Tag Archives: mike babcock

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.”

Babcock: “Tats considers himself a goal scorer.” Forward has eight goals in his last 12 games

DETROIT >> Nine games into the season and Tomas Tatar had just one goal.

Since then, Tatar has eight goals in this last 12.

“I told you guys, I wasn’t worried about it at all,” Tatar said. “You won’t lose it if you can’t find the net once. I’m not afraid I’m not going to score goals. It’s all about confidence, keep shooting the puck. It eventually will find the net.”

He’s got goals in three straight games and is tied with Gustav Nyquist for the team lead with nine on the season.

“Earlier in the season I still had chances I just couldn’t for some reason find the net,” Tatar said. “Right now it gives you a boost of confidence after scoring a few goals. You feel good about yourself, but more importantly the team is winning and everybody is feeling really well right now and everybody is playing really good and we’re feeling good.”

Tatar began his first full season in the league a year ago a healthy scratch in eight of the first nine games. He finished the year a goal shy of 20.

“Tats considers himself a scorer,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “When you think you’re scorer and you don’t score you probably press a little bit. Tats has just got to become a 200-footer. He’s got to learn to play and play without the puck all the time and he’s got to be competitive every night. If he does those things he’s going to score more. So that’s his biggest challenge, just to become a player.

“He wants to be a top-six forward,” Babcock continued. “If you want to be a top-six forward you got to play every night.”

Tatar admits he likes to slow the game down by holding onto the puck more and he gets to learn from one of the best in the business at every practice, Pavel Datsyuk.

“There aren’t many players who can slow down the game, but I think one of the best is Pavel,’ Tatar said. “He can make his space and look around. I think every player wishes he could be as good as him at that. That’s a big benefit to have.

“I’m not a big fan of the fast game either,” Tatar continued. “I like to take my time and think about what I’m going to do, whether I want to shoot or pass. Pavel’s a great example for me.”

Tatar has also been shooting the puck more this season, averaging 2.65 shots on goal. He averaged 2.16 on net a season ago.

“I’m trying to create more chances and opportunities to score and so far it’s working,” Tatar said. “Hopefully I’ll keep shooting and finding the net.”

Tatar proved he was a goal scorer during Grand Rapids run to the Calder Cup in 2013, totaling 16 goals and five assists. He was named the playoff MVP.

“Tats is a competitive kid,” Babcock said. “I might be harder on Tats than anybody on the team just because I think Tats has a chance to be a real player. We’re going to hold him to that. We think he should be good every night because he’s capable of being good every night and every shift. We expect a lot from Tats and he’s capable of doing that.”

In four seasons with the Griffins he tallied 87 goals.

“He’s one of those guys who loves to score,” Johan Franzen said. “He’s a little hard on himself when he doesn’t score but he’s always a great player. He’s strong on the puck and creates a lot of offense but it’s great to see him score. It really makes him better. His confidence grows a lot, it’s good to see.”

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.

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.”

Babcock puts Nyquist back on the top power play unit

DETROIT >> Quick update from Wings practice Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena before they fly out to Washington for a game against the Capitals Wednesday.

Wings coach Mike Babcock kept the same lines together he ended with in the loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

Babcock wouldn’t confirm after if that would be the lineup he would be going with or not Wednesday.

Jimmy Howard did say he was starting in goal.

Johan Franzen (groin), Stephen Weiss, Daniel Cleary each skated in gray.

The Wings made one minor change to the power play, moving Gustav Nyquist back up with the top unit and Tomas Jurco moved to the second group.

“We changed it back, just trying to switch things around,” Nyquist said. “We haven’t been scoring. My jobs are a little different on both units. Now I’m with Hank and Pav and I’m going to be the guy in the middle, trying to retrieve a lot of pucks and get the puck back to those guys for them to make plays and obviously be ready to shoot when I get in the middle.”

Babcock had moved Nyquist down with Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, Andrej Nestrasil and Danny DeKeyser so he would be able to shoot the puck more.

“We all have to have different jobs on the power play, obviously, but we want to work together at the same time,” Nyquist said. “As a power play we can be interchangeable and stuff like that so right now we’re just trying to find a way to score goals ’cause we haven’t done that so hopefully it starts tomorrow.

“We’ve had a lot of chances but we’re still not getting the puck obviously in the net,” Nyquist added. “It would be nice to get one here soon, to get things going. I think we have two really good groups with a lot of skill and I think a lot of players can put the puck in the net on those two units so it should be working.”

The Wings’ power play is just 2-for-30 this season.

“But when you’re scrambling sometimes you do things,” Babcock said. “I thought it was a real good idea we took (Nyquist) away and then we haven’t got anything to go. We’ve got to attack the net so I just thought those are the guys that have been scoring for us. We put them in scoring positions and see what happens.”

Franzen skates with team, but still not close to returning to lineup

DETROIT >> Johan Franzen participated in practice for the first time since injuring his groin on Oct. 17 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“It wasn’t great, but it was a first time skating with the team so that’s a good thing,” Franzen said. “I felt pretty good. I’m going to skate again tomorrow.”

Franzen will make the trip to Washington and take part in the morning skate.

“I’ve just been trying (to skate on my own), cruising around in shorts, seeing if it’s still there,” Franzen said. “Today was a step forward.

“I tried a few strides at 100 percent or close to it,” Franzen continued. “It didn’t feel great doing that so I backed off. I’m going to start a little slower.”

Wings coach Mike Babcock said he expected Franzen back in a couple days, but the forward was less optimistic.

“The big thing is anytime you’ve been out, and I say this all the time, it doesn’t matter who you are, it’s tough getting back in,” Babcock said. “The Mule has trained like crazy. But when you get back in your fitness isn’t the same and there isn’t anything you can do about that. It was good to see him out there today.”

Franzen has two goals and three assists in four games this season.

“I was feeling great,” Franzen said. “I’ve never had a groin issue before. I don’t know if it happened after I fell after that goal or what. I never really noticed it happened, but yeah it sucks. I’ve got to skate a little more and see where I’m at.”

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.