Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 2 at the 2010 NHL Prospects Tournament: Tampa Bay vs. Detroit (A Marathon Recap)

OPENING DISCLAIMER: Apologies to all who’ve been patiently waiting for the write-up to last night’s Tampa Bay-Detroit game. Unfortunately, pulling 10 hours at my actual job today loomed on the horizon heading into today. With that, enough with the excuses, and on with the game….

Detroit looked to maintain the momentum of a lopsided 6-1 opening night victory over Dallas, while Tampa looked to right the ship after being doubled up by St. Louis 4-2 on Saturday. The Lightning looked to dictate the tempo early in the first frame, flying fast and furious into the Detroit zone and crashing the net – literally. The Lightning made a few minor adjustments to their top two scoring lines, inserting Richard Panik (Windsor/Belleville – OHL) with the combo of James Wright (Vancouver – WHL) and Brett Connolly (Prince George – WHL) on the top unit; meanwhile, Carter Ashton (Lethbridge/Regina – WHL) moved down to with Alex Hutchings (Barrie – OHL) and Jonathan Lessard (Acadie-Bathurst – QMJHL) on the second line. Panik seemed quite at ease with his promotion and delivered by opening the scoring almost 4 ½ minutes into the game, capitalizing on a speedy 2-on-1 with Wright to beat Jordan Pearce (Toledo - ECHL) to the goalie’s right side.

The Wings evened the score just one and a half minutes on a furious rush by Detroit’s top line of Tomas Tatar (Grand Rapids – AHL), Joakim Andersson (Vastra Frolunda – SWE), and Willie Coetzee (Red Deer – WHL). Coetzee tapped the puck past Tampa goaltender Jaroslav Janus (Erie – OHL) after Tatar’s initial shot to knot things up at 1 apiece.

Detroit looked to take the lead as Brendan Smith (Wisconsin – WCHA) manned the point by impersonating Nick Lidstrom by trying to bank the puck off the boards behind Janus, who was forced across the goal crease most of the evening as the Red Wings attempted plenty of cross-ice passes to force the Slovak netminder to stay mobile.

Tampa also had their fair share of opportunities early, as Hutchings worked hard in the front of Pearce to lobby for position in the slot. Hutchings also looked quick on his skates along side of Lessard and Ashton, and Panik managed to penetrate into the offensive zone with a few fancy dangles around Detroit defenders.

Even with the quick tempo of the contest, there was physical play as well. Unlike the St. Louis-Dallas game which preceded the late game, both squads kept it clean while still playing aggressive and forceful. Detroit free agent tryout Darren Archibald (Barrie – OHL) used his 6’3” frame to lay down some ornery hits in the neutral zone. Meanwhile, Adam Janosik (Gatineau – QMJHL) stood tall at the Tampa blueline, standing up Red Wing attackers as they tried entering the offensive zone. Mark Barberio (Moncton – QMJHL) was able to move the puck out effectively out of harms way and deep into the Detroit zone. Tampa FA tryout Andrew Agozzino (Niagara – OHL) was firing plenty of shots towards Pearce (though not all of them got through), while Detroit’s Andrej Nestrasil (Victoriaville – QMJHL) busted his lumber on a one-timer.

Detroit finished with a 12-8 edge in shots in the first, but neither team could crack the 1-1 tie.

Tampa started the second period in the same fashion as the first with electricity in their blades. A slick rush by Tim Marks (Clarkson – ECAC) – who skated past diving Detroit defenders along the right boards – resulted in a big rebound that Dana Tyrell (Norfolk – AHL) buried for a 2-1 Lightning lead just over three minutes into the stanza. Marks also showed some edge to his game, standing up to Archibald when the lanky Wing attempted to play the body. Wright sniped a Connolly feed in the slot with 12 ½ left in the period to up the lead to 3-1.

Pearce was pressured most of the period, as the Lightning outshot the Red Wings 14-9, but he made some tough saves stretching across the crease to cover both posts. Meanwhile, Landon Ferraro (dealt in the offseason from Red Deer to Everett in the WHL) missed a golden opportunity by firing a one-timer over Janus from between the circles. Antonin Honejsek (Moose Jaw – WHL) also had a few point blank chances that were turned away by Janus. Tampa’s blueliners displayed some blue-collar work ethic as Brock Bluebook (Sault Ste. Marie – OHL) showed ease in clearing pucks out of the zone, while Barberio showed great hustle in tracking down a Detroit shorthanded opportunity. Both teams traded shots off the posts in the frame as the score remained 3-1 Lightning after 40.

But early into the third, the Red Wings were given the big break they needed get back into the game. Lessard was whistled for a hook just 1:12 into the period (only Tampa’s second penalty at that point), while Tyrell soon followed him into the box just 9 seconds later on an unsportsmanlike conduct call for attempting to play with a broken stick, Tatar cut the lead to one on the 5-on-3 from the slot on a feed from Brooks Macek (Tri-City – WHL). Then, shortly after Tyrell stepped onto the ice after serving his penalty, Trevor Parkes (Montreal – QMJHL) tied the game 3 ½ minutes into the third – and 41 seconds after Tatar’s goal – by beating Janus on a furious rush to the net. The mostly pro-Wings crowd awoke from their slumber and filled the rink with cheers as the momentum clearly shifted in Detroit’s favor. The Red Wings would go on the outshoot the Lightning by a hefty margin of 19-6. The quick pace of the game allowed for some back-and-forth chances, punctuated by a crisp 2-on-1 by Nestrasil and Louis-Marc Aubry (Montreal – QMJHL) – which was turned away by Janus, who stood on his head in the final 20 minute barrage – followed by a solid one-man effort by Tyrell which Pearce laid down to stop. Total SOG was 40-29 in favor of the Wings after 60 minutes, as regulation ended in a 3-3 tie.

The 4-on-4 overtime solved nothing (3 shots apiece, no real quality chances), and then the controversy started….

Both the scorer’s table and the officiating crew were under the impression that NHL rules would apply, and that a shootout would ensue following the five-minute OT frame. However, it was determined prior to the tournament by Red Wings brass (who dictate how the tourney is conducted) had decided to employ Ken Holland’s vision of a 3-on-3 OT frame if the initial 4-on-4 frame decided nothing (which was discussed at the NHL Competition Committee Meetings in Toronto this summer). But these changes were not relayed to the officials (or the scorer’s table) prior to any of the games up to this point, and things got tense as a decision needed to be made quickly. Caught in the middle of it all was little ol’ me, who had announced to the crowd the standard OT rules of the NHL at the end of regulation which was believed to take place. However, that prompted members of Wings management to address the situation. When the smoke finally cleared, the officials refused to relent on the modifications to overtime, and it was off to a shootout.

Shootouts are usually fairly quick on most nights, as one team tends to have at least a bit of an edge over the other (at least in my observations). But with as evenly matched as the Lightning and Red Wings were on Sunday night, a marathon ensued, and Janus and Pearce shone as the brightest stars on this occasion, stretching to make some amazing pad saves and absorbing pucks with their speedy gloves. The two young netminders almost seemed to be communicating telepathically, telling each other “Anything you can do, I can do better!” The shootout stretched five shooters deep, then ten. After fourteen shooters, I needed to start a new sheet, as my original master scorer’s sheet (as crude as it was) had run out of room.

Finally, after sixteen shooters per side, a winner was finally decided.

Here are the shootout results by shooter:

Tampa Bay
Mitch Fadden – no goal
Brett Connolly – no goal
James Wright – no goal
Richard Panik – GOAL
Carter Ashton – no goal
Jonathan Lessard – no goal
Alex Hutchings – no goal
Adam Janosik – no goal
Tim Marks – no goal
Mark Barberio – no goal
Richard Panik – GOAL
Mitch Fadden – no goal
James Wright – no goal
Andrew Agozzino – no goal
Brett Connolly – no goal
Matt Butcher – GOAL

Tomas Tatar – no goal
Landon Ferraro – no goal
Brendan Smith – GOAL
Willie Coetzee – no goal
Andrej Nestrasil – no goal
Brent Raedeke – no goal
Joakim Andersson – no goal
Brendan Smith – no goal
Trevor Parkes – no goal
Brooks Macek – no goal
Landon Ferraro – GOAL
Tomas Tatar – no goal
Andrej Nestrasil – no goal
Louis-Marc Aubry – no goal
Antonin Honejsek – no goal
Willie Coetzee – no goal

(Bonus points for those of you who noticed the repeat shooters. There was a minor controversy over when teams could send out repeat shooters. The officials – a combination of AHL, ECHL, and major junior referees and linesmen – stated no repeat shooters could be used until after the tenth shooter. As a result, Brendan Smith’s 2nd shot – the Wings’ 8th overall – would’ve been waved off had he scored. However, both NHL and AHL rules (scroll to page 178) state no repeat shooters can be used until ALL skaters on the bench had taken a shot.)

FINAL SCORE: Tampa Bay 4, Detroit 3 (SO)

So when all was said and done, a last-minute injury replacement (Butcher, whose father Garth was also in T.C. scouting for the St. Louis Blues) tallied the deciding goal.

Also on Sunday evening, next door in the clash at David’s Rink, Carolina needed a last=minute goal by Zac Dalpe (Ohio State – CCHA) to snap a scoreless tie and notch a 1-0 victory over the New York Rangers. Mike Murphy (Albany – AHL) turned away all 33 Ranger shots for the shutout and to get the defending tourney champions back into the chase for the crown.

Standing after two days:

“Howe Division”
Detroit, 1-0-1, 3 points, +4 goal differential
St. Louis, 1-1-0, 2 pts, -1
Tampa Bay, 1-1-0, 2 pts, -1
Dallas, 1-1-0, 2 pts, -2

“Gretzky Division”
Minnesota, 2-0-0, 4 points, +5 goal differential
Carolina, 1-1-0, 2 pts, even
New York, 1-1-0, 2 pts, even
Columbus, 0-2-0, 0 pts, -5


  1. Reading this kept me on the edge of my seat! Thanks SuperDave!

  2. Glad you enjoyed the write-up, Mikey! Really exciting game these two teams played. Would've also liked to have seen the goaltender's duel b/t Carolina's Mike Murphy and NY's Cam Talbot, but I haven't figured out how to be two places at once yet..

  3. Tatar!!! And thanks to you and Macks, Dave- I have way too much knowledge about Brendan Smith....