Blog Archives

Red Wings Defenders Lead Offense

While scoring goals from the blue line is nothing new in Hockeytown, the Wings defenders are taking their production to a new level this season. Adding two goals last night, including Nicklas Kronwall’s game winner in the third, the Red Wings defense has now scored a league high 27 goals. It was Kronwall’s 4th game winner of the year, good for 3rd in the league behind countryman and teammate Johan Franzen’s 6.

This “defensive-offensive explosion” – if you will- has been driven by Swedish veterans named Nick. And while the Captain, and his 261 career goals need no introduction, what Lidstrom has been able to produce this season at age 41 is nothing short of remarkable. Both have eight goals and are tied for second in the league amongst defenseman.

Ian White has also been a key addition, adding 5 even-strengthed goals this year. Brad Stuart has added 4 of his own, including 1 of 6 shorthanded goals scored by defenseman all season. Jakub Kindl and Jonathan Ericsson round out the scoring with a goal each.

When asked in a post game interview last night Kronwall attributed the scoring to traffic to the front of the net by forwards. While last nights game winner was thanks to a screen by Jiri Hudler, the Red Wings lines are loaded with gritty players who love to play in front of the opposing goalie including: Dan Cleary, Todd Bertuzzi, and perhaps the league’s all time best in the department Tomas Holmstrom.

The Red Wings skilled forwards control the puck and make the good feed back to the point. From here, the Red Wings defenseman do as good a job of any at getting the puck to the net. From here, it is up to the grinders in front to screen the opposing goalie, deflect any oncoming pucks and put home the rebound chances. The formula has worked wonders, and has the offense clicking averaging 3.26 goals per game, good for fifth in the league.

The Red Wings hope to keep the goals coming from the back end Friday against the rival Blackhawks at 8:30pm ET.

Jimmy Howard: You’re My All-Star

Hey Brian Elliott–don’t let the door hit you in the vag on your way out.

The Red Wings head back to Detroit with only one W from their 3 game road trip after losing 3-2 to the St Louis Blues.

1st Period Highlights:

  • SOG 10-8
  • Drew Miller went to the box for a high-stick…that wasn’t even his stick.
  • Brad Stuart showed us once again that he makes a GREAT backup goalie

2nd Period Highlights:

  • SOG 9-13
  • Jimmy Howard got his 4th career assist and the Mule put the Wings on the board with a PPG (7:42, also assisted by Hudler…)
  • Alex Steen tied it up 4 seconds after Jakub Kindl went to the box (9:20)

3rd Period Highlights:

  • SOG 10-5
  • Kronwall went to the box 0:11 into the period, allowing Backes and his Blues a chance to get ahead 2-1 (0:45)
  • Not even 2 minutes later, Patrik Berglund made it 3-1 (2:38)
  • Jiri Hudler got one in late in the period (18:40, assists to Cleary and Kronwall) when Howard went to the bench to give the Wings an extra skater

First Star of the night: Jimmy Howard—for being a badass. An assist and a scuffle? VOTE FOR JIMMY!

Crazy last couple minutes… But like a shitty massage, there was no happy ending. The Wings return to the Joe to face the Phoenix Coyotes Thursday at 7:30.

*stats from detroitredwings.com

Wings Avs Preview

The Red Wings hope to win for the 3rd time against Colorado this season when they visit the Pepsi Center tonight at 8pm EST (FSD). Here are some key things to watch for tonight’s game:

Colorado

  • The Avalanche are coming off two straight wins and hope to end the Red Wings current 7 game winning streak
  • Center Ryan O’Reilly leads a young group of Avalanche forwards in scoring, and had five points in the past two Colorado victories
  • Former Red Wings Defenceman Kyle Quincey leads the Avalanche in Avg. Ice Time with just under 23 minutes per game. Half of his 16 points have come on the man advantage (3G, 5A)

Detroit

  • Jimmy Howard is 4-0-1 in his past six starts against Colorado
  • Brad Stuart has the Red Wings lone short handed goal this season. The Avalanche have given up only one shorty all season (tied for 2nd in the league)
  • The Red Wings have won a league high 13 games when scoring the first goal of the game
  • As usual, the Red Wings find themselves near the bottom of the league in team penalty minutes. Only Phoenix has spent less time in the box this season.

Should be a fun one from Colorado. They have an amazing young core of forwards and will give the Red Wings D everything they want. I’ll be tweeting all along the way!

Oh and PS

Top Shelf Tuesday

This week was easy! Brad Stuart’s game clinching bank shot against the Ducks is our Top Shelf Tuesday Goal of the Week.

Wings Keep Ducks In The Dark

Here is some instant analysis from tonight’s game.

Play of the game: While many will say it was an amazing empty net bank shot goal from Brad Stuart , Howard’s sprawling glove save on Corey Perry was the difference tonight. Howard recovered from some contact and dove to his left to stop the puck from fully crossing the line. The play was confirmed shortly after by replay.

Hardworkin’ Wing: Danny Cleary had some effective play in his 25 shifts, but none better than his last. Cleary disrupted the Ducks attack with two huge hustle plays on his own half of the ice. He finished +2

Stat you’re tired of seeing: I’m sorry to keep posting this every time, but Nicklas Lidstrom played an incredible 27:18 minutes tonight. That’s insane. At his age. At any age. He’s the best.

Room for improvement: The Red Wings were terrible in the faceoff circle. The Ducks owned a 36-19 advantage. Henrik won 2 of 12. Pav won only 9 of 23. Home or away, you have to be better than that. Faceoffs create possession. It’s a fact.

Watercooler Ammo: There was a 27 minute delay in the first period when the power went out. The first period TV feed was barely watchable, and at one point, Ken Daniels used his cell phone to call in the broadcast to the FSD truck outside the arena.

We’ll be back with more all week, be sure to check out our Sunday Funday post if you have not already!

I Spy: Pavel Datsyuk

You heard them right. The crowd was chanting “Let’s Go Red Wings!” at the Staples Center this evening as your Detroit Red Wings took down the LA Kings 4-1. My favorite tweet of the game: “kings fans have been telling me the wings suck the whole game & i’m like ‘talk to me when your jerseys aren’t sparkling.'” (thx for the entertainment @hushlittleladyy) — And I agree…the only time I like my men sparkly is in Twilight.

1st Period Highlights:

  • Mike Richards scored a shorthanded goal (6:37) after Hudler made a Hudler mistake
  • Oh there you are, Pavel Datsyuk!!! Datsyuk scored his first goal since OCTOBER 21ST 37 seconds later (7:14, assisted by Holmstrom and Lidstrom) to tie it up at 1

2nd Period Highlights:

  • Niklas Kronwall took advantage of the slashing penalty against Rob Scuderi and put the Red Wings ahead by 1 (7:08, assists to Franzen and Holmstrom)
  • Brad Stuart’s (not so smart) defensive play led to a penalty shot (11:06) for all-star Anze Kopitar. Howard’s save made me feel like a proud mother…I shed a tear or two. The save and Jimmy’s reaction kind of reminded me of one of the scenes in my favorite movie: Robin Hood Men in Tights. See below.
  • Brendan Smith rushed out of the box after a hooking penalty and sped down the ice to assist Justin Abdelkader, earning his first NHL point and giving the Wings a 2-goal lead (15:38) Congratulations, cutie!
3rd Period Highlights:
  • Datsyuk stayed hungry (for curly fries) and scored his second goal of the game and 4th of the season (15:06, assisted by Johan Franzen)
“It’s not fair…look how quick his hands are” -Craig Button, NHL On The Fly

Overall Highlights:

  • Jimmy Howard was 23-24 (.958 sv%) and was on top of his game
  • Holmer got 2 assists in the 9:07 he was on the ice
  • Datsyuk is back. He wanted it…he got it. And then he got it again. Oh, how we’ve missed you.

The Wings wrap up their West Coast roady with a 8:00 pm game against the Anaheim Ducks tomorrow. Do it to it.

We’re going streaking!!….again

The Red Wings stayed hot behind another strong performance from goalie Jimmy Howard, who finished with 25 saves. After opening with 5 wins, the Red Wings struggled in a six game slide. They have rebounded during the homestand collecting 9 of 12 possible points and finishing with another 4 game winning streak. The Red Wings scored 3 in the third tonight to break a 2-2 tie with goals by Franzen, Helm and Stuart.

Game Recap

It was all over when…

Helm converted on a 2 on 1 to make it 4-2. The speedy forward missed a similar chance on the penalty kill the previous period, so he was happy to redeem himself off of a beautiful feed from Jiri Hudler.

Player of the Game

I’m giving it to Howard. He was not included in tonight’s three stars, but the keeper was sharp when needed on the second leg of back to back games. He kept Detroit in it early when Dallas was threatening to extend their one goal lead in the first period.

Stat of the Game – 7

Johan Franzen registered 7 shots on net. He was effective in all three periods of tonight’s game and finished with a goal and an assist and a plus 2 rating on the night.

Quick Hits

  • Kronwall scored his second goal in as many nights, and also blocked three Dallas shots.
  • Ian White got his third of the season at the beginning of the 2nd period and made a save in the 3rd with his FACE
  • Every Red Wings player had time on the PP tonight, thanks in part to a late penalty to Jamie Benn
  • The Wings held the advantage in the faceoff circle 37-27
  • Jakub Kindl and Jamie Benn fought late after a unnecessary slash from the Stars forward. Benn had the upper hand.
  • Brad Stuart earned his first two points of the season (1G 1A) and was a game high plus 3.

Three Questions Facing The Red Wings This Season

This feature will take a look at three questions facing The Red Wings in the season ahead.

1) How will the Red Wings replace recently retired Brian Rafalski, especially on the power play?

Good question. The Red Wings will undoubtedly miss the Dearborn-native Rafalski, who captained the Red Wings power play with precision and calmness matched only by his counterpart, Nicklas Lidstrom. The Red Wings signed both Ian White and Mike Commodore to help bolster their blue line, but neither of these players has even 30 career power play points. Instead, it looks like it will be a power play by committee this season, with Stuart, Kronwall and White rotating to support Lidstrom. Coach Mike Babcock has experimented with forwards on the blue line before, and you have to wonder if his deep forward group may be able to ease the pain of losing Rafalski.
2) What can we expect from Jiri Hudler after last season’s performance?
There’s no denying it, last season was a bit of an embarrassment for Hudler. After a productive year away from the NHL (Hudler scored a point a game in the Russian KHL), he got off to a terribly slow start for the Wings. After rebounding in February (14 points in 14 games), Hudler drew boos from Red Wings fans during the playoffs, being held shotless and a -3 in his final three games.
That being said, it seems the fans may have jumped ship on Hudler a little early. How quickly they forget this is the same player who scored a combined 26 points in the 2008 and 2009 playoff runs. He’s scored 20+ goals in this league and is a career +26 player. At a salary of $2.8 million dollars a year, Wings GM Ken Holland has nothing to apologize for.
We did not see much of Hudler this preseason, registering one goal in four games. Let’s hope he can bounce back with 40 points this season–a good number which could come from the power play.
3) Which of the newest Wings will have the biggest impact?
Tough call here. There are plenty of candidates to choose from this season, with the influx of young talent to Detroit. My money is on Ian White, who I think could quickly become a fan favorite in Detroit. White is a perfect fit for this team, and should enjoy some extended minutes on the power play with partner Nicklas Lidstrom. White is a smart player, and although undersized can deliver big hits on unsuspecting forwards. White will give the Red Wings twenty steady minutes a night, and should provide highlights on both ends of the ice.

Wings Defense Evolving Into A Physical Unit

The change has been evident over the past half decade or so in Hockeytown. A franchise that once favored speed at the blue line has evolved into a physical unit.

In my opinion, the transition began in 2007-08. The Wings opened the season with a formidable blue line including aging Chris Chelios (a young 45 years of age that season), Nick Lidstrom, Brett Lebda, Andreas Lilja, Nicklas Kronwall and Brian Rafalski. While possibly the best passing and puck possessing defensive unit in the league, opposing forwards did not have much to worry about when entering the attacking zone. Outside of the young Kronwall – who was playing in just his 2nd full NHL season – this group was more likely to use their stick than their body to thwart oncoming attackers.

Ken Holland then made the move that I believe resulted in the Wings next Stanley Cup. Giving up only two draft picks (neither of whom would ever play for the Kings) the Red Wings acquired hard hitting Brad Stuart from Los Angeles in late Feburary.  He made sure opponents knew from Day 1 that things had changed in Motown.

Paired with Kronwall, the two formed a physical presence that manhandled opposing forwards throughout the playoffs.  Stuart took Pens forward Sidney Crosby off the ice with a devastating blow in the decisive Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Today’s group of defenseman features more than just a pair of hard hitters. Recently acquired Ian White & Mike Commodore have replaced the likes of Rafalski and Ruslan Salei (who tragically passed in a plane crash in Russia last week). Both should compliment the physical style of Stuart and Kronwall.

Add captain Lidstrom, fellow Swede Jonathan Ericsson, and young talent Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith, and the Wings have a diverse, deep, and well rounded unit heading into this season.