Three Former Wings Among 43 Dead in Plane Crash

Former Red Wings Brad McCrimmon, Ruslan Salei and Stefan Liv were killed in a plane crash today, reports out of Russia state.

The chartered Yak-42, reportedly carrying the entire roster of the Kontinental Hockey League’s Yaroslavl Lokomotiv team, collided with a radar tower shortly after liftoff outside Yaroslavl. The plane was en route to Minsk, Belarus, where Lokomotiv was to play their first game of the KHL season.

Lokomotiv’s roster included several former NHLers, including Josef Vasicek, Pavol Demitra, Karel Rachunek, Alexander Vasyunov, and Karlis Skrastins.

McCrimmon was the team’s head coach, having moved to the KHL after his contract as an assistant with the Red Wings was not renewed this summer. Former NHL players Alexander Karpovtsev and Igor Korolev were his assistants.

Salei signed with Yaroslavl after being unable to come to terms with an NHL team. He spent the 2010-11 season with the Red Wings after stints with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Florida Panthers, and Colorado Avalanche.

Former Detroit prospect Liv also joined Lokomotiv over the summer, jumping from fellow KHL squad Novosibirsk Siber. He dressed for Detroit but never saw game action during the 2006-07 season, splitting his lone North American season between the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Toledo Storm.

The only player reported to survive the crash is Alexander Galimov, who is in critical condition. One member of the crew is reported as having survived.

Role Players Carry Red Wings over Stars

Detroit’s role players stepped up Monday night, accounting for all four of the Red Wings goals en route to a 4-1 win over the visiting Dallas Stars.

Drew Miller, Darren Helm, Dan Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi all scored in game where Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk could not beat Dallas netminder Marty Turco.

Backup goalie Jimmy Howard made 29 saves in the victory.

Miller got the Red Wings on the board with 6:12 left in the first period. Brett Lebda dumped the puck into the Dallas end on what should have been an icing play but Miller beat Stars defender Karlis Skrastins to the puck and threw it to the front of the net, banking it off of Trevor Daley and in behind Turco.

Brenden Morrow tied the game with 15 seconds left in the first but Helm put Detroit back in front at 5:35 of the second, taking a cross-ice pass from Kris Draper and banking a shot off of a sprawling Turco.

Cleary banged home a chance from the side of the net with 7:54 left in the period to put Detroit up by a pair.

Bertuzzi, the hero of Sunday’s shootout win over St. Louis, wrapped up the scoring with a shot from the right faceoff circle that deflected off of a Dallas defenseman on its way over Turco’s shoulder 3:35 into the final period.

Neither team scored a power play goal, each getting four tries with the extra attacker.

Turco made 28 saves on 32 shots as his career regular season record at Joe Louis Arena dropped to 1-9-2.

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.

Avs Power Past Wings

The Colorado Avalanche scored twice on the power play, helping them earn a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.

Down 1-0 in the second period, Teemu Selanne scored while Colorado skated with the man-advantage to even the game up. Joe Sakic added a power play goal in the third period to give the Avalanche a 4-2 lead.

The Red Wings opened the scoring with a power play goal of their own with 1:16 left in the first period. Brendan Shanahan carried the puck in to the Colorado zone and held up just inside the blue line. He sent a hard pass to Steve Yzerman, who was cutting to the goal. Yzerman deflected the puck past Colorado netminder David Aebischer from the edge of the crease to give Detroit the 1-0 lead.

Selanne evened the score with 7:06 left in the second period. He tipped a wrist shot from Sakic through Detroit goalie Manny Legace‘s pads. Red Wings defenseman Mathieu Schneider dove to stop the puck from trickling across the goal line but his clearing attempt bounced off the inside of the goal post and into the net.

The Red Wings regained the lead just 4:10 later, when a hard shot from the high slot by Jiri Fischer found its way under the crossbar. Colorado countered with 28 seconds remaining in the period when Karlis Skrastins fired a shot from the left point that deflected off a Detroit stick and into the top of Legace’s net.

The Avalanche took the lead 2:42 into the third period when Alex Tanguay put in the rebound of a shot from the blue line.

Sakic’s goal came on a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot and put the Avalanche up by two goals with 9:56 remaining in the game.

Peter Forsberg added an empty net goal to round out the game’s scoring.

Legace made 25 saves on 29 shots in net for the Red Wings. Aebischer stopeed 28 of the 30 shots he faced between the pipes for the Avalanche.

Wings Blank Preds to Clinch Central Division

“At that point in the game, we really wanted to send a message.” -Barrett Jackman of the St. Louis Blues, on Saturday’s classless attempt at sore loser revenge on the Red Wings

Well, Barrett, here’s the response to your “message”: Have fun with the Avalanche or Canucks in Round One. The Red Wings ensured themselves the Central Division banner and at least third seed in the standings with a 3-0 win over the Nashville Predators.

The Predators, out of the playoffs altogether, proved to be a tough opponent to crack. Part of the problem, obviously, was the lack of energy which seems to be inherent when playing a team which cannot make the playoffs. However, the Predators always bring their best game when they have to play the Red Wings, and tonight was just the same.

The first period started at a slow pace. The Red Wings had some penalties to kill off, but they did so skillfully, and Curtis Joseph was sharp and ready to stop any shots which made it through to his net.

When the Red Wings got a power play chance of their own midway through the second period, they showed once again why they have the highest ranked power play in the NHL. Pavel Datsyuk made a pass up to Sergei Fedorov in front of the net. Fedorov rang a hard shot off the goal post, but Steve Yzerman was waiting on the other side of the goal crease to grab up the rebound and stuff it into the net past goaltender Tomas Vokoun.

The Predators had a good chance to tie the game up in the third period. Tomas Holmstrom was sent to the penalty box for a high-sticking double minor penalty, but the Red Wings’ penalty killers did an excellent job of playing “keep-away” with the puck and not letting Nashville get set up. In fact, the best scoring chance on the Nashville power play was for Detroit, when Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby stole the puck and sped up the ice on a two-on-one rush.

Fedorov added his 33rd goal of the season to increase Detroit’s lead to two with 6:49 left to play. The Red Wings were on a power play, with Karlis Skrastins in the penalty box for holding. Holmstrom brought the puck back towards the blue line, then made the pass across to Fedorov. Fedorov rifled a hard shot towards the net. The puck deflected just slightly off the stick of a Nashville player, and lifted up and over Vokoun into the net.

The Predators pulled Vokoun from net for an extra skater with 1:26 left to play, but again, the Red Wings puck control was excellent. Brett Hull made a rinkwide pass to Henrik Zetterberg, skating up the left wing side. Zetterberg carried the puck into the Nashville zone and flipped it into the empty net to put the game away.

Shots on net were 27 to 24 in Nashville’s favor. The Red Wings’ next game will be Thursday night against the New York Islanders.

Assistant coach Joey Kocur was suspended for two games for throwing a folding chair onto the ice during the brawl at the end of Saturday’s game in St. Louis”¦. Zetterberg’s goal was the first empty net goal of his young career”¦. The shutout was the 41st of Joseph’s career and his second in the past week”¦. Fedorov’s goal was the 397th of his career. Hmmm, can we fit in one more milestone before the end of the season?

Dunham Spoils the Fun

On most counts, the Red Wings outplayed the Nashville Predators on Monday night, but Nashville goalie Mike Dunham outdid himself against the Wings’ offense, and the two teams skated to a 3-3 tie.

Nashville played a flat game in the first period, and the Red Wings seemed to be still buoyed by the leftover momentum from Saturday’s defeat of the Avalanche. Detroit outshot the Predators fifteen to five in the first.

The Red Wings got their first goal of the night on their first power play of the night, during an interference penalty to Vladimir Orzog. Nick Lidstrom one-timed Brett Hull‘s pass from the blue line, and goaltender Mike Dunham let the rebound slip up center. Sergei Fedorov was able to get to it before any Nashville defenders could, and he slapped it into the net between Dunham’s legs.

The Predators came back from the first intermission playing like a different team. They managed to block up the neutral zone and keep the Red Wings from setting up many quality scoring chances. Nashville scored a power play goal of their own to even up the game during an interference call to Max Kuznetsov. Manny Legace blocked the original shot, and Jiri Fischer tried to clear the rebound away, but the puck bounced off of Denis Arkhipov and into the net.

The Red Wings kept on and on firing shots on net, but Dunham demonstrated why he was named to the US Olympic team, and the game remained tied at one.

Nashville scored again to take the lead with less than two minutes left in the period. Scott Hartnell sent a backhand pass across to Karlis Skrastins, who slid the puck beneath Legace and into the net.

Detroit didn’t have to go to the intermission trailing. Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom, and Jason Williams took off on a three-on-one. Draper gained the zone and passed to Holmstrom at the right wing side, who sent the puck to Williams at center. Williams waited just long enough for Dunham to drop down low before putting the puck into the top of the net.

A defensive lapse by the Red Wings early in the third gave Nashville the lead again. Nashville had six skaters in Detroit’s end, due to a delayed penalty call, and Hartnell managed to get to the front of the net with no one to cover him. Jukka Hentinen sent the pass across, and Hartnell flipped it into the net.

With a one-goal lead, the Predators shut down and played defensively for the rest of the game. They lined up across their zone and sent only one forechecker up on the attack, causing Detroit to have to dump the puck into the zone and chase after it, rather than carry it in as they prefer to do. Dunham continued to make the necessary saves.

Legace made some strong saves to keep his team within one, and the Red Wings finally tied up the game with just under two minutes to go. Brendan Shanahan fired hard from the left wing side, with Luc Robitaille going to the net. Robitaille partially blocked Dunham’s view, and Shanahan’s shot flew into the net just above Dunham’s right shoulder.

Neither team was able to score in the overtime period. The best chance came to Mathieu Dandenault, who put a shot towards an empty net while being dragged down to the ice. The puck rang off the far goalpost, and the game ended in a tie.

Legace stopped seventeen shots of the twenty he faced during the game. Dunham stopped thirty-five of the thirty-eight the Red Wings put on net. The Red Wings will play the Predators again on Thursday night at home.

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