Patrick Roy’s ‘A’ Game

The first meeting of the season for what is arguably the biggest rivalry in the Western Conference went down as a loss for the Red Wings, as they were defeated by the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 at Joe Louis Arena.

The Avalanche opened the scoring only thirty-two seconds into the game. Milan Hejduk fished the puck loose from a struggle in the low left corner, then carried it out front and flipped it past Dominik Hasek. Joe Sakic and Alex Tanguay received the assists on the goal.

Colorado used the momentum from such an early goal to continue dominating the play. They took a two-goal lead on the power play, when Jiri Fischer was in the penalty box for tripping. Marty Skoula passed the puck up to rookie Radim Vrbata, who one-timed a shot past Hasek.

The Red Wings were not prepared to give up so early, especially to Colorado, and Steve Yzerman began to lead his team in applying offensive pressure, taking four shots against Patrick Roy among the Wings’ total of thirteen for the period. Even so, it was Sergei Fedorov who got Detroit on the board with 11:42 left in the first. Brendan Shanahan left the pass, and Fedorov carried the puck right across the crease and fooled Roy with a quick backhand shot.

The Avalanche had three power play chances in the second period, but Detroit’s penalty killing was very well-organized and kept the puck in Colorado’s zone through most of their short-handed play. However, Colorado did score the only goal of the second at even strength. Steve Reinprecht was able to pick up the rebound from Vrbata’s shot and slide it past Hasek, who was being screened by Chris Drury.

In the third period, Colorado accepted their lead and switched focus from offense to defense to keep the Red Wings from bringing the puck into their zone. Despite two well-organized power play opportunities on Detroit’s part, Roy was able to turn each shot aside and keep the Wings from scoring again.

Rob Blake clinched the win for the Avalanche with only 3:30 left in the game. Sakic passed cross-ice to Blake as he skated up the right wing side, and Blake was able to fire the puck between Hasek and the goalpost.

Hasek stopped only fourteen of the eighteen shots he faced. Roy was able to stop twenty-nine of the thirty the Red Wings put up against him.

Hasek stopped only fourteen of the eighteen shots he faced. Roy was able to stop twenty-nine of the thirty the Red Wings put up against him.

Gill Signs with Colorado

Former Red Wings defenseman Todd Gill signed as a free agent with the Stanley Cup Chamion Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.

Gill, who started the 2000-2001 season with Cincinatti of the AHL, filled in well for Detroit when Chris Chelios went down with a knee injury and was kept on the team after Chelios’ return.

The signing, Colorado’s first since retaining Joe Sakic, Rob Blake and Patrick Roy, will help the Avalanche fill a gap in their defensive corps caused by Ray Bourque’s retirement and the loss of Jon Klemm to free agency.

Gill has had two tours with Detroit, as well as playing with Toronto, San Jose, St. Louis and Phoenix.

Lidstrom Finally Wins Norris Trophy

After three years of finishing second, Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom finally won the Norris Trophy, given to the NHL’s top defenseman.

Lidstrom, who finished as a runner-up to Rob Blake, Al MacInnis and Chris Pronger in the last three seasons, was almost a unanimous choice for the award. His closest competition was Colorado’s Ray Bourque, who was the co-winner of the NHL Fans Association’s Best Role Model Award earlier this season.

“Oh, it’s tough to find words to describe how I’m feeling right now,” said Lidstrom, who flew back to North America after leaving to spend the summer in Sweden. “I’m really proud and honored to get this trophy. I have to give a lot of credit to the coaching staff and the players surrounding me.”

Lidstrom was also runner-up for the Lady Byng Trophy, while Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman finished second in voting for the Jack Adams Award.

All As It Should Be, Wings Atop Central

Could the night have been any better for the Red Wings? Chris Chelios played his first game in over three months, Steve Yzerman got his 1,600th career point, and Detroit downed St. Louis to move into the top spot in the Central Division. Eh, I guess the Rob Blake powered Avalance could have lost to the Wild, but that doesn’t matter.

For now, Detroit is in second place in the league. The Blues could reclaim the lead in the Central Saturday night with a win over the Bruins, but we won’t worry about that now, will we? The Blues have two games in hand on the Wings and the teams play each other twice more before the end of the season. Should Detroit manage to go undefeated against St. Louis, they’ll likely take the Central.

Just a note on the streak: Wings are unbeaten in their last ten games and haven’t lost at home since December.

Don’t forget to speak your mind in the Fan Forum.

BLAKE DEALT!!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, the Wings won huge over Chicago and are one point back of the Blues, who they play on Friday, but even the most die-hard Detroit fan knows that’s not a big deal with “the trade” having been made.

All Star defenseman Rob Blake has been dealt from the Los Angels Kings to the Colorado Avalanche. Blake was sent to the Avs along with center Steve Reinprecht for forward Adam Deadmarsh, defenceman Aaron Miller, a 2001 first-round pick, a prospect to be named later, and future considerations. It’s the second time in as many seaosn the Avalanche have picked up a star d-man at the trade deadline, having added Ray Bourque last year.

The Wings were rumored several weeks ago to have won the Rob Blake sweepstakes, but nothing came of that. Detroit will now likely pursue the more affordable Sean O’Donnell out of Minnesota.

Sepak your mind about the deal in the drwcentral.net Fan Forum.

Wings Tie Preds; Hawks Tonight

With last night’s tie in Nashville and the Blues’ loss in Tampa, the Red Wings are within striking distance of the top spot in the Central Division.

News about the Rob Blake sweepstakes… Kings GM Dave Taylor has been ordered to trade the All Star defenseman. The Wings say they’re not looking to add him, but everyone else says they are. Other trade news has the Leafs – Flyers deal for Eric Lindros falling apart. One trade did go through however, as the Habs dealt Eric Weinrich to Boston.

20 February, 2001

The big win over Dallas pulls us even closer to St. Louis in the race for the top spot in the Central. With the Blues’ loss tonight, it’s possible for the Wings to move into a tie with them for first place by Friday night. Detroit will have to win both games left this week and St. Louis would have to lose both of theirs, but the important match is Friday’s Wings – Blues game in Detroit.

Elsewhere in the league, the Lindros Saga may be moving to another chapter as PenaltyBox.com is reporting that the Flyers and Leafs have reached an agreement to get the Cup-less Wonder into a Maple Leafs sweater by Tuesday. Considering it was also reported weeks ago that Rob Blake would be a Wing, I’m not sure what to believe. Frankly, I’d love to see Lindros sit for the next several years, but you can speak your mind on the drwcentral.net Fan Forum.

8 February, 2001

Great game tonight, if anyone didn’t like watching it then they’re not a hockey fan. Mickey Redmond was right when he said it was just like a playoff game. This is how we need to have been playing all year. And how about those goals from the guys we’re not supposed to see them from, McCarty and Maltby. Gotta give Draper credit too, considering he did half the work on Mac’s goal. Only thing I don’t like about tonight is that Jiri Fischer wasn’t there for it. We knew we’d have to move someone to get Maxim Kuznetsov back in the lineup, and we’ll have to do it again when Chris Chelios (remember him?) comes back, so when the hell are we gonna finally get rid of Todd Gill?!? He’s slower than Larry Murphy and not nearly as smart, why exactly is he still around? Anyway, that’s my rant for tonight. The dailies aren’t updated (of course not, it’s a half-hour after the game ended) so I’ll do that tomorrow.

Aroudn the league a bunch of stuff has happened, and ESPN.com reports on it all. The well-rumored Rob Blake went down with a shoulder injury and seems to be day-to-day. Suspended Marty McSorely signed a deal to play for the London Knights of the British Superleague, he’s gotta get a transfer card from the IIHF before he can play, though. Teh Canucks dealt for a goalie today, picking up Dan Cloutier from Tampa Bay for Adrian Aucoin and a draft pick, which means that Felix Potvin will leave Vancouver one way or another.

4 February, 2001

Well, that was high-scoring. The North American All-Stars took out the World All-Stars with a 14-12 win in Denver today. I’m really starting to hate how offense-intensive the All-Star Game is, but it’s still cool to watch. The thing to really hate is this stupid North America vs. the World format that’s somehow lasted for four years. I say bring back East vs. West so I can know who to cheer for, but who cares what I say? Rob Blake did not wind up wearing the winged-wheel on his shoulder during the game, but rumors about his destination continue. I only hope the Wings won’t give up too much (*cough* Marty Lapointe) for him.