A New Era

Not only was it not a surprise to see Nicklas Lidstrom named captain of the Red Wings tonight, taking over the spot vacated by Steve Yzerman, I found it less odd seeing the “C” on a different player than I thought I would.

Yzerman has been – or had been, now – the leader of this team for litterally as long as I can remember. No one will be able to say that about Lidstrom, getting the captaincy at such a late point in his career.

As everyone seems to be saying, though, Lidstrom was the obvious choice, already in place as a leader of the team, now just elevated to the top spot in that heirarchy.

Part of me wanted to see Henrik Zetterberg take on the captaincy, if nothing else than to try to repeat the long tenure of Yzerman. It’s not Zetterberg’s time, though, I know that and so, too, do the Wings, it would seem.

The new captain is much the same as the old captain. The “C” looks the same on his jersey. With luck, the success of the Nicklas Lidstrom Era will be the same as that of Steve Yzerman’s.

Red Wings Lose to Vancouver in Season Opener

The Detroit Red Wings’ offense never really clicked and defensive lapses helped the Vancouver Canucks pick up a 3-0 lead in both teams’ season opener Thursday night.

Detroit came out flat to start the game, which began after a brief ceremony in which defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom was named captain of the team, taking over for the retired Steve Yzerman.

The Red Wings couldn’t take advantage of the parade of Canucks to the penalty box that started early in the first period and Vancouver got on the board first.

With just 4.5 seconds remaining in the first period, defenseman Sami Salo fired a shot from the point that deflected off of Kris Draper and Markus Naslund before getting past Detroit goalie Dominik Hasek for a power play goal.

At 2:25 of the second period the Canucks extended their lead after a giveaway by Andreas Lilja gave Josh Green the puck all alone in the slot. Hasek stopped his initial shot but Trevor Linden was there to knock the rebound between Hasek’s pads.

Only 2:16 later, the Vancouver lead became three goals when Salo skated into the slot untouched on a Canucks power play and wristed a shot off of Hasek’s blocker and in.

With 4:05 remaining in the period, Henrik Zetterberg threw a shot on net from the left hash marks and the puck managed to get through Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo, putting the Wings on the board.

Detroit was unable to score in the third period, despite a short 6-on-4 in the final minute of the game. The team did show some life after their slow start but it was too little, too late.

The Red Wings finished the night scoreless on nine power play chances, while Vancouver made good on two of their four tries.

Hasek made only 14 saves on 17 shots in the first game of his third stint with Detroit. Luongo’s first game as a Canuck saw him make 27 saves on 28 Detroit shots.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Saturday when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins.

With Nicklas Lidstrom becoming the team’s captain, Henrik Zetterberg and Kris Draper were named Detroit’s alternate captains.

Red Wings’ New Captain to be Announced on Opening Night

The Detroit Red Wings will announce Steve Yzerman‘s successor as captain of the team on October 5, head coach Mike Babcock revealed on Thursday.

“We’re going to name a captain opening night.”

The Detroit Free Press and Detroit News are already referring to defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom as the team’s captain. Babcock previously denied that report but few doubt that the defending Norris Trophy-winner will be named Yzerman’s replacement.

Yzerman retired on July 3 as the longest-serving captain in NHL history. He was named Detroit’s captain for the 1986-87 season, his third of 22 years with the team.

The Red Wings open their season at home against the Vancouver Canucks.

Wings to Host Canucks in Season Opener

The National Hockey League released its 2006-2007 season schedule on Wednesday, revealing that the Detroit Red Wings will open their season at home, hosting the Vancouver Canucks on October 5.

The Red Wings will play the first of their ten inter-conference games just two days later when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins. After hosting Atlantic Division teams and visiting the Southeast Division last season, the Central Division will travel to the Atlantic Division cities while hosting Northeast Division teams this year.

Detroit’s annual tradition of a New Year’s Eve game will stay alive as the Red Wings host the Los Angles Kings on the last night of 2006.

The Red Wings’ first matchup with the Edmonton Oilers after falling to them in the 2006 playoffs comes on October 21 when the Wings visit Edmonton. The Oilers first visit of the season to Joe Louis Arena comes on November 8.

Longtime Red Wing Brendan Shanahan‘s new club, the New York Rangers, will host Detroit on February 5.

Like last season, the schedule includes the rare quirk of a home-and-home-and-home series, this one with the Minnesota Wild in late December.

In yet another scheduling oddity, the Red Wings will play on back-to-back nights 14 times throughout the season. Each time features games in different cities.

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