Islanders Claim Nabokov off Waivers

Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov has been claimed off waivers by the New York Islanders.

Nabokov was signed by the Detroit Red Wings to a one-year deal on Thursday. Because he started the season in Russia, he had to be placed on waivers on Friday before he could join the Red Wings.

The Islanders already have three goalies on the roster. Rick DiPietro is currently ill and Nathan Lawson left Friday night’s game with a knee injury. Kevin Poulin finished in net.

Nabokov was not expected to clear waivers, as his $570,000 salary and lack of performance-based bonuses was not enough to prevent other NHL teams from being interested in him.

With Nabokov lost, the Red Wings will likely call Joey MacDonald back to Detroit to back up Jimmy Howard. Jordan Pearce will back up Howard in Saturday’s matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks. Chris Osgood is expected to return from sports hernia surgery in mid-March.

Red Wings Bounce Back for OT Win over Islanders

The Detroit Red Wings scored four-straight goals Tuesday night after allowing three in a row to open the game, coming from behind to defeat the New York Islanders in overtime.

Henrik Zetterberg gave Detroit the win with 2:03 remaining in the extra period, one-timing a pass from Nicklas Lidstrom past goalie Rick DiPietro. Lidstrom had gloved the puck out of the air and onto his stick while rushing into the zone to make the pass to Zetterberg.

Detroit’s comeback started with a power play goal by Niklas Kronwall at 3:24 of the third, scored on a wrister from the top of the right circle.

Dan Cleary pulled the Red Wings to within one just 1:33 later, poking the puck into the open side of the net on a hard shot/pass from Lidstrom along the left wing boards.

With 9:48 remaining in regulation, Tomas Holmstrom tied things up, tipping a blast from the top of the left circle by Lidstrom wide of DiPietro with the Red Wings on a power play.

The Red Wings had waited until the third period to get on the board but the Islanders started early, with Mike Sillinger putting his own rebound past Detroit netminder Dominik Hasek just 22 seconds into the game.

Shawn Bates would extend the lead with a shorthanded goal at 7:44 of the second, scored on a two-on-one when Kronwall was caught out of position trying to keep the puck in the New York zone.

Jason Blake notched the Islanders’ final goal of the night 3:53 later with a blast from the high slot that trickled through Hasek’s pads and across the goal line.

The Red Wings benefitted from seven power plays on the night, scoring on two of them. The Islanders were held without a goal on two power play attempts.

Hasek stopped 16 of the 19 shots he faced while DiPietro made 31 saves on 35 shots against.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Friday night when they host the St. Louis Blues before returning to New York to visit the Rangers on Monday.

Finnished Off: Americans Eliminated by Finland

An exciting finish capped a lackluster Olympic run by the United States on Wednesday as Team USA was unable to complete a third-period comeback and fell to Finland, 4-3.

The American squad earned only one win in the preliminary round, earning a berth in the quarterfinals seemingly by default and finding their offense just in time for their defense to let them down.

The United States came back from two goals down once but couldn’t do it a second time.

Finland took an early lead when Ville Peltonen put the puck between the pads of American goalie Rick DiPietro (New York Islanders) 9:33.

The Finns extended their lead with 7:59 remaining in the period when Sami Salo (Vancouver Canucks) added a shorthanded goal.

Team USA began its first comeback just 1:13 later, getting on the board with a goal by Mike Knuble (Philadelphia Flyers).

The Americans tied it in the second when Mathieu Schneider (Detroit Red Wings) scored a power play goal just 1:29 into the second as a barrage of penalties took over the flow of the game.

Olli Jokinen (Florida Panthers) scored his first of the game on a Finland power play at 5:06 to put his team back in the lead and added a second goal on a five-on-three with 2:50 remaining in the period.

The United States got a goal by Brian Gionta (New Jersey Devils) with 4:27 remaining in the third period to pull back within one but they couldn’t get the tying goal.

Americans Advance as Latvia Loses

Team USA, which completed the Olympic round-robin with only one win, advanced to the Quarterfinals on Tuesday when Kazakhstan defeated Latvia. With their berth in the next round already determined, the Americans then went on to lose to Russia, 5-4.

After dropping twin 2-1 games to Slovakia and Sweden over the weekend, the United States looked to find it’s offence against the Russians. They succeeded, but goalie Robert Esche (Philadelphia Flyers) and the U.S. blue line couldn’t match the team’s performance with Rick DiPietro (New York Islanders) in the net over the weekend, allowing more goals to Russia than they did to the Slovaks and Swedes combined.

Alexei Kovalev (Montreal Canadiens) scored the game-winner late in the game, with other Russian goals coming from Alexander Korolyuk (San Jose Sharks), Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals), and Andrei Markov (Canadiens).

The American goals came from Brian Rolston (Minnesota Wild), Brian Gionta (New Jersey Devils), Scott Gomez (Devils), and Erik Cole (Carolina Hurricanes).

Team USA will play top-seeded Finland in the Quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Americans, Canadians Drop Second-straight

The United States and Canada each dropped their second game in a row on Sunday, as the Americans suffered a 2-1 loss to Sweden and Canada fell to Finland, 2-0. It was the second time in as many days that the Canadians were held without a goal.

Antero Nittymaki (Philadelphia Flyers) made 24 saves to lead the Finns to the win while goals came from Teemu Selanne (Mighty Ducks of Anaheim) and Niko Kapanen (Dallas Stars).

With 8:46 remaining in the first period, Saku Koivu (Montreal Canadiens) beat Canadian defenseman Chris Pronger (Edmonton Oilers) in a battle for possession behind the goal. He sent a pass out to Selanne for an open shot at the goal.

Kapanen scored just minutes later when a shot by Kimmo Timonen (Nashville Predators) was tipped by Ville Niemenin (New York Rangers) off the back boards. The puck came to Kapanen for a tip in past Team Canada goalie Roberto Luongo (Florida Panthers).

Even without superstar Peter Forsberg (Flyers), Sweden was able to hold off a late comeback by the United States.

Rick DiPietro (New York Islanders) made 24 saves but two goals allowed were enough to hand the Americans their second loss.

Sweden’s Daniel Alfredsson (Ottawa Senators) opened the game’s scoring at 7:50 of the first period, flipping a shot over the sprawling DiPietro.

Mike Modano (Stars) scored late in the period on a delayed penalty to tie the game but that was all the scoring the Americans would get.

At 4:22 of the third, Mikael Samuelsson (Detroit Red Wings) kicked the rebound of a shot by Alfredsson from his skate to his stick and banged it into the net for the eventual game-winner.

Canada is now 2-2-0 in the tournament and will advance to the quarterfinal round. The United States is 1-2-1 and can advance with a tie or win against Russia, a Latvian loss, or even a Latvian win in some cases.

Team USA Falls to Slovakia, 2-1

A late push by the United States wasn’t enough to pull them even with Slovakia as they fell to the Slovaks, 2-1, in a preliminary round matchup.

After a scoreless first period, Marian Hossa (Atlanta Thrashers) scored a power play goal in the second to open the game’s scoring. Hossa broke away from Brian Rolston (Minnesota Wild) and stepped into the right circle, where he fired a quick shot past Rick DiPietro (New York Islanders).

Team USA tied the game with a power play goal of their own just minutes later, when Rolston ripped a long shot past Peter Budaj (Colorado Avalanche).

Peter Bondra (Thrashers) scored the game’s final goal in the third period, taking a pass in the slot from behind the net by Mirsoslav Satan (Islanders) and banging it by DiPietro before the American defenders could collapse onto him.

Slovakia moved to 3-0 with the win, locking up their spot in the medal round, while the United States dropped to 1-1-1.

The Americans will need to earn a win over Russia or Sweden to have chance of advancing to the medal round.

Two Red Wings Named U.S. Olympians

Detroit Red Wings defensemen Chris Chelios and Mathieu Schneider were two of the 23 players named to the United States’ mens ice hockey rosrer for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. The roster for the team was announced on Monday.

Chelios, along with Keith Tkachuk of the St. Louis Blues, will be making his fourth trip to the Olympics. He was previously named to Team USA in 1984, 1998 and 2002, as well as for the World Cup of Hockey in 1996 and 2004.

“There’s no doubt the intangibles Chris Chelios brings to any team have to be discussed,” said Wings general manager Ken Holland. “We brought him back for his ability to play, but also because of his leadership and competitiveness. When he’s on your team, he believes your team is going to win, and he has an impact on the players around him.”

“I feel very lucky at my age and am looking forward to the challenge,” said Chelios, who will turn 44 in January.

Schneider, seemingly a lock for the team after his strong play in the 2003-04 season and early this year, will be making his second Olympic appearance for the United States. He was named to Team USA for the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, but did not make the team in 2002. He also played for Team USA at the World Cup in 1996 and 2004.

“With his ability to skate and handle the puck… the way he played two years ago and this year, it became pretty obvious that he had to be on the team,” Holland said.

“We think our depth on defense is as good as it’s ever been,” Team USA general manager Don Waddell said.

Almost half of the team has ties to Michigan, either having come from the state, played for the Red Wings, or played for one of the area’s college teams.

The full roster is as follows:

Goaltenders (3)
Rick DiPietro
Robert Esche
John Grahame

Defensemen (7)
Chris Chelios
Derian Hatcher
Jordan Leopold
John-Michael Liles
Aaron Miller
Brian Rafalski
Mathieu Schneider

Forwards (13)
Jason Blake
Erik Cole
Craig Conroy
Chris Drury
Brian Gionta
Scott Gomez
Bill Guerin
Mike Knuble
Mike Modano
Mark Parrish
Brian Rolston
Keith Tkachuk
Doug Weight

Red Wings Fall to Islanders on Late Goal

Former Michigan State star Mike York scored for the New York Islanders with just 3:57 remaining in regulation on Sunday, lifting them to a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings in a homecoming of sorts.

“I grew up watching Detroit and watching some of the players on their team. I had a lot of family members and friends in the stands,” York said. “It’s just great to score a goal and great to win.”

York knocked in the rebound of a deflected shot by Jason Blake.

The Red Wings had opened the scoring at 4:21 of the first period. Mathieu Schneider picked off an Islander pass and barely held it in at the blue line before taking a few strides forward and ripping it past New York goalie Rick DiPietro.

The Islanders tied it with 1:45 remaining in the opening frame when Alexei Yashin bounced a shot from behind the goal line in the corner off the pads of Detroit netminder Jim Howard and into the net.

For the first game in his career, Howard did not face a penalty shot. He did, however, have to stop Blake on a two-on-none late in the third period.

Both teams finished the game with no goals on four power play chances.

Howard made 26 saves on 28 shots while DiPietro stopped 35 of the 36 shots he faced.

The Red Wings are back in action on Tuesday when they host the New Jersey Devils in the second of seven-straight games against Eastern Conference opponents.

Team USA Finally Earns a Win, Defeats Slovakia 3-1

Team USA earned their only win of the round-robin portion of the World Cup of Hockey on Friday, defeating Slovakia by a score of 3-1 in their final match before the quarterfinals.

After playing uninspired hockey against Canada and Russia, the United States had “earned” an 0-2 record. Coach Ron Wilson scratched five players, including future Hall-of-Famer Brett Hull, and the team came out with more energy from the start of the game.

Brian Smolinski, one of the five players added to the lineup, scored on a power play just 3:09 into the game. Smolinski knocked a rebound out of the air and put the puck past Slovak goaltender Jan Lasak.

“It was a weird bounce on a power play and I just outmuscled my guy,” said Smolinski.

Ladislav Nagy tied the game at 11:24 of the first, also with the man-advantage.

The eventual game-winner was scored by Jason Blake on a disputed play. Blake fell to the ice while skating towards the goal. A Chris Chelios pass hit him as he slid along and his body carried the puck into the net. The play was reviewed and the goal was allowed to stand.

American netminder Rick DiPietro, making his first start of the tournament to allow Robert Esche to rest, preserved the lead with timely saves.

Lasak kept the Slovaks in the game until Bill Guerin scored from his backhand on a breakaway with 3:43 remaining in the game.

“We had an emotional game in Canada and a bit of a hangover against Russia,” forward Keith Tkachuk said after the game. “This was a much better effort. We have to play our style – up together and back together, chipping it in and grinding it out.”

The United States finished the preliminary round with a 1-2 record. Slovakia is currently 0-2 while Canada is 2-0 and Russia is 1-0. In Friday’s European game, the Czech Republic defeated Germany by the score of 7-2.

U.S. Edges Canada in Exhibition

In a pre-World Cup exhibition matchup, the United States defeated Canada, 3-1, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus. The Canadian team was without captain Mario Lemieux, who decided to sit out the game.

Canada opened the game’s scoring with a goal by Atlanta Thrashers’ forward Dany Heatley halway through the first period. They held the lead until the game’s midway point thanks to solid goaltending from Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils.

Florida Panther Roberto Luongo replaced Brodeur and the Dallas Stars’ Bill Guerin scored to even the game at 10:25 of the second. Brian Rolston of the Boston Bruins scored with 58 seconds left in the period to put the United States on top.

Calgary Flame Jordan Leopold added a third period goal – assisted by Detroit Red Wing Chris Chelios – for the Americans and Canada was unable to score against New York Islander Rick DiPietro, replaced Edmonton Oiler Ty Conklin in net at the start of the second period.

“It’s U.S.-Canada,” Guerin said. “They’re our biggest rivals. We’re theirs. This means a lot for both teams, whether it’s exhibition or not. You have to be ready.”

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