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Franzen Fries

The Detroit Red Wings won their second game in a row last night, taking down the Colorado Avalanche 5-2. I know I’m stating the obvious, but damn–it’s much more fun to watch when we win. It’s also fun to get free curly fries at Arby’s after a Wing gets a hat trick…soo thanks Franzen. Don’t forget to go get yours! The Red Wings now have a combined 10 goals in the last two games after scoring only 6 goals in the 6 games prior. Very impressive. Jimmy Howard stopped 24 of 26 shots and definitely made some nice saves. Eaves sat out again due to his sore back and Bertuzzi is still ill. Commodore was scratched.

1st Period Highlights:

  • Captain Nicklas Lidstrom showed the haters (once again) that he isn’t too old for the league—or overrated. It’s hard to believe that anyone with ANY knowledge of hockey whatsoever could possibly believe that. He put the Wings ahead 1-0 half way through the period (8:54, assisted by…no one)
2nd Period Highlights:
  • What appeared to be Valtteri Filppula’s 3rd goal of the season was later credited to Johan Franzen, giving the Red Wings a two goal lead on the power play (2:36, assisted by Fil and Hudler)
  • Johan Franzen scored his second goal of the evening on another Red Wings power play just a few minutes later (6:53, assists to Kronwall and Fil)
  • Landeskog put one in for the Avalanche when Jonathan Ericsson was in the box for hooking (8:18, assisted by Matt Duchene and former Red Wing Kyle Quincey)
  • Colorado’s Ryan O’Reily had some great hand/eye coordination and as Mickey Redmond put it, “spoiled the party” for Pavel Datsyuk, on what could have potentially been the sickest goal of the season.
3rd Period Highlights:
  • Fabian Brunnstrom had a breakaway halfway through the period and was so close to scoring his first goal as a Red Wing! You’ll get em next time, buddy.
  • Dan Cleary finally looked like himself again and scored a beauty off his own rebound (14:46, assisted by Pavel Datsyuk and Jakub Kindl)
  • Milan Hejduk made it a two goal game while Pavel Datsyuk was in the box (16:55, assists to Wilson and Johnson
  • Johan Franzen scored his 3rd goal of the night on an empty net with 0:32 left in the game. It wasn’t just any old empty netter…it was pure awesomeness. He now leads the Red Wings in goal scoring for the season (8).
  • Datsyuk played 22:49 and Zetterberg played for 19:24 and each only had 2 shots on goal—that’s gotta change. They are also -4 and -1, respectively.
  • Ericsson.
  • Datsyuk got called for hooking at the end of the 3rd period allowing the Avalanche a power play goal 8 seconds later. Datsyuk isn’t in the box too often and is definitely needed for the PK
The Wings take on the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night at 7:30 pm at the Joe Louis Arena

Fresh Faces: Gustav Nyquist

Gustav Nyquist will make his NHL debut tonight vs The Minnesota Wild. The first year pro is only 22 years old, a rare young call up for the veteran Red Wings. He will start on the 2nd line with plenty of protection from sizable Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen. Fabian Brunnstrom cleared waivers, and will be heading down to Grand Rapids to make room.

Nyquist, a native of Sweden, was drafted in 2008 by the Red Wings in the 4th round. He starred in three seasons with the Maine Black Bears (NCAA). He was a Hobey Baker Finalist (NCAA MVP) in 2009-2010 scoring 19 goals and 42 assists in 39 games.

Nyquist has played in just 17 professional hockey games in his short career, but made an impression on coach Mike Babcock this preseason scoring five points in five games. “If you go back and read my quotes, I thought he was an NHL player in training camp,” Babcock said. “I think that’s what I said and I still think he is.”

After being re-assigned to Grand Rapids, Nyquist continued his point a game pace. With the injury to Jan Mursak and the lack of offensive production, Nyquist will be given his shot tonight, with plenty of minutes on the 2nd line.

And as you can see from the video, he’s got the Canadian “uhh” down.

Later BJs… It’s time for some real competition.

Last night the Wings continued their winning streak and are still undefeated in the 2011-12 season.

1st Period Highlights:

  • Johan Franzen scored 2 power play goals, both assisted by Valtteri Filppula — Mike Babcock has been working to improve the PP and this demonstrates good progress. Wings are 4 for 6 on the PP in the last 2 games
  • Blue Jackets’ Brassard made it 2-1 with a few minutes left in the period

2nd Period Highlights:

  • Datsyuk finally got it in after a few attempts by other players at the end of the period (Holmer and Zetterberg with the assists)
  • Jonathan Ericsson kicked some BJ ass — it’s about fricken time. Can’t believe they let a fight go on for an entire minute…they break them up so quickly these days!

3rd Period Highlights:

  • BJ’s Johnson (heheh) scored a PPG at 1:42
  • Lidstrom with a PPG (assists went to Fil and Holmer)
  • Fil earned his 4th point of the night (wowzer) — an empty netter with 1:27 left in the game. He had originally given the puck to Franzen so he could get a hat trick but ended up being the one to put it in. What a sweetheart.

Preview of tonight’s game vs. the undefeated Washington Capitals:

Let’s Go Wings!!!

Conklin, Wings Spoil Avs Celebration With 3-0 SO

Ty Conklin Denies The Avalanche - Chris Schneider/Associated Press

Ty Conklin was happy to be back in Detroit this season, where he recorded a career high 25 wins in 2008-09. In his first game back, the veteran recorded a 29 save shutout, with a couple of highlight reel saves in the first and second periods.

The Avalanche hoped to cap a wonderful celebration for former forward Peter Forsberg with a win, and came out firing in the first period. But Conklin was there to answer each test, making 11 stops in the opening frame. While no goals through the 37 minutes may not attract the casual fan, both teams had plenty of chances throughout a thrilling back and forth game.

Equally as impressive was Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who was perfect until Johan Franzen converted on a drop pass from Jiri Hudler. The play developed on a 4 on 2 rush, and Hudler made a perfect pass to the trailing Franzen who made no mistake putting the puck off the crossbar and in from just inside the blue line with three minutes to go in the 2nd.

The Wings came out flying in the third period, but Varlamov was terrific foiling a number of odd man rushes and power play chances. The Avalanche fought back and put serious pressure on Conklin midway thru the frame. But Coach Mike Babcock made a change, placing Pavel Datsyuk on a line with Dan Cleary and Henrik Zetterberg. The trio flew down the ice, with Datsyuk feeding Hank for another one-time rocket off the crossbar and in.

Datsyuk added a third goal on the empty net with assists from Cleary and Conklin. After their sluggish start (which can be attributed to their 3:30 am arrival at the Denver hotel), the Red Wings really showed some character in the third period. Conklin stood on his head, and the Red Wings are now sitting on top of the league with a couple wins on back to back nights.

Game Notes

Detroit was 0-4 on the PP…Niklas Kronwall led the team with 22:28 of ice time…Henrik Zetterberg recorded a game high seven shots on goal…Jakub Kindl is now +5 on the year after two games…The Red Wings struggled from the faceoff dot, Darren Helm was 1 of 9…Forwards Tomas Holmstrom and Fabian Brunnstrom were healthy scratches tonight.

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.

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.

Fresh Faces: Fabian Brunnstrom

This edition of Fresh Faces will focus on Fabian Brunnstrom, a 26-year-old Swede (yes, another one) who signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Red Wings on October 3rd.  The Wings signed Brunnstrom to a pro tryout contract in mid-August, giving him an opportunity to prove his worth.  The determination and impressive skill set he demonstrated during the preseason earned him a well-deserved spot on the Wings’ roster.

Brunnstrom celebrating his goal on Chicago's Corey Crawford with teammate Gustav Nyquist

Brunnstrom began playing professionally in 2005 with Jonstorps IF in Sweden’s third-highest level hockey league. He scored 44 points in the 38 games he played in during the 2005-2006 season. The following season (2006-07), Brunnstrom played for Boras HC and helped promote the team to the second-tier Swedish league, Allsvenskan. That season Brunnstrom lead the league with an astonishing 73 points in just 41 games. In 2007-08, Brunnstrom played in Sweden’s first-tier league, Elitserien, with Farjestads BK.

Although his elite performance in Sweden attracted interest from the NHL, he went undrafted in 2008 and became an unrestricted free agent. In May 2008, Fabian Brunnstrom signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Dallas Stars. After being a healthy scratch for his first two games as a Star, Brunnstrom became the third player in history to score a hat trick during his first game in the NHL.

In October 2010, Brunnstrom was placed on waivers. He was assigned to the Texas Stars, the Dallas Stars’ AHL affiliate team, after he cleared waivers a few days later. In January 2011, Brunnstrom was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs and played for their AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.

Many believe that Brunnstrom is a so-called “late bloomer” and that his performance level may actually be higher now in his return to the NHL, having two years of experience in the AHL.  After scoring two goals in the exhibition game against Chicago, Brunnstrom has led us to believe that this may in fact be true.  I trust Ken Holland with all of my being and agree that between his size and goal scoring ability, signing Fabian Brunnstrom will be quite advantageous for the Wings.

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3 days until the home opener! Let’s go Wings!!!