Thoughts on the Captaincy

Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill announced today that the team would go a second consecutive season without naming a captain.

The move comes contrary to rumors that flew all summer about Detroit star Dylan Larkin being named as the successor to Henrik Zetterberg, whose playing career is over due to back issues but will remain under contract with the club for two more seasons.  While Larkin may indeed be the Red Wings next captain, that won’t happen this season.

While a new captain will not be named defensive specialist Luke Glendening was added to the rotation of alternate captains (alongside Larkin, Justin Abdelkader, and Frans Nielsen), giving the Red Wings four players wearing the A.

The captaincy is something that is very tradition-heavy in the NHL.  Steve Yzerman‘s retired jersey banner includes the C in recognition of his tenure as Detroit’s captain.  Joe Sakic’s does as well, as the Avalanche have never had an original thought.

It was a big deal when the Vancouver Canucks named goalie Roberto Luongo as their captain in 2008, skirting NHL rules to do so.  Similarly, it was something of a shock when, just five years ago, the San Jose Sharks stripped Joe Thornton of their captaincy.

Now, it seems that some of the gravitas behind the captaincy is gone.

Per the NHL rulebook, only players with letters are allowed to talk to the referees.  That rule is ignored on a nightly basis.  If any player can talk to the refs, there’s no in-game reason to designate one as captain.

The Red Wings showed how unnecessary on-ice captains are during the 2015-16 season.  For 34 games that year they dressed two or fewer captains due to injury, opting not to name replacements on a game-by-game basis, knowing there was no need to.  A season earlier they did that ten times, while also using four alternate-alternate captains.

Compare the current decade to the 1990s.

From 1990-91 to 1999-2000, there were six instances of a team going an entire season without a captain.  Three of those were the first seasons of the expansion Tampa Bay Lightning.

There will be as many cases of teams going captain-less this season, same as last season.  There will be 25 instances of teams not naming a captain between 2010-11 and 2019-20.  Three of those were the first seasons of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.

Teams are instead opting to name a “leadership group,” as the Golden Knights called it in 2017 and the Canucks did in 2018 and the Red Wings have seemingly done this year.

It may just be that the captaincy doesn’t carry the importance it used to.  If a letter isn’t required on the ice, and if leaders make themselves known in the dressing room regardless of whether or not they’re a captain, then why name one at all?

Red Wings Survive Late Florida Push for Sixth-Straight Win

The Detroit Red Wings held off a late comeback attempt by the Panthers on Tuesday night, claiming their sixth consecutive victory in a 5-4 decision over Florida.

Brad Boyes scored with 9:06 remaining in regulation to pull the Panthers to within a goal. After the Red Wings failed to clear their zone, Alexsander Barkov drove back towards the net before passing off to Boyes all alone in the slot for a shot past Detroit netminder Petr Mrazek.

The Red Wings would survive a Panthers’ power play in the final minutes, during which they pulled their goalie for a sixth attacker.

Drew Miller opened the game’s scoring at 8:06 of the first period, beating Florida’s Roberto Luongo between the pads on a shorthanded break.

Barkov would tie things up just 1:02 later while skating five-on-three. Barkov was wide open at the back door to take a crossing feed from Nick Bjugstad and beat Mrazek to make it 1-1.

Before the second penalty was out, the Panthers would score again. Brandon Pirri‘s shot from the left faceoff circle just slipped past Mrazek and across the goal line, with defenseman Danny DeKeyser clearing it away a fraction of a second too late, giving Florida a 2-1 lead with 9:44 left in the period.

Henrik Zetterberg tied things back up just 32 seconds into the middle frame, taking a feed from behind the net all alone in the slot and putting it back past Luongo.

Luke Glendening put the Red Wings back in front at 7:07 of the period, lifting the rebound of a Stephen Weiss chance past Luongo during a scramble around the net.

Weiss would add a goal of his own against his former team just 1:19 later, tapping the puck past Luongo of a centering feed from Riley Sheahan.

Glendening scored again with 8:41 left when Weiss’ attempted shot on a rush was blocked right to Glendening to snap a chance past Luongo from in close for a 5-2 lead. Luongo would be replaced in goal by Al Montoya shortly afterwards.

Bjugstad made it 5-3 with 4:30 left in the second on Florida’s third power play goal, lifting the rebound of an Aaron Ekblad shot over Mrazek’s shoulder.

Mrazek finished the night with 37 saves on 41 shots against. Luongo stopped 12 of 17 shots before Montoya came in and was perfect on ten shots faced.

Florida went three-for-five on the power play while Detroit failed to score on their lone chance with the man-advantage.

The Red Wings continue their post-All-Star break road trip in Tampa Bay on Thursday.


With their win and Tampa Bay’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, the Red Wings move into the top spot in the Atlantic Division… Daniel Cleary appeared in just his twelfth game of the season, replacing Teemu Pulkkinen in the lineup. Pulkkinen had been returned to the Grand Rapids Griffins so he could appear in the AHL All-Star Game… Tomas Jurco (back) and Jakub Kindl (wrist) remained out due to injury while Brian Lashoff was a healthy scratch.

Red Wings Drop Shootout Decision to Panthers

For the second consecutive game the Detroit Red Wings fell in the shootout, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Florida Panthers Friday night.

Detroit is now 1-5 in the shootout on the season, their only victory coming against the winless New Jersey Devils. Gustav Nyquist and Pavel Datsyuk failed to beat Florida netminder Roberto Luongo while both Vincent Trochek and Brandon Pirri scored on Detroit’s Jimmy Howard.

Despite the loss, the point for surviving regulation moved the Red Wings into a three-way tie with Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh for first place in the Eastern Conference.

All of the game’s scoring came in the first period.

RIley Sheahan started things off at 5:03 on the power play. Tomas Tatar‘s shot from the left faceoff circle was knocked out to Datsyuk in the slot for a chance that Luongo stopped. Sheahan was on the doorstep to knock the rebound into the back of the net.

The Panthers got on the board 2:07 later, when former Detroit prospect Tomas Fleischmann snapped a shot from the slot past Howard.

With 6:05 left in the period, Jonathan Huberdeau fought off pressure by Datsyuk to spin and shovel a shot from the near edge of the right circle past Howard to give Florida a 2-1 lead.

Nyquist knotted things back up with 38.5 seconds left. While falling, Nyquist backhanded a shot from the slot past Luongo in the final second of a Detroit power play.

The Red Wings scored twice on four power play tries while the Panthers were scoreless on five attempts with the extra attacker.

Howard finished the night with 24 saves on 26 shots. Luongo stopped 29 of 31 shots against.

The Red Wings are back in action on Saturday when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs.


Detroit was without defenseman Danny DeKeyser, replaced in the lineup by call-up Xavier Ouellet… The Red Wings lost forward Stephen Weiss to injury mid-game… Daniel Cleary and Brian Lashoff were healthy scratches.

Postgame: Panthers @ Red Wings – 12/2

Well, that was a pretty awful game overall. As per usual when I don’t feel like the Red Wings put in any effort, I don’t want to put in any effort writing this up.

One thing I didn’t think much of during the game but kind of stands out to me now is that, while Jimmy Howard was not at fault for this loss, he also wasn’t standing on his head. You can’t expect a goalie to do that every night, I don’t think it would be a problem that he didn’t tonight except for the fact that down at the other end Roberto Luongo was looking pretty unbeatable for long stretches of play.

The story, though, I think has to be the turnovers. Detroit flat out gifted Florida too many opportunities, including at least two that led directly to goals. They’ve been uncharacteristically sloppy for a little while now, it’s bit them in the ass for goals against a few times, now it cost them a game.

The team will say forget it and put it behind them. I always say don’t forget it, remember it and don’t do it again. I’ll leave it at that.

Red Wings Snap Skid With 2-1 Win in Vancouver

The Detroit Red Wings ended their four-game losing streak on Wednesday night, rallying for a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks in the first game of a four-game Western Canadian road swing.

Daniel Alfredsson got the Red Wings on the board with 8:23 remaining in the second period. The veteran forward gained the Canucks’ zone down the right wing, then sent a pass up high to defenseman Kyle Quincey. Quincey sent it down to Brendan Smith, pinching at the side of the net, before Smith put it back into the slot where Alfredsson had jumped in for a quick wrister past Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo.

Tomas Tatar put Detroit out in front with just 1:02 left in the middle period. Tatar carried the puck down the right side and held up just inside the blue line, snapping a shot that found its way through traffic and seemed to fool Luongo, beating him to make it 2-1. It was his first goal of the season.

The Canucks had opened the game’s scoring with 5:48 remaining in the first period. Ryan Stanton fed Daniel Sedin on a stretch pass to gain the Detroit zone, then Sedin dropped it off to brother Henrik. From the high slot, Henrik sent the puck down to Daniel at the bottom of the left faceoff circle, where he threw a shot from an acute angle in behind Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, still positioned at the top of the crease.

Howard finished the night with 19 saves on 20 shots against. Luongo stopped 25 of 27 Detroit chances.

Neither team scored a power play goal on three chances with the man-advantage each.

The Red Wings continue their road trip on Friday in Calgary.


Patrick Eaves made his season debut, returning from injury to play 7:23… Johan Franzen missed the game due to injury. He is expected to return on Friday. Luke Glendening was called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins to take his roster spot… Rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser skated in place of the injured Jonathan Ericsson on the top pairing with Niklas Kronwall, getting 26:42 of ice time.

The Slow Death of Hockey in Flint

About an hour north of Hockeytown Flint, Michigan sits as a slowly dying hockey area.

Born in Flint and raised in a small town, and by small I mean one stop light at the time small town, outside of Flint I can remember as a kid the excitement of going to what was then the Flint IMA to see the … again THEN Flint Generals.

The lights outside the area, the noisy busy Lobby area, the crowded concourse and fans cheering. That is how I remember hockey in Flint. I remember going with my mom and dad and running into people they went to high school with and co workers. The community loved it’s hockey.

Darren McCarty’s return to the NHL came via the Flint Generals and as he made his last run so did the team.

Once the IHL closed up and left Flint with a vacant arena; however, hockey didn’t abandon Flint – it abandoned hockey.

The NAHL came to town.

In fact they actually ousted the Generals in a lease agreement summer. Wouldn’t that have been something after the CBA expired to see NHL teams come back with no arenas? It happened in Flint. The city decided it wanted to go a new direction and opted for the younger players hoping that it would catch on.

OHL caught on in Saginaw why wouldn’t NAHL catch on in Flint?

To paraphrase Roberto Luongo: “Because it sucks.”

Not the NAHL; but the team, well more to the point the management of the Michigan Warriors.

This new team has failed to gain any hold with the community and in fact has given it a cold shoulder by pulling gimmicks like bringing in The Situation for autograph sessions during intermissions.

The team now run by the arena is in as sad a state as the arena itself.

I took a walk around the lobby area of the now Perani Arena and it is depressing.

Banners from the Warriors first season still hang high; because that was their highlight. One spectacular season – now they are at the bottom of their division. No pictures of the current team, nothing in the lobby. Looking at pamphlets on the box office window for learn to skate classes for a different local link are even dated for 2011. I wish I had taken pictures with my phone with how barren it was.

I realize their season is over. You can use that as an excuse and claim they took it down but I doubt it as the outdated stuff was still up.

There are pictures in the lobby sure… for peewee teams from 2011 and 2012 seasons.

Where is the pride?

The same people that run this arena are now running this team and they can’t figure out why their attendance is so low?

I took my kids to a game this year. Every one got in free. Even that didn’t sell out. Tickets are $5-$7 it’s not that they cost a lot it is the fact that people go to games to have fun, have a good time, not feel depressed.

To those that grew up in the Flint area of my generation and those of older generations don’t want to go to the arena that is being run by people that don’t care; by people that don’t care about the team. When you don’t care it shows.

I know people that have gone and preformed anthems for the Michigan Warriors and I was floored when I found out that they had to pay for a ticket to stay and watch.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME.

I use to be a performer.

We are pretty use to having to pay for parking to perform at events, that isn’t really a big deal; however, telling the performers if they wish to stay for the game they need to purchase a ticket is completely mind boggling.

You do realize performers like to socialize and have a good time right? You know they talk with other performers’ right? You would have made your money up from the free tickets in the concessions sales that night but I know that many refused to order any concessions because of having to buy a ticket to an event they were asked to perform for. It’s not like the Warriors paid them for their time either.

Disgusting.

It might cost more in gas and in tickets but I will be taking my kids to either Saginaw and watch the Spirit or to Plymouth to watch the Whalers for now on.

Why would we give you our money? The people getting hurt in this are the players who are just trying to develop and get into the USHL, the OHL or play for college, and hope to get drafted one day.

GM died in Flint and you can see it is decaying corpse all over the city – the stench is all over hockey and the way things are going they wont be alive in Flint much longer.

Zetterberg, Abdelkader Score Twice as Red Wings Down Canucks, 5-2

Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader each scored twice for the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night, leading the team to a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

The Canucks opened the scoring a team-record six seconds into the game. After Vancouver won the opening faceoff, Detroit defenseman Brian Lashoff pressured and left an opening for Daniel Sedin and Alexandre Burrows to advance on a two-on-one. Niklas Kronwall failed to cut off a cross-ice pass from Sedin to Burrows, who rifled a shot from the inside edge of the right circle past Red Wings’ netminder Jimmy Howard.

Pavel Datsyuk‘s bank shot 6:08 in got the Wings on the board. Datsyuk threw the puck on net with Abdelkader driving to the edge of the crease, banking it off Abdelkader’s skate and in behind Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo.

Datsyuk set up the goal that put the Red Wings in front with 6:03 left in the second period. He gathered up the puck at the bottom of the left faceoff circle after an initial Red Wings chance and threw it to Zetterberg in the slot for a snap past Luongo for a power play goal to make it 2-1.

Zetterberg would score just 1:20 into the third period to extend Detroit’s lead, one-timing a feed from Valtteri Filppula past Luongo from the top of the right faceoff circle.

Daniel Cleary make it 4-1 at 5:57 of the third on a smooth passing play with Damien Brunner and Joakim Andersson. Brunner gained the Vancouver zone and cut into the high slot before passing off to Andersson on the left wing. Andersson sent it all the way across to Cleary at the top of the right circle where he snapped a shot past Luongo.

Detroit’s scoring was rounded out with 5:16 to play on another Datsyuk attempt that deflected off Abdelkader and in for Abdelkader’s second goal. Datsyuk lofted the puck from the right wing towards Abdelkader as he cut to the net. The puck went off Abdelkader, bounced around off of Luongo, and eventually dropped into the net for a goal that had to be confirmed by video review.

Off the rebound of a Burrows deflection from in front, Kronwall knocked the puck past his own goalie to round out the scoring and give the Canucks their second goal with 2:38 remaining.

Zetterberg’s first goal was the only power play marker for either team on the night. Detroit had three power plays and Vancouver had six, with each team going scoreless on a five-on-three. Jannik Hansen also missed on a penalty shot for the Canucks.

Howard finished the night with 33 saves on 35 shots. Luongo stopped 21 of 26 chances.

Having completed their first Western Canadian road trip of the season, the Red Wings are now off until Wednesday when they host the Minnesota Wild.


Defenseman Ian White was back in the Red Wings’ lineup after Kyle Quincey was injured on Friday night in Edmonton… Gustav Nyquist was a healthy scratch up front, while Kent Huskins continued to be a healthy scratch on defense.

Andersson, Brunner Score Twice in Red Wings’ Rout of Canucks

Two Red Wings rookies led Detroit to an 8-3 rout of the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday, as Joakim Andersson and Damien Brunner each scored twice to supply half the team’s goals.

In all, seven Red Wings had multiple points as Wings won their second game in as many nights. The twelve goals the team scored over the weekend matched their total over their previous five-game losing streak.

It was the Canucks who scored early and even carried a lead into the first intermission before the Red Wings scored five unanswered goals to end the game.

Daniel Sedin opened the scoring at 5:45 of the first period on a patient passing play with brother Henrik. The two traded off the puck several times in the Wings’ zone, looking for an opening. Henrik took it behind the net and Daniel jumped into the slot alone to take a pass and snap a shot past Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard.

Jordin Tootoo evened things up with 8:52 remaining in the period. Coming down the right wing, his initial centering attempt was blocked by Jason Garrison but he picked the puck back up and threw it to the front of the net again, with it bouncing off Keith Ballard before hitting the inside of the post and going in behind Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo. It was Tootoo’s second goal as a Red Wing, with both deflecting in off a defender.

Niklas Kronwall gave Detroit their first lead just 1:29 later. Pavel Datsyuk prevented a Vancouver clearing attempt at the left point and drove to the net, drawing a delayed penalty. He and Daniel Cleary kept control of the puck into the right corner before sending a pass out to Kronwall at the blue line for a slap shot that deflected past Luongo.

The Canucks would stage a rally with a pair of quick goals of their own late in the period.

Daniel Sedin tied the game with 3:42 remaining in the period. Henrik Sedin sent a long pass from his own side of center into the Red Wings’ zone and off the endboards to Daniel streaking in off the left wing. Having gotten around Jonathan Ericsson, Daniel backhanded a shot past Howard from in close to make it 2-2.

Just 2:08 later, Chris Higgins picked the puck off Justin Abdelkader‘s stick in the right faceoff circle and raced behind the net for a wraparound chance that went in on the far side of Howard.

Cleary began the Red Wings’ charge with a power play goal at 2:57 of the second period to tie things back up. Brunner picked up the rebound of his own chance from the right circle and shoveled it across to Cleary, wide open to jam the puck home at the far side of the net.

The Red Wings thought they had a lead with 5:40 left in the second when Patrick Eaves knocked a loose puck past Luongo on a delayed penalty but the play was blown dead before the puck went in. On the ensuing power play, however, Henrik Zetterberg netted a goal that did count, tipping a pass in the slot from Datsyuk on the right wing through traffic and past Luongo.

After an apparent Datsyuk goal was correctly waived off for being played with a high stick, Brunner extended the Red Wings’ lead with another power play goal with 42 seconds left in the period. Kronwall’s shot from the top of the right circle was kicked out into the slot where Brunner picked it up and cut towards the bottom of the right circle, where he lifted a shot over a sprawling Luongo.

Brunner made it 6-3 at 9:36 of the third period, throwing a knuckling shot from the top of the right circle on net and past Luongo.

Andersson scored his first of the night with 3:21 remaining in regulation, rifling a shot from the top of the left circle that was tipped by the outstretched stick of Ballard to get past Luongo.

He added another to close out the scoring 52 seconds later, taking a feed from Brunner at the left side of the slot and slapping a chance past Luongo.

Luongo entered the game with the best goals-against average in the league. He stopped 20 of the 28 shots he faced on the night and dropped to tenth in the league in GAA.

Howard, who was slated to have the night off until backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson‘s groin injury resurfaced, finished the night with 18 saves on 21 shots against.

Detroit scored three power play goals on five chances with the extra attacker, plus an additional goal on a delayed call. Vancouver was scoreless on their two power play tries.

The Red Wings now head out for their first trip West of the season, facing the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday.

On the Other NHL Goalie Looking for a Trade

While the hockey media buzzes over the possibility of Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo being traded, one of the more forgotten stories of the NHL’s return is the to-be-determined fate of Detroit Red Wings netminder Joey MacDonald.

MacDonald supplanted Ty Conklin as the backup in Detroit late last season while starter Jimmy Howard was injured and was in net for the team’s record-setting 23rd consecutive home win. With Conklin a free agent last summer and MacDonald entering a season with a one-way deal, it looked like MacDonald would be the Wings’ backup for the 2012-13 season.

Then Jonas Gustavsson was signed.

Howard and Gustavsson are locked in as the tandem in Detroit for the coming campaign. MacDonald could be waived with the intent to send him to the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Wings have a logjam in the crease in their system, however, as Petr Mrazek and Tom McCollum have carried the Griffins to a tie for the top spot in the Western Conference and Jordan Pearce is already down with the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye.

The likely move is that MacDonald will be dealt in the week between the opening of training camp and the start of the season.

That said, a deal doesn’t have to happen so quickly. With the Red Wings carrying 14 forwards and six defensemen into the season due to injuries to Patrick Eaves and Carlo Colaiacovo, there is room for the team to keep three goalies on the roster.

Obviously MacDonald isn’t the goalie that Luongo is, so there’s not going to be as much buzz about what happens to him, but a move of some kind is coming. We’ll see what happens in the coming weeks.

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.