Locked-out Wings Help Honor Larionov

When former Red Wing Igor Larionov retired from the NHL last spring, he knew he had one game left in him. For a year, Larionov had been planning one final game in Moscow, where is Russian fans could see him skate for the last time.

With the NHL locked out and games put on hold, many of Larionov’s former teammates were able to make the trip to Russia with him, to honor the player who last year was the oldest in the NHL.

Larionov assembled a team of Russian All-Stars to take on a team representing the rest of the world, comprised mostly of his former teammates. Retired Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman returned to the bench along side former associate coaches Dave Lewis and Barry Smith to lead the world team while Larionov’s former linemates from the Soviet Red Army team, Sergei Makarov and Vladimir Krutov, coached the Russian team.

New Jersey Devils Martin Brodeur, Patrick Elias, Scott Gomez and Jay Pandolfo joined Red Wings Steve Yzerman, Chris Chelios, Mathieu Dandenault, Kris Draper, Jiri Fischer, Tomas Holmstrom, Nicklas Lidstrom, Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty, Brendan Shanahan, Ray Whitney and Henrik Zetterberg on the World team. Former Red Wings Steve Duchesne, Martin Lapointe, Chris Osgood and Luc Robitaille also played.

The Russian squad was made up of Pavel Datsyuk, Sergei Fedorov, Viacheslav Fetisov, Sergei Gonchar, Valeri Kamensky, Nikolai Khabibulin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Vyacheslav Kozlov, Larionov, Danny Markov, Evgeni Nabokov, Andrei Nikolishin, Sergei Samsonov and Oleg Tverdovsky.

The World team, most of whom hadn’t played competitively since last season, got off to a slow start and Brodeur allowed early goals to Nikolishin and Samsonov. McCarty responded later in the period and the Russians had a 2-1 lead after one period.

Osgood replaced Brodeur between the pipes for the second period but couldn’t stop Larionov from scoring on a quick shot from the slot, as Larionov capped his career with a goal in his final game in front of his home crowd.

For the third period, Larionov and Yzerman switched teams, complete with Yzerman donning a Russian jersey with his name in Cyrillic on the back. Yzerman, possibly playing in his final game as well, scored twice for the Russians as they held off the World team for a 6-5 win.

Dandenault Inks One-Year Deal with Wings

The Detroit Red Wings signed restricted free agent swingman Mathieu Dandenault to a one-year deal on Tuesday. Dandenault will reportedly earn $1.6 million.

The deal allows Dandenault to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season because he will be a ten-year NHL veteran making below the league average salary.

Dandenault began his career playing right wing before being shifted to defense. During the 2003-04 season he also spent time playing center.

Detroit general manager Ken Holland would not rule out the possibility of negotiating a long-term deal with Dandenault at a later date.

Shanahan Re-signs with Wings

Power forward Brendan Shanahan signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday, ending speculation that began on Tuesday that a deal was near.

Reportedly, the contract is worth $3.5 to $4 million and includes a player option for a second year.

The Red Wings did not exercise their $6.5 million team option on Shanahan, making him an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Detroit was the only team that Shanahan spoke with, however, as he negotiated the less expensive deal.

Shanahan, a fan-favorite who has spent eight seasons with the Red Wings, scored 25 goals and added 28 assists last season while playing in all of Detroit’s games. He scored only six points in 12 playoff games.

With Shanahan’s signing, the Red Wings will likely focus on coming to terms with defenseman Chris Chelios. The two sides are reportedly close to a deal. Detroit will also be negotiating with restricted free agents Pavel Datsyuk, Mathieu Dandenault, Jiri Fischer and Jason Williams.


The Red Wings also announced the signing of four players likely to join the Grand Rapids Griffins next season. Defenseman Brett Ledba spent last season with Notre Dame in the CCHA, center Eric Himelfarb played with Barrie of the OHL, defensman Bryan Helmer spent 2003-04 splitting time between the Phoenix Coyotes and the AHL’s Springfield Falcons, and ceter Eric Manlow split the season between the New York Islanders and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL.

Several Wings Become Unrestricted Free Agents

Despite reports to the contrary, the Detroit Red Wings did not sign forward Kris Draper to a new contract late Wednesday night. Draper, who had a career year last season, has become an unrestricted free agent along with Brendan Shanahan, Chris Chelios, Mathieu Schneider and Boyd Devereaux.

Brett Hull, Steve Thomas and Dominik Hasek also became unrestricted free agents but the Red Wings had already notified them that the team would not attempt to resign them. Hasek is reportedly close to a deal with the Ottawa Senators.

NHL free agency began at midnight on Thursday. Unrestricted free agents across the league include Ottawa’s Peter Bondra, Colorado’s Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne, Los Angeles’ Jason Allison and New York’s Eric Lindros.

Detroit captain Steve Yzerman is also an unrestricted free agent but he is expected to sign with the Red Wings as soon as he recovers from his season-ending facial injury.

Draper is reportedly close to a deal and some rumors say he had even signed a new contract but nothing is done yet between him and the club.

Shanahan and Chelios both intend to stay in Detroit and are close to deals. Schneider and the Red Wings are far apart and Schneider is expected to garner interest from Los Angeles and the New York Rangers, teams he had previously played on.

The Red Wings are interested at brining back Devereaux at significantly less than the $1.6 million he made last season.

Restricted free agents on the Detroit roster include Mathieu Dandenault and Jiri Fischer and forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Jason Williams.

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.

Tied Again: Wings Even Series with 4-2 Win

The Detroit Red Wings evened their first round playoff series with a 4-2 victory over the Calgary Flames Thursday night. The teams have now won two games each as they come back to Detroit for Game Five on Saturday afternoon.

The talk of the game was officiating, as the Red Wings had only one power play in the game, the only call on the Flames that couldn’t be ignored.

With the Red Wings leading, 4-2, and just four seconds remaining in the game, Calgary agitator Ville Nieminen skated in without the puck at Red Wings goalie Curtis Joseph and threw an elbow to his head. Officials ushered the smiling Nieminen off the ice before Detroit enforcer Darren McCarty could settle the score.

Twenty seconds earlier, the Red Wings sealed their victory with an empty-net goal by Henrik Zetterberg.

Detroit had opened the scoring with the first first-period goal of the series for either team. Only 26 seconds into the game, Kris Draper carried the puck behind the Calgary goal and sent a pass out from the right side of Flames’ goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff. Kirk Maltby came into the slot to get the pass and one-timed a shot into the net to give the Red Wings the early lead.

Detroit expanded their lead three minutes into the second period on a goal by Boyd Devereaux. Devereaux, inserted into the lineup for only the second time this postseason, twice held the puck in the Flames zone before getting the puck to Kris Draper as he skated through the right faceoff circle. Draper gave the puck to Ray Whitney, who took it to the bottom of the circle before sending it back up top to Devereaux, who one-timed a long shot past Kiprusoff to put the Red Wings up by two.

The Flames struck twice in 18 seconds to tie the game. At 5:45 of the second, Martin Gelinas got a loose puck at the side of the net and poked it by Joseph, who was attempting a poke-check. At 6:03, Nieminen was left all alone in front of Joseph and outwaited him before lifting the puck over his glove.

The Red Wings regained the lead just past the midway point of the third period. With 9:58 remaining in the game, Tomas Holmstrom put the puck between Kiprusoff’s pads. Defenseman Mathieu Dandenault pinched in and reached behind Kiprusoff to knock the puck over the goal line, scoring the eventual game-winner.

Detrit outshot Calgary, 29-27. Joseph and Kiprusoff each made 25 saves. The Red Wings did not score on their three-second “power play” at the end of the game and the Flames were held scoreless in their two tries with the man-advantage.

The NHL will likely review Nieminen’s actions at the end of the game. A suspension could be handed down from the league offices but the chances of that happening were unknown as the game came to a close.


Curtis Joseph celebrated his 37th birthday with the win Thursday night, just one day after Nicklas Lidstrom turned 34.

Wings Even Series: Yzerman Leads Detroit to 5-2 Win

Steve Yzerman scored two second-period goals and the power-play converted three times as the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Calgary Flames by a score of 5-2. The Red Wings and Flames are now even in their second round playoff series at a game apiece.

Detroit opened the game’s scoring on the power play. Tomas Holmstrom scored his second goal of the playoffs just 3:02 into the period, deflecting a Nicklas Lidstrom shot from the high slot between the legs of Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff.

With 9:54 remaining in the middle frame, Detroit went up by a pair of goals. As a Mathieu Schneider roughing penalty came to a close, Mathieu Dandenault got the puck in the Detroit zone and raced up the near-side boards. He carried the puck all the way behind the Calgary net and wrapped around before sending a pass to Yzerman, perched on the doorstep. Yzerman put the puck into the net for his first home playoff goal in 11 games and his second goal of this postseason. The goal came one second after Schneider stepped out of the penalty box.

Yzerman didn’t wait long to score his third playoff goal of the year. With 7:41 remaining in the second, Yzerman again was parked on the doorstep when Kirk Maltby sent a pass to him. This time Kiprusoff was in better position, but Yzerman hesitated just long enough to roof a shot over the Calgary goalie’s shoulder and put the Red Wings up by three.

The Flames responded 1:31 later, when Shean Donovan held off Derian Hatcher and reached to deflect a Marcus Nilson pass by Detroit goaltender Curtis Joseph, who had hardly been tested to that point.

The Red Wings clamped down defensively in the third period and Calgary’s frustration showed. With 6:06 remaining, Donovan went off for slashing. Mike Commodore put the Red Wings on a 5-on-3 just 49 seconds later when he slashed Holmstorm in front of the goal.

The Wings needed only six seconds of the two-man advantage to score. Robert Lang won the puck back to Pavel Datsyuk, who passed it off to Lidstrom. Lidstrom fed Brett Hull for one of his trademark one-timers, giving the Red Wings a 4-1 lead with 5:11 remaining in the game.

With Commodore still in the box and 4:35 remaining on the clock, Robyn Regehr was called for cross-checking Holmstrom. The Red Wings converted on the 5-on-3 again with 3:52 remaining when Lidstrom scored on a shot from the blue line that may have been tipped in the slot by Brendan Shanahan.

Although the Red Wings were in firm control of the scoreboard, the physical play didn’t stop. With 3:18 remaining Chris Chelios went to the box for slashing and Calgary’s Martin Gelinas scored just eight seconds after the penlaty expired.

With 40 seconds remaining in the game, Calgary’s Matthew Lombardi and Detroit’s Jason Williams went off for roughing and Shanahan went for charging.

Sixteen seconds later, Calgary captain Jarome Iginla slashed at the back of Detroit defenseman Derian Hatcher’s legs and the two dropped the gloves. Iginla landed the first shots but Hatcher tore off Iginla’s visored helmet and landed several hits to the head before he was pushed down. Meanwhile, Commodore and Darren McCarty fought, keeping Commodore from stepping in on the Hatcher-Iginla fight.

The final half-minute of the game was penalty- and goal-free.

The Red Wings finished 3-for-6 on the power play while the Flames went 0-for-5. Joseph stopped 14 of the 16 shots he faced. Kiprusoff made 27 saves on 32 Detroit shots.

The series moves to Calgary for Game Three on Tuesday night.


Calgary defenseman Rhett Warriner left the game in the first period and was taken to a hospital for a possible eye injury. He returned to the game in the third period but did not play a shift… Detroit defenseman Chris Chelios suffered what appeared to be an arm injury in the second period but missed only one shift.

OT Loss in Game One

In spite of dominant play by Detroit early in the game, goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff allowed his Calgary Flames time to find their skating legs and climb back to a 2-1 overtime win.

Detroit was clearly the leading team in the first period, outshooting Calgary 13 to 2. The Flames, for their part, looked weary and unable to challenge Detroit or do much to defend their own net. Kiprusoff, fortunately for them, held his ground and kept the Red Wings off the scoreboard until the second period.

Robert Lang opened the scoring with 6:14 gone in the second. Brendan Shanahan carried the puck into the Flames’ zone, then centered a pass to Lang. Lang was being held up by defenseman Rhett Warrener as he pushed towards the net, but he held Warrener off with one arm and shot the puck towards the net with the other arm. The puck flew up and over Kiprusoff’s blocker arm.

Jarome Iginla had a good chance to tie the game at the end of a Calgary penalty. Martin Gelinas stepped out of the penalty box to join the charge up the ice, giving the Flames a three-on-one rush. Luckily for Curtis Joseph, Iginla’s shot rang off the crossbar.

Joseph’s luck didn’t hold, however, as Robyn Regehr tied the game with two minutes left in the second. Regehr shot the puck from the left point, through a screen of multiple players from both teams. Somehow the puck found its way through the mass of bodies, but Joseph was unable to see it until it was too late.

Chuck Kobasew nearly moved the Flames into the lead early in the third, but Joseph was able to get his leg pad down flat to the ice and hold steady while Kobasew whacked at the puck.

The Red Wings, as the game wore on, began to seem tired. The Flames, on the other hand, seemed to gain energy, and began to consistently beat the Red Wings to loose pucks and break up potential scoring plays by poking the puck away at the blue line.

Marcus Nilson’s first career playoff goal ended the game with just 2:39 gone into overtime. Gelinas beat Jiri Fisher to the puck behind the net. Mathieu Dandenault left the front of the net to help Fischer. As he did so, Gelinas threw the puck out front to Nilson coming up the left side. Nilson one-timed a shot which sailed into the net just over the top of Joseph’s catching glove.

Detroit outshot Calgary by a count of 29 to 18, and won 40 of the 68 faceoffs. Neither team was able to score on the power play: Detroit was 0 for 6 and Calgary was 0 for 3. The Red Wings and Flames will continue their conference semi-final series with Game Two Saturday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena.


Steve Thomas was out this game due to a groin injury. Jason Williams came into the lineup in his stead.

Wings Show Wild Some Variety in Win

If it’s true that a team needs offense from all possible sources in order to succeed in the playoffs, then the Red Wings look to be in pretty decent shape headng into next week. Five different players scored goals to overcome the normally stifling defense of the Minnesota Wild in a 5-3 win.

Darren McCarty opened the scoring early in the first. Kirk Maltby carried the puck into Minnesota’s zone and dropped a pass back to McCarty, who took a wrist shot from the top of the left circle. Wild goalie Manny Fernandez was sliding to his right, and the puck sailed over his catching glove.

Andrei Zyuzin tied the game up with a power play goal midway through the period. Zyuzin was able to drive to the net with no one covering him, then slam Pierre-Marc Bouchard’s centering pass past Manny Legace.

Jiri Fischer regained the lead for Detroit late in the first with a similar goal””he pushed his way to the net and banged in a centering pass from Brendan Shanahan.

Shanahan and Boyd Devereaux scored in quick succession to open the second period. Shanahan scored off a hard wrist shot set up by Ray Whitney‘s hard work shaking off a Minnesota defenseman in the right corner. Devereaux’s goal came after Jason Williams‘ shot bounced off the back of Willie Mitchell, who was tussling with Tomas Holmstrom in front of the goal crease. Devereaux was able to scoop up the loose puck and put it into an empty corner of the net while Fernandez was screened by Holmstrom and Mitchell.

Alexandre Daigle brought the Wild back within a pair a few minutes later. Wes Walz cleanly won a faceoff in Detroit’s zone, and Daigle one-timed the shot before Legace was quite ready for it. The puck barely squeezed through between the goalie’s pads.
Daigle outskated Derian Hatcher and put his own rebound into the net at a very tight angle to bring the Wild within one goal with 8:32 left in the game, but Pavel Datsyuk put the game out of reach with his 30th goal of the season. Datsyuk picked up the rebound from Brett Hull‘s shot, danced around three Minnesota skaters in the slot, then whipped the puck past Fernandez.

Detroit outshot Minnesota by a count of 38 to 24. The Red Wings will head out for their last road trip of the regular season after tonight. They’ll play the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday and the St. Louis Blues on Thursday before returning home to close the season against Columbus on Saturday.


Detroit only needs one more point in the standings to clinch the Western Conference title”¦. Kris Draper and Robert Lang should be back in the lineup for Wednesday’s game. Mathieu Dandenault could return for Saturday’s game”¦. The Detroit chapter of the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association has nominated Steve Thomas as the Red Wings’ candidate for the Bill Masterton Trophy, which is awarded to the player who most exemplifies perseverance and dedication to hockey.

Lookin’ Good: Wings Shutout Avs

Just as on Thursday night, Manny Legace gave the Colorado Avalanche’s shooters fits of frustration. This time, Legace finally got his shutout, as strong play on both offense and defense lifted Detroit to a 2-0 win over Colorado.

Colorado got the game off to a quick start, peppering Legace with shots in the early stages, but the Red Wings patiently took control of the play and did their own testing of goalie Tommy Salo.

The Avalanche had their big chance of the game midway through the second, when Derian Hatcher received double penalties for roughing and high-sticking. Detroit’s penalty kill did such a good job of breaking up passes and blocking shots that Legace only had to make three saves during the whole four minute power play. The best of the three was a pad save on a fluttering backhand shot by Rob Blake.

Between the excellent goaltending and defensive play on both sides, no one was able to light up the scoreboard until Mathieu Schneider scored a power play goal with just ten seconds left in the second period. Pavel Datsyuk won a draw against Joe Sakic deep in Colorado’s zone. The puck fell back to Schneider, who knocked it left to Nicklas Lidstrom.
Lidstrom passed to Brett Hull, then got it back and sent it across to Schneider at the right point. Schneider took a high shot which hit the underside of the crossbar and angled down into the net.

Datsyuk cemented Detroit’s lead 4:06 into the third period, during four-on-four play with coincidental penalties to Brendan Shanahan and Adam Foote. Chris Chelios passed to Datsyuk as the young Russian crossed Colorado’s blue line. Datsyuk centered the puck for Hull, but Hull’s shot was blocked by Bob Boughner. Datsyuk was able to get to the loose puck, skate around Boughner and Salo, then put the puck high over Salo’s blocker.

Colorado pulled Salo from net with 1:36 left to play, but the six skaters were simply unable to put the puck past Legace, who had to make one last good kick save in the final second to preserve his shutout.

Shots were even, with 27 per team. The Red Wings’ next opponent will be the Minnesota Wild, Monday night at the Joe.


The Red Wings have a 26-5-6-1 record in games in which Datsyuk has at least a point”¦. Curtis Joseph had an MRI on his injured ankle, which revealed that a piece of cartilage has pulled away from the bone. He is receiving cortisone injections, in the hope that the swelling will go down enough to allow him to play before the regular season ends on April 4″¦. The team also hopes to bring Kris Draper, Mathieu Dandenault, and Robert Lang back into the lineup before the playoffs begin.