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Studying Abroad

It’s been 175 days since the Detroit Red Wings played. 175 days. That’s an awfully long offseason for the Detroit Red Wings and their fans. I’ve attempted to keep busy by taking up 12 new TV series, getting a real job (ew) and pretending to like baseball (Wait—how many innings are there? How come there are 4 bases? Oh. Go Tigers!)

Over the last month, 9 Red Wing players have signed contracts overseas…and 1 in Denver (Oh Quincey…you WOULD). I’ve spent countless hours looking for illegal websites so I can livestream some hockey and get my fix. I’m pretty bitter that I didn’t see Datsyuk’s header goal live. ESPN2 airing KHL games??? Best news I’ve heard in months.

Let’s sum up what we’ve been missing:

Valtteri Filppula – Jokerit Helsinki (Finland) – SM-liiga
8 GP, 9 pts, 4G, 5A, 2PIM, +5
(Out indefinitely with UBI)

Jan Mursak – HDD Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia) – Erste Bank Eishockey Liga
4 GP, 10 pts, 0G, 10A, 0PIM, +9

Pavel Datsyuk – CSKA Moscow (Russia) – KHL
7 GP, 9 pts, 3G, 6A, 2PIM, +6

Damien Brunner – EV Zug (Switzerland) – National League A
8 GP, 11 pts, 4G, 7A, 6PIM, +2
Fast forward to 1:07 – game against EHC Biel (Tyler Seguin’s team)

Jakub Kindl – HC Pardubice (Czech Republic) – Czech Extraliga
7 GP, 1 pt, 0G, 1A, 0PIM, -6

We haven’t missed anything yet from Cory Emmerton (signed with SaiPa in Finland this week), Jonathan Ericsson (Vita Hasten in Sweden), Drew Miller (Braehead Clan in Scotland – EIHL), Zetterberg (joining Damien Brunner on EV Zug in Switzerland), or Kyle Quincey (Denver Cutthroats…have I been watching too much Dexter or is that really graphic? – CHL).

Overall, I’m pretty impressed with what (4/5 of) the guys have been doing abroad and am interested to see how the other 5 look after a long summer. Wishing Filppula a quick recovery.

 

stats from hockeydb.com 

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On The Road Again

The Detroit Red Wings (20-10-1) take on the Edmonton Oilers (14-15-3) tonight at 9:30 pm in the first of their 3 game road trip.

Quick Notes:

  • The Wings have won 11 of their last 14 games played
  • The Oilers are 9-5-2 at home and the Red Wings have a  7-8-0 away record
  • Detroit has won the last seven straight against Edmonton
  • The Red Wings shut out the Oilers 3-0 when the two teams met last month at the Joe
  • Miller, who scored 2 goals on Saturday night, got the GWG last meeting
  • Jimmy Howard will start in net for Detroit (19-7-1) and Nikolai Khabibulin (10-7-3) for Edmonton
  • Lines are supposed to stay the same… and I like em. Fire.
  • Eaves, Mursak, Conner are recovering
All the Wings have been contributing to the team’s success as of late. The 3rd and 4th lines and the defensemen have all been producing goals, which really demonstrates the team’s depth. The Oilers have been in a bit of a slump but the Wings have to keep their guard up… the barely-legal line is killer. Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins both have 33 points in 32 games this season, and Taylor Hall has 21 points in 24 games.
Here’s a blast from the past to get ya pumped:

Let’s Go Wings!

stats from redwings.nhl.com

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

Sooo hot, want to touch the heiny

Detroit Red Wings (15-7-1) vs. Buffalo Sabres (13-10-1)

I had hoped for there to be a Spartan overload on the ice tonight, but as of now, the chances are low.  Spartan alum Justin Abdelkader and Drew Miller will be in the Red Wings lineup tonight, but Ryan Miller, the Sabres’ star goalie, will start on the bench.  Ryan has been out since November 12th after suffering a concussion on a hit by Boston’s Milan Lucic.  The last time the two teams played, Ryan Miller started in goal and his brother Drew was a healthy scratch.  Another former Spartan, rookie Corey Tropp, has played 10 games for Buffalo this season but was reassigned to the Rochester Americans on Monday.

Feelin hot, hot, hot:

  • The Red Wings have won 10 of their last 12 games
  • Pavel Datsyuk has 10 points in the last 6 games
  • Valtteri Filppula has 6 points in the last 4 games — as long as he continues to shoot, he’ll continue to score. (i love you)
  • Jimmy Howard is 14-5-1 and leads the league in wins

Other Notes: 

  • Chris Conner was called up from Grand Rapids yesterday and will play on a line with Cleary and Helm
  • Emmerton and Commodore are healthy scratches, Eaves has his mouth wired shut
  • Jimmy Howard will start in goal for the Red Wings
  • Jhonas Enroth (8-4-1) will start in goal for the Buffalo Sabres

Game starts at 7:30 and will be aired on the NHL network and Fox Sports Detroit (shwing). Let’s make it 7 in a row…Go Wings!

Howard Earns 3rd SO vs Oilers

Jimmy Howard turned away 24 Edmonton Oilers shots in route to a 3-0 Red Wings victory Friday Night. Drew Miller, Niklas Kronwall and Valtteri Filppula added goals for the Wings, who have won three straight at the Joe. Some quick thoughts:

  • Howard was sharp, as the Oilers were denied on all three of the power play attempts and numerous odd man breaks
  • Lidstrom. What really can I say? Led his team in ice time again, great in all areas of the rink. Took a high stick to the face in the first period, but was fine. A +2 on the night
  • Filppula again shined bright, with a finish on a beauty saucer pass from Henrik Zetterberg.
  • Pavel Datsyuk’s line (Cleary, Holmstrom – and later in the 3rd Miller) was held off the scoreboard. Every other line found the back of the net. No need for alarm as Cleary and Datsyuk both looked better than they did against the Avalanche.
  • Abdelkader had a big hit and fight in the second period. Lennart Petrell came to his teammates aid, and recieved the rare and embarrassing 4 minute double minor for instigating with a facemask (or in his case visor). As a former official, I must say this was an excellent call. If these guys want to play sheriff, they need to take the windshields off. Otherwise, let the big boys handle it.
That’s all stay tuned for more and another home game tomorrow.

Game Notes: Red Wings 5, Senators 3

The sellout home crowd had plenty to cheer about early as the Red Wings rolled to a 5-3 win in Friday’s season opener. Some notes from last nights win.

  • A wonderful effort from some of the Red Wings role players. Drew Miller and Cory Emmerton both had strong games in limited minutes, with the latter earning first star honors. Emmerton had a goal and assist, and Miller had two assists on the night.
  • Todd Bertuzzi was effective early and often. He had a beautiful finish to open the scoring in the first, then delivered a big hit to create a turnover that ended up in the back of the net thanks to a heads up play by Nicklas Lidstrom. He was physical when needed and avoided taking a minor penalty.

Todd Bertuzzi Goes Top Shelf

  • Jimmy Howard was better than the final score indicated, making big saves throughout the night to keep the lead. The Red Wings were very lackadaisical in the third period, and allowed the Senators back into the game with three goals.
  • Ian White will see a lot of power play time this year. He looked good at the point with the top unit, and scored the fifth goal for the Wings. He did, however, take two penalties including one that resulted in the Senators third goal.
  • Jiri Hudler is off to a fast start. After a terribly slow adjustment back to the NHL pace last season, the Czech was on the board early thanks to a beautiful entry pass from Pavel Datsyuk.
  • Jonathan Ericsson and Jakub Kindl, two question marks on the Detroit blue line this season, were both +3 last night.
  • Tomas Holmstrom continues to get the job done. He looked healthy and active in his 11:29 of ice time. He registered four shots and was effective in the offensive corners.
  • The Senators are in serious trouble this season. They have a bad mix of aging veterans and unproven talent. I was not impressed by many outside of the top two forwards: Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek. Both Daniel Alfredsson and Sergei Gonchar showed their age, ending with a combined -5 rating.
  • The Red Wings honored former assistant coach Brad McCrimmon before the game. Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, and Pavel Datsyuk joined his family on the ice before the game drawing the night’s loudest cheers.

Fresh Faces: Cory Emmerton

Today’s edition of Fresh Faces will look at young Red Wing forward Cory Emmerton. The 23 year old from St. Thomas, Ontario is likely celebrating tonight after being named to the teams 23 man active roster yesterday. Emmerton has had three steady years in the AHL and played in two NHL games last season scoring once. Had the left winger/center not been chosen, he would have had to clear waivers and most certainly have been picked up by another team.

Life.com

Emmerton had plenty to be nervous about early this preseason, with the emergence of Gustav Nyquist, the rebirth of Fabian Brunnstrom, and the stiff competition of Jan Mursak and NHL veterans Ryan Johnson and Chris Conner. However, Johnson and Conner failed to make an impression, Mursak fractured his ankle, and Nyquist (only a year out of college at Maine) was sent back to Grand Rapids for more polishing. Emmerton played in a team high seven games this preseason, but the Wings know what they are getting with the 6’0″ 190lbs forward.

Emmerton has averaged 11 goals and 25 assists in his three seasons in Grand Rapids. Coach Mike Babcock was happy with his effort this summer, “He won battles, really got stronger in the faceoff circle and played better,” Babcock said. “I played him four games in five nights to finish (the preseason), just to figure it all out, see what he was made of, and I thought he responded real well.”

Emmerton knew that his time to make the team was now or never. “I didn’t come into this season of the mind frame that I deserve that spot,” he said. “I’ve been kind of going through the system the last few years. I just knew coming in that this is a critical point in my career to take that next step.”

Knowing the nature of the treacherous 82 game NHL season, it is safe to assume that injury will propel Emmerton into the fourth line early and often this season. Until then, he’ll battle with Brunnstrom and veteran forwards Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller, and Jiri Hudler.

Fun fact: Emmerton is from the same hometown as San Jose Shark Joe Thorton and famous actress Rachel McAdams.

Smith’s hit makes HEADlines

OMG… did you hear about the Smith on Smith hit to the head?? People are struggling trying to decide if the hit was intentional or unintentional, but frankly, I’m not sure if that matters. Obviously the story deserves to be a HEADline (muahaha), but enough already… it’s in Shanny’s hands now.

Brunnstrom was on fire tonight, scoring a goal in the 1st and one in the 2nd, making it very clear that he is determined to wear a winged wheel this season. Rookies Emmerton and Smith each had two assists. I thought Drew Miller looked great on the ice and was really glad he got one in. I would have definitely liked to have seen a little more action from Eaves and Abs… it’s hard to believe they had 16-17 minutes of ice time each. Ericsson played like typical Ericsson–sometimes I wonder if he has body dysmorphic disorder. I think someone needs to remind him that he is 6’4/220 lbs, not 5’6/130 lbs — he needs to use his body and not allow himself to fall into the boards from a light push. And even though Conklin was 20-24, I think he played very well and had some awesome saves. It’s not his fault that the Blackhawks had all of their star players in their lineup tonight and the Wings had… well… none. Even so, we did more than hold our own. The game-winner was scored by Marian Hossa during a two man advantage in the 3rd period.

All in all, this game really annoyed me and Pierre McGuire didn’t help. I can’t wait until Friday when we’re back at the Joe.

Reviewing The Cap Situation

The Red Wings made a few big splashes this summer, resigning captain and veteran defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, key forwards Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller, as well as signing free agent Ian White, previously of the San Jose Sharks.

The Wings find themselves in an unusal position this summer, with plenty of cap room. $5,845,456 to be exact (according to CapGeek.com). With the signing of role players Mike Commodore and Ty Conklin, the roster looks set. Newcomers Jan Mursak and Cory Emmerton – both of whom are out of minor league options – are poised to start the season in Detroit.

So will Ken Holland make one more move to bolster his already potent attack. Wings fans have asked for the team to unload Czech forward Jiri Hudler, who is coming off a disappointing season in which he struggled to crack the lineup in the playoffs. But the reality is few teams can accommodate his near $3 million dollar cap rate and give up a piece of value in return.  With the free agent forward market stripped, it appears the Wings will hope the 27 year old can bounce back and become the productive scorer he once was in Detroit.

The other name rumored in trade talks has been Valtteri Filppula, but the Wings would expect a top 6 forward back in return. His low salary may be intriguing to teams – like Buffalo and Washington – who find themselves over the cap limit.  The NHL season opens in just 30 days, so it should be an interesting month ahead for fans around the league.

CapGeek.com :: It’s a numbers game :: NHL Salary Cap Calculator.