DETROIT -- When you play for the Detroit Red Wings, you have to wait your turn.
While other clubs rush their prospects to the NHL, the Wings nurture their future.
On Friday evening Detroits patience paid off as two youngsters, Corey Emmerton and Jakub Kindl, paced the Wings' attack in their 5-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators in the season opener at Joe Louis Arena.
Kindl and his defensive partner Jonathon Ericsson each had an assist and were a plus three, while Emmerton had a goal and an assist and finished at plus-2.
We can play a lot better than we did tonight, Wings coach Mike Babcock said. What I did like was I thought Emmerton was strong up the middle on the fourth line and Kindl had a real good game, hes supposed to be our sixth D and he was excellent.
It was an emotional night as the Wings and their wives honored former assistant coachplayer Brad McCrimmon, defenseman Ruslan Salei and goalie prospect Stefan Liv during a center ice ceremony before the game.
McCrimmon, Salei, and Liv were among the 43 people that perished when their Yak-42 jet crashed last month in Russia, stunning the hockey world.
Captain Nick Lidstrom, along with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg presented McCrimmons wife, daughter and son with his No. 2 jersey along with a framed jersey and plaque.
I thought it was very emotional for the players and our wives; seeing Brads family trying to let them know what he meant to us, said Lidstrom. "It was hard to just turn it on and play your game. I think thats why it took us a few minutes to get going.
Once the Wings did get it going, it was Kindls pass to Darren Helm that set up Detroits first goal of the season. Helm passed to a streaking Todd Betuzzi, who scored a breakaway goal high over the glove of Senators' goalie Craig Anderson.
Kindl made the play when he saw Helm coming off the Wings' bench and fired a tape-to-tape pass.
Its been a long time coming for Kindl.
Detroits first-round pick (19th overall) in the 2005 NHL draft, Kindl has spent a majority of his professional career in Grand Rapids. Last season he appeared in 48 games for the Wings, but was a healthy scratch during the playoffs.
So far its only one game, weve got 81 more to go, Kindl said about his performance, but added, Im 24 years old, last year was my first year and Im finally feeling much better, more confident, so I can compete.
Emmerton was the Wings first choice, 41st overall in the 2006 NHL draft. He was out of options, so he would have had to clear waivers if Detroit tried to send him down to the Grand Rapids. In all likelihood, that would not have happen.
After Lidstrom gave the Wings a 2-0 lead on an unassisted goal early in the second, Emmerton scored on a nice pass from Drew Miller, to increase Detroits lead to 3-0.
Jiri Hudler gave Detroit a 4-0 lead on a nifty backhander midway through the second period.
Early in the third period, newcomer Ian White scored off a faceoff won by Emmerton. Detroit was on cruise control up by 5, but a fluke goal and two power play goals by the Senators cut the margin to a two-goal deficit.
Youve got to do it for sixty minutes, said Babcock, we just gave up three goals at home and thats completely unacceptable.
Detroits next game is Saturday on the road against longtime rival Colorado.
As for Emmerton, he just happy that he was finally able to contribute, I couldnt imagine this kind of start; I just wanted to play well. Its always nice to get the first goal of the season out of the way and build from that.