Hockeytown Shifts Gears To Watch Worlds: Americans Discover Yearly Hockey Tournament

Five games into the post season (one game short of my playoff tickets) and the Detroit Red Wings have done the unthinkable.

Started their golf season early – just not as early as the Leafs, Blue Jackets, etc.

The Detroit Red Wings have become the first team to be eliminated from the playoffs; which means no more hockey for Detroit fans to enjoy (well other than if the Flyers beat the Penguins).

All of the Detroit stars and done, gone, no more hockey until the fall right. Well maybe, but adds are that is not true either.

You see there is this “little” known hockey tournaments every year (well not on Winter Olympic years) called the IIHF World Championship; and guess what. NHL players are allowed to play.

HOLY CRAP.

Now that the Red Wings have been eliminated early there is a chance that some of them will be asked to join their native country in the tournament that is taking place split between Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland.

Currently none of the Red Wings have agreed to join their teams; however, other than for injury reasons I am sure a few may. Especially the Swedes and the Finn.

Team Sweden has gained Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, Johan Franzen, Jonathan Ericsson, Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Fabian Brunnstrom and Tomas Holmstrom to their potential player pool. I know Nicklas Lidstrom is a Swede, he was captain for Tre Kronor in the Vancouver Olympics; but The Perfect Human is still injured and I do not see him joining the team.

Event co-host Finland now has Valtteri Filppula available. Last year Finland won gold without Filppula; however with Mikko Koivu‘s injury during the NHL regular season and the loss of goaltender Niklas Backstrom to surgery Filppula is probably already receiving calls.

Russia has been lackluster in the international tournaments as of late and could use the help of Pavel Datsyuk; however, injury may keep the Magician off the ice.

Justin Abdelkader, Chris Conner, Doug Janik, Drew Miller, Jimmy Howard and Ty Conklin have become available for Team USA. With the horrible finish in last years tournament the USA needs a strong push this time around and hopefully Miller, Howard and Abdelkader can have a better ending to their season by helping out the national team.

Hockey Canada… Detroit gives to you Todd Bertuzzi, Danny Cleary, Riley Sheahan, Garnet Exelby, Kyle Quincey, Brendan Smith, Corey Emmerton, Brad Stuart, and Ian White… if you shall choose.

To the Czech Republic Jiri Hudler and Jakub Kindl would be good additions to your team.

Tomas Tatar has seen two season end thus far but could still be a big part for Slovakia.

And Slovenia The Red Wings have given you Jan Mursak.

Now Detroit fans and National Team fans sit and wait to see who will be joining as the Red Wings clear out their lockers and scatter for what is the longest off-season they have had since before winning the cup in 2008.

Red Wings Remain Winless in Philly Since 1997, Drop 3-2 Decision to Flyers

The Detroit Red Wings lost in Philadelphia Tuesday night, running their winless streak there to seven games with a 3-2 loss to the Flyers.

The Wings haven’t beaten the Flyers on their home ice since a pair of wins there en route to a sweep of the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals. In 62 total regular season and playoff matches, Detroit is 15-36-11 on the road against Philadelphia, with one of the ties coming in a Flyers’ “home” game in Cleveland, Ohio.

Henrik Zetterberg opened the game’s scoring at the game’s four-minute mark. Jiri Hudler gained the Flyers’ zone on a three-on-two and passed it off to Valtteri Filppula in the right circle. Filppula looked as though he would shoot while cutting to the slot but dropped it to Zetterberg, who cut to the bottom of the circle and roofed a backhander over Philadelphia goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.

The Flyers responded on a Detroit miscue with 6:10 left in the period. Detroit netminder Joey MacDonald came behind his net to stop the puck for defenseman Doug Janik, who thought MacDonald was going to pass to him. The Flyers’ Jakub Voracek ended up being the first one to the puck and his wraparound attempt went off the skate of defenseman Brendan Smith, slipping past MacDonald.

With 1:49 left in the first, the Flyers took the lead when Niklas Kronwall failed to hold the puck in at the Philadelphia blue line, leaving Claude Giroux clear for a breakaway, on which he beat MacDonald stick-side to make it 2-1.

Kronwall would be involved in another big play in the first half of the second period, when he stepped up on Voracek, who was attempting to carry the puck out of the Philadelphia zone down the right wing. Voracek didn’t see Kronwall coming and put his head down as Kronwall slammed into him.

Voracek also hit his head on the ice on the way down after the hit. He did not return to play.

The Flyers took a 3-1 lead with 5:50 left in the middle period on a shorthanded goal by Maxime Talbot. Giroux had another break in towards MacDonald when Ian White flubbed the puck at the Philly blue line, but White and Kronwall got back to cover him and MacDonald was able to make the initial stop. Talbot jumped up to bang the rebound past MacDonald for the ninth shorthanded goal against Detroit this season.

Johan Franzen made it close at 8:47 of the third, snapping a shot from the inside edge of the left faceoff circle past Bryzgalov just after the expiration of a Detroit power play. The Wings would be unable to pull even, however.

Detroit went scoreless on four power play tries. The Flyers couldn’t score on their two attempts with the extra attacker but did add the shorthanded goal.

MacDonald stopped 20 of 23 shots he faced. Bryzgalov made 37 saves on 39 shots.

The Red Wings’ next game will be Friday when they host the Los Angeles Kings.


The Red Wings were without Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom, Todd Bertuzzi, Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Ericsson, Jakub Kindl and Patrick Eaves for the game. With Howard out, Jordan Pearce backed up MacDonald. Chris Conner replaced Bertuzzi up front while Doug Janik replaced Kindl on the blue line… Before the game, Philadelphia retired the jersey of former Flyer and Red Wing Mark Howe, a current Detroit scout.

Red Wings Call Up Pearce, Janik, Conner

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Monday that they’ve called up a trio of players from the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins.

Goaltender Jordan Pearce, defenseman Doug Janik and forward Chris Conner are all expected to dress when the Red Wings visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.

Pearce will back up Joey MacDonald, as Jimmy Howard will miss the game with an unspecified lower-body injury suffered during Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Howard left that game after the first period, with the score tied 1-1.

Janik will swap in for Jakub Kindl, who also left Sunday’s game early.

Conner will replace Todd Bertuzzi, who’s been playing through a groin injury.

Zetterberg Leads Wings to Comeback over Blue Jackets

The Detroit Red Wings needed a third-period comeback to best the NHL-worst Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night, rallying from down 2-1 in the final period to pick up a 5-2 win.

The victory snapped a three-game losing streak and put the Red Wings back on top of the Central Division, two points ahead of the idle St. Louis Blues.

The game was tied at a goal apiece heading into the third but Derek MacKenzie put the Blue Jackets up by a goal, scoring on a shorthanded break with a shot that Detroit goalie Joey MacDonald got most of but not enough, as the puck slipped under his arm and into the net at 2:13.

Niklas Kronwall countered on the same power play. After getting the puck at the top of the left faceoff circle, Kronwall drove down to the left side of the slot and backhanded a shot through Columbus netminder Curtis Sanford to tie things up at 3:43.

At 8:26, Henrik Zetterberg put the Red Wings in front, flinging a shot from an acute angle in the left corner through a gap to Sanford’s short side.

Just 49 seconds later, Jan Mursak scored his first goal of the season on a spinning rebound chance from the top of the crease, beating a sprawling Sanford to make it 4-2.

Valtteri Filppula rounded out the scoring with 6:08 left, corralling a bouncing puck in front of Sanford and snapping a shot past him.

Johan Franzen had opened the game’s scoring at 4:08 of the first period, grabbing the rebound of a Jakub Kindl shot and putting it past Sandford from right in front just as a Columbus penalty expired.

Columbus would respond 2:47 later, when Rick Nash drove to the net from along the goal line and was pushed into MacDonald by Kronwall, while Brad Stuart‘s attempt to clear the puck from the crease slipped through MacDonald.

MacDonald finished the night with 28 saves on 30 shots for his seventh consecutive win. Sanford made 20 saves on 25 shots.

Each team scored a power play goal, with the Red Wings having six chances with the extra attacker and the Blue Jackets having five.

The Red Wings are next in action on Friday when they host the Minnesota Wild.


Detroit was without defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom (foot), Kyle Quincey (groin) and Jonathan Ericsson (wrist) for the game. Jakub Kindl was inserted back into the lineup while both Brendan Smith and Doug Janik were called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins to play… The Red Wings were also without Pavel Datsyuk (knee) and Patrick Eaves (concussion).

Opening Night Roster Predictions

The Red Wings came into this preseason with a pretty firm roster, but solid play by a prospect and a tryout, on top of a handful of injuries, have shaken things up a bit. Here are my thoughts on what Detroit’s roster will look like on opening night.

Goaltending
Yeah, I’m starting with the easy one. With Joey MacDonald and Jordan Pearce having been sent down to Grand Rapids today, we already know (not that there was much doubt) that Jimmy Howard and Ty Conklin will be the goaltending tandem. The only interesting thing to come out of this preseason is an extension of last season, that it appears that Pearce has passed Thomas McCollum on the Wings’ depth chart.

Defense
With Detroit having eight blueliners signed to one-way deals this year, the preseason wasn’t as much about who would make the team as who wouldn’t. There was talk about Brendan Smith making the team out of camp but a lot would have needed to happen for that to come to pass. Doug Janik is the odd man out, as he’s been sent to Grand Rapids. Like MacDonald, he’ll have to clear waivers to play for the Griffins.

The injury to Mike Commodore makes things a little bit interesting for Detroit’s defense. The Red Wings organization has said he won’t be placed on IR because the team doesn’t play enough games for him to come off when he’s expected to be healthy. This means he takes up a roster spot, so no one will be kept up to replace him. Jakub Kindl wins the sixth defenseman spot by default.

Forward
Here’s where the fun is. Detroit came into the preseason with fourteen roster spots available at forward and fourteen forwards signed who would have to clear waivers to go to Grand Rapids. It seemed certain that Jan Mursak and Cory Emmerton had the 13th and 14th forward spots locked up with twelve forwards returning from last season’s roster.

Then Mursak got hurt, Fabian Brunnstrom had a productive try-out, and Gustav Nyquist turned heads in his first Detroit training camp.

Emmerton played well enough to keep the spot that was assumed to be his. Solid on faceoffs but not much scoring, just what a spare part is expected to be.

Brunnstrom played well with the puck and scored a handful of goals. It’s almost certain he’ll sign a two-way deal in the next day or so, the question is whether he starts the season with the Red Wings or Griffins.

Nyquist made the case that he could play in the NHL right now. Two goals in Detroit’s exhibition closer today showed that if nothing else did. Unfortunately for him, he isn’t subject to waivers so he can be sent to GR at no cost.

The way I see it, Brunnstrom is a Red Wing on opening night with Nyquist going to the Griffins. Brunnstrom has until January to prove he belongs with Detroit more than Emmerton, with a decision to be made when Mursak comes back.

Edit: Of course, within minutes of me posting this, the Wings announced that Nyquist was sent to GR. That makes it pretty clear that Brunnstrom has the 14th forward spot.

Brunnstrom Scores Twice but Red Wings Fall to Blackhawks, 4-3

Pro tryout Fabian Brunnstrom scored two goals for the Detroit Red Wings Wednesday night but it wasn’t enough for a youth-heavy lineup to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks, as the ‘Hawks rallied for a 4-3 win.

Despite icing a lineup with none of their top players, the Red Wings held a 3-1 lead midway through the game. Two power play goals and a third at even strength would put Chicago past Detroit in the second half of the game.

Patrick Kane, making his first appearance of the preseason, got the Blackhawks on the board with 9:14 left in the first period, taking a drop pass from Jonathan Toews as Toews cut to the net from the right side, then snapping a shot past Detroit goalie Ty Conklin for a power play goal.

Brunnstrom scored his first with 4:25 remaining in the period, tipping a centering pass from Gustav Nyquist past Blackhawks’ netminder Corey Crawford just as a Detroit five-on-three expired.

Drew Miller put the Red Wings up by a goal with 39 seconds left in the opening frame when he was left all alone in front of Crawford. Chris Conner sent a pass from behind the net to Miller who buried it.

Brunnstrom’s second of the night came at 8:08 of the second. Cory Emmerton put the puck on net on a wraparound chance and Brunnstrom was on the doorstep to bury the rebound.

Brent Seabrook blasted a shot past Conklin just 1:28 later on a Chicago power play to make it 3-2.

Only 1:29 into the third Duncan Keith dumped the puck into the Detroit end. Conklin left his net to play it but it bounced off a stanchion and out to Ben Smith, who buried it as Conklin dove to get back into position.

The game’s defining moment came at 5:26 of the final period. As Ben Smith broke in to the Detroit zone, Red Wings’ defender Brendan Smith lined him up for a hit. Ben Smith held up at the last second and Brendan Smith missed his check, driving his shoulder into Ben Smith’s head. Ben Smith was down on the ice for several minutes and Brendan Smith was given a five minute major and ejected.

During the five minute major, Doug Janik was called for interference, giving Chicago a five-on-three. With the two-man advantage, former Red Wing Marian Hossa beat Conklin from the stop of the right faceoff circle to put the Blackhawks out in front at 8:58 of the period.

Conklin finished the night with 20 saves on 24 shots. Crawford stopped 17 of 20 Detroit chances.

The Red Wings went one for two on the night on the power play while the Blackhawks scored on three of their six chances with the extra attacker.

The Wings’ next preseason game is Friday when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Rosters Released for Red & White Game in Grand Rapids

The Red Wings announced the rosters for their Red & White game in Grand Rapids on Tuesday.

The White Team, featuring Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk clearly has the star power but the Red Team seems to have more depth, not that it matters much in an intra-squad scrimmage.

White Team
Henrik Zetterberg
Pavel Datsyuk
Tomas Holmstrom
Tomas Tatar
Justin Abdelkader
Gustav Nyquist
Andrej Nestrasil
Jamie Johnson
Willie Coetzee
Mitch Callahan
Brent Raedeke
Nick Oslund

Nicklas Lidstrom
Ian White
Garnet Exelby
Logan Pyett
Sebastien Piche
Gleason Fournier

Jimmy Howard
Thomas McCollum

Red Team
Johan Franzen
Valtteri Filppula
Danny Cleary
Jiri Hudler
Joakim Andersson
Todd Bertuzzi
Chris Conner
Louis-Marc Aubry
Francis Pare
Adam Estoclet
Landon Ferraro
Trevor Parkes

Niklas Kronwall
Brad Stuart
Travis Ehrhardt
Bryan Rufenach
Greg Amadio
Brian Lashoff

Ty Conklin
Jordan Pearce

Ansar Khan points out that a number of players are sitting out the match, which has me disappointed. Khan’s list is as follows: Darren Helm, Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller, Fabian Brunnstrom, Ryan Johnson, Jonathan Ericsson, Mike Commodore, Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl, Doug Janik, Joey MacDonald.

For a game that has been billed as a chance for West Michigan fans to see the Red Wings close to home, it’s odd to me that so many of those Wings are sitting in place of players the fans in GR will see all season.

Red Wings Announce Lineups for Opening Preseason Games

Per Ansar Khan, the Red Wings have revealed their rosters for the first two games of the 2011 exhibition season.

The Red Wings will visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night with the following lines:

Jiri HudlerPavel DatsyukDanny Cleary
Fabian BrunnstromCory EmmertonPatrick Eaves
Drew MillerRyan JohnsonJan Mursak
Tomas TatarChris ConnerTomas Holmstrom

Niklas KronwallBrad Stuart
Brendan SmithMike Commodore
Garnet ExelbyLogan Pyett

Jimmy Howard
Joey MacDonald

On Thursday Detroit will be in London, Ontario, to play the Philadelphia Flyers. Their lineup for that game will be as follows:

Valtteri FilppulaHenrik ZetterbergJohan Franzen
Justin AbdelkaderDarren HelmTodd Bertuzzi
Gustav NyquistJoakim AnderssonWillie Coetzee
Tomas JurcoBrent RaedekeFrancis Pare

Nicklas LidstromIan White
Jonathan EricssonJakub Kindl
Brian LashoffDoug Janik

Ty Conklin
Jordan Pearce

No lineup has been announced for the Wings’ preseason home opener on Friday, where Detroit will host the Flyers.

Red Wings Free Agency Week in Review

We’re one week into the NHL free agency season and the Red Wings have seemingly made all the moves they expected to make, aside from signing a backup goaltender. Let’s take a look at each signing.

Jonathan Ericsson
Ericsson’s three-year term and $3.25 million annual salary rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way when this deal was announced the night before free agency opened. Detroit is clearly paying for potential here, as they have more faith in Ericsson’s continued development than the fanbase does. If Ericsson develops as the team hopes, this is a good deal given the market. If not, this is a rare mistake for Ken Holland.

Patrick Eaves
The Red Wings kept one of their top penalty killing forwards by signing Eaves just before free agency opened. $1.2 million doesn’t break the bank and the three-year term is nothing to be afraid of. It’s a very Kris Draper-like deal for a Draper-like player.

Drew Miller
Miller had said he was intent on testing the free agency waters but re-upped with Detroit a short time into free agency with a two-year deal worth $1.675 million. I have to think he could have gotten more on the open market – at least $1 million per year – so I wonder if the two years is what sold him on returning to the Wings.

Mike Commodore
Commodore hasn’t had good things to say about Mike Babcock in the past so this move seemed like it came out of nowhere to me. Add in the fact that he’s slotted to be a #5 / #6 defenseman, which the Wings already have several of (Ericsson, Jakub Kindl, Brendan Smith, Doug Janik) and it’s that much more of a surprise. That said, Smith could use another season in Grand Rapids playing top-pair minutes and Janik may have never really been an option, even with the one-way contract he’s on this year. Commodore provides size and grit on the blueline and might be able to teach Ericsson a thing or two. After being bought out by the Blue Jackets, he has a chip on his shoulder.

Ian White
I like the White signing. As two years with a cap hit of $2.875, it’s a good deal for a replacement for Niklas Kronwall, who moves up to replace the retired Brian Rafalski. With no real replacement for Rafalski available via free agency, the Wings chose to promote from within and then replace the promoted Kronwall. White’s a solid puck-mover with a right-handed shot who should fit in nicely on the now-complete Detroit blueline.

Garnet Exelby
A big body for Grand Rapids, I liked Exelby when he broke into the NHL with the Atlanta Thrashers but he really hasn’t done much in his career. He should never see time in Detroit but he’s a good depth signing just in case.

Logan Pyett
Pyett seems to be going nowhere in the Detroit system but he fits in Grand Rapids. Another blueliner unlikely to see time with the Wings.

Chris Conner
Brought over from the Penguins, Conner is signed to a two-way deal and expected to push Cory Emmerton for the last forward spot in Detroit. He’s small and fast and works hard in the corners, something the Wings organization likes. He’ll have to clear waivers to go to Grand Rapids, but so will Emmerton so one of those two could be lost.

Jordan Pearce
Nothing has been confirmed but there are reports that Pearce was re-signed for two more years. He outplayed Thomas McCollum at the end of the Griffins’ season last year and was apparently convinced to keep playing hockey rather than pursue his medical degree.

H2H2 and Oilers – Red Wings Pregame Notes

H2H2 is here so I’m kicking off today’s gameday thread before heading down to Hockeytown Cafe for the pre-game party.

As per John Keating via Twitter… Doug Janik, called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins after Brad Stuart missed practice yesterday, has already been sent back down as Stuart will be able to go tonight. Good news for a Detroit blueline that’s already missing Brian Rafalski (Khan says he’s aiming to return next Wednesday but would play now if it were the playoffs).

Jimmy Howard gets the start.

The Oilers are missing a bunch of their stars (Hall and Gagner are both out for the season) and sit last in the league, so they’ll be looking to play the spoiler tonight.

I’ll post updates as I can. More likely to post to Twitter (@detroithockey96) than here depending on network availability.