The Red Wings welcomed the Blackhawks to the Joe Louis Arena on Sunday evening for their fourth preseason game. While the Wings put up a team that included Franzen, Filppula, Zetterberg, Lidstrom, and White, the Blackhawks had nobody more skilled than Michael "Don't call me Bobby" Frolik. Unsurprisingly, the Wings won the game. While they should have pulled it off without allowing two Brandon Pirri goals, the Detroit regulars played a good game.
Unfortunately, it wasn't all good news, as they lost forward Jan Mursak to a fractured left ankle in the 2nd period. Mursak skated into the Hawks zone, being forced just wide of the net on a scoring chance and fell awkwardly into the end boards after a push by Dylan Olsen (which was not a dirty play).
Mursak will be out of action for a minimum of 6-8 weeks with the fracture, which really is bad news for a young speedster who had impressed in the preseason and might have been well on his way to earning a spot with the big club when the season rolls around.
- With Mursak out of the picture, the 12th, 13th, and 14th forward spots open up a little more. My rankings as of right now are Miller, Emmerton, Brunnstrom, and Conner. Tatar and Nyquist would be outside shots, as they still need additional seasoning.
- Valtteri Filppula continues to impress on the Wing, putting up a goal and two assists in this game and playing excellent defense.
- Johan Franzen screened the goalie on two of the Red Wings goals. He had zero goalie-screens last season and two in this game. He used the big body well and seemed to be skating smoothly for a guy who told NHL.com's Brian Hedger he spent most of the summer with ankle pain.
- Ian White looked to be a very good fit for his line. His skating with the puck was smooth, his passes were good, he did a good job of appearing in shooting lanes, and his in-zone defensive play was very good.
- On the other end, Brendan Smith had two pretty big errors in his own zone. Combined with the fact that he keeps getting caught with big hits, it's clear that he needs another season in Grand Rapids to get used to the pace of the game.
- Bertuzzi's shootout goal was fantastic. I wasn't expecting a Datsyuk-Giggle event in a game where the Russian didn't play, but Bert produced.
- Finally, it was damn good to hear Ken & Mick again.