Category Archives: Uncategorized

Alfredsson skating to test his back on his own

DETROIT >> Daniel Alfredsson continued to skate on his own Wednesday, trying to determine if his back will allow him to play one more season.

“He says he feels better and I think this week will be an important week,” Henrik Zetterberg said.

The Wings are willing to wait as long as it takes for Alfredsson, who suffered a setback in early September, to make a decision.

“I think it was a wise decision for him to really take the time now, do his rehab and really give it a last shot,” Zetterberg said. “Hopefully it will work.”

The Wings would like to get 60-to-65 games out of Alfredsson, who was tied for the team lead in points last season, since he provides a right-handed shot at the point on the power play.

Alfredsson, who did not attend training camp, still has an issue with a nerve in his back that occurred late last season.

Alfredsson has said if returns for another season of hockey it would be with the Wings.

“I would love to play, there’s no question, but at the same time you have to listen to your body,” Alfredsson said a few weeks ago. “I’m hoping that I’ll know within the next week or two weeks.”

Wings running out for time to get done with Babcock; contract ‘watch’ unnecessary

DETROIT >> The contract negotiations between the Wings and coach Mike Babcock from this point will remain private.

And from the sounds of it both sides aren’t close to getting a deal done prior to Detroit’s season opener Oct. 9 at home against the Boston Bruins.

“I’m not sure that there should be a Mike Babcock watch,” Holland said. “These things take a week, a month, sometimes a few months. We want focus on the team. We want focus to be on the ice. We don’t need any distractions.”

Babcock’s contract expires June 30.

“I’m not going to handicap it,” Holland said when asked if he thought a deal could get done before the season. “Our focus needs to be on the players and winning.”

Talks between both sides, which last took place Tuesday, were supposed to ramp up this weekend.

“Mike Babcock has been a big part of the Detroit Red Wings,” Holland said. “Whatever discussions, if we have any going forward, will be private.

“If sometime this winter we find a solution, great,” Holland continued. “I respect the job he’s done and I think he likes it here.”

Babcock, 51, is heading into the final year of a contract that pays him roughly $2 million a season.

“I don’t think about it at all,” Babcock said earlier this week. “I don’t think it’s going to be my final year here. If it is, it is. I’ve tried to live my whole life in the present, so what happened yesterday doesn’t matter, what we’re doing today does matter and we’ll get on with it tomorrow. So I’m going to do the same. I’ll get up every day and try as hard as I can as I always have, and go home and love my family and come back the next day and do the same.”

Babcock has said he would not negotiate a new deal during the season.

“My relationship with my general manager is such that the grass isn’t greener on the other side,” Babcock said. “I imagine that will get it worked out.”

Babcock is heading into his 10th season in Detroit. He set a franchise record last season with his 415th win, passing Scotty Bowman and Jack Adams in the process.

He has also led Canada to two straight Olympic gold medals.

Babcock, who has led the Wings to a Stanley Cup and a two conference championships, could be the hottest sought-after coach this offseason if he doesn’t get a deal done to remain in Detroit.

“I’m going to do everything within my power to maximize the group, whether I’m in my last year or first year,” Babcock said. “It doesn’t affect my life whatsoever. It would make way more difference to me if I was just starting in the business and I was concerned about feeding my family. I’m not.”

Niklas Kronwall doesn’t believe this will become a distraction if a deal to extend Babcock doesn’t get done prior to the season.

“Our job is to go out and perform on the ice,” Kronwall said. “His job as a coach is to get us prepared and do the things he needs to do and we have all the info that we need. So far it’s been good. We haven’t seen a change from previous years and I don’t think there will a change to that whatsoever.”

This and that … Nyquist returns to pratice; Helm makes it two days in a row on ice

DETROIT >> Gustav Nyquist (knee) returned to practice. Darren Helm (groin) practiced a second straight day. Ericsson (groin/hip flexor) did not practice. Babcock won’t know if Nyquist or Helm will play Wednesday. … Each of the Wings’ three goalies will get a start in the final preseason games, starting with Jimmy Howard, followed by Jonas Gustavsson and Petr Mrazek.

Babcock still fielding questions about a new contract: “It’ll be good when the season starts and then I won’t have to talk about it anymore.”

DETROIT >> Wings coach Mike Babcock was asked about Scotty Bowman’s mindset of signing just one-year deals.

“It worked for him,” Babcock said. “I think when you get to a certain stage, you’re pretty comfortable, it doesn’t matter, you’re just going to coach the team anyway. This seems to be a way bigger deal for you people than it is for me. It’ll be good when the season starts and then I won’t have to talk about it anymore.”

Babcock and general manager Ken Holland will have in-depth talks this weekend where a contract is expected to be offered. If they’re unable to reach a deal by the season opener (Oct. 9) talks will likely be done until after the season.

Wings finally have depth on the blue line within the organization

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings always seem to find depth at forward within the organization.

That now looks to be the case on the blue line.

“I think the guys that are pushing are (Xavier) Ouellet and (Alexey) Marchenko,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after practice Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena. “(Nick) Jensen’s been a real surprise. (Ryan) Sproul’s a good player. I thought there was four D, there’s actually five of them who look to be like they’re going to play in the league.”

Mattias Backman is the fifth defenseman Babcock referred to.

“Depth on the back end, we need it,” Babcock said. “We continually say we need to improve our D, I thought (Brendan) Smith was the best defenseman on the ice (Monday) night, bar none, on both teams, which is great. I’ve never been able to say that about Smitty in an NHL game ever. A lot of NHL players played, I thought Smitty was great.”

Detroit has seven defensemen on one-way deals this season – Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Smith, Danny DeKeyser, Kyle Quincey, Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff.

“We’ve got guys coming,” Babcock continued. “We want some push from the bottom. We think in Marchenko and Ouellet and Sproul and Jensen and Backman that we have that. How far is it away? Last year if you would have talked to me at this time I would have told you … (Tomas) Tatar sat out the first nine games, (Gustav) Nyquist started in the minors, (Riley) Sheahan wasn’t even on the radar screen, (Tomas) Jurco, heck, was so average at the start of the year it wasn’t even funny. So you go through, it doesn’t take long. When you’re big and fast and you know how to play, you see what happens.”

Quote of the day … Wings coach Mike Babcock

DETROIT >> Wings coach Mike Babcock on how different the pace is on the ice this season compared to last year.

“We were at a snail’s pace last year at the start of the year,” Babcock said. “I didn’t even like watching us practice, we were so slow. We were able to pick things up during the year and get way quicker and ideally we’ll continue to do that. We think we’re really going to be able to fly.”

Wings coach Mike Babcock: “I can’t believe all the penalties. … Don’t know if they’re trying to get their quota during exhibition.”

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings’ special teams got a workout Monday night.

The power unit was 2-for-8, while the penalty kill was 8-for-8 as the Wings blanked the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-0, at Joe Louis Arena.

“I couldn’t believe all the penalties,” said Wings coach Mike Babcock, whose team improved to 3-1-1 in the preseason. “We have to be more disciplined I guess. Don’t know if they’re trying to get their quota up during exhibition, don’t know what it is exactly. I don’t know if we needed that many, but obviously we got some work.”

Detroit has yet to allow a power play goal in five preseason games in 23 chances, going 8-for-8 on the penalty kill against the Leafs.

“There was no flow, zero flow,” Babcock said. “That’s the problem with it. You want to play all your guys and you can’t play them. We got good work from our guys.”

“Special teams bit us in the butt,” Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said.

Nick Jensen and Riley Sheahan each scored on the power play, while Petr Mrazek made 27 saves. Tomas Jurco added an empty-net goal.

“The penalty kill was amazing obviously, I don’t even know how many there were but there were a lot of minutes that we had to kill,” Ryan Sproul said. “We did a great job offense and defense and it was hard on us but we killed it off.”

Toronto goalie James Reimer stopped 14 shots.

“Your best penalty killer is your goaltender and I thought he was really good, solid, good plays with the puck, he gave us an opportunity,” Babcock said.

“We killed lots of penalties, so a 3-0 game, I think it was a good effort from everyone,” Mrazek said. “I felt great from the beginning of the game. We had penalty kill right away, 17 seconds, you get into the game and then continue that work.”

Mrazek is in a battle to perhaps push Jonas Gustavsson for the backup job with the Wings.

“We’ll see what happens in couple days and then go from there,” Mrazek said. “I’m trying to do my best. Work hard every practice and every game I get so I’m happy for that.”

It took a while for the Wings’ power play to get going, finally striking on their fifth chance of the night. Jensen’s blast from the point deflected off Daniel Winnik’s stick just 33 seconds into the man advantage.

The second tally came on the seventh power play of the net, when Sheahan drove home a rebound off Reimer down low early in the third period. Sproul and Xavier Ouellet each drew assists.

The Wings lost two players during the course of the game. Tomas Nosek was ejected early in the second period for hitting Toronto’s Stuart Percy from behind. In the first period, defenseman Aaron Rome left with a lower-body injury.