Blogs > Red Wings Corner

Up-to-the minute updates and insights from the Red Wings locker room at home and on the road. By Chuck Pleiness of The Macomb Daily.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

McCarty to Grand Rapids

Darren McCarty was activated and sent to Grand Rapids to rehab from sports hernia surgery. Here's the press release form the Griffins ...

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday assigned right wing Darren McCarty to the Grand Rapids Griffins, following his activation from injured reserve and recovery from sports hernia surgery in January.

McCarty, 36, has netted one goal and has 25 PIM through 13 appearances with the Wings this season. The four-time Stanley Cup champion has also played one game with the Griffins, scoring a shootout goal in Grand Rapids’ 3-2 loss to Manchester on Nov. 26.

During the 2007-08 campaign, the Burnaby, British Columbia, native logged 13 games with the Griffins, registering 10 points (5-5—10) and 21 PIM. He scored a hat trick and tallied the only four-point night of his pro career during his home debut with Grand Rapids on Feb. 15, 2008.

McCarty will practice with the Griffins at 11 a.m. today at Griff’s IceHouse, and he’s expected to be in the lineup this Friday when they visit the Syracuse Crunch at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Howard up, Ozzie sits

Chris Osgood hasn't been playing well all season, but I didn't see Jimmy Howard being recalled as an option. Interesting what's happened with Tomas Holmstrom and Brad Stuart getting hurt and salary cap space being freed up for the first time all season. First, Ville Leino and Darren Helm proved their worth. (Obviously Helm did last spring, but for the sake of argument ...)

Now, Howard is called up to put pressure on Osgood. That would never have happened if there was no cap room, obviously.

Hard to tell how this will affect Osgood, but he can't really fall too far.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thoughts on Game 58 (6-2 win over Nashville)

-- Sweet fight for Marian Hossa. Hey, when you're a Red Wings fan, any fight is a highlight, they're so few and far between. Hossa is obviously fighting for a contract (jk). He and Ryan Suter exchanged whacks and hacks the shift before so they sought each other out when Dan Hamhuis and Johan Franzen started yacking. And is it just me, or does anyone miss the days of jerseys being pulled over heads? I know the tie-down rule was put in to keep the sport clothed for a family audience, but the jersey pull-over added an element to fighting that I liked.

-- Franzen and Dan Cleary have done a good job net-front with Tomas Holmstrom out. Cleary looks like his strength is in puck deflection with his good hand-eye coordination. Sometimes though, his screens don't work well. I noticed Franzen reversing position more last night, starting with his back tight to the goalie, then turning 180 and drifting out to the slot. He said after the game that depends totally on where his teammates are and how the defenders are playing him. I like the move because it adds another option as shown last night on his two goals.

-- By the way, Franzen was stuck out on the ice on his first goal and was 1:28 into the shift when he scored. That has to be tiring after missing the previous five games.

-- Nashville's second goal was aided by a bad line change by the Wings who got Derek Meech off late and Nicklas Lidstrom on late. It was that weak side that created an odd-man advantage leading to Steve Sullivan's second goal. Let's backtrack on this one though. The sequence started with a bad pass by Chris Chelios that led to an icing. That got the Jason Arnott line on against Meech and Chelios for a faceoff in the Wings zone. All game, the Wings were matching up Lidstrom and Niklas Kronwall against the Arnott-Sullivan-Dumont line. That was the line they wanted to shut down. The Wings obviously got a little eager to get that matchup after getting the puck out of the zone. In this case, leaving Meech out there for a more secure line change would have been better than trying to force a change that failed. But hindsight is 20-20 on my part and it took a good play by Nashville to get the scoring chance.

-- Valtteri Filppula had a low ice-time of 13:36. There were a lot of power plays (which Filppula isn't part of), but Detroit scored so often that it had only 7:02 of man-advantage time.

-- Kronwall really played well. The hit on Tootoo early was a good sign that Kronwall was in the game.

It's official ... Sweden

The NHL released the official word of what has long been suspected ... the Red Wings will open next season with a home-and-home in Stockholm at the Globe Arena, Niklas Kronwall's former homer rink.

Here's the press release ...

New York/Toronto/Stockholm/Helsinki (February 19, 2008) – The National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), in cooperation with Live Nation Sweden, IMG Sweden and Harry Harkimo/Jokerit HC Oy in Finland, announced today that the Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers will open the 2009-2010 NHL regular season in Europe. The Blackhawks and Panthers will play home-and-home games Friday, Oct. 2, and Saturday, Oct. 3, in Helsinki, Finland, at Hartwall Areena. On those same dates, the Red Wings and Blues will play a home-and-home series at Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. Finland and Sweden are the top ranked countries in terms of overseas visitors to

The roster of the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings currently is comprised of numerous Swedish players – including captain Nicklas Lidstrom, 2008 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Tomas Holmstrom and Niklas Kronwall. The Blues boast a dynamic Swedish player of their own in center Patrik Berglund, a first-round draft pick of the team in 2006 and participant in the 2009 NHL YoungStars Game on the rookie team.

The Chicago Blackhawks will be playing in Europe for the first time in 17 years. The franchise played a two-game exhibition series against the Montreal Canadiens at London’s Wembley Arena in September, 1992. NHL Premiere 2009 will be the first games ever played in Europe by the Florida Panthers organization and the first regular-season NHL games ever played in Finland.

“The NHL Premiere games are a signature event for the League, our players and our fans,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “Playing regular-season games overseas is an excellent way to further engage the passionate NHL fan base in Europe and encourage the growth of the game of hockey.”

“The 2009 Premiere games continue an important tradition of showcasing NHL players to an international audience,” said Paul Kelly, NHLPA Executive Director. “Our members look forward to displaying their skills in front of the knowledgeable and enthusiastic hockey fans in Finland and Sweden.”

The NHL opened the 2008-09 regular season in Europe in front of capacity crowds when the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning played two games in Prague, Czech Republic, and the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators squared off in a two-game set in Stockholm. The Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings opened the 2007-08 NHL regular season in front of two sellout crowds at O2 Arena in London. Previously, the NHL hosted three successful Game One events in Japan in 1997, 1998 and 2000. A complete overseas history of the NHL is available on Logos for editorial use will be available for download at
More information on NHL Premiere 2009 will be released at a later date, including ticket information, broadcast information, training camp schedules and preseason schedules.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Datsyuk interview at Puck Daddy

Here's the link to a Pavel Datsyuk interview ...,141954

Datsyuk's humor comes through a little. When asked who the most underrated player is, he answers "I am a very shy person, so I cannot name him. But you can hear that player in your receiver right now talking to you."

Two things that I found most interesting in the interview were Datsyuk saying that both Detroit netminders were "playing to 80-90 percent of their potential" and that right after Zetterberg signed, Johan Franzen's contract talks heated up.

Conklin to start tomorrow

Ty Conklin will start Wednesday's game at Joe Louis Arena. Chris Osgood is still the playoff goalie (unless something changes), but he's not going to be given any slack in the post-season if his regular-season play doesn't improve.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lebda done for the night

UPDATE: Lebda will not travel with the team to Columbus tonight. Meech will be back in the lineup in his place. Coach Mike Babcock said that Lebda is in pain with back spasms, catching Clutterbuck's knee in the back as he ducked to avoid a hit.


Brett Lebda suffered a back injury when he was run into the end boards by Minnesota forward Cal Clutterbuck 1:10 into the second period. Lebda didn't return to the game.

With two minutes left in the first period, Lebda upended Clutterbuck with a hip check. The return hit on Lebda looked like retribution.

No word yet on whether Lebda will be out of the lineup for a while. With Brad Stuart on injured reserve, this could open a spot for Derek Meech.

Darren's debut

Ken Kal won't be doing the radio play-by-play tonight because he has laryngitis. So ... Paul Woods will be doing the play-by-play and Darren McCarty will handle the radio color commentary. I think Woods and McCarty is a good backup plan. Wish I was near a radio tonight.

Thursday's morning skate

Optional skate this morning for the Red Wings before tonight's game against the Minnesota Wild, still here are a few notes ...

-- Chris Osgood will start in net tonight. Ty Conklin has started the past three games.

-- Top prospect Jonathan Ericsson is at Joe Louis Arena to have his injured wrist looked at. The injury isn't healing as quickly as the organization hoped, so Ericsson will have an MRI done on the wrist in Detroit with the Red Wings medical staff taking a look at him.

-- Darren McCarty had his first practice since having surgery on a hernia. It was the exact same surgery that Tomas Holmstrom had this week on the exact same spot. It was McCarty's third hernia operation. McCarty said that he hopes to get another week or practice in before going to Grand Rapids, then gear up for potentially helping the Red Wings come playoff time. He compared his potential late arrival in Detroit to last season.

-- When asked if he gave former Red Wing Sean Avery any advice after he was discarded by Dallas because of a bizarre television interview, Chris Chelios smiled and said, "Yah ... 'Shut your mouth and play.'"

Friday, February 6, 2009

Holmstrom to have surgery

Tomas Holmstrom will have surgery to repair a hernia and will miss the next 3-5 weeks, according to Coach Mike Babcock. Holmstrom has missed the past three games because of the injury, which hampered during last season as well. Holmstrom missed several practices during the playoffs last spring and had to take shots before, during and after games.

Holmstrom said that the timing of the surgery should allow him to play 10 regular-season games before the playoffs. He's expecting to have to wait 2-3 weeks before he can skate again.

The surgery isn't scheduled yet, but the team is trying to get Holmstrom in as soon as possible.

Friday morning practice

Everything looks the same as it did two days ago, including the line combinations. Ty Conklin will start in net Saturday against Edmonton.

Kopecky-Draper-Maltby (Leino working in)


Derek Meech (groin) did skate early in the practice and left when the full line drills began.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thoughts on Game 51 (5-4 win over Phoenix)

-- No comment from me on the play of Chris Osgood. My thoughts really don't matter. Coach Mike Babcock's thoughts, however, do matter. Without saying specifically that Osgood had a bad game, he panned his netminder after the game.

"I didn't think we were bad defensively," said Babcock. "I just think the puck went in the net."

"We should have won that game 4-2 or whatever. That's just the way it goes some nights. We were able to pick up Ozzie tonight."

No need to read between the lines. It's blunt.

Add in that earlier this week Babcock said that a team needs good goaltending to win the Stanley Cup and that he's looking for one of his two netminders to step up in the final 30 games and Osgood's role as playoff goalie is closer to being taken away. Not gone, but closer to being gone.

From training camp until now, Osgood was the playoff goalie. If Osgood doesn't play better and Ty Conklin does get hot, then the groundwork is being laid for a transferal of status.

Remember that early in his first season in Detroit, Babcock went with Jimmy Howard rather than Osgood when Manny Legace got hurt. That didn't last long, but Babcock didn't start out as a big Osgood fan.

I'd guess that Conklin will get the start Saturday.

-- The new defense pairings have Niklas Kronwall on the right side (with Nicklas Lidstrom) and Andreas Lilja on the left (with Brian Rafalski). That's a switch of sides from what both have been used to playing for the past four years. It must take a while for a defenseman to feel comfortable on the other side of the ice.

-- The Coyotes did some mad forward line shuffling throughout the game. Very difficult to find any coherency in their line combinations.

-- Henrik Zetterberg said after the game that he doesn't know if he'll remain on a line with Pavel Datsyuk. Babcock sounded like he was leaning that way short-term when he said that he likes the Filppula line as the No. 2 line.

-- Chris Chelios just couldn't get a shot through.

-- Nicklas Lidstrom played his 1,300th career regular-season game.

-- Darren Helm ... four hits, one takeaway, zero giveaways, one blocked shot and 3-for-5 on faceoffs. He really belongs here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wednesday morning skate

-- Henrik Zetterberg (back spasms) will play tonight. He has missed the past three games and hasn't played since signing a 12-year contract. With Zetterberg back, Ville Leino will be a healthy scratch. Coach Mike Babcock said that Leino will likely return to action in Saturday's game.

-- Darren Helm will play tonight in his third call-up of the season. Helm will likely center Jiri Hudler and Mikael Samuelsson.

-- Chris Osgood will make his second straight start in n et.

-- The morning skate was an optional. Tomas Holmstrom (groin) did not take the ice.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Helm up, Abdelkader down

Darren Helm was recalled from Grand Rapids and Justin Abdelkader was sent back to the Griffins today. Good to see for Helm, who was so impressive during last spring's playoffs. If it weren't for the current CBA and the Red Wings were carrying their best players, I think that Helm would clearly be one of Detroit's 12 forwards.

Here's the press release ...

Detroit, MI…-- The Detroit Red Wings today recalled forward Darren Helm from the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League and assigned forward Justin Abdelkader to the Griffins.

Helm, 22, has collected 31 points (11-20—31) in 37 games with Grand Rapids this season. The recall marks Helm’s third stint with the Wings this year as he appeared in two games in October (vs. the NY Rangers and Vancouver) and one game in November (Montreal). The St. Andrews, Manitoba native also appeared in seven regular season games (0-0—0) and 18 postseason games (2-2—4) with Detroit in 2007-08.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday morning skate

From Chuck Pleiness at the morning skate ...

-- Henrik Zetterberg (back spasms) skated, but won't play tonight. He's hopeful for a Wednesday return to the lineup.

-- Tomas Holmstrom did not skate. He's out tonight and will have an MRI on his groin today.

-- Derek Meech has a tender groin and will not play tonight.

-- Chris Chelios is back in the lineup.

-- Both Ville Leino and Justin Abdelkader are still with the team.

-- Kris Draper is scheduled to play his 1,000th career NHL regular-season game tonight. If you're scoring at home, Kirk Maltby is 12 games away from 1,000.

-- Chris Osgood gets the start in net tonight.