Detroit sent a team that had Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm into Chicago to take on a Hawks squad featuring Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook. After jumping out to a 3-1 lead, the Wings ultimately fell to four Chicago power play goals.
Before we get to the bullets, I want to talk about Brendan Smith's hit on Ben Smith. Nearly mid-way through the third period, the Chicago winger skated into the Detroit zone toward the net with defensive prospect Brendan Smith coming on to cut off the angle. Brendan Smith lined up his similarly-surnamed opponent and delivered a crushing check which left the Blackhawks player dazed and earned him a major penalty and a game misconduct.
For this hit, Brendan Smith will VERY likely face suspension from a league that has, under the rule of Brendan Shanahan punished head shots and other questionable hits quickly and severely in the preseason. While I don't think there was nasty intent in Brendan Smith's act, that will not and should not prevent him from being punished. The only question remaining is how long will the suspension be and whether he can serve it in Grand Rapids or whether he should have to serve it when the team is ready to call him up.
Bullet points after the jump
- Fabian Brunnstrom will get a contract with the Red Wings. If you weren't sure about that before tonight, get sure about it now. He needs to spend more time getting used to the Red Wings' system, but he has the raw skill to contribute. The worry now is whether he'd be able to even clear waivers to make it down to Grand Rapids to get the seasoning I think he still needs.
- Cory Emmerton continues to impress. He played with Brunnstrom tonight and the two of them had very good chemistry. I'm still worried about his ability to grow beyond a third-line player (when the Wings currently have enough of those), but I think he's earned a chance.
- Gustav Nyquist is also still very impressive. I had a thought before the game that he might actually be as close to ready for NHL action as Tomas Tatar is. He may not be there just yet, but he's getting better and that's a good thing for a player who's already damn good.
- Speaking of Tatar, he still plays with the puck at a hundred miles per hour. He's getting better about keeping control of it. He's got hands that some would call "nifty."
- Ryan Johnson can be cut as of yesterday for all I care. I'm completely unimpressed with him.
- I can't help but rooting for Chris Conner. He doesn't really have the skills to stay with a big club in a role they don't already have filled with the much better Drew Miller, but he's scrappy. I don't mean that like he's an annoying ancillary dog that everybody hates, either.
- Jonathan Ericsson did not have a great game. He was...decent, but he wasn't $3.25M worth of d-man tonight.
Here's the Video: