Red Wings – Wild Postgame Notes

That was a dominating effort from the Red Wings.

You might be able to fault Chris Osgood on the first goal but it was a five-on-three so I’ll cut him some slack. The second goal Mikael Samuelsson just got absolutely burned on. Yeah, he only faced 20 shots or so, but I’m calling that a solid night for Ozzie.

Playing with the lead let Detroit do a lot to prepare for tomorrow in Columbus. Tomas Kopecky was out for for a power play shift late in the game, that’s a sign of resting the top players on the first of back-to-back nights.

Also getting more playing time: Ville Leino and Darren Helm, who I have no idea how the Red Wings are going to keep from sending back to Grand Rapids but they need to find a way, they deserve to be in the NHL. Both have been moving all over the place and Leino’s been showing he’s not afraid to go to the net. His wraparound goal broke Minnesota’s back.

I don’t like that the hit that took Brett Lebda out of the game wasn’t called a charge but at least Derek Meech is healthy and will be able to go tomorrow. Hopefully Lebda’s not hurt too bad, with Brad Stuart out the Red Wings don’t have as much defensive depth as I’m sure they’d like.

No surprise to anyone but Marian Hossa is a machine. No goals tonight but two very nice assists.

Red Wings – Coyotes Pregame Notes

Henrik Zetterberg returns to the Red Wings lineup tonight as Detroit hosts the Phoenix Coyotes. He missed three games after signing a 12-year contract extension last week.

Tomas Holmstrom remains out of the lineup but Zetterberg’s return bumps Ville Leino to the pressbox as the Wings want to get another look at Darren Helm. Leino is expected to play again on Saturday afternoon.

Chris Osgood gets his second start in a row for the Wings.

Gametime is 7:30 with TV coverage on FSN Plus.

Abdelkader Back to GR, Helm Gets His Turn

In the latest set of roster moves made possible by Brad Stuart‘s long-term injured reserve status, the Red Wings have sent Justin Abdelkader back to the Grand Rapids Griffins and called up Darren Helm.

Ville Leino remains with Detroit.

From Khan

Coach Mike Babcock said Abdelkader really impressed him with his time in Detroit.

“He’s going to play on our team for a long, long time,” Babcock said. “Still going to finish the rest of the year in (Grand Rapids) and going to battle for a job next year here. We got Helmer down there, (and) he’s more than ready now that he’s healthy.”

Red Wings – Capitals Pregame Notes

The Red Wings look to snap their skid in Washington this afternoon, an early game starting at 12:30.

Ty Conklin gets the start for Detroit, who will be without Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom. Ville Leino makes his NHL debut and Justin Abdelkader makes his first appearance of the season. Derek Meech will play up front if game-time-decision Jiri Hudler can’t go.

Downey Returned to GR, Abdelkader Called Up

The Red Wings have announced another set of roster moves, sending Aaron Downey back to the Grand Rapids Griffins and calling up forward Justin Abdelkader.

Downey played last night against Dallas after having been called up earlier in the day along with Ville Leino. It was his first game of the season.

Abdelkader played two games with the Red Wings last season and spent the playoffs with the team’s black aces. He will make his season debut on Saturday in Washington – as will Leino – as the Wings will be without Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom.

Red Wings – Stars Pregame Notes

Aaron Downey returns to the Red Wings lineup tonight as Detroit hosts the Dallas Stars. Downey has spent the entire season thus far with the Grand Rapids Griffins but was called up with Ville Leino today when Brad Stuart was placed on the long-term IR.

Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom also return to the ice, having served their suspensions.

The Wings will be without Henrik Zetterberg, whose back spasms have continued. Downey takes his spot in the lineup instead of Derek Meech being shifted to forward again. Meech joins Leino as a healthy scratch.

Chris Osgood gets another start in the Detroit net.

Marty Turco will go for Dallas, who will be without Mark Parrish (flu) and Fabian Brunnstrom (AHL conditioning stint) in addition to long-term injuries Brenden Morrow and Sergei Zubov.

I’ll be missing the start of this one as I’ve got another 7:30 soccer game. I’ll catch up when I get back.

Stuart on IR, Leino and Downey Called Up

The Red Wings announced this morning that defenseman Brad Stuart has been placed on long-term injured reserve, meaning he will miss at least ten games.

Stuart was injured during the Wings’ matchup with the Phoenix Coyotes, suffering rib injuries after slamming head-first into the boards.

The Red Wings are opting not to replace Stuart on defense, instead adding some depth to the forward ranks by calling up Ville Leino and Aaron Downey from the Grand Rapids Griffins. Both players will be available for tonight’s matchup with the Dallas Stars.

A Real Hockey Game this Weekend: Grand Rapids vs. Quad City

I made it out to my first Grand Rapids Griffins game last night, making sure that the only hockey game I watch this weekend will be one with some meaning. I won’t pretend to know what’s happening with the Griffins this season but here are a few thoughts on the game against the Quad City Flames…

Grand Rapids played a lot like Detroit has this season. Seemingly little effort through the first 40 minutes only to turn it on for the third period and get the late win (this one in a shootout).

The game was very sloppy even compared to a bad Wings game. Former Wing Garret Stafford (now with the Dallas organization but assigned to Grand Rapids for a second year) had a horrible time holding the puck in at the point.

I have to wonder how much the ice conditions were affected by the extra intermission activities that you see in lower-tier leagues. The 17-minute intermission and two zambonis are supposed to be used to get the ice set for as long as possible before the start of the next period but when you use that time for other things you’re going to get bad ice.

The Griffins played a solid game defensively, they allowed a lot of shots but most of them were low-quality chances. Even the one goal against barely snuck through Daniel Larsson.

Larsson proved why he’s an AHL All-Star, stopping 34 shots and all three chances he faced in the shooutout.

Mattias Ritola has been labeled as “lazy” in the past and there were a few shifts last night where it showed. In the third period there was a chance for him to go to the front of the net but he stayed back in the corner, meaning he was out of position. He scored in the shootout, though, for a little bit of redemption. He also had an apparent goal in the second period that turned out to have gone off the post.

Ville Leino was the best skater on the ice. It looks like he might be having trouble in traffic but he was moving the puck well and getting to where he needed to be. He scored the Griffins’ only regulation goal by being in the right spot to put home a rebound chance on a power play. His shootout goal was beautiful.

Aaron Downey looked out of place for most of the game but it seemed like he was ready to drop the gloves with Kris Chucko. Chucko was running people and getting his elbows up all night. A third period elbow by Chucko that went ignored combined with a bad missed interference call on Quad City goalie Matt Keetley convinced me that AHL refs can be just as bad as NHL ones.

Malik also has some notes on the game.

My photos from the game have been posted to the multimedia section.

Wings – ‘Hawks Postgame and Franzen Update

As I previously mentioned, I haven’t been able to watch Saturday’s game yet.

After seeing the game summary I was interested to see if the late five-on-three that Chicago used to tie the game back up was as weak as the power plays that St. Louis used to try to get back into the game earlier this week and Mike Babcock didn’t disappoint in his postgame comments.

From the Freep via Malik

“They were shorthanded all night long,” Babcock said. “It’s an interesting league that way. You don’t even know. You can’t even complain. You just take it.”
Hossa was whistled for interference after Andreas Lilja was penalized for hooking late in the second period.

“Offensive zone interference call to be down 5-on-3,” Babcock said. “Unbelievable.”

Of course it worked out in the end so no one will be talking about it. No one ever talks about bad officiating until it costs someone something big.

The long-term damage from the night comes with Johan Franzen out for three-to-four weeks with a sprained knee. Ville Leino has been called up to take Franzen’s roster spot.

I agree with MacLeod that Leino could play in the top six, taking Franzen’s place on Henrik Zetterberg‘s line, but I think it’s more likely that Leino goes with Valtteri Filppula on the third line while Dan Cleary moves up to try to replace some of Franzen’s physical play on the second line.

Wings’ “Final” Roster Confirmed

The Red Wings have announced their “final” roster going into the regular season.

After practicing with the team this morning, Jonathan Ericsson and Ville Leino were sent down to the Grand Rapids Griffins. Excluding the three players on injured reserve (Darren McCarty, Chris Chelios and Jimmy Howard) the Wings now have a 22-man roster.

Rumors of a trade involving Kyle Quincey continue but nothing has been confirmed.