Abdelkader Gets His Chance to Impress

The Red Wings appear to be giving Justin Abdelkader every chance to impress them this preseason. The lineup for tonight’s matchup with the Buffalo Sabres reveals he will be making his third appearance in as many games for Detroit.

Abdelkader has two goals and three points through the first two preseason games. He started Friday night’s game against the New York Rangers on the top line centering Todd Bertuzzi and Dan Cleary before switching placed with Valtteri Filppula to center Jason Williams and Ville Leino.

Tonight he’ll be back between Kris Draper and Patrick Eaves, as he was on Wednesday against Philadelphia.

Tonight’s expected lines are as follows:

Johan FranzenPavel DatsyukTomas Holmstrom
Kris Draper-Justin Abdelkader-Patrick Eaves
Tomas TatarKris NewburyFrancis Pare
John VigilanteFrancis LemieuxJeremy Williams

Nicklas LidstromJakub Kindl
Logan PyettBrian Rafalski
Jonathan EricssonBrett Lebda

Jimmy Howard will get the start in goal and is expected to play the entire game. Thomas McCollum will be the backup.

Tonight’s game is the first of the preseason to be broadcast on Fox Sports Detroit.

I’ll be at the game but I’ll check into the gameday thread when I can.

Zetterberg Out Against Rangers

The New York Rangers visit Joe Louis Arena tonight as the Red Wings host their second exhibition matchup of the season.

Detroit will be playing using their “White Team” lineup, with Chris Osgood and Thomas McCollum splitting time in goal.

Henrik Zetterberg, who was expected to lead the White Team, will miss the game while resting a groin injury that flared up before training camp. He will be kept out of the next two games.

The lines announced before Zetterberg was removed from the lineup were as follows:

Todd Bertuzzi-Henrik Zetterberg-Dan Cleary
Ville LeinoValtteri FilppulaJason Williams
Johan Ryno-Justin AbdelkaderKirk Maltby
Mattias RitolaCory EmmertonJan Mursak

Niklas KronwallDoug Janik
Brett LebdaBrad Stuart
Derek MeechJakub Kindl

Chris Osgood
Thomas McCollum

The game will be televised in New York on MSG. It will not be on TV or radio in Detroit.

Red Wings Kick Off Preseason Schedule Tonight

The Red Wings kick off their preseason schedule tonight, hosting the Philadelphia Flyers less than 24 hours after wrapping up training camp with the Red and White Game Monday night in Traverse City.

Detroit will use two rosters to start the exhibition schedule. The Red team featuring Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen and Nicklas Lidstrom will get the nod tonight. The White team with Henrik Zetterberg, Dan Cleary and Niklas Kronwall will play on Friday against the New York Rangers.

It looks like there will be no live media coverage of tonight’s game. It will not be televised in Detroit or Philadelphia and it looks like radio coverage is out as well.

Tonight’s Red team lineup is as follows:

Johan Franzen-Pavel Datsyuk-Tomas Holmstrom
Kris DraperJustin AbdelkaderPatrick Eaves
Mattias RitolaKris NewburyJan Mursak
Johan Ryno-Cory EmmertonJeremy Williams

Nicklas Lidstrom-Jakub Kindl
Derek MeechBrian Rafalski
Jonathan Ericsson-Andy Delmore

Jimmy Howard
Daniel Larsson

A note… If you see images from tonight’s game and wonder what’s wrong with the Wings’ jerseys, the answer is nothing. Every preseason the Wings use sweaters with names straight across the shoulders rather than the arched names they use during the regular season. Every season people forget about that and think a big change has been made.

Abdelkader Replaces Kopecky in Game Five Lineup

Early news on Sunday’s Game Five… Justin Abdelkader will replace Tomas Kopecky in the Detroit lineup.

Kopecky is out after taking a hard punch in his fight with Anaheim’s Francois Beauchemin in Game Four.

The News has Mike Babcock‘s reasoning for going with Abdelkader over Ville Leino or Aaron Downey. All three forwards were called up after the Grand Rapids Griffins were eliminated from the playoffs, along with defenseman Jakub Kindl and goalie Jimmy Howard.

“Because he’ll run over people,” Babcock said of Abdelkader. “We expect him to play hard like (Darren) Helm. He’s on the forecheck and he’s a physical guy. He scored 23 goals for them (Grand Rapids) this season and was one of their best players in the playoffs.”

Brian Rafalski and Kris Draper are doubtful for the game. No word from the Ducks on the status of James Wisniewski.

Pre-preseason Notes

The buzz over the last couple hours (I’ve been busy, sorry) has been that Valtteri Filppula and Jakub Kindl will both miss preseason time with injuries.

Filppula will miss the Red & White Game tonight as well as the exhibitions against Montreal and Boston on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. He’s expected to return at home on Friday against the Bruins.

Filppula’s injury is a jammed thumb suffered on Sunday when he was hit by Aaron Downey during a scrimmage. X-rays were clear and he’s been skating since then but hasn’t been able to shoot.

Kindl is suffering from a groin strain and will miss tonight and tomorrow. Jonathan Ericsson is likely to replace him in the lineup against Montreal.

Two of the three games this week will be available on the radio, with WXYT carrying the Wednesday and Friday games.

The first televised preseason game is September 30 at Montreal. FSN will carry that game as well as home games against Toronto and Buffalo on October 3 and October 5.

Injured Red Wings Fall to Flames

Missing half of their regular defensive corps, the Detroit Red Wings fell to the Calgary Flames Friday night in a 1-0 game that saw them lose one more blueliner.

Chris Chelios left the game in the first period after blocking a shot with the back of his leg. He attempted to return for the second period but was unable to take a shift.

With with a shorthanded defense, the Wings allowed only one goal.

The only tally of the game was scored on a broken play with 8:06 left in the first. Alex Tanguay sent the puck out front from behind the net but it deflected off the stick of Pavel Datsyuk before hitting Brett Lebda‘s shoulder and bouncing over goaltender Chris Osgood.

Osgood finished the night with 25 saves on 26 shots. Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff stopped all 38 shots he faced.

Should Chelios be unable to play on Saturday in Vancouver, the Red Wings will call up either Garrett Stafford or Jakub Kindl from the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Wings Prep for Regular Season Continues

Following a 4-2 exhibition loss to the Tampa Bay Lighting that saw the Red Wings ice a roster made up mostly of try-outs and youngsters, Detroit is gearing up for the regular season by bringing out more of their regulars and making another round of cuts.

Ansar Khan blogs that the Wings dropped 17 players from their roster on Tuesday. Defensemen Jassen Cullimore, Jon Insana, Clive Kinley, Jamie Tardif and Scott Jackson, forwards Neil Clark and Adam Keefe and goaltender Dominic Vicari were released outright. Defensemen Jakub Kindl, Brad Ference and Garrett Stafford, forwards Mark Cullen, Carl Corazzini, Brett Engelhardt, Randall Gelech and Ryan Oulahen, and goalie Adam Berkhoel were sent down to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Clark was fresh off a fight in the loss to the Lighting while Vicari was cut for the second time this season, having been brought back only hours after being released last week when Logan Koopmans was injured.

Tonight’s lineup against the Rangers will see more NHLers, with the return of defenseman Brian Rafalski and forward Tomas Kopecky. Neither has played in a preseason game this year, meaning that tonight will be Rafalski’s Red Wings debut.

Rafalski will be making his first appearance at the Joe with Detroit but Rangers forward Brendan Shanahan will not be on the ice for New York, meaning that his return to Hockeytown as an opponent will be delayed for another season. Shanahan went to the Rangers as a free agent last year but the two teams did not meet in Detroit. This season they won’t play each other at all.

Red Wings Drop Another Shootout to Avs

The Detroit Red Wings fell in a shootout to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night, marking the second time in less than a week that Colorado has defeated Detroit in the tiebreaker.

In the fourth shootout round, Brett McLean beat Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood and then Colorado netminder Jose Theodore stopped Mikael Samuelsson to give the Avalanche the win.

Jiri Hudler and Jason Williams also scored for Detroit in the shootout, while Wojtek Wolski and Paul Stastny scored for Colorado.

McLean had earlier tied the game with 27.8 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.

The Red Wings got goals from Williams, Matt Hussey, and Jakub Kindl, as well as a goal credited to Niklas Kronwall that was knocked into the net by Colorado defenseman Karlis Skrastins.

The Avalanche scorers were Stastny, Brad Richardson, and Johnny Boychuk before McLean tied the game.

Defense-first for Wings in NHL Draft

The Detroit Red Wings selected Czech Jakub Kindl with their first-round pick in Saturday’s NHL Entry Draft. At 19th overall, the defenseman for the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers was Detroit’s highest draft pick since they selected Martin Lapointe with the 10th overall pick in 1991.

Kindl was highly-touted last fall when he came to the OHL but his stock dropped when he had a bad first season in North America.

They shifted from a European defenseman to a local forward for their second pick, selecting Justin Abdelkader of Muskegon, Michigan, with the 42nd overall choice. A graduate of Mona Shores High School, the 18-year old played with Cedar Rapids of the USHL last season and will join Michigan State University this fall.

The Wings went back to Europe for their next two picks, selecting Christofer Lofberg of the SEL’s Djurgarden in the third round and fellow Swede Mattias Ritola of Leksand in the fourth.

The Red Wings rounded out their selections with forward Darren Helm of Winnipeg; big Swedish forward Johan Ryno; defenceman Jeff May of Richmond, British Columbia; Finnish forward Juho Mielonen; and defenseman Bretton Stamler of Calgary.