Tag Archives: mike babcock

With Datsyuk possibly returning, Nyquist added to second line with Sheahan and Tatar

DETROIT >> With Pavel Datsyuk working on a regular line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader that meat Wings coach Mike Babcock had to shake up two other lines.

Gustav Nyquist bumped down to play alongside Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar, while Tomas Jurco was on a line with Darren Helm and Andrej Nestrasil.

“Just trying to get that line to generate more,” Babcock said of Sheahan’s line. “(Nyquist has) been playing real well, if I’m going to play Pav and Z together they need a bigger body to be at the net for them. I want (Nyquist) to have as many touches as he can so Sheahan’s a big body to be at the net for him and Tatar. Then, I’ll go the way with Helmer, Nesty and Jurco. We need Jurc’s to get going too. It’s an opportunity for those guys.”

The fourth line there was no change to.

“I think having a real good player around is positive,” Babcock said about the possibility of getting Datsyuk in the lineup for the first time this season. “We don’t want to defer to Pav, we’ve been doing fine without him. We just want everyone to play and do their part. It’s going to take Pav a while to get going too.”

Babcock happy where team is at, but says the problems Wednesday were just ‘mental’

DETROIT >> Three games into the 2014-15 NHL season and we’ve already seen how good the Wings can play and how bad they can play.

In Wednesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Boston Bruins, it all started with faceoffs and went downhill from there.

“With four minutes left in the first we had won two faceoffs,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after practice Thursday at University Liggett. “They win the faceoff, they get it in, they get on top of you, so they’re on top of you hard, you don’t execute right away, spend too much time in your zone, by the time you get it out of your zone and in their zone you change, they get a free breakout, they come down, they put it in, they grind the crap out of you again, it’s just a sequence of events that never, ever changes. All night long, they won the races, they won the battles.”

That was a far cry from how the first meeting with the Bruins went this season that the Wings won 2-1. However, Boston had played the night before.

“If you win battles, you’re on them quicker,” Babcock said. “It’s interesting in hockey we always want to fix everything structurally. Two kids on the carpet, one ball, one kid has it. It’s that simple. They wanted it more, they had it more. They were engaged.”

Babcock went back and looked at his team’s week of preparation. After a day off Sunday, they practiced hard Monday, had a good tempo 35-mintue practice Tuesday and then had a short pre-game skate Wednesday.

Boston came in after losing with less than a second on the clock Monday, had a 90-minute practice Tuesday and went hard in the pre-game skate.

“They’re fresher and got better jump,” Babcock said. “How can that possibly be? It’s called mental.”

Babcock admitted he felt his team has played well in two of the first three games.

“I don’t think there’s anything to fix,” said Babcock, whose squad takes a 1-1-1 record into Friday’s game at Toronto. “We deserve to be exactly where we are.

“I’m pumped,” Babcock continued. “I think we’ve got a team that has a chance to get better. I like where we’re at. We just played Boston twice and Anaheim. You guys all think they’re good. That’s what I read anyway. I like that we’ve played good teams and we’re off to a decent start.”

Why wasn’t Nyquist on ice in OT Wednesday? “It drove me crazy that I did that,” Babcock sayd

DETROIT >> Wings coach Mike Babcock still can’t explain why the team’s leading scorer, Gustav Nyquist, watched from the bench most of overtime against the Bruins.

“It drove me crazy that I did that,” Babcock said. “Even though we worked with those other guys, how the heck was I dumb enough to let that happen? We even talked about it and I still did it.”

Nyquist, who has a goal in each game this season, had one shift in OT and wasn’t on the ice during the Wings’ 4-on-3 power play in the final minute. Instead Babcock went with the unit they practiced that scenario with the day before, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Riley Sheahan and Niklas Kronwall.

“We thought that was the best chance to score,” Babcock said. “But then when we scored another goal in that game on the power play wouldn’t you just put him on the ice?

Wings coach Mike Babcock: ‘Howie was good, that’s about it; netminder earns Detroit a point in loss to Bruins

DETROIT >> It didn’t take long for Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock to sum up Wednesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Boston Bruins at Joe Louis Arena.

“Howie was good, that’s about it,” Babcock said.

Jimmy Howard stood on his head stopping 37 shots.

“Howie stole us a point,” Babcock said. “We felt we got ripped off the other (Saturday) night, but Howie stole one back for us tonight.”

Howard stopped all 11 shots he faced in the third period and then four more in overtime.

“He saved us big time,” Henrik Zetterberg said of his netminder. “Without him we wouldn’t have that point.”

“He was great, he was great for us,” Tomas Tatar said. “He made lots of unreal saves. We can be really happy for the one point because he was holding us most of the game, just a good job from him.”

Howard has started all three games this season for the Wings and has been quite good. He’s got a 1.95 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage.

Albeit just three games into the season, but those are out of this world for the Wings netminder.

“I thought he was fantastic all game through,” Niklas Kronwall said. “After two periods, he’d stopped them quite a few times there. I thought singlehandedly he got us a point.”

“He was phenomenal,” said Gustav Nyquist, who netted his third goal in as many games in a losing effort. “He was the one that kept us in the game and saved a point for us there. Obviously, the last minute there, minute and a half there, he made some real nice stops. And all the way throughout the game he was our best player I thought. He played a real nice game.”

Howard was named the second start of the game.

And with the Wings’ offense struggling to score goals, potting a total of six goals, two in each of the first three games, getting these type of performances out of Howard are key.

“Jimmy played a great game and kept them in it,” said Boston goalie Tuukka Rask, who made 18 saves.

Wings coach Mike Babcock: “We need it big time.”

DETROIT >> Having a possible two points and for sure one slip away from them Saturday night, the Detroit Red Wings view Wednesday’s home against the Boston Bruins as a crucial one.

“We need it big time,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “All you’ve got to do is look at the standings. As soon as you’re below the line you’re not in a good spot. We’re below the line.”

The line Babcock is talking about is the playoff cutoff line. The Wings are currently 10th in the Eastern Conference, two points out of the eighth and final playoffs spot.

The Bruins are in worse shape, dipping to 1-3-0 after allowing a last-second goal against Colorado on home ice, Monday.

Detroit beat Boston, 2-1, in the season opener and the lost, 3-2 to Anaheim on Saturday after allowing a goal in the final minute of regulation.

“Our work ethic, speed, tenacity and depth up front,” Babcock said when asked about what he’s liked about his team thus far. “I thought we played pretty well (Saturday), but you don’t get any moral victories in this league. Boston and us have both lost games in the last second recently. Both teams really need wins.”

Boston has also been outscored 9-4 through four games.

Babcock will keep his lines intact he’s went with in practice all week, which moves Gustav Nyquist to the top line with Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen, while dropping Justin Abdelkader down to the third line with Darren Helm and Andrej Nestrasil.

Nyquist has half of the Wings’ goals this season, while Franzen has three assists. Abdelkader is the only other multi point player on the roster with a goal and an assist.

One line Babcock needs more out of is Riley Sheahan, who centers Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco.

“After game one I really liked them, after game two I didn’t like them as much,” Babcock said. “They still generated, but they generated for both teams. I don’t want them to generate for the other team.”

Sheahan and his linemate were unable to get the job done Saturday against the Ducks’ Ryan Kesler.

“I just want them to play well offensively for us and really good without it,” Babcock said. “Every shift in the game great things aren’t going to happen. Some are 50-50. You’ve got to pick your spots, but you’ve got to be heavy on the puck. You can’t be turning pucks over.”

Pavel Datsyuk will miss his third straight game with a shoulder injury. Stephen Weiss, Daniel Cleary and Brian Lashoff are healthy scratches.

Datsyuk, who was expected to miss roughly four weeks from the time he suffered a separated shoulder on Sept. 22, doesn’t seem like he’ll be available for the home-and-home series with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday and Saturday.

Wings’ fourth line seeing increased ice time

DETROIT >> Riley Sheahan’s line couldn’t do it and neither could the line centered by Darren Helm.

The Wings’ fourth line – Drew Miller and Joakim Andersson with Luke Glendening in the middle – did.

Wings coach Mike Babcock had Glendening’s line on the ice every time Anaheim put its second forward line with Ryan Kesler on the ice from the second period on Saturday night and they held him in check.

“For this team to win we’ve got to have 20 competitive guys every single night,” Babcock said after practice Monday at Joe Louis Arena. “If we don’t, we’re going to have a harder time. “I think that line has been one of our best lines two games in a row. They do what they do.”

Normal fourth lines in the NHL average less than 10 minutes a game. Through two games, the Wings’ fourth line is averaging 14 minutes a game.

“They check like crazy, they’re gritty,” Babcock said. “Glenny is a pain in the butt, let’s be honest, done a real nice job. Andy can make plays, he’s a good passer, he’s smart and competes. Millsy is real smart and works hard.

“They all three brought their game and that’s what we have to do,” Babcock continued. “You can’t play your game part way through, you’ve got to bring your game, you’ve got to arrive on time and you’ve got to compete. I think our team has a chance to be lightning fast and be a pain to play against.”

The three forwards, along with Justin Abdelkader, are also on the penalty kill that hasn’t allowed a goal in seven power play chances.

“You try and have as much O-zone time as you can and put pressure on their D,” Miller said. “We all know how to play that role and what our job is. They don’t ask us, I mean we want to score, but we’re not out there on the power play, playing minutes like (Henrik Zetterberg) and (Johan Franzen). We go out there and play our minutes and play our role.”

Glendening also scored a goal in the 3-2 loss to the Ducks.

“We’re a hardworking line, that plays smart and good defensively,” Andersson said. “We’re happy we got a lot of minutes there even though we started on fourth line.”

Babcock keep Nyquist on top line; fourth line logging minutes through two games

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

It appears as if coach Mike Babcock is going with the same group he’s played with the first two games of the season as Stephen Weiss, Daniel Cleary and Pavel Datsyuk (shoulder) all wore gray jerseys.

Weiss and Cleary were healthy scratches the first two games, while Datsyuk is still coming back from injury.

Babcock did keep Gustav Nyquist on the top line along with Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen.

That moved Justin Abdelkader down with Darren Helm and Andrej Nestrasil.

A lot of the talk after practice was how well the fourth line of Drew Miller-Luke Glendening-Joakim Andersson have done thus far.

Miller and Glendening have after 14 minutes of ice time a game, while Andersson is just under 13.

“I think we’ve played both games good,” Andersson said. “We’re a hardworking line, play smart and good defensively. We worked hard down low in their end and some success there, we didn’t score, well Glenny scored there without us. We played well.”

That line was elevated to check Anaheim’s second line in Saturday’s 3-2 loss at Louis Arena.

“(Babcock) probably thought we’d play against him so we’re happy we got a lot of minutes there even though we started on fourth line,” Andersson said.

“You get out there, try and have as much O-zone time as you can and put pressure on their D,” Miller said. “I thought our lined played well (against Anaheim) and on top of that I think our penalty kill has been doing good.

“Even looking at last year there are nights where we’re matched up defensively against one of the top lines so you’re going to play more minutes,” Miller continued. “It’s just whatever the circumstances call for, but most teams four line minutes are 6-7 whereas here it’s like 9-10.”