In HBO’s new special 24/7 Red Wings/Maple Leafs: The Road to the Winter Classic, Dion Phaneuf is featured styling himself for a day at the office showing an array of different clothes preciously placed together to match. The HBO team also followed some of the Detroit Red Wings team members honoring one of their most gifted forwards, Pavel Datsyuk.Both the ‘magic man’ and Phaneuf provided their respective teams with a burst of energy in Saturday’s first and only battle that the Winter Classic will see, prior to the big show down at the big house Big House.
The Red Wings have struggled with injuries as of late. But with the return of Danny DeKeyser and a developing core of forwards called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins, Mike Babcock told the media that the team has, “created depth in the organization.”
“Through all these injuries we’ve created depth in our organization which is critical to have and it gives you confidence to use them,” Babcock said.
“I didn’t know we could use Riley Sheahan against anybody and now I do. Those are things you’ve got to see for yourself.”
Riley Sheahan is a 22-year-old forward from Ontario, Canada. Sheahan comes in at 6’2’’ and weighing approximately 212 pounds. With size and power from the young forward, Babcock has finally realized that the refinement of his youthful players’ talent is beginning to work.
“Obviously we’ve got a big game here in a day, a real important game for us,” Babcock said.
“You want to have traction, like you say, going in. We’re going to get, I think we’re going to get the cavalry back eventually here so it’ll be fun to have those guys.”
Dion Phaneuf was also featured about Toronto’s loss to their ‘classic opponents’.
“It’s disappointing when you lose in a game that you come back and then you’re up,” Phaneuf said.
“But we did a lot of good things to get that point. So we’ll take it and move forward. We’re disappointed in not getting the extra one, but that’s shootouts. Sometimes they go your way and sometimes they don’t.”
Tomas Jurco, Tomas Tatar and Joakim Andersson are amongst players that have truly impressed coach Mike Babcock. With their consistently strong play on the puck and their positive attitudes off the ice – the team has strongly benefited from their rapid development in the Red Wings time of need.
Joakim Anderssons’ wrap around goal at 13:18 in the first on Saturday is what sent Toronto’s head coach, Randy Carlyle, to the edge of his bench to pull their goaltender James Reimer.
“I felt that the wraparound goal was a stoppable wraparound and his stick was extended and it hit the heel of his stick and went in the net,” coach Randy Carlyle said.
“So I made the decision if we got through the period that I was going to put Bernier in.”
Reimer could not hold his spot in between the posts though, as Red Wings recruit Tomas Jurco, in Datsyuk-like fashion, laid one in against Reimer with under two minutes left in the first period. It gave the Red Wings a 3-1 lead going into the second period.
Jurco was not done with just one goal though. The 20-year-old native of Slovakia fed a pass to the Red Wings newest point provider Tomas Tatar at 13:44 in the third period, to eventually send the game into overtime.
“I was in a corner and I kind of saw the puck came up and it wasn’t a 100-percent puck so I just kind of tried to go to the net,” Tatar said.
“(Tomas Jurco) threw it there and I was in by myself so I had lots of time.”
As the Red Wings and Maple Leafs were once again tied up, the teams made their way through overtime and eventually into a shootout, where the Red Wings won for the first time all season.
A beautiful forehand snipe from veteran Daniel Alfredsson over the glove hand of Jonathan Bernier, and then a backhand from Pavel Datsyuk that raised the roof of Bernier’s net, ended the Leafs night. They could not answer back on both attempts from Riemsdyk and Raymond.
The Detroit Red Wings currently have an advantage over the Maple Leafs, leading their season series 1-0 going into the Winter Classic on New Years Day at 1 p.m.
Before the big show down, and even before Christmas, the Detroit Red Wings have a challenge against a New York Islanders team that are desperate for points.
The Wings will face-off against the Islanders at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, December 23rd at Joe Louis arena.
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Information from the Detroit Red Wings was used in this report.
For more information on the Detroit Red Wings and NHL hockey from analysts and journalists at Michigan State University – tune into Octopi Hockeytown podcasts and embrace the Spartan debate at www.impact89fm.org/sports
Austin Goodman is the host of Octopi Hockeytown for Impact Sports
TOR – 7:15 – C. Franson (Snap) Unassisted
DET – 8:57 – P. Datsyuk (Backhand) R. Sheahan, D. DeKeyser
DET – 13:18 – J. Andersson (Wrap-around) D. Alfredsson, B. Smith
DET – 18:08 – T. Jurco (Backhand) R. Sheahan, J. Tootoo
TOR – 11:45 – D. Phaneuf (Slap) J. Lupul
TOR – 18:24 PPG – J. Lupul (Wrist) P. Kessel, J. van Riemsdyk
TOR – 8:32 – D. Clarkson (Snap) J. McClement, N. Kulemin
DET – 13:44 – T. Tatar (Backhand) T. Jurco, N. Kronwall
No goals recorded.
RD1) NYI – J. van Riemsdyk/DET – D. Alfredsson
RD2) NYI – M. Raymond/DET – P. Datsyuk
First: Pavel Datsyuk
(1G, -1, 5 shots, 3 hits, 23:19 TOI)
Second: David Clarkson
(1G, +1, 3 shots, 5 hits, 18:37 TOI)
Third: Jonathon Bernier
(26 SA, 1GA, .962SV%, 21-22EV, 2-2PP, 2-2SH)