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Red Wings Fan

Red Wings have exceeded expectations at the break, challenging for top spot in Eastern Conference posted by Red Wings Fan

Many expected the Detroit Red Wings to be battling just to extend their playoff streak this season.

It turns out they have loftier goals. At the All-Star break, they're competing for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Who could have seen that coming after an off-season with no free-agent or trade acquisitions?

"When I thought about around July 5 when not much happened this summer, I was disappointed, like a few of my veteran players who called me were disappointed, too," coach Mike Babcock said. "I don't think any of us would have believed we'd be at this spot, the general manager and myself included."

The Red Wings (27-11-9) have won five in a row and are tied with the New York Islanders for second in the conference, one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Red Wings have accumulated 13 more points than they had after 47 games in 2013-14 (20-17-10). Credit this to better health, continued growth of younger players and more consistent goaltending. This is a faster-skating team than it was a year ago.

"The contributions of players that were out a lot last year due to injuries has been a real positive, and then the continued development of younger players," general manager Ken Holland said. "When you're in the playoffs 23 straight years it means a lot of picking late, and we're trying to accomplish two goals at the same time -- make the playoffs and compete for the Stanley Cup. And we're also trying to rebuild the team on the fly."

Jimmy Howard regained his All-Star from following an inconsistent season and, after he suffered a groin injury on Jan. 10, Petr Mrazek has stepped in without much drop-off.Injuries enabled young players to step into key roles and most are playing just as well or better. Tomas Tatar (21) Gustav Nyquist (19) lead the way in goals, Riley Sheahan has developed into a dependable two-way second-line center and Danny DeKeyser has been one of their steadiest defensemen.

Continue reading "Red Wings have exceeded expectations ..."

Blues Fan

Blues are hot but still running in place posted by Blues Fan

The Blues have been red hot. They’ve won five straight games, scoring 29 goals in the process. Only one of the games has seen an opponent be closer than two goals in the third period. The penalty-killing unit at one point stopped 18 straight man-advantage situations for the opponent. In two of the wins, the Blues allowed just 20 shots or fewer. They’ve gone from scoring 14 more goals than they’ve allowed to 33, the third-best mark in the whole league.

And heading into Thursday night’s game against Detriot, the Blues are in third place in the Central Division, five points out of first.

Life is not easy in the Central, and the Blues are finding that out in the early days of 2015. They have walloped opponents up and down, figuratively at least, are playing some of the best hockey in the league and all they have to show for it is being in the exact same place they were before. The Blues are treading water beautifully, going nowhere fast.

“We won five in a row and made up no ground,” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “That’s the shock for me. You win five in a row and you just keep pace with what’s above you. It’s a tough league. … Man, you’ve got to really play well to get in the playoffs in this conference. You’re sitting at 57 points and you have a team breathing right down your neck.”

Goalie Brian Elliott has advice that may work well for players, but not for the coaches or the fan base: Stop looking at the standings.

“Since I’ve been here, it’s always been one of the toughest divisions to gain points in,” Elliott said. “Nashville’s pretty much winning every game. It’s tough to make up ground even if you’re winning. You worry about your own things. You don’t look up and down the standings. Just focus on the next game, get two points and then at the end of the year see where she goes.”

Continue reading "Blues are hot but still running in place"

Wild Fan

Wild rallies for big third period, falls in shootout to Detroit posted by Wild Fan

After Tuesday night’s 5-4 shootout loss to the Red Wings, despite the Wild executing a three-goal, third-period comeback against one of the NHL’s best defensive teams, the Wild couldn’t grab that crucial extra point at Joe Louis Arena.

“There was still another point available for us that we didn’t get,” Parise said after the Wild’s final game before All-Star Weekend. “That’s disappointing because we’re not in a position right now to be losing them.”

The Wild also is in a position where it must grasp any positive it can at this point, coach Mike Yeo inferred. And after a miserable 2-7-4 stretch, the Wild hopes grabbing five out of eight points before the break can be a launching point next week when the schedule resumes in Western Canada.

“Do I wish we got the second point? Of course I do,” Yeo said. “But we also could have easily had zero points the way that game had gone. That could end up being a huge point for us, who knows? Bottom line is if we keep bringing that same kind of character and focus and more than anything else, that kind of play, we’ll get rewarded.”

Kuemper stopped all 14 shots he faced in 37:35, but in the shootout, Pavel Datsyuk — who is tied with Parise and Koivu for the most shootout goals in history, 38 — and Nyquist scored and Parise and Koivu couldn’t.

“I think you have to look at it as a win,” Wild forward Ryan Carter said. “Third period, down three goals, find a way to come back and get the point, shootouts, there are cheesy wins and cheesy losses.

Continue reading "Wild rallies for big third period, ..."

Red Wings Fan

2014 / 2015 Detroit Red Wings posted by Red Wings Fan

The Detroit Red Wings have a lot of obstacles that they need to overcome if they are to survive the Eastern conference. First, they had the highest number of injuries last season for any team in the NHL. Goalie Jonas Gustavsson (knee), Centers Pavel Fatsyuk (shoulder) and Andy Miele were all out on injury.

Boston Bruins

 They have had several meetings with the Boston Bruins. The Bruins who were last season winners of the presidential cup are a good team and they seem to be just a strong this season, despite the fact that they lost Jarome Ignila and four defensemen.

The Red Wings will have to find a way to overcome the Bruins in their regular season meetings in the Eastern conference. Even the Red Wings coach Mike Babcock admitted that they were “absolutely thumped” by the Bruins.

Despite the loss to Bruins during the playoffs the team rallied against them early in the season. The Red Wings strategy is to play heavy, cut off the opponents and prevent them from playing with speed. This strategy could work well for the Redwings when facing big elite Teams like the Boston Bruins who thumped them in the playoffs.

New Roster

The roster has a few changes partly due to the loss of some players Pavel Fatsyuk to injury. The new draft has 6 new youthful players who will get a lot of time on the ice. Tomas Jurco, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Riley Sheahan are some of the youngsters who made the roster.

The head coach Mike Babcock has a contract that expires at the end of the year.  There is no doubt Continue reading "2014 / 2015 Detroit Red Wings"

Richard Kagan

Hawks Outwork Red Wings, 2-1. posted by Richard Kagan

The Chicago Blackhawks beat Detroit 2-1 in a defensive battle at the United Center. The win was the Hawks fourth in a row, after losing 9 straight.  This win was a combination of terrific goaltending by Corey Crawford and overall hard work.  To beat the Red Wings, you have to earn it, and the Hawks did just that.  They worked hard, especially in the second half of the first period and for the rest of the game.  Their hitting was strong, and puck positioning was great.  The players were alert, and met their assignments.  They dug and dug until Jimmy Hayes tied the game with a goal in the 2nd period.  Hayes set up Marcus Kruger, early in the third period in a scrum near Detroit's net.  It was a strong effort which resulted in a well earned two points.

The Hawks played well to protect their lead.  They did this without their team leader Jonathan Toews who missed the game.

Continue reading "Hawks Outwork Red Wings, 2-1."

Richard Kagan

'Hawks Look Like They're Serious posted by Richard Kagan

The Chicago Blackhawks are on a west coast swing in this early part of the season.  The marathon that is 82 game has begun and won't end until sometime in the Spring.  This team looks different from last year's team.  This team is hungry.

They won in Phoenix and are leading Colorado.  It looks like a good start to the season.  The Hawks trail the Red Wings by a point in their Division.  The task right now is getting familiar with players on lines, and honing your skills.  The points will come.  First you have to play as a team, something the 'Hawks didn't do until they were 0-3 vs. Vancouver and almost pulled off a historic comeback. That was last year, now it's a new season and a new team.

Continue reading "'Hawks Look Like They're Serious"

Jeff Ponder

Red Wings Never Done Working posted by Jeff Ponder

The first round of the 2010 NHL Playoffs speak of the Detroit Red Wings’ character better than almost any series of games.  Crushing dreams and taking control are the names of the game for the Red Wings.

After leading in the series two different times, the Phoenix Coyotes faced a game seven against Detroit after a miracle season in the desert.  Facing numerous problems off the ice yet still finishing as the fourth seed of the Western Conference, the Coyotes were actually considered the favorite by many heading into the series.  With game seven in Phoenix, the hockey world set its eyes at what promised to be a tight, high-intensity game.  Sometimes, promises cannot be kept.

The Red Wings offense made the Cinderella-story Coyotes look foolish in game seven, exploding with four goals in the second period.  Adding two more in the third, they crushed the Coyotes, 6-1.

“From early in the game, their top players came out and dictated the pace, and we had no answer for them,” Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "They were relentless. When their top players play like that, their whole group just jumps right in. Hats off to them; they played an unbelievable game.”

Go to work night in and night out.  That seems to be a general practice for the Red Wings.

Almost exactly one year later, the Coyotes received the same fate in the playoffs.  Stacked to face the Red Wings in the first round again (this time as the sixth seed; Detroit as the third seed), the Coyotes were outmatched even more noticeably, getting swept in four games.  Detroit just could not be stopped, despite not having stars Henrik Zetterberg for the entire series and Johan Franzen for half of the series.

Continue reading "Red Wings Never Done Working"

Jeff Ponder

Weak Northwest Division Could Benefit Blackhawks posted by Jeff Ponder

Vancouver is the heavy favorite heading into the 2011 NHL playoffs to win the Stanley Cup.  Their Northwest Division foes can vouch for that.

 The Vancouver Canucks, who won the President’s Trophy by a landslide-ten points over the East’s Washington Capitals, posted an impressive 54-19-9 record for a league-leading 117 points in the regular season.  Obviously, the Canucks head into the Quarterfinal Series as the top seed in the Western Conference where they will meet the eighth-seeded Chicago Blackhawks.  But how much did Vancouver playing in the Northwest Division help bloat their point total?

The Northwest Division, which features the Canucks, Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers, saw only one of its teams make the playoffs.  This is the only division in the NHL to do so.

The Canucks had a whopping 18-4-2 record against their Northwest Division foes.  With a record like that, it is easy to see how the Canucks can steamroll through parts of the regular season.  Still impressive?  Yes, very much so.  Anytime a team can dominate in their own division usually means that team will be a top-seed in the playoffs.  But what if Vancouver played in a better division?

Let’s say Vancouver goes .500 against the Northwest Division (12-12-0).  Their record drops down to 48-27-7 and they post 103 points.  While these are still very respectable numbers, that drops them to the third seed (keep in mind that they would still hold onto the division title), and puts them just six points ahead of their current playoff matchup, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Continue reading "Weak Northwest Division Could Benefit Blackhawks"

Goon Squad

Legend Of The Goon Squad pt.2 posted by Goon Squad

Violence has been a part of hockey since at least the early 1900's. According to the book Hockey: A People's History, in 1904 alone, four players were killed during hockey games from the frequent brawls and violent stickwork. 

Early hockey in particular was noted for its extreme violence, to the point where two players were killed in three years during brawls.
In both cases, the accused assailants were acquitted, but these and other bloody incidents led to calls for the sport to clean up its act or be banned with the likes of cock fighting.

The worst of the violence waned, particularly with regulations for quasi-legal fisticuffs, though incidents continue to occur from time to time.

Billy Coutu was the first player banned from the NHL for life when, in 1927, he attacked referee Jerry Laflamme in a Stanley Cup game between the Bruins and Senators - in which several players complained about the officiating, supposedly at the request of Bruins coach Art Ross before starting an all-in brawl.
NHL president Frank Calder, the League's first president, expelled Coutu from the NHL for life on March 29th, 1929; the ban was lifted after five years, but Coutu never played again in the NHL.
Billy Coutu - an OG Supreme! (Original Goon)

Other incidents include the December 12th, 1933 event when Eddie Shore hit Leafs player Ace Bailey from behind.
Bailey never played hockey again.
Another OG.

Somewhat recently, controversy and criminal charges have resulted from violent attacks by Marty McSorley, Todd Bertuzzi, and Chris Simon.

Continue reading "Legend Of The Goon Squad pt.2"

Jeff Ponder

Inter-League Game Could Spell Bad News for NHL posted by Jeff Ponder

Could an exhibition game really give bad publicity to a major North-American sports league?

The NHL has constantly been trying to show that their league is the best to the public all over the world.  For the past few seasons, the league has sent four of their teams overseas to play in places such as Germany, Sweden and England.  The teams usually open the NHL regular season a week early, playing two games in the country that they were designated.  This season the league has decided to send the St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings to Sweden, and the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers to Finland.  Not only are these teams playing each other, but they will see time against some of the best teams of the chosen nation in pre-season play.

Why is this a possible threat to the league?  The NHL holds themselves as the greatest hockey league in the world with the most powerful teams and the best players.  There is almost no way of disputing that prestigious honor as long as the teams are playing against each other all the time and do not allow any outside teams to jeopardize that point.  Allowing other teams from other leagues could harm the reputation of the NHL. 

Here is the schedule for the games that will be played against other league teams:

Tuesday, September 29:  St. Louis Blues vs. Linkoping HC at Cloetta Center

Tuesday, September 29:  Chicago Blackhawks vs. ZSC Lions Zurich at Hallenstadion

Wednesday, September 30:  Florida Panthers vs. Jokerit Helsinki at Hartwall Arena
Continue reading "Inter-League Game Could Spell Bad News for NHL"

Detroit Red Wings News

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2-time Cup winner Brad Richards retires after 15 NHL seasons (Yahoo Sports)

[read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Red Wings sign Luke Glendening to $7.2M, 4-year extension (Yahoo Sports)

DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Red Wings have signed center Luke Glendening to a $7.2 million, four-year extension. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Red Wings re-sign Pulkkinen to 1-year deal (Yahoo Sports)

DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Red Wings have re-signed forward Teemu Pulkkinen to a one-year, $812,500 contract. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

MacKinnon signs 7-year deal with Avalanche (Yahoo Sports)

[read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Pavel Datsyuk signs 2-year deal with Russian club SKA (Yahoo Sports)

MOSCOW (AP) -- Former Detroit Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk has signed a two-year contract with Russian club SKA St. Petersburg after leaving the NHL. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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