Rivalry Takes a Nap: Wings Lose 3-0 to Chicago

Maybe the Red Wings were overdue for a game like this “” the kind where nothing goes quite right. The frustrating kind where none of the passes are exactly where they should be, your power plays are cut short by penalties being called, none of the bounces land in spots where they might be useful, all of the shots hit the goalie or go just wide, and the skaters just can’t seem to get going. And as is typical of a bad-luck game, it just HAD to be against a team everyone hates to lose to, Detroit’s oldest rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks. A 3-0 shutout, to be exact.

The Blackhawks were full of offensive fire in the first period, outshooting Detroit by a 13 to 5 margin. Manny Legace was strong in net, especially on a point blank glove save against Brett McLean with just under six minutes to go in the first.

Nathan Dempsey opened the scoring for Chicago with 4:24 left in the period. He took a pass from Kyle Calder and shot on net from a very tight angle. The puck deflected off the skate of Niklas Kronwall and slipped in between Legace and the short side goal post.

The first period flowed nicely, but the second was choppy and full of penalties. The penalty killers for both teams did such a good job that hardly any shots on net were registered in the full twenty minutes””five for Chicago and four for Detroit. Tuomo Ruutu finally increased Chicago’s lead with a power play goal with 1:36 left in the period.

Deron Quint put the game away for the Blackhawks with another power play goal late in the third. Steve Sullivan passed Quint the puck as he was coming up the slot, and Quint one-timed a high shot through a screen over Legace’s blocker. In the end, Chicago outshot Detroit by a count of 27 to 20. The Red Wings’ next game will be their traditional New Year’s Eve home game. The opponent for this year is the high-scoring Atlanta Thrashers.


Tomas Holmstrom returned to the lineup for this game, but Jason Woolley was out. He blocked a shot with his foot during Friday’s game against the Wild. He is expected back in the lineup on Wednesday…. Chris Chelios is also scheduled to return against the Thrashers.

Wings Tie Wild, Extend Home Unbeaten Streak

As usually happens, the Minnesota Wild played a tight defensive game without a whole lot of scoring chances. Once they take a lead, they rarely give it up to their opponents, thanks to their strong defensive system. The Red Wings, however, forced the Wild to give up the lead twice in the third period, forcing a 2-2 tie and extending their home unbeaten streak to nine games.

The Red Wings weren’t without their chances. Pavel Datsyuk had two good chances to score in the first period, as did Henrik Zetterberg, but goaltender Dwayne Roloson was solid and refused to let the puck by.

Curtis Joseph was just as solid for Detroit. He stopped Wes Walz on a shorthanded breakaway about eight minutes into the second period, and the fans showed their appreciation by chanting, “Cujo! Cujo! Cujo!”

Minnesota opened the scoring with just 15 seconds left in the second period. The play had gone end to end repeatedly, each team trying hard to score before the period was over. Pascal Dupuis knocked the puck away from Brendan Shanahan in the Wild’s zone, clearing it up to speedy Marian Gaborik. Nicklas Lidstrom just couldn’t catch up with Gaborik quickly enough to stop him. Gaborik’s shot hit Joseph’s leg pads, but managed to find the way between them and across the goal line.

Minnesota’s lead didn’t last very long into the third period. Roloson’s stick had been knocked away from him, but with the Red Wings pressuring offensively, no one could take the time to get the stick back to the netminder. Niklas Kronwall held in a clearing attempt by Sergei Zholtok, then passed the puck to Zetterberg. Zetterberg one-timed a centering pass, which hit Zholtok’s stick in the high slot and deflected right pass Roloson.

The Wild regained the lead when Walz got to the side of the net by himself just in time to redirect a shot by Willie Mitchell, but Kris Draper tied the game back up less than a minute later. Draper was forechecking alone in the Minnesota zone. Mitchell’s clearing attempt hit Draper’s skate. Draper knocked Mitchell away, took the puck onto his stick blade, spun around, and fired towards the net. The puck sailed into the small space between Roloson’s blocker and right leg pad.

The Red Wings would have had offensive control of the overtime period, if they hadn’t been called for having too many men on the ice with 1:42 left to go. Lidstrom, Draper, and Kirk Maltby killed off most of the four-on-three penalty. Shanahan and Steve Yzerman replaced Draper and Maltby to finish off the game by keeping the puck tied up in the corner of Minnesota’s end of the ice.

The Wings outshot the Wild by a count of 37 to 24. Nineteen of Detroit’s shots came in the third period. The Red Wings’ next game will be Sunday night, when they face the Blackhawks in Chicago.


Draper is one goal away from tying his personal best season total of 15 goals…. Injury Update: Derian Hatcher skated for the first time Friday morning. He is still on schedule to return in the third week of March. Darren McCarty and Steve Thomas are still quite a way off from being able to return to the ice, but Tomas Holmstrom should return on Sunday against Chicago and Chris Chelios should return sometime next week. Dominik Hasek is cleared to start skating again on Saturday.

Kids, Goat Reunite With Great Success

It had been six weeks and two days since Henrik Zetterberg was sidelined with a broken leg, but he slipped right back into the lineup as if he’d never been gone. Zetterberg had a goal and two assists, and Curtis Joseph had another strong showing to lift the Red Wings over the San Jose Sharks, 3-2 in overtime.

The Sharks are a strong defensive team, and the Red Wings had some trouble breaking through their trap to create quality scoring chances against goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. Zetterberg opened the scoring, but he wasn’t able to do so until the first period was almost gone. Niklas Kronwall took a hard shot from the blue line. The puck deflected, but Brendan Shanahan, who was screening the goalie, was able to kick the puck onto his stick blade and backhand a pass to Zetterberg. Nabokov was focused on Shanahan, giving Zetterberg a wide open net to score into.

The Red Wings ran into penalty trouble in the second period. Jiri Fischer was sent out for holding the stick, followed by Mathieu Schneider for high sticking. Nicklas Lidstrom, Kris Draper, and Kirk Maltby killed off fifty seconds of five-on-three power play. Joseph was outstanding again, holding off a mad scramble of Sharks in front of his net until Fischer could leave the box to help relieve the pressure.

With four men on the ice, Detroit took advantage of a break to try to create a scoring chance the other way, but Fischer crashed right into Nabokov, and was sent right back to the box for goaltender interference, giving the Sharks another 35 seconds of two man advantage. This time, Marco Sturm was in close to the goal crease and managed to force the rebound of a Mike Ricci shot into the net.
San Jose moved into the lead early in the third. Wayne Primeau shook off two defenders to move behind the net and center a pass to Scott Thornton. Thornton’s first shot was kicked away by Joseph, but Joseph wasn’t able to get to the rebound shot in time.
The Sharks took their one-goal lead and shut the game down. They forechecked only halfheartedly, preferring to keep four of their skaters lined up to pick off the puck and ice it before Detroit could set up a potential scoring play. The Wings’ bench pulled Joseph out for a sixth skater with just over a minute to go. Thirty seconds later, Detroit got their best break of the game. Nils Ekman was sent to the penalty box for high-sticking.

The Red Wings kept Joseph on the bench, giving them six skaters against four. With just 19 seconds before the buzzer, the Two Kids and the Old Goat tied up the game. Zetterberg passed the puck from behind the net to Brett Hull near the left circle. Hull threaded a pass across to Pavel Datsyuk in the slot, and Datsyuk wristed the shot over Nabokov.

The Sharks weren’t able to play the trap successfully in overtime, with only four skaters allowed per side, so the Red Wings were able to dominate the play. Zetterberg set up the game winning goal by bringing the puck deep into the San Jose zone, dragging it around a few defenders, and making a perfect pass across to Shanahan at the left circle. Shanahan took a hard shot on net which deflected off Nabokov and into the net.

Shots on net were even at 28 apiece. The Red Wings will next see action on Friday night, when they host the Chicago Blackhawks.


Steve Yzerman said he might be ready to play later this week, either Friday against Chicago or Saturday at Nashville…. Datsyuk’s 19th goal ties him with Columbus’s Rick Nash for the NHL’s goal scoring lead and with Washington’s Robert Lang for the lead in points.

Sabres Fall to Griffins— er, Wings

It wasn’t quite the game anyone expected. Sure, under normal circumstances, it should be easy enough for the Red Wings to gain a win over the Buffalo Sabres. But it shouldn’t have been quite so easy when a full third of the lineup (six of eighteen skaters) is straight from the Grand Rapids Griffins. And it certainly shouldn’t have been a triumphant 7-2 blowout, but there it was.

The Sabres managed to open the scoring a few minutes into the third period. J.P. Dumont made a pass to Daniel Briere just behind the net. Briere noticed Curtis Joseph just slightly out of position, so he banked the puck in off the goalie’s back. Joseph, also just recalled from the Griffins, looked a little shaky early on, but redeemed himself with a huge save against Taylor Pyatt on a breakaway a few minutes after Briere’s goal.

Pavel Datsyuk split through two Buffalo defensemen to make a give-and-go passing play with Kris Draper near the end of the period. Datsyuk pushed to the net, and when he got the puck back from Draper, he was able to flip it in behind goalie Ryan Miller. Kirk Maltby moved Detroit into a 2-1 lead just over two minutes later when some hard work in the corner by Mathieu Dandenault and a nice pass by Datsyuk left Maltby all alone in front of the net long enough to get the shot away.

Detroit carried their one goal lead all the way through the third period, holding off three Buffalo power plays.

The third period was a different story. An ordinary team might have shut down and played defensive hockey for the final twenty minutes, but these are the Red Wings (even if a lot of them were Griffins just yesterday), and they best defend their leads by adding to them. Datsyuk started the onslaught with his second goal of the night at 8:01. Jason Woolley threaded a pass through several pairs of legs to leave Datsyuk all alone in the high slot. He deked, then put the puck high over Miller.

Draper added a wraparound goal off a patient pass by Brendan Shanahan at 9:44, and Jiri Hudler scored the first goal of his NHL career by one-timing the puck from the high slot, after one of Woolley’s excellent passes found the way straight to him. It was a power play goal, with Eric Boulton in the penalty box for cross checking.

Jochen Hecht got the puck past Joseph to get the Sabres up to two, but Mathieu Schneider answered by putting a hard shot from the blue line right between Miller’s leg pads. Boyd Devereaux completed the Red Wings’ scoring by snapping a well placed wrist shot over Miller’s shoulder with 1:37 left to play.

The Sabres outshot Detroit by a margin of 25 to 23. Detroit was one for four on the power play. The Red Wings’ next opponent will be the Blackhawks, Thursday night in Chicago.


The Griffins playing as Wings tonight were Darryl Bootland, Jiri Hudler, Niklas Kronwall, Kevin Miller, Mark Mowers, Jamie Rivers, and goalie Joey MacDonald, who played backup to Joseph with Hasek and Legace both out for a few days…. It was Kronwall’s NHL debut. He logged 13:26 of ice time, took two shots on goal, served two penalty minutes, and finished with a plus-one rating…. Kevin Miller is the cousin of Sabres goalie Ryan Miller.

Chelios Out 3-4 Weeks with Sprained Knee

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios has been placed on injured reserve with a sprained right knee. He is expected to miss three to four weeks.

Chelios injured the knee when he was checked by Los Angeles King Mike Cammalleri during the first period of the Wings’ 3-2 overtime win over the Kings on Monday. He returned for one shift in the early second period but left the ice early and headed straight to the locker room.

Detroit forward Ray Whitney is also injured again. He played on Monday for the first time after missing ten games with a sore groin. Whitney aggrevated the injury in the second period and left the game.

In addition to Chelios and Whitney, forward Steve Thomas will be unavailable to the Wings. Thomas is scheduled to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on Wednesday and will miss five to six weeks.

Goaltender Manny Legace suffered a sprained knee during warmups before Monday’s game but may not miss any playing time.

Chelios, Whitney and Thomas join a long list of Red Wings nursing injuries. Defenseman Derian Hatcher has missed all but the first three games of the season with a torn ACL and isn’t scheduled to return until April. Forward Henrik Zetterberg has begun skating after missing a month with a broken leg and is expected to return next week. Forwards Darren McCarty and Tomas Holmstrom have been out with back spasms and a separated right shoulder, respectively, with no return date set for either.

Captain Steve Yzerman has also been out, missing Monday’s game with a groin injury. Yzerman could return Wednesday when the Red Wings visit the Buffalo Sabres.

To help cover for the injured players, Detroit called up forwards Kevin Miller and Jiri Hudler and defenseman Niklas Kronwall from the Grand Rapids Griffins. Forward Nathan Robinson was returned to Grand Rapids while the Griffins signed forward Jeff Nelson from the United Hockey League’s Muskegon Fury and demoted goaltender Joey MacDonald to the Toledo Storm of the ECHL.


The seven transactions involving Grand Rapids is the busiest single day of player movement in the franchise’s eight-year history… Red Wings goalie Dominik Hasek is also rumored to have reinjured his groin, which caused him to miss most of the month of November.

Hatcher Out 4-6 Months With Torn ACL

Tough defenseman Derian Hatcher tore his right ACL in Thursday night’s game against the Canucks and is expected to be sidelined for 4 to 6 months, according to team personnel.

Hatcher left the game early in the first period after being tangled up with Vancouver’s Bryan Allen and Markus Naslund. The injury was originally called a sprained knee, but an MRI done Friday morning revealed the tear in Hatcher’s ACL.

The ACL, or anterior crucial ligament, is a ligament which connects the femur (thighbone) to the tibia (shinbone) underneath the patella (kneecap). ACL injuries are most commonly caused by hyperextending, twisting, or bending the knee joint sideways. This is the same type of injury which kept Jiri Fischer sidelined for most of last season.

Hatcher, a native of Sterling Heights, Michigan, had missed only four games in his previous three seasons combined. The former Dallas Star’s last serious injury was a lacerated calf muscle which kept him out 24 games during the 1999-2000 season.

The Wings will attempt to fill the new hole at the blue line. Jason Woolley, acquired after Fischer’s injury last year, will make his way back into the lineup, and talented rookie Niklas Kronvall will be on hand to provide depth.

Wings Sign Dandenault, Kronvall

The Detroit Red Wings signed defenseman Mathieu Dandenault to a one-year deal on Tuesday. Reportedly, the contract is worth slightly more than the $1.3 million qualifying offer the Red Wings made to Dandenault on July 1.

By signing with Detroit, Dandenault, 27, avoided salary arbitration.

In the 2002-2003 campaign, Dandenault had four goals and fifteen assists in seventy-four games. He also had sixty-four penalty minutes.

“We felt he took a big step in development, especially in the second half of last season,” general manager Ken Holland said in a statement. “He has steadily improved from playing at forward into a solid NHL defenseman and we expect he will continue to improve.”

Dandenault was drafted by Detroit with the team’s second pick in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft.

Detroit also signed Swedish defenseman Niklas Kronvall to a two-year contract. As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not announced.

Kronvall was the twenty-ninth overall pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. He has spent the last four seasons playing with Djurgardens IF Stockholm of the Swedish Elite League.

If Kronvall doesn’t make the Red Wings’ roster in training camp, he will play with Detroit’s AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins.