Kariya Scores Twice as Blues Rebound to Beat Red Wings

Paul Kariya scored two second period goals to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 4-3 comeback win against the Detroit Red Wings at Stockholm, Sweden, on Friday.

The game is the first in a neutral site home-and-home series between the two teams, to be concluded on Saturday. Friday’s game was considered a Detroit home game.

Kariya’s first goal came on a St. Louis power play with 7:29 left in the second, scored on a shot from the point to pull the Blues to 3-2.

After B.J. Crombeen tied the game by backhanding a rebound chance past Detroit goalie Chris Osgood, Kariya scored again to put the Blues in front for the rest of the game.

Kariya’s second goal came after Brian Rafalski turned the puck over to T.J. Oshie at the Detroit blue line. Oshie shoveled it on to Kariya who broke in on Osgood alone and beat him stick side.

Jay McClement had give the Blues an early lead, scoring off a feed from behind the net by Brad Winchester at 7:54 of the first period.

Jonathan Ericsson drove to the net and tapped in a rebound chance to tie the game 2:48 later and Kirk Maltby beat St. Louis netminder Chris Mason on a shorthanded breakaway with 5:59 left in the first.

Ville Leino scored on a Detroit power play at 7:17 of the second period, the Wings’ lone goal with the man advantage in five tries, including a long five-on-three.

St. Louis went one-for-four on the power play.

Osgood finished the game with 19 saves on 23 shots against. Mason made 31 saves on 34 Detroit shots.

Neutral Site Musings

The Detroit News’ Chris McCosky is of the opinion that games in Europe don’t make sense for the NHL.

The worst thing about starting the season over here is that so few in North America know or even care about it.

Wings goalie Chris Osgood said he got a call from his friend, Lions center Dominic Raiola, on Wednesday and Raiola, a big sports fan, didn’t even know the Wings were in Sweden.

This trip hasn’t generated any buzz about the start of a new season where it matters most — in the NHL’s primary markets.

I’m not sure I agree that starting in Europe is detrimental to the league but I definitely agree that there is little to no buzz about these games around here.

Back when these games were announced, I briefly mentioned that I don’t like any “event” game that the Wings’ home fanbase is excluded from. The NHL should be taking care of it’s every day fans first and foremost. Yes, it’s fantastic that all of these Swedish fans will finally see the Red Wings live and yes it’s great that the Swedish Wings will get to play at home but it’s also a bit of an insult to those of us back home who have to scramble to try to catch a game in the middle of a weekday afternoon. It’s a small thing overall but the NHL shouldn’t act like they’re in a position where they can do that.

Here’s what the NHL should do instead: At the start of each season, pick a destination city in North America — Las Vegas, New York, Miami, Toronto, Vancouver, wherever — and invite the final four teams from the previous year and stage an NHL showcase. Each team gets two regular-season games and you can pair them off any way you want — East runners-up vs. West runners-up, rematch of the conference championships, whatever.

I do agree with McCosky’s suggestion of neutral site games in North America but I would implement it differently. I would bring back elements of the 1992-93 and 1993-94 schedules. The league goes to 84 games and each team plays two neutral site games. The difference being that each season one city is selected to host every neutral site game.

This would be a great way to test how receptive a market is to the NHL product. A normal season sees a team play 41 regular season home games and this would give the neutral site 30 games, nearly a full season.

Admittedly it’s not perfect. There are some people who will always be fans of the home team rather than the NHL product and wouldn’t be interested in a series of neutral site games in their local arena. I just think it’s a better option than trying to “grow” the game in cities like Phoenix by putting a team there when that team would be better suited in Toronto.

Red Wings Open Season Today in Stockholm

The Red Wings begin the 2009-2010 season today in Stockholm, Sweden, taking on the St. Louis Blues in the first game of a neutral site home-and-home series between the two teams.

Excluding last year’s Winter Classic, this is Detroit’s first neutral site game since they picked up a 3-0 win over the Hartford Whalers in Cleveland on February 24, 1994. In all the Red Wings are 8-2-3 in games played outside the home team’s city (including one Chicago “home” game played at Detroit’s Olympia Stadium, also played on February 24, this time in 1929).

The Chris McCosky of the Detroit News reported this morning that Derek Meech and Patrick Eaves will be the healthy scratches today for the Red Wings. This means the fourth line will be Justin Abdelkader, Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby.

After missing Wednesday’s exhibition against Farjestads BK with the flu, Chris Osgood is scheduled to start in net.

Red Wings Release 2009-10 Schedule

The Detroit Red Wings released their regular season schedule for the 2009-10 season Wednesday afternoon.

As previously announced the Wings will open the season in Stockholm, Sweden, with a pair of games against the St. Louis Blues on October 2 and 3.

Detroit’s home opener will see former Wings Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky visit as members of the Chicago Blackhawks on October 8. One game later, Alexander Ovechkin brings the Washington Capitals to town.

The Red Wings will have three five-game road trips but their traditional New Years Eve game returns to the schedule with the Colorado Avalanche visiting Joe Louis Arena.

The Wings have three home-and-home series on the schedule, two in late December against Chicago and the Columbus Blue Jackets and one more in April against Columbus.

Games on consecutive days appear twelve times. Aside from the two games in Stockholm, every single one of those sets involves travel between games, though one is only from Newark, New Jersey, to New York City.

Detroit’s previously-announced preseason schedule is as follows:

September 16 – Philadelphia – 7:30
September 18 – NY Rangers – 7:30
September 19 – Buffalo – 7:00
September 21 – @ NY Rangers – 7:00
September 22 – @ Philadelphia – 7:00
September 25 – Toronto – 7:30
September 26 – @ Toronto – 7:00
September 27 – Pittsburgh – 5:00
September 30 – @ Farjestads BK – Time TBD

Red Wings to Open 2009-10 Season in Sweden

The National Hockey League officially announced today that the Detroit Red Wings will open the 2009-10 regular season in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Red Wings will face the St. Louis Blues in a pair of games at Ericsson Globe Arena on October 2 and 3.

Stockholm hosted two matches between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators last fall. Prague, Czech Republic, hosted the New York Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lighting. In 2007 the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks met in London.

Helsinki, Finland, will host it’s first NHL Premiere event as the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers will meet there on the same dates.

“The NHL Premiere games are a signature event for the League, our players and our fans,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “Playing regular-season games overseas is an excellent way to further engage the passionate NHL fan base in Europe and encourage the growth of the game of hockey.”

“We’ve got a great fan base over there and it would be wonderful to play there,” Swede Henrik Zetterberg said. “The Cup was almost two weeks in Sweden, so Red Wings are big in Sweden, so I think they will be really happy if we can come there.”

“It’s something I’m really excited about and looking forward to,” Wings’ captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “Same with my teammates, too, they’re all looking forward to it, too, to get a chance to play overseas. I was hoping it was going to happen sooner or later, and I’m happy about the opportunity to play back home.”