Thoughts on “Rock Out the Lockout”

I’m not going to try to do a blow-by-blow recap of Team White/Red’s 17-11 win over Team Black in the “Rock Out the Lockout” charity hockey game at Windsor’s WFCU Centre on Saturday night. Too many goals and I wasn’t keeping notes. I’m sure the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff will have something good to cover it.

You can’t take much away from a charity All-Star game, but since it’s the first chance to see some of the Red Wings on the ice since last April, I wanted to put some of my thoughts together.

Goalie Jimmy Howard looked pretty bad for Team Black. Yeah, the goalies aren’t going to look good in a game like this, but there were some softies that he was allowing that neither Jonas Gustavsson nor Michael Leighton were. Gustavsson’s lateral movement, in particular, looked really good.

Howard’s trouble might have been related to Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson not being in front of him. The Team White (previously advertised as Team Red) defense pair was very solid all night, breaking up a lot of the too-fancy net mouth passes. They also moved the puck up to their offense pretty well (which put pressure on Howard).

That said, Ian White was jumping up into the play early and often for Team Black. He was one of the first players to really let loose with a shot from the high slot on a night where I don’t think I single one-timer was taken. While he held back on the one-timers, he had several chances to take a big shot and didn’t back down from the opportunity.

Darren Helm‘s hands didn’t look any better than usual for Team Black. He had three chances in close that he couldn’t finish on. Shamless bragging: I won Helm’s stick in the silent auction, so maybe forcing him to get a new one will fix all his problems.

Similarly, Team White’s Mikael Samuelsson had at least three chances where he completely missed the net, including his shootout attempt. Some things never change, it would seem.

Some things do change. Both Justin Abdelkader and Cory Emmerton had a goal and an assist for Team White and Team Black, respectively. Emmerton didn’t look like he had a broken finger with some nice passing and Abdelkader was all over the place early in the game.

Johan Franzen scored the game’s opening goal for Team White on a nice chance from the slot but was pretty quiet overall.

Todd Bertuzzi played the Chris Chelios role, cherry-picking and generally looking like he was out to have fun more than worry about how he was playing. He collided with Kronwall in the first period and went straight to the bench, later calling it a Kronwalling.

Overall, the player who stood out to me wasn’t Kevin Westgarth of the Los Angeles Kings, who had a four-goal night for Team White. It was unrestricted free agent Sergei Samsonov, who seemed to be all over the place all game. He played like there were scouts in the stands, even if it didn’t show up on the scoresheet.

Of course, the outcome of the game and the way people played doesn’t really matter. The players presented a check for $10,000 to Windsor-based childhood cancer foundation Sparkles From Above before the game and all of the still-to-be-determined proceeds from the night will also go to the charity. While we all want to see these players playing in “games that matter” it’s fantastic to see them come together for a game that doesn’t matter but has an effect that does.

Edit, 12/9 – 9:40 AM: I was interviewed about the game (as a fan, not as a blogger) by one of the area TV stations, but I didn’t catch which one. If anyone sees the interview, let me know.

NHLPA Charity Game Rosters Announced

Per the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff, rosters for Saturday’s “Rock Out the Lockout” NHLPA charity game in Windsor have been announced.

Team Red
Justin Abdelkader, #8 (Detroit Red Wings)
David Clarkson, #23 (New Jersey Devils)
Johan Franzen, #93 (Detroit Red Wings)
David Legwand, #11 (Nashville Predators)
Jamal Mayers, #22 (Chicago Blackhawks)
Steve Ott, #29 (Buffalo Sabres)
Mikael Samuelsson, #37 (Detroit Red Wings)
Drew Stafford, #21 (Buffalo Sabres)
Thomas Vanek, #26 (Buffalo Sabres)
Kyle Wellwood, #13 (Winnipeg Jets)
Kevin Westgarth, #19 (Los Angeles Kings)

Jonathan Ericsson, #52 (Detroit Red Wings)
Niklas Kronwall, #55 (Detroit Red Wings)
Jordan Leopold, #3 (Buffalo Sabres)
Nick Schultz, #55 (Edmonton Oilers)
James Wisniewski, #21 (Columbus Blue Jackets)

Jonas Gustavsson, #50 (Detroit Red Wings)
Michael Leighton, #49 (Philadelphia Flyers)

Team Black
Todd Bertuzzi, #44 (Detroit Red Wings)
Adam Burish, #37 (San Jose Sharks)
Dan Cleary, #11 (Detroit Red Wings)
Matt Ellis, #37 (Buffalo Sabres)
Cory Emmerton, #48 (Detroit Red Wings)
Darren Helm, #43 (Detroit Red Wings)
Shawn Horcoff, #10 (Edmonton Oilers)
Matt Martin, #17 (New York Islanders)
Brenden Morrow, #10 (Dallas Stars)
James Neal, #18 (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Sergei Samsonov, #14

Trevor Daley, #6 (Dallas Stars)
Mike Komisarek, #8 (Toronto Maple Leafs)
John-Michael Liles, #24 (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Jeff Petry, #58 (Edmonton Oilers)
Ian White, #18 (Detroit Red Wings)
Ryan Wilson, #44 (Colorado Avalanche)

Jimmy Howard, #35 (Detroit Red Wings)

All players will be available for a free autograph session in the WFCU Centre concourse from 4:45 – 5:30 PM. The game is scheduled to begin at 6:30 PM.

Update, 12/8 – 10:10 AM: Event co-organizer Steve Ott tweeted a full roster including jersey numbers this morning. There will be overlapping numbers in some cases. On Team Red, Drew Stafford and James Wisniewski will wear #21 while Niklas Kronwall and Nick Schultz will wear #55. For Team Black, Todd Bertuzzi and Ryan Wilson will both wear #44, Shawn Horcoff and Brendon Morrow will both wear #10, and James Neal and Ian White will both wear #18.

Wings’ Cleary Among Organizers of Windsor NHLPA Charity Game

Detroit Red Wings forward Danny Cleary is one of three NHLPA members organizing a charity game at Windsor’s WCU Centre.

Buffalo forward and former Windsor Spitfire Steve Ott and Edmonton forward Shawn Horcoff are also organizing the event, scheduled for December 8, unless the NHL and NHLPA can come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement before then.

The game would be the latest of several organized by locked-out players, all benefitting local charities.

In addition to the three organizers, the following players are tentatively scheduled to appear:

From the Red Wings, Todd Bertuzzi, Justin Abdelkader, Jimmy Howard, Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Ian White, Cory Emmerton, Darren Helm and Jonas Gustavsson.  From the Colorado Avalanche, Windsor-native Ryan Wilson.  From the Oilers, Eric Belander and Jeff Petry.  From the Chicago Blackhawks, Jamal Mayers.  From the Pittsburgh Penguins, James Neal.  From the Phoenix Coyotes, Keith Yandle.  From the Dallas Stars, Brenden Morrow.  Former Carolina Hurricane, Boston Bruin, and Detroit Viper Sergei Samsonov.

Ericsson to Return Tonight

For the first time in quite awhile, the Red Wings will be facing a team with more players out to injury than Detroit has as they host the Carolina Hurricanes tonight.

The Red Wings will get Jonathan Ericsson back into the lineup, with Doug Janik being sent back to Grand Rapids.

This gives Detroit only five injuries – Andreas Lilja, Johan Franzen, Jason Williams, Niklas Kronwall and Tomas Holmstrom.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, have six regulars out of the lineup – Chad Larose, Scott Walker, Joe Corvo, Sergei Samsonov, Tuomo Ruutu and Erik Cole.

Jimmy Howard gets the start in net for the Wings, likely going up against Carolina’s Cam Ward as former Red Wing Manny Legace is not expected to start.

Maltby Scores Twice in Detroit Win

The fourth line of the Detroit Red Wings was not expected to contribute offensively in the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs, instead being used in a defensive role. Kirk Maltby showed on Friday night that maybe they can do both, as he scored the game-tying goal in the third period and the game-winning goal in the second overtime while the Red Wings defeated the Edmonton Oilers in Game One of their first round matchup.

The game-winner came just 2:39 into that second overtime period, when a seemingly-soft shot from the right circle slipped between the pads of Edmonton goalie Dwayne Roloson.

“Our coaches have harped on us all year: Get it to the net, just get it to the net,” Maltby later said. “As soon as I got it, that’s all I was thinking. Just had that little voice in my ear, just get it on net, especially when it’s in overtime. It just found a way in.”

Maltby’s first goal of the game evened things up with 6:17 remaining in the third period. Maltby redirected the rebound of a Johan Franzen shot past Roloson with the shaft of his stick.

It was one of the few times that Roloson offered a solid rebound chance. He held or played the puck on most of the 57 shots he faced.

The Red Wings had opened the game’s scoring at 4:05 of the first period with a power play goal by Robert Lang.

In a play that worked many times throughout the regular season for Detroit, Brendan Shanahan sent the puck from behind the net to Steve Yzerman at the side of the goal, who moved it across to Lang to bang it home.

Edmonton countered on a power play of their own with 8:16 later, when former Detroit Viper Sergei Samsonov scored.

On another power play at 8:43 of the second, Chris Pronger gave Edmonton their first lead of the series.

Detroit netminder Manny Legace, making only his fifth career playoff start, finished the night with 23 saves on 25 shots.

Edmonton went two-for-six on the power play while Detroit scored once on as many chances with the man-advantage.

Game Two of the series will be on Sunday from Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.


The Red Wings were without center Pavel Datsyuk, who continues to nurse a leg injury… Detroit has now won their last six games that ended in the second overtime.

Red Wings Down Oilers in Shootout

Jason Williams and Henrik Zetterberg remained perfect in shootout attempts, each scoring on Saturday night as the Detroit Red Wings earned a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers with a 2-0 shootout win.

Williams, taking Detroit’s second shot of the tiebreaker, lifted a shot over Edmonton goalie Dwayne Roloson‘s glove to move to three-for-three on the season.

Zetterberg clinched the win with his second shootout goal in as many attempts, pushing a soft backhand shot between Roloson’s pads.

Detroit goalie Manny Legace stopped Fernando Pisani and Sergei Samsonov on their attempts, while Roloson denied Pavel Datsyuk on Detroit’s first shot.

Zetterberg had opened the game’s scoring with 9:52 remaining in the first period and the Red Wings on a power play. Nicklas Lidstrom fired a shot from the left circle wide of Roloson. The puck deflected off the boards behind the net and came to Zetterberg at the right side of the crease for an easy tap-in.

The Oilers tied the game just 2:39 later just after an Edmonton power play expired. Jarret Stoll sent a shot from the left circle on net and it deflected off of Kris Draper‘s stick on the way, getting over Legace’s glove to even the game.

Edmonton took the lead with 8:03 remaining in the second period when a Steve Staios shot from the point snuck past Legace as he was screened by Raffi Torres and Andreas Lilja.

Chris Chelios scored Detroit’s second power play goal of the night to even things up with 5:07 remaining in the middle frame.

After some four-on-four play, Chelios jumped out of the penalty box and the puck came right to him after deflecting off the stick of a falling Chris Pronger. Chelios was all alone in the Edmonton zone but didn’t know it, so he reached back to take a long slap shot. He lost control of his stick, and the moment of hesitation let him get closer to Roloson and put a shot past him.

Tomas Holmstrom gave the Red Wings the lead at 4:12 of the third period, scoring on a long rebound from a soft backand shot by Dan Cleary.

Pisani forced overtime with a shorthanded goal from his knees with 1:57 remaining in regulation.

Legace finished the game with 25 saves on 28 shots, while Roloson stopped 24 of the 27 shots he faced.

Detroit went two-for-five on the power play and did not allow a goal on Edmonton’s six chances with the extra attacker.

The Red Wings will conclude their short Western Canada road trip on Sunday night when they visit the Vancouver Canucks.


The win lifts the Red Wings into first place in the league, moving them past the Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators by one point.

Locked-out Wings Help Honor Larionov

When former Red Wing Igor Larionov retired from the NHL last spring, he knew he had one game left in him. For a year, Larionov had been planning one final game in Moscow, where is Russian fans could see him skate for the last time.

With the NHL locked out and games put on hold, many of Larionov’s former teammates were able to make the trip to Russia with him, to honor the player who last year was the oldest in the NHL.

Larionov assembled a team of Russian All-Stars to take on a team representing the rest of the world, comprised mostly of his former teammates. Retired Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman returned to the bench along side former associate coaches Dave Lewis and Barry Smith to lead the world team while Larionov’s former linemates from the Soviet Red Army team, Sergei Makarov and Vladimir Krutov, coached the Russian team.

New Jersey Devils Martin Brodeur, Patrick Elias, Scott Gomez and Jay Pandolfo joined Red Wings Steve Yzerman, Chris Chelios, Mathieu Dandenault, Kris Draper, Jiri Fischer, Tomas Holmstrom, Nicklas Lidstrom, Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty, Brendan Shanahan, Ray Whitney and Henrik Zetterberg on the World team. Former Red Wings Steve Duchesne, Martin Lapointe, Chris Osgood and Luc Robitaille also played.

The Russian squad was made up of Pavel Datsyuk, Sergei Fedorov, Viacheslav Fetisov, Sergei Gonchar, Valeri Kamensky, Nikolai Khabibulin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Vyacheslav Kozlov, Larionov, Danny Markov, Evgeni Nabokov, Andrei Nikolishin, Sergei Samsonov and Oleg Tverdovsky.

The World team, most of whom hadn’t played competitively since last season, got off to a slow start and Brodeur allowed early goals to Nikolishin and Samsonov. McCarty responded later in the period and the Russians had a 2-1 lead after one period.

Osgood replaced Brodeur between the pipes for the second period but couldn’t stop Larionov from scoring on a quick shot from the slot, as Larionov capped his career with a goal in his final game in front of his home crowd.

For the third period, Larionov and Yzerman switched teams, complete with Yzerman donning a Russian jersey with his name in Cyrillic on the back. Yzerman, possibly playing in his final game as well, scored twice for the Russians as they held off the World team for a 6-5 win.

Wings Skate for Charity at Yost

Thursday night should have been time off for the Detroit Red Wings, a day to rest one day after hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets and one day before the Chicago Blackhawks came to town. Since the NHL lockout began on September 16, most of the team has done nothing but rest, so a night off wasn’t needed.

On a night that should have been between games where the Red Wings would see 20,000 fans cheering them on, a handful of current and former Detroit players played in front of 7,000 fans at the University of Michigan’s Yost Arena in a charity game to benefit Mott Children’s Hospital, as part of an all-pro team facing off against the U.S. under-18 national team.

Current Wings Manny Legace, Derian Hatcher, Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Chelios, Kris Draper and Steve Yzerman were all present. Former Wings Doug Brown, Steve Duchesne, Aaron Ward, Kevin Miller and Sergei Fedorov were there.
Former Wolverines David Roberts, Chris Tamer, Bill Muckalt and David Harlock, former Michigan State University Spartans Bryan Smolinski and Kip Miller, former Detroit Viper Sergei Samsonov, and former Detroit Jr. Red Wing and Michigan K-Wing Jeff Mitchell rounded out the pro roster.

Detroit native Kid Rock dropped the puck for the ceremonial opening faceoff and acted as coach for the pro team, flanked by celebrity assistants Bobby Higginson and Tera Reid.

The pros didn’t beat up the teenagers too badly, taking only a 1-0 lead after the end of one period and finishing the game up 6-2. Chelios, the Norris Trophy-winning defenseman, played most of the game as a forward, cherry-picking at Team USA’s blue line.

Ward opened the game’s scoring and goals by Draper and Fedorov followed in the second period. Draper scored again before Team USA got a goal when Phil Kessel crached the net to finish the second period scoring. Draper finished his hat trick early in the third. Andreas Vlassopoulos scored Team USA’s second goal before Kip Miller closed out the scoring, putting in the rebound from a Doug Brown shot that bounced off the glass behind the goal and came back out in front.

The game could have been overshadowed by the announcement earlier in the day that the NHL and NHLPA would meet for the first time since the lockout began, but it wasn’t. For one night it wasn’t about the lockout, it was about a packed arena where seasoned veterans took on teenagers to benefit charity.

The PA announcer mocked the players. Chelios put fake hits on a linesman. It wasn’t the NHL, but it wasn’t supposed to be.

Wings Can’t Crack Bruins

Boston rookie goalie Andrew Raycroft was most assuredly the star of this game. The Red Wings peppered him with shots and set up numerous scoring chances, but Raycroft always seemed to be right where he needed to be, and the bounces all went the Bruins’ way. Boston won the game 3-0.

Detroit outplayed Boston considerably in the first period, outshooting the Bruins 13 to 3. Raycroft was solid, making big saves on Pavel Datsyuk, Kris Draper, and Ray Whitney. The Bruins, unfortunately, scored on only their second shot of the game. Dan McGillis knocked the puck away from Brendan Shanahan at the blue line, then got it to Sergei Samsonov. Samsonov made a short pass to Joe Thornton, who faked to his left, then pulled the puck back to the right and put it between Curtis Joseph‘s skate and the goalpost.

Boston, having a lead, began to shut down the game at that. They played a skillful trap, and the Red Wings had a tough time breaking through the blue line to generate offensive chances. Meanwhile, Boston scored their second goal of the game on an odd bounce off the back boards. The Bruins won the faceoff in Detroit’s zone, and Jeff Jillson banked the puck behind the net. The puck bounced back off the side of the net and into the goal crease, and Travis Green was able to whack it into the net.

Mike Knuble topped off the scoring for the Bruins by taking a nice pass from Sean O’Donnell and bouncing it off Joseph and into the net.

The Red Wings tried even harder to pressure Raycroft after that, but he was steady, sliding all the way across the net to make a save against Brett Hull and stoning Henrik Zetterberg on a near-breakaway chance.

Raycroft made 35 saves for his second career shutout. Joseph made 23 saves on 26 shots. The Red Wings will soon have the chance to avenge their loss: these two teams will play the second game of their home and home series Saturday afternoon at the Fleet Center in Boston.


Dave Lewis is guaranteed to be either the head coach or assistant coach of the Western Conference All-Star Team in February. The jobs go to the head coaches whose teams have the highest and second-highest points percentage (points earned divided by points possible) after January 8. Whether Lewis goes as the head coach or the assistant depends now on whether Tony Granato and the Colorado Avalanche win or lose tomorrow night against Nashville.