As the headline suggests, the Detroit Red Wings are very unhealthy at the moment. As such, they’re being forced to play 25-year-old defenseman Brendan Smith at forward tonight for their game against Toronto.
“I’m always excited to play no matter where I’m playing,” Smith said, per the Wings’ Twitter feed. “But I think I can do it for sure.”
Smith — who, reportedly, hasn’t played up front since he was 15 or 16 — made the move to forward in the wake of an injury to Justin Abdelkader, who will miss the next two weeks with a leg laceration suffered versus Chicago on Sunday. The injury puts Abdelkader on the shelf alongside (deep breath) Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Dan Cleary, Darren Helm, Stephen Weiss, Mikael Samuelsson, Tomas Jurco and Joakim Andersson (phew).
Todd Bertuzzi, who has been dealing with a nagging lower-body injury, is questionable for tonight’s game as well.
So, you may be asking, what does that leave Detroit with at forward? Here’s our best guess:
Daniel Alfredsson-David Legwand-Johan Franzen
Gustav Nyquist-Riley Sheahan-Tomas Tatar
Drew Miller-Luke Glendening-Bertuzzi (possibly Landon Ferraro)
Smith-Cory Emmerton-Teemu Pulkkinen
These projections, of course, are all subject to change. It would be foolish to rule out the possibility a piano falling on a Wings forward prior to puck drop.
Here’s a roundup of the latest goings on around the NHL…
Columbus recalls Erixon
Tim Erixon is once again back in Columbus. The Blue Jackets recalled the 22-year-old defenseman from AHL Springfield just days after sending him down. Erixon has played in just two games with the Blue Jackets this season. With Springfield he has 24 points in 27 games.
Emmerton clears waivers, sent to Grand Rapids
Red Wings forward Cory Emmerton made his way through waivers and his reward for that was a free trip to Grand Rapids. Emmerton had been out with an injured finger, but now that he’s healthy he had to go through waivers to be sent down. Considering Detroit’s injury problems this season, he might be back sooner than not.
Predators send down Moser, Sissons
The Nashville Predators sent down a pair of players to AHL Milwaukee. Forwards Simon Moser and Colton Sissons are headed back to the minors after a brief stay in the NHL.
Sissons played in three games and had one assists and Moser saw 10 minutes of action in the one game he played in and had no points. We’ll see more of Moser in Sochi as he’s a member of the Swiss Olympic team.
On the third night of the 2013-14 campaign, the NHL saw its first successful penalty shot.
Midway through the opening frame of the Boston-Tampa Bay game at TD Garden, B’s forward Chris Kelly broke free of Bolts’ defenseman Mark Barberio — a late addition to the lineup for the injured Sami Salo — and was hooked, earning himself his first career penalty shot.
Pretty sweet dangle here. Anders Lindback was soundly beaten…
The goal was Boston’s first successful penalty shot since Brad Marchand scored on one in March of 2013.
Kelly’s tally stood as the lone marker of the first period, as Boston went into the dressing room up 1-0.
Editor’s note: Worded the original headline and lead rather poorly — this, obviously, was the first successful penalty shot of the season. Both Detroit’s Cory Emmerton and Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds missed their chances.
The Detroit Red Wings officially welcomed themselves to the NHL’s new-look Eastern Conference on Wednesday night.
The Red Wings opened the season on home ice with a 2-1 win over the visiting Buffalo Sabres.
- The Red Wings didn’t need much in the way of scoring Wednesday. And their attack was relatively quick. The Wings got goals from Mikael Samuelsson and Pavel Datsyuk scored 36 seconds apart in the first period. Two goals, 36 seconds apart. Turns out hat’s all they needed.
- The Red Wings made their debut – a successful one – in the new Atlantic Division, after making the move in realignment from the Western Conference.
- Ryan Miller was the busier of the two goalies tonight. He was also quite good between the pipes, making 32 saves in a losing cause. He also denied Cory Emmerton on a short-handed penalty shot attempt in the second period.
- Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall, 32, played a game-high 25:41 and added an assist in the win.
Gustav Nyquist has become a victim of the numbers game.
On Monday, hours before NHL rosters were due, Detroit sent Nyquist to its AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids, ensuring the Swedish forward wouldn’t be with the Wings to open the 2013-14 campaign.
Nyquist, 24, was the last of Detroit’s RFAs to re-up with the club this summer, signing a two-year, $1.9 million extension in August. That came on the heels of a solid 2013 campaign, in which Nyquist scored six points in 22 regular season games and five in 14 playoff appearances.
Following Detroit’s loss to Chicago in the Western Conference semifinals, Nyquist went to Grand Rapids and helped the Griffins capture the Calder Cup.
Unfortunately, Detroit’s glut of forwards resulted in Nyquist being the odd man out this season.
The club put itself in a bit of a bind by signing Dan Cleary to an extension at the start of training camp, leaving itself with too many forwards and contracts. Because he was able to go to the AHL without having to clear waivers, Nyquist quickly became the logical choice to send packing.
Nyquist wasn’t the only player Detroit moved in an effort to get cap compliant. In an earlier transaction, Holland put another forward — Cory Emmerton, who appeared in all 48 games last season — on waivers.