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Jurco could return to lineup; Datsyuk as well

DETROIT >> Tomas Jurco was back skating on a regular line at practice with Justin Abdelkader and Pavel Datsyuk.

Jurco has been a healthy scratch the last three games.

“I haven’t decided on what we’re doing,” Wings coach Babcock said. “I would like to (get him in). Even though, contrary to belief, is that I took him out because he wasn’t playing good, I took him out because I thought we needed a change. I thought his last two games were two of his better games. I thought he had a good practice today, gets an opportunity for a good practice tomorrow and then I get an opportunity to decide who’s in the lineup.”

Jurco, 22, has no goals and two assists in 12 games.

“They just told me to work hard and skate hard,” Jurco said. “Hopefully it’s going to come. Hopefully I’m going to get it going on Friday.

“I just try to work hard and stay focused and maybe gain a little more confidence back since I had a little slower start,” Jurco added. “Hopefully one lucky bounce is going to go in and it’s going to break.”

Datsyuk missed the last two games with a sore groin.

“(Thursday) is another skate and so far it feels good, and we’ll see,” Datsyuk said.

Stephen Weiss, Daniel Cleary and Andrej Nestrasil all wore gray jerseys, which signifies they’ll won’t play Friday.

Four-day break gives Wings chance to work while resting

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings are doing what most would think a team would do during a four-day break between games … rest up.

“It’s kind of a unique opportunity for us to not have any games this week after just finishing a stretch where we had a lot of games in a short amount of days,” forward Justin Abdelkader said.

The Wings returned to practice Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena and won’t play again until hosting the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

Detroit will only have one more four-day break between games this season, at the start of February.

“It gives us a chance to do some work, it also gives the guys a chance to freshen up,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We didn’t like our game as much the last little bit. We think we can be better, so it gives us a real focal point here. We did some work here on Monday when I was away, and we’ll have a good specialty teams day (Thursday) and get some tempo in and then we play a real good Blackhawks team.”

The Wings play 13 games in the next 24 days, playing every other day beginning Friday.

“We’ll spend a lot of time working on the contact part of the game,” Babcock said. “When you play every second day you don’t get to do as much box outs and D-zone coverage and the physical part of the game.”

Eight of Detroit’s next 13 games are at home.

“I think just getting back to watching some video, looking at our segments, each segment as we go through the five-game stretches,” Abdelkader said. “These last five games we haven’t been as good defensively as we need to be, given up too many goals. We know we need to improve and what we need to do, just getting back to our work habits and our structure that takes care of us.”

The team worked mostly on battle drills, which included 3-on-3s and 2-on-2s on Tuesday.

“I think guys had a really good day off, kind of got refreshed and rejuvenated,” Abdelkader said. “Guys were energized. Guys realize what’s at hand, we haven’t played the way we’re capable of or the way we wanted to the last three, four, five games. We know we need to get better.”

Wings losing out on valuable points due to their poor showings in shootouts

DETROIT >> The NHL’s skills competition to decide games that don’t end in regulation or overtime hasn’t been kind to the Detroit Red Wings.
The Wings are 0-3 in the shootout, scoring just one goal and allowing five.

“It’s points on the table that you’d like to have,” Detroit assistant coach Tony Granato said. “I think we’ve got good shooters, we’ve got good goalies, so hopefully we can take advantage of that and figure out how to get some points out of that.”

Detroit practiced breakaways during practice on Monday for the first time all season. And it’s a skill they rarely have worked last season.

“You have to be comfortable and right now I don’t think any of us are,” Jimmy Howard said. “It’s one of those things you can do it in practice, but once you get 20,000 people watching you it might get a little nerve wracking. I don’t know I’m not a shooter. I can only imagine it’s probably not one of the best feelings.”
The Wings have scored on only 1-of-8 shots, while allowing five goals on seven shots (all against Howard).

“It could go either way in a shootout,” said Gustav Nyquist, who has Detroit’s lone goal in the shootout. “We’ve got to find a way to score.

“We’ve got to take care of business there and we haven’t,” Nyquist continued. “If you don’t take care of shootouts, that’s a lot of lost points. Every point is still important. Down the stretch we know from last year and two years ago, it’s been close. You know those shootout points are really going to matter. We got to find a way to get them.”

Since the league added the shootout to decide games, the Wings are 43-53, scoring 104 goals and allowing 107.

“Just get comfortable with a couple moves you might want to use, I think that’s the biggest thing,” Nyquist said. “You try to have a few different (moves) because the goalies scout you a little bit. If you only have one move the goalies are going to know what you’re doing. You try to have a few moves you can go to. You’re hoping that will work out.”

Over the last three seasons Detroit is just 7-17 in shootouts.

“In games, breakaways are a lot easier,” Stephen Weiss said. “All of a sudden you’re on a breakaway. You don’t have time to think about what to do. On a shootout you’ve got time. You might have a couple guys go before you and start second guessing your move. You just have to go in and shoot the puck.

“I don’t think (being fancy is) your intent,” Weiss continued. “Sometimes when you miss it may look that way, but you’re trying to score. The hardest part is having that much time to think about what you’re going to do. Sometimes you think yourself out of things.”

Many of the Wings feel the shootouts have run its course.

“I think a lot of guys are getting sick of it,” said Howard, who’s allowed 45 goals on 150 shots in shootouts. “There are a lot of different reasons for it. It was fun at the beginning, but I think how we’re deciding games it’s a tough way. Sometimes it’s not indicative of how you played. You get in the shootout and the pucks go in and all of a sudden you didn’t have a good game.”

“If they want to get rid of the shootouts go right to five minutes of 3-on-3,” Weiss said. “I think you would see a lot of games ending in 3-on-3. I think the players would love it. The fans would love it and you’d get rid of a lot of shootouts.”

“I heard some ideas about going to a 3-on-3,” Nyquist said. “I kind of like the idea. I think that’s going to end a lot of games. For sure you’re going to get chances. I think the crowd likes the shootout, but I think the 3-on-3 sounds pretty interesting.”

Datsyuk hopes to return from groin injury Friday against Chicago

DETROIT >> Quick update from Wings practice at Joe Louis Arena on Monday.

Pavel Datsyuk practiced with the team and hopes to return from a groin injury on Friday at home against the Chicago Blackhawks.

“It’s hard to say when I’ll be back, but I feel good today,” Datsyuk said. “I didn’t skate full, but at least I can skate now.”

Datsyuk has missed the last two games since injuring his groin during the morning skate last Friday prior to Detroit’s game against the New Jersey Devils.

“It happened so fast in practice,” Datsyuk said. “Maybe it was a good decision I go away. Hope its helps me in the future too.

“(We have a) day off tomorrow and we’ll see what happens on Wednesday,” Datsyuk added. “I hope to be ready next game.”

Datsyuk, who missed the start of the season with a separated shoulder, has five goals and five assists in eight games this season.

Gustavsson out approximately two months

DETROIT >> The diagnosis on the extent of Jonas Gustavsson’s injury is in … he’ll be out approximately two months.

Wings general manager Ken Holland said in a text message that the Wings’ backup goalie will be sidelined for that length with a left shoulder injury.

Gustavsson dislocated his shoulder during the Wings’ 4-3 overtime loss Wednesday night to the New York Rangers.

Gustavsson, who is no stranger to shoulder injuries, was injured reaching for a loose puck in overtime just as the Rangers’ Derick Brassard was firing it into the open net in overtime.

The Wings recalled Petr Mrazek from Grand Rapids on Thursday to replace Gustavsson.

“We feel fortunate we have the depth know in goal,” Holland said on Thursday. “(Mrazek’s) a third-year pro. He had a good preseason. In the few outings he had last year he played good.

“I think in the earlier going with Jimmy Howard, our goaltending has been good,” Holland continued. “(Gustavsson is) 1-1-1. He was a big part in us making the playoffs last year. We’re disappointed he’s gotten this significant injury. From a team standpoint we feel really good we have Petr Mrazek.”

Gustavsson, who signed a one-year deal at $1.85 million this offseason to return to Detroit, spent most of his first two seasons with the Wings on the trainer’s table.

Battling injures from groins to shoulders, Gustavsson appeared in just 34 regular-season games with the Wings over two seasons.

Gustavsson, 30, missed a total of 23 games on five separate occasions with three different types of injuries last season, but groin injuries have been his Achilles heel since signing a free agent deal with the Wings.

When Gustavsson played, he played well last season, going 16-5-4 with a 2.63 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage. He appeared in the final two games of the playoffs, filling in for Howard, who was sidelined with the flu.

Along with missing 18 games due to a groin injury last season, he appeared in just seven of the 48 games during the lockout-shortened first season in Detroit, making just four starts. He didn’t play over the final 27 games of the season, which included the playoffs.

Jonas Gustavsson out “quite a while … we’re talking weeks” according to Wings GM Ken Holland

DETROIT >> Jonas Gustavsson is back in a familiar spot … injured reserve.

Gustavsson will be out “quite a while” after dislocating his left shoulder during the Wings’ 4-3 overtime loss Wednesday night to the New York Rangers.

“We know it’s dislocated because they had to pop it back in after the game last night,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said during a phone interview Thursday. “He’s going to have x-rays later today or (Friday). He’s out quite a while, we’re talking weeks. I don’t know how many. How severe is it? Does it need anymore more than time? I don’t know all that. Bottom line is he’s out quite a while. I just don’t have any timeframe.”

Gustavsson, who is no stranger to shoulder injuries, was injured reaching for a loose puck in overtime just as the Rangers’ Derick Brassard was firing it into the open net in overtime.

“I don’t know if he needs surgery or doesn’t need surgery,” Holland said. “I know it’s dislocated. He’s out for a significant period of time.”

The Wings recalled Petr Mrazek from Grand Rapids to replace Gustavsson.

“We feel fortunate we have the depth know in goal,” Holland said. “(Mrazek’s) a third-year pro. He had a good preseason. In the few outings he had last year he played good.

“I think in the earlier going with Jimmy Howard, our goaltending has been good,” Holland continued. “(Gustavsson is) 1-1-1. He was a big part in us making the playoffs last year. We’re disappointed he’s gotten this significant injury. From a team standpoint we feel really good we have Petr Mrazek.”

Gustavsson, who signed a one-year deal at $1.85 million this offseason to return to Detroit, spent most of his first two seasons with the Wings on the trainer’s table.

Battling injures from groins to shoulders, Gustavsson appeared in just 34 regular-season games with the Wings over two seasons.

Gustavsson, 30, missed a total of 23 games on five separate occasions with three different types of injuries last season, but groin injuries have been his Achilles heel since signing a free agent deal with the Wings.

When Gustavsson played, he played well last season, going 16-5-4 with a 2.63 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage. He appeared in the final two games of the playoffs, filling in for Howard, who was sidelined with the flu.

Along with missing 18 games due to a groin injury last season, he appeared in just seven of the 48 games during the lockout-shortened first season in Detroit, making just four starts. He didn’t play over the final 27 games of the season, which included the playoffs.

Phantom goalie interference call on Glendening calls for expanded replay

DETROIT >> Wings coach Mike Babcock had this to say on the phantom goalie interference call on Luke Glendening that led to a Washington power play and a disallowed goal for the Wings on Wednesday.

“When you’re done complaining and whining about it, by the time that’s all done, they can have it right,” Babcock said. “It takes two seconds to get it right. The referee never wants to get it wrong. He doesn’t want to watch the replay for three weeks of him getting it wrong either. He’d rather have it right.”

Glendening wasn’t even close to Caps goalie Braden Holtby when he was called for the penalty.

“I imagine the way it happened, you see the goalie laying there and you see the shot go in the net,” Babcock said. “He says, ‘I can’t him a goal he tripped a guy,’ so you call a penalty because that’s what happens naturally. You don’t a goalie is going to fall down. “In the end he got it wrong.”

Last year against the Kings, the Wings tied the game up when a puck hit off the mesh behind the net, bounced back and hit Jonathan Quick in the back before trickling into the net.

The goal was credited by Niklas Kronwall. The Wings went onto win the game in a shootout.

“But the time we got all this screwing around with we could have got it right,” Babcock said. “I think the league wants to get it right. I’m not in charge of this stuff and I don’t know how to do it, but I’m sure the league wants to get it right.”

The goal waved off was that of Drew Miller.

“I like that idea of an extended replay or like football, a flag or challenge,” Brendan Smith said. “I think we need a few more breaks coming our way. We just can’t say the one against Washington is the only one, there have been several of them. I would like to see a stat of who gets the most disallowed goals. We have to be up there. But we did get a fluky one the last time we played L.A.”

“I don’t know, I think it would be a tough rule, I don’t know how they would do it,” Gustav Nyquist said. “Obviously it probably should have been a goal for sure. But mistakes happen, they have a tough job. I don’t know how you would do it. I think that’s going to be tough to kind of apply to the game.”