Red Wings – Blues Pregame Notes

The Red Wings look to bounce back from their awful loss to Nashville last Saturday. I never saw it so I’m going from others’ accounts and the final score in calling it awful, as far as I’m concerned it never happened.

Chris Osgood gets the start for Detroit. Former Wing Manny Legace isn’t even with the Blues anymore, he’ll be hanging out with AHL Peoria. I guess that means Chris Mason gets the start for St. Louis.

Aaron Downey makes his secon appearance of the season with Detroit, alongside fellow call-up Jonathan Ericsson. Ericsson takes Andreas Lilja‘s spot on defense while Lilja stays in Detroit nursing injuries suffered in Nashville.

Brett Lebda also returns to the Detroit lineup, taking Derek Meech‘s spot on the blueline.

Unlike the Coyotes, Islanders, Maple Leafs, and seemingly a slew of other teams, neither the Wings nor the Blues are expected to sit any players in anticipation of trades tonight.

Helm and Leino Sent to Griffins, Ericsson and Downey Called Up

The Red Wings announced today that Darren Helm and Ville Leino have been returned to the Grand Rapids Griffins while Jonathan Ericsson and Aaron Downy have been called up from the AHL.

The move comes as a bit of a surprise given Leino and Helm’s contributions during their stay in Detroit. My guess is that it’s a combination of two factors.

As Malik posits, Tomas Holmstrom must be close to returning. The Red Wings organization has said from the start that they want to see Ericsson before the playoffs and they lose that chance when Homer gets back.

Ericsson’s cap number is higher than that of Leino or Helm. I don’t have the numbers in front of me but it’s probably high enough that he can’t just replace one of them in the lineup, that both need to go with a cheaper alternative brought up to play on a forward line. Downey fits the role of the cheaper player who fits with Ericsson’s cap hit.

Wings’ “Final” Roster Confirmed

The Red Wings have announced their “final” roster going into the regular season.

After practicing with the team this morning, Jonathan Ericsson and Ville Leino were sent down to the Grand Rapids Griffins. Excluding the three players on injured reserve (Darren McCarty, Chris Chelios and Jimmy Howard) the Wings now have a 22-man roster.

Rumors of a trade involving Kyle Quincey continue but nothing has been confirmed.

Red Wings’ Roster Moves Begin

The Red Wings have begun their moves to get their season-beginning roster both under the NHL salary cap and under the roster size limit of 23 players. Malik (among others) has the updates.

The recap? To Grand Rapids: Darren Helm. Waived and on the way to GR if he’s not claimed: Aaron Downey. In Detroit but hurt: Darren McCarty, Jimmy Howard. To be determined: Kyle Quincey, Jonathan Ericsson, Ville Leino.

Now McCarty and Howard are stuck in Detroit so don’t read too much into that. They can’t be sent down while injured so it doesn’t mean that Mac has the last forward spot or that Howie beat out Ty Conklin to be Chris Osgood‘s backup.

The last three are most interesting to me. It’s already been reported that the Wings are shopping Quincey. No need to send him down if you’re going to deal him. But why send down Helm but not Ericsson or Leino, unless you’re planning on keeping them up?

If the Wings are keeping those two, a trade is in the works. They don’t have room for them without moving some other bodies. Yes, bodies, plural. Not just Quincey would be gone.

Detroit’s roster currently sits at 14 forwards (not counting Downey who’s on his way down), 10 defensemen and three goalies. Chris Chelios doesn’t count as he’s a long-term injury exception. Assume Quincey is dealt and that’s still 25 players. Ericsson and Leino could be sent down to get to the required 23 men (I haven’t bothered to see what that means for the Cap) but (as I said above), why keep them in Detroit for one more day if they’re just going to be sent down anyway?


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.

Sweater Numbers, Round Two

I just caught that RWC updated their camp roster again, this time with new player numbers.

Stephen Johnston has #71, not the #52 previously reported, so it looks like Jonathan Ericsson will be keeping that number. Free-agent tryout Kyle Deck has the #2 that appeared on Ericsson’s truck in the Stanley Cup parade.

Justin Abdelkader keeps the #8 that he inherited from Matt Ellis last season and Mattias Ritola keeps #42.

So far it doesn’t look like anyone expected to be on the Detroit roster at the start of the season will be changing. I had expected Darren Helm to switch to the open #15 but that’s been given to try-out Martin Ondrej.

Sweater Number Stuff, Camp Edition

Malik pointed out that RWC has their annual training camp report up and running and has posted Detroit’s roster for the pre-camp prospects tournament.

Being a sweater numberphile, I look forward to RWC’s training camp rosters because they show which players will get which numbers. Players typically keep the same number throughout camp and the ones expected to compete for roster spots carry their numbers into the regular season.

As of this writing, center Stephen Johnston is the only player assigned a number, the #52 worn last season by Jonathan Ericsson. This likely means that Ericsson will be switching numbers for the upcoming season.

Ericsson wore #52 when he skated onto the ice with the rest of the Black Aces after Game Six of last spring’s Stanley Cup Finals but the truck carrying him and Justin Abdelkader in the Red Wings’ championship parade bore Abdelkader’s #8 and #2. We’ll see if that switch (along with any others) is being made in the next few weeks.

Edit (10:10 PM): RWC says that the number listing was an error. We’ll see if the #2 on Ericsson’s parade truck was also an error.

Howard and Ericsson Signed

There are reports that both Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Ericsson have re-signed with the Red Wings. The team hasn’t made an announcement but Malik pointed out a couple signs that it could be true.

The big evidence is the NHLPA’s website listing compensation for both players for next season.

For those who didn’t follow that link, this leaves Chris Chelios, Aaron Downey, Valtteri Filppula, Mark Hartigan, Logan Koopmans, Darren McCarty and Kyle Quincey unsigned. Chelios supposedly has a deal and Filppula will, either through negotiations or arbitration. Hartigan and Koopmans are likely on their way out. Downey and McCarty have been offered two-way deals. I haven’t heard anything about Quincey all summer.

Red Wings Rebound but Fall to Oilers in Shootout

The Detroit Red Wings rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the third period to take a late 3-2 lead Tuesday night but were unable to hold on, falling to the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 in a shootout.

The point earned was just Detroit’s third in the last ten games, a slump that coincides with injuries to most of their defensemen.

Rookie Jonathan Ericsson, in the lineup to fill in on the depleted blueline, started Detroit’s comeback at 5:42 of the third period.

With the Red Wings on the power play, Valtteri Filppula sent a pass from the bottom of the left faceoff circe to Ericsson up high for a one-timer that found its way through Edmonton goalie Mathieu Garon.

Pavel Datsyuk added a second power play goal with 7:42 left in regulation, rifling a shot from the left circle over Garon’s shoulder.

Detroit took the lead with 2:16 remaining on a Valtteri Filppula goal. A stretch pass from Brett Lebda sprung Filppula into the Edmonton zone. Unable to control the puck quickly, he was left to throw a shot on net from an acute angle but it found a way into the net.

The Oilers tied the game back up with 29 seconds left, when Fernando Pisani lifted a rebound over Detroit netminder Chris Osgood in a goal-mouth scramble.

Robert Nilsson scored the only goal of the shootout to win the game for Edmonton, putting a shot past Osgood’s glove in the third round of the tiebreaker.

The Oilers had opened the scoring at 2:54 of the second period. Osgood scrambled to make a series of saves but Tom Gilbert was left open at the bottom of the left circle to take a pass and lift a shot into the net.

Geoff Sanderson extended the lead at 1:44 of the third, taking an outlet pass from Jarret Stoll and catching Ericsson flat-footed at the Detroit blueline to race in alone on Osgood and put a shot between his pads.

Osgood finished the night with 26 saves on 29 shots. Garon stopped 40 of 43 Detroit chances.

Detroit’s recently-struggling power play made good on two of seven opportunities while the Oilers went one-for-six.

Trade deadline acquisition Brad Stuart was not in the Detroit lineup.