Tag Archives: henrik zetterberg

Helm ready for move from center to wing

DETROIT >> With the abundance of centers on the Wings’ roster, coach Mike Babcock has to move at least one or them to wing.

The early candidate is Darren Helm.

“I’m going to start like that, I think,” Babcock said after watching a number of the Wings’ on-ice workout at Joe Louis Arena. “(I like) his tenacity, pace, heaviness on the puck and because I’ve got to have room for other guys, I think he can help.”

The move to wing also brings Helm a promotion to one of Detroit’s top two lines since Babcock has him skating alongside Pavel Datsyuk.

“To give Pavel that tenacity to help Pav out a little bit,” Babcock said. “Helmer can play down low in the zone too a bit for him. This all depends on (Stephen) Weiss and his situation and how healthy everyone else is. Camp starts the 19th. That’s a chunk of time away.”

Helm said Thursday that Babcock first told him of the move during their end-of-season meetings.

“It’s not a huge shock,” Helm said. “Look around the locker room and we have six or seven NHL center-icemen so someone was going to have to change. And the guys that are coming up are great center-men. It’ll be fun to have a chance to play the wing with one of the best players in the league. I hope to find success, stay there and help this team win.”

Helm isn’t a stranger to playing wing, but it’s not as natural as playing center.

“I need to make sure the pucks on the wall are getting out,” said Helm, who recalled playing wing for one shift in 2010-11 season and roughly 15 games last year. “Besides that there isn’t a whole lot I need to change. Because of the way we play, first guy back in the zone he’s playing low anyway. There will be times where I have to cover the point so that’s another area I’ll need to work on.”

Helm could also use his speed more on the wing.

“Anytime the puck is going up the weak-side wall it’s an opportunity for me to push the pace,” Helm said. “I can open up some space for everyone else and if there are loose pucks I can chase them down. Both positions you have to use your speed at different times. It’s about using your brains and smarts to know when to use it.”

Along with Datsyuk, Helm and Weiss at center, the Wings also have Riley Sheahan, Joakim Andersson and Luke Glendening. Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen can also play center.

“I had a lot of centers for Canada at the Olympics,” Babcock said. “It doesn’t matter. Let’s just play hockey. I tell you what, the forwards, there’s a jam here for players. We’ve got good players. You’ve got a lot of forwards coming at you. She’s open on the back end. There’s a chance to make the team there.”

Babcock has Sheahan centering one of the bottom two lines, while Glendening and Andersson will battle to center the other line.

“(Helm) has a lot of speed and a lot of skill,” Zetterberg said. “I think it will free up Pav a little bit. They really have to worry where No. 43 is on the ice and with Pav’s skill and the way he can pass the puck it could be a good weapon to have.

“The other thing too now that we’re all healthy, we have a lot of center-men,” Zetterberg added. “Everyone can’t play center, so we have to put someone on the wing.”

The Wings’ top four centers that began the season – Datsyuk, Helm, Weiss and Andersson, along with Zetterberg – were all sidelined at once at one point last year.

At training camp, Babcock will have Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Weiss be first-line centers on their respective teams.

Wings’ final grades add up to an average season

DETROIT – Once again the Detroit Red Wings scratched and clawed their way into the postseason for a 23rd consecutive season, but the ouster in five games by the Boston Bruins wasn’t what they had planned.

“I’m general manager of a team that this ownership, this fan base, they want us to be a playoff team,” Ken Holland said. “Nobody seems to have an appetite to miss the playoff for four or five consecutive years to try and replenish and build up this core of players that you can build around for 10 or 12 years.

“Where we draft, we don’t draft high enough to move players from junior to the National Hockey League to make the playoffs,” Holland continued. “We can have the youngest team in the league next year, we’re going to miss the playoffs. How do I know? I just look at other teams and other situations.”

The youth movement was this year’s theme as eight players make their NHL debut in the regular season.

“I want to be a playoff team and I think that when players are ready to help us win, they’ll be here,” Holland said. “The one guy that wasn’t here that probably should have been here at the start of the season was (Gustav) Nyquist. Other than that, Tomas Jurco, when we called him up in November, he was the eighth leading scorer in the American Hockey League. This isn’t a league where you’re going to learn to score in. You’re going to score in other leagues. You don’t come up here and learn to score. If you can’t score before you get here, the coaches aren’t going to give you enough time to learn to score because they want to win. They’re going to put people out there that they know have got a track record to do it. If you can’t defend, it doesn’t matter how many points you get.

“This is a hard league to be a real player in at 22 and 23,” Holland continued. “We don’t have a 22-year-old (Steve) Yzerman. We don’t have a 22-year-old (Nicklas) Lidstrom. We don’t have those players. I’ll be the first to tell you. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, they weren’t Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg at 22. They became Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg at 26.

Forwards Riley Sheahan and Luke Glendening, along with defensemen Brendan Smith and Danny DeKeyser also played huge roles this season.

“That’s why young players get traded to other organizations,” Holland said. “Because they get there too quick, they’re not quite ready for the challenge and then people get down on them. The manager and the coach, then they go to another city. I’m hoping to leave these players away from here as long as possible so that when they do get here, the growing pains are as short as possible.”
Here are the final positional grades, which includes playoffs and has each of the first three quarter grades after.

Forwards: C+ (B-, B, B)

Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk combined to play 90 regular season games. Zetterberg still was third on the team in scoring.

The duo shined in the playoffs with Datsyuk leading the team with five points and Zetterberg had a goal and an assist in just two games.

Daniel Alfredsson, when healthy, was a fine addition, finishing tied for the team lead with 49 points.

Johan Franzen was a complete no show down the stretch.

Gustav Nyquist had a magnificent regular season, leading the team with 28 goals in just 57 games.

However, he and the rest of the young forwards found it difficult to produce in the postseason. The only newbie to register a point in five games was Luke Glendening.

Injury-riddled Darren Helm potted 12 goals in 42 games. His speed is unmatched in the league.

Justin Abdelkader was like a yo-yo with linemates, but still managed 10 goals and 18 assists.

Drew Miller was the lone forward to play the entire 82-game regular season schedule.

The trade for David Legwand didn’t pan out like hoped and Todd Bertuzzi’s best days are behind him.

The signing of Daniel Cleary haunted them all year as did the two-year deal they struck with Mikael Samuelsson two seasons ago.

Defensemen: B (B, B+, C+)

Niklas Kronwall has truly taken over as the leader on the blue line having to mentor a mistake-prone Brendan Smith once Jonathan Ericsson’s regular season ended with a fractured finger.

Danny DeKeyser is here to stay.

Despite getting off to a rough start in the plus-minus category, Kyle Quincey recovered and finished just a minus-5. He was the lone defenseman to play all 82 regular season games.

And just like last season Brian Lashoff leaped over Jakub Kindl on the depth chart when playoffs rolled around.

The team also got a look at a few youngsters on the blue line – Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet, Alexey Marchenko, Adam Almquist – this season to see if they’re ready to make the leap to the NHL.

Goalies: C (C+, B-, C)

Jimmy Howard admitted, “I thought it was an OK season, by no means was it a good or great season.”

He finished the regular season with his worst goals-against average (2.66) and save percentage (.910) since his second season as the Wings’ starter.

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

When he’s healthy he’s a reliable backup, going 16-5-4 this season. He also started the final two playoff games because Howard at the flu and gave them a chance to win.

Petr Mrazek will likely spend one more season in Grand Rapids before coming to Detroit fulltime.

Coaching: A- (B+, B-, A-)

When the finalists for the Jack Adams Award is announced on Tuesday, look for Mike Babcock to be on the list of final three.

With the amount of injured players, many of them were the core of the franchise, Babcock changed up his coaching style and put his trust in the kids and it paid off.

“The way I look it the coach of the year gets to raise the Stanley Cup and the rest of us are trying to get better,” Babcock said. “I thought we did lots of good things here this year. It was spectacular to get in the playoffs because our guys worked so hard.”

Gustavsson will start Game 5; Zetterberg will play also; Alfredsson anticipates he’ll be back in

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

Wings coach Mike Babcock has pegged Jonas Gustavsson to start Game 5 in Boston, Saturday afternoon.

He expects Jimmy Howard, who didn’t practice, to be well enough to be the backup.

Henrik Zetterberg said he’ll play as well.

“First and second was better than the third and overtime,” Zetterberg said when asked how he held up. “That was expected. We tried to have cap minutes, but when overtime came that kind of went out the door. You want to play. You want to be out there. I felt good enough to go out in overtime. Unfortunately we didn’t get the result we wanted to but today’s a new day.”

Daniel Alfredsson practiced and said he won’t know if he’ll play until after the pre-game skate in Boston, but he anticipate he’ll be ready.

Pavel Datsyuk was the only other regular that didn’t practice.

Besides picking Gustavsson to start, Babcock said he told the team he would post who’s playing in the locker room Saturday.

The Wings have experience of how tough it is to win that fourth game in the series. Last year they were up 3-1 on Chicago before losing the next three.

“We know it’s tough to get the fourth one,” Zetterberg said. “That’s the toughest one to get. We played really well in the first one in Boston. We just have to go out and win one game and bring it back home to the Joe. That’s our mindset and attitude. Just play well.”

Boston’s Claude Julien expects they’ll see Zetterberg back in the Wings’ lineup

DETROIT >> Some stuff from Boston coach Claude Julien on the possible return to Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg to the lineup for Game 4.

“We can’t just worry about one player,” Julien said. “We fully expect him to be in there tonight. We expected that. The biggest thing is they have another real good player on their team. We’re not aware of where he is in his conditioning, but at the same time every playoff game has to be about your team. You make adjustments to play against the other team not just an individual. That’s not going to change for us.”

Zetterberg began skating with the team last Thursday after undergoing successful surgery on Feb. 21 to remove part of a disc which was rubbing against a nerve, which caused severe back pain.

“I think we always kept a close eye on (Pavel) Datsyuk,” Julien said. “It’s not one guy we’re looking at necessarily we look at it as a group. We’ll be aware on the ice when he’s there. I don’t get last change so we might not always get the perfect matchup, but our team puts trust in being able to play together and work together to slow these guys down.”

Bertuzzi will make his playoff debut in Game 4; Juro and Andersson out

DETROIT >> The status of Henrik Zetterberg for Game 4 Thursday night won’t be known until game time, but there’s one player that’s for sure making his playoff debut … Todd Bertuzzi.

Bertuzzi is replacing Tomas Jurco in the lineup.

“Well, he’s a big, heavy body,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “It’s interesting, you’re talking about scoring goals, to me, the things that they did better than us was they played better defense than us. They kept us on the outside, they were quicker, they skate us.”

Since winning Game 1, 1-0, the Wings have been outscored by the Boston Bruins 7-1.

“We talk about being quicker than them, they were quicker than us the last game for sure,” Babcock said. “They were harder and more detailed to play against. We weren’t any of those things so we need to be good defensively. If we’re good defensively we’ll have the puck way more than we did last game. Last game we lost the puck all the time, we were random on our sort-outs, we weren’t hard to play against. If you don’t play well without it you don’t have it very much and you don’t get to play with it.”

Bertuzzi will skate with Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar.

Jurco had no points, six shots and was a minus-1 in the first three games of the series, averaging just under 13 minutes of ice time.

“It was three kids playing together and it wasn’t going as well I would have liked,” Babcock said. “I didn’t think we spent enough time in the offensive zone with that group and I’m hoping that one veteran player can help them out. In saying that, we’re taking out Jurco who’s got great speed and plays real well and why would you do that? You know what, that’s a good question and I asked myself that one hundred times yesterday and then just before I started to fall asleep I was thinking about it again. So I didn’t sleep well. I don’t know. I’m trying to do the right thing.”

In 86 career playoff games, Bertuzzi has 14 goals and 28 assists.

“I’m just going to go in there and do what I can to help out,” Bertuzzi said. “It’s a completely different season compared to regular season. It’s exciting, it’s fun. The city is involved, especially being a little bit older you appreciate it a little bit more.”

However in the Wings’ last two playoff run he’s got no points and is a minus-7 in 11 games.

“You got to be a team player, no point in complaining or being a bad teammate around the guys,” Bertuzzi said when asked if it’s tough sitting out. “You’ve got to support them and prepare yourself to get in.”

Bertuzzi played with his two linemates in the regular season finale in St. Louis.

“I’m comfortable with them, I like playing with them,” Bertuzzi said. “They’re fun, they’re high-tempo, they hold onto the puck, it’s all about puck possession. I’m just going to try to create some space for them.”

Joakim Andersson is the other healthy scratch.

Brendan Smith: “But to get Z back is like getting an ace in your deck when you’re playing cards.”

DETROIT >> It’s still not official, but all signs point to Henrik Zetterberg returning to the Detroit Red Wings lineup Thursday night against the Boston Bruins.

Wings officials said Zetterberg was on his way to see his doctor and would not be able to speak to the media about his status for Game 4 of the Wings’ Eastern Conference best-of-seven opening round series with the Bruins.

But many of his teammates talked like they would have their captain back in the lineup.

“The fans are definitely going to erupt,” Brendan Smith said Thursday. “They should. I erupt when I see him on the ice, imagine what the fans will be like. He’s a fan favorite. He’s well spoken. He’s humble. He’s one of the best players. It’s going to be cool and good for everybody. We have to channel it in the right direction and towards the game.

“You saw what last year’s playoffs were like with him, so I suspect it will be very similar,” Smith added. “He’s one of the guys we feed off of, he’s a leader, he’s our captain and he does everything right and he plays both ends of the ice. Obviously if we can get him back it will be huge for our squad. It would be awesome. We’ve done well without him and I think the biggest thing for us right now is for us to play our system and that will help us out a lot more. But to get Z back is like getting an ace in your deck when you’re playing cards. Anytime you get your captain back it’s a huge bonus.”

“He’s a competitor,” Darren Helm said. “He’s going to come out with a performance that can hopefully spark this team.

“Everybody’s kind of feeling that excitement, too,” Helm continued. “He’s been out for a while, you can tell he’s extremely happy to be back, we’re all extremely happy that he has a chance to play tonight. It’ll be great if he gets a chance to play.”

Zetterberg began skating with the team last Thursday after undergoing successful surgery on Feb. 21 to remove part of a disc which was rubbing against a nerve, which caused severe back pain.

Zetterberg took the morning skate and was on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader.

“He looked great, he’s been looking really good for the last little and it would be huge boost getting our captain back, kind of unexpectedly,” Abdelkader said. “Hopefully, he’s ready to go, but we’ll have to find out.”

He never ruled out the possibility of returning in the first round of the playoffs, but the target always seemed to be the second round. The Wings trail Boston in the series 2-1.

“He’s been feeling good, I think he’s kind of raring to go, it’s just when he gets the clearance,” Abdelkader said. “He’s excited.”

Zetterberg has been sidelined since the Winter Olympics after playing just one game with Sweden.

“I asked him this morning he said he was going to the doctor,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “But because we were even talking about it I put him on a line, I put him on the power play, and the doctors decide not me. So I’m hopeful. We’ll know at game time after warm-ups.”

He was on the first power play unit with Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Todd Bertuzzi, who’ll be making his playoff debut, and Niklas Kronwall.

“I think he’s overshadowed me a little bit,” smiled Bertuzzi, who’s replacing Tomas Jurco in the lineup. “Listen, Z’s captain for a reason. He carries the torch around here and he leads by example. Obviously, the guys have done a great job while he’s been out but at the same time it’s a huge hole when he’s not in the lineup. I think the power play is going to be that much more effective and we’ll be tougher to play against.”

Despite playing in just 45 of the Wings’ 82 games this season, Zetterberg finished tied for third on the team in points with 48.

“Z would be a huge impact for us and maybe he’s the guy who can bring more offense to the team and spread the lines out a little bit more,” Tomas Tatar said. “I would be really excited to have him back.

“When you’re injured, you’re practicing hard, you’re trying to get ready, you’re in the gym, you do lots of stuff to make sure you’re ready when you get back,” Tatar continued. “I know the start can be rough, but at the same time, you can start really hot, too. You’ve just got to go with the wave. It all depends on how the game will go. You can’t expect one game to change the whole game, but it the teammates are helping, it’s a start.”

Zetterberg, 33, missed 11 games in December with a slightly herniated disc. He also missed two games in January due to it.

Zetterberg began having issues with his back in 2008, which made him miss the All-Star break.In 2007, he injured his vertebra and missed several weeks.

Zetterberg in for Game 4 tonight against Boston … at least that’s how it appears

DETROIT >> After 24 hours of speculating, Henrik Zetterberg appears to be in the lineup for Game 4 against the Boston Bruins

Zetterberg began the morning skate on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader.

Todd Bertuzzi also appears to be in the lineup, replacing Tomas Jurco.

Zetterberg was on a power play unit with his same Johan Franzen, Datsyuk, Todd Bertuzzi and Niklas Kronwall.

After practice Wednesday, Zetterberg said the decision to return was up to the doctors.

“The good thing is (the decision’s) not in my corner,” Zetterberg said after practice Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena. “I’ve got to be cleared by the doctor. I’ve got to do all those exams. I’m just preparing myself to get into better and better shape, try and get as much game like situations as I can in practice. Today was a good day of that.

“This is just part of the process,” Zetterberg added. “The more I amp stuff up in the gym and on the ice now we just have to wait and see the reactions. If I don’t feel any setbacks or don’t feel anything bad that’s when I’ll probably start that conversation, but still this was the first practice I’ve really had where I’ve been in all the drills and skating a line.”

Zetterberg began practicing with the team last Thursday.

Zetterberg has been sidelined since the Winter Olympics after playing just one game with Sweden.

He hadn’t ruled out possibly returning in the first round of the playoffs, but it appeared like he would likely come back if the Wings advance to the next round.

That appears to not be the case anymore.

“I have to feel ready to play,” Zetterberg said Wednesday. “Today was a good step in practicing. We’re still saying round two, but we all know we gained a couple days. I can’t really say anything now. I’m just happy I had my first real skate and now we’ll see how I feel in the morning.”

Despite playing in just 45 of the Wings’ 82 games this season, Zetterberg finished tied for third on the team in points with 48 and led the team with a plus-19.

“It’s tough to find good practices in the playoffs,” Zetterberg said. “You don’t practice. You only play games. So one of these days you just have to make a decision. The conditioning you’ll get when you play games. It’s tough when you’re skating on your own because you won’t get the same thing. Once I feel good enough to see if I’m cleared that’s probably when I’ll be playing games. I’m going to have still go through a few more steps before I have that conversation.”

Zetterberg, 33, missed 11 games in December with a slightly herniated disc. He also missed two games in January due to it.

Zetterberg began having issues with his back in 2008, which made him miss the All-Star break.
In 2007, he injured his vertebra and missed several weeks.

“I think he’s looking great out there since he started skating,” Tomas Tatar said. “He’d be a big power boost for us. That would be really good and really helpful, but I don’t know how far away he is. I don’t have any updates. I just know he looks really good out there.”

“He’s our captain, our leader, huge boost,” Gustav Nyquist said. “I don’t have a timetable so I don’t know if it’s possible he’ll be back. I have no idea. But obviously it’s great to see him out there especially when you saw him in that much pain when he first got back from the Olympics. That’s not fun to see a guy you look up to and your leader being hurt like that. So it’s great to see him back.”