their West Coast trip with a stop in Denver Thursday night to visit the Colorado Avalanche.


Damphousse’s goal was his 1200th career point… Datsyuk now has 27 goals this season, four more than he had in his two previous seasons combined… The Wings are currently tied for first with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL standings, with 99 points each. The Sharks and Avalanche, currently the second and third seeds in the Western Conference, have 94 points each.

Ducks Win 8-6: Wings & Ducks Defy NHL’s Current Low-Scoring Reputation

The Red Wings had plenty of jump and generated plenty of scoring chances on Sunday, but their defense just wasn’t quite as strong. With key players Mathieu Schneider and Kirk Maltby now out of the lineup, and Kris Draper and Derian Hatcher already missing, the Wings’ penalty killing suffered accordingly, allowing the Anaheim Mighty Ducks to score 2 power play goals in 6 tries en route to an 8-6 win.

Detroit made a point of starting the game strong. Pavel Datsyuk, Brett Hull, and Steve Yzerman got the Red Wings out to an early 3-0 lead, each putting a wrist shot past Jean-Sebastien Giguere before six minutes had passed in the game. Unfortunately, the Wings’ defensive play was not nearly so well-executed as their offensive play.

The Ducks got their first power play of the game when Boyd Devereaux was called for hooking, and Sergei Fedorov set up a good play for Joffrey Lupul to score. Fedorov circled the net and centered a pass across the goal crease, and Lupul was right at the side of the net to whack the puck past Manny Legace.

Steve Rucchin took advantage of Detroit’s inability to clear the puck. Vaclav Prospal shot on net from the left point. Vitaly Vishnevski took a whack at the rebound, and Rucchin pulled the second rebound away before Legace could cover it up, then slipped it around the side of the goalie and into the net.

Jason Williams took a double minor penalty for high sticking as the first period was ending. Detroit thought they caught a break when Niclas Havelid was given a hooking penalty with a minute and a half gone in the penalty to Williams, but the Ducks scored twice during the resulting four-on-four. Sammy Pahlsson‘s goal off a partly screened wrist shot tied the game at 2:10, and Fedorov moved Anaheim into the lead by slipping a rebound of Rob Niedermeyer’s shot past Legace’s right skate at 2:36.

Curtis Joseph came in for Legace at that point, but that didn’t give the Red Wings quite the shake-up they were hoping for. Jamie Rivers took a boarding call, giving Anaheim 15 seconds of 5-on-3 play with Williams still in the box. Prospal was able to make a hard pass across the goal crease, and Petr Sykora smacked the puck into the net.

Nicklas Lidstrom converted on a good centering pass from Henrik Zetterberg to get the Wings back within one just two minutes later, and Rivers jumped into the play from the blue line to tie the game with a high shot over Giguere with 3:07 left in the third. Joseph did his part by coming up with a big save against Lupul with only 1:25 left in the period.

Ray Whitney moved Detroit back into the lead early in the third. He got the rebound from Yzerman’s shot. Giguere had slid far to his left while making the first save, but defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh was flopped in the crease trying to cover as much of the net as he could. Whitney whacked at the puck until he finally put it past Ozolinsh.

Vishnevski negated the momentum swing by tying the game back up just 26 seconds later. Detroit made an uncoordinated line change, and Vishnevski was able to drive to the net uncovered to put the rebound of Pahlsson’s shot past Joseph.

Fedorov flipped a deflection by Niedermeyer into the net at 7:01 to give the Ducks the lead for good. Rucchin capped off the scoring with an empty net goal with 14 seconds left.

Detroit outshot the Ducks by a count of 57 to 30. The Red Wings will have tomorrow off to try to regroup before facing the Pacific Division-leading Sharks in San Jose on Tuesday night.


Yzerman’s assist on Whitney’s goal was the 1041st of his career, moving him past Marcel Dionne into 8th on the all time assists list”¦. Schneider is listed as day-to-day with a groin injury. Hatcher wasn’t quite ready to play, so the Wings had to play with only five defensemen”¦. Maltby left the team after Saturday’s game to return to Detroit in preparation for the birth of his first child.