Long Term Injured Reserve, Marian Hossa, and Niklas Kronwall

The Chicago Blackhawks announced over the summer that forward Marian Hossa would not play this season due to a skin condition.  Specific details have not been released, but the general understanding is that he essentially developed an allergy to his equipment, an ailment that was somewhat common in decades past.

The result is that Hossa develops an uncomfortable – possibly even painful – rash from wearing his hockey gear.  With medications increasingly unhelpful, the only way to avoid it is to stop wearing the equipment, which means not playing.

The NHL has investigated the situation and, per a report by The Athletic, has ruled that the Blackhawks can place Hossa on long-term injured reserve, giving them salary cap relief while Hossa is out.

Given that Hossa’s contract was one of the original back-diving deals and that this year just happens to be one of the ones that it looks like he was never supposed to play anyway, the timing is convenient.  That said, I don’t care about that.  I’m curious about how this applies to other LTIR cases.

Hossa is still physically able to play hockey.  It’s “just” uncomfortable.  Similarly, Johan Franzen may be physically able to play hockey, it would just be incredibly stupid for him to do so after having suffered such horrible repeated head injuries.

As such, it’s clear that LTIRetirement doesn’t mean that you can’t play hockey anymore, just that it’s not worth it to do so.  Exactly how far does that stretch?

About his oft-injured left knee, Niklas Kronwall said in 2016, “I don’t know if I’ll ever be pain-free, but hopefully, I’ll be able to be out there in a position where it doesn’t bite as much.”  Surgery is an option but it would effectively end his career.

Kronwall continues to play because he can and, seemingly, because he wants to.  Is it worth it for him to do so, to play through the pain, as Hossa would have to?  If the answer is no, why wouldn’t the NHL’s ruling on Hossa (and Franzen) apply to him, giving the Red Wings an out from their cap situation?

Or what if the team decides he’s no longer healthy enough to help them, even if Kronwall wants to keep playing?  That seems to be the situation Joffrey Lupul and the Toronto Maple Leafs are in.  The Hossa ruling seems to allow for that as well, though the league is investigating Lupul’s case as well.

If this is an option, I’d be using it today.  Obviously the Red Wings aren’t, but the way I read it, we could see it come up in the future.

Pregame: Red Wings @ Rangers – 10/19

Coming off their first win of the season and their final home opener at Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings are back on the road tonight, visiting the New York Rangers.

Jimmy Howard gets the start in goal for the Wings, his first of the season.  Howard grew up a Rangers fan and loves playing at Madison Square Garden, so that’s not much of a surprise.

Any other lineup changes will be determined after the pre-game skate, per coach Jeff Blashill.

Game time is 8:00 PM on NBCSN.


In the meantime, Down Goes Brown has an interesting time-waster going on Twitter.

I gave it a couple shots.

I mis-counted, that total is actually 143. But when you can add a seven-time Norris Trophy winner, which also allows you to swap Wendel Clark for Marian Hossa, you do that.

Red Wings Eliminated by Blackhawks in Overtime of Game Seven

The Detroit Red Wings rallied from down 1-0 heading into the third period on Wednesday but couldn’t stop the Chicago Blackhawks, dropping Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinal series between the teams in overtime.

Brent Seabrook gave the Blackhawks a 2-1 win at 3:35 of the extra period. After Dave Bolland crushed Gustav Nyquist into the boards in the neutral zone he worked the puck to Seabrook to gain the Detroit zone and step into the high slot. Seabrook snapped a shot that deflected off defenseman Niklas Kronwall and fluttered past Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard.

Chicago thought they had taken a lead with 1:49 remaining in regulation when Niklas Hjalmarsson snapped a similar shot past Howard but the play occurred as referee Stephen Walkom called coincidental roughing minors on Kyle Quincey and Brandon Saad, negating the apparent goal.

After a scoreless first period, the Blackhawks got on the board at 1:08 of the second. As the Red Wings got caught on a line change, Hjalmarsson sprung Michal Hanzus, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp on a three-on-one. Sharp sent it to Handzus who worked it on to Hossa and back to Sharp to put past the sprawling Howard for a 1-0 lead.

Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg tied things back up just 26 seconds into the third. Gustav Nyquist faked a shot from the left faceoff circle on a quick rush and drew the Chicago defense to him before passing across to Zetterberg all alone for a wrister past Blackhawks netminder Corey Crawford.

With the loss, the Red Wings failed to finish off the Blackhawks after taking a 3-1 series lead.

No power play goals were scored on the night. Chicago had four chances with the extra attacker to Detroit’s two.

Howard made 33 saves on 35 shots against. Crawford stopped 26 of 27 chances.


Detroit forward Valtteri Filppula left the game early in the first period after an apparent slew-foot by Chicago’s Andrew Shaw during a scrum in front of the Red Wings’ bench.

Red Wings’ Collapse Allows Blackhawks to Force Game Seven

For the seventh time in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs the Red Wings were outscored in the third period, with a final-frame collapse by Detroit on Monday giving the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 win to force a deciding Game Seven.

Detroit carried a 2-1 lead into the third in Monday’s Game Six with the opportunity to eliminate Chicago. Instead, the Blackhawks scored three times in the first ten minutes of the period.

Michal Handzus tied things up just 51 seconds into the period when he was left alone at the side of the net to take a pass from Niklas Hjalmarsson. He then made a quick move on Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard to make it 2-2.

At 5:48 it was Bryan Bickell who was left all alone, untouched at the top of the crease as he banged in the rebound of a Jonathan Toews chance and put the Blackhawks out in front.

Carlo Colaiacovo‘s slash on Michael Frolik during a breakaway at 9:43 gave Frolik a penalty shot, on which he converted to put Chicago up 4-2.

Damien Brunner scored for the Red Wings in the final minute to pull them back to within a goal but Detroit would be unable to force overtime.

Marian Hossa had crashed the net at 3:53 of the first period to knock the puck past Howard for a power play goal to give Chicago the early lead.

With 1:09 left in the opening frame Patrick Eaves gathered up the rebound of a Drew Miller chance and shoveled it past Chicago netminder Corey Crawford, tying things back up.

Joakim Andersson‘s knuckling shot from the left wing midway through the second gave Detroit a 2-1 lead.

Howard finished the night with 24 saves on 28 shots while Crawford stopped 35 of 38 chances.

The Blackhawks scored on one of five power play tries and added another on Frolik’s penalty shot. Detroit was scoreless on three attempts with the man-advantage.

Game Seven will be on Wednesday.

Red Wings Overwhelmed in 4-1 Game One Loss to Blackhawks

The Detroit Red Wings couldn’t hold off a sustained attack by the Chicago Blackhawks Wednesday night, dropping a 4-1 decision in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinal series between the teams.

After a first period that saw Detroit outshoot Chicago 7-6, the Blackhawks had a 36-14 shot advantage for the remainder of the game.

Former Red Wing Marian Hossa opened the game’s scoring at 9:03 of the first on a Chicago power play. When the Red Wings were unable to clear their own zone, Jonathan Toews sent a pass from the right faceoff circle to Hossa in the slot for a quick shot past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard to make it 1-0.

Detroit responded just 1:54 later. Streaking down the left wing, Damien Brunner attempted a shot from the top of the faceoff circle that was blocked. He continued after the puck, though, and batted his own rebound past Chicago goalie Corey Crawford to tie things up.

Howard held off the Blackhawks’ push in the second period but Johnny Oduya put Chicago back out front at 8:02 of the second. Oduya snuck in from the point to take a feed from Patrick Sharp in the slot and snap a shot past Howard.

With 8:38 remaining in the period, Marcus Kruger put the Blackhawks up by a pair. Off a dump-in the puck ended up on the back of the Detroit net. Howard attempted to hold it there for a faceoff but it was knocked free and came out to Kruger in front for a backhander into a mostly-vacated net.

Sharp added an empty-net goal in the game’s final minute.

Hossa’s goal was the only power play tally of the night. Each team had three tries with the man-advantage.

Howard stopped 38 of the 41 shots he faced. Crawford made 20 saves on 21 shots against.

Game Two will be Saturday afternoon in Chicago.


The Red Wings are now 0-7 all-time in series opening games played in Chicago.

Red Wings Fall to Blackhawks in Second Consecutive Shootout

For the second consecutive night the Detroit Red Wings fell in the shootout, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks 25 hours after an identically-scored loss to the San Jose Sharks.

Brandon Saad scored in the fifth round of the tiebreaker to win it for Chicago. Johan Franzen had the opportunity to keep Detroit alive but couldn’t beat Corey Crawford on his chance.

Henrik Zetterberg had previously scored in the second round while Marian Hossa beat Jimmy Howard in the third. Pavel Datsyuk, Damien Brunner and Gustav Nyquist failed to score for Detroit. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Michal Rozsival were stopped for Chicago.

After a scoreless first period, Viktor Stalberg opened the game’s scoring at 6:11 of the second. Duncan Keith’s chance from in close in the left faceoff circle went behind the net to Stalberg, who was left untouched to wraparound the far side and tuck it in behind Howard.

Franzen got the Red Wings on the board with 4:20 left in the period, tipping Carlo Colaiacovo‘s shot from above the top of the left circle past Crawford for a power play goal.

Just 1:59 later, Cory Emmerton made a strong individual effort in front of the net to put Detroit out in front. After his attempted cross-crease pass was blocked, Emmerton gathered in the loose puck and dragged it to the top of the crease, lifting a shot over Crawford.

With just 2:57 remaining in regulation, Toews tied things back up. After a scramble in front that left Howard out of position, Johnny Oduya‘s shot was blocked at the edge of the crease by Kyle Quincey. Quincey lost track of the puck and left it teed up for Toews to grab and fling into the open side of the net.

Howard finished the night with 26 saves on 28 shots. Crawford made 27 saves on 29 shots.

Franzen’s goal was the only power play tally of the night. Detroit had five chances with the extra attacker to Chicago’s three.


Colaiacovo was back in the lineup in place of Brendan Smith. Up front, Patrick Eaves was out in favor of Jordin Tootoo.

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.

The (True) Summer of Ken

I had planned on writing a bit on where the Red Wings should go from here, following their first-round loss to the Nashville Predators, but over at TPL Petrella already has a nearly-perfect post up so I’m not going to waste time just repeating him.

There’s an entry in the A2Y Glossary for “The Summer of Ken.” A little bit of an ode to Detroit general manager Ken Holland. Put briefly, the summer is Holland’s time to shine. It’s when he can spend Mike Ilitch’s pizza money to plug holes in the Wings’ roster. It’s when he can wheel and deal, turning spare parts into something useful.

This summer we’re going to find out just how good Holland is at his job.

Last year the Red Wings were a little underwhelming in the offseason. They replaced Brian Rafalski with Ian White at a good price and added Mike Commodore for some grit. They retained Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller and Jonathan Ericsson. We were told that they wanted to add more scoring but none was available for the price.

That was okay. The Wings had plenty of cap space, still, and would be able to make a move at the trade deadline. It was good to wait to see who would be available as a rental.

Detroit’s lone deadline acquisition: defenseman Kyle Quincey. Even knowing the outcome, knowing he didn’t play as well as anyone had hoped down the stretch, I’m not against this move. Quincey is not a rental (he’ll either be back or be moved, as an RFA he can’t bolt for free). The first-rounder traded for him will be after all the blue-chip prospects are off the board.

Quincey didn’t fix the Wings’ scoring issues, though.

By the time the trade deadline had passed, Detroit’s forward corps remained unchanged. Holland addressed the media and seemed unhappy that he hadn’t been able to make a move, so we know he tried, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot.

Now we enter an offseason where the Red Wings need to make changes. As Petrella notes, teams have the “Red Wings Way” figured out. Now Detroit needs to evolve. And I worry that Holland can do it.

Name a free agent signing that Holland has made since the salary cap was implemented that really made a splash. Ignore Marian Hossa, since everyone knew going in that it was a one-year deal and he’d be gone the next summer.

The aforementioned White? Hardly a splash no matter how well it worked out. Dominik Hasek? No one else was after him. Todd Bertuzzi?

True, Holland hasn’t been working with the same kind of cap space as he’ll have this summer, but his record does leave a bit to be desired.

Now lets look at trades. Per Petrella, the Wings have a lot of roster spots taken for next season already. One way to make room for new blood while adding the scorer the team needs could be to deal depth for talent.

Holland hasn’t made a significant trade since the 2008 deadline, when he acquired Brad Stuart from the Los Angeles Kings. That’s another piece of track record that could be concerning.

I’m not saying Holland should be fired. He’s done a fantastic job of keeping Detroit’s core together and supplementing it with parts off the scrap heap. Danny Cleary and Mikael Samuelsson and Todd Bertuzzi? Hasek and Chris Osgood? Classic Holland moves that paid off over time for the Wings.

Right now, though, the Red Wings aren’t looking to plug holes, they’re looking to reload. They need high-profile pieces to make an immediate impact.

It’s a situation that Holland hasn’t faced, at least not in the cap era. I think it will define his career. It will probably define the Red Wings as a team for years to come.

Hockeytown Makeover In Order

This is what happens when you have a team of skill but no hunger.

The 2011-12 Detroit Red Wings took their early out of their 21st consecutive playoff appearance with a run that may have just been a sweep by the Nashville Predators.

What the Red Wings have in skill they completely lacked in heart. I would not go as far as say the Dead Wing Era has returned but if things keep going this way they it just might. There was no hunger, no passion, no emotion at all from the machine that is the Detroit Red Wings.

Cycle. Cycle. Cycle.

That is what we witnessed in these five games. All Cycle no shoot.

It has been said so many times that it has become a cliché but you’re going to miss all the shots you don’t take; and if no one is there to knock in the rebound that Pekka Rinne gives up… guess what that is not going to go in either.

Bringing in new assistant coaching was suppose to bring in new ideas for the team. Becoming lackluster just is not going to win anything.

More should have been done at the trade deadline. Getting Kyle Quincey back was fantastic… if racking up penalty minutes was the objective.

Why is it the playoffs start and now the Red Wings can not keep themselves out of the penalty box? Stupid plays. Johan Franzen played stupid the entire series. Why are is he getting paid what he is? The excuse was for his playoff performance. Well holy crap ya’all that was horrible.

It is not a coincidence that the only game Detroit won was the one where they were heated. When they hated Nashville for Shea Weber‘s attack on Henrik Zetterberg. I am not going to go into that incident we all have beat that horse to death; but game two the Red Wings came out hungry and they won.

Remember when the Red Wings were the team to go to because they would rally for a player? When they played their hearts out to win that cup in 2008 for Dallas Drake before he retired.

They could not do that for Tomas Holmstrom and possibly Nicklas Lidstrom? Really? Drake meant more to them than these two that have spent their entire careers making the team what it is (or was) for these “youngsters”.

The team needs an update. Get rid of the stubron jackass we call the Mule, get a goal scorer. Honestly since losing Marian Hossa to the Blackhawks the Red Wings still have not found themselves a snipper. Players can cycle the puck all they want, but unless they shoot it they are not going to score.

Keep Darren Helm, Keep Patrick Eaves in your thoughts and hope he is okay for next season. Detroit missed both of them dearly in the playoffs.

Keep Nicklas Kronwall though odds are he is injured again as he did not “Kronwall” anyone this series (odds are it would have been a 4-5 game suspension anyway).

Keep Howard but find him a good partner. Not a back up but a good goaltending tandem where the goalies push one another; not where one self destructs.

Keep the Euro Twins. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg probably should have played on the same line together a little more when nothing was frickin’ working.

Keep Bertuzzi since he is the only one willing to use his size.

The Central Division is getting younger, full of players that are hungry to get their chance at the cup and to take down everyone that stands in their way.

Especially the old measuring stick Red Wings.

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Wings’ Trade Deadline Recap

The 2012 NHL Trade Deadline may not have brought what Red Wings fans wanted but that doesn’t mean the Wings made the wrong moves.

As far back as last summer, fans were salivating over the idea of having virtually unlimited cap space at the trade deadline. With over $22 million available to spend, there would be no player Ken Holland would be unable to afford. After years of Detroit being unable to add a significant piece on the final day of NHL trading, the shoe would be on the other foot.

And then nothing happened.

With cap space to spend, Holland couldn’t find any trading partners. Unlike in previous years, there were no superstars on non-playoff teams in the last year of their contract to be had as rentals. No Ilya Kovalchuk, no Marian Hossa.

The Washington Capitals weren’t set to trade Alexander Semin, the New Jersey Devils had already stated they wouldn’t move Zach Parise and the surging Anaheim Ducks weren’t going to give up Teemu Selanne.

With those options unavailable, the Red Wings stuck to smaller moves. In two deals with the Tampa Bay Lightning, one last week and one today, Holland turned Mike Commodore, Sebastien Piche and a first round pick into Kyle Quincey and a conditional seventh-rounder. It’s an upgrade at the blue line with the potential to be more than a rental, as Holland has already stated that the Wings will at least tender Quincey a restricted free agent qualifying offer.

Detroit’s rivals made more moves, notably the Nashville Predators.

The Predators had acquired Hal Gill on February 17, then added Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad up front today. They paid a hefty price, giving up Blake Geoffrion, a first-round pick, and two second-rounders.

In essence, Nashville paid as much for fourth-line, free agent forward Gaustad – a rental – as the Red Wings did for restricted free agent defenseman Quincey – a non-rental.

So I’m okay with Holland standing pat. I would have liked a move for a depth forward; I’d been thinking former Wing Mike Knuble could be a good fit for cheap but as he wasn’t moved at the deadline, I have to think either he wasn’t available or the Capitals were asking too much from everyone.

I’m also not going to lie – I am concerned that Nashville, Chicago, Vancouver and San Jose all added players while the Red Wings didn’t. Those teams got better and got deeper. The Red Wings got better but are not a deep team.

That last note will be proven tomorrow in Columbus. Jonathan Ericsson is already out with a broken ankle and now Quincey has a sore groin. Brendan Smith has been called up and will be in the lineup, along with Jakub Kindl. Another defensive call-up could be necessary if Nicklas Lidstrom, who didn’t practice today, can’t go.

Or maybe these late-season injuries will prove the depth the team can call on from Grand Rapids and show that a trade wasn’t necessary.