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Weiss returns to Wings’ lineup. “It’s a good opportunity for him,” Babcock says.

DETROIT >> Stephen Weiss will be back in the Wings’ lineup tonight at home against the Ottawa Senators.

And for how long he remains in it will be up to him.

“It’s a good opportunity for him, he’s going to have to grab ahold of it, obviously,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after the team’s morning skate Monday at Joe Louis Arena. “He’s had a good NHL career. It’s been sidetracked for two years.

“The way I look at it is I’m in the day to say winning business,” Babcock continued. “I get up each day and I’m trying to find a way to win the game and I’ll play whoever gives us the best chance to win.”

Weiss, who has played in one other game this season, has played in 47 out of a possible 150 regular season games for his teams since the start of 2013.

“Now it’s up to him,” Babcock said. “We’re in the business of winning games and everyone’s got to command their share of the ice and get their share of the ice time. We’ll see what happens.”

Weiss will play left wing on line Tomas Jurco and centered by Darren Helm.

“I’ve played a few games (at wing), but I’ve been a center all my life,” Weiss said. “It’s just different.

“I don’t know how to really explain it,” Weiss continued. “You’ve just got to be more aware in the D zone, a little bit different coverages. I’m just used to playing center and being able to move the puck both ways. On the wing, you’re more so limited to one side of the ice. It’ll be fine.”

During his two-game conditioning stint in Grand Rapids he scored a goal in each game.

“It was nice to play some minutes and get through the games (with) no problem,” Weiss said. “I would have liked to get a little bit more accomplished, but it was nice to score a couple and get that feeling back. It’s been a while since I’ve scored a goal.”

Nestrasil placed on waivers; Smith out with hand infection from fight; Mrazek starts Thursday

DETROIT >> Quick update from Wings’ practice at Joe Louis Arena before they head out to Winnipeg for a game Thursday against the Jets.

The team placed forward Andrej Nestrasil on waivers. He has until noon Thursday to be claimed by another NHL team. If he’s not he’ll head to Grand Rapids.

“He needs to play in the American Hockey League,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s not quite ready for this level. It’s just one of those things, we need him to play in the American League. Maybe one day he’ll play. His pace was good at the start but you know the league changes.”

Nestrasil has played in 13 of the Wings’ 18 games this season, registering two assists and a minus-3.

Defenseman Brendan Smith didn’t practice Wednesday and will miss Thursday’s game due to an infection in his hand he suffered during a fight midway through the third period with Columbus’ Nick Foligno.

Smith could rejoin the team in Toronto.

Pavel Datsyuk (groin) and Jonathan Ericsson (maintenance day) also didn’t practice. Babcock said Datsyuk will make the trip to Winnipeg.

Petr Mrazek will start in goal against the Jets.

“He’s been great,” Babcock said. “He’s like lots of kids, he plays better than he practices, he’s got to learn how to practice good so he can play good consistently. But he’s a real gamer and he’s been good.”

Stephen Weiss will leave and meet up with Grand Rapids to play a pair of games with the Griffins this weekend. His first conditioning stint with their AHL affiliate was cut short when he suffered soreness in his groin.

“We tried to do it two weeks ago and it didn’t happen,” Babcock said. “He’s got to get himself going. This business is straight forward. The coach and the management, they play the guys they think can help them win. When you haven’t been healthy, you’ve got to get yourself playing. We got an obligation to help him help himself so that’s what we’re trying to do but his part is to play well so he can get in the lineup and get playing.”

Weiss has played one game with the Wings this season.

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.

Weiss heading back to Detroit after suffering groin injury; Wings prepare for Carter and Kings

DETROIT >> Quick update from Red Wings’ practice at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday.

Stephen Weiss is on his way back from his brief conditioning stint in Grand Rapids after he suffered another issue with his groin in the Griffins game on Wednesday.

Wings general manager Ken Holland said that Weiss won’t play on Friday in Grand Rapids as he was expected before joining Detroit on Saturday for its three-game road trip.

Johan Franzen (groin) continued to skate and hopes to return to the lineup Sunday in Buffalo.

Detroit hosts the defending Stanley Cup champ Los Angeles Kings on Friday and have to figure out a way to slow down Jeff Carter’s line.

“He’s a real good player,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said of Carter. “I know him real good from just having him at the Olympics. He can play with and without the puck. He’s got a bomb of a shot. He scores for fun.”

Carter entered play Thursday second on the team with 12 points (five goals, seven assists).

He’s sandwiched between his linemates – Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson – for the team lead in scoring. Toffoli is first with five goals and eight assists, while Pearson has seven goals and two assists.

Drew Doughty is a distant fourth in points with five.

“I didn’t know who Toffoli was to tell you the truth, I didn’t know him that good, but every time I see him he’s shooting it,” Babcock said. “And Pearson seems to be a real good player. Those are guys I don’t know real good. I’ll get to know them better. They’re real good players, but there’s a whole bunch of other guys on that team that are real good players.”

That line has combined for 17 goals and 17 assists.

The Kings play at Pittsburgh, tonight.

Wings still looking for success on the power play; penalty kill still has yet to allow a goal

DETROIT >> Quick update from the Wings’ off day at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday.

Coach Mike Babcock felt his team needed a day off after getting home late from Montreal and having a meeting with Pittsburgh on home ice Thursday.

“We never got home till late, late, late,” Babcock said. “I just thought I want energy tomorrow. I didn’t know what was right for sure.

“We wanted to clear a lot up in our game so we had a meeting,” Babcock continued. “We dealt with our power play a little bit and we felt we can score a lot better by being harder, we haven’t been. We’re just trying to evolve our game so we did that.”

The Wings were 0-for-3 with the man advantage in the 2-1 overtime loss to the Canadiens, dropping them to just 2-for-24 on the season.

“I think we have to get the puck back more, that’s the biggest thing,” Babcock said. “You have to shoot it more and get it back more. There’s lots of stuff we talked about here today. There are lots of people that know what’s expected. The other thing is you have to get off the schneid, you just have to get one so everyone relaxes and makes plays instead of doing what they’re doing right now. I’m confident that will happen.”

Gustav Nyquist has both of Detroit’s power play goals this year.

“I’ve been real impressed with our look and our opportunities,” Babcock said. “Even last night, Hank (Zetterberg) had the wide open net and hit the post. We had some looks, but it hasn’t gone in for us. Once it goes in you start feeling better about yourself. We need some goals out of it.”

In those 24 power play opportunities the Wings have just 28 shots on goal.

“We keep talking about it, but we have to get some more pucks to the net,” Niklas Kronwall said. “I think that’s the bottom line. How it gets there is not always that important, just gotta make sure that it gets there and we have people there. So we’ve gotta take the shot more often.

“You want to do good out there,” Kronwall continued. “Of course sometimes I think maybe you overanalyze things and you want to do the right thing and that ends up you thinking too much. Just go back to basics and keep it simple out there usually works.”

Darren Helm has a pair of assists on the power play. Kronwall and Johan Franzen have the others.

“The scorers get lots of points on the power play,” Babcock said. “You want the power play to go well because it makes you feel good individually as well.

“I think initially you say, ‘Hey it’s going good’, and it is, but eventually it’s got to go in,” Babcock added. “We have to find a way to be better at it and be harder to play against in that situation.
The other thing is the when you look at the work ethic of our penalty kill and how hard those guys work. The power play has to work just as hard because you have to outwork the guys you’re playing against. If you don’t you have no chance.”

The Wings’ penalty kill has yet to allow a goal against on 18 chances.

Datsyuk a game-time decision Tuesday; Franzen on short-term IR; Howard starting

DETROIT >> Quick update after Wings practice at Joe Louis Arena before they travel to Montreal for Tuesday night’s game.

Pavel Datsyuk appears to be a game-time decision.

“Say, day-to-day,” Datsyuk said afterwards. “I hope. You never know but what I’m looking (forward to it).”

Datsyuk practiced on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.

‘We had him on a line, but I had him on a line last Monday,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said.

Datsyuk was expected to miss roughly four weeks from the time he suffered a separated shoulder on Sept. 22.

Datsyuk said his shooting and stick work has been fine for some time.

“It’s only the contact still,” Datsyuk said. “But I had (it) last week. We’ll see what happens (Tuesday).”

The news isn’t so good on Johan Franzen, who was placed on short-term injured reserve with a groin injury.

Franzen, who’s tied for second in points with five, missed Saturday’s game against Toronto.

Jimmy Howard was back in goal and will start Tuesday. He was unable to back up Jonas Gustavsson Saturday due to a slight groin strain.

“It was a little sore so I just wanted to be cautious,” Howard said. “I wasn’t planning on playing from the get-go Saturday so we decided to use caution with it.

“The ice just gave out underneath my foot in Toronto there late in the game when I went to push across,” Howard continued. “So those things really can’t do anything about it. It rebounded quickly so it was nice to see. It wasn’t that bad.”

Datsyuk out Thursday; Babcock not ready to announce rest of lineup

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

Pavel Datsyuk (shoulder) is officially out of the lineup for Thursday’s season opener against the Boston Bruins.

It appears Andrej Nestrasil will be in the lineup, but it’s not official.

“Why don’t we just announce the lineup tomorrow so if anything changes I don’t have to change my mind,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said.

Nestrasil was skating on a line with Darren Helm and Gustav Nyquist.

As for the sixth defenseman, it’ll be between Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff. Both split time at practice with Kyle Quincey.

The rest of the forward lines and D-pairing remained the same: Abdelkader-Zetterberg-Franzen; Tatar-Sheahan-Jurco; Miller-Glendening-Andersson; Kronwall-Ericsson; Smith-DeKeyser.

“When you look at our roster from opening day last year to this year, I’ve had some people say that the roster is the same, but there are six forwards different so it’s night and day different from what it was,” Babcock said. “It’s a much quicker team, a much more useful team. If we’re fortunate to have Pav and Z play, and stay healthy, we’re a better team that way.

“It’s just growth,” Babcock continued. “Now, you’ve done it once, you’ve got to do it again. There’s a whole bunch of guys that have done it one time. So time is going to tell. I know they’ve worked hard and competed in the summer to get stronger and quicker and they’re more confident now and it just has to translate on the ice.”

The Bruins, who open the season Wednesday, beat the Wings in five games in the first round of last year’s playoffs.

“They thumped us,” Babcock said. “They absolutely thumped us. We didn’t play as good as we thought and they’re a real good team. We played them twice in exhibition and five times at the end of last year. I know Claude (Julien) real well and lots of the players so we have a good understanding how we’re going to play and they have a good understanding how we’re going to play. Now we just have to see who’ll compete for the puck more and who wins.”

The teams also met twice during the preseason.