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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 

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.

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.

Nyquist, Bertuzzi & Franzen Power Wings Past Pens

The Detroit Red Wings ended the Pittsburgh Penguins perfect preseason Sunday night, with a 3-2 victory at Joe Louis Arena. Gustav Nyquist lead the way with two goals and an assist. Paired with the sizable duo of Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen, the line was unstoppable, accounting for all three goals tonight.

Nyquist opened the scoring on a rebound just one minute in, with assists from Bertuzzi and Franzen. Paul Martin quickly answered to tie the game with a one-timer just over five minutes in. Franzen got his own rebound and finished a pretty play to give Detroit the 2-1 lead halfway through the first period.

Nyquist scored his second of the night on the PP in the second, and that score would hold until late in the 3rd period. With 50 seconds left, Tyler Kennedy put the Pens within one after a flurry in front of Jimmy Howard. It was originally waved off, but after review was determined to be a goal. Despite a flurry of shots in the final minutes, the Red Wings held on for the 3-2 victory.

With the injury to Jan Mursak, you have to wonder if Nyquist can squeak his way into the fourteenth and final forward position with the Red Wings. His competition did not do much this game. Cory Emmerton took a penalty when the game was tied, Fabian Brunnstrom had 0 shots in over 15 minutes of ice time, and Tomas Tatar was -1. Patrick Eaves also left the game after a blocked shot on a penalty kill. His status is unknown, but could open up another forward position.

Howard was solid, with a few big saves in the 3rd period, when the Penguins outshot Detroit 12-4. Nick Lidstrom was steady as usual, with a +2 rating and over 23 minutes of ice time. Valtteri Fiilppula delivered a big hit and was dangerous for the majority of his 26 shifts. Jiri Hudler drew jeers from the crowd after a couple of turnovers in the 3rd period.

A fun moment occurred during the 2nd intermission. One end of the arena focused their attention to a Super Suite that had left their blinds open. A large television was showing the final inning of the Tigers – Yankees game, which the Tigers held on to win 5-3. The crowd reacted loudly as the final inning unfolded; once mistakenly thinking a replay from the night prior was instead a Yankee’s game tying home run. After minutes of confusion, the final Yankee out was recorded, drawing the loudest cheers from Joe Louis all night. The owner of the suite quickly realized what was happening, and closed the blinds for the remainder of the hockey game.

Click here for full video highlights.

Red Lines

Welcome back to another edition of Red Lines. All of your favorite content on your favorite team in one easy place.

Wings 4, Hawks 3 SO

A little bit of drama went down during tonight’s exhibition game.  To get it out of the way, the major downer was that Jan Mursak fractured his ankle in the 2nd period after being shoved into the boards by Dylan Olsen (and will probably be on injured reserve for a while). He has really been shining throughout the preseason and this injury is a real bummer. One of the other youngins, Brendan Smith, made some good plays once again but definitely made a few of those “rookie mistakes” tonight. I think he has a lot of potential and his mistakes will surely minimize with the help of the almighty captain. On that note — damn it felt good to see #5 on the ice. Lidstrom is a boss and it’s always such a pleasure seeing him out there.

“Meh.”:

  • Conklin made some good saves but had a .875 save percentage, which clearly wouldn’t cut it in the regular season… but I think he’s just warming up
  • Jonathan Ericsson — in general
  • As much as I hate to say it, Brandon Pirri was on fire tonight and scored two goals for the Blackhawks during regulation as well as their shootout goal

Some highlights:

  • Valtteri Filppula had 3 points in tonight’s game, with a power play goal in the first and was credited with assists for Zetterberg’s and Lidstrom’s goals in the 2nd period. This WILL be his season.
  • Lidstrom and Zetterberg each had a goal and an assist
  • Ian White stuck out to me and I think he’s going to do big things for us this year. He had the most ice time out of any player on the Wings or Blackhawks tonight and got an assist for Lidstrom’s goal in the 2nd period
  • Bertuzzi’s shootout goal was out of this world. I had to do a double take to make sure it was a 44 and not a 24(13) on the back of his jersey. So slick, so sick.
  • Mickey Redmond.
  • The Wings ended up getting the win with goals by Bertuzzi and Zetterberg in the shootout

This was a wonderful way to top off a great Sunday in Detroit. The Tigers, Lions and Red Wings all came out on top. We have the Red and White game coming up in Grand Rapids on Tuesday and another exhibition game in Chicago on Wednesday. So much hockey, so much love.

The Boys Are Back in Town

Well, kind of.  The Red Wings “Red Team” took on the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first preseason game for both teams, which resulted in a disappointing 3-2 loss.  Chris Kunitz got the Pens on the board first, scoring halfway into the first period.  Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall evened the score only two minutes later after being set up by a beautiful pass from the great Pavel Datsyuk.  He makes it all look so easy.  Evgeni Malkin and Matt Niskanen put the bad guys up 3-1 during the 2nd, with Niskanen scoring on the power play.  To me it seemed as if Malkin was on the ice for the entire game, and I haven’t decided whether that was due to his irritatingly skillful play or because the announcers were slurping him all night (get a room, gentlemen).  Things started looking up for the Wings when Jiri Hudler tipped one in at the beginning of the 3rd period, but sadly, tonight’s story had no happy ending.  Although it wasn’t Howard’s best game, I don’t think this is at all an indication of what the season holds for our boy, Jimmy.  Even though that first goal made me shake my head (tsk-tsk), my faith remains.  MacDonald played well during his one period of play and allowed no goals during the third.  Also, I found it hard to judge the newbies just from tonight’s game, but Mursak and Smith were the only ones who really stood out to me. It will be interesting to see how they compare to those on the “White Team.”

Pavel Datsyuk wearing #24

Tonight’s exhibition game was only a taste (and a tease) of Red Wing hockey, but it gave us an opportunity to see who is fighting for a spot on the roster and to fall in love with Datsyuk all over again.  Wearing #24 in memory of his good pal and former Wing, Ruslan Salei, simply reminds us of why he is a four-time recipient of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (given to the player who has exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability).  Tomorrow the Wings take on the Philadelphia Flyers at 7:00 EST in London, Ontario, and on Friday the Wings will take on the Flyers at home at the Joe Louis Arena.

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.