Red Wings lose Howard, Kindl; call up three Griffins in their place

Backup goalie Joey MacDonald relieved Jimmy Howard in Detroit's 2-1 loss to Chicago Sunday. Photo credit: Sports Overdose

The injury-plagued Red Wings called up three members of the Grand Rapids Griffins Monday after suffering another setback in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Forward Chris Connor, defenseman Doug Janik and goaltender Jordan Pearce will suit up to fill the gaps in the Wings lineup following recent injuries.

Starting netminder Jimmy Howard (lower-body) and defenseman Jakub Kindl (upper-body) both left early in the game Sunday and neither returned.

Coach Mike Babcock said Kindl was sore prior to the game and shouldn’t have played, though his injury should be day-to-day.

Following the 2-1 loss, Howard said he didn’t think his injury was too severe in an interview with the Detroit News.

“All I can tell you is it’s a lower-body injury and I’m day to day,” Howard said. “I don’t think it’s too serious. I’ll get it looked at tomorrow morning and go from there.”

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Wings say goodbye to Commodore; call up Smith

Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Brendan Smith will have a chance to prove his worth after being called up for the Red Wings following the trade of Mike Commodore Monday. Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images

Mike Commodore’s trade-deadline departure will make room for rookie-defenseman Brendan Smith on the Detroit Red Wing depth chart.

Commodore was sent to the Tampa Bay Lightning Monday for a 2013 7th-round draft pick. He recorded two points in his  17 appearances with the Wings.

“I played 17 games, was a healthy scratch for 30 games, that’s not going to cut it,” Commodore said. “It would have been nice to see this thing through here. It’s a good team here, they got as good a chance to win as anybody else, but this is probably better for me. I get an opportunity. I never really got an opportunity here.”

With Jonathan Ericsson benched for a month with a wrist injury and defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom and Kyle Quincey suffering day-to-day injuries, Smith will get a chance to prove his worth.

The rookie recorded 10 goals and 22 assists in his 47 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins this season. Earlier in the season he appeared in three games in a Red Wings uniform, tallying three assists.

“I was in Grand Rapids a couple of times this week,” Holland said in a Freep story. “Brendan Smith was on the all-rookie team last year in the American league. He’s got 10 goals. Obviously a tremendous college career.”

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Datsyuk undergoes knee surgery; Conklin earns start in Grand Rapids

Center Pavel Datsyuk leads the Red Wings with 59 points this season. Photo Credit: AP

The Red Wings will be without their leading scorer for a while.

Center Pavel Datsyuk underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Tuesday morning and Coach Mike Babcock said he expects he will be out two weeks.

“He had a fragment in his knee, an old thing that we wanted to clean up here, prior to playoff time,” Babcock said.

The center has recorded 59 points in as many games this season.

He is expected to be replaced by Dan Cleary Tuesday, who has been sidelined almost two weeks with a knee injury.

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Wings acquire Quincey in three-team trade

Defenseman Kyle Quincey returns to Detroit, where he made his NHL debut.

Kyle Quincey didn’t have much time to celebrate landing a spot on the Tampa Bay Lightning roster before being acquired by the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday.

The former Avalanche defenseman has appeared in 54 games this season, recording five goals and 18 assists.

Quincey, 26, is an Ontario native who originally entered the NHL as Red Wing in 2005.

After being drafted 132nd overall, he appeared in 13 games over three seasons before moving to Los Angeles.

The defenseman posted a career-high 38 points as a King during the 2008-09 season.

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MacDonald proves his worth; Conklin waived

Ty Conklin congratulates Joey MacDonald following a recent Red Wing victory. Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus / Getty Images

Backup goaltenders in the NHL hold a special responsibility, called on when the starter begins to slip, needs a break or falls to injury.

The Detroit Red Wings found themselves relying on Ty Conklin after losing all-star Jimmy Howard for the last six games with a broken finger.

Conklin has slipped to 3-5, with a 3.40 goals against average this season and was recently waived by Detroit.

He last appeared in the 5-4 overtime loss to Edmonton on Feb. 4 when he was replaced by third-string netminder Joey MacDonald.

Despite dropping the game to Edmonton, MacDonald has led the team to six straight wins, building up a 6-1-1 record in the month of February.

MacDonald holds a 1.66 goals against average, solidifying his position as No. 2 netminder.

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Bertuzzi joins 300 club; Wings fall to Oilers 5-4

Forward Todd Bertuzzi scored goals number 300 and 301 in Saturday's 5-4 loss to the Oilers. Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Tempers flared and sparks flew Saturday as the Edmonton Oilers came out on top of the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 in a shootout Saturday.

Despite being outplayed early, the Red Wings came back to take a late 4-3 lead only to give up a goal to Jordan Eberle with 40 seconds on the clock to force overtime.

Detroit needed extra time for the seventh time in the past 13 games to decide a winner, coming into the night 6-0 in shootouts.

Todd Bertuzzi found the back of the net three times, including once in shootout fashion to keep Detroit’s hopes alive, but Edmonton held on for the victory.

Both teams were looking for blood early – and both found what they were looking for Saturday night.

Defenseman Niklas Kronwall rocked forward Ales Hemsky halfway through the first period and was quickly jumped on by Corey Potter.

The retaliation drew blood, and with it a four-minute penalty. Detroit failed to score in the four minutes and the Oilers picked up momentum.

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Howard breaks finger; out 4-6 weeks

Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard will be sidelined after suffering a broken bone in his finger Thursday. Photo Credit: Jeff McIntosh/AP

Jimmy Howard leads the NHL with his 32 wins this season.

The starting net minder won’t be able to add to that tally for a while after breaking his finger in Thursday’s win against the Vancouver Canucks.

“I’m hopeful it won’t take the 4-to-6 weeks that they’re calling for,” Howard said. “Hopefully, it’s only a couple of weeks. I’m being optimistic. I don’t really know what the time line is, to be honest. Hopefully, I can be back even sooner.”

Howard told Detroit Free Press reporter Helene St. James that he expects to be out two weeks.

Backup goalie Ty Conklin (3-5)  will take over between the pipes in Howard’s absence, coming off wins in two of his last three starts.

Detroit (35-16-1) will take on the Edmonton Oilers Saturday night at 10 p.m.

Penalty minutes; A ranking of discipline or toughness?

Red Wings Valtteri Filppula and Niklas Kronwall combine for 38 of the teams penalty minutes this season. Photo Credit Julian H. Gonzalez / DFP

Penalty minutes.

Depending on the statistics database you visit, penalty minutes can be ranked in ascending or descending order

Is the team with the fewest penalty minutes the most self-disciplined? Does a high ranking in this category show toughness?

Unlike other obvious categories, penalty minute rankings lead to varying opinions.

The Detroit Red Wings are ranked 29th in PIM this season (8.4 per game), with only the Phoenix Coyotes recording less (7.9 per game).

Jonathan Ericsson leads Detroit with 43 penalty minutes in 50 games. Despite leading the team in minutes in the sin bin, he ranks 91st in the NHL.

Forward Todd Bertuzzi, known for his brutal hitting in the past, ranks 114th in the league with 39 minutes.

While Detroit has had success and sits in first place in the Western Conference at the All-Star break, some of the worst offenders in penalties are also the best NHL teams this season.

The Boston Bruins average the most penalty minutes per game (15.9), followed by Philadelphia (15.5), Ottawa (14.2), Vancouver (13.9), New York Rangers (13.7) and the St. Louis Blues (13.3).

These six teams most commonly killing penalties are ranked in the best nine in the league, while Phoenix, on the other hand, is ranked 20th in the league, despite recording the fewest penalty minutes (397).

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Wings top Central with victory Tuesday

Ty Conklin improved to 3-5 with the Detroit victory Tuesday, making 25 saves. Photo credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Ty Conklin played one of his best games of the season Tuesday in the Red Wings’ 3-2 overtime victory over the Dallas Stars.

As the clock wound down in overtime, Johan Franzen had a chance to end the game.

The forward intercepted a clear from Dallas’ zone, but was tripped by Stephane Robidas in front of the net and lost control of the puck. The penalty gave Dallas a chance in shootout form, but Conklin held strong in net.

“We’ve got to give Conks credit, he didn’t have a lot of run support tonight,” said head coach Mike Babcock.

Conklin improves to 3-5 following a win in which he recorded 25 saves and was perfect through the shootout.

“(Shootouts) are a good challenge and it was nice to come out with a win,” Conklin said. “I wasn’t too worried about the two goals I let in. I thought they were pretty solid goals and I felt I played better as the game went on.”

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Drew Miller wins sibling battle Monday

Brothers Drew and Ryan Miller pose with the Stanley Cup. Drew has yet to win a cup, though he holds a 3-1 record against his brother. Photo Credit: Mike Bolt / HHOF

The Miller family was in attendance at Joe Louis Arena Monday night as Drew and Ryan Miller faced off for the fourth time of their careers.

Drew and Ryan’s mother created a half-Red Wings and half-Sabers jacket that sported each of the players’ numbers as well as the name “Miller” across the back. Ryan came into the game 1-2 against his brother.

“It’s fun for friends and family to watch that, we’ve got a lot coming to the game,” said Drew in an interview by the Daily Tribune. “It’s a unique situation to be in to play against your brother at this high of a level.”

Drew and his Red Wings had the last laugh as the team picked up a 5-0 victory over the Buffalo Sabers – a franchise-best 15-game home win streak.

Forward Henrik Zetterberg kicked off the scoring just over five minutes into the game, sending a wrist shot past the Sabres’ goaltender.

Johan Franzen and Niklas Lidstrom added tallies in the final two minutes of the period, including a goal with 17 seconds remaining.

The Sabres were outplayed in the first and that pattern continued throughout the second period. Forward Todd Bertuzzi scored his ninth goal of the season and Darren Helm snapped his goal-drought 13 seconds later.

Down 5-0, Buffalo pulled Ryan from the game after stopping nine of 14 shots over 25 minutes of play. The final goal he allowed was set up by his brother Drew – his first career point against his brother.

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