Tag Archives: wings

Alfredsson retirement could be made as early at Monday when Wings host Ottawa

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings are still awaiting official word on what Daniel Alfredsson plans to do this season.

But all signs point to him not playing and most likely deciding to retire.

Darren Dreger of TSN.ca reported that Alfredsson has decided not to play this season due to a lingering disc issue in his back that has been continually aggravated by the wear and tear of game action.

An announcement could come as early as Monday, which would be fitting since the Wings host the Ottawa Senators, a team he spent his first 17 seasons with and 13 of those he was their captain.

Alfredsson’s agent, J.P. Barry, told the Wings earlier this week that it wasn’t looking good for a comeback attempt.

Alfredsson, who’ll turn 42 on Dec. 11, had this same back issue towards the end of last season, which also sidelined him.

Despite playing in just 68 games in his first season in Detroit, Alfredsson finished tied for the team lead in points (49) and had 18 goals.

He did tell the Wings in June that he wanted to play another season, but he needed to make sure his back could hold up before finally deciding on his future.

Alfredsson did skate with teammates a few days leading up to training camp in September, but then shut things down when his back started acting up again.

He did not attend training camp.

He tried again to skate a few consecutive days after camp, but once again had to shut things down.

The team would have liked to have Alfredsson back, if he was healthy, to play 60-to-65 games since he provided a right-handed shot at the point on the power play.

They weren’t going to sign him to a one-year deal until they saw he could practice a couple weeks to make sure he suffered no other setbacks.

“He understands we’re running a hockey team and what goes on with our team affects our day-to-day decisions,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said a month ago. “That doesn’t have anything to do with Alfredsson until he calls and says he wants to discuss his next move.”

Alfredsson has 444 goals and 713 assists in 1,246 NHL games.

He represented Sweden in five Olympics, winning the gold medal in 2006, but has never won the Stanley Cup.

Wings focused on fast start after four-day break

DETROIT >> The Wings are focused on one things after a four-day break between games … getting off to a fast start.

“We’ve definitely got to get going right away,” Drew Miller said. “We know that Chicago is a team that starts quick and they play hard. We can take a lot of positives from (the break). We got some guys that are a little beat up and could use some rest.

“We want to have a good start and establish our game right away,” Miller added. “We know they like to play with speed and we got to cut their big guys off and limit that.”

The Wings last played on Sunday.

“Any time you have four days off it’s a good thing, we’re not complaining about it but at the same time you got to make sure you get off to a good start, make sure you get your legs under you right away,” Justin Abdelkader said. “As time goes here it’s going to prove to be a great break and beneficial to us. They’re a fast-starting team. We got to make sure we match that and come out skating right away.”

Detroit only has one more four-day break between games this season and that’s comes at the start of February.

“For a couple of days you kind of check out of hockey for a bit,” Miller said. “You have days away from the rink, try to get away and get your mind elsewhere. It’s a long season. Then when you’re back at the rink, back at practice, you dial it back in and get ready to go, have some good practices and get ready for the next game.”

The Wings play 13 games in the next 24 days, playing every other day beginning Friday. Eight of their next 13 games are at home.

Four-day break gives Wings chance to work while resting

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings are doing what most would think a team would do during a four-day break between games … rest up.

“It’s kind of a unique opportunity for us to not have any games this week after just finishing a stretch where we had a lot of games in a short amount of days,” forward Justin Abdelkader said.

The Wings returned to practice Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena and won’t play again until hosting the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

Detroit will only have one more four-day break between games this season, at the start of February.

“It gives us a chance to do some work, it also gives the guys a chance to freshen up,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We didn’t like our game as much the last little bit. We think we can be better, so it gives us a real focal point here. We did some work here on Monday when I was away, and we’ll have a good specialty teams day (Thursday) and get some tempo in and then we play a real good Blackhawks team.”

The Wings play 13 games in the next 24 days, playing every other day beginning Friday.

“We’ll spend a lot of time working on the contact part of the game,” Babcock said. “When you play every second day you don’t get to do as much box outs and D-zone coverage and the physical part of the game.”

Eight of Detroit’s next 13 games are at home.

“I think just getting back to watching some video, looking at our segments, each segment as we go through the five-game stretches,” Abdelkader said. “These last five games we haven’t been as good defensively as we need to be, given up too many goals. We know we need to improve and what we need to do, just getting back to our work habits and our structure that takes care of us.”

The team worked mostly on battle drills, which included 3-on-3s and 2-on-2s on Tuesday.

“I think guys had a really good day off, kind of got refreshed and rejuvenated,” Abdelkader said. “Guys were energized. Guys realize what’s at hand, we haven’t played the way we’re capable of or the way we wanted to the last three, four, five games. We know we need to get better.”

Wings losing out on valuable points due to their poor showings in shootouts

DETROIT >> The NHL’s skills competition to decide games that don’t end in regulation or overtime hasn’t been kind to the Detroit Red Wings.
The Wings are 0-3 in the shootout, scoring just one goal and allowing five.

“It’s points on the table that you’d like to have,” Detroit assistant coach Tony Granato said. “I think we’ve got good shooters, we’ve got good goalies, so hopefully we can take advantage of that and figure out how to get some points out of that.”

Detroit practiced breakaways during practice on Monday for the first time all season. And it’s a skill they rarely have worked last season.

“You have to be comfortable and right now I don’t think any of us are,” Jimmy Howard said. “It’s one of those things you can do it in practice, but once you get 20,000 people watching you it might get a little nerve wracking. I don’t know I’m not a shooter. I can only imagine it’s probably not one of the best feelings.”
The Wings have scored on only 1-of-8 shots, while allowing five goals on seven shots (all against Howard).

“It could go either way in a shootout,” said Gustav Nyquist, who has Detroit’s lone goal in the shootout. “We’ve got to find a way to score.

“We’ve got to take care of business there and we haven’t,” Nyquist continued. “If you don’t take care of shootouts, that’s a lot of lost points. Every point is still important. Down the stretch we know from last year and two years ago, it’s been close. You know those shootout points are really going to matter. We got to find a way to get them.”

Since the league added the shootout to decide games, the Wings are 43-53, scoring 104 goals and allowing 107.

“Just get comfortable with a couple moves you might want to use, I think that’s the biggest thing,” Nyquist said. “You try to have a few different (moves) because the goalies scout you a little bit. If you only have one move the goalies are going to know what you’re doing. You try to have a few moves you can go to. You’re hoping that will work out.”

Over the last three seasons Detroit is just 7-17 in shootouts.

“In games, breakaways are a lot easier,” Stephen Weiss said. “All of a sudden you’re on a breakaway. You don’t have time to think about what to do. On a shootout you’ve got time. You might have a couple guys go before you and start second guessing your move. You just have to go in and shoot the puck.

“I don’t think (being fancy is) your intent,” Weiss continued. “Sometimes when you miss it may look that way, but you’re trying to score. The hardest part is having that much time to think about what you’re going to do. Sometimes you think yourself out of things.”

Many of the Wings feel the shootouts have run its course.

“I think a lot of guys are getting sick of it,” said Howard, who’s allowed 45 goals on 150 shots in shootouts. “There are a lot of different reasons for it. It was fun at the beginning, but I think how we’re deciding games it’s a tough way. Sometimes it’s not indicative of how you played. You get in the shootout and the pucks go in and all of a sudden you didn’t have a good game.”

“If they want to get rid of the shootouts go right to five minutes of 3-on-3,” Weiss said. “I think you would see a lot of games ending in 3-on-3. I think the players would love it. The fans would love it and you’d get rid of a lot of shootouts.”

“I heard some ideas about going to a 3-on-3,” Nyquist said. “I kind of like the idea. I think that’s going to end a lot of games. For sure you’re going to get chances. I think the crowd likes the shootout, but I think the 3-on-3 sounds pretty interesting.”

Jonas Gustavsson out “quite a while … we’re talking weeks” according to Wings GM Ken Holland

DETROIT >> Jonas Gustavsson is back in a familiar spot … injured reserve.

Gustavsson will be out “quite a while” after dislocating his left shoulder during the Wings’ 4-3 overtime loss Wednesday night to the New York Rangers.

“We know it’s dislocated because they had to pop it back in after the game last night,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said during a phone interview Thursday. “He’s going to have x-rays later today or (Friday). He’s out quite a while, we’re talking weeks. I don’t know how many. How severe is it? Does it need anymore more than time? I don’t know all that. Bottom line is he’s out quite a while. I just don’t have any timeframe.”

Gustavsson, who is no stranger to shoulder injuries, was injured reaching for a loose puck in overtime just as the Rangers’ Derick Brassard was firing it into the open net in overtime.

“I don’t know if he needs surgery or doesn’t need surgery,” Holland said. “I know it’s dislocated. He’s out for a significant period of time.”

The Wings recalled Petr Mrazek from Grand Rapids to replace Gustavsson.

“We feel fortunate we have the depth know in goal,” Holland said. “(Mrazek’s) a third-year pro. He had a good preseason. In the few outings he had last year he played good.

“I think in the earlier going with Jimmy Howard, our goaltending has been good,” Holland continued. “(Gustavsson is) 1-1-1. He was a big part in us making the playoffs last year. We’re disappointed he’s gotten this significant injury. From a team standpoint we feel really good we have Petr Mrazek.”

Gustavsson, who signed a one-year deal at $1.85 million this offseason to return to Detroit, spent most of his first two seasons with the Wings on the trainer’s table.

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

Gustavsson, 30, missed a total of 23 games on five separate occasions with three different types of injuries last season, but groin injuries have been his Achilles heel since signing a free agent deal with the Wings.

When Gustavsson played, he played well last season, going 16-5-4 with a 2.63 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage. He appeared in the final two games of the playoffs, filling in for Howard, who was sidelined with the flu.

Along with missing 18 games due to a groin injury last season, he appeared in just seven of the 48 games during the lockout-shortened first season in Detroit, making just four starts. He didn’t play over the final 27 games of the season, which included the playoffs.

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.

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.”