Numbers Game 2010

Red Wings Central has published Detroit’s training camp roster, meaning I moved too slowly getting my annual sweater number predictions made. It turns out I was right on a couple of my unpublished guesses and wrong on some others.

Mike Modano, as widely-reported, will wear #90 rather than switching to #89 with his usual #9 unavailable.

Free agent signee Ruslan Salei will keep his usual #24, inheriting it from Brad May.

Jiri Hudler will be making no change upon his return from the KHL, picking up the #26 he left behind a year ago.

This will not be the year that Justin Abdelkader takes the #87 he reportedly asked for last year. He’s back with #8.

Like Derek Meech and Kyle Quincey before him, Jakub Kindl is changing his number for his full-time jump to the big club. The #5 he wore in Grand Rapids is – of course – in use with the Red Wings so he’s switching from #46 to #4. This was one of my predictions.

Griffin Tomas Tatar has a somewhat expected switch. With his star rising in the organization, his jersey number drops from #72 to #21. I had expected him to get the #27 he wore last season in Grand Rapids. That number went to Travis Ehrhardt, who previously wore #45.

Given his status as a high-risk, high-reward European free agent signing, I’d expected Ilari Filppula to get the cursed #21 of Igor Grigorenko and Ville Leino. He gets neither that nor the #81 he wore in Finland, instead taking his brother’s original #41.

Rookie Brendan Smith will make his first appearance at Detroit’s camp wearing the #2 formerly belonging to Jiri Fischer.

Making their second runs with the Red Wings, Joey MacDonald returns to his #31 while try-out Aaron Downey will wear #32 with his previous #20 and #44 now taken.

The following are the remaining number changes for Red Wings prospects:

Mitchell Callahan, from #73 to #65
Jan Mursak, from #39
Andrej Nestrasil, from #56 to #49
Brent Raedeke, from #62 to #47
Jamie Tardif, from #67 to #29
Gleason Fornier, from #54 to #67
Brian Lashoff, from #49 to #25
Sebastian Piche, from #58 to #54
Logan Pyett, from #60 to #22

Sweater Numbers, Round Three

Assuming the full-camp roster from Red Wings Central is correct, there will be only one number change for a returning Red Wing this season.

Aaron Downey will be giving up #20 for the #44 made available by Mark Hartigan‘s departure.

Newcomer Ty Conklin will be wearing the #29 that hasn’t been worn since Jason Williams was traded to Chicago at the 2007 trade deadline, allowing Jimmy Howard to keep his #35.

The #21 worn at camp last year by failed prospect Igor Grigorenko has been given to Finnish player-of-the-year Ville Leino.

Red Wings Sink Sharks

The Detroit Red Wings scored early and never gave up the lead Friday night, en route to a 5-1 win over the San Jose Sharks.

Valtteri Filppula‘s first goal of the season put Detroit on the board just 1:23 into the game.

Filppula passed the puck off to Mikael Samuelsson in the Detroit zone and Samuelsson carried through neutral ice before breaking across the blue line and pushing it back over to Filppula. Filppula cut in on San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov and lifted a backhanded over his glove into the top of the net.

With 4:29 remaining in the period, Filppula would get on the scoresheet again, assisting on a tally by Andreas Lilja.

Filppula gained the San Jose zone and cut over to the right circle before spinning to drop the puck to Lilja, who rifled a shot from the high slot over Nabokov’s glove.

The Sharks would try to get back into the game in the second period, with Rob Davison providing energy in the form of a fight with Aaron Downey. San Jose just couldn’t get anything going and it would be the Red Wings who scored next.

Only 39 seconds into the third period, a Nicklas Lidstrom blast was knocked down at the top of the crease, deflecting straight to Tomas Holmstrom. Holmstrom banged the puck at the open net, deflecting it off of Henrik Zetterberg and in.

Zetterberg would notch another one at 8:12 of the period. Pavel Datsyuk drew three San Jose defenders and Nabokov to him cutting through the left circle. As the skaters converged, the puck squirted out to Zetterberg for another wide-open net.

Backup Dmitri Patzold replaced Nabokov in net but he would allow a goal on just the second shot he faced, with Kirk Maltby lifting the rebound of a shot by Kris Draper into the net just 22 seconds after Zetterberg’s goal.

An apparent sixth Detroit goal was called back after a goaltender interference call on Tomas Holmstrom. The Sharks scored their lone goal of the game on the ensuing power play.

San Jose’s power play goal came on one of their two chances with the extra attacker. The Red Wings were without a goal on their six power plays.

Chris Osgood stopped 10 of the 11 shots he faced in net for the Red Wings. Nabokov made 26 saves on 30 shots against while Patzold went eight-for-nine.

The Red Wings begin a three-game Western Canada road trip on Sunday when they visit the Vancouver Canucks.


The lost Detroit goal was the fourth goal of the season called back due to a Holmstrom goaltender interference call… Henrik Zetterberg has a point in every game this season… After the game, Russian forward Igor Grigorenko refused his reassignment to Grand Rapids and left the team.

Grigorenko Returns to Russia

Less than a week into his career as a Detroit Red Wing, Igor Grigorenko is returning to Russia.

Bruce MacLeod blogs that the Russian was assigned back to Grand Rapids following Detroit’s 5-1 win over San Jose on Friday night. As was his contractual right, Grigorenko refused the assignment.

Grigorenko will join Russian Superleague team Ufa Salavat Yulayev. The Red Wings will retain his NHL rights.

Grigorenko Brought Up to Red Wings

Bruce MacLeod reports that, as expected, Igor Grigorenko has been brought up to the Red Wings following a short stay with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Grigorenko’s contract includes an out clause that would allow him to return to Russia if he spends more than three weeks in Grand Rapids. The Red Wings asked him to remain with the Griffins and he refused.

Grigorenko was without a point in five games with Grand Rapids, with two penalty minutes.

To make room on the roster for Grigorenko, the Red Wings moved Johan Franzen to the IR. Franzen is expected to return from his MCL injury next week, at which point a forward will have to be moved off of the Detroit roster.

Downey Waived

Dave over at Gorilla Crouch makes mention of a HockeyFights.com thread about the Red Wings waiving Aaron Downey. I feel dumber just for having read that thread, so thankfully the Detroit News confirms.

The Wings put forward Aaron Downey on waivers Friday, but general manager Ken Holland said the Wings will keep Downey on the roster if he isn’t claimed by another team by Saturday afternoon. He’ll likely be sent to Grand Rapids later in the month when forward Igor Grigorenko is brought up.

Seems like odd timing, no need to do it now but also no reason not to. Maybe the thinking is to try to have him clear waivers now when fewer teams have injuries. If a team was short a man three weeks from now they’d be more likely to claim him but right now just about everyone is healthy. That’s just my guess.

Wings’ Roster Set

Bruce MacLeod blogs that the Red Wings’ final roster has been announced.

As expected, Derek Meech claims a spot as the 7th defenseman. The injured Kyle Quincey will work out in Grand Rapids and join the Griffins when healthy.

Matt Ellis will remain in Detroit. Free agent try-out Aaron Downey has been offered a contract and will play in Detroit if he accepts, which he’s expected to do.

Igor Grigorenko will head down to Grand Rapids. This is likely only to last through the end of the month as he’ll have the ability to return to Russia. At that point, Ellis or Downey would have to be sent down.

Mark Hartigan has been placed on waivers and will go to Grand Rapids if he clears.

More Wings Number Changes

George Malik points out this morning that Red Wings Central has their training camp roster posted. I try not to pay too much attention to camp in seasons when the roster is virtually set, such as this one, but I do like taking a look at what sweater numbers the players are assigned.

Most players will never see time with those digits on their backs (does anyone really think Dominic Vicari would show up in the Detroit crease wearing #70?) but for players that have either spent time on the Red Wings’ roster in the past or are expected to make the team out of camp, this can be the first time we see what number they will wear.

The previously confirmed number change for Tomas Kopecky (from #28 to #82) is reflected on the roster, as is the re-assignment of #28 to newcomer Brian Rafalski and #17 to Dallas Drake. We also find that Russian prospect Igor Grigorenko has been given the #21 that was to be worn last season by Greg Johnson before he was forced to retire.

Two unexpected changes are found on the blueline. Kyle Quincey (who may or may not make the lineup this season, a casualty of limited roster spots) is switching from #45 to the #4 last worn in 2006 by Cory Cross. Derek Meech, who has spent limited time with the Red Wings wearing #36 but is expected not to be sent to Grand Rapids as he would have to clear waivers, has taken on the #14 formerly worn by Brendan Shanahan.

I’m a bit surprised by the Red Wings giving out Shanahan’s number only a season after his depature to New York. It had to happen sometime, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of a push to have the #14 retired for Shanny, but it seems like the team would have waited longer.

Red Wings Sign Prospect Grigorenko

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Wednesday that they have signed former top prospect Igor Grigorenko to a one-year entry level contract.

Grigorenko, drafted by Detroit in 2002, had been projected to join the Detroit lineup for the 2003-04 season before a near-fatal car accident in his native Russia put his hockey career on hold.

“He was a real top prospect for us a number of years ago but unfortunately had that accident,” Detroit general manager Ken Holland said. “He’s had a couple of years where he’s been able to play and get healthy. We feel it’s time to come over and see where he’s at.”

Grigorenko signed a two-way contract worth $858,800 at the NHL level. If he is assigned to Detroit’s AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids out of training camp, he will make about $70,000 and will have the option of returning to Russia after three weeks with the Griffins.

Wings Prospect Grigorenko out of Intensive Care

Red Wings prospect Igor Grigorenko has been moved out of intensive care as he continues to recover from injuries sustained in a May 16 auto accident.

Grigorenko, a twenty-year-old forward and Detroit’s top prospect, lost control of his car driving during a rainy night and crashed. His injuried included broken shin and thigh bones in his left leg. He later developed a fat embolism – fatty tissue causing the blockage of blood vessels – in his left lung. Grigorenko was heavily sedated and on a ventilator to cope with having trouble breathing, high blood pressure and a fever.

Having been taken off the ventilator last week, Grigorenko has begun talking and eating on his own. He spoke to his agent, Mark Lapush, on Saturday night.

“He’s doing well,” Lapush said. “He’s healing fast.”

“It was a miracle with him,” Lapush said. “The doctor told me now he feels Igor’s going to be all right.”

The Red Wings hope to bring Grigorenko to Detroit, but he can’t be moved until his condition betters.

“He can’t travel until he gets stronger,” assistant general manager Jim Nill said. “We’re just kind of going week by week now. We’re just waiting to get him out of the hospital.”