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Tatar ‘responds’ well to Babcock’s hard demeanor

DETROIT >> Wings coach Mike Babcock has always been a little harder on Tomas Tatar since he came into the league.

He’s able to do that mainly because he can take it.

“He responds,” Babcock said. “When you’ve got 23 athletes you’ve got to figure out 23 different ways to coach them because they’re all different. Some you treat different, that’s just the way it is.

“Tats is a guy who had high-end skill and he’s determined to score,” Babcock continued. “We want our guys to be determined to score and determined not to get scored against.”

However Tatar is being treated, it’s working so far.

“He is really hard on me, but I think he means this in a good way,” Tatar said. “He’s just trying to help me out since I got here. I appreciate it, but sometimes it’s really hard. That’s just the way he coaches me. I guess he doesn’t know any other way to work with me, so I appreciate it.”

Heading into play Saturday, Tatar is third on the team in goals (10) and tied for third in points (17).

“He’s hard, demanding,” Tatar said. “He’s been a good coach and we’ve had success under him. It’s just the way he is and I respect that.”

Tatar came into Saturday with points in three straight games and in nine of the last 11.

“Tats had a slow start point-wise but at the same time he was creating a lot of chances,” Gustav Nyquist said. “The puck just wasn’t going in for him. Lately it has been. It’s just a matter of time when you’re creating as many chances as Tats does for this team he’s going to score eventually.

“I don’t think anyone’s been worried about Tats,” Nyquist continued. “He’s going to be a good player for a long time. He loves scoring goals and he’s going to keep producing offense for us.”

The Wings rewarded Tatar this past offseason with a three-year deal with an annual salary-cap hit of $2.75 million. He’ll still be a restricted free agent in 2017 when the deal expires.

When last season began Tatar could not find his way into the lineup, playing in just one of the Wings’ first nine games of the season. He finished with 19 goals, had 20 assists and was a plus-12 in 73 games and helped lead the team, along with a number of other young forwards, to the playoffs.

Babcock really likes Tatar’s upbeat personality and how he’s able to keep a smile on his face at all times.

“That’s what you want,” Babcock said. “It’s not just on a team, it’s in life, it’s in your company. There are two options: You can have the Duracell drainer, you sit next to them, they suck the life out of a Duracell battery. Or you can have someone who’s the Energizer bunny and changes everybody else up. We get to choose our attitude every day in life and he chooses his good and he energizes the group. So it’s real good to have him.”

Tatar was the American Hockey League MVP after leading the Grand Rapids Griffins to win the 2013 Calder Cup, scoring 16 goals to go with five assists in 24 games.

“There’s a reason to be smiling, I’m part of this team,” Tatar said. “It’s been my dream to play in the NHL, so I don’t see why I should be sad. So every day when I walk in here I have a big smile.

“I hate (being in a) bad mood, so I always try to make people laugh and try to bring the energy and put a smile on everyone’s face,” added Tatar, who was the Wings’ 60th overall pick in the second round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Weiss misses practice due to a funeral; Abdelkader skates on own; Wings power play red hot

DETROIT >> Quick update from Wings’ practice Friday at Joe Louis Arena.

Stephen Weiss missed practice due to a funeral he attended. He’s expected to play Saturday when the Wings host the New York Rangers.

Justin Abdelkader skated for the first time on his own since injuring his shoulder on Sunday. He’s also been sick with the flu.

The Wings worked on the power play at practice which has been red hot of late.

Since starting the season 5-for-46 with the man advantage through their first 12 games, they’ve gone 19-for-58 since.

“I think the biggest thing is we’re just throwing pucks at the net,” Niklas Kronwall said. “We know we’re going to have guys there, we have guy’s net-front that are doing a great job of screening and making it hard for their goalie. The rest of us just have to make sure the puck gets there. Of course, winning face-offs is another huge area. But throwing the puck, I think that’s the biggest key.”

Detroit has at least one power play goal in six straight games.

“I think we’ve just been sticking with it, we believed in what we did,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “Obviously the puck didn’t go in for us from the beginning. I don’t think we made that big of changes to it. One thing we did is shoot a little bit more instead of looking for passes before we shoot. We shoot and then automatically it will open up for us and we can make plays. Also, once you score your confidence goes up and you’re more confident in what you do. That helps.”

Heading into play Friday, the Wings’ power play is ranked sixth best in the league.

VIDEO: Quincey has goal, assist and most importantly a plus-4 in Wings’ 5-2 win over Dallas

https://twitter.com/wingsfrontman/status/540717866232737792

DETROIT >> And then there were three.

Kyle Quincey’s goal in Detroit’s 5-2 win over the Dallas Stars added one more Red Wing to the list that have at least one more goals this season.

“No idea,” Quincey said when asked if he knew it was his goal or if he thought it redirected in off a teammate in front of Stars goalie Jussi Rynnas. “I closed my eyes. It was good to finally see them go in.”

On replay, it looked like Stephen Weiss may have deflected it in for his second of the night.

“I don’t know,” Weiss said when asked if Quincey’s shot went in off of him. “I didn’t feel anything, but I’ll take it if it did.”

That leaves Joakim Andersson, Jonathan Ericsson and Brian Lashoff as the only players on the roster to not have a goal this season.

Quincey was also added an assist and was a season-high plus-4.

“It’s a lot better than being minuses,” Quincey said. “I think I got back to even there tonight so that’s really nice.”

Quincey did come into the game a minus-4.

Nyquist not suffering from any kind of a ‘sophomore slump’

DETROIT >> Sophomore slump?

Gustav Nyquist wants to hear none of that. The second-year NHL player scored his team-leading 12th goal on Tuesday in the Wings’ 4-3 loss to the Florida Panthers.

“It’s been going in,” Nyquist said. “I’ve been getting some good opportunities to play with great players in a lot of good situations, a lot of power-play time, so that helps. It’s nice to see the puck go in.”

Nyquist had a team-high 28 goals as a rookie last season despite playing in just 57 games.

“I think he’s just so good at getting the puck back and being in an open spot,” said Riley Sheahan, who’s centered the line Nyquist has been on the last few games. “He finds those open areas and then obviously he’s got a great shot. When the puck is on his stick, you kind of know that something good is going to happen.”

His 12 goals this year ranks him tied for sixth in the league heading into play Thursday.

“He’s a good player and he creates space,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s got good quickness, good intelligence. He plays hard.”

Seven of Nyquist’s goals this season have come on the power play, which ties him for the league lead with Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin. He’s ahead of the likes of these snipers – Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos and Washington’s Alex Ovechkin — who all have six power play goals heading into play Thursday.

“I think he finds places on the power play where he gets lost and players can’t get him,” Brendan Smith said. “And (Henrik) Zetterberg’s been able to find him several times. He’s got that knack for finding back doors and finding pucks. It’s like he’s in the right place at the right time. That’s what goal scorers do.

“I think even strength has become a little bit harder because teams have figured out hey, he’s a player, we’ve got to be watching for him. Everybody has that but something that Nyquist has is that he’s got that will and that competitive nature. When you have that, you’ll find a way to out-battle somebody and score goals.”
Zetterberg is on the first power play unit with Nyquist.

“I’ve been playing with Z a lot and he plays against good players most of the night,” Nyquist said. “It’s been fun. It’s a challenge to play against the best players and makes you become a better player. You learn a lot from that and it’s only a positive thing.”

Nyquist has 40 goals in 83 games since the start of last season.

“I’m in that spot in the middle where a lot of pucks come out, so if I’m in the right spot a lot of pucks are going to find me,” Nyquist said.

Nyquist credits the leadership of Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall and Pavel Datsyuk that helps him keep his drive.

“They bring it every day,” Nyquist said. “It’s a challenge in this league and us young guys we have to find a way to be able to do the same thing and bring it every day.”

Wings release statement from Howe family

Here’s the statement the Wings released on Gordie Howe’s condition.
And a comment on the passing of hockey legend Jean Beliveau.

During the afternoon of Monday, December 1, our father appeared to have suffered another severe stroke as he displayed diminished consciousness to his attending caregivers and physical therapy personnel for more than 30 minutes. EMS was called and he was immediately transported to UMC Hospital. An MRI was performed Tuesday afternoon which revealed the great news that he did not in fact have a second severe stoke. It was determined that he was suffering from dehydration and is currently being treated accordingly. He is having difficulty eating solid foods at this time, has slurred speech and has been unable to walk for more than three weeks now. All of these factors are contributing to his overall decline in health. His mental awareness has improved enough in the past 24 hours to where we expect him to be out of the hospital and in his own bed at home before the night is over.

The Howe family is also deeply saddened to hear of the passing of hockey legend Jean Beliveau. The hockey world has lost a man who epitomized professionalism, dignity and class. We extend our condolences and prayers to his family and friends.

UPDATE: Gordie Howe not in ICU, resting comfortably in hospital with family according to his son Murray

DETROIT >> Gordie Howe’s son, Murray, says that the family is still waiting test results to determine whether he has had a new stroke or not.

He also added in a text that Gordie is not in ICU.

He’s responding and resting comfortably with family while in the hospital.

Howe, who’s known as “Mr. Hockey”, is 86 and has been living with his daughter, Cathy, in Lubbock, Texas.

On Sunday, his son Mark said that his father’s condition had improved despite suffering a mini stroke on Saturday.

Howe suffered a significant stroke on Oct. 26, which impaired his speech and caused him to lose functionality of the right side of his body.

Howe has been suffering from dementia for several years and recently underwent spinal stenosis surgery.

Howe, who spent the first 25 seasons of his career with the Wings, still holds franchise records for games played (1,687), goals (786), points (1,809), power-play goals (211) and game-winning goals (121).

Howe is the NHL’s all-time leader in games played (1,767) and ranks second in goals (801), third in points (1,850) and ninth in assists (1,049).

Howe finished his career with the Hartford Whalers at age 52.

He made the last of his 23 NHL All-Star Game appearances that season at Joe Louis Arena.

He got to play alongside his sons, Mark and Marty, in the World Hockey Association for six seasons where he totaled 30 goals four times and reached 100 points at least twice.

Howe’s wife of 55 years, Colleen – known as “Mrs. Hockey” – died in 2009 after a lengthy battle with Pick’s Disease, an incurable neurological condition that causes dementia.

“Mr. Hockey” suffers another major stroke; his second in just over a month

DETROIT >> Things have once again taken a turn for the worse for hockey legend Gordie Howe.

According to a source close to the family, Howe suffered a major stroke Monday. The source didn’t know if he was in ICU.

Howe, who’s known as “Mr. Hockey”, is 86 and has been living with his daughter, Cathy, in Lubbock, Texas.

On Sunday, his son Mark said that his father’s condition had improved despite suffering a mini stroke on Saturday.

Mark is traveling along with other family members, including brothers Marty and Murray to be by their father’s side.

“A real good man, real fun to be around, loved hockey, he’s called Mr. Hockey for a reason,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said recently.

Howe suffered a significant stroke on Oct. 26, which impaired his speech and caused him to lose functionality of the right side of his body.

Howe has been suffering from dementia for several years and recently underwent spinal stenosis surgery.

“He’s done so much for hockey and for our club,” Henrik Zetterberg said recently. “Our prayers and thoughts go out to him and his family.”

“He’s been fantastic,” Babcock said. “I grew up in Saskatoon, his nephew, Bruce Clark, and I played on the same team, played at Gordie Howe Bowl and I’ve been a fan forever. Then to get a chance to coach the Red Wings and have him in my office on a regular basis was special to say the least. He would let you know if he didn’t like the way the team played.”

Howe, who spent the first 25 seasons of his career with the Wings, still holds franchise records for games played (1,687), goals (786), points (1,809), power-play goals (211) and game-winning goals (121).

“He was Mr., Hockey, played for the Wings many, many years, won four Cups,” Zetterberg said. “As soon as you get drafted by Detroit that’s probably the first player that you knew of.”

Howe is the NHL’s all-time leader in games played (1,767) and ranks second in goals (801), third in points (1,850) and ninth in assists (1,049).

“I don’t know if I exactly remember the first meeting, just like Ted Lindsay, they’re part of the locker room almost,” Niklas Kronwall said. “You can’t say enough good things about him.

“Just an amazing person, the way he handles himself, carries himself,” Kronwall continued. “I think that’s something that trickles down for us younger guys, that’s something we look up to and we want to be like that as well, just how he handles himself in all situations. He’s definitely a role model for many, many people.”

Howe finished his career with the Hartford Whalers at age 52.

He made the last of his 23 NHL All-Star Game appearances that season at Joe Louis Arena.

“He’s a really, really good person,” Kronwall said. “A guy you just feel good to be around. Not that I’ve been around him many times but the times you are I definitely feel it, it’s a special family.”

He got to play alongside his sons, Mark and Marty, in the World Hockey Association for six seasons where he totaled 30 goals four times and reached 100 points at least twice.

“Just a gentleman obviously, loved hockey, loved his family,” Babcock said. “The things that stand out for me for sure is his love for the game and his passion for the game, but his love for his family, he’s got a very close, tight-knit family, and it’s always been about that. He’s part of the Red Wings’ family, he’s special, special man.”

Howe’s wife of 55 years, Colleen – known as “Mrs. Hockey” – died in 2009 after a lengthy battle with Pick’s Disease, an incurable neurological condition that causes dementia.