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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 

What Lies Ahead: Part 2

The Wings clinched a playoff spot last night with a 7-2 blowout against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but the next 6 games will be just as important. The Wings will face the Nashville Predators at the Joe on Friday, which may be the determinant of who gets home ice in the first round of the playoffs.  The Red Wings are just one point ahead of the Predators and are battling for the #4 spot in the Western Conference.  Unless the Blues have a major collapse or Chicago really steps their game up, it’s likely that the Preds will be the first round matchup for the Wings.  The Red Wings have won 3 of their 5 meetings with the Predators this season, 2 of those at home, 1 in Nashville. Here’s a look at the first 5 games:

11/26 Nashville 1 @ Detroit 4

The Red Wings took down the Preds for the 9th game of the 23 game home win streak.  Valtteri Filppula had two goals and an assist, Henrik Zetterberg had a goal and an assist, Danny Cleary scored a goal, Jiri Hudler had two assists, and Todd Bertuzzi, Jakub Kindl and Darren Helm each had one assist. Jimmy Howard had a .947sv% and stopped 18 of the 19 shots on goal.

12/15 Detroit 3 @ Nashville 4

This loss really pissed me off. Shea Weber’s two goals in the last 5 minutes (the GWG with just 1:36 left in the 3rd) gave Nashville the 2 points over Detroit.

12/26 Detroit 4 @ Nashville 1

Valtteri Filppula scored 2 goals, and Pavel Datsyuk and Danny Cleary each scored one to give the Red Wings the win over the Preds in their 3rd meeting of the season.  Howard stopped 31 of 32 shots, but his opportunity for a shutout was ruined with just 2:12 remaining in the 3rd.

2/17 Nashville 1 @ Detroit 2

This was one of my favorite wins of the season — the one and only Pavel Datsyuk gave the Red Wings their 22nd consecutive home win with just 5 seconds left in the game.  Captain Nick Lidstrom hit Zetterberg with a no look pass off the boards, who sent it up to the magician, who then blew past Ryan Suter…and the rest is history.  I can only imagine what Pekka Rinne was thinking. Most likely it was “Oh (insert 4 letter word here).” Datsyuk also had an amazing assist…while he was lying down on the ice.

3/10 Detroit 2 @ Nashville 3

This was the first of the Red Wings 6 game losing streak this month.  Although it was a loss, Datsyuk found a way to make Detroit fans proud.  After Shea Weber blocked and knocked Datsyuk a few times as he attempted to make his way to the net, Datsyuk got back at him…twice as good. The video makes me giggle every time I watch it.

 

The next couple weeks are going to be tough, but if anyone can push hard and prove their excellence, it’s the Detroit Red Wings. It’s time to smash Smashville.

(stats from detroitredwings.com)

Injury Bug Bites The Red Wings

As we get started in Philadelphia, you’ll notice plenty of familiar faces out of the lineup for the Red Wings. Here is the latest on the injured Wings, and when you might expect to see them back.

Pavel Datsyuk (Knee) – The Magic Man has been sidelined after a minor knee procedure in Feb. He skated Monday before practice and hopes to join the team on next week’s West Coast road trip.

Jimmy Howard (Lower Body, Groin) – We have not seen Howie since leaving after the first period against Chicago Sunday. While Ken Holland calls the injury minor, Jimmy did not make the trip to Philly tonight.

Nicklas Lidstrom (Ankle) – Nick has been out since taking a shot in the ankle against the Avalanche on Feb 25. Lidstrom MRI came back clean, but swelling has prevented him from putting his skate on. The Wings hope to have him this Friday vs the Kings.

Todd Bertuzzi (Groin) – Todd is listed as Day to Day with a groin. The Wings hope to have him back Friday as well.

Jakub Kindl  (Upper Body) – The young D man was forced out of the game in Chicago after playing just 1:35 Sunday. He’s also listed as Day to Day.

Jonathan Ericsson (Wrist) – Big E broke his wrist in the game against the Avalanche. He is expected to be out 3-4 more weeks.

Patrick Eaves (Head) – Eaves has been sidelined since November 26th after taking a puck to the head. He suffered a broken jaw and concussion, and has begun light skating. He said he is not sure whether or not he will be able to return this year.

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.

The Ingredients for Success

What do you get when you mix 30 saves by Jimmy, 10 Red Wings with points, 5 Red Wings goals, 2 Phoenix goaltenders, and a handful of Mickeyisms?

A 5-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes, giving the Detroit Red Wings their 8th consecutive win at home.

3 stars: Filppula, Zetterberg, Conner

1st Period Highlights:

  • SOG 12-12
  • 1:12 into the game Todd Bertuzzi scored his second goal of the season after a nice feed from Datsyuk
  • Valtteri Filppula made all the ladies (and gentlemen) squeel when he got his 9th goal of the season 53 seconds later (2:09, assisted by Z and Hudler)
  • Taylor Pyatt went to the box for hooking Abdelkader leading to the PPG by Tomas Holmstrom (14:46, assists to White and Datsyuk) — AMAZING effort by Ian White.
  • 43 seconds later Helm finished off a great play by Chris Conner putting the Wings up 4-0 (15:29, assists to Conner and Kindl) … emphasis on the word “finished”
  • Phoenix goalie Mike Smith was pulled after going 7-11 (.636 sv%)
  • Jiri Hudler made it 5 with just 43 seconds left (assisted by Zetterberg and Fil) …and backup goalie LaBarbera was 0-1 for the period
  • Datsyuk, Hudler, Zetterberg, and Filppula all had 2 point periods… now THAT’s what I’m talkin bout.
  • 02/07/09 was the last time the Red Wings scored 5 goals in the first period
  • Mickeyisms:

“He’s got more moves than a monkey on the high wire”

“There’s been more giveaways here in the first period than the Salvation Army”

2nd Period Highlights:

  • SOG 8-9
  • Not nearly as exciting as the first period but no complaints
  • Radim Vrbata put the Coyotes back in the game (hehe just kidding) with a pretty much unstoppable slapshot (15:15, assisted by Yandle and Morris)

3rd Period Highlights:

  • SOG 12-11
  • Mickey told us a little bit about “Nickel Beer Night” from the good ol’ days… I need to hear more ASAP
  • Datsyuk sat out as a “precaution” because of a lower body injury #FMP
  • Martin Hanzal scored with Jakub Kindl in the box for hooking (11:32, assisted by Doan and Whitney)
The Wings will play the Winnipeg Jets Saturday night at 7:30 at the Joe Louis Arena
My requests: More Fil, a healthy Datsyuk, maybe a fight, some curly fries, and a win. Oh, and I’d like to be invited to Nickel Beer Night. #VoteJimmah! (vote.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

2 points for Ericsson: I’ll drink to that

Jonathan Ericsson had a 2-point game in the Detroit Red Wings’ 6th straight win tonight.  The Detroit Red Wings outshot the Tampa Bay Lightning 35-23 and won 64% of the faceoffs.  Pavel Datsyuk won 71% of his faceoffs and earned himself 2 points as well–that’s 6 points in the last 4 games for the great one.  Jimmy Howard made some fabulous saves throughout the game and especially in the 3rd–upping the confusion regarding his absence on the All-Star ballot.  Feel free to write him in.

Tonight was also Steve Yzerman’s first visit to the Joe as the GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning.  The Red Wings paid their respects to the longtime Captain with a tear jerking tribute during the 1st period:

1st Period Highlights:

  • Wings outshot TBL 18-8 (that’s what I’m talkin bout)
  • Datsyuk wowed us with his 7th goal of the season at 4:58 (assisted by Bertuzzi and Franzen)
  • Jonathan Ericsson shocked RW fans everywhere by scoring his first goal of the season (11:04, assist to Fil) Mazel tov!!!!!!

2nd Period Highlights:

  • The Lightning outshot the Wings 6-5
  • With Ericsson in the box, Martin St. Louis got a PPG to get his team back in the game (9:35, assisted by Purcell and Bergeron)
  • Steven Stamkos tied the game with just 0:14 left in the period (assists to Gilroy and Lecavalier) — he scores goals? Weird.
  • Pierre McGuire used the word “toughly” and then quickly recanted saying it wasn’t a word. It actually is a word…and Pierre actually was an English major #funfact

3rd Period Highlights:

  • The Wings stepped it up and outshot the Lightning 12-9
  • Brewer did the only thing he could do to prevent Datsyuk from scoring on a breakaway — hooked him. Holmer put the Wings up 3-2 only 9 seconds later—after all 5 RWs touched the puck (4:22, assists to Lidstrom and Datsyuk)
  • Darren Helm sealed the deal at 14:13, giving the Wings a 2-goal lead (assisted by Kindl and Ericsson)

Notes: Commodore and Emmerton were scratched, Eaves out 6-8 weeks after having surgery on his jaw

The Wings will head to Buffalo to prep for their 7:30 game on Friday night

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.

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).
WTF?
  • 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

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.