It’s Miller Time! Kevin Miller raffling off jerseys, Winter Classic ticke

Yup it’s that time of year again hockey fans … Hockey Season.

Just we are going at it minus the National Hockey League once again.

With hockey comes not only the joy that is watching or playing the greatest sport ever; but fundraising for those that are not squabbling over how to divide up billions in revenue.

Former Team USA right wing and a draft pick of the New York Rangers Kevin Miller is running two separate raffles to raise money for different hockey organizations.

Before I tell you about the two raffles here is something that pertains to both of them:


Yup you read that correctly, I didn’t mistype. One Dollar.

Raffle One:

To benefit the Greater Lansing Amateur Hockey Association (GLAHA) the drawing will take place on December 15th (2012) and you DO NOT need to be present to win (so those of you not in Michigan can still enter).

Here are the prizes up for grabs:

1st Prize: Signed Ryan Miller (Sabres) Jersey
2nd Prize: Signed Drew Miller (Red Wings) Jersey
3rd Prize: Michigan State University Jersey (In case you did not know 10 members of the Miller family have played hockey for MSU).
4th Prize: Steaks from Mert’s Specialty Meats

All processes for this raffle will go to help support youth hockey in the great Lansing area.

Raffle Two:

To benefit Spartan 16U Girls Hockey also taking place on December 15th of this year.

First Prize: 2 tickets to the 2013 Winter Classic: Detroit Red Wings hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium. Literally the biggest hockey game ever; never mind the fact that if could be the first National Hockey League game of the season.

Second Prize: 2 tickets to the Great Lakes Invitational: Games played outside at Comerica Park on December 28th 2012 as part of the Hockeytown Hockey Festival.

The teams participating in this years GLI are University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Northern Michigan University and Western Michigan University.

Again tickets for each raffle are only $1.00 a piece; you can purchase as many as you wish for each raffle just specify how many tickets per raffle you want.

Checks can be made out to GLAHA

Mail to:

Kevin Miller
14750 Lake Lansing Road
Lansing, MI 48912

Please be sure to include:
Your Phone Number
How Many Tickets for Each Raffle
A Self Addressed Stamped Envelop (so Kevin can send you your raffle tickets)

Red Wings Blank Sabres for Franchise-Record 15th Straight Home Win

Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard stopped all 27 shots he faced Monday night as the Red Wings cruised to a 5-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres for their 15th consecutive home win, a new franchise record.

The previous record was set during the 1964-65 season, which saw the Red Wings finish first overall in the six-team league but lose to the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs.

Henrik Zetterberg opened the game’s scoring at 5:20 of the first period when he carried the puck from the right faceoff circle through the slot and into the left circle to snap a shot past Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller.

With 1:49 left in the period, Johan Franzen took a long pass through the neutral zone from Pavel Datsyuk to break in on Miller before rifling a shot from the inside edge of the right circle past Miller.

Nicklas Lidstrom made it 3-0 with just 17 seconds left in the first, jumping in from the left point all alone to bang the rebound of a Todd Bertuzzi chance past Miller from the bottom of the left circle.

Bertuzzi added a goal of his own at 4:19 of the second. Datsyuk stole the puck behind the net and sent it out to Bertuzzi at the bottom of the right circle. Bertuzzi cut across the top of the crease with it but couldn’t get to the open net, so he spun back around and backhanded a shot under Miller.

Just 13 seconds later, Darren Helm made it 5-0 beating Miller on a shot from the slot off a feed from the Buffalo goalie’s brother, Drew Miller.

Having allowed five goals on 14 shots, Ryan Miller was pulled after the Helm goal. Jhonas Enroth played the final 35:28 of the game for the Sabres, stopping all 12 shots he faced.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night. The Sabres had three power play chances while Detroit had four.

The Red Wings next travel to Dallas to face the Stars on Tuesday night.

Datsyuk’s assist on Bertuzzi’s goal was his third of the night and his 700th career point, reaching the milestone in 706 games played… Jan Mursak and Mike Commodore were scratches for Detroit.

Postgame: Sabres @ Red Wings – 1/16

I managed to harp on the negatives even after a big OT win for Detroit over the Blackhawks on Saturday, so let’s start there for tonight’s win over the Sabres.

The Wings definitely let up after Ryan Miller got pulled from the Buffalo net. They did that after the first period against Chicago and it nearly bit them in the ass. I don’t like seeing it, but it’s easier to understand tonight than it was on Saturday with the Red Wings up by five rather than only two.

And that final score may have been 5-0 but that wasn’t entirely because the Red Wings were that good. The Sabres were absolutely awful. Give the Red Wings credit for some great plays and for taking advantage of what they were given, but if I were a Buffalo fan I’d be p*ssed at that team’s effort.

But like I said, Detroit did make some great plays.

Todd Bertuzzi‘s spin-o-rama in front of the goal reminds you that, for a big guy, he has soft hands. He’s on a roll and it’s good to see.

Henrik Zetterberg finally got a goal, Johan Franzen had a hell of a shot for his goal. Nicklas Lidstrom‘s goal… How the hell did no one have him?

And Jimmy Howard with the shutout is fantastic. Didn’t have to make a ton of big stops or anything but consistency counts.

Great to see the fifteenth consecutive home win. Records are fun. This one’s a little weird ’cause the Wings are so (relatively) awful on the road that they need these wins at home just to make up for it. It’d be a lot easier to celebrate a major home winning streak if they weren’t in a three-way battle for first in the division.

Red Wings Rally for Shootout Win over Sabres

Jiri Hudler scored with less than a minute remaining in regulation and then again in the shootout to help lead the Detroit Red Wings to a comeback win over the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night.

The Sabres led 2-0 after the first period before the Red Wings rallied.

Hudler tied the game up with 58 seconds left in the third period. He jumped off the bench as an extra attacker just in time to jump into the play and put the rebound of a Johan Franzen shot past Sabres netminder Ryan Miller.

Pavel Datsyuk had gotten the Red Wings on the board with 9:17 left in the second period, with Detroit on a power play. Datsyuk’s attempted shot from the high slot was blocked but the puck came right back to him to swat through traffic and past Miller.

Datsyuk and Hudler provided the scoring in the shootout, as well. Datsyuk beat Miller on a backhand on Detroit’s first attempt and Hudler tried the same move, putting a shot off the crossbar before the puck bounced back down off Miller’s back and across the goal line.

Detroit goalie Joey MacDonald stopped Drew Stafford and Thomas Vanek in their shootout chances.

Buffalo scored twice in 2:04 in the first period to get out to their early lead.

Andrej Sekera lifted a backhander on a quick two-on-one over MacDonald with 7:05 left in the period.

With 5:01 left, Mike Grier kicked the puck from his skate to his stick and beat MacDonald from in close to make it 2-0.

MacDonald finished the night with 30 saves on 32 Buffalo shots. Miller stopped 35 of Detroit’s 37 chances.

Datsyuk’s goal was the lone power play goal of the night. Detroit had two tries with the man-advantage to Buffalo’s one.

The Red Wings continue their five-game road trip in Los Angeles on Monday when they face the Kings.

Detroit was without defenseman Brian Rafalski, who missed the game with back spasms. He is expected to return in Los Angeles. Jakub Kindl played in his place… Mike Modano and Valtteri Filppula returned to the Red Wings lineup from injury. Drew Miller was a healthy scratch to make room for them.

Rafalski Scores OT Winner as Red Wings Defeat Sabres

Brain Rafalski scored 31 seconds into overtime Saturday night, giving the Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 win over the visiting Buffalo Sabres.

It was Rafalski’s first game-winning goal of the season.

With the win, the Red Wings moved into eighth place in the Western Conference standings, one point ahead of the idle Calgary Flames.

The Red Wings were skating four-on-three with Buffalo’s Tyler Myers in the penalty box on a delay-of-game penalty that carried over from the end of regulation. Rafalski drifted to the top of the left faceoff circle and one-timed a pass from Nicklas Lidstrom past Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller on the short side.

Detroit had opened the scoring with a pair of goals early in the first period.

Just 2:02 in, Pavel Datsyuk got the Red Wings on the board. Brad Stuart fired a shot that went wide to Miller’s left and deflected off the back boards, coming to Datsyuk on the other side of the goal. From an extreme angle, Datsyuk put it into the open net.

Patrick Eaves made it a two-goal lead 1:13 later, driving down the left wing and cutting to the net, rolling the puck up Miller’s stick and over him when the goaltender came out to poke-check it away.

Jochen Hecht scored the first of his two goals at 7:02 of the period, backhanding the rebound of a Jason Pominville shot past Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard from in close.

Hecht tied the game at 5:30 of the second period. The rebound of Tim Connolly’s original shot came out to Pominville in the slot. Pominville couldn’t get a shot away as he cut towards the bottom of the left faceoff circle but he teed it up for Hecht who put it past a sprawling Howard.

Howard finished the night with 24 saves on 26 shots. Miller stopped 34 of 37 Detroit chances.

Detroit finished the night 1-for-4 on the power play while Buffalo was scoreless on three tries with the extra attacker.

The Red Wings now head out to Western Canada for a three-game road trip, starting Monday night in Calgary.

Rafalski’s goal gave Detroit a nine-game streak of scoring at least one power play goal.

Red Wings Claim Former Spartan off Waivers

The Detroit News reports that the Red Wings have claimed former MSU Spartan Drew Miller off of waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Miller has played in 67 NHL games split between the Lightning and the Anaheim Ducks, who selected him in the sixth round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He has six career goals and nine career assists to go along with 25 penalty minutes.

The younger brother of Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, Drew Miller played alongside current Red Wing Justin Abdelkader at Michigan State during the 2005-06 season.

Late Goals Lift Red Wings Past Sabres

Ryan Miller was a wall in net for the Buffalo Sabres, with the Detroit Red Wings only able to solve him once in the first 57 minutes of play Saturday night.

Unfortunately for Buffalo, the Wings’ plan of wearing down Miller eventually worked as Mikael Samuelsson and Marian Hossa scored in the game’s final three minutes to give the Red Wings a 3-1 win over the Sabres.

“We were hoping to wear (Miller) down. We thought if we stayed at their net, we’d get our opportunities,” Red Wings’ coach Mike Babcock said. “He made some great saves early, but we stayed patient and were able to get the win.”

Samuelsson scored with 2:34 remaining in the third period to break the tie, flipping a backhander past Miller while cutting across the front of the net after taking a feed from Jiri Hudler.

Hossa scored with 1:35 left in the game, powering a shot off the underside of Miller’s arm, just sneaking through the netminder’s equipment and into the net.

Derek Roy had opened the scoring for Buffalo 5:03 into the first period, lifting a rebound chance over Detroit goalie Ty Conklin‘s pad.

Hudler tied the game with three minutes remaining in the second period on a one-timer off a pass from Brett Lebda.

The Red Wings now have a six-game winning streak and have won seven games in a row at home. They’ll begin a six-game road trip on Monday in Dallas.

The Red Wings were without defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who was a late scratch… Roy’s goal broke Conklin’s home shutout streak at 143 minutes and 49 seconds.

Red Wings Snap Skid Against Sabres

The Detroit Red Wings snapped a four-game losing streak Sunday night, defeating the Buffalo Sabres for just their second win in the last twelve games.

The win was a first for goalie Dominik Hasek, who had never won at HSBC Arena as a member of the opposition after spending nine seasons with the Sabres.

The game started ominously for the Red Wings, with the Sabres scoring on their first shot just 2:59 into the game.

After the puck bounced over defenseman Derek Meech‘s stick inside the Sabres’ blue line, Buffalo rushed in on a three-on-one. Maxim Afinogenov got the puck to Patrick Kaleta in the slot for a rifled shot past Hasek, putting the Sabres up early.

Dallas Drake tied the game up with 8:04 left in the first. Niklas Kronwall came down low along the left-wing boards and threw a shot to the front of the net. Drake’s tip didn’t make it through but the puck bounced back off a Sabres defenseman and past goalie Ryan Miller.

A Valtteri Filppula power play goal gave the Red Wings the lead at 5:11 of the second. Tape-to-tape passing from Johan Franzen and Jiri Hudler worked the puck from the left wing to the bottom of the right faceoff cicle and back out into the slot for Filppula’s tap-in.

Franzen added a goal of his own with 5:44 left in the period when Kronwall faked a blast from the top of the right circle and drew Miller to him before passing off to Franzen to put the puck in the open side of the net.

Jason Pominville briefly got Buffalo back in the game with an odd power-play goal at 3:12 of the third.

A Kirk Maltby hit along the boards in the neutral zone led to pushing and shoving between the two teams. Detroit’s defenders moved in to take part but the play was never blown dead and the puck came out to Pominville, who broke in alone and put the puck past Hasek.

Kirk Maltby iced the game with 4:08 remaining, putting a one-timer past Miller from the left circle after Pavel Datsyuk won a one-on-two battle for the puck in the corner.

Hasek stopped 22 of 24 shots against his former team while Miller made 35 saves on 39 shots.

Is This the Year? Thinking About NHL Marketing

I was shoveling the driveway today and it gave me a lot of time to think. Way much more time than I would have liked. I need a snowblower for days like this.


One of the things I was thinking about was the NHL’s latest marketing campaign. I complain about the way the league markets itself quite a bit but it’s harder to do that with their “Is This the Year?” commercial.

After the lockout I complained that EA and Molson had better “hockey’s back” commercials than the NHL itself did. Now, the league has finally done something right.

The “Is This the Year?” idea is a great one. Playing on the fact that anytime you watch a game, it’s history in the making. Any night you could turn on the TV and see something that’s never happened before.

That’s not hyperbole, it’s fact. How many people tuned into the Detroit – Columbus matchup on November 24th and saw the fastest two goals ever scored by the Red Wings? That’s a small thing but it validates the point the commercial makes.

But while I love the idea, the execution has three flaws that I consider fatal.

The commercial opens with Ryan Miller asking “Is this the year the Cup comes to Buffalo?” Eric Staal and Sidney Crosby add “To Carolina?” “To Pittsburgh?”

I understand that the players the commerical uses – Miller, Staal, Crosby, Vincent Lecavalier and Alexander Ovechkin – are the ones that the league wants to promote, but to include Carolina and Pittsburgh in that question is slightly ridiculous. Carolina won the Cup just two years ago and Pittsburgh won twice in the 1990s.

Would it have been so difficult to have Anze Kopitar ask “To Los Angeles?” with Marian Gaborik adding “To Minnesota?” It’s not hard to find teams that haven’t won the Cup that also have stars that can be used to promote the game.

One of the greatest lines in the commercial has Eric Staal asking “Is this the year we finally figure out who’s dad’s favorite?” If you know who he is and that he is one of three brothers in the NHL (with another on the way), that’s an excellent bit. The problem is that casual fans won’t know that. Would it have been so tough to add a two-second establishing shot of Eric and Jordan (and Marc, even, though the league probably doesn’t care about him as much) with their backs to the camera and nameplates visible, establishing their names?

Finally, with the commercial closing as the players all repeat the line of “Is this the year?” I love that Ovechkin’s line is in Russian. That said, would it have been so hard to include a Swede, a Czech, or any other nationality in to truely showcase the NHL’s international flavor? If you worked in Kopitar in the opening, he’s available to represent Slovenia. Gaborik could represent Slovakia. The homer Red Wings fan in me says Henrik Zetterberg could be the token Swede.

In all, I’ll admit that they’re small nit-picks. The NHL took a great leap forward here, considering their previous advertising attempts. I’m happy to see that they are trying to improve and hope that they can keep it up.