Wednesday, September 28, 2005

9/28 Notes

Today I've got some good news and some bad news so brace yourselves. Bad news first: ... The Wings lost 2-1 to the Avs last night. Big deal, you say, it's just exhibition and doesn't matter. However, it may turn out to be a game we'll remember down the road. This may come as a shock since the game was not televised but at the end of the first period, Dan Hinote gave Niklas Kronwall a hip check along the boards that resulted in Kronwall's leaving the ice and heading to the dressing room with a knee injury. Now, I don't know about you guys but when I see "knee injury" I assume the worst because I've seen too many players have serious knee injuries take them out for a long, long time. Minor knee injuries aren't all that common, it seems. The Wings' luck with important defensemen and knee injuries is not good and I'm really hoping this is not just another case of a blown ACL. First Jiri Fischer in 2002-2003, then Derian Hatcher in 2003-2004. Now we may be robbed of one of our most promising players who is fresh off a breakout season in the AHL. Wonderful. If you pray, you might want to add Nick2 to your list of petitions. Besides the implications for the Wings' season, he's a nice guy and it's just polite to hope he gets better soon anyway. ... Don't expect to see Chris Osgood on the ice any time soon. The Wings are not going to let what happened with Dominik Hasek last season happen with Ozzie this season. He will not play until he is healed and even then he may not immediately play in Detroit. Wings GM Ken Holland told the Detroit Free Press Monday: "In all probability, when he's ready to play, he'll play a couple games in Grand Rapids. He's going to need some games." What's interesting is this: if Osgood isn't ready to play by 5. October, the Wings will start the season with Manny Legace in net and former U. of Maine standout Jimmy Howard backing him up. That's a would-be college senior instead of Joey MacDonald, an established AHL goalie. Looks like the Wings have a lot of confidence in Howard, though the chance that he may become the starter because of injuries is a little scary to me. Now the good news: ... Pavel Datsyuk says he wants to be with the Wings for a long, long time: "I want to retire here," he told the Detroit News yesterday. (The Freep has a Pavel piece of their own today here.) By that I assume he really means "I want to retire here .... if they pay me enough money and give me short contracts so I don't over-commit." Still, it's positive news and gives Wings fans hope for a bright future beyond this season, as long as he's not planning on retiring any time soon. Don't expect Pavel to be in the lineup tonight, however. The News reports that Babcock would rather wait until Friday night versus the Maple Leafs to play him. Despite their obvious on-ice chemistry, he won't play with Henrik Zetterberg, at least not to begin with. Expect to see him play with Brendan Shanahan and either Jason Williams or Mikael Samuelsson (who is to arrive in the country later this week). ... While Wings fans at the Joe won't see Datsyuk in the lineup tonight, they may see Henrik Zetterberg, who has been recovering from a hip flexor sustained in training camp, for the first time this year. He had a pain-free practice yesterday and said he hopes Babcock will have him dress. Babcock will make the decision today, after seeing how Hank is feeling. ... Fans at the Joe should also get their first look at new defenseman Andreas Lilja, who also has been recovering from a hip flexor. He played in last night's untelevised game and will play in three of the last four pre-season games. UPDATE (2:30 PM ET): The latest news on Niklas Kronwall is not good. He was scheduled to have an MRI to determine the extent of the damage today but there is little confidence that the results will be positive. Head coach Mike Babcock told the Free Press this morning that,
“Anytime a guy’s face is sheet-white after something happens, with a guy like Nik, something’s wrong. We’re hoping that we get a way better report than we did from the doctor last night at the game today with the MRI. But realistically, he looks like he’s going to be out for a while.”
If the injury turns out to be as serious as everyone fears, it will be be Kronwall's second big leg injury in as many seasons with the Wings. He played 20 games with the team in 2003-2004 but broke his leg during pre-game warm-ups after catching his skate on a rut in LA. Now we have guys like Chris Chelios saying, "Hopefully he’ll heal quick and be here for the middle of the season and the remainder of the season and the playoffs." Yeah, hopefully. The worst part about all of this is he wasn't even supposed to play yesterday, according to the Freep. Jamie Rivers was slated to be in the lineup but because he is injured, Kronwall took his place. Now Rivers, who was fighting for a roster spot, may have a job, at least until Kronwall can get back. Other possible replacements include Andy Delmore and Brett Lebda, neither of whom are very exciting or really adequate. I was looking forward to seeing more of Niklas this season, especially after the year he had in GR but I guess we'll have to wait. If it had to happen, I suppose now is as good a time as any because he should be able to make it back for when it counts without too much a rush. I'm sure we'll get a more concrete confirmation on his status later today or tomorrow. UPDATE (8:44 PM ET): is reporting that Kronwall will be about at least six weeks with an injury that includes some ACL and MCL damage in his left knee. Ken Holland says he will be examined on Friday and his status will become more certain then. They're obviously hoping it's not the season-ending injury that it could be. More to come in the next few days and weeks.


At 9/28/2005 06:37:00 PM, Blogger Christy Hammond said...

I feel so bad for him. Knee injuries are the worst and when you're healthy all year during the lockout and get hurt in pre-season when you're expected to play a lot for the Wings, that must be so frustrating.

At 9/29/2005 12:14:00 PM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

yeah, horrible blow for him and Wings.

If Andy Delmore plays like he did for Buffalo, look for the Wings to sign jason Wooley quickly!

At 9/29/2005 12:59:00 PM, Blogger Matt Saler said...

That's certainly a possibility. The Woolley situation was one I heard very little on during the lockout. I still don't understand why they didn't sign him.

At 9/29/2005 08:46:00 PM, Anonymous Gabriel P. said...

You're not alone, Matt. Just looking at his numbers, Woolley is responsible and very consistent...the same of which can't always be said of someone like Chelios and some of the other blueliners this year. If I remember, he had a career high of +19 or +20 in his last year with the Wings, and he was putting up the same points he has all of his career. I can't understand why he wasn't invited to anybody's camp?


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