Detroit Hockey Now discusses Nedeljkovic’s emergence and Wings’ top goaltending pairings

Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen and Bob Duff wrote a pair of articles about the Red Wings’ goaltending, past and present, with Allen discussing Alex Nedeljkovic’s emergence as a reliable source of strong goaltending in the Wings’ crease…

After giving up seven goals in his Detroit debut against Tampa Bay, Nedeljkovic is 4-2-1 with a 2.24 GAA and .930 save pct. in eight appearances. In three of his last four starts, Nedeljkovic posted save percentages of .939 and above. He’s been the goalie general manager Steve Yzerman hoped he would be when he gave up a third-round pick and Jonathan Bernier’s rights to get him.

“Every game you get more and more comfortable” Nedeljkovic said. “The start of the season, whether you were here the year before or not, there’s always a little adjustment period. Obviously, being new to the team, a little bit more than some of the other guys. Just trying to work out the kinks that come with the new year, shaking off the rust from the summertime. Every game I feel more and more comfortable. Game gets a little easier, you get into a bit of a rhythm, you stop thinking about things and just start doing them. For me, the less I think the better I play.”

Nedeljkovic appreciates that this arrival has been a big adjustment for his defensive group.

“Guys always being ready for anything,” Nedeljkovic said. “For me, it’s kind of learning the system and learning guys’ habits and tendencies and how we like to play certain scenarios. Preseason camp was great, really got to hone in on some system stuff, but now finally gotten 14 games under us, some live action stuff, because you can’t replicate that in a practice. That’s been great and I think we’re getting better and better.”

Allen continues, and Duff wrote an article for Detroit Hockey Now Plus discussing the best goaltending tandems in Red Wings history:

Chris Osgood/Mike Vernon: Following first-round failures in the 1992-93 and 1993-94 playoffs, Detroit coach Scotty Bowman sought to shore up the club’s goaltending. The Red Wings did so by acquiring Stanley Cup champion Mike Vernon from the Calgary Flames.

During the 1994-95 season, Vernon was a stellar 19-6-4 during the 48-game regular season. Then he backstopped the Red Wings all the way to the Stanley Cup final. It was the first appearance for the team in the Cup final since 1965-66.

The following season as the Red Wings won an NHL-record 62 games, it was Chris Osgood who took the netminding reins. He was 39-6-5, earning NHL Second All-Star status and was a Vezina Trophy finalist. The Red Wings also won the Jennings Trophy.

Vernon bounced back strongly in 1996-97. He led the Red Wings to their first Stanley Cup title since 1954-55 and won the Conn Smythe Trophy in the process.

Continued (paywall)

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.