Today’s Red Wings Know: Speed Kills

Nice piece here by Detroit News beat writer John Niyo, who illuminates one of the big reasons why the Red Wings are flying high: speed.

These aren’t your father’s Red Wings. Heck, these aren’t your Red Wings of just two years ago.

An excerpt:

“But the youth movement that began in earnest last season, when the roster was decimated by injuries, has taken hold. And so has the way some of those younger contributors approach the game — and think it — which has sped up the entire process for the Red Wings as they continue to rebuild on the fly.

“What’s different?” defenseman Brendan Smith said, repeating the question he has heard quite a bit lately. “We’re a lot faster. And I think that’s just because of the youth that we have.

“It’s familiarity, yeah. But I think the biggest thing is we have young guys with quick feet.”

And a hard-driving coach — arguably the best in the game — who insists they keep them moving, shift after shift.

The Corsi numbers — possession-based metrics — rate the Wings as a top-five team at even strength, along with Chicago, Los Angeles, Tampa Bay and the New York Islanders. But you don’t need advanced statistics to see that.”

Jean Beliveau Passes Away

Jean Beliveau

Jean Beliveau: 1931-2014

A bad November for hockey deaths has now turned into a bad start for December.

Old No. 4 for the Canadiens, Jean Beliveau, has died. He was 83.

Maurice “Rocket” Richard may have been the most explosive and dynamic Canadien of all-time (reflected in his nickname), but Beliveau was the most graceful. He was Montreal’s Alex Delvecchio—a smooth-as-silk centerman who didn’t do anything flashy; he just did it right.

Hockey lost a true giant.

It was fitting and proper that Beliveau’s last game played in 1971 ended with him as a Stanley Cup Champion yet again. His name is on the Cup 10 times as a player and seven more times as a Canadiens executive.

Here’s NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s statement on Beliveau’s passing.


NEW YORK (Dec. 3, 2014) – National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman today released the following statement regarding the passing of the legendary Jean Béliveau:

“No record book can capture, no image can depict, no statue can convey the grandeur of the remarkable Jean Béliveau, whose elegance and skill on the ice earned the admiration of the hockey world while his humility and humanity away from the rink earned the love of fans everywhere.

“Mr. Béliveau was a formidable presence and his departure leaves an immeasurable void. As we grieve that he has left us, we cherish what he gave us: A sport elevated forever by his character, his dignity and his class.

“For all the accomplishments he achieved and all the accolades he received, Jean Béliveau was always the epitome of the boy whose only dream was to play for the Montreal Canadiens. Hockey is better because that dream was realized. The National Hockey League sends heartfelt condolences to Mr. Béliveau’s wife, Élise, and Mr. Béliveau’s family, to his countless friends around the hockey world, and to his beloved Canadiens, who he always represented with such distinction and grace.”

Pat Quinn passes away

Pat Quinn was one of the toughest SOBs to ever play in the NHL. His crushing hit on Bobby Orr is legendary. Here’s another piece on Quinn.

Pat Quinn passes away after lengthy battle with illness

Former Vancouver Canucks' president and general manager Pat Quinn acknowledges the crowd after being inducted into the team's Ring of Honour before an NHL hockey game against the Calgary Flames in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday April 13, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Former Vancouver Canucks’ president and general manager Pat Quinn acknowledges the crowd after being inducted into the team’s Ring of Honour before an NHL hockey game against the Calgary Flames in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday April 13, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER – Former Vancouver Canucks coach and co-owner of the Vancouver Giants, Pat Quinn, has passed away.

In an announcement on their Facebook page, the Vancouver Giants said Quinn passed away Sunday night at Vancouver General Hospital after a lengthy illness.

“Words cannot express the pain we all feel today for the Quinn family,” said Giants majority owner Ron Toigo in the post. “Pat was an inspiration to all of us. He always said that respect was something that should be earned, not given, and the respect that he garnered throughout the hockey world speaks for itself. He will be sorely missed.”

Those wishing to send messages of condolence are asked to either email or send mail to the Giants’ offices at the address listed below.

Pat Quinn

Vancouver Giants

100 North Renfrew Street

Vancouver, BC

V5K 3N7

Alfie Done

Looks like Daniel Alfredsson is about to retire. No surprise here but had he been able to play, the Red Wings would have been a better team this season. Here’s more from Bleacher Report:

Dreger Report: Alfredsson’s comeback bid about to end

Three weeks shy of his 42nd birthday, Daniel Alfredsson’s comeback bid is about to end.

Sources tell The Dreger Report that Alfredsson has decided not to play this season and while the Red Wings have been informed he is likely done, they have not heard directly from Alfredsson.

Alfredsson has been plagued by an injured disc in his back over the past few years, a lingering problem that he is able to manage off ice, but is continually aggravated by the wear and tear of game action.

The veteran forward, regarded as one of the NHL’s most respected leaders, earned his place among the game’s top two-way forwards based on a relentless work ethic combined with a creativity that produced 444 goals and 713 assists for a total of 1,157 points in 1,246 NHL games.

Alfredsson, a sixth-round pick of the Ottawa Senators, spent 17 seasons in Ottawa, 14 as captain. He was a community leader, a tireless supporter of local charities and to many the identity of a Senators team that enjoyed many successful seasons, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2007.

Following a lengthy contract dispute, Alfredsson left the nation’s capital in July of 2013 to join the Detroit Red Wings – an emotional decision that leaves some to question how his place in Ottawa Senators history will be recognized and when.

It seems fitting the Senators will play a key role in Alfredsson’s announcement, as well as his future in the game.

Babcock to Wings’ speed can kill

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock talks to’s Dan Rosen about how the team’s speed could be a factor this season, unlike in years past.

By Dan Rosen – Senior Writer / Over the Boards blog

Speed. Lots and lots of speed.

“We’re just a way faster team than we were,” Babcock said in a phone interview after practice Tuesday. “For example, when we’re out penalty killing the guys who penalty killed last year were first-year players; this year they’re second-year players. They’re quicker, more sure of themselves.”

Seven of the 12 forwards Detroit has used through two games were not in the lineup for the season-opener last season. They’re all young and fast players — Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Jurco,Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening, Darren Helm and Andrej Nestrasil.

Of the seven who have been replaced, only Pavel Datsyuk, Stephen Weiss and Daniel Cleary still are with the team. Datsyuk is injured; Weiss and Cleary have been healthy scratches. Cory Emmerton(KHL), Todd Bertuzzi (free agent), Mikael Samuelsson (Swedish Hockey League) and Daniel Alfredsson(free agent) are the other four.

The Red Wings are 1-1, but in games against the Boston Bruins and Anaheim Ducks they dominated time of possession. Detroit is plus-25 in shot attempts (97-72) and plus-10 in shots on goal (53-43).

Detroit plays the Bruins in the NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry game at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m. ET).

“The way we practiced [Monday], we haven’t been able to practice like that since ’09. No chance. No chance,” Babcock said. “Does that guarantee success? No, but I think it sets us up to be better than we have been tenacity-wise.”

Babcock said a key is he doesn’t believe there is much of a drop off between Detroit’s second and fourth lines.

“The other night when we started the game [Henrik] Zetterberg was our first line and Sheahan was in the two-hole and he was going to play against [Ryan] Kesler,” Babcock said. “When that didn’t work we played Helm against him. When that didn’t work we played Glendenning against him. There’s not much difference. Some people might hear that and say, ‘Well, that’s because they don’t have any second line.’ I’m not sure of that. I just think we don’t fall off very much.”

Babcock saw the change in speed in the second half of last season, when Jurco, Tatar, Sheahan and Glendenning became regulars in the lineup.

“We got quicker right to the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs,” he said. “Boston slowed us down to a halt in the playoffs. With a year under our belts I think we can be a quicker team.”

Quickness to Babcock isn’t limited to skating; it includes reading and reacting to plays. He wants the Red Wings to be automatic in what they do instead of thinking, which inevitably slows a player down.

That’s another area where experience will help.

“If you’re going to be fast you’ve got to think real fast and you’ve got to be detailed, but I don’t want us to think, I want us to play,” he said. “I want us to think during the week in practice so when it’s time to get the puck dropped we’re just automatic so it’s quicker.”