Tag: Daniel Alfredsson

Gustav Nyquist

Red Wings gut out regulation win against Maple Leafs


With key players including Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg on the mend for what could be the rest of the stretch run, the Detroit Red Wings will go as far as lesser known players such as Gustav Nyquist will take them.

He took them far enough to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Tuesday, and almost as importantly, he helped Detroit do so in regulation.

That’s not to say that the Red Wings are running on the energy of players anonymous to casual fans alone; Jimmy Howard played a strong game by stopping 31 out of 33 shots while Daniel Alfredsson notched the game-winner. Still, the Red Wings’ staggering playoff streak may come down to guys who would normally play a far smaller role.

(Some might see it as a blessing in disguise for a team heavy on veterans, but those claims may be fainter if Detroit misses the playoffs.)

It doesn’t hurt Detroit’s odds that teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets and Ottawa Senators lost tonight, either.

From Toronto’s perspective, they’ve now lost two in a row and fall below .500 on the road (14-15-7 in that regard). They have 80 points in 70 games played, leaving them vulnerable against Detroit and other bubble teams.

The Maple Leafs probably want Jonathan Bernier back as soon as possible; bad luck or not, James Reimer now only has one win in his last seven appearances (1-4-0 with two non-decisions).

Smith to play forward for injury-ravaged Detroit, you could be next

Brendan Smith

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.

Spezza admits ‘picture is not looking good’ for Sens’ playoff chances


After a rough weekend in which they only managed to secure one point from two games, the Ottawa Senators know their playoff outlook appears grim.

Just ask the captain.

“The picture is not looking good right now,” Jason Spezza said, per the Ottawa Citizen. “So we can’t look at it.”

Ottawa came into this weekend essentially needing all four points, but saw those hopes dashed after blowing a 4-1 lead over Montreal with less than four minutes remaining on Saturday — eventually losing in OT — then losing against Colorado on Sunday despite outshooting the Avs 39-22.

As such, the Sens are now in serious danger of missing the postseason for just the third time in the last 17 seasons — and missing would be a major disappointment. Losing long-serving captain Daniel Alfredsson to free agency in the summer was a potential foreshadow for struggle, and the team looked shaky out of the gate by going just 10-11-4 over its first 25 games of the season.

That said, Ottawa did rally to go into the Olympic break in reasonably good shape — 26-22-11 — and ID’d itself as a buyer at the trade deadline, sending a pair of picks to Edmonton in exchange for Ales Hemsky.

Looking ahead, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of reaction owner Eugene Melnyk will receive should the Sens miss the playoffs. He’s been highly-criticized throughout the year for both how the Alfredsson situation played out, and the club’s internal salary cap — Ottawa is operating at around $56 million, and part of the Hemsky deal was contingent upon Edmonton picking up some of his salary.

That review might be a bit premature, though, because it’s not like the Sens are throwing in the towel on this season just yet.

“We’ve got to win games,” Spezza said. “We’ve got 15 games left. We’re not going to throw in the towel right now. We’ve still got to play the games. We’re frustrated with this weekend, especially because we knew it was an important weekend.

“But we’ve got 15 games left. Let’s see if we can put something together here. I’ve seen it done before.”

Canucks captain Sedin to play 1,000th game tonight

Henrik Sedin

Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin will set a career milestone tonight in Winnipeg, playing in game No. 1,000 of his impressive NHL career.

Sedin, 33, will become just the 10th Swedish player in NHL history to attain the feat, joining the likes of Nicklas Lidstrom, Mats Sundin, Daniel Alfredsson, Borje Salming, Markus Naslund, Calle Johansson, Ulf Samuelsson, Tomas Holmstrom and Fredrik Olausson.

The third overall pick at the ’99 NHL Entry Draft — twin brother Daniel went second — Henrik has spent his entire 14-year career in Vancouver and has emerged as one of the greatest players in franchise history, becoming the first-ever Canuck to capture a Hart Trophy (in 2011) while emerging as the club’s all-time leading scorer.

Unfortunately for Henrik, this accomplishment comes during one of the toughest spells of his career. The Canucks are in free-fall mode, winning just four times in their last 17 games and dropping to 10th in the Western Conference as a result.

“Right now, it’s tough to think about it as a celebration, looking at where we are in the standings and looking at what we’re going through,” Sedin told the Globe and Mail. “Maybe after the season or maybe further down the line.

“It’s a different kind of feeling than it would have been (if we were) winning (consistently) or going into the final stretch knowing you were going to be in the playoffs.”

Sens GM shoots down Spezza trade rumors


Bryan Murray has quieted the Jason Spezza rumblings.

“I think the thing that really bothers me — I’ve got all kinds of calls and texts and questions on that now — some guy that I don’t know, put it out on Twitter that we’re shopping Jason Spezza, and everybody in the world now, every other media guy, grabs that and goes … I had one guy ask me if I wanted to comment to quiet the rumors, I said no,” Murray explained, per the Ottawa Citizen.

“I’m not going to … the more I say about it, the more it’s going to be played over and over the next couple days, so I’ll just say that we have not talked, at this point in time, about Jason Spezza.”

Murray was speaking in response to a variety of reports — including one from TSN’s Darren Dreger — which suggested Ottawa had been exploring interest in the 30-year-old.

Spezza, who inherited the Sens’ captaincy from Daniel Alfredsson this year, has rebounded from an injury-plagued ’13 campaign to post solid numbers (15 goals, 46 points in 56 games.) He’d be a significant offensive pickup for any playoff-bound team but, that said, his minus-24 rating is one of the worst in the league — assuming you care about plus-minus.

Spezza deal or no Spezza deal, Ottawa is definitely a team to watch as Wednesday’s deadline draws near. Veteran d-man Chris Phillips is a pending UFA and there hasn’t been much to report about a new contract, while fellow veteran UFAs Milan Michalek and Joe Corvo have uncertain futures as well.

It’s also still unclear what the Sens plan to do at the deadline — they’re right in the thick of the playoff chase, but would have to leapfrog three teams just to get into the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.