Another Game, Another Injury
The Detroit Red Wings completed a season sweep over the Calgary Flames coming back to win in a shootout last night. They came back three times total in the game.
Depth came through yet again. Darren Helm scored his second goal in as many games. Brian Rafalski scored his first and second goals of the season. And Patrick Eaves scored his first goal after returning from injury.
The Wings managed to get the game to overtime, and after struggling a bit early on in the game, Jimmy Howard kept the Wings alive in the extra period. The penalty kill as a whole sent the game to a shootout. Todd Bertuzzi took a penalty 3:30 into OT, and the Red Wings’ chances weren’t looking too great. But Jimmy Howard made a statement. He bounced back in the game and gave the Wings a shot at winning.
In the shootout it was Todd Bertuzzi who saved the day. He made up for the penalty by being the only player for both teams to score a goal in the shootout. As stated, the story of the night certainly was depth. Without depth, the Wings would be a struggling team right now.
Unfortunately the win was overshadowed by an unfortunate incident which in turn leads to controversy. Halfway through the third period, Tom Kostopoulos delivered a high hit right to the jaw of Brad Stuart. From my view it was very dirty. Stuart was unsuspecting and had no way to protect himself. I don’t know if it was necessary a blindside hit, but it was definitely a case of head hunting. There is still no word on a suspension but from speculation, it sounds like it could be a long one. Kostopoulos is a repeat offender which should have a lot to do with the decision.
For right now the concern is not about Kostopoulos. What he did was absolutely disrespectful and should not happen in the game of hockey, but the maximum he would probably get is 10 games. The concern is about the undeserving player that he hit. Brad Suart is out 6-8 weeks with a broken jaw. That’s a lot more punishment than being suspended for a few games. That is what disgusts fans and players the most.
And the Stuart injury just adds to the long list of injuries for the Wings. Stuart is having terrible luck. He took a puck to back of the head in Sunday’s game and then this happens. Modano, Cleary, and Datsyuk remain out. And now Filppula and Osgood are on the shelf with injuries. The loss of Stuart specifically hurts due to the simple fact that replacing defensemen is much harder than replacing forwards. It’s going to be visible that’s he’s not in the lineup.
Do not expect the Red Wings to make excuses, however. They will battle through these injuries as they have been doing all season. They’re just two points behind the streaking Canucks for first place in the West. And guess who the Wings play tonight? You guessed it, the Vancouver Canucks. It’s going to be a huge game and an exciting game. Despite all the injuries you can bet that the Wings will be looking just as competitive.