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Will Detroit Sink or Swim in Lockout Shortened Season?

With the NHL lockout over, NHL players that were playing overseas are flooding back to North America in anticipation of NHL training camp starting in a few days. That includes a few Detroit Red Wings players.

Henrik Zetterberg, Valterri Filppula, Pavel Datsyuk, Drew Miller, Jan Mursak, Damien Brunner, Jakub Kindl and Cory Emmerton were some of the Detroit players that played in Europe while the lockout was in progress, and almost all of them have returned to Detroit.

Datsyuk is staying in the KHL until he and his agent know when training camp is starting, and the status of Damien Brunner is unknown. He is currently playing for Zug in the Swiss league, but will likely end up in training camp in Detroit.

Too Many Forwards, What Does It Mean?

Something has got to give. The Detroit Red Wings made four signings today, two of which are forwards. This is a strange predicament the Red Wings are in. They have $17 million left in cap space and are still in on the Zach Parise sweepstakes.

Parise will likely make a decision by tomorrow, but with Jiri Hudler out of the picture, the Red Wings still need a top line winger, which might come in the form of Parise or Alex Semin (or possibly Hudler, although unlikely).

The Jordin Tootoo and Mikael Samuelsson signings give Detroit 16 forwards under contract, not including Justin Abdelkader, who is an RFA, or Tomas Holmstrom, who is UFA.

In a league where you usually dress 12 forwards a game, 16 is too many. Factor in a spot for Abdelkader and a Parise type player, and that's 18 forward spots. What is Ken Holland going to do?

Grading The Wings

It's the time of year where General Managers that are not in the playoffs assess their team's talent and see what needs to be done. Writers can do that too! The Checking Line - Red Wings Edition team of Kyle Busch, Rachel Bellono, Eric Huffman, A.K Bennett, Robert D'Aurelio and Justin Doddie gave every player on the Red Wings a grade and what they thought of their seasons

Gill Out, Black Aces Recalled

Hal Gill will be out of the Nashville Predators lineup for Game Four, still battling a lower body injury. The hulking 6 foot 7 Gill would give the Wings fits, blocking even MORE shots than they already have throughout the series.

The Red Wings have also toyed with moving Dan Cleary up to the top line, for what reason? I don't know. Cleary is a third line player at best. He doesn't score and isn't a setup man, so having him up on the top line while Gustav Nyquist rots with Cory Emmerton and Tomas Holmstrom makes no sense to me. Speaking of rookies, elevel Grand Rapids Griffins were called up to be Black Aces for the playoffs.

Datsyuk to Miss Two Weeks

Via NHL.com:

Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk, currently ninth in the League in scoring, reportedly will miss the next two weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his knee Tuesday morning.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock updated Datsyuk's status following his team's practice in Chicago in preparation for Tuesday's game against Blackhawks (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN), who will be without captain Jonathan Toews due to an upper-body injury.

"Eve...

Western Trip Begins in Edmonton

The Red Wings head out West for a three game Canadian road trip starting in Edmonton tonight. The Red Wings are 7-8 away from home this year, but they have had success against their Western Canadian foes. Just this year, Detroit shutout the young Oilers 3-0 on goals by Drew Miller, Valtteri Filppula and Niklas Kronwall.

After Edmonton, the Wings visit Vancouver on Wednesday and Calgary on Thursday.

Detroit is coming off an impressive 8-2 demolition of the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. 

The Oilers have a ton of young talent, especially their top line of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. Edmonton has been winless in eight of its last ten games.

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Detroit Demolishes Kings

When TCL Predators writer Greg Duley stated that the Red Wings would come back from their 4-3 loss to Nashville with a better effort, he wasn't kidding.

The Wings blasted the Los Angeles Kings 8-2 in a game where they were outshot. The scoring basically came from the bottom two lines. Cory Emmerton had two goals as did Drew Miller. Niklas Kronwall, Brad Stuart, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg also scored for the Red Wings and Dan Cleary had three assists. Jimmy Howard picked up his 19th win of the year.

Detroit has won 10 straight games at Joe Louis Arena. 

Having production from everyone on the team is a great way for teams to continue streaks. With Detroit...

5 Moves to Make a Good Detroit Team Better

The Detroit Red Wings are rolling through this season, on pace for yet another 100+ point season and a 21st consecutive playoff appearance. While they already have a good team in front of them, these five changes could make them into an even better one, and all of them are plausible situations.

1. TRADE FOR A GOAL SCORER

There are not a lot of pure goal scorers on the Wings. Henrik Zetterberg hasn't been a huge threat and Pavel Datsyuk is basically a great set-up man. Johan Franzen is the closest thing to it, but he is inconsistent. A player like Zach Parise is someone who can score every night and would benefit from a move to Detroit. Look for fireworks at the trade deadl...

Filppula Returns Against Coyotes

 

Valterri Filppula will return from a two game absence because of a cut on his ankle in tonight’s tilt against the Phoenix Coyotes. Apparently he will be wearing Kevlar socks to decrease his chances of being cut again.

Detroit will have only one line-up change tonight, as Filppula is in and Cory Emmerton will sit. Chris Conner will make his third straight appearance tonight, and Jimmy Howard will start in net.

This is the first of four games between the two teams, who have met in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs each of the past two postseasons -- with the Red Wings winning both, including a four-game sweep last spring.

Phoenix is in a tough ...

Detroit's Cupboard Well Stocked for Future

If anyone is wondering how the Detroit Red Wings continue to have success, making the playoffs year after year and still being a contender, one of the most important things to think about is their prospects. It is the reason that they are the consistent team that they are. Some teams like to load up on free agents, make monster trades and rush their prospects in, but Detroit has the best system in the game and possibly sports.

Of course, because of their success, Detroit has the option of leaving players in junior or the minors for a longer time than most. When the time comes, there are always a couple holes to fill and they are never shoved into a huge role that would overwhelm the...