Top 10 must-see games on the 2011-12 Chicago Blackhawks schedule

As the days march on towards Opening Night, and the bulk of trades and free agency acquisitions have been completed; the Draft and prospect camps are over; and the opening of Training Camps are still a few weeks away; as the weeks left until the new season drop into the single digits, there's one date circled on every fan's calendar to make it through the August doldrums: the date that their team's tickets go on sale. The Chicago Blackhawks have plenty of exciting matchups to choose from this year.

Five years ago, getting 14,000 fans in the seats at the United Center would've been considered a special night. Now, after three h...

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Central Focus: Detroit Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings were poised to make major moves during the offseason. With the surprise retirement of Brian Rafalski, the Wings suddenly had a whopping $6 million dollars to spend in free agency. With their core locked up, it looked like a couple big name defenceman could have been Detroit-bound. But the Red Wings took the route they usually do; take a chance on a player that has the ability and just isn't in the right place.

departuresPLAYER2011-12 TeamDerek Meech, DWinnipegChris Osgood, GretiredKris Draper, CretiredBrian Rafalski, DretiredMike Modano, Cretired*

*Modano is still pondering his future

arrivalsPLAYERFROMMike Commodore, DColumbusI...

Updates Galore

The Detroit Red Wings roster is now complete. While this may be late news for me to share, I was on vacation for a week. I deserve vacations. But I also want to update the latest Red Wings news for everyone here with my spin it.

First of all, Detroit found it's backup goalie, inevitably it was Ty Conklin coming back (he played for the Wings in 2008-09). He was a good backup then to Chris Osgood, who went down with an injury and was replaced by Conklin. Because Conklin is 35, a one year deal is the best situation for Detroit. 

The whole reason he is back is because Osgood decided to hang up the skates a day earlier. And then came news of Kris Draper leaving the ...

Wings Hire Assistants, Chris Conner

The Detroit Red Wings have completed their coaching staff.

Assistant coaches Bill Peters and Jeff Blashill were hired Friday and signed three-year contracts.

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White, Commodore Signed, Hudler Shopped

The Detroit Red Wings signed two defenceman in the past few days in Mike Commodore and Ian White. Commodore winged a one year, one million dolar contract and White has two years at $2.875 million a pop. 

Commodore will replace Ruslan Salei's spot in the rotation with Jakub Kindl. White is a welcomed addition as he has a right handed shot (like Rafalski) and is relatively young. 

I like the White signing, and while Commodore is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, he has a history with Mike Babcock, which I am sure will get resolved quickly.

Detroit also signed Jonathan Ericsson to a monster deal, which I don't even want to talk about because I'm ...

Putting the Ericsson Signing in Perspective

I know that the re-signing by the Detroit Red Wings of defenseman Jonathon Ericsson has left many people scratching their heads or searching for their bottle of cyanide pills (Kyle), but it actually makes sense in how the organization operates.

Lets start off by looking at the contracts & cap hits of current Red Wing defensemen:

 

 

 

 

 

PlayerCap HitContract LengthYear Signed% of CapLidstrom$6.25M120119.72%*Rafalski$6.00M5200711.92%Stuart$3.75M420086.61%Ericsson$3.25M320115.05%Kronwall$3.00M520075.96%Kindl$0.88M320101.49%* Retired, but included as he was under contract for 2011-12

The percentage shown above r...

Free Agent Update, New Faces Added to Mix

It seems as though the Detroit Red Wings will have some tough decisions to make come July 1st. First of all, Christian Ehrhoff's rights were traded from the Vancouver Canucks to the New York Islanders for a 4th round draft pick next season. Ehrhoff has been rumoured to be heavily coveted by the Detroit organization and the Isles have thrown a kink into the plan.

When it comes down to money, Ehrhoff will likely use defenceman like the newly signed Joni Pitkanen as a comparable and command around 4 million dollars a year. Seeing that an aging Brian Rafalski was worth 6 million, I  think ...

Babcock "Pissed"

 

It was draft day and everything went well for the Detroit Red Wings. Except one thing; Mike Babcock was pissed.

Why, you might ask? The Wings got the prospects they wanted. They've made the playoffs for 20 straight years. And they have a bunch of salary cap room for free agents.

It seemed that babcock's frustration reached a boiling point, and clearly he doesn't like the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks have been a thorn in the Wings for two straight years, knocking them out of the Western Conference Semi-Finals each year. So when the Sharks announced their trade on draft day, Babcock probably gave the Sharks table the death stare the rest of the day...

Wings Draft Jurco, Eight Others

The Detroit Red Wings made all nine of their picks in the 2011 NHL Entry draft today and to everyone's delight, they made their first pick a big one. Detroit originally had the 24th pick overall, but traded it to the Ottawa Senators (who selected Matt Puempel) for the 35th and 48th picks in the second round, giving them three second round picks. They used their 35th pick to take right winger Tomas Jurco from the Memorial Cup winning Saint John Seadogs and Xavier Ouellet from Montreal of the QMJHL with the 48th pick. Some have likened Jurco to that of one Pavel Datsyuk, which in itself is a huge compliment. Jurco was dissapointed with not being selected in the first round, but sa...

Norris Trophy Win, Plus-Minus Solution

Nicklas Lidstrom won his 7th Norris Trophy last night If there ever was any doubt, erase that from your minds. Nicklas Lidstrom wins the Norris Trophy again. There isn't a doubt that this guy is the best defenceman in the game today, even at the age of 41. If you've ever seen him play the game you know that he does everything right, which has made some call him "The Perfect Human." Even though Lidstrom won the Norris this year, some people say he didn't deserve it. It's funny though, I don't think there is a human on this earth that wouldn't take him on their team if they could. All of this negativity surrounding Lidstrom's win had to do with two things. First, the players he was ...
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