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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.

Skating in the Music City

Strap yourselves in, the Stanley Cup Playoffs start tonight! The Detroit Red Wings will take on the Predators in Nashville in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. This is the third time the two teams have met, with Detroit winning both series in six games (2004, 2008). Many hockey 'experts' are predicting a series win by the Predators, making the Red Wings an underdog, something that they aren't used to being and something they might not be.

Depleted Wings Beat Lowly Jackets

The Detroit Red Wings started slow and ended strong in a 5-2 victory over the last place Columbus Blue Jackets tonight.

Johan Franzen got his first point in five games on a first period goal, which was quickly followed by a tally by Rick Nash, who by the way still plays for the Jackets.

The Red Wings played a sloppy second period and the score remained 1-1. Although they were missing Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Kyle Quincey (Ericsson doesn't count), the players that replaced them were very good in this game, most notably Brendan Smith. More on that in a bit.

The Blue Jackets scored a shorthanded breakaway goal due to the fact that Jiri Hudler sucked tonight a...

MacDonald to Start in Phoenix

When Jimmy Howard broke his index finger of his blocker hand, Detroit fans panicked as if it was signs of the apocalypse. It might not be that bad. 

With a healthy lead in the Western Conference standings, a few losses won't drop them out of playoff contention. If the Wings are sitting anywhere in the top four and get home ice advantage it's a plus, especially because of their mind boggling 17 game home winning streak at the Joe Louis Arena. 

What should be concerning is the play in front of the goaltenders when someone other than Howard is in net. For example, Ty Conklin is playing like a bag of flaming dog feces. No one can help that and I didn't see th...

Tussle At the Top

The Red Wings will attempt to rise above .500 on the road and be the first to win a road game in their season series with Vancouver tonight. The teams have split the season series with both teams winning at home, Detroit 2-0 and Vancouver 4-2. Both teams are playing well, Detroit has won eight of nine and Vancouver was 7-2-2 in January. The Red Wings hold a 3 point lead over the Canucks for the top seed in the West. 

A win can put Detroit five points ahead of #2 Vancouver in the West and #4 Nashville for the Central lead. The Red Wings have also won three of their last five games at Rogers Arena. 

Todd Bertuzzi is the only Red Wing with multiple points against Vancou...

Hudler, Conklin 'Star' in Shootout Win

Jiri Hudler scored the tying goal in regulation and added the only marker in the shootout as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Dallas Stars 3-2 last night in Texas.

Ty Conklin stopped all three Dallas shooters to earn the victory in the battle of the back-up goaltenders. Richard Bachman started for the Stars and gave up an early goal from Tomas Holmstrom. Jan Mursak's hard work allowed him to send a pass into the low slot and Holmstrom teed up a cannon from the hashmarks that beat Bachman.

The Stars scored twice on some garbage Holmstrom-like goals by Brendan Morrow and Loui Eriksson.

Conklin made every stop after the first period, allowing Hudler's cross ice pass t...

Pavel's A Game-Time Decision for Phoenix

The Red Wings happily return to Joe Louis tonight to take on the Phoenix Coyotes. Detroit seeks their 13th straight home win but may have to play another game without their top forward. Datsyuk will take the warmups to see if his groin has improved enough to play. If not Jan Mursak will probably make his season debut after returning from his conditioning stint in Grand Rapids.

Detroit needs to rebound after an unsightly 5-1 loss to the New York Islanders. The Wings hope to repeat their previous performance against Phoenix this season. Detroit glided to a 5-2 victory at the JLA after a 5 goal first period. The Coyotes were playing their third game in four nights and tonight's is ...