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.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Red Wings' exhibition game today online

You can watch the Red Wings' final exhibition game at 1 p.m. today against Färjestad BK in Karlstad, Sweden, on The league web site will run a live stream of the game.

Detroit prospect Dick Axelsson (Detroit’s 2nd round pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft) plays for Färjestad BK. Hat Trick Dick. Great nickname.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Forsberg won't fit ... no kidding

A report in today says that the Red Wings have no interest in signing Peter Forsberg, who apparently is looking to make a comback. Detroit general manager Ken Holland told the Swedish news organization that "we have full team and no room in the salary cap." No kidding.

The aftonbladet report

Aftonbladet reports that Zetterberg feels better

Good news out of Sweden Monday ... says that Henrik Zetterberg tested his sore groin in practice and feels better, perhaps good enough to play in Wednesday's exhibition.

Zetterberg also said that he pretty certain that he'll be playing in the season-opener.

By the way, I'm reading way too many Swedish online news sources.

The aftonbladet report.

Here's a partial translation ...

After training on Monday he gave a positive response.

"I dared to take in pretty much on the ice and it felt much better now than it did last Saturday," said Zetterberg.

He thinks he can play on Wednesday and he says there is much to whether he will play this weekend.

"Of course, it is about how the groin will react after training on Tuesday. But as I feel now I'm playing Friday and Saturday in all cases," said Zetterberg.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ryno goes back to Sweden

Honest. You can't make this up.

After leaving the Grand Rapids Griffins in midseason in 2007-08, Johan Ryno returned to North America this fall to give it one more shot. After attending training camp and playing through the preseason, Ryno is now back in Sweden ... which has to pretty much end his chances with the Red Wings.

The 23-year-old, 6-foot-5 forward was Detroit's sixth choice (137th overall) in the 2005 draft.

Here's the report from

Roughly translated, it means that Ryno is on loan from the Red Wings to AIK. Here's some of the translation ...

Ryno returns to Sweden

Johan Ryno, 23, chose to be on loan from the Detroit Red Wings - again.

He continued the season in the AIK.

"Johan knows that he is some way to go to the NHL," said agent Peter Wallen.

"He can play on Wednesday if he goes into the team," says Peter Wallen.

Ryno belonged to Detroit in three years, but chose not to play a full season with Detroit or farms team Grand Rapids. He has requested to be loaned to Sweden and now has two seasons in succession belonged to AIK.

Former Wing Legace released by Atlanta

Manny Legace's 2006 playoffs with the Red Wings might be the final post-season games of his career.

Story on Atlanta cutting Legace

The 2002 Stanley Cup champ was Mike Babcock's top netminder when the coach came to Detroit.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Red Wings' roster down to 23 active

The Red Wings now have 23 active players and three on injured reserve after assigning seven players to Grand Rapids and releasing Brad May, who had to be released before he could sign a PTO (professional tryout) with the Griffins. Look for that to happen soon.

Johan Ryno, Mattias Ritola, Andy Delmore, Francis Pare, Logan Pyett, Jakub Kindl and Evan McGrath were all shipped to Grand Rapids after Sunday's preseason win over Pittsburgh. In addition, Darren Helm (shoulder) and Cory Emmerton (sore upper body) were placed on short-term injured reserve. Andreas Lilja is on long-term injured reserve.

That means that there were no roster surprises to open the season. Patrick Eaves and Justin Abdelkader are on the team, two of the 13 forwards. Derek Meech is one of seven active defensemen. Chris Osgood, Jimmy Howard and Daniel Larsson are the goalies.




Dandenault released by Sharks

It was just five years ago that Mathieu Dandenault was a Red Wing. The San Jose Sharks have released the 33-year-old who was in camp with them on a professional tryout. Will the swingman (D/F) find a way back in the league?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tatar signs three-year deal

Tomas Tatar obviously turned some heads this month. The 18-year-old Slovak, who was drafted in the second round in June, was signed by the Red Wings to a three-year entry-level contract, today. That's an unusual move for an organization that likes to bring its prospects along slowly.

Tatar will start in Grand Rapids. He could have either returned to Slovakia to play professionally there, or played for Plymouth of the Ontario Hockey League. The Red Wings wouldn't have needed to sign him to a contract if he went for either of the latter options.

The people I spoke with in Traverse City named Tatar first when listing who was impressive in the Red Wings' prospects camp earlier this month. At times, he needed instruction during drills, but when the scrimmages started at main camp, Tatar showed signs of being a special 18-year-old.

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

The Detroit Red Wings announced today that the club has signed forward Tomas Tatar to a three-year entry level deal. In accordance with team policy, additional terms of the deal were not disclosed. The team also announced that goaltender Jordan Pearce has been assigned to Detroit’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Tatar, 18, was Detroit’s second pick (second round, 60th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. The Ilava, Slovakia native appeared in two games for the Red Wings during the 2009 preseason.

Pearce, 22, was signed by Detroit to a two-year entry level deal on April 10, 2009. With the cut, Detroit’s active training camp roster stands at 38 players.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tatar to Griffins; Cloutier released

UPDATE: Also, goalie Dan Cloutier was released. He was in Detroit on a professional tryout.


Tomas Tatar, the Red Wings' second-round pick this June, will be playing in the American Hockey League this fall instead of the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League. Tatar was one of seven sent by Detroit to Grand Rapids today ... Travis Ehrhardt, Sergei Kolosov, Sebastien Piche, Jamie Tardif, Francis Lemieux and John Vigilante were the others.

Tatar, 18, could still wind up in juniors if he doesn't play more than nine professional games this season.

The Wings' roster is now at 39 players.

Here's the press release from the Griffins ...

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings on Thursday sent seven players to the Grand Rapids Griffins, their American Hockey League affiliate. The Wings assigned defensemen Travis Ehrhardt, Sergei Kolosov and Sebastien Piche, along with forwards Jamie Tardif and Tomas Tatar. Additionally, forwards Francis Lemieux and John Vigilante were released from their tryouts with Detroit and have joined the Griffins on AHL contracts.

Kolosov, Tardif and Lemieux all played for the Griffins last season, while Ehrhardt and Vigilante previously signed with Detroit and Grand Rapids, respectively.

Piche, 21, earned second-team all-star honors in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season, when his 23 goals and 72 points in 62 games for Rimouski led all league defensemen. He signed with the Red Wings as a free agent in March.

Tatar, 18, made a strong impression with the Red Wings in training camp after becoming Detroit’s second choice (60th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. The left wing played his first pro campaign in Slovakia last season, posting 15 points (7-8—15) in 48 games for Zvolen, and he led Slovakia’s World Junior Championship team with 11 points (7-4—11) in seven outings, helping his country to a surprising fourth-place finish in the tournament.

After completing their training camp at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena on Friday, the Griffins will stage their first Grand Rapids-area practice next Monday, Sept. 28 at 10:30 a.m. at Griff's IceHouse. They’ll have five days of preparation for their season opener next Saturday, Oct. 3 at Peoria, the first of five straight road games to begin the season.

The Griffins will make their Van Andel Arena debut on Friday, Oct. 23 against the Abbotsford Heat at 7 p.m., the start of an unprecedented three-game weekend to open their home schedule. Single-game tickets for all 40 home games are now on sale at all Star Tickets outlets, including the Zone and Meijer stores, or online through, while group, full-season and mini-plan ticket packages are available by calling the Griffins at (616) 774-4585.

Lidstrom player of decade

The Sporting News has named Nicklas Lidstrom its NHL player of the decade. No arguments here. It's interesting that Lidstrom wasn't once named TSN's player of the year during the decade, but that's Lidstrom ... consistently excellent.

The Sporting News story

Also earning recognition for the 2000s (or is that 00s) were the Red Wings as the top franchise, Mike Babcock as top coach and Ken Holland as top executive. J-S Giguere as second-team goalie ... hey, there's got to be something on the list to criticize.


F Joe Sakic

F Jaromir Jagr

F Jarome Iginla

D Nicklas Lidstrom

D Scott Niedermayer

G Martin Brodeur


F Sidney Crosby

F Vincent Lecavalier

F Alex Ovechkin

D Chris Pronger

D Zdeno Chara

G Jean-Sebastien Giguere


Athlete of the decade: Nicklas Lidstrom, Red Wings D, over Martin Brodeur, Devils G

Coach of the decade: Mike Babcock, Ducks/Red Wings

Team of the decade: Red Wings

Game of the decade: Game 4, 2000 Eastern Conference semifinals, Flyers 2, Penguins 1 in 5 OTs

All-decade first team: F Joe Sakic, Jaromir Jagr and Jarome Iginla; D Nicklas Lidstrom and Scott Niedermayer; G Martin Brodeur

All-decade second team: F Sidney Crosby, Vincent Lecavalier and Alex Ovechkin; D Chris Pronger and Zdeno Chara; G Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Executive of the decade: Ken Holland, Red Wings GM and executive VP

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More on May

DETROIT – Brad May spent this past summer wondering if he’d ever get a 1,002nd chance.

The veteran of 1,001 regular-season NHL games was without a team, without a training camp, without a contract through July, August and most of September. This morning, however, May was skating at Joe Louis Arena with the Grand Rapids Griffins, brought into town by the Detroit Red Wings on a professional tryout.

If all goes well for the 37-year-old forward, he’ll wind up with a contract and a spot on either the Griffins or Red Wings roster.

May is not going with the Red Wings when they leave for Sweden, Sunday, according to Detroit vice president and general manager Ken Holland, May will not be offered a contract before then.

May can play for Grand Rapids without signing a contract, getting new 25-game PTOs (professional tryouts). But before he can play an NHL regular-season game, May needs a contract.

“I’ve been through a lot of different things, but I’ve never had a summer like this,” said May. “The phone wasn’t ringing off the hook. I wasn’t waking up to messages every day. This happened and it was right. Now it’s work. It’s out of my control. That’s what you have to do as a player, just show everything you have.”

May is a left-handed shooting left wing who broke into the NHL as a 20-year-old with Buffalo back in 1991. May is perhaps most famous for scoring the Adams Division semifinal series clinching goal in overtime against Boston in 1993, a goal made legendary by broadcaster Rick Jeanneret’s “MAY DAY” call.

The 14th overall pick in the 1990 draft (there were just 21 teams in the league then), May was selected the same summer that the Red Wings took Keith Primeau third overall and Slava Kozlov in the third round.

May lasted 1,001 regular-season games by showing third- and fourth-line ability and a top-notch toughness. He has 287 career points and 2,182 career penalty minutes. May has 142 career fighting majors, including seven last season in a year he split between Anaheim and Toronto.

“That’s who and what he is,” said Holland. “He brings a physical element and that’s something we don’t have. Now, he’s 37 and he wants to see what he’s got left and so do we.”

May has average 9:50 of ice time per game since the 1998-99 season. His time was down to less than seven minutes per game over the past two years.

The pinnacle of May’s career was in 2007 when he won the Stanley Cup with Anaheim after being traded from Colorado late in the season.

“First of all, I want to play; I want to make this team,” said May. “The second thing is to be part of this tradition, a winner. I had a great opportunity to win a few years ago and it’s infectious. You want to do it again.”

May learned of the tryout opportunity with the Red Wings on Monday. His family had moved to Toronto from California at the beginning of September – just three days before his 13-year-old son Tyler and 10-year-old daughter Samantha started school.

Having a stable home life was the reason that May didn’t consider playing in Europe this season, cutting his chances to return as a player.

“At this stage, school and family and friends … we made a big enough move back to Toronto,” said May. “It’s unbelievable. We’ve lived in four or five houses in the last three years. My family’s set. Now it’s just cheer Dad on. ... My son loves hockey. They said, ‘Keep going.’ They’re proud of me. Those days that you were beaten up or emotionally drained, that helped.”

So May skated on his own this summer without knowing if he’d have a 20th season as a professional hockey player. He had several discussions with Toronto general manager Brian Burke – May and Burke have been together with three NHL teams – but nothing close to an offer to return to the Maple Leafs as a player, according to May.

Yesterday, May was on the ice at Joe Louis Arena with the Griffins on a day that the Red Wings were given off.

May is working to try to fill the role served by Aaron Downey previously, adding physical toughness to a Red Wings team that consistently is last in the NHL in fighting majors.

More than that, May is working to extend a playing career that has been more than gratifying.

“It’s not about anything else other than I love it,” said May. “I just love it.”

Brad May at JLA

Brad May ... he of the famous MAYDAY call on Buffalo TV ... is skating with the Grand Rapids Griffins right now at Joe Louis Arena. May was brought in by the Red Wings on a PTO (tryout).

Friday, September 18, 2009

Coetzee signs

Willie Coetzee obviously made a good impression in training camp. Landon Ferraro's junior teammate was signed to a three-year contract by the Red Wings, today.

The team's press release ...

Detroit, MI... The Detroit Red Wings announced today that the club has signed forward Willie Coetzee to a three-year entry level contract. In accordance with team policy, additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Coetzee, 18, was invited to training camp on an amateur tryout. The Maple Ridge, British Columbia native spent last season playing with fellow Red Wings prospect Landon Ferraro (second round, 2009 NHL Entry Draft) on the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. He finished the season with 18 goals and 24 assists for 42 points in 72 games. He also posted 42 penalty minutes.

Monday, September 14, 2009


The lineups for Tuesday's Red/White game were just released. Here are the players who won't be with the club after tonight ...

Landon Ferraro
Willie Coetzee
Brent Raedeke
Austin Fyten
Stephen Johnston
Mitchell Callahan
Andrej Nestracil

Brian Lahsoff

Chris Whitley

Whitley and Fyten were released. The other seven were assigned to their junior clubs. Tomas Tatar is the lone junior-eligible who remains.

"He (Tatar) is a good junior kid," said Detroit coach Mike Babcock. "I don’t know if we’re going to play him in junior or the American League. He should probably play in junior and really light it up. He looks like he’s got a real nose for the net."

Tatar said that he will play in North America this season and not return to his native Slovakia.

There are now 36 players on the roster including injured Darren Helm and Andreas Lilja.

Helm out with sprain

Darren Helm sprained his right acromioclavicular joint (where collar bone connects to shoulder) during a drill at training camp today. The Red Wing center is out 2-4 weeks. He'll be off the ice the next few days. Helm said that he's hopeful that he'll be on the ice for the start of the regular season.

Helm hurt himself when he went head-first into the boards after getting caught up in defenseman Logan Pyett's stick.

"Especially right now, I'm coming here trying to prove that I belong (with the Red Wings) all year ... It's especially frustrating," said Helm. "Hopefully things heal up as quickly as possible."

"I was definitely looking forward to coming in here, playing well, playing some exhibition games, proving that Detroit and everyone else that I belong here," said Helm. "I'll just do what I can to make sure I'm ready."

Two years ago, Helm strained the joint at the other end of his collar bone, the coracoclavicular.

"Hopefully, this won't take as long as the last time did," said Helm.

“It’s disappointing,” said Detroit coach Mike Babcock. “We’re real fortunate it isn’t worse than it is. More opportunity for someone else in exhibition.”

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Is Kindl following Ericsson’s footsteps

TRAVERSE CITY – Jonathan Ericsson is one part defenseman, one part seer. At least that’s how it look early last season to Jakub Kindl.

Ericsson and Kindl were both defensemen with the Grand Rapids Griffins and two of the Detroit Red Wings’ highest regarded prospects. Kindl was coming off a rookie season as a professional that wasn’t very good. Ericsson was coming off his second season as a pro … one during which he was named an American Hockey League all-star.

“You’re going to have the same kind of year I had last year,” Ericsson told Kindl. “I can see that in you.”

Ericsson was prophetic.

Teammates with the Griffins last winter, it was Kindl who played in the AHL all-star game, not Ericsson.

Ericsson’s career by no means went backwards. The big blue-liner got a late-season call-up from the Red Wings and never returned to the minors. He played 19 regular-season games, then 22 more in the playoffs. Ericsson was on the ice in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final and there’s not much more praise that an organization can give than that.

Now at Red Wings’ training camp together, Kindl is hoping to follow Ericsson’s path some more.

Ericsson is slated to be with the Red Wings at the start of the season. Kindl is likely heading to Grand Rapids as the ninth defenseman on the Detroit depth chart.

“I would rather and I think they would rather too that I play 20 minutes in Grand Rapids than be one of eight defensemen in the NHL and hardly play,” said Kindl.

That was the logic used in keeping Ericsson in Grand Rapids for three seasons. That’s likely Kindl’s fate for the better part of this season.

“He knows what it’s all about,” said Ericsson. “It took me a few seasons. I think he would like to follow the same steps that I did. He knows that they will be patient, give him time to be really ready when he gets the call.”

One difference between Kindl and Ericsson is this. Ericsson came to the Red Wings as the final pick of the entire NHL draft. Kindl was the 19th overall selection in the 2005 NHL draft.

That makes Kindl the Red Wings’ highest draft pick in the past 18 years. You have to go back to Martin Lapointe being taken 10th overall in 1991 to find a higher-drafted Red Wing.

“He certainly has a great chance,” said Jiri Fischer, the Red Wings’ director of player development, who was the 25th overall pick in 1998. “In our organization, everybody has to earn the chance, then everybody has to grab the chance. I think he’s on the right path, the way he’s been working and progressing. I’m hoping he’s going to have a good camp and good season as he did last year, as long as he keeps working.”

Kindl has always been an impact offensive defenseman. He generated offense as a youth in his native Czech Republic and in juniors with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League.

His rookie season with Grand Rapids, however, Kindl found that defensive lapses meant something different in the pro game.

“In juniors, you can have a few turnovers and nothing happens,” said Kindl. “In pro, you do that it ends up in your own net.”

That changed in Kindl’s sophomore season.

“He made tremendous progress,” said Fischer. “Confidence wise I think he really established himself in the American Hockey League. For young defensemen, we look for steadiness, no turnovers, leadership. He’s very offensively gifted, very smart.”

Despite his tools and his all-star season, Kindl still hasn’t played in the NHL. That makes him one of six of the 30 first-rounders of 2005 – a draft that produced Sidney Crosby, Carey Price and Anze Kopitar — that hasn’t debuted in the NHL.

Kindl has watched players taken after him, like Andrew Cogliano of Edmonton, Matt Niskanen of Dallas and Marc-Edouard Vlasic of San Jose, all get significant opportunities. One difference, however, between those players and Kindl is that they’re not playing the NHL’s most successful organization.

“There were guys drafted behind me who have had a chance to play in the NHL,” said Kindl. “But none of them were lucky enough to wear a Red Wings uniform. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

The Red Wings signed Kindl for three seasons after this to a one-way contract, just as Ericsson got a one-way deal before last season. And just as Ericsson did at training camp last fall, Kindl skated as Nicklas Lidstrom’s partner during the first day of drills.

“Of course my dream was to make it to the NHL,” said Kindl. “It didn’t happen the first year or the second year. Now this is my third year as a pro. Jonathan Ericsson made the team finally after playing three years in Grand Rapids. Hopefully after him, it will be my chance. I have to be patient.”

No contact for Lilja

Andreas Lilja was at the rink this morning for the first on-ice day of the Red Wings' training camp, but not with skates on. Lilja hasn't been cleared for contact drills. He can skate on his own and work out in the weight room, but can't participate in drills or scrimmages.

Lilja was sidelined with headaches after losing a fight to Shea Weber, Feb. 28.

"I’m going to skate; It’s just that I’m not going to skate with contact," said Lilja. "It’s different now in camp (than working out with teammates in the summer). Everybody’s trying to make spots. They’re running around."

Lilja's status is the biggest piece of the Red Wings' roster puzzle for the start of the season. If Lilja is still on the shelf, then his $1.25 million salary can go to long-term injured reserve and not on the team's salary cap. If Lilja is healthy, however, then the Wings will be tight to the cap even with 22 players on their active roster.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Hudler helps Czechs

Jiri Hudler netted a hat trick in the Czechs' title-game win over Russia in the Czech Hockey Games.

Link to TSN story on Czech games