Monthly Archives: October 2010

Hudler benched

DETROIT — Wings coach Mike Babcock made up his mind who on that third line will be sitting tonight against the Nashville Predators.

And it’s Jiri Hudler.

Hudler has no goals and three assists this season. He’s also a minus-6 rating in eight games.

Justin Abdelkader will take his spot on a line with Mike Modano and Dan Cleary.

“Obviously, I’m not happy about it,” Hudler said. “It is what it is. It’s (Babcock’s) decision. He’s the coach. Whatever he feels like. Obviously, he’s going to make a move.”

Hudler had career highs in goals (23) and points (57) before leaving to play in Russia last season.

“It’s going to drive me a little crazy, but good crazy,” Hudler said.

“I think Huds has gotten better since the start of the year, but I want to get Abby in,” Babcock said. “That line hasn’t been great, so this gives me the opportunity to do that.”

Abdelkader in Saturday

DETROIT — Justin Abdelkader will play Saturday night against the Nashville Predators.

We still don’t know which forward Mike Babcock will bench.

All signs point to someone on that third line, which has been made up of Jiri Hudler, Mike Modano and Dan Cleary.

I don’t see Cleary getting benched because he kills penalties and also fills in for Tomas Holmstrom on the top line.

Modano would also be a hard one to sit for a number of reasons. Even though he has had a rough start to his time in Detroit, it’s a home game and I don’t see it happening.

Hudler seems to be the more likely player to watch Saturday night. Hudler hasn’t scored this season and in his previous years in Detroit always seemed to be the one trying to fight his way out of the doghouse.

Howard missing, Abby in?

DETROIT — Goalie Jimmy Howard did not practice Friday and Justin Abdelkader skated in with the third line.

Abdelkader was in on the first drill with the line, along with Dan Cleary and Mike Modano.

More updates coming.

Osgood starting against Coyotes

DETROIT — The Grand Rapids Griffins just sent out a press release stating that the Wings had recalled Joey MacDonald to be the understudy to Chris Osgood tonight.

According to Wings general manager Ken Holland, Jimmy Howard had back spasms after the morning skate.

In order to recall MacDonald, the Wings placed Kris Draper (hernia surgery) on long-term injured reserve and Brian Rafalski on short-term IR.

Howard was looking to extend his regular season streak of starts without a regulation loss to 21.

Since March 9 Howard has a record of 17-0-3.

MacDonald is 2-1-1 with the Griffins this season with a 1.72 goals-against average and .929 save percentage.

Abdelkader wants in; Ericsson improves

DETROIT — Forward Justin Abdelkader is back healthy, but can’t find his way into the lineup.

“I’m ready to go,” Abdelkader said. “You want to play when you’re healthy, but that’s part of the deal when you’re winning.”
He missed close to four weeks with a rib injury.

“My tendency is to put (in) a guy like Abby, who’s been injured, for a guy who’s not playing well,” Babcock said. “But I’m giving everybody one more kick at the can.

“Abby would have been playing all along, he won a job out of training camp,” Babcock said. “Everyone is going to get an opportunity and when you do you have to create value for yourself.”

Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (bulging disc) took part in his first full practice since suffering an injury in the season opener and took part in a lot of contact drills.

The earliest he’ll return to the lineup would be next Wednesday in Calgary.

“Ericsson is going to play on the road trip,” Babcock said. “As soon as he’s ready we’ll give him an opportunity.”

This and that
** Defenseman Brad Stuart didn’t practice with the team for a second time in three days, but is expected to play tonight.

“He skated with the guys (Tuesday) and then he started throwing up,” Babcock said. “Stuart’s going. Stewie plays with one leg.”

** Jimmy Howard will start in goal tonight.

Babcock puts third line on notice

DETROIT – Wings coach Mike Babcock is giving his third line one final chance Thursday night and how long they stay together will be determined on how well they perform.

The line of Dan Cleary and Jiri Hudler, centered by Mike Modano has not lived up to the hype it came in with to begin the season.

“We’ve got to fix it, right,” said Babcock, whose Wings host Phoenix tonight at Joe Louis Arena. “They’re going to warmup tomorrow together.

“They’ve got to be way harder in the (offensive) zone,” Babcock added. “They spend way too much time chasing puck around.”

The threesome have a combined two goals and three assists, but the category that’s the biggest problem for the trio is plus/minus where they collectively a minus-16. Hudler and Modano are both a minus-6.

“We’re struggling because a lot of the pucks are ending up in our net,” Hudler said. “We’ve been doing good things, but obviously nobody’s going to see it when you look at the (game) sheet after the game and you see a minus. We just have to keep working hard.”

“I’m not frustrated,” Hudler added. “You can’t take (those seven games) back. We’ve definitely had our scoring chances. You have to practice hard everyday. It’s going to turnaround. We must produce as one.”

Breaking up the line would more than likely come at the expense of the Wings’ second line of Johan Franzen, Todd Bertuzzi and Valtteri Filppula.

That line, many nights, has been their best unit on the ice.

“That’s the problem … or the good thing,” Babcock said. “Maybe I could change it and fix both and maybe I could change it and not fix both.

“I haven’t been forced because we’ve been winning, but we’ve got to get them going,” Babcock continued. “Now the other thing is, I can say to you we got to get them going, but don’t they got to get themselves going? Between the three of them they all have a skill set. Let’s us that skill set and not try and do anyone else’s job.”

Modano has not scored since opening night.

“We all had high expectations going into the season and talked about how big of an impact the line could have,” Modano said. “We feel we’re on the verge. We’ve had opportunities, but we’ve just had a stretch of bad luck defensively.”

Draper back at Joe Louis; Ericsson skates

DETROIT — Kris Draper was back in the Wings’ locker room after having sports hernia surgery last week.

“Dr. Meyers has a whole protocol to follow,” Draper said. “Just walking and then slowly start to do more exercise. Right now, the first week after surgery, (I’m) just walking and keep moving.

“You never want to be injured but if it happened I’m glad it happened early in the season,” Draper continued.
Draper is hoping two start light skating in two weeks.

“I started feeling good and then all the sudden something else was going wrong,” Draper said. “It was getting frustrating, but I went in. Dr. Meyers said he was happy with the way things went, he saw a significant tear.

“We made the right decision, instead of trying rest, wasn’t going to work,” Draper added. “He thinks everything is going to be fine once it heals up.”
Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (bulging disc) skated for the first 20 minutes of practice.

“I just have to take it easy,” Ericsson said. “It feels good on the ice, they just want me to take it slowly.”