On Free Agent Splashes

With about fourteen hours before NHL free agency opens up, Hockeytown anxiously awaits what Red Wings’ general manager Ken Holland will do to address the holes in the team’s lineup.

Holland has gone on the record saying that he’s looking for a defenseman to help offset the loss of Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart, possibly a top-six forward (especially if Jiri Hudler bolts) and possibly a goaltender (either to back up Jimmy Howard in Detroit or to take Joey MacDonald‘s spot in Grand Rapids, with MacDonald as Howard’s backup).

There is an expectation that the Red Wings will make a “splash” given those holes to fill and approximately $20 million of cap space to use.  The primary targets are expected to be Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter and New Jersey forward Zach Parise.

Here’s what terrifies me:  Considering who Detroit has already lost this summer, would signing Suter even be a splash?

That move seems more like signing Brian Rafalski when Mathieu Schneider left the team, or Curtis Joseph to replace Dominik Hasek when he retired the first time.

As much as we talk about the Red Wings being big spenders, aside from Marian Hossa in 2009, those are the kind of moves they’ve made since the last lockout.  Their big signings are still somewhat lateral overall.

To make a splash, the Wings can do no less than sign both Suter and Parise.  I’d love to see it but I’m less and less convinced that it’s possible,

I’ve decided to lower my expectations.  There’s no replacing Lidstrom and it’s hard to replace Stuart, but it’s impossible to do that by promoting from within given the Red Wings’ current blueline.  That means that Suter is a must.

Parise?  I hope so but it’s not enough without Suter.  I’d rather Suter and Alex Semin or Shane Doan than Parise without Suter.

Of course, 24 hours from now I might be saying something else entirely.  We’ll see what Holland does for us.

Helm Injured as Red Wings Fall to Predators in Game One

Detroit forward Darren Helm returned from injury only to suffer a new one, leaving Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup between the Red Wings and the Nashville Predators before the Predators earned a 3-2 win.

Helm missed the final ten games of the regular season with a sprained MCL. Tuesday’s playoff opener was his first game back but he cut his forearm on Andrei Kostitsyn’s skate in the first period and immediately left the ice.

He was taken to Vanderbilt Medical Center for unspecified surgery during the game. Detroit head coach Mike Babcock would later say “We don’t know to what extent or how severe, if any tendons or anything were cut we don’t know but it was pretty severe.”

The Predators were already up by a goal when the injury happened. At 6:59 of the period, Paul Gaustad threw the puck from the left corner to the front of the Detroit net, where it deflected off defenseman Brad Stuart and past goalie Jimmy Howard to make it 1-0.

Detroit got on the board at 2:29 of the second period. Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne knocked aside a Niklas Kronwall shot from the blue line but Henrik Zetterberg got to the loose puck and knocked it in behind Rinne for a power play goal.

The Predators regained the lead with 7:31 to go in the second when Matt Halischuk‘s long shot deflected off the outstretched stick of Gabriel Bourque and floated past Howard.

Bourque added another with 8:25 left in regulation, snapping a shot over Howard’s glove after he was left all alone in the slot.

Tomas Holmstrom knocked home a loose puck from the edge of the crease on a power play with 2:07 remaining to make it 3-2 but the Red Wings would be unable to tie it, even with a late six-on-four manpower advantage.

The Red Wings finished the night with two goals on eight chances with the extra attacker. Nashville was scoreless in six power play tries.

Howard finished the night with 23 saves on 26 shots while Rinne stopped 35 of 37 shots.

In the closing seconds of the game, Nashville captain Shea Weber grabbed Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg by the sides of his head and slammed his face into the glass, earning a two-minute roughing penalty. The NHL has yet to announce whether they will review the play for a possible additional penalty.

Game Two between the teams will be Friday night.


The Red Wings scratched forwards Gustav Nyquist, Jan Mursak, Chris Conner and the injured Patrick Eaves, defenseman Jakub Kindl, and goalie Joey MacDonald.

Red Wings Rout Blue Jackets to Clinch Playoff Spot

The Detroit Red Wings clinched a playoff spot for the 21st consecutive season on Monday night with a 7-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The streak is the longest active in professional sports. The NHL’s all-time record is 29 consecutive seasons, set by the Boston Bruins.

Four goals in the first ten minutes of the game propelled the Red Wings to the win, including two power play tallies by Tomas Holmstrom.

Holmstrom opened the game’s scoring just 1:06 in with Columbus’ Cam Atkinson off for tripping. Niklas Kronwall sent a pass from the blue line to Henrik Zetterberg at the side of the Blue Jackets’ net. Goaltender Steve Mason overcommited towards him and he sent a pass across the crease to Holmstrom to bang home.

Gustav Nyquist made it 2-0 at 5:35 with his first career NHL goal. In the slot, Pavel Datsyuk spun to send a pass to Nyquist all alone at the edge of the crease, where he roofed a shot past the diving Mason.

Holmstrom’s second came at 8:55, when Kronwall sent a hard pass from the point to Zetterberg in the slot, who turned and sent it backwards through his legs to Holmstrom for a shot past Mason from the left faceoff circle – another power play goal.

Jiri Hudler rounded out the period’s scoring 56 seconds later. After Mason stopped his initial shot, Hudler wrapped around the goal while Valtteri Filppula gathered in the rebound. Filppula sent a pass to Hudler to knock home from the side of the net to make it 4-0.

Nicklas Lidstrom made it 5-0 at 6:17 of the second period, sliding a shot from the right faceoff dot under Mason’s pad after almost whiffing on the chance.

Brad Stuart ended Mason’s night 2:17 later, jumping into the play to take a feed from Todd Bertuzzi and beat Mason from the inside edge of the right circle.

Datsyuk capped off Detroit’s scoring at 1:25 of the third period. Zetterberg spun in the right circle before sending a pass across to the left side for Datsyuk to knock past backup goalie Allen York.

The Blue Jackets would finally get on the board just 19 seconds later, with Mark Letestu splitting the Detroit defense to break in alone on Ty Conklin and snap a shot past him.

Rick Nash made it 7-2 with 9:28 remaining, blasting a shot from the top of the right circle off the post and in behind Conklin.

Conklin finished the night with 24 saves on 26 shots against, half of those chances coming in the third period. Mason made 22 saves on 28 shots in 28:34 while York stopped 10 of 11 in 31:26 of play.

Holmstrom’s goals were the only power play tallies on the night, though Lidstrom’s goal came on a delayed call. The Red Wings finished the night 2-for-6 on the power play while the Blue Jackets went 0-for-4.

The two teams will meet again on Wednesday in Columbus for the second game of the home-and-home series.


Detroit was without goaltenders Jimmy Howard and Joey MacDonald, defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, and forwards Johan Franzen, Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves.

Zetterberg Leads Red Wings’ Rally Past Hurricanes

Henrik Zetterberg scored the first two goals for Detroit on Saturday night, leading the Red Wings to a 5-4 comeback win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

The win snapped Detroit’s six-game losing streak and coincided with the return from injury of defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom and Jakub Kindl.

The Red Wings were down 4-1 when Zetterberg scored his second of the night. With 3:02 left in the second period, Zetterberg took a feed from Valtteri Filppula and snapped a shot from the high slot off Carolina netminder Cam Ward‘s mask and into the net, through a screen by Jiri Hudler.

Just 18 seconds later, Todd Bertuzzi batted the fluttering rebound of a Gustav Nyquist chance out of mid-air and past Ward to cut the Hurricanes’ lead to a single goal.

At 8:10 of the third, Filppula banked the puck off the side of the net and out to Brad Stuart just inside the blue line. Stuart’s shot deflected first off Hudler in front of the net, then off defender Jay Harrison before trickling across the goal line to tie the game.

With 8:25 left in regulation, Drew Miller gave the Red Wings their first and only lead. The Hurricanes won a faceoff in their own zone but Cleary knocked the puck loose to Miller, who went to the front of the net alone and beat Ward on the backand to make it 5-4.

Carolina had opened the scoring just 17 seconds into the game, when Jiri Tlusty threw a backhander from down low on the right wing towards the Detroit goal. The puck deflected off defenseman Ian White‘s stick and went over the shoulder of goalie Ty Conklin to give the Hurricanes the early lead.

Another quick goal made it 2-0, with Chard Larose scoring just 26 seconds into the second period. Larose was left alone in the left corner of the Detroit zone and he cut to the middle to take a pass from Eric Staal before beating Conklin.

Zetterberg scored his first of the night to halve Carolina’s lead at 5:10 of the second. Zetterberg threw the puck to the net from the right circle and it deflected off defenseman Bryan Allen to get past Ward.

A pair of power play goals gave the Hurricanes their 4-1 lead. With 4:22 left in the second period and a single second left on a five-on-three, Jamie McBain rifled a shot from the top of the left circle past Conklin. Tlusty got in behind Kyle Quincey and tapped in a chance from the edge of the crease just 17 seconds later.

Those two goals were the only power play goals by either team on the night. Each team had two tries with the man-advantage.

Conklin finished the night with 20 saves on 24 shots, with the Red Wings holding the Hurricanes to just three shots in the third period. Ward stopped 45 of Detroit’s 50 shots on the night.


With Lidstrom and Kindl returning to the lineup, Brendan Smith was a healthy scratch. The Red Wings reassigned him to the Grand Rapids Griffins after the game. Jonathan Ericsson, Johan Franzen, Darren Helm, Patrick Eaves, Jimmy Howard and Joey MacDonald remain injured for Detroit.

Red Wings Fall to Rangers in Overtime

The Detroit Red Wings dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to the New York Rangers on Wednesday night, stretching their losing streak to six games.

Goaltender Ty Conklin, recalled from the Grand Rapids Griffins with both Jimmy Howard and Joey MacDonald injured, stopped 32 of the 34 shots he faced in the effort.

Rangers’ captain Ryan Callahan gave his team the win at 2:42 of the overtime period. Brandon Dubinsky gained the Detroit zone and passed off to Michael Del Zotto on the left wing, who sent it back across to Callahan all alone in the high slot for a shot past Conklin.

Detroit had opened the game’s scoring just 3:36 into the first period. Henrik Zetterberg‘s wrister from the top of the right faceoff circle found it’s way through a screen and past New York netminder Henik Lundqvist.

Brad Richards responded for the Rangers with 5:02 left in the opening period and Detroit down a man. The Red Wings’ left a lane up the middle of the ice open and Richards carried the puck end-to-end before skating around Niklas Kronwall and beating Conklin from in close.

It was the only power play goal of the game, with the Rangers having three tries with the extra attacker and Detroit having one.

Lundqvist finished the night with 26 saves on 27 shots against.

The Red Wings look to snap their skid on Saturday night when they host the Carolina Hurricanes.


In addition to Howard and MacDonald, Detroit was without Johan Franzen, Darren Helm, Patrick Eaves, Jonathan Ericsson, Jakub Kindl and Nicklas Lidstrom.

Howard Out, Conklin on Re-Entry Waivers

As noted by many (but it looks like Khan was first), Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard has re-injured his groin and will be unavailable when the Red Wings visit the New York Rangers on Wednesday.

Ty Conklin has been placed on re-entry waivers as the Wings attempt to call him up from the Grand Rapids Griffins. A team could claim him for half of his salary and cap hit. If he clears, he’ll start in New York.

Howard joins backup netminder Joey MacDonald on the shelf, as well as forwards Johan Franzen, Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves, and defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom, Jonathan Ericsson and Jakub Kindl.

Red Wings’ Skid Continues with Shutout Loss to Ducks

The Detroit Red Wings suffered their third loss in a row and their eighth in the last eleven games Wednesday night, a 4-0 shutout by the Anaheim Ducks.

After a scoreless first period, the Ducks opened the game’s scoring at 8:52 of the second. Teemu Selanne tipped a Cam Fowler shot past Detroit goalie Joey MacDonald from inside the crease for his 1400th career point, giving Anaheim a 1-0 lead.

Kyle Palmieri made it 2-0 with 4:11 left in the period, stealing the puck from defenseman Brendan Smith down low and beating MacDonald on a backhand chance from in close all alone.

Bobby Ryan banged home the rebound of a Ryan Getzlaf chance 3:06 later to put the Ducks up 3-0 entering the second intermission.

Palmieri would add another goal at 1:22 of the third to round out the scoring.

MacDonald stopped 20 of the 24 shots he faced on the night, while Anaheim netminder Jonas Hiller made 23 saves in the shutout effort.

Neither team scored a power play goal. Detroit had three chances with the extra attacker while the Ducks had two.

The Red Wings continue their West Coast road trip on Saturday when they visit the San Jose Sharks.


Detroit forward Todd Bertuzzi returned from injury, replacing Gustav Nyquist in the lineup. Nyquist will be returned to the Grand Rapids Griffins with Bertuzzi healthy.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Predators – 3/10

Well, by my count the Red Wings are now 3-9 in their twelve total Saturday games in Nashville on no rest. Someone let me know if FSD uses that number, too.

I want to complain about this one ’cause it feels like the Wings were close enough to make something happen tonight, but really there wasn’t any one thing.

I don’t like how Kyle Quincey played the two-on-one that turned into Nashville’s opening goal but Drew Miller responded almost immediately so it doesn’t really matter. I don’t like the interference penalty on Brad Stuart that gave the Predators the power play on which they scored the GWG, but Ian White really needed to cut off that pass whether the team was shorthanded or not.

A couple miscues, a couple goals against. That’s why you can’t make mistakes against a team like the Predators. They’re too efficient to give chances like that.

In the offensive end, the Wings blew their chances. The power play was better than it’s been in awhile but until they get a goal with the extra man, those are just missed opportunities.

Filppula with the puck at the side of the net in the closing minute? Gotta get that up and in. Hard to knock how he’s been playing, though, especially since he hasn’t been the guy called on for those clutch goals before.

Joey MacDonald? Stupid college chants be damned, he kept the Wings in it.

So lots of good things tonight, just not the outcome, which hurts worse ’cause the Blues are going to get their points against Columbus and extend the division lead.

Postgame: Kings @ Red Wings – 3/9

Make no mistake, I love tonight’s outcome and I love every one of the goals the Red Wings scored, but this was an awful game.

In today’s NHL, there is no way a team should win 4-3 while taking only 15 shots. This game was sixty minutes of absurdity.

That said, as was pointed out to me on Twitter, “Every so often, you need to win a piece of sh*t game to prove you can.”

The Red Wings needed this. There’s no doubt about that. They needed it to stop their skid at two games and they needed the two points to keep pace in the Central with the St. Louis Blues.

The Kings needed it, too, and they threw everything they had at the Wings in the final minute. Joey MacDonald made up for a soft goal earlier in the game by standing tall at the end.

Combine that with one of Valtteri Filppula‘s best games, Henrik Zetterberg continuing his hot streak, Darren Helm finding some finish and Brendan Smith showing why he may never play in Grand Rapids again, it makes for a pretty gutsy win.

Red Wings Remain Winless in Philly Since 1997, Drop 3-2 Decision to Flyers

The Detroit Red Wings lost in Philadelphia Tuesday night, running their winless streak there to seven games with a 3-2 loss to the Flyers.

The Wings haven’t beaten the Flyers on their home ice since a pair of wins there en route to a sweep of the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals. In 62 total regular season and playoff matches, Detroit is 15-36-11 on the road against Philadelphia, with one of the ties coming in a Flyers’ “home” game in Cleveland, Ohio.

Henrik Zetterberg opened the game’s scoring at the game’s four-minute mark. Jiri Hudler gained the Flyers’ zone on a three-on-two and passed it off to Valtteri Filppula in the right circle. Filppula looked as though he would shoot while cutting to the slot but dropped it to Zetterberg, who cut to the bottom of the circle and roofed a backhander over Philadelphia goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.

The Flyers responded on a Detroit miscue with 6:10 left in the period. Detroit netminder Joey MacDonald came behind his net to stop the puck for defenseman Doug Janik, who thought MacDonald was going to pass to him. The Flyers’ Jakub Voracek ended up being the first one to the puck and his wraparound attempt went off the skate of defenseman Brendan Smith, slipping past MacDonald.

With 1:49 left in the first, the Flyers took the lead when Niklas Kronwall failed to hold the puck in at the Philadelphia blue line, leaving Claude Giroux clear for a breakaway, on which he beat MacDonald stick-side to make it 2-1.

Kronwall would be involved in another big play in the first half of the second period, when he stepped up on Voracek, who was attempting to carry the puck out of the Philadelphia zone down the right wing. Voracek didn’t see Kronwall coming and put his head down as Kronwall slammed into him.

Voracek also hit his head on the ice on the way down after the hit. He did not return to play.

The Flyers took a 3-1 lead with 5:50 left in the middle period on a shorthanded goal by Maxime Talbot. Giroux had another break in towards MacDonald when Ian White flubbed the puck at the Philly blue line, but White and Kronwall got back to cover him and MacDonald was able to make the initial stop. Talbot jumped up to bang the rebound past MacDonald for the ninth shorthanded goal against Detroit this season.

Johan Franzen made it close at 8:47 of the third, snapping a shot from the inside edge of the left faceoff circle past Bryzgalov just after the expiration of a Detroit power play. The Wings would be unable to pull even, however.

Detroit went scoreless on four power play tries. The Flyers couldn’t score on their two attempts with the extra attacker but did add the shorthanded goal.

MacDonald stopped 20 of 23 shots he faced. Bryzgalov made 37 saves on 39 shots.

The Red Wings’ next game will be Friday when they host the Los Angeles Kings.


The Red Wings were without Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom, Todd Bertuzzi, Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Ericsson, Jakub Kindl and Patrick Eaves for the game. With Howard out, Jordan Pearce backed up MacDonald. Chris Conner replaced Bertuzzi up front while Doug Janik replaced Kindl on the blue line… Before the game, Philadelphia retired the jersey of former Flyer and Red Wing Mark Howe, a current Detroit scout.