Invading the Island

The Red Wings headed to Long Island last night to face former Wing netminder Chris Osgood in his new team’s home opener. The Islanders were looking to continue a banner four game unbeaten streak as the Wings were looking to add to their win Friday night against Buffalo.

Oleg Kvasha opened the scoring only thirty-six seconds into the game, scoring off the rebound from a shot by Alexei Yashin.

Claude Lapointe was penalized for boarding just over two minutes into the period and the ensuing power play did not disappoint. Steve Yzerman passed the puck to Sergei Fedorov, who blasted it past Osgood. Brendan Shanahan also received an assist on the goal, extending his scoring streak to five games, reaffirming his place as the NHL’s current top scorer.

The score remained tied for the rest of the first period, with the Islanders outshooting Detroit fourteen to seven.

Early in the second period, Darren McCarty and Oleg Kvasha accidentally knocked ankles. Kvasha was taken immediately to the dressing room, but did return later in the game. McCarty tried to shake off the pain back on the bench, but headed to the locker room shortly thereafter. It was later announced that McCarty’s injury was an ankle sprain.

With Igor Larionov off for slashing, Yashin scored on Legace. The goal stood up to review and the Islanders took a two to one lead.

Brett Hull scored the answering goal with only 3:04 left in the period. Lapointe was off for cross-checking Lidstrom. Hull got the puck from Chris Chelios and shot it into the net, past a rolling block attempt by Osgood.

Early in the third period, Yashin scored again, this time on a screened shot. The Wings were able to reply on a delayed penalty. With Legace on the bench, Yzerman picked up a rebound and stuffed it into the net.

Early in the third period, Yashin scored again, this time on a screened shot. The Wings were able to reply on a delayed penalty. With Legace on the bench, Yzerman picked up a rebound and stuffed it into the net.

With Legace on the bench for the extra attacker, Luc Robitaille came to the rescue. Lucky Luc slid the puck behind Osgood with only ten seconds remaining, sending the game to overtime.

Both goaltenders made big stops in the overtime period but it was a save by Legace that led to the winning goal. Yzerman picked up Legace’s rebound and sent it to Draper. Draper and Hull had a breakaway and Yzerman trailed. Only one Islander was back to defend and Draper passed the puck to Hull, who sent it back to Yzerman. Yzerman did what he does best, and the puck soared over Osgood and into the net.

The win lifted the Wings’ record to 4-1-0-0 and dropped the Islanders’ to 4-0-0-1. Detroit is off until Tuesday, when they begin their longest homestand of the season against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Sharper Against the Sabres

Dominik Hasek‘s former teammates were unable to defeat his new teammates, “Lucky Luc’s” luck seems to be returning, and Nicklas Lidstrom became the Red Wings’ top scoring defenseman of all time, as the Wings gained a 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.

Compared to recent games, this game had an amazing amount of flow to it. There were no stoppages in play until a full 3:26 into the first period, when icing was called against Buffalo. Slava Kozlov, given to the Sabres this summer in exchange for Hasek, nearly got the puck past the Red Wings’ goaltender, but Hasek was able to block the shot.

Seven minutes, thirty-six seconds into the game, Detroit’s Maxim Kuznetsov was penalized for interference, but the situation went to a 4-on-4 just over a minute later, when Buffalo’s Jason Woolley was handed a penalty for holding the stick. Detroit wound up with 29 seconds of a 5-on-3 power play, because Rhett Warrener got called for tripping, but the power play unit was unable to score.

Kris Draper opened the scoring with 7:17 left in the period. He came off the bench, flew down the ice with all his typical speed, received a bouncing pass from Igor Larionov, and flipped it past goaltender Roman Turek.

The remainder of the period was relatively quiet. Calgary’s Rob Niedermayer received an interference penalty with 5:49 remaining, and Maxim Kuznetsov was called for high sticking with 3:05 remaining, but neither power play unit was able to score.

Detroit’s power play had another chance with 6:33 remaining in the first, when Warrener was penalized for holding rookie Pavel Datsyuk, but the power play was cut short when Brendan Shanahan was given a tripping penalty. Buffalo was not able to score on their resulting power play, but captain Stu Barnes did score exactly two seconds later, after a very patient play and pass from Miroslav Satan.

Many of the shots Detroit fired were blocked by Buffalo’s defense before they even got to goalie Martin Biron, who played backup to Hasek last year. Not that Biron was incapable of stopping shots- far from it! Kris Draper made a beautiful pass to Sergei Fedorov, who left the puck for Shanahan. Shanahan fired the puck hard, but Biron kept it out of the net.

Two minutes, fifty-seven seconds into the second period, Luc Robitaille passed the puck to Nicklas Lidstrom, received the puck back again, and let it fly past Biron, scoring his first goal as a Red Wing. Tomas Holmstrom also received an assist on that goal. Buffalo answered back just over a minute later, with Satan picking up a rebound to slide the puck past Hasek.

Holmstrom was penalized for cross-checking with 11:22 left in the period, but Detroit’s penalty-killing unit was more than adequate for the job: they kept the puck in Buffalo’s zone for over half of the penalty.

With 4:52 to go in the period, Fedorov carried the puck behind the net, eluding a hit by a Buffalo defenseman. He passed the puck to Shanahan, and this time, Biron was not able to stop the shot.

Frederick Olausson scored his first goal as a Red Wing and gave Detroit the lead with only 2:26 left before intermission, in a 4-on-4 situation resulting from penalties to Darren McCarty and Alexei Zhitnik. Detroit had 1:05 of a power play remaining after the 4-on-4 ended, but was unable to score, despite good chances by Brett Hull.

The third period was quiet until near its end. Buffalo attempted to bring Biron back to the bench to have the sixth skater out, but miscalculated and received a penalty for having too many men on the ice. They pulled Biron anyway, with 30 seconds left to go, but Lidstrom got the puck to Shanahan, and Shanahan was able to send it into the empty net with only 5 seconds before the end of the game. This gave Lidstrom a total of 571 career points, sending him past Reed Larson’s record as the Red Wings’ all-time top scoring defenseman.

The Red Wings looked more organized on both offense and defense than they had in their previous games. There can always be improvements, but things look like they’re starting to come together. Former Red Wing Doug Brown, joining UPN 50 regulars Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond in the broadcast booth, put it more succinctly: “That whole line’s gonna score 13,000 goals.”

Detroit Defeats Vancouver… Again

The Red Wings’ power play unit may still need some time for the players to get used to each other, but the penalty kill unit seems on target to become a name to be feared throughout the NHL. The Wings continued their great start to the 2001-2002 season on Saturday night with a 4-1 victory against the Vancouver Canucks.

Vancouver continued the rough, tough style of play that caused such a rough time for Colorado in last season’s playoffs. Just 3:40 after the opening faceoff, Vancouver’s Donald Brashear boarded defenseman Maxim Kuznetsov, cutting him in the process. Brashear was given a 5 minute major penalty and a game misconduct. One less thug to worry about.

The game was full of penalties and stoppages in play, yet most of the penalties called seemed to be oddly unimportant. UPN 50 color commentator Mickey Redmond even complained about it, saying that he wished the referees would call more of the hard hits and cross-checks from behind that the Canucks were laying on Detroit. The first period ended scoreless, although a total of seven penalties (four for Detroit, three for Vancouver) had been handed out.

The second period continued in the same choppy fashion. Vancouver’s Ed Jovanovski opened the scoring 9:42 into the period with an unassisted goal against Dominek Hasek. Seconds later, however, at 9:53, the Canucks’ Matt Cooke was handed a penalty for tripping. Steve Yzerman won the faceoff and got the puck to Sergei Fedorov, who shot it right past goalie Dan Cloutier. The power play lasted a total of three seconds.

The Wings took the lead with 3:31 remaining in the second. Defenseman Jiri Fischer stepped out of the penalty box, grabbed the puck that teammate Frederick Olausson had just shot down the ice, and ran with it, flipping it past Cloutier on a bounce. Kirk Maltby was also given an assist on Fischer’s goal.

The Red Wings’ penalty killing unit, which, at this point, had already shut down seven Vancouver power plays, went on the offensive with 1:44 left in the second. Chris Chelios got the puck to Brendan Shanahan, who once again got past the surprised goalie for his third shorthanded goal in two games.

The third period began with Detroit determined not to lose a two goal lead as they had done against the Sharks. The penalties were less frequent. Shanahan and Jason Strudwick received offsetting penalties for roughing with 9:50 left in the game, while Strudwick also receievd a second minor for high sticking. Shanahan’s ear was bleeding from Strudwick’s stick, and he had to go off to the dressing room to receive treatment.

With 5:56 remaining in the game, Yzerman essentially clinched the game for the Wings, receiving a pass from Brett Hull and firing it into the net. Shanahan came back out to finish the game, but was almost immediately removed from the ice again, as he and Strudwick fought it out over the earlier high stick. Shanahan received the two minute instigator penalty and a game misconduct to go along with the regular five minute fighting major.

Detroit’s power play was 1 for 9, while Vancouver’s was 0 for 8. Hasek stopped 29 shots, and Cloutier stopped only 15. The Red Wings have not lost to Vancouver since February 6, 1997. It just goes to show, you don’t have to lay on the dirty hits to win a hockey game. Perhaps Vancouver coach Marc Crawford could learn a thing or two from Scotty Bowman.

Fedorov Arrested for DUI

Red Wings superstar forward Sergei Fedorov was arrested in Royal Oak early Sunday morning for driving under the influence.

Fedorov, 31, posted bail shortly after being detained at approximately 2:30 AM.

Fedorov scored 32 goals and added 37 assists in 75 games for the Red Wings last season. He was criticized for not providing enough leadership when Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan were injured in the playoffs.

British Report of Fedorov-Kournikova Marriage False?

The Sun, a tabloid newspaper out of London, reported Monday that Red Wings star Sergei Fedorov had wed tennis phenom Anna Kournikova in Moscow several weeks ago. The article included a quote from Fedorov’s mother.

Kournikova’s father and her spokesperson and Fedorov’s brother and his agent say otherwise.

Who to believe?

Fedorov and Kournikova were reportedly wed between June 25 and July 9 in Moscow. Mike Luit, Fedorov’s agent, did not know if Fedorov had been in the Russian capital at all earlier this summer.

“No, it’s not true,” said Lindsey Evans, a spokeswoman for Kournikova’s management company, Octagon. “She’s not married.”

“She hasn’t been in Moscow since last year’s Kremlin Cup in November,” Kournikova’s father stated.

Rumors have surrounded Fedorov and Kournikova since 1997, when Anna rode with Sergei in the Stanley Cup parade. Kournikova was also briefly engaged to Russian hockey star Pavel Bure.

Fedorov Reportedly Weds Kournikova

The London Sun has reported that Red Wings superstar Sergei Fedorov has wed Russian tennis phenom Anna Kournikova in a private ceremony in Moscow.

There has been no independent confirmation of the Sun’s report. “I can’t confirm that. I don’t have any information about that. I have to admit you’ve piqued my interest,” said Mike Luit, Fedorov’s agent.

The wedding supposedly took place between June 25 and July 9, while Kournikova was nursing an ankle injury that caused her to miss Wimbledon.

Fedorov’s mother, Natalia, refused to confirm the wedding, while his brother, Fedor, said the wedding had not taken place.

Natalia Fedorov had earlier been quoted as saying, “It was a lovely wedding. I am very happy to be Anna’s mother-in-law. Anna and Sergei did not take a honeymoon. They both work hard. After the wedding, they went home to Miami and are practicing their sports.”

Kournikova has been involved with Fedorov since she was fifteen and was also reportedly involved with Russian hockey star Pavel Bure.

Good News All Over

This is in no particular order… Chris Chelios is expected back for the playoffs, which is always a good thing. After just managing to keep even with the Wild in the first two periods, the Wings managed to score twice in the third to win, 4-2. has the recap. Also good news, the San Jose SHarks have dropped into seventh in the Western Conference, meaning that if the playoffs started today the Wings would play them, not the Edmonton Oilers.

On the Olympic front, Nicklas Lidstrom was one of ten players selected for Sweden’s team in the 2002 Games. Russia managed to confuse everyone in the hockey world by naming goalie Nikolai Khabibulan to their team but not forward Sergei Fedorov. Khabibulan hasn’t played in nearly two seasons due to a holdout.