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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 

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.

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

Why, Hello Sharks…We Meet Again.

Your Detroit Red Wings (9-6-1) take on the San Jose Sharks (9-5-1) tonight at 10:30 pm for some late night fun. It’s the first of three stops in the Golden State. This is the 2nd time the teams will be facing off this season—their last meeting was on October 28th and resulted in a 4-2 loss for the Wings. This rivalry has developed and grown exponentially over the past couple seasons, being that the Sharks eliminated the Red Wings in the 2010 and 2011 Western Conference Semifinals.

Tonight:

  • Brendan Smith will be making his official NHL debut tonight and will be paired with Niklas Kronwall
  • Jonathan Ericsson will again be paired with Nick Lidstrom
  • Ex-Shark Ian White is still out with a broken cheekbone
  • Fabian Brunnstrom will be taking Patrick Eaves’ spot in the lineup
  • The Red Wings have been struggling on the power play (déjà vu?) to say the least — they only had 6 shots on goal during the 15 power play minutes against St Louis. The Sharks rank 4th in the league on the PP.
  • Datsyuk has gone 11 games without a goal. Yes…I said Datsyuk.  It’s shocking. What does Pavel think?

“I need to be more productive,” Datsyuk said after practice Wednesday. “I need to shoot more, need to be more dangerous.” (Mlive)

I hate playing the Sharks, even though game 6 last season was one of the most exhilarating games I’ve ever been to (I cried).  Joe Thornton rubs me the wrong way. There are players you fight and there are players you don’t. Nick Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk are at the top of the “don’t” list. Clearly, Thornton thinks these rules don’t apply to him and has tried to start shit with two of the NHL’s classiest players. Way to set a positive example for your team, “Captain.” Fast forward to the minute mark to see the ultra-douche in action.
Let’s get back on that winning streak, eh? Tune in tonight on Fox Sports Detroit.

Wings seek revenge from last year’s Blues beat down.

Quoting my pint sized co-writer Hannah, “March 30th, 2011 is a day that has been naturally blocked from my memory as a defense mechanism associated with post-traumatic stress.”

I unfortunately do not know if I will ever shake the night from my memory. The Blues came into Joe Louis and absolutely stomped the division leading Red Wings 10-3. The loss was the fifth in six games for Detroit, and left them leading the surging Predators by only 6 points. This game was nothing like the butt whopping by the Capitals early this season. Far worse.

It was brutal. Joey MacDonald was pulled for Thomas McCollum (making his debut due to injuries to Chris Osgood and Jimmy Howard) only to return back in the 3rd period after McCollum gave up an embarrassing third goal. Cam Janssen ended a 114 goalless streak. Lidstrom called the team’s play “awful” and the Detroit fans booed the Red Wings off the ice.

Summing up their frustration, “Thank God it’s over,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “It looked like it was never going to end there for a while. It was unacceptable. Any way you look at it – more than a touchdown – it’s ugly.”

Flashing forward to this season, I recalled the long losing streak and how similar fans were reacting to the Red Wings struggles. I also remembered how last year ended, the Red Wings righting the ship, winning the division title, and erasing any doubt by sweeping the Phoenix Coyotes in the opening round of the playoffs.

Now let’s look at tonight’s chance at redemption.

RED WINGS (9-5-1) at BLUES (8-7-1) on FSD at 8pm EST

  • The Blues have rebounded after a rough start under new coach Ken Hitchcock. They’ve collected points in all three of his games.
  • The Red Wings hope to keep their second long win streak of the season alive.
  • Ian White will be out 1-2 weeks with a broken cheekbone. He has 7 points and a +8 rating so far this season.
  • Ericsson will take White’s place alongside captain Nicklas Lidstrom.
  • Franzen is red hot, scoring 5 goals (2 GWG) over the past 4 games.
  • Jason Arnott, who seems like he’s been in the league 30 years, has 9 points in 16 games this season.
  • The Blues PP is scoring a terrible 10% of their chances.
  • Detroit took the season series last year, 4-2


 

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

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!!!

“Nucks” Rhymes With…

Another great game played by your undefeated Detroit Red Wings, taking the W over the Vancouver Canucks . Jimmy Howard was a rockstar, which as we know can be the make or break factor in a game. Not even the Sedins or hungry hungry Burrows could get one past Jimmy tonight. He made 25 saves in his 6th career shutout. Abs was strong and confident throughout the game– 5 min major for fighting Lapierre in the first, goal in the second. I’m assuming his thought process was something along the lines of “Schneider’s my bitch.”  Would have liked to have seen him get a Gordie Howe hat trick, but no complaints over here. If Abs can keep playing like he has been recently we can expect a rowdy season.

Valtteri Filppula finally gave us a little taste of what he’s got, and I think this was only a preview of what we can expect from him during the season. He put one in just a few minutes after Abdelkader, giving the Wings a two point lead. He made some nasty (the good nasty) moves on the ice, showing us that he can not only steal your girlfriend, but the puck too.

There was a little bit of a scare at the end of the 2nd period when Cody Hodgson got one past Howard right as the buzzer went off. It was reviewed and ruled no goal.

The Detroit Red Wings three stars of the night were Fil, Abs, and Howard, but what really stood out to me was Jonathan Ericsson NOT sucking. He played 16:44, had two shots on goal–legit ones–and actually pushed and shoved a little bit. I don’t want to get my hopes up, but maybe little Jonny will finally give us what we’ve been waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for.

Lastly, it always catches me off guard when Datsyuk does something even semi-rough like making a big hit. I know he’s a hockey player, but for some reason it shocks me every single time. One of these shocking moments came at the beginning of the 2nd when he sent Kevin Bieksa flying into the boards. What a man.

Mickey Redmond quote of the night (credit to z led): “Are we playing hockey or are we playing tiddly-wink here?”

Next Game: Saturday 8:00pm at Minnesota

**Make sure to watch Wingspan: The Winged Wheel tomorrow night at 6:30 on Fox Sports Detroit — that shit looks bomb.

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.

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.