Wings Bring Back Rivers, Mowers

The Detroit Red Wings signed two of their key depth players from the 2003-04 season before allowing them to become unrestricted free agents. Defenseman Jamie Rivers agreed to a two-year deal while forward Mark Mowers signed a one-year deal with a player option for a second year.

As per club policy, financial terms were not disclosed.

Rivers signed with the Red Wings last summer to provide them with depth and a veteran presence with the Grand Rapids Griffins, their American Hockey League affiliate. He spent less than a month with the Griffins before being called up when Derian Hatcher was injured in the third game of the season. Rivers went on to play 50 games with the Red Wings. He was solid defensively, earning a +9 plus-minus ranking, and scored seven points.

Mowers signed with the Red Wings in the summer of 2002 and was an early-season call-up when injuries began to hit the Red Wings. He played 52 games before suffering a foot injury with four games remaining in the season that kept him out through the playoffs. He had three goals and added eight assists on the season.

With Mowers and Rivers resigned, the Red Wings’ potential unrestricted free agents include Brendan Shanahan, Chris Chelios, Kris Draper and Mathieu Schneider.

Wings Go Home Empty-Handed After OT Thriller

It wasn’t for a lack of trying, but Miikka Kiprusoff was too hard a nut for the Red Wings to crack. Martin Gelinas scored with 43 seconds left in the first overtime period to give the Calgary Flames the victory in the Western Conference Semi-Finals, four games to two.

The Red Wings were, of course, playing without Steve Yzerman, after the Captain underwent surgery to repair a fractured orbital bone damaged in Saturday’s Game Five. “I’m travelling with the team,” Yzerman said as soon as he came out from under the anesthetic. “No, you aren’t,” said the doctors. The pressure changes of air travel would easily damage the delicate orbital bone. The Captain spent hours on the phone encouraging his teammates late Sunday and early Monday. Before the game, the coaching staff carried a Number 19 jersey into the locker room. “How many of you,” they asked, “are going to play like this guy would play?”

It’s generally expected in Detroit that the Red Wings fall apart without their Captain. This game, they did no such thing. Brendan Shanahan and Kris Draper stepped up and showed the way, leading volley after volley of attacks towards Kiprusoff’s net. Nicklas Lidstrom and Mathieu Schneider barely left the ice, sitting on the bench only long enough to give Derian Hatcher or Jamie Rivers a chance to lay a hard check on one Flame or another and give Mathieu Dandenault or Jason Woolley a chance to get out and skate down loose pucks before the speedy Flames could get to them.

Curtis Joseph excelled under the pressure, making saves at least as phenomenal the saves Kiprusoff made at the other end of the ice. All night long, he stopped backhanders from Jarome Iginla and screened shots from Andrew Ference and Chris Clark. He stopped a high shot by Matthew Lombardi with his helmet.

In the end, Gelinas was only able to score due to a missed defensive coverage. Somehow, he managed to sneak into the Red Wings’ zone and wait by the corner of the net. Craig Conroy was tied up in the corner, but managed to bank a centering pass off the skate of Derian Hatcher. Joseph was facing his right to guard against Conroy and Iginla, which meant that Gelinas was able to fire the puck into an open net.

Now What?

Last year in this situation, writing my last game summary of the season, I strung together a list of predictions for how the Red Wings would pull themselves back together in the off-season.

This year, I don’t feel I can do that. The uncertainty of the collective bargaining agreement and the state of the NHL, not to mention the number of free agents the Red Wings will have come July 1, make it nearly impossible for me to think of what might happen.

The only prediction I have for next season is this one: if there is a season, Stevie Yzerman will play again.

Wishful thinking? Maybe. But the NHL is a changing place. The days of the defensive trap are passing, as young, speedy teams like the Flames, Sharks, and Lightning come to the forefront of the league. The Red Wings’ management is intelligent enough to see this and retool to meet the changing demands of professional hockey. The Captain, old-school player he may be, will wish to be there to help his team on its transition into the future. And the team would be foolish not to keep him and his wisdom.

Flames Regain Series Lead with 3-2 Win

Shean Donovan scored just 40 seconds after a Jiri Fischer goal to lead the Calgary Flames to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night. The Flames now have a 2-1 lead in their second round playoff matchup.

Donovan fought off Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk to break through the left faceoff circle. He took a pass from Marcus Nilson and skated around Red Wings’ goaltender Curtis Joseph before putting the puck in the net for the eventual game-winning-goal.

Fischer had tied the game with 8:16 remaining in the second period, firing a one-timer by Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff off a faceoff win by Datsyuk and a pass by Brett Hull.

The Red Wings opened the scoring 1:17 into the second with a goal by Robert Lang. Lang one-timed a pass from Brendan Shanahan on net but Darren McCarty couldn’t handle the puck on the doorstep. The puck bounced back to Lang, who put it in the net to give Detroit the lead.

Calgary responded 2:21 later with a Stephane Yelle goal. Yelle fired a shot from the far edge of the right faceoff circle that seemed to deflect off the stick of Mathieu Schneider before slipping between Joseph’s pads.

On their fourth-straight power play, the Flames took the lead. At 5:46 of the second, Jarome Iginla was left alone in the slot and one-timed a shot past Joseph to put the Flames in front for the first time in regulation in the series.

Joseph stopped 24 of the 27 shots he faced in net for the Red Wings. Kipprusoff made 27 saves on 29 shots.

Detroit was held scoreless on their two powerplay attempts, while Calgary went 1-for-4.

Game Four is Thursday night in Calgary.

Detroit defenseman Chris Chelios did not play. He was scratched with an “upper-body injury.” Jason Woolley and Jamie Rivers played for the first time this postseason.

Ducks Win 8-6: Wings & Ducks Defy NHL’s Current Low-Scoring Reputation

The Red Wings had plenty of jump and generated plenty of scoring chances on Sunday, but their defense just wasn’t quite as strong. With key players Mathieu Schneider and Kirk Maltby now out of the lineup, and Kris Draper and Derian Hatcher already missing, the Wings’ penalty killing suffered accordingly, allowing the Anaheim Mighty Ducks to score 2 power play goals in 6 tries en route to an 8-6 win.

Detroit made a point of starting the game strong. Pavel Datsyuk, Brett Hull, and Steve Yzerman got the Red Wings out to an early 3-0 lead, each putting a wrist shot past Jean-Sebastien Giguere before six minutes had passed in the game. Unfortunately, the Wings’ defensive play was not nearly so well-executed as their offensive play.

The Ducks got their first power play of the game when Boyd Devereaux was called for hooking, and Sergei Fedorov set up a good play for Joffrey Lupul to score. Fedorov circled the net and centered a pass across the goal crease, and Lupul was right at the side of the net to whack the puck past Manny Legace.

Steve Rucchin took advantage of Detroit’s inability to clear the puck. Vaclav Prospal shot on net from the left point. Vitaly Vishnevski took a whack at the rebound, and Rucchin pulled the second rebound away before Legace could cover it up, then slipped it around the side of the goalie and into the net.

Jason Williams took a double minor penalty for high sticking as the first period was ending. Detroit thought they caught a break when Niclas Havelid was given a hooking penalty with a minute and a half gone in the penalty to Williams, but the Ducks scored twice during the resulting four-on-four. Sammy Pahlsson‘s goal off a partly screened wrist shot tied the game at 2:10, and Fedorov moved Anaheim into the lead by slipping a rebound of Rob Niedermeyer’s shot past Legace’s right skate at 2:36.

Curtis Joseph came in for Legace at that point, but that didn’t give the Red Wings quite the shake-up they were hoping for. Jamie Rivers took a boarding call, giving Anaheim 15 seconds of 5-on-3 play with Williams still in the box. Prospal was able to make a hard pass across the goal crease, and Petr Sykora smacked the puck into the net.

Nicklas Lidstrom converted on a good centering pass from Henrik Zetterberg to get the Wings back within one just two minutes later, and Rivers jumped into the play from the blue line to tie the game with a high shot over Giguere with 3:07 left in the third. Joseph did his part by coming up with a big save against Lupul with only 1:25 left in the period.

Ray Whitney moved Detroit back into the lead early in the third. He got the rebound from Yzerman’s shot. Giguere had slid far to his left while making the first save, but defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh was flopped in the crease trying to cover as much of the net as he could. Whitney whacked at the puck until he finally put it past Ozolinsh.

Vishnevski negated the momentum swing by tying the game back up just 26 seconds later. Detroit made an uncoordinated line change, and Vishnevski was able to drive to the net uncovered to put the rebound of Pahlsson’s shot past Joseph.

Fedorov flipped a deflection by Niedermeyer into the net at 7:01 to give the Ducks the lead for good. Rucchin capped off the scoring with an empty net goal with 14 seconds left.

Detroit outshot the Ducks by a count of 57 to 30. The Red Wings will have tomorrow off to try to regroup before facing the Pacific Division-leading Sharks in San Jose on Tuesday night.

Yzerman’s assist on Whitney’s goal was the 1041st of his career, moving him past Marcel Dionne into 8th on the all time assists list”¦. Schneider is listed as day-to-day with a groin injury. Hatcher wasn’t quite ready to play, so the Wings had to play with only five defensemen”¦. Maltby left the team after Saturday’s game to return to Detroit in preparation for the birth of his first child.

One of Those Nights: Flames Get 4-1 Win over Wings

It was just one of those nights for the Red Wings: passes weren’t connecting, shots were going just wide of the net, skaters wound up just barely offside. You know. that kind of night. Meanwhile, the Calgary Flames were having the other kind of night, the kind when every shot goes into the net, the passes are just right, and each skater manages to be just out of the way of the other team’s checking. And so, the Red Wings took a 4-1 loss at the hands of Calgary.

The Flames are far from being a fluke team (they’ve beaten some of the top teams in the NHL recently in their push for playoff positioning), but it took a couple of flukey goals to give them the confidence they needed to beat Detroit. Stephane Yelle was first on the board at 6:49 of the first period. Henrik Zetterberg and Kirk Maltby had an accidental collision in the defensive zone, allowing Yelle to sneak in on the left side then cut to the net. When Jordan Leopold shoveled a centering pass out from the right corner, Yelle deflected the puck into the net with his left skate. Manny Legace protested that Yelle had kicked the puck, but the video goal judge ruled that there was no clear kicking motion.

Steve Montador scored the eventual game winner early in the second period. His shot from the blue line hit the crossbar, then the goalpost, then bounced into the net. Legace had been screened by Jamie Rivers and Marcus Nilson, so couldn’t see the puck until it was too late.

Calgary increased their lead just 29 seconds later. Chuck Kobasew carried the puck up the right side, chased by Steve Yzerman. Kobasew attempted to draw a hooking penalty, so Yzerman backed off to avoid the call””just enough so that Kobasew was able to send a pass through the goal crease. Meanwhile, Matthew Lombardi had been pushing towards the net under the watchful eye of Jiri Fischer. Fischer turned his back on Lombardi just as Kobasew’s pass came through the crease, and Lombardi was able to deflect the puck past Legace. Kirk Maltby beat Miikka Kiprusoff and got Detroit into the game with a screened wrist shot late in the second, but Craig Conroy negated that momentum shift with a goal off a two-on-one rush 44 seconds before the end of the period.

The Red Wings tried to break out of their funk in the third period, but again, the passes failed to click. Or the shots went just wide of the net. Kiprusoff was easily able to stop the seven third period shots which did make it through, keeping the lead for his team.

Detroit outshot Calgary by a count of 26 to 18. This was the Red Wings’ last home game for awhile: they open a five game road trip on Thursday evening when they visit the Phoenix Coyotes.

The good news: Kris Draper and Pavel Datsyuk both participated in this morning’s skate. The bad news: Derian Hatcher left the game in the third period with a shoulder injury and did not return.

Shanny’s Hat-trick Lifts Wings over Preds

Brendan Shanahan scored the only goals for the Detroit Red Wings and carried them to a 3-2 overtime win over the Nashville Predators Sunday night as the Red Wings extended their unbeaten streak to eight games. Goaltender Curtis Joseph earned the win in only his second start since returning from a sprained ankle last week.

The win moved Detroit past the Tampa Bay Lightning and into the top spot in the National Hockey League standings. The Red Wings have one game in hand on the Lightning.

Shanahan scored his third goal of the game just forty seconds into overtime. Defenseman Chris Chelios intercepted a Nashvilee pass in the Detroit zone and carried the puck up the ice with Shanahan and Nicklas Lidstrom. After gaining the Nashville zone, Chelios fed the puck to Shanahan at the right faceoff circle. Shanahan stepped up to the faceoff dot and wristed the rolling puck over the shoulder of Predators’ goaltender Tomas Vokoun.

Both of Shanahan’s previous goals pulled the Red Wings into a tie with the Predators.

The first goal came on the power play 8:33 into the game. Steve Yzerman passed the puck to Tomas Holmstrom at the right side of the Nashville net. Vokoun and the Predators’ defense moved to cover Holmstrom, who slid a pass across the ice to Shanahan, who put in a bad-angle shot from the left side of the goal.

Shanahan’s second goal tied the game at two 9:16 into the third period. The rebound from a Brett Hull shot bounced around the edge of the crease before Shanahan pounced on it and flipped it into the side of the net.

The Predators had gained a 2-1 lead on a goal by Denis Arkhipov just 2:20 into the second period. Martin Erat skated out from behind the Red Wings goal and Arkhipov slipped behind Detroit defender Jamie Rivers to take Erat’s pass and put the puck between the pads of Detroit netminder Cutis Joseph.

Nashville opened the scoring on a disputed power play 5:16 into the game. Detroit’s Kirk Maltby appeared to score at 4:38 but the goal was waved off and Maltby was put in the box for a soft interference penalty that should have been assessed to Darren McCarty.

On the ensuing power play, Marek Zidlicky fired a high shot from the blue line that deflected in the slot off the back of Jeremy Stevenson and straight down to the ice, bouncing past Joseph to put the Predators on the board.

It was the first power play goal allowed by the Red Wings in forty chances.

Joseph stopped 27 of the 29 Nashville shots he faced in the game, while Vokoun made 28 saves on 31 Detroit shots against.

The Red Wings are next in action on Tuesday night when they host the Calgary Flames in their last home game before embarking on a five-game road trip.

Canucks Have Trouble With Manny: Wings Win 3-1

Once again, goaltender Manny Legace held his team in the game so they could get the win. Legace’s goaltending and a three-point night from Nicklas Lidstrom propelled the Red Wings to a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Both teams played a very open game to start the first period, and both goalies had to be sharp. Dan Cloutier faced and stopped two quick rebound shots by Robert Lang from point-blank range before the game was even a minute gone. At the other end of the ice, Legace stoned Daniel and Henrik Sedin when they broke through neutral ice on a two-on-one rush.

Brendan Shanahan opened the scoring 3:15 into the second period. Lidstrom made a soft pass from the right point to Shanahan at center. Shanahan blasted a one-timer from nearly sixty feet in front of the net. Cloutier was unscreened, but the shot went right through.

The Red Wings got to take advantage of a five on three power play shortly thereafter. Daniel Sedin was sent to the box for high sticking. Just a few seconds into the power play, Mattias Ohlund tripped and slid into the boards while being closely followed by Tomas Holmstrom. Vancouver coach Marc Crawford believed Holmstrom should have been given a penalty, and he was very forthcoming in sharing this viewpoint with the game officials.

The referees didn’t seem to appreciate Crawford’s vocal opinion, so they assigned him a bench minor penalty, leaving the Canucks down by two men. Fedor Fedorov went into the box to serve Crawford’s time, and the Detroit power play went to work. After a lot of passing, a few wide shots, and a couple of good saves by Cloutier, Brett Hull‘s shot was the one that clicked. Lidstrom passed from the right point to Hull at the top of the left faceoff circle, and Hull fired off a one-timer which bounced off the goalpost and into the net.

Vancouver nearly got themselves into the game with 2:47 left in the second period, but Legace flung himself across the crease to make a sprawling glove save against Sean Pronger.

Legace gave the fans a scare early in the third. Matt Cooke shoved Mathieu Schneider into Legace just to the right of the net. Legace was slow to get up and seemed a little shaky for a moment, but he stayed in net and finished the game.

Lidstrom added a goal to his pair of assists at 6:07 of the third. He intercepted a bad pass by the Canucks and was away on a two-on-one rush with Ray Whitney. Brent Sopel, the only defender back, was unable to stop Lidtsrom’s pass to Whitney or Whitney’s pass back across. Lidstrom took the pass, got to just the right spot, and wristed a shot into the net on Cloutier’s short side.

Mike Keane spoiled Legace’s shutout bid with 4:59 left to play. Sean Pronger won a faceoff in Detroit’s zone. He pulled the puck back to Keane, who took a few steps to his left before firing the puck. The puck hit the short side goalpost and bounced into the net.

The Canucks pulled Cloutier with 1:27 left to play, but the extra attacker did them no good.
Legace made 23 saves on the 24 shots he faced, while Cloutier stopped 24 of 27 shots.

The Red Wings’ next opponent will be the Southeast Division leaders, the Tampa Bay Lightning, on Monday night at the Joe.

Boyd Devereaux came back into the lineup tonight to fill in for the injured Pavel Datysuk, while Mark Mowers, Anders Myrvold, and Jamie Rivers stayed in the lineup to fill the holes left by Kris Draper, Jason Woolley, and Mathieu Dandenault“¦. Shanahan’s 20th goal of the season makes this his 16th consecutive 20 goal season. He and Hull, who is in his 17th consecutive 20 goal season, lead all active players in that regard.

Home Sweet Home: Wings Bounce Back from Bad Trip with Win at Home

The Detroit Red Wings bounced back from a five-game road trip in which they won only one game and earned only four of a possible ten points with a 5-3 win over the defending Stanley Cup Champion New Jersey Devils. The win lifted the Wings’ record to 19-4-2 at home this season.

Detroit goaltender Curtis Joseph was spectacular early on as the Red Wings killed off a New Jersey 5-on-3 in the opening minutes of the game. The Wings gained momentum with the successful penalty kill and struck first, scoring the game’s first goal with 8:59 remaining in the period.

Henrik Zetterberg won an offensive zone faceoff against former Red Wing Igor Larionov and got the puck back to Jamie Rivers. Rivers fired a hard shot from the blue line that surprised Devils’ netminder Martin Brodeur and found its way into the net.

Just 2:47 later, the Devils responded. Erik Rasmussen picked up the puck in the New Jersey zone and outraced Jason Woolley down the left side of the ice. He gained the Detroit blue line and fired a shot through Joseph’s pads. The goal was a soft one for Joseph to give up, but his teammates would bail him out.

Mathieu Schneider scored his fifth goal in five games 2:16 after the Rasmussen goal as Detroit was on the power play. Tomas Holmstrom carried the puck over the New Jersey blue line and fed it off to Brendan Shanahan at the right-side half-boards. Shanahan sent a pass to the streaking Schneider who one-timed a shot by Brodeur to put the Red Wings back out in front.

Brett Hull put the Wings up by two early in the second. Just 46 seconds in to the period, he took a pass at the right faceoff circle from Steve Thomas, spun around a defender, and deflected a shot off Brodeur’s shoulder, off the crossbar, and into the net.

Within three minutes, Turner Stevenson had the Devils back within one. At 3:31, Stevenson took at pass from Jeff Friesen and put a one-timer from the middle of the Wings’ zone past Joseph.

Detroit didn’t regain their two-goal lead until almost midway through the third period. At 8:30 of the period, Holmstrom scored on just the Wings’ second power play attempt of the game. Schneider fired a shot from the point and the Brodeur let the rebound slip away from him. Holmstrom picked up the puck with his back to the crease and spun around, flipping a shot past Brodeur’s outstretched pad.

Kris Draper added a shorthanded, empty-net insurance goal with 1:02 remaining in the game. Draper picked up a loose puck in the high slot in the Detroit zone, skated with it to the blue line, and fired a long shot into the vacant New Jersey net.

Detroit’s special teams were perfect for the game, with the power play converting on both opportunities and the penalty kill successfully defending against seven New Jersey attempts with the extra attacker.

Joseph stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced in net for the Red Wings, a far cry from his last appearance in net, where he allowed four goals on eight shots in two periods against the Phoenix Coyotes. Brodeur made 15 saves on 19 shots against for the Devils.

The Red Wings are back in action on Saturday night when the Carolina Hurricanes visit Joe Louis Arena. Detroit defeated the Hurricanes, 4-1, in their previous meeting this season.

Detroit forward Steve Thomas left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury. He did not return.

Hull Snaps Slump as Wings Down LA

Brett Hull scored his first goal in 21 games, ending the longest goal scoring drought of his career and helping the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.

Hull’s goal came 3:47 into the second period as the Wings were on one of their two power plays of the game. Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom fired a shot from inside the blue line that Hull deflected near the slot and went past Kings’ goalie Roman Cechmanek to pull Detroit back into a 2-2 tie with Los Angeles.

Detroit had opened the scoring off a faceoff 6:01 into the game. Pavel Datsyuk won the draw back to Jamie Rivers at the blue line. Rivers sent a pass to Jason Woolley who fired a shot from along the boards that was deflected into the net from the slot by Steve Thomas.

The Kings took the lead on goals just 1:30 apart later in the first period. Trent Klatt scored on the power play with 4:49 remaining in the period, deflecting a shot at the top of the crease through Detroit netminder Curtis Joseph‘s five-hole. Alexander Frolov put the Kings up by a goal after picking up a rebound and firing it over the sprawling Joseph.

Detroit regained the lead when Mathieu Schneider fired a shot from the right faceoff circle by Cechmanek 1:30 after Hull tied the game.

Jamie Rivers, who was inserted into the lineup late after Niklas Kronwall was injured in pre-game warmups, scored his first goal as a Red Wing 3:55 into the final period. Rivers picked off a pass just inside the Kings’ blue line and rifled a quick shot by Cechmanek to make it 4-2.

Another power play goal pulled the Kings back within a goal when former Red Wing Luc Robitaille deflected a shot by Joseph at the 6:15 mark of the third.

Schneider’s second goal of the game put Detroit back up by a goal with 6:08 remaining in the game and that was enough for the Red Wings to hold on for the victory.

Frolov finished the game’s scoring with 1:17 remaining in regulation. As the Kings skated with the extra attacker, Frolov swept down the left side of the ice and fired a backhand shot over the stick of a surprised Joseph for his second goal of the night.

Joseph stopped 25 of the 29 shots he faced in net for the Red Wings. Cechmanek made 24 saves on 29 shots between the pipes for the Kings.

Detroit is next in action on Saturday night when the Red Wings pay their first ever visit to the new Glendale Arena, home of the Phoenix Coyotes.

Kronwall Breaks Leg in Warmups

Detroit Red Wings rookie defenseman Niklas Kronwall will return to Detroit for further evaluation on Friday after suffering a broken leg during pre-game warmups before the Red Wings’ Thursday-night matchup with the Los Angeles Kings.

Kronwall’s skate reportedly got caught in a rut in the ice as he turned, causing his leg to twist and buckle under him.

He was helped off the ice and defenseman Jamie Rivers was quickly inserted into the lineup to replace him.

Without further assessment of the injury, no timetable has been set for his return.