|Five of DeKeyser's picks to win on the high school gridiron this weekend are (clockwise from upper left): Clintondale Dragons; Utica Chieftains; De La Salle Pilots; Eisenhower Eagles; and New Haven Rockets.|
DETROIT – Danny DeKeyser didn’t play high school football, but as a junior at Warren De La Salle, he and his friends enjoyed cheering on their classmates on fall Fridays.
“It was a lot of fun and it gave my buddies and me something to do on Friday nights,” the Red Wings’ rookie defenseman said. “It was always a good time.”
It’s been a few years since he rooted for the Pilots from the metal bleachers, but that didn’t stop DeKeyser from accepting a challenge this week from the Macomb Daily.
DeKeyser gladly agreed to be the newspaper’s guest prognosticator for Week 5 of the high school football season in Michigan. He was asked to pick the winners of 10 games in Macomb County this weekend.
Hopefully, DeKeyser is a better pigskin prophet than Mark Hackel, the county executive for Macomb County, who correctly selected seven of 10 games last week.
DeKeyser’s picks are BOLD, including his obvious prediction for his alma mater. “Yeah, pretty much always La Salle,” he said.
Macomb Dakota (4-0) at Utica Eisenhower (2-2), 7 p.m.
Utica (1-3) at Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse (0-4), 7 p.m.
Warren Woods-Tower (3-1) at St. Clair (4-0), 7 p.m.
Clinton Township Clintondale (4-0) at Clawson (3-1), 7 p.m.
New Haven (1-3) at Warren Lincoln (0-4), 7 p.m.
Richmond (3-1) at Armada (2-2), 7 p.m.
Warren De La Salle (2-2) at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (3-1), 7 p.m.
Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard (3-1) at Macomb Lutheran North (2-2), 7 p.m.
Auburn Hills Oakland Christian (2-2) at Sterling Heights Parkway Christian (3-1), 7 p.m.
Romeo (1-3) vs. Sterling Heights Stevenson (2-2) @ Ford Field, 12 p.m.
|Ken Holland, circa 1983 with the Adirondack Red Wings.
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – It’s been a few years since Ken Holland last dusted off his old goalie equipment.
“I've probably only had equipment on four or five times in the last 20 years,” the Red Wings general manager said on Friday.
Holland is among several Red Wings executives, scouts, coaches and former players who will play in an alumni/celebrity hockey game on Saturday night at Centre ICE Arena.
“When it's as big a part of your life, as it is for me from about 8 years old to 28 years of age, certainly hockey is my life, being able to put the equipment on and go on the ice is fun,” Holland said. “It's good exercise and it's fun.”
A former goalie, Holland played in four NHL games, including three with the Red Wings during the 1983-84 season. A 12th round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Holland also played one game with the Hartford Whalers.
The Wings’ GM will share the goaltending duties with Chris Osgood on the Red Team coached by pro scout Bruce Haralson. But the test for Holland will be facing a stacked White Team with recently retired guys like Chris Chelios, Kris Draper, and Kirk Maltby.
“Draper flies around at 100 miles an hour, he's not far away from playing, so for me it's going to be all angles and protractors, just stand 'em up and cut 'em down,” Holland said. “I don't know how to do the butterfly and I'd probably pull a groin if I did do a butterfly. … We're trying to make a major trade today to level the playing field.”
In fact, Holland’s team made a trade Saturday morning, sending European scout Vladi Havlaj to the White team for defenseman Jiri Fischer.
RED TEAM WHITE TEAM
Ken Holland Jim Bedard
Chris Osgood Jeff Blashill
Hakan Andersson Eddie Ascione
Mike Babcock Spiros Anastas
Todd Beam Chris Chelios
Kevin Clark Kris Draper
Ken Daniels Kelly Harper
Andrew Dickson Ken Kal
Jeff Finley Ryan Martin
Jiri Fischer Jim Paek
Mark Howe Phil Pierce
Sam Lites Bill Peters
Keith McKittrick Len Quesnelle
Marty Stein Ari Vuori
Piet Van Zant Vladi Havlaj
Saturday night’s exhibition is sold-out.
“Lot of fun. For a good cause. Help raise money for the arena,” Holland said. “Being on the ice with Cheli, Ozzie, Draper, Malts and Fisch … it's going to be a good night.” . VIEW CHARITY ALUMNI GAME PHOTO GALLERY
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – Darren Helm’s injury saga continues as the Red Wings reported to training camp at Centre ICE Arena on Wednesday morning.
Helm will not be on the ice for the team’s first day of skating Thursday.
“I don’t think it’s in the cards right now,” said Helm, who suffered a pulled groin muscle while skating in an informal team practice last Friday at Joe Louis Arena.
The 26-year-old Helm missed all but one game last year with a sore lower back. He has spent the last few months rehabilitating the inflamed disc. Even without the groin injury, it’s likely that Helm wouldn’t be ready for the start of the season when the Wings open against the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 2.
“It’s going to be a couple of weeks where I’m not going to be able to get the physical contact or do stuff that I wanted to do,” Helm said. “It’s kind of taken a backseat right now to this groin.”
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland doesn’t expect Helm to skate at all this week.
“I don't think he's going to skate,” Holland said. “Nothing to do with his back, he's got groin aggravation or groin strain. He's been off for a few days now, groins are 1-3 weeks, so we'll see in a few days.”
Helm’s off-ice workouts have been limited so not to aggravate either of his existing injuries.
Last week, coach Mike Babcock said he had Helm penciled in among the Wings’ top five centermen, along with Pavel Datsyuk, Stephen Weiss, Cory Emmerton and Joakim Andersson. Riley Sheahan is sixth on the Wings’ list of centers, Babcock said.
When asked if he thought that Helm would be ready for the season, Babcock said, “I have no idea. The way I look at it he hasn’t played in a year and a half basically. If we get him it’s a bonus.”
|Saginaw goalie and Red Wings prospect Jake Paterson, has been invited to Team Canada's national junior team development camp, which will be held in August. (Photo by Getty Images)|
DETROIT – Red Wings prospect Jake Paterson will be among 35 players who will participate in Canada’s national junior team summer development camp in August.
The week-long development camp is set to begin August 4 in two cities – Broussard, Quebec and Lake Placid, N.Y.
Paterson, 19, of Mississauga, Ontario, has played the last three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with the Saginaw Spirit, which is about 1 ½ hours north of Detroit.
Paterson was the Red Wings’ third-round draft selection last June in Pittsburgh. He is one of 14 camp invitees who were drafted last summer. In three OHL seasons, he has posted 46 wins with a 3.45 goals-against average.
Paterson, who was Canada’s third goalie, but did not see action in the 2013 World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia, was one of three OHL goalies who participated in Team Canada’s Program of Excellence goaltending camp earlier this month in Calgary. Mississauga’s Spencer Martin and Sault Ste. Marie’s Matt Murray were the others in the U20 camp.
Canada’s national junior team will gather in Brossard at the Montreal Canadiens’ practice facility for two practices on Aug. 4 and 5 before travelling to Lake Placid, N.Y., for exhibition games against Finland (Aug. 7), Sweden (Aug. 8) and the United States (Aug. 10).
If Paterson makes the national team and plays in the U20 tournament this December in Malmo, Sweden, he will become just the third Red Wings’ goalie prospect to play in the World Junior Championship for Canada, and the first since Corrado Micalef did so in 1981.
The first Wings’ prospect to play between the pipes for Canada in the U20 tourney was Al Jensen, who helped Canada to a silver medal in 1977 and a bronze medal a year later.
|Fans have until Thursday, June 27 to vote for their favorite Pavel Datsyuk goal of the 2013 NHL season. CLICK on the IMAGE to vote.|
DETROIT – It’s an All-Pavel final.
While voting is open until next Thursday, Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk has already been chosen as the winner of the 2013 TSN Play of the Year Showdown.
The only thing left to decide is for which goal? That’s because the Wings’ superstar is going up against himself in the final round of fan balloting, which is currently underway on TSN.ca.
The two highlight reel goals – from Feb. 10 vs. Los Angeles and Feb. 19 at Nashville – were definitely a couple of the most spectacular plays from the lockout-shortened season.
The Russian’s coast-to-coast goal came late in the third period of the Red Wings’ overtime loss to the Predators. While it tied the game, it was the path that Datsyuk took that mesmerized fans as he dipped and doodled through and around five Nashville skaters before popping a shot off of goalie Pekka Rinne.
Fans on TSN.ca felt that Datsyuk’s Nashville gem was better than plays by New York Islanders right wing Michael Grabner (52.49%-47.51%); Florida center Shawn Matthias (51.87%-48.13%); Edmonton left wing Magnus Paajarvi (51.55%-48.45%); and Buffalo center Cody Hodgson (75.73%-24.27%).
Nine days before he dazzled in Nashville, Datsyuk showed his toughness and determination against the defending Stanley Cup champions. Early in the game he absorbed a vicious body check by Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. However, Datsyuk got the last laugh when on the next shift. He skated into the offensive zone at top speed, took a cross-ice pass from Henrik Zetterberg, cut to the middle, splitting the defense of Slava Voynov and Rob Scuderi, and fired a shot top shelf over Jonathan Quick’s glove hand.
That bit of trickery, accounting to the fan vote, was better than plays by Boston forward Nathan Horton (68.74%-31.26%); Edmonton right wing Ales Hemsky (50.18%-49.82%); Washington forward Eric Fehr (50.17%-49.83); and St. Louis goalie Jake Allen (50.5%-49.5%).
Datsyuk, Matthias, and Chicago forward Patrick Kane were represented twice in this year’s bracket. Zetterberg and goalie Jimmy Howard were also on the Internet ballot, though both Red Wings didn’t survive the first round, losing to Matthias and Allen, respectively.
Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose
|For the first time in a long time, the Blackhawks plan to use center Jonathan Toews (L) and right wing Patrick Kane together on the same forward line in Saturday's Game 5 against Detroit. (Photo by Dave Sandford)|
CHICAGO – Desperate times call for desperate measures, which is way it appears that the Blackhawks will make one big adjustment to their forward lines for tonight’s elimination game against the Red Wings at the United Center.
Throughout the Western Conference semifinals, Chicago has played its top scoring forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on separate lines. But the two will work together on a line with left wing Patrick Sharp as centers Michal Handzus and Toews switch roles for Game 5.
Handzus, the 36-year-old who was re-acquired by the Blackhawks at the April trade deadline, will center a line between Marian Hossa and Bryan Bickell.
“They’re two very skilled players,” Zetterberg said. “They’ve been playing with each other for many years, so they know each other good and it’s going to be a challenge for us to handle that.”
Kane has been responsible for a third of the Blackhawks’ offense in this series, netting two goals, while Toews, who tied for the team lead in goals during the regular season, has been held off the score sheet by the Red Wings’ defense, led by goalie Jimmy Howard, who has allowed just two goals in the last three games.
The Blackhawks are desperate, but Kane is excited at the prospect of playing alongside Chicago’s captain in a must-win game.
“We played a couple of years ago together a lot and we were hot, scoring a lot of goals,” Kane said. “You want to think about scoring chances and creating things. … As far as being a big game player, I think all of us want to be that guy.”
The ’Hawks hope the move frees Toews from the shackles of being shadowed by Zetterberg, who has done a magnificent defensive job against the Toews.
Now Zetterberg most likely must contend with a much bigger Handzus, who is 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds.
“He’s good on faceoffs, he’s strong on his stick,” said Zetterberg, of the 14-year veteran. “You have to try to move a lot, skate a lot and try to find open spots. He’s been around the league for many, many years. He’s a good player, and if that’s the case it will be a little different look for our line, but we’ll handle that in our way.”
Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose
|Simona de Silverstro wasn't very pleased with Damien Brunner's Game 4 OT winner against her friend Jonas Hiller and the Anaheim Ducks. (Photo courtesy of simonadesilvestro.com)|
DETROIT – It’s been a big month for Damien Brunner, who definitely has felt the national pride for Swiss sports recently.
Obviously, reaching the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs is huge for the first-year NHL forward, who is tied for the team lead with four goals. It was also big news that the Swiss national team was good enough to reach the gold medal game at last week’s World Championship in Stockholm.
Sweden prevailed on its home ice, defeating Switzerland, 5-1, on Sunday.
Asked what would be bigger in Switzerland, bringing home the World Championship or the Stanley Cup, Brunner said, “Probably for Switzerland, it's bigger to win the World Championships because not a lot of people know that much about the NHL.”
Someone Brunner doesn’t know is Swiss IndyCar driver Simona de Silverstro, who is a rabid Anaheim Ducks fan.
The 24-year-old De Silverstro was on Detroit’s Belle Isle Monday to run hot laps in preparation of the Detroit Grand Prix on June 2. She’s a huge hockey fan, and apparently pretty good friends with a certain Swiss goalie on the Anaheim Ducks.
It was only fitting that she wasn’t pleased that the Ducks lost the seven-game series to the Red Wings, and even more that Brunner’s overtime-winner in Game 4 prevented Anaheim from grabbing a 3-1 lead in the series.
“Tell them that I am mad at them,” said de Silverstro, who is from Trun, Switzerland, about 94 miles southwest of Brunner’s home in Zurich. “I was for Anaheim, Jonas Hiller is my friend, so I was pulling for them.”
De Silverstro, who has been racing in the U.S. since 2006, is off to a strong start this year with three top 10 finishes at St. Petersburg, Fla. (sixth); at Sao Paulo, Brazil (eighth); and at Long Beach, Calif. (ninth).
Perhaps Brunner will find it in his heart to cheer for De Silverstro at next month’s Detroit race, if for nothing else, national pride.
|Niklas Kronwall's younger brother, Staffan (8), used to play in the NHL. He has played the last two seasons in the KHL, and helped Sweden win the World Championship on Sunday. (Photo by Getty Images)|
The Wings’ defensive partners had brothers on the Swedish team that posted a 5-1 win in Stockholm, becoming the first home team to win gold since 1986. It is the Scandinavian nation's ninth gold medal at the World Championship.
“Yeah, that’s pretty special,” Ericsson said, following the Red Wings’ morning skate on Monday. “Of course it’s special to have your brother play and I know Kronner feels the same way. It’s pretty cool that we’re pretty close and to have our brothers win together.”
Ericsson’s older brother, Jimmie, had a goal in seven tournament games, while Kronwall’s younger brother, Staffan, collected one assist with a plus-3 rating as the team captain in 10 games.
“It’s pretty cool. I hadn’t really thought about it that way,” Niklas Kronwall said. “Obviously both of us are really proud today. I think all Swedes are, really.”
During the post-game celebration, the Swedish players donned gold hockey helmets, akin the metallic lids made famous by the University of Notre Dame football team.
“That’s what we do in the Swedish (SEL) championship. They come out right away like we do with the Stanley Cup hats,” Ericsson said. “They have the golden helmets, but I don’t think I’ve seen it in the World Championship before. I don’t know where that came from.”
But for Jimmie Ericsson, a 33-year-old forward, it was the second time gold helmet in two months. He helped Skellefteå win the Swedish Elite League championship in April.
Asked if the four brothers might celebrate their hockey success with a round of golf this summer, Jonathan said, “I don’t play golf and I don’t think my brother plays golf. We all went for a fishing trip once, but Kronner, Nik, he can’t fish. He’s awful at that.”
Kronwall seemed flabbergasted by his partner’s assessment of his casting ability.
“Really?” Kronwall said. “The last time I fished with him I caught the biggest one. So I’ll just leave it at that.”
|Henrik Zetterberg said Friday that it's time to make Johan Franzen "a little grumpy" in order to get him to play better in this series against Chicago. (Photo by Dave Reginek)|
DETROIT – Seems like it might be time to kick the Mule.
“He could be pretty mean but I think he's playing the best hockey when he's a little grumpy,” Zetterberg said. “I think maybe it's up to us to get him a little bit grumpy before the games.”
Maybe becoming a father for the second time has made the Mule a little less crotchety. Franzen's wife Cecilia gave birth to the couples' second son last Monday.
In eight playoff games this spring, Franzen has three goals – all on the power play in the first series against Anaheim. He also has a team-worst minus-7 rating.
Through his career, Franzen has always been a dynamic playoff performer, collecting 41 goals and 35 assists in 96 games.
He was befitting of his nickname after Friday’s practice turning a little ornery when asked about the Game 1 loss the Blackhawks and what the Red Wings can do differently in Game 2 on Saturday afternoon at the United Center.
“That game is over. We don’t have to worry about that one anymore. We can focus on trying to make this one a little better,” Franzen said. “We need to handle the puck better. Come up with the puck and go from there so we can create some offense. We didn’t really have the puck at all last game. We need to do a better job of helping the D out.”
Asked about those who aren’t giving the Red Wings much of a chance to knock-off the Presidents’ Trophy winning ’Hawks, the Mule gave a perverse answer.
“Let them think that,” he snapped. “That’s awesome. Who cares.”
On a serious note, Franzen would like to see the Red Wings score the first goal on Saturday.
“It makes it a lot easier,” he said. “You open the other team up, because they’ve got to for it. Usually it means you’re going to get more chances.”
|Cory Emmerton is back in the lineup for tonight's Game 1 against Chicago. He sat out Sunday's series clinching win at Anaheim. (Photo by Dave Reginek)|
CHICAGO – Mikael Samuelsson has suffered a setback in his recovery from a strained pectoral muscle. He will be replaced in tonight’s Game 1 lineup against the Chicago Blackhawks by center Cory Emmerton, who was a healthy scratch in the Red Wings’ Game 7 victory at Anaheim.
Until last Sunday, Emmerton had played in every regular-season and playoff game for the Wings this season. He will open the Western Conference semifinals series as fourth-line center between wingers Patrick Eaves and Todd Bertuzzi.
Emmerton had no points and was a minus-4 in the series against the Ducks, where he also struggled in the face-off circle, winning just 37.8 percent of his draws.
Coach Mike Babcock alluded this morning that he would like to see Emmerton maintain a high compete level in this next series.
“You have to look at the guy across from you, you have to fight for your piece of the ice, and you have to do it on every shift,” Babcock said. “If you do that you get to stay in the lineup each and every night and never ever have to worry on off days. Just relax on off days because you know you’re in.”
Emmerton said he hopes that he doesn’t have to be a spectator again this spring.
“You don’t want to watch ever. I got to watch and it wasn’t a lot of fun,” he said. “I’ll do my best to not get in that situation again.
“Everything’s a learning lesson as you go along in your career. You do what you can do move forward and keep getting better.”
As for Samuelsson, tonight will be the 47th game this season that he’s sat out due to an injury.
“I played Sunday and know it’s Wednesday and the next game’s not till Saturday so we’ll see what happens,” he said.
When asked if he’s beyond frustrated with the injuries that continue to plague him, Samuelsson said, “Yeah you can say that.”