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.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cleary at Team Canada camp

Red Wing Dan Cleary is skating on a line with Jason Spezza and Patrick Marleau at Team Canada's Olympic training camp in Calgary. Not bad for Cleary, but not the top unit in camp. Sidney Crosby, Rick Nash and Jarome Iginla were together as a unit ... there are three forwards who are going to the Olympics unless they get injured.

Link to Flames' story on line combinations.


The Red Wings' press release ...


…Captain Nicklas Lidstrom Drops The Puck on Weekend Fun at The Joe …

…Complimentary Tickets Available Tuesday …

Detroit, MI…Red Wings Captain Nicklas Lidstrom will open the Detroit Red Wings Hockeyfest this Friday as Hockeytown prepares for another great season with Detroit’s premiere interactive fan experience. In partnership with Coca-Cola and FOX Sports Detroit, the Red Wings begin two exciting days of HockeyFest 2009 on Friday, August 28, from 3:00 pm -10:00 pm, with a special free session for families experiencing economic hardships. On Saturday, August 29, the doors will be open to the general public from 1:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. for just $20 for adults and $10 for children (10-and-under). Red Wings season ticket holders are welcome free of charge throughout both days, plus an exclusive early session from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm Saturday.

HockeyFest 2009 features appearances by Red Wings players including Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom, Dan Cleary, Kris Draper andJason Williams , an exclusive Q&A session with Wings players and management, alumni autograph sessions, hockey memorabilia exhibits, photo opportunities with the Zamboni and Al the Octopus and much more! Band favorite Bazooka Charlie will be on hand to fire fans up beginning at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday night.

Fans can purchase tickets at, by calling TicketMaster at (800) 745-3000, and at the Joe Louis Arena Box Office, Hockeytown Authentics in Troy and Hockeytown Cafe.

For Friday’s complimentary admission, provided by Coca-Cola, tickets will be available in-person beginning at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, August 18 at the Joe Louis Arena Box Office, Hockeytown Authentics in Troy and Hockeytown Cafe.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

More on Bertuzzi

Two years ago, the Red Wings tried to keep Todd Bertuzzi, offering him a one-year contract. Bertuzzi came to Detroit in March 2007 at the trade deadline, played eight regular-season and 16 playoff games before becoming a free agent. Instead of staying in Detroit, Bertuzzi opted for a longer, more lucrative deal in Anaheim (two seasons, $4 million salary-cap hit).

"We liked him enough that we offered him a contract to stay," said Detroit vice president and general manager Ken Holland. "I've talked to a few guys on our team the past couple of weeks. There's been good vibes in the locker room about Todd. He fit in well."

Now Bertuzzi, a 34-year-old left-handed shot who usually plays right wing is back as a Red Wing, signing a one-year contract worth "close to" $1.5 million.

"He brings experience, size, the potential to score some goals," said Holland. "By signing an NHL guy, there's more depth and options available for (coach) Mike Babcock. And if there are injuries, we have more depth up front."

Bertuzzi came into the NHL in 1995 with the New York Islanders -- the franchise that drafted him 23rd overall in 1993. Bertuzzi blossomed after being traded to Vancouver with Bryan McCabe for Trevor Linden.

With the Canucks, Bertuzzi's goal scoring went from 25 in 2000-01, to 36 the next season to 46 in 2002-03 -- a season in which he led the NHL with 25 power-play goals.

Then, however, came back injuries. The season in which Bertuzzi was traded to Detroit for prospect Shawn Matthias and a second-round draft pick (2006-07), the 6-foot-3 Sudbury native got into just 15 regular-season games.

Since the injuries, Bertuzzi has become a consistent second-tier scoring threat. Two seasons ago, Bertuzzi had 14 goals in 68 games with Anaheim. Last winter, the big winger had 15 goals in 66 games with Calgary. (Anaheim bought out his contract half way into the two-year deal.) After averaging 20 minutes per game in his scoring prime, Bertuzzi got 16:27 of ice time with Anaheim and 18:36 with Calgary.

The addition of Bertuzzi gives the Red Wings enough depth at forward to let second-year pro Justin Abdelkader develop in Grand Rapids. Abdelkader can go back and forth between the NHL and AHL without having to clear waivers.

Bertuzzi is one of three forwards on the Wings who wasn't in Detroit last season, joining Patrick Eaves and another former Red Wing, Jason Williams. All three signed as unrestricted free agents.

With that trio and Darren Helm and Ville Leino, both of whom spent the majority of last season in Grand Rapids, the Red Wings have five fresh faces among their 13 forwards.

Detroit's team salary is approximately $57.771 million which is over the league limit of $56.8 million. That figure, however, includes eight defensemen and Holland has said that the team will work with seven healthy blue-liners. Detroit will likely go with a 22-man roster as it did last season, one under the league limit.

Andreas Lilja, who is still experiencing headaches after being injured in a late-season fight in 2008-08, is the unknown factor. If he's not healthy, Lilja's $1.25 million salary could be hidden on long-term injured reserve for a while. If Lilja is healthy, however, a roster move might be made to trim the blue-line number to seven. The Red Wings' other defensemen are Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski, Niklas Kronwall, Brad Stuart, Jonathan Ericsson, Brett Lebda and Derek Meech.

Bertuzzi signs with Wings

Todd Bertuzzi signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings.

With Bertuzzi, 34, in the mix, it looks like Justin Abdelkader will be bound for Grand Rapids and shuttle back and forth to Detroit. Of course, all that depends on who performs well in the preseason.

Bertuzzi gives the Red Wings 13 forwards including Darren Helm. That's the number that vice president/general manager Ken Holland wanted.

That also means that the Red Wings have eight defensemen and will have to make a move when Andreas Lilja is healthy. Lilja is still suffering from headaches and his status heading into the season will be determined later.

Here's the press release ...


...Veteran Winger Returns To Detroit For 2009-10 Season…

Detroit... The Detroit Red Wings announced today that the club has signed free agent forward Todd Bertuzzi to a one-year contract. In accordance with team policy, additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bertuzzi, 34, was originally a first round draft pick (23rd overall) of the New York Islanders in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft. The Sudbury, Ontario native spent last season with the Calgary Flames where he posted 44 points (15-29—44) in 66 games. Bertuzzi returns to Detroit for the second time in his career, having played in eight regular season games (2-2—4) and 16 playoff games (3-4—7) for the Red Wings in 2006-07 after he was acquired in a trade with the Florida Panthers. The 13-year NHL veteran has played in 859 career games, scoring 255 goals and adding 369 assists for 624 points. He has also collected 1,221 penalty minutes.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Williams' contract

According to, Jason Williams will earn $1.5 million for his one-year contract after making $2.2 million last season.

So, that would put the Red Wings over the salary cap with a 23-man roster. With 13 forwards (including Abdelkader and Helm), eight defensemen and two goalies, the Red Wings are at $57.261 million in salary with the cap being $56.8 million. That's $461,000 over the limit.

So, either 22 players will be kept on the roster with someone being moved or Andreas Lilja will start the season on long-term injured reserve.

Williams signing impact on cap

I don't have the salary number for Jason Williams yet, but it certainly sounds like his signing means that the Red Wings are going to carry 22 players again this season ... and that's a number that vice president and general manager Ken Holland thinks is ideal.

"We'll be a little over the cap heading into training camp," said Holland. "We have the flexibility of a couple of kids who can go up and down to Grand Rapids."

That means Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm. Of those two, Abdelkader is clearly the first to go on the Grand Rapids shuttle based on performance, experience and just plain weariness of waiting for a chance. All those factors favor Helm. Add in that Abdelkader's salary ($850,000 plus $140,000 possible bonuses) is higher than Helm's ($599,444) and Helm isn't going anywhere unless preseason performances change tilt heavily towards Abdelkader.

"I'm a big believer in the American Hockey League," said Holland. "The NHL is a man's league. It's the toughest league in the world. If you're not emotionally and physically ready, you're going to lose your confidence. Some people are ready (for the NHL) at 19 like Sidney Crosby. Some are ready at 21 or 22."

That said, Holland's ideal roster is this ... 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies.

The goalies are set with Chris Osgood and Jimmy Howard.

With Abdelkader, Helm, Jason Williams and Tuesday's signee, Patrick Eaves, the Red Wings have 13 forwards. Right now, either the Red Wings are keeping Abdlekader and Helm or adding another forward into the mix (either by signing or someone who's already in the system).

Or there's the option of the Wings going away from the 13-7-2 template short term, keeping just 12 forwards (putting Abdelkader in Grand Rapids) and keeping eight defensemen until a deal can be worked out for one blue-liner.

With eight NHL defensemen, everything hinges on Andreas Lilja's health. The big Swede is still experiencing headaches and might not be able to start the season on the active roster. If that's the case, Lilja and his $1.25 million contract will be off the books and on long-term injured reserve.

If Lilja can play, then either Brett Lebda ($650,000) or Derek Meech ($483,333) might be moved.

"If Lilja's healthy, we're not going to carry eight defensemen," said Holland. "We want to go to camp and have competition for jobs. That's going to be sorted out in training camp. If we get good luck with injuries, I believe we've got the potential of having a team that can contend with any team in our division and compete for the West(ern Conference)."

Williams back in Hockeytown

Jason Williams is back. The former Red Wing is a current Wing, signing a one-year contract today. The right-handed shooting forward gives Detroit 13 forwards. Williams has played the point on the power play under Coach Mike Babcock and might resume that role with Mikael Samuelsson having left for Vancouver.

"He's somebody we've had before," said Detroit vice president and general manager Ken Holland. "We know the player. We know the person. We lost 90 goals (to free agency) and we're looking to replace some of that. We're hoping Jason can get 15-20 goals. Maybe he can get more."

Of Williams being dealt two years ago at the trade deadline for Kyle Calder, Holland said: "Of course he was disappointed. We didn't trade Jason away because of his character. We tried to get a little grittier, a little more experienced."

Here's the team's press release ...

Detroit... The Detroit Red Wings announced today that the club has signed free agent forward Jason Williams to a one-year contract. In accordance with team policy, additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Williams, 28, was originally signed by Detroit as a free agent on September 18, 2000. In 233 games with the Red Wings between 2000-01 and 2006-07, he posted 49 goals and 67 assists for 116 points. The London, Ontario native enjoyed his best season as a professional with Detroit in 2005-06, finishing with career highs in goals (21), assists (37) and points (58).

Williams played in 80 games last season for the Atlanta Thrashers (41 games played) and the Columbus Blue Jackets (39). He finished the season with 19 goals and 28 assists for 47 points. In 376 career NHL games, Williams has 205 points (85-120—205). He also played 128 games for the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks of the American Hockey League in 2000-01 and 2001-02 under the direction of current Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Wings' cap update

After the signing of Patrick Eaves, the Red Wings have approximately $55.62 million tied up in 22 players. That leaves $1.18 million left to bring in another forward and leave some wiggle room under the cap.

This 22-man roster includes Justin Abdelkader, Ville Leino and Darren Helm and eight defensemen.

Red Wings sign Eaves

UPDATE: Eaves' salary is $500,000 ... which makes this a marvelous signing for the Wings. He's just 25 and has a lot of skill. I'm sure Eaves was looking for an opportunity to prove himself, wanted just a one-year minimum deal to get himself a bigger contract next season. For the Wings, they get skill and potential at a price that couldn't be lower.


Forward Patrick Eaves, 25, was signed by the Red Wings today to a one-year contract. Eaves was part of the trade this summer that sent defenseman Aaron Ward back to Carolina from Boston. Scheduled to make $1.1 million this season, Eaves was immediately bought out by the Bruins, making him a free agent.

Eaves' Red Wings contract is a one-way deal worth less than $1 million.

"There are a few guys left out there," said Detroit vice president and assistant general manager Jim Nill. "We're just trying to fill in the holes. In the salary-cap era, there's no reason to overpay for someone, even if you like them. If somebody is willing to come in for the money, we'll sign them."

Eaves started his pro career with a bang after being a Hobey Baker finalist at Boston College. He scored 20 goals with Ottawa as a 21-year-old rookie in 2005-06. Since then, however, his offensive production has shrunk. Eaves scored 14 goals in his sophomore season, then five, then six last winter. Eaves' ice time peaked at 12:46 in his third season. Least winter with Carolina, Eaves earned just 11:15 of ice time per game.

"He was looking for an opportunity," said Detroit vice president and general manager Ken Holland. "We've had some success with players coming into here who were looking for an opportunity. Everybody hopes you can get a Dan Cleary, but first things first. He's a player that fits our style. He's got skill. We've got a comfortable environment in our locker room that has been a good fit for other players looking for an opportunity."

Eaves was originally selected in the first round (29th overall) by the Ottawa Senators in the 2003 Entry Draft.

"It's kind of a Dan Cleary story," said Nill. "Starting when careers were on the bubble. He's here to be on our team. He's a guy with the skill set that he can play on any forward line. We hope he can rekindle his scoring touch with us."

Holland said that the Red Wings are looking for another forward to sign.