Month: May 2014

Top 9: Worst Plus/Minus in Red Wings History

On Monday, the Washington Capitals hired Barry Trotz to become their next coach after he was dismissed from Nashville earlier this spring. I began a conversation with another blogger about whether Trotz could steer the Caps out of dark waters and right the Alex Ovechkin ship. Ovechkin led(?) the league with the worst plus/minus rating of any player at -35 last season. It made me wonder who on the Red Wings had terrible plus/minus numbers in their career.

The plus/minus statistic was not officially compiled by the NHL until the 1967-68 season, so players like Ted Lindsay and Jack Stewart could never be on any Red Wings’ plus/minus list for better or worse. Luckily, this statistic was adopted just in time for the Red Wings’ dark ages: the 1970s. Let’s take a look at the Top (Bottom) 9: Worst Plus/Minus Ratios accumulated in players’ stints in Detroit.

9. John Ogrodnick: -74

John Ogrodnick

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings

8. Randy Ladouceur: -77

Randy Ladouceur

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings

7.Dennis Polonich: -78

Dennis Polonich

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings

6. Vaclav Nedomansky: -85

Vaclav Nedomansky

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings

5. Jean Hamel: -92

Jean Hamel

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings

4. John Barrett: -114

John Barrett

Photo courtesy of eBay

3. Willie Huber: -129

Willie Huber

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings

2. Reed Larson: -135

Reed Larson

Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Wild

1. Nick Libett: -150

Nick Libett

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings

 

Thank you to NHL.com for the statistical report.

Red Wings Who Have Switched Positions

Sergei Fedorov

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

While watching the Tigers get pummeled by the Rangers last week, I found a bright spot in the game when manager Brad Ausmus sent Danny Worth to the mound to pitch the ninth inning. Worth, who normally plays shortstop, enjoyed being on the mound for a change and even struck out a couple of batters in his first appearance.

After seeing that feat, I remembered how Scotty Bowman would shift Sergei Fedorov back to defense for a game. Instead of just playing the point on the power play, Fedorov took regular shifts as a defenseman because of his great hockey sense and two-way game.

It made me wonder – who else in Red Wings history switched positions?

Some players, like Daniel Alfredsson, move to the point for the power play. These players below switched for entire games or more. Like Fedorov, they helped the team however they could.

Mathieu Dandenault

In his first few seasons, Mathieu Dandenault was primarily a forward after being drafted as a right winger. He continued to play wing until the 2001-02 season, when he was partnered with Steve Duchesne on defense. Before switching to defense that season, Dandenault played on a line with Boyd Devereaux and Pavel Datsyuk and had a part in Datsyuk’s first NHL goal.

Chris Chelios

Yeah, Cheli even played some forward. For a few games during his last season with the Red Wings, the team was without a few forwards and defenseman to spare. Due to salary cap complications, the Red Wings could not call up any forwards, so Chelios volunteered to play forward. Brendan Smith did a similar thing this season as well.

Red Kelly

Kelly was one of the key factors of the Red Wings’ cup runs in the 1950’s. It wasn’t only Gordie Howe and the Production Line creating the offense. Kelly was a Norris Trophy-winning defenseman that regularly moved up to forward when the team had injured forwards. His puck-moving skills helped the team create offense and win games. Once he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Kelly became a full-time center.

Red Wings Players Primed for a Bounce Back Season

Jimmy Howard

Photo courtesy of Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

This past season was a trying one for the Red Wings. Injuries and poor performances by some only allowed the Wings to finish 8th in the conference after joining the East this season. The players poised for a comeback season next season did not necessarily have a bad season, but have room to improve during the 2014-15 season. Heeeeeeere they are:

1. Pavel Datsyuk

WHAT? Yeah, Pav did not have a great season because of injuries. He great well while in the lineup, but could not achieve consistently. We are all hoping Datsyuk can stay healthy next season and return to form. A little rest in the offseason would be great for his ailing knee.

2. Jakub Kindl

This summer and potentially next season is make or break for Kindl. His $2.4 million cap hit may be deemed too high for someone who was scratched in Game 5 of the first round. Kindl is still young and can grow with time, but youngsters like Alexey Marchenko, Ryan Sproul, and Xavier Ouellet will be pushing for time. IF Kindl stays beyond the summer, he must have a great campaign to ensure his future with the team. He won’t be bought out, but would be traded in order for younger players to be on the roster. I think he will bounce back and will solidify his standing with the team.

3. Jimmy Howard

Howard missed time with injuries and was inconsistent during the regular season. Additionally, he missed time in the playoffs with the flu. The Red Wings paid him to perform like an all-star goalie, but he fell short this year. I think Howard will work hard this summer and come to camp ready to dominate. Not only will Howard bounce back next year, but will make the all-star team as well.

Other candidates: Joakim Andersson and Justin Abdelkader

Top 9: Top Scoring Russians to Wear the Winged Wheel

In the mid- to late-90’s, the Russian Five dominated the NHL with their playmaking ability. Additionally, while two of those Russian Five members were playing their final few seasons with the Red Wings, another group joined them. Some thrived, some got traded.

The Red Wings were one of the first teams to drafted Russian players from the former Soviet Union. Players like Sergei Fedorov had to cross borders, sneak away from their team, and meet with NHL officials in secrecy to avoid severe punishments from the Soviets. All of that in order to achieve his dream of playing hockey in the best league in the world. Fedorov and others from Russia starred for the Red Wings are were able to put up some great numbers. You don’t really notice that with the talent packed into those six players.Take a look at the Top 9 Russian players in Red Wings’ history.

Side note: apart from the Russian Five and Pavel Datsyuk, the Red Wings really haven’t had that many Russian players.

9. Maxim Kuznetsov– 9 points in 117 games.

Maxim Kuznetsov

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings

8. Yuri Butsayev– 10 points in 75 games.

Yuri Butsayev

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings

7. Danny Markov– 16 points in 66 games.

Danny Markov

Photo courtesy of Dave Sandford/Getty Images

6. Slava Fetisov– 98 points in 205 games.

Slava Fetisov

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings

5. Vladimir Konstantinov– 175 points in 446 games.

Vladimir Konstantinov

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings

4. Igor Larionov– 397 points in 539 games.

Igor Larionov

Photo courtesy of the Hockey Hall of Fame

3. Slava Kozlov– 415 points in 607 games.

Slava Kozlov

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings

2. Pavel Datsyuk- 804 points in 824 games.

Pavel Datsyuk

Photo courtesy of Mark Mauno

1. Sergei Fedorov 954 points in 908 games.

Sergei Fedorov

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Do the Red Wings Need Size in the Lineup?

Bob Probert

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings

It was apparent against the big, bad Bruins that the Red Wings were lacking in the physicality department. Milan Lucic, Zdeno Chara, and Kevan Miller pushed the Red Wings around and did not allow them to achieve consistency in their speed game. Since the Red Wings couldn’t play their game, they could not generate optimal scoring opportunities. Tuukka Rask is a world-class goalie and stopped everything the Bruins kept to the outside with ease.

Look at the teams still in the playoffs. Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Montreal all have complete teams with size and toughness to keep things in check. In Sunday’s Western Conference matchup, players like Brandon Bollig, Matt Greene, and Bryan Bickell keep everyone in line on the ice. There is no one player dominating or roughing everyone up. Those players police the ice, but have skills other than toughness.

Justin Abdelkader has similar attributes for the Red Wings, but no one fears him on the ice. He hits and fights more out of necessity than desire. Other than Abdelkader, the Red Wings really don’t have players that grind and wear down opponents physically, much like how the Grind Line was so effective for the Red Wings from 1997 to 2002.

Should the Red Wings invest in players to fill that role? Jonathan Ericsson, Drew Miler, and Brian Lashoff can be physical, but they don’t scare anyone. In the past, guys like Bob Probert, Darren McCarty, and Kirk Maltby created room for other players and lines to generate scoring chances. I think they need one more player to really wear down some teams.

Imagine an energy line of Darren Helm at center, Justin Abdelkader on a wing, and another player with grit. They could rough up a team with their up-tempo, physical style and create room for the other lines to score. Steve Downie, Steve Ott, and Brian Boyle cold all fill this role and contribute on the penalty kill if called upon. Boyle is currently filling this role for the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals. He gets under the skin of opposing players and has the physical strength to keep them from playing their game.

On the other hand, the Red Wings have not really employed this strategy lately. They tried with Jordin Tootoo, but he was too one-dimensional to fit the Red Wings system. In addition, Drew Miller is already slated for energy line duty and does not fit anywhere else on the team. Miller could play with Helm and an addition, but is slower and less physical than Abdelkader.

My vote is to add size. The players mentioned above would be good fits, as would Mitch Callahan on a line with Helm and Abdelkader. Speed and physicality will allow smaller players on other lines to do their thing without much resistance, or else those defenders would be dealt with. Detroit doesn’t need a fighter, just someone to scare the other teams.

Top 9: Best Swedes in Red Wings History

This season, the Red Wings were graced by the breakout of future star, Gustav Nyquist. Goose erupted after his promotion from Grand Rapids to lead the Red Wings in goals with 28. He bolstered the team’s offense with stars, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, out of the lineup.

Though he put up a solid campaign this year, Nyquist still has not scored enough points to crack the Top 9. He will surely be there next year though. There were a few names on the list ahead of him that I had never heard of. That feat itself is unheard of. Take a look at the Top 9 Swedes to ever play for the Red Wings and tell me you’ve heard of everyone.

9. Thommie Bergman– 65 points in 246 games.

Thommie Bergman

Photo courtesy of icehockey.wikia.com

8. Jonathan Ericsson– 68 points in 325 games.

Jonathan Ericsson

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

7. Dan Labraaten– 106 points in 198 games.Dan Labraaten

6. Mikael Samuelsson– 163 points in 308 games.

Mikael Samuelsson

Photo courtesy of Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

5. Niklas Kronwall– 295 points in 594 games.

Niklas Kronwall

Photo courtesy of Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

4. Johan Franzen– 347 points in 567 games.

Johan Franzen

Photo courtesy of Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

3. Tomas Holmstrom– 530 points in 1026 games.

Tomas Holmstrom

Photo courtesy of Tim Sharp/AP

2. Henrik Zetterberg- 720 points in 759 games.

Henrik Zetterberg

Photo courtesy of AP

1. Nicklas Lidstrom– 1142 points in 1564 games.

Nicklas Lidstrom

Photo courtesy of Dave Reginek-NHLI-Getty Images

Top 9: Red Wings References in Pop Culture

As a Red Wings fan, we are accustomed to success and the fame that comes with it. TV shows, music videos, and movies often reference the popular team when including hockey and that team has frequently been the Red Wings since the mid-90’s. Two decades of dominance equals two decades of sporadic cultural references.

There are a few famous people who known to be Red Wings fans. When a celebrity is a fan, it often plays into their roles. For example, Dave Coulier, Tim Allen, Kid Rock, Ted Nugent, and Kristen Bell are all confirmed Red Wings fans. Kristen Bell grew up a fan and had a big crush on Chris Osgood during his first tenure with the Wings.

Today, we are not counting down a certain statistic achieved while in a Red Wings uniform, but the top appearances of a Red Wings uniform in pop culture. Enjoy!

9. Dr. Perry Cox on Scrubs and his love for the Red Wings

Dr. Cox was often seen in a Red Wings jersey, usually with Chris Chelios and #24 on the back. According to his Wikipedia page, actor John McGinley, who plays Dr. Cox, narrated the Red Wings’ 2008 Championship DVD and is a neighbor of Chelios at his Malibu home. McGinley is a big fan of the team in addition.

 

8. Tupac

This may not have been Tupac’s finest moment, but at least he had the right jersey on. He spit on reporters on his way to his car. I’m more curious about the jersey. Why Red Wings and why that day?

Tupac

Photo courtesy of Complex

7. Gordie Howe’s “cameo” on The Simpsons

In 1992, The Simpsons aired an episode that featured Bart responding to his teacher’s personal ad as a fake person. When Mrs. Krabappel asked for “Woodrow” to provide a picture of himself so she could know what he looks like, Bart sends her a cut out picture of Gordie Howe.

Gordie Howe

Gordie Howe on The Simpsons. Photo courtesy of simpsonswiki.com

6. Mack Maine’s jersey on Lil’ Wayne’s music video for “Got Money”

When this song came out in 2008, I was a huge fan. It was classic Lil’ Wayne and not garbage like a lot of his other songs at the time. Once the music video came out, I was even more pumped. Mack Maine makes a cameo appearance in the video and is sporting a Red Wings jersey. Mack Maine and his jersey first appear about a minute into the video. He has a solo at 3:03 in as well. Great song.

 

5. Red Wings defeat Stan Marsh’s peewee team on South Park

Stan is tasked to coach a peewee team in his hometown a la Gordon Bombay in the first Mighty Ducks movie. His team makes it all the way to the championship game, but has to play the Detroit Red Wings and get crushed as a result. Normally, I would root for some miracle and have Stan’s team win, but I thoroughly enjoy watching the Red Wings beat a team from Colorado.

 

 

4. Mike Posner’s Fedorov jacket in his “Cooler Than Me” music video

Mike grew up in suburban Detroit and has always been a Red Wings fan. I know this because he ran track with my cousins at Groves High School in Beverly Hills, Michigan. In his first big video, “Cooler Than Me”, Posner is wearing a Sergei Fedorov varsity jacket styled after Fedorov’s 1997 jersey with the Stanley Cup patch. It appears about two minutes into the video. Where can I get a jacket like that?

 

3. Dave Coulier on Full House

In multiple episodes of Full House, Dave Coulier, or “Uncle Joey”, sports a Red Wings jersey around the house. Coulier is a big Red Wings fan in real life and appeared in Detroit’s 1997 championship DVD interviewing fans prior to the Stanley Cup Finals against Philadelphia.

Dave Coulier

Uncle Joey looks to make a save in net.

 

2. Mike Posner and Big Sean in “Top of the World”

As mentioned before, Posner is a big Red Wings fan. Big Sean is as well and is also from Michigan. In their latest video, Posner and Big Sean wear a Detroit sports fan’s wardrobe. Tigers, Lions, Pistons, and Red Wings apparel everywhere. Big Sean is also rapping on the stairs leading up to the Joe Louis Arena.

The most important part of this video, however, is Pavel Datsyuk‘s appearance. Pav is pulling a Birdman and standing by Mike Posner and Big Sean like a boss. He doesn’t rap, but is there to validate that he is awesome. Enjoy this gem.

 

1. Cameron in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Poor, misunderstood Cameron. It’s all about Ferris and Cameron is just there. Throughout the entire movie, Cameron is sporting a Gordie Howe Red Wings jersey, despite being in Chicago. Gutsy, I know. Great movie and great wardrobe selection by the crew there.

Top 9: Most Wins as a Red Wings Coach

This season, Mike Babcock became Detroit’s all-time leader for wins as a head coach. He passed both Scotty Bowman and Jack Adams this year to reach that feat. It’s hard to believe that Babs hasn’t won a trophy named after Coach Adams in his tenure with the Red Wings, even though he has lead the team to multiple Presidents’ trophies and Stanley Cup Finals.

Red Wings fans have been lucky to have some good coaches lead the team over the years. The Illitch and Norris families have employed some of the best coaches the league has ever seen. Let’s take a look at the Top 9 wins leaders as a head coach.

9. Dave Lewis (2002-2005)- 100 wins

Dave Lewis

Photo courtesy of the Augusta Chronicle

8. Jimmy Skinner (1954-1958)- 123 wins

Jimmy Skinner

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings

7. Bryan Murray (1990-1993)- 124 wins

Bryan Murray

Photo courtesy of the Ottawa Senators

6. Jacques Demers (1986-1990)- 137 wins

Jacques Demers

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings

5. Tommy Ivan (1947-1954)- 262 wins

Tommy Ivan

Photo courtesy of Bleacher Report

4. Sid Abel (1958-1968, 1969-1970)- 340 wins

Sid Abel

Photo courtesy of the Hockey Hall of Fame

3. Scotty Bowman (1993-2002)- 410 wins

Scotty Bowman

Photo courtesy of AP

2. Jack Adams (1927-1947)- 413 winsJack Adams

1. Mike Babcock (2005-present)- 415 wins

Mike Babcock

Photo courtesy of Norm Hall/NHLI

 

Coaches and wins total courtesy of: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Detroit_Red_Wings_head_coaches

Top 9: Most Points by an American with the Detroit Red Wings

While watching Justin Abdelkader captain the United States’ World Championship team against this week, I began to wonder which American-born Red Wings put up the most points with the team. Abdelkader is a few points away from making the list. It did take awhile to scroll through the Red Wings’ scoring leaders to find the Top 9 American-born players.

A couple of my favorite Red Wings, Doug Brown and Chris Chelios, were sure bets to make the list, but who else? Brett Hull is an American, despite being born in Belleville, Ontario. He has scored too many clutch goals in a Team USA uniform to be omitted on a technicality.

In addition to today’s list, we will take a look at other nationalities in the future. How do the Canadians, Russians, Swedes, and Czechs rank with the Red Wings?

9. Rick Zombo– 92 points in 353 games.

Rick Zombo

Photo courtesy of icehockey.wikia.com

8. Lee Norwood– 132 points in 259 games.

Lee Norwood

Photo courtesy of Detroit Red Wings

7. Chris Chelios- 152 points in 578 games.

Chris Chelios

Photo courtesy of Reuters/Shaun Best

6. Mathieu Schneider– 164 points in 231 games.

Mathieu Schneider

Photo courtesy of ESPN

5. Doug Brown- 171 points in 427 games.

Doug Brown

Photo courtesy of Detroit Red Wings

4. Jimmy Carson– 202 points in 240 games.

Jimmy Carson

Photo courtesy of Detroit Red Wings

3. Brian Rafalski– 204 points in 292 games.

Brian Rafalski

Photo courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

2. Brett Hull- 207 points in 245 games.

Brett Hull

Photo courtesy of AP/Paul Sancya

1. Reed Larson– 570 points in 708 games.

Reed Larson

Photo courtesy of Detroit Red Wings