Devereaux Out After Slash

Detroit Red Wings left wing Boyd Devereaux is expected to miss a month after a slash during Friday’s exhibition game in Dallas left him with a broken thumb. The thumb swelled on Saturday and Devereaux was unable to practice on Sunday. He was fitted with a cast after a trip to the hospital.

Devereaux had scored against the Stars, continuing his impressive preseason. He was reunited with right wing Brett Hull and center Pavel Datsyuk, one of the Red Wings’ most consistant lines last season, for the first time of the preseason on Friday.

“They’ve got very good chemistry,” Red Wings head coach Dave Lewis said. “It’s too bad.”

With Devereaux out until October 21 against Calgary, one more forward will make the Opening Day roster. Rookie Henrik Zetterberg seems to have locked up the spot left open by the injured Steve Yzerman and Jason Williams will likely also make the team. This leaves two roster spots open for Sean Avery, Stacy Roest and Doug Brown.

Curtis Joseph will not start tonight against his former team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. He is set to make his Red Wings debut on Wednesday in Columbus and play his first home game on Friday against Dallas. He will not dress Saturday when the Red Wings play the Maple Leafs in Hamilton, Ontario.

Forwards Fight for Position

The Red Wings have five forwards battling for three, possibly even only two, open roster spots in Detroit. Sean Avery, Doug Brown, Stacy Roest, Jason Williams and Henrik Zetterberg are trying to make a roster that doesn’t have room for all of them.

Zetterberg, playing the North American game for the first time, has two goals and six assists in the first three scrimmages of training camp. He seems to have a lock on one of the open roster spots. As the only non-NHL player on the Swedish Olympic team last winter, Mats Sundin compared him to national hero Peter Forsberg.

“I don’t think so,” Zetterberg responded. “He’s (Forsberg) one of the best players in the world. I don’t think I’m much up to him.”

Williams is also making a strong push to join the Red Wings’ roster full-time. Playing on a line with Zetterberg, Williams had a hat trick in the first day of scrimmages. After playing in nine playoff games last spring, including an impressive Game Three in the Western Conference Finals against Colorado, Williams is ready to play a larger role in the Red Wings organization.

“Being out there definitely sort of opened my eyes, saying, ‘I could be a potential player, star player in this league, playing on a line like that,’ ” Williams said of that Game Three, when he played alongside Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan.

Avery is the Wings’ best agitator, but he won’t put up the numbers to get noticed in camp. Fighting is banned from Detroit’s preseason scrimmages but Avery has taken part in some shoving-matches, showing that the fire is still there.

“Everyone knows what I’m going to bring to the game,” Avery said. I don’t think they’re counting on me scoring 20 goals. I’m an energy guy who will try to wear down the other team’s defense for seven or eight minutes and add that as much as I can.”

Brown is attempting a comeback with the Red Wings after spending last season as a part-time color commentator with UPN 50 and Fox Sports Detroit. Wearing number 71 on his jersey after his familiar number 17 was taken by Brett Hull, Brown has been one of the most-watched players at camp. He said Monday he is close to where he wants to be physically.

Roest is starting his second tour of duty with the Red Wings organization. He’s coming off of two unimpressive seasons in Minnesota after being taken from the Red Wings by the Wild in the Expansion Draft. Roest has surprised the Red Wings before, making the Detroit roster in 1998-99 after an outstanding exhibition season.

Congratulations, Scotty Bowman!

The Red Wings gave Scotty Bowman a gift before leaving for the Olympic break: their 2-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild was Bowman’s 400th win as Detroit’s head coach.

The first period went quickly- there were few stoppages in play and only one penalty stop for a pair of offsetting roughing calls on Tomas Holmstrom and Jason Marshall. Both teams had quality scoring chances, but goaltenders Dominik Hasek and Dwayne Roloson kept the game scoreless.

Both the Red Wings and the Wild allowed shorthanded scoring chances during the few penalties in the second. The first goal of the game, though, came at even strength, with just over three minutes left in the second period. Luc Robitaille carried the puck low into the Minnesota zone and passed it behind the net to Steve Yzerman. Yzerman angled a pass in front of the net to Kirk Maltby, who slapped the puck past Roloson.

The Wild made very little attempt to outplay the Wings in the third, even though they were down by only one goal. Aside from some Minnesota breakaways notable only because of the great saves Hasek made to keep the puck out of the net, Detroit controlled the play.

The Red Wings put the game away with 2:38 left to play. Yzerman carried the puck from the left corner back towards the blue line, then sent a superb pass across the rink right to the stick of Mathieu Dandenault. Dandenault lifted the puck high and sent it into the net past Roloson.

Rather than risk the Wild pulling their goaltender and possibly sending the game to overtime with the aid of a sixth skater, the Red Wings kept tight control of the puck in center ice and in the Minnesota zone, and got the win to carry them into the Olympic break.

Shots on net were twenty-four to twenty-one in Detroit’s favor. The Red Wings’ will resume the season on February 26, when they go to play the Tampa Bay Lightning.

A total of eleven players from Detroit’s active roster, along with one prospect, will be representing their teams in the Olympics: Chris Chelios and Brett Hull for the USA, Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan for Canada, Igor Larionov, Sergei Fedorov, and Pavel Datsyuk for Russia, Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom, and Freddy Olausson, as well as prospect Henrik Zetterberg (currently playing in the Swedish Elite League) for Sweden, and Dominik Hasek for the Czech Republic. This is more Olympians than any other team in the NHL.

Hasek’s fourth shutout of the season is the sixtieth of his career, making him the shutout leader among active goaltenders. Center Brent Gilchrist, placed on waivers to make room in the lineup for rookie Sean Avery, was taken today by the Dallas Stars. Manny Legace did not back up for this game due to a strained hip flexor; the backup goalie position was filled by Jason Elliott.