Two wins down, 80 games to go.

On Friday, following the Red Wings morning skate at Joe Louis Arena, rookie forward Cory Emmerton tweeted out the following.

“#48 in your program and probably #48 in your hearts haha.”

If Emmerton scores more goals, as he did in Friday’s 5-3 win over Ottawa, all guesses are that he’ll be jumping up people’s lists.

“Hopefully, it will get me more followers,” Emmerton joked after the game, as he was reminded of his prophetic Tweet.

As for everything else Red Wings related over the first two games of the 2011-12 campaign, so far, so good. It’s hard to argue with two wins, four points and a balanced attack, even if Mike Babcock wasn’t impressed with the final 20 minutes of his team’s performance in the opener.

The defending Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks are in town on Thursday. It marks the first of six player bobble head nights at Joe Louis Arena this season.

Here are the news and notes from across the Winged Wide Web.

  • “We’re the underdog in America,” Ilitch Holdings President and CEO Chris Ilitch told the Wall Street Journal, in regards to Detroit sports having a positive effect on the city’s comeback. “We have so much upside potential.”
  • Matt Saler at ‘On the Wings’ has the latest on the Brendan Smith suspension, which actually led to him being called up to the big club on Saturday.
  • Winging it in Motown with their regular list of X reasons.
Posted in Around the Rink | 1 Comment

Welcome to Social Saturday!

Social Saturday is an opportunity to take our fans online and engage them, both digitally and in person.

What is Social Saturday?

Today marks our first ‘Social Saturday’ of the 2011-12 season, a series of promotional dates, with our partner 98.7 AMP Radio Detroit.

These special days are for you, about you, by you, even if yours truly penned this blog post.

We’ve polled, surveyed and chatted with fans throughout the summer months. You want more opportunities to connect with us. You want more autographed giveaways. You want any opportunity to get into Joe Louis Arena and cheer on the likes of Lidstrom, Holmstrom and Zetterberg. And for those of you outside of Michigan, you want an opportunity to meet us face-to-face, on the road.

This is our first step in doing so.

What can you expect in 2011-12?

The U.S. Park Ticket Deal of the Week
– This special ticket deal will take place every week. It will be a limited number of tickets, at a special price for our followers on social media. We suggest setting up a Ticketmaster account beforehand, just to make the ordering process move quicker.

Blogger of the Week
– We know our fans have opinions, lots of them. We also know that you love having a platform and an audience to express your point of view. Thus, we’re asking you to submit your favorite blog (and it could be your own), to become our ‘Blogger of the Week..’ Each week, one Red Wings, or hockey related site will be linked to the Red Wings social networks on Facebook and Twitter. It’s an easy opportunity to attract an audience and new fans to your work.

You can submit your blog to redwingssocialmedia@gmail.com starting, well .. right now.

More Tweet Your Seat Giveaways
– We’ve already showcased why you should ‘Tweet Your Seat’ when you come to the Joe. It’s your opportunity to win tickets, autographed merchandise, video games and so much more.

Zamboni Rides
– Have you ever wanted to ride on the Zamboni? During Social Saturday home games, fans will have the opportunity to win a ride on the famed Joe Louis Arena machines.

NHL 2012
– The fine folks at EA Sports made me the most popular man in the office recently, with a shipment of NHL 2012 copies for giveaways during Social Saturdays. I’ve had to fend off the gamers here at the Joe to protect this valuable piece of inventory, but expect one of these to be given away to you, each home Social Saturday.

Road Parties
– We’re hoping to have our first on October 29th in Minnesota, at a place right across the street from the Xcel Energy Center. More details will follow over the next few weeks.

DTE Energy ‘Light the Lamp’ games
– Each Social Saturday home game will also be designated as a ‘Light the Lamp’ event on social media. If the Red Wings score four or more goals in that game, as they did last night, fans will be able to tweet #lightthelamp at @DetroitRedWings and @DTE_Energy for a chance to win a pair of tickets to DTE Energy ‘Going Green Night’ in March.

This is just the short list. The theme of ‘Social Saturday’ is to reward you, the most loyal fan base in the National Hockey League, where you follow your team. We’re always here to serve you.

Jake

Follow Jake Duhaime on Twitter at @jakeduhaime

Posted in Around the Rink, Social Saturday | 1 Comment

Almost Showtime

One last touch up for the ice at JLA

Long time, no blog.

Have you ever worked on a play before? There’s an old saying that 10 percent of the work happens in the first weeks of a production and that the other 90 percent are a last minute scramble.

The same is true here. Regardless of the amount of time spent at the office.

From promotions designed to bring fans closer than ever to the team, to that last bit of paint on the Joe Louis Arena ice surface, we’re getting ready for a spectacular Opening Night.

Is it Friday yet?

In the meantime, here are a few notes to end the preseason. You know, just in case Mother Nature tries to rain on Justin Verlander’s parade of dominance this evening at Comerica Park.

If there were a ‘Most Impressive Player of the Preseason’ award, Gustav Nyquist would have taken home the honor. The former University of Maine star looked like a veteran out there, making plays and showing tremendous presence for such a young player. Mike Babcock couldn’t stop raving about what seems to be the latest in a long line of Swedish imports.

Nyquist is certainly a luxury for General Manager Ken Holland. He has a two-way contract, meaning he doesn’t have to clear waivers in being sent down to Grand Rapids. It also helps that he will see significant ice time in the AHL, something that he may not have seen on the third or fourth line in Detroit.

Still, if injuries happen and there is a need, much like there was for Tomas Tatar last New Year’s Eve, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at Joe Louis Arena at some point this season.

Speaking of Nyquist, you can follow him on Twitter at @GNyquist. Other Wings prospects to join the world of social media include the aforementioned Tatar (@Trto90), Cory Emmerton (@Cemmer48) and Landon Ferraro (@LandonFerraro).

Fabian Brunnstrom made the most of his professional tryout (PTO), earning a roster spot, while showing his ability to make plays.

The tickets may be $200 a piece, but the Toast of Hockeytown is a tremendous event! Great food, even better wine and seeing your Red Wings players dressed to the nines? How can you beat that? Act fast if you want to attend, because tickets surely will sell out.

Let’s Go Tigers! Let’s Go Lions!

The good folks over at Nightmare on Helm Street has more on the 2011-12 roster with the addition of Brunnstrom.

You knew this was only a matter of time. The Shanabanned list.

Is it time to rename Detroit ‘Sports City, USA’?

Former Red Wing Boyd Devereaux is skating with Michigan native (and Red Wings fan) Tanith Belbin on CBC’s Battle of the Blades. Another former Detroit hockey tough guy, Brad May is paired with Anabelle Langlois.

Posted in Detroit Red Wings, NHL | Leave a comment

Training Camp Thoughts

DETROIT – While Red Wings players will use Traverse City as a home base over the next 48 hours, going through morning skates before traveling to road preseason games, I’m back here in the D.

Just some thoughts:

– Mike Babcock seems to really like Gustav Nyquist, who scored in Tuesday’s Red & White game. The University of Maine product was named a Hobey Baker finalist in 2011.

– We wouldn’t be able to do anything in Traverse City without the help of the numerous volunteers who gave up their time to make the Prospects Tournament and Training Camp a success.

– It was great to meet Kyle Kujawa, who just landed a full-time job in the Grand Rapids PR department. Once upon a time, Kyle ran ‘Babcock’s Death Stare’, proving once again that you can turn blogging into a legitimate sports job.

– Tomas Holmstrom on what he’s seen throughout the first few days in Traverse City.

“I think we have lots of speed, lots of young, good kids. We just have to be healthy, have good preseason games and be ready for game one.”

– For Drew Miller, and others, like GM Ken Holland, getting off to a good start is critical.

“You want to get as many wins as you can in October and November,” Miller said. “You want to stockpile those, because at the end of the season, teams who have a lot of wins at the beginning aren’t fighting for their life to get into the playoffs.”

  • Ted Kulfan has your lines for tonight’s preseason opener in Pittsburgh.
  • The NHL now has a social media policy. Our friends at the Nightmare on Helm Street put it in perspective.
  • On the Wings has some quick thoughts from camp. Well worth the read.
  • The biggest off-ice story of the upcoming season is going to be potential realignment, with your Red Wings right in the middle of it. Puck Daddy takes a look at the latest on that front.
Posted in Around the Rink, Mike Babcock, Red Wings | Leave a comment

Training Camp: Day One

TRAVERSE CITY – Just a wrap up of Training Camp coverage. I’ll try to keep fans up to date as time permits. In the meantime, follow the club on Twitter and Facebook for the very latest updates.

  • Pavel Datsyuk will honor his former teammate Ruslan Salei, by sporting the number 24 throughout training camp. It is a very classy move by Pav, who has obviously been hit hard by the Russian plane tragedy.
  • Following Saturday’s practice, the team attended the funeral of former assistant coach Brad McCrimmon.
  • The Grand Rapids News has a story about former Griffins players excelling with the Red Wings. Just a reminder, we’ll be out in Western Michigan for our Red & White scrimmage on Tuesday, September 27th.
  • Tomas Tatar, who scored a goal in his first NHL game last season, is in Traverse City looking to impress.
  • Pretty bummed that the legendary George Malik is not here with us at camp. He is currently battling some personal issues. Best wishes George!
  • Patrick Eaves will play alongside Dan Cleary and Pavel Datsyuk to start camp, a notable promotion for him. Mike Babcock has been complementary of the former Boston College star, pointing out that he is very ‘coach-like’ on the ice. Not surprisingly, Eaves’ father is the head coach at the University of Wisconsin.
  • The Octopus Thrower is a Jimmy Howard believer.

Posted in Around the Rink, Detroit Red Wings | Leave a comment

Freeze Warning in Traverse City

There is a chill in the air.

I’m not waxing poetically in saying that either.

While speaking with members of our club before a Traverse City sendoff, I could see my breath in the sky, a sure sign that hockey season is right around the corner.

The team headed north this morning, while I head up tomorrow. Christy Hammond and Rick Bowness, two of our PR gurus, are with a few members of our team on a Community Relations tour throughout the state. If you see any of us along the way, feel free to stop us and say hello.

“Each year at this time everybody believes they have a chance,” said Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock. “The reality is, only eight of those teams in the West are going to get in and we want to be one of them.”

That’s the reality in the eyes of the coaching staff. I’m sure our fans expect the very best product we can put out there night after night.

“We’ve had some early exits that a lot of the guys here are not used to,” Dan Cleary said. “Obviously, we don’t like that. It’s going to be a big season. We got Nick Lidstrom back, so that’s always a plus.”

Justin Abdelkader visits the DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids as part of the Red Wings Community Service tour

  • Jiri Hudler hopes some UFC style off-season training helps his game.
  • Darren McCarty has a new job that may, or may not surprise you.
  • The NHL Network will be broadcasting select preseason games, including the Wings opener against Pittsburgh on September 21st.

Jake Duhaime is the Social Networking Manager for the Detroit Red Wings. You can follow him on Twitter at @jakeduhaime.

Posted in Around the Rink, Detroit Red Wings | Leave a comment

Why are they Hockeytowns? Your winners!

On Friday, we asked fans to tell us why Grand Rapids and Traverse City were Hockeytowns. The following 50-75 word passages will be rewarded with a pair of tickets to that city’s respective Red & White games.

Why is Grand Rapids a Hockeytown? While I grew up watching Hockey Night in Canada in southwestern Ontario on Saturday evenings, my kids grew up in Grand Rapids, watching hockey on Saturday nights at the Van, catching today’s Griffins and tomorrow’s Red Wings. Grand Rapids also is where my kids learned to skate on Reeds Lake and backyard rinks. Simply put: Grand Rapids is where my kids fell in love with hockey, and I’ll forever be grateful to GR.
– Phil de Haan

“If one was to randomly find themselves walking about downtown Grand Rapids on any given Friday night, they would discover a city of people draped in navy, white, and red. The exception of anybody not wearing the colors of the Griffins will be draped in red and white hats, t-shirts, and fans using their jerseys as a billboard proudly showing their Griffins’ heritage with the names Hudler, Howard, Flippula. This is Grand Rapids, rightly known as “Hockeytown West.”
– Ryan Clark

I’ll try and keep this short and sweet because I’m sure you have read thousands of desperate pleas of incredible devotion to our hometown favorite hockey team. However, my story is not that of some astronomical obsession with the Wings. In fact, I don’t watch hockey. The true story is that of my roommate at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids. I have never met a more dedicated, passionate, or annoying Red Wings fan. With the amount of information this kid retains about hockey history and the wings, it amazes me that he has the mental capacity to major in chemistry…and be good at it. The real objective of this letter is to get him out of the room so he can see his team behind mesh, and not a TV screen. And so I can have a night where I do not hear him bark at Sports Center for not covering more hockey games. Thank you for your time, and please make my roommates year with tickets to this hockey game. Oh ya, and Grand Rapids is definitely a hockey town.

Nick Anderson

People come from all over the world to visit Traverse City. They come to see our beaches and the clear blue water. Some come to see the Cherry trees or the grapes for our wines.

But what us locals look forward to each year, is when the Red Wings come to town. That means its Hockey time, in Hockeytown. Let Go Wings !!!!
– Don Frank

Traverse City is the perfect hockey town because we know how to show our Wings a good time. Not only do we provide them with all the ice time they need, we entertain them with golf, sailing, fishing, and great restaurants to dine at. We are respectful fans; we try to give them their space but still take any advantage to meet one of the stars of the ice. We are true Wing Nuts!
– Patty Hirst

You call Traverse City Hockeytown for its residents love of the game. I call Traverse City Hockeytown because of its diversity, just like our Detroit Red Wings. In each game, the Red Wings pull from the variety of strengths of the players. Traverse City has the same diversity it pulls from each year. From the winter snowmobiling, to the fall color tours along with swimming, boating, fishing, and golfing filling in the summer months.
– Mike Buchanan

Congrats to all of our winners!

  • In other news, our organization would like to thank the 4,000 or so fans who joined us at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday for HockeyFest. The event was a major success and a tremendous way to kick off the 2011-12 season. We couldn’t have done it without you.
  • Two signs that the new season is right around the corner? NHL preview magazines are on the shelves at your local Meijer and EA Sports NHL 12 comes out tomorrow.
  • There was a beautiful story by Michael Rosenberg in Friday’s Free Press about Mike Babcock’s speech to the Livonia and Novi chambers of commerce and how it paid tribute to Ruslan Salei and Brad McCrimmon.
  • Pavel Datsyuk chats with Dmitry Chesnokov about the tragic Lokomotiv Yaroslavl crash.
Posted in Around the Rink, Detroit Red Wings | 3 Comments