Red Wings plagued by injuries going into game against Sabres
Posted: Wednesday December 10, 2003 11:10PM; Updated: Thursday December 11, 2003 1:59AM
It's the first time general manager Ken Holland has ever seen anything like it in his 21 years with the organization.
On Wednesday, Detroit skated with eight players who have toiled in Grand Rapids of the AHL this season, including embattled goaltender Curtis Joseph, who had 23 stops in the win.
"We're probably lucky we haven't been able to trade Curtis Joseph so we could put him in there tonight," Holland said.
Six players were added to an injury list before, during and after Detroit's 3-2 overtime win over Los Angeles on Monday. The list already included defenseman Derian Hatcher (knee), and forwards Henrik Zetterberg (leg), Tomas Holmstrom and right wing Darren McCarty (back).
Monday night began with captain Steve Yzerman being scratched due to a groin injury.
It was an omen of things to come.
Chelios was placed on injured reserve and will be lost three to four weeks. Thomas joined him on the IR and will miss five to six weeks.
Whitney won't play through the weekend and Hasek is sidelined at least a week.
Yzerman and Legace are day-to-day.
Adding insult to injury, Zetterberg, who had resumed skating, will be out a couple more days because of the flu.
Holland didn't witness the misery on Monday as he was in Florida for the NHL Board of Governors meeting, but he soon found out the not so pleasant details on Tuesday.
"I knew about Chris Chelios, Steve Thomas and Whitney but after practice I got a call and was told that both goalies are out," Holland said. "Obviously I was totally surprised."
Hatcher, meanwhile, will be lost until at least mid-February while McCarty is out indefinitely. Holmstrom's separated shoulder will keep him sidelined for a few more weeks.
In all, roughly $30 million worth of talent will be watching from the sidelines.
"We're in a helluva race and we have to find a way to eke out some points," Holland said.
The game in Buffalo marked the beginning of an eight-game in 13-day stretch for the Red Wings, who took over sole possession of first place in the Central Division.
World Cup roster deadline extended to May
ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) -- The roster selection deadline for next year's World Cup of Hockey has been extended more than three months, the International Ice Hockey Federation said Wednesday.
The original deadline of Feb. 1, which was immediately and loudly criticized by Hockey Canada and the other seven countries involved in the World Cup, was pushed back to mid-May, following the world hockey championships in Prague, Czech Republic. The exact date will be announced later, the IIHF said.
The new deadline, the subject of hot debate over the past several months, was announced following discussions between IIHF president Rene Fasel, NHL executive vice president Bill Daly, NHL Player's Association managing director Ken Yaffe, NHLPA senior director of business affairs Ted Saskin and representatives from the eight countries participating in the 2004 showcase event.
The decision could significantly boost the participation of stars at this spring's world championships, with players jumping at the opportunity to compete in Prague in the hopes of being selected for the Aug. 30-Sept. 14 World Cup.
The group also agreed that each World Cup roster will have 23 skaters and three goaltenders, with three of the 26 players to be under the age of 22. The teams will dress 18 skaters and two goalies for each game.
The Czech Republic, Finland, Germany and Sweden will play in the European pool while Canada, Russia, Slovakia and defending World Cup champion United States are in the North American pool.
The championship game will be played on September 14 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
The World Cup of Hockey will be played according to NHL rules and officiated by NHL referees. The tournament is organized by the NHL and the NHLPA, in cooperation with the IIHF.
Last-place Wild lacking offensive punch
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The Minnesota Wild aren't having any trouble keeping their opponents from scoring goals.
Now if only they could score a few themselves.
The Wild have always been known more for their pesky defense, but their lack of offense is a prime reason why they're sitting in last place in the Northwest Division. They've scored eight total goals over the previous seven games.
Their opponent on Thursday night, Toronto, has 27 in the same number of games.
"One goal a game is not enough, that's for sure," said right wing Alexandre Daigle, who leads the team in scoring with eight goals and four assists. "We've got to find a way."
Better find it in a hurry. The Maple Leafs have won eight of their last nine games.
Minnesota, overall, is 10-13-5.
The Wild were never known as a high-scoring team. Last season, they were routinely outshot by opponents, but managed to make good on the chances they had. Their 198 regular-season goals were the fewest of any Western Conference playoff team.
But while they're doing a good job of shutting down opposing offenses, the Wild's own offense is sputtering. Before Tuesday night's 2-1 win over Calgary, Minnesota had managed only one goal in each of its previous six games.
The players say other teams aren't taking them lightly anymore after last season's surprise trip to the Western Conference finals.
"There's less room out there," left wing Pascal Dupuis said. "They try to clog the middle of the ice."
But the Wild also aren't getting the spark that many were hoping for when star right wing Marian Gaborik and Dupuis signed their new, multiyear deals in October. Gaborik and Dupuis accounted for 50 goals last year and helped Minnesota get off to a hot start.
Since signing his new contract on Oct. 31, Gaborik has only three goals and three assists in 16 games. Dupuis, who signed the week before Gaborik, has four and three.
Coach Jacques Lemaire said both players are still feeling the effects of missing training camp and playing catch-up.
"They're behind schedule," Lemaire said. "They'll be behind schedule all year."
Said Gaborik: "My hands and legs are still kind of not getting along. The chances are there, but the final push in front of the net is missing."
Besides the lack of production from Gaborik and Dupuis, the Wild aren't getting goals from their defensemen. Andrei Zyuzin's goal against Calgary was only the third scored by a Wild defenseman since Oct. 10 and the first since Oct. 30.
"We need to just create chances," Zyuzin said. "If we create chances, then we're going to score a couple of goals."
Zyuzin has actually been a bright spot lately, even if he isn't finding the back of the net. Lemaire said Zyuzin's defensive play has been good, and he's being more aggressive from the blue line on offense.
"He's shooting with purpose now," Lemaire said. "He used to be just flipping the puck to the net. Now, he's shooting."
The trick is to shoot and score.
Lemaire acknowledges that other teams are paying more attention to the Wild. But, Lemaire said, his players should've been prepared for that.
"We haven't been working as hard as we did in the past. Teams are playing better against us. ... They don't give us much. We had a lot more last year and the year before."
McDonald tabbed by Hockey Canada as 2004 Worlds executive
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -- Lanny McDonald is back with Canada's world championship hockey team.
The Hall of Famer was added as director of player personnel by Team Canada general manager Jim Nill on Wednesday. McDonald was GM of Canada's team at the 2001 and 2002 world championships.
"It is a privilege representing your country, and I look forward to utilizing my previous experiences," McDonald said.
Nill, assistant GM of the Detroit Red Wings, was named GM by Hockey Canada last month. Don Maloney was named assistant GM, the same job he holds with the New York Rangers.
This year's world championships will be played April 24-May 9 in Prague, Czech Republic.
Blue Jackets sign Pushor to one-year deal
Terms of the deal were not released.
Pushor had been playing with the Syracuse Crunch, Columbus American Hockey League affiliate, after going to training camp with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He had two assists and 10 penalty minutes with a plus-1 rating in eight games with Syracuse.
The 30-year-old Pushor spent the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons with the Blue Jackets, collecting three goals and 16 assists with 148 penalty minutes in 136 games. In 503 games with the Detroit Red Wings, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins, the 6-3, 218-pound Pushor has 13 goals and 44 assists with 646 penalty minutes.
Pushor, a member of the Red Wings when they won the Stanley Cup in 1997, could play Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Flames center Conroy out with knee injury
He was hurt during a 2-1 victory over Minnesota on Friday.
Conroy has one goal and 10 assists this season for the Flames (13-9-1-3).
Big win over Red Wings put Predators on winning streak
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Head coach Barry Trotz knows the exact moment the Nashville Predators started turning their season around.
It was Nov. 8 in a game against Detroit. The Predators, already at the bottom of the Western Conference with only nine points, were trailing 3-0 after two periods.
"I went in there and talked about not taking a back seat to anybody," Trotz said Wednesday. "They dug in and pulled that game out, and it's been a real catalyst for us in terms of confidence."
The Predators shocked the Red Wings with four goals in the third period, the last by Scott Walker on a power play with 57 seconds remaining for a 4-3 victory.
Since that game, the Predators have won nine of their past 12, including road wins at Boston and Colorado during a franchise record six-game winning streak.
The surprising Preds are the hottest team in the Western Conference.
Trotz, the only coach in Nashville's 436-game history, says part of his team's rise to a tie for seventh place in the Western Conference is the play of nine rookies.
"We've done some good things," Trotz said. "Our team has just matured."
A year ago this week, the Predators traded cornerstone goalie Mike Dunham to the New York Rangers. Trotz said that move is defining this season because it brought forward Rem Murray and defenseman Marek Zidlicky.
"It's worked out very well for the Rangers, but it's worked out terrifically for us," Trotz said.
The rookie Zidlicky has upgraded the power play unit after the departure of Andy Delmore, who was traded to Buffalo despite leading the league in power play goals for defensemen the last two seasons.
"What Marek has done is given us another dimension," he said. "He's got great, great hands, great vision and he knows what he wants to do with the puck before he gets it."
The Predators have 23 power play goals and have converted 16.2 percent of their chances -- 13th best in the league. Last season, the Predators were 27th in the league, converting on only 13.8 percent.
Zidlicky, who is tied for the team lead with 18 points (six goals, 12 assists), also has a team-high five power play goals. Kimmo Timonen has three.
"I've got two guys, Timonen and Zidlicky, who could run any power play in the league, with their smarts, their ability to look people off and change the angles so that we have some seams available," Trotz said.
Trotz says he's committed to developing his young players and keeping them focused only on the next game. The Predators play Los Angeles at home Thursday.
"I think people have seen me age, you know, in dog years -- seven years at a time," Trotz said. "But you know what? It's made me a better coach, it's made the players better players and I think what you're seeing is a little bit of a changing of the guard."
Pushor rejoins Blue Jackets
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The Blue Jackets signed defenseman Jamie Pushor to a one-year contract Wednesday, bringing back an original member of the team because of injuries.
Pushor has been playing for Syracuse, the Blue Jackets' AHL affiliate. He attended training camp with Toronto this fall.
Pushor had three goals and 16 assists in 136 games with Columbus during the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons. He was selected by Columbus in the 2000 expansion draft from Dallas, then was traded to Pittsburgh for a fourth-round pick in 2002. He also has played for Anaheim and Detroit.