photo: Dave Reginek/NHLI

I sat in the stands last night at Joe Louis Arena not thinking that I would be writing for thepinkpuck.com today. You see, I wasn’t there as a writer for this great hockey site. I was there with a friend of mine – a retiree from the same police department where I am currently an officer. In front of us sat a detective from our department. Other members of our department were scattered throughout the arena. It was law enforcement appreciation night; a chance for those who serve their communities every day to keep the citizens safe and sound to be recognized for their service. Now I am not usually one for these kinds of events. I am not opposed; it’s just that I didn’t go into my field to get public pats-on-the-back. With the beating that law enforcement has taken in the last year to year and a half however, it was nice to be reminded that those of us who work in law enforcement can still come together and rise above the foul taste left by a minimal fraction of a percentage point of “bad seeds.” They, unfortunately, are the ones who usually get the press.

1st Lt. Michael Shaw of the Michigan State Police; Asst. Chief Steven Dolunt of the Detroit Police Dept.; and, Capt. David Malloch of the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources represent the agencies in Michigan that have lost officers in the line of duty in 2015. photo: Dave Reginek/NHLI

1st Lt. Michael Shaw of the Michigan State Police; Asst. Chief Steven Dolunt of the Detroit Police Dept.; and, Capt. David Malloch of the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources represent the agencies in Michigan that have lost officers in the line of duty in 2015. photo: Dave Reginek/NHLI

This year in Michigan, three agencies lost officers in the line-of-duty. The Michigan State Police, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the Detroit Police Department were all represented in recognition of officers from their departments that made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of the people they serve. I thank the Detroit Red Wings organization, and other NHL and AHL teams that host similar nights, for their keeping their memories alive and keeping communities aware that we are there to do our very best to keep all from harm. It was an honor to be honored by the sport that I love so much. Now…on to the game…

Both teams got right down to the business of hockey with the puck drop and Arizona rallied quickly with a goal by Klas Dahlbeck. Red Wings bench boss Jeff Blashill quickly threw a coaches challenge on the play however, and a review showed that Arizona defenseman Connor Murphy was offside and the goal was disallowed. Said Blashill of the play, “It was a good job by our video coach, David Noel-Bernier. He was real positive that it was offside and obviously a big moment in the game.”

The disallowed goal proved a turning point for the Wings, who have scored points in the past eight straight games and at 12:30 Justin Abdelkader (Assist: Larkin) ripped one past Coyotes goalie Mike Smith. Seven minutes later Niklas Kronwall, playing in his 700th career game, planted another in the back of the net assisted by Tomas Tatar and Pavel Datsyuk.

Niklas Kronwall tallies his 700th career game. photo: Dave Reginek/NHLI

Niklas Kronwall tallies his 700th career game. photo: Dave Reginek/NHLI

Only 18 seconds after Kronwall’s goal, Red Wing Gustav Nyquist (Assists: Helm, Green) put yet another shot into the Coyote goal and the score was 3-0 Detroit. With three goals in the first period and two in quick succession, tempers and frustration were starting to rise. At 19:54 the Wings Smith and the Coyotes Chipchura tossed the gloves and fought until they fall to the ice and the linesman jumped on top. Both Smith and Chipchura were tossed for a 5-minute major for the fight, but Smith picked up an additional two minute penalty for slashing. Detroit also suffered two big roster losses in the period with Teemu Pulkkinen going out with an upper body injury, and later Drew Miller was out after a hard hit from Arizona’s Dahlbeck. When asked after the game if the players would be out for a while, Blashill uttered a simple, “yeah.”

The second period opened with the Coyotes still on the power play and a new man in the net in the form of Anders Lindback. The Coyotes were unable to capitalize on the one man advantage, however. Then at 5:52 Arizona’s Jordan Martinook (Assists: Downie, Ekman-Larsson) saw daylight over Red Wing goalie Jimmy Howard’s shoulder and sent one in to take the score to 3-1. That was the last time that Arizona would witness the board tick in their favor as Detroit took control of the rest of game. Not even two minutes later Red Wings Danny DeKeyser (Assists: Ericsson, Datsyuk) sounded the horn.

The third period fared no better for the desert team. Darren Helm slotted his first goal of the year unassisted at 4:28. Of Helm and his scoreless season to date, Blashill stated, “I think to score, he’s got to feel good about it and it’s got to take some pressure off. His process and his game’s been real good but there’s nothing like getting one and get that monkey off your back a little bit.” Neither team accrued any further points. The game ended with Detroit taking their first game in the past 7 of 8 in regulation play with a score of 5-1.

A transplant from California to Michigan as a teen in 1980, Gregg fell in love with hockey as soon as he watched his first live game between the University of Michigan and Michigan Tech. Gregg is a fan of the Detroit Red Wings, the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins, and Michigan State University. The #1 item on his bucket list - to see at least one live NHL game in every arena in the league.

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