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.

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.

Commodore Dealt to Tampa Bay

Defenseman Mike Commodore has been dealt by the Detroit Red Wings to the Tampa Bay Lightning in return for a conditional seventh round draft pick.

Commodore appeared in only 17 games for the Red Wings this season after signing with Detroit over the summer as an unrestricted free agent. With last week’s acquisition of Kyle Quincey, Commodore was pushed to the 8th defenseman slot, making it unlikely that he’d get playing time with the Red Wings.

Postgame: Avalanche @ Red Wings – 2/25

Quite honestly put… The Red Wings did not deserve to win tonight. They put forth 20 minutes of effort and in no world should that be enough to win a game in the National Hockey League. The third period was pretty fantastic but, as the score showed, it wasn’t enough to outweigh how bad the first two periods were.

Detroit has got to stop coasting into games like this. They were out of this one five minutes in. Twice they completely failed to cover Colorado’s (arguably) best player, leaving Gabriel Landeskog open in the slot. These aren’t things caused by lack of skill, it’s all mental. They’re just not thinking out there.

That said… It was brutal to see Jiri Hudler hauled down in front of the Avalanche goal with about 45 seconds left, the puck nowhere near him, and no call made. If the refs didn’t see it because they were looking elsewhere, it’s an embarrassment that they missed it. If they chose not to call it because it was so late in the game, it’s gutless on their part.

And to make matters more fun… Jonathan Ericsson is now expected to miss a month with a fractured wrist. I give him sh*t often but the Wings need him healthy and playing well to make a long playoff run. Bottom line, he’s usually better than Jakub Kindl and Mike Commodore and that’s who the Wings have to work with if Ericsson is out.

On the plus side of things… The reunited line of Henrik Zetterberg, Hudler and Valtteri Filppula single-handedly provided the Detroit comeback. I like the idea of keeping that line together as the new first line and then having Johan Franzen center Todd Bertuzzi and Danny Cleary on the second line. Fil just doesn’t work as a center on this team, to the point that Franzen is actually better there than he is.

The third line of Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader and Drew Miller provided just about all of Detroit’s chances in the first two periods. Had they managed to score, we might be talking about something different, but as it is it was still good to see them continue to click.

Canucks End Red Wings’ Streak in Shootout

Newest Red Wing Kyle Quincey scored in his first game back with Detroit and the Wings’ third line contributed to three goals but it didn’t stop the Vancouver Canucks from ending their NHL-record home winning streak at 23 games, defeating the Red Wings 4-3 in a shootout.

Alexandre Burrows scored the only goal of the tiebreaker on Vancouver’s third shot, beating Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard high.

Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo stopped Jiri Hudler, Henrik Zetterberg and Todd Bertuzzi while Howard made saves on David Booth and Alexander Edler.

The Red Wings appeared to be headed to their 24th consecutive home win until the Canucks tied things up with 16 seconds remaining in regulation.

Off an icing call, Vancouver won the draw in the Detroit zone and kept control of the puck, getting a couple chances before Daniel Sedin blasted a shot from the high slot through a screen and past Howard.

Darren Helm had opened the game’s scoring with 8:44 left in the first period. On a two on one with Justin Abdelkader, Helm looked like he was going to pass all the way down the ice before finally flipping a weak shot past Luongo to give the Red Wings their first lead.

Daniel Sedin made it 1-1 with 6:26 left in the second period. Edler’s shot from above the right faceoff circle was slowed down by Henrik Sedin before Daniel picked it up at the edge of the crease and shoveled it in around Howard.

Quincey restored the Detroit lead at 6:08 of the third, swatting a shot from the slot past Luongo off a feed from Abdelkader.

With 6:34 remaining, Cody Hodgson‘s attempted pass from the left circle went off Detroit defender Niklas Kronwall‘s skate and past Howard to tie things back up.

Just twenty seconds later, Abdelkader made it 3-2. Helm drove to the net and put a shot off the post, with the puck sliding up to Luongo’s pad. Abdelkader jumped in and knocked the loose puck into the net.

Luongo finished the night with 33 saves on 36 Detroit chances while Howard stopped 40 of the 43 shots he faced.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night, with the Wings having five tries with the extra attacker to Vancouver’s four.

The Red Wings are next in action on Saturday night when they host Quincey’s former team, the Colorado Avalanche.


With the Red Wings now carrying eight defensemen on their roster, Jakub Kindl and Mike Commodore were both healthy scratches… Pavel Datsyuk missed his second game since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday… Quincey wore #27, after having worn #45 and #4 in his first stint with the Red Wings.

Red Wings Hold off Sharks for 23rd Consecutive Home Win

The Detroit Red Wings held off a late push by the San Jose Sharks Sunday afternoon, picking up a 3-2 victory for their twenty-third consecutive win at Joe Louis Arena.

The win extends the team’s own NHL record for single-season wins in a row at home and sets a new record for consecutive home wins across multiple seasons, breaking the mark of twenty-two set by the 1929-30 and 1930-31 Boston Bruins.

The Red Wings twice had a two-goal lead cut in half, but the Sharks were never able to pull even, with Darren Helm‘s third-period goal standing up as the game-winner.

Henrik Zetterberg opened the game’s scoring at 6:30 of the first period. Zetterberg circled through the left faceoff circle and backhanded a shot from the high slot that went through defenseman Colin White and past goalie Antti Niemi, who was screened in front by Jiri Hudler.

On Hockey Day in America, two U.S.-born players teamed up to create Detroit’s second goal just 40 seconds past the game’s halfway point. Justin Abdelkader carried the puck from the Detroit end and into the San Jose zone and then fed it off to Drew Miller. Miller sent it back to Abdelkader in front for a chance stopped by Niemi but Miller pounced on the rebound and put it into the back of the net.

Logan Couture would be credited with the power play goal that got San Jose on the board with 5:27 left in the second period. Couture batted a fluttering puck out of mid-air and onto the top of the goal. The puck bounced forward and came back down, deflecting off Abdelkader’s stick and into the net to make it 2-1.

Helm gave the Red Wings a 3-1 lead at 7:01 of the third period. Miller stole the puck from Torrey Mitchell and gained the San Jose zone, then fed it off to Helm for a shot from the slot past Niemi for his first goal in sixteen games.

With 4:44 left in regulation, Detroit defender Ian White turned the puck over in his own end and Brent Burns put a shot on goalie Joey MacDonald. MacDonald made the initial save but Patrick Marleau was there to scoop up the rebound and put it into the net.

In a frantic final minute, Detroit couldn’t score into the empty net and the Sharks couldn’t beat MacDonald to tie things up.

MacDonald finished the contest with 31 saves on 33 shots for his sixth consecutive win. Niemi stopped 25 of 28 chances.

Detroit had three power play tries, on which they were held off the board. Couture’s goal came on one of San Jose’s four power play attempts.

Their six-game homestand wrapped up, the Red Wings will next be in action in Chicago on Tuesday.


Mike Commodore was the lone healthy scratch for the Red Wings… MacDonald got the start in place of Jimmy Howard, who was originally expected to return from injury in this game. Howard will get the nod in goal on Tuesday.

Datsyuk Lifts Red Wings Past Predators

Pavel Datsyuk scored with 5.8 seconds remaining in regulation Friday night, giving the Detroit Red Wings a 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators for their twenty-second consecutive home victory.

The win extends Detroit’s own record for the most wins in a row at home in a single season and ties the record set across two seasons by the 1929-30 and 1930-31 Boston Bruins.

The Red Wings won an offensive-zone faceoff with fifteen seconds remaining but the puck came out to neutral ice, where Nicklas Lidstrom picked it up and sent a pass to Henrik Zetterberg on the left wing boards. Zetterberg got to the puck and spun to send it back across to Datsyuk, who faked around defenseman Ryan Suter and snapped a shot over the glove of goaltender Pekka Rinne.

It was the second point of the night for Datsyuk, as he assisted on the game’s opening goal.

With 7:16 left in the first period, Datsyuk carried the puck down the left wing into the Nashville end and turned away from defender Shea Weber, losing an edge and sliding into the boards. From his stomach, Datsyuk sent a pass through Weber to Todd Bertuzzi, who carried the puck to the bottom of the left circle and fed Johan Franzen in the slot for a shot past Rinne.

Nick Spaling scored the Predators’ lone goal of the game. With 5:02 left in the second, Jordin Tootoo took the puck from Detroit defender Jakub Kindl in the left corner and sent it to Spaling alone in the slot for a shot past netminder Joey MacDonald, tying the game.

MacDonald stopped 20 of the 21 shots he faced in picking up his fifth consecutive win. Rinne stopped 29 of 31 Detroit shots.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night, with the Red Wings having only one chance with the extra attacker and the Predators having two.

The Red Wings close out their six-game homestand on Sunday when they host the San Jose Sharks.


The assist on Datsyuk’s game-winning goal was the 600th point of Zetterberg’s career… Zetterberg had been expected to miss the game with a knee injury suffered against Dallas on Tuesday. Tomas Tatar was called up to take his place in the lineup but Zetterberg was able to play… Jimmy Howard and Danny Cleary remained out of the lineup, with Cleary having been placed on short-term injured reserved to make room for Tatar… Mike Commodore was a healthy scratch.

Red Wings Break NHL Record with 21st Consecutive Home Win

The Detroit Red Wings set a new NHL record Tuesday night, winning their twenty-first home game in a row with a 3-1 victory over the Dallas Stars.

Detroit had tied the old record of twenty wins on Sunday night. That mark was set first by the 1929-30 Boston Bruins and tied by the 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers.

Down 2-0 entering the third period, the Stars controlled play early in an effort to avert history. It wasn’t until Jiri Hudler scored with 4:49 left that the victory was secured.

Hudler’s goal came on a play that saw him sneak into the Dallas zone down the right side of the ice while the Stars’ defense was focused on Valtteri Filppula on the left wing. Filppula flipped a pass over the Hudler, who settled the puck and snapped a shot past goalie Kari Lehtonen.

Adam Burish would break the shutout with 33 seconds remaining, deflecting a pass from Michael Ryder past Detroit goalie Joey MacDonald with his skate. It wouldn’t be enough, however.

Detroit had opened the scoring at 7:57 of the first period on a power play. Zetterberg threw the puck to the front of the net from the bottom of the left faceoff circle and hit bounced right back to him. With Lehtonen having shifted to the middle of the crease, Zetterberg put it into the empty side of the net.

Just 1:18 later, Brad Stuart threaded a shot from the right wing boards through traffic and past Lehtonen to make it 2-0.

The Red Wings would finish the period having put twenty shots on net to Dallas’ ten. The scoreless second period was much more even but still saw Detroit outshoot the Stars, 11-6. Even in a third period that saw Dallas carry much of the play, they managed only five shots to Detroit’s six.

In all, Lehtonen made 34 saves on Detroit’s 37 chances. MacDonald stopped twenty of the 21 shots he faced.

Zetterberg’s goal was the only power play tally on the night. Detroit had five tries with the extra attacker while the Stars had two.

The Red Wings will get the chance to extend their streak on Friday when they host the Nashville Predators.


The Red Wings were without goalie Jimmy Howard and forward Danny Cleary, both of whom expect to return from injury on Sunday against the San Jose Sharks… Mike Commodore was the healthy scratch on defense.

Red Wings Reach Record with Win over Flyers

The Detroit Red Wings tied the NHL record longest home winning streak with a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday night.

It was the twentieth consecutive win at home for the Wings, matching runs by the 1929-30 Boston Bruins and the 1975-76 Flyers. The team hasn’t lost in Detroit since November 3.

Johan Franzen scored the game-winning goal just 52 seconds into the third period, finishing off a slick passing play. Pavel Datsyuk worked the puck out of the right corner to Henrik Zetterberg at the right point. Zetterberg sent a hard pass to Nicklas Lidstrom at the inside edge of the left faceoff circle, who tipped in on to Franzen at the right side of the crease for a shot past Philadelphia goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

The Red Wings had opened the game’s scoring at 7:08 of the first period when Niklas Kronwall fired a one-timer from the blue line through a Todd Bertuzzi screen and past Bobrovsky while on a power play.

Brayden Schenn tied things up with 3:18 left in the period. Detroit goalie Joey MacDonald went behind the net to play the puck and whiffed on it, then hesitated before getting back into his crease. Daniel Briere grabbed the loose puck and sent it out to Schenn, who was wide open to put it into the empty net.

Schenn gave the Flyers their first lead at 5:22 of the second period, lifting the rebound of a Brayden Coburn chance past MacDonald after the Detroit netminder had made the initial save and tried to poke the loose puck clear.

Datsyuk evened things up 3:05 later, rifling a shot from the left side of the slot past Bobrovsky off a feed from Franzen, the Red Wings’ second power play goal of the night.

Maxime Talbot put the Flyers back out in front with 3:41 left in the second, tipping a shot-pass from Scott Hartnell past MacDonald from just outside the crease.

Zetterberg rallied Detroit once more with 1:39 remaining, slapping a shot from the high slot into the back of the net to make it 3-3.

The Flyers did not score on their two power plays while the Red Wings’ two power play goals came on five tries with the extra attacker, including one in the game’s final minutes with Bobrovsky on the Philadelphia bench for an extra skater.

Bobrovsky stopped 21 of the 25 shots he faced on the night. MacDonald stopped 26 of 29 for his third consecutive win.

The Red Wings will get their chance to break the record when they host the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.


Detroit remained without forward Danny Cleary, who is expected to return to the lineup no sooner than Friday against the Nashville Predators… Goaltender Jimmy Howard also hopes to return against Nashville… Defenseman Mike Commodore was the team’s only healthy scratch.

Wings Win Holmstrom’s 1000th in Shootout over Ducks

The Detroit Red Wings earned a shootout win over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday, making forward Tomas Holmstrom‘s 1000th career game a victory.

Holmstrom didn’t factor in the game’s scoring but was involved in a goaltender interference play, though not in a way that some would expect given his penchant for hanging out around the crease. During the second period, Anaheim’s George Parros drove to the Detroit net and knocked Holmstrom into goalie Joey MacDonald, earning Parros a two minute penalty.

Parros had opened the game’s scoring with 3:43 left in the first period, redirecting a pass from Rod Pelley past MacDonald with his skate from the side of the net.

Justin Abdelkader even things up with 1:18 left, deflecting a Jakub Kindl shot past Anaheim netminder Jonas Hiller.

Neither team would score for the remainder of regulation or overtime, even as each side had a short power play in the extra frame.

In the shootout, Pavel Datsyuk and Teemu Selanne scored in the first round, then Jiri Hudler and Corey Perry missed in the second round.

Todd Bertuzzi scored the eventual winner, slowly skating right in on Hiller before making a quick move to lift the puck past him.

MacDonald stopped Bobby Ryan to preserve the win.

The Red Wings moved to within one of tying the NHL record for consecutive home victories, stretching their franchise-record streak to nineteen games.

Hiller made 23 saves on 24 shots while MacDonald stopped 29 of 30 chances.

Neither team scored on the power play, with the Red Wings having six chances with the extra attacker – including a short five-on-three in overtime – and the Ducks having seven.


The Red Wings remained without goaltender Jimmy Howard and added forward Danny Cleary to their list of injuries, as he had fluid drained from his knee and a cortizone shot on Thursday… Mike Commodore was a healthy scratch on defense.