Darroll Powe, Brendan Smith

Is Detroit’s defense… Improving?


Last night, the Detroit Red Wings earned their first victory of the year beating the Minnesota Wild 5-3.

While they still gave up three goals, is their defense actually getting better? Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News seems to think so although coach Mike Babcock wouldn’t come right out and say as much.

“We could us a few more guys back, and that would help us as well,” said coach Mike Babcock, referring to three defensemen, Jonathan Ericsson, Ian White and Carlo Colaiacovo, still out with injuries.

“As the game went on and we got better and the D got more comfortable, we were able to move the puck better,” Babcock said.

Improving the defense by being better with the puck offensively is nothing new to the Red Wings. Their “puck possession” style of play helps the team play defense by keeping their opponents from controlling play.  With both Niklas Kronwall and rookie Brendan Smith playing solidly in that fashion last night, maybe some Wings fans can come out off the ledge.

Then again, they’ve given up 13 goals in four games so there’s still a little bit more work to do.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?