Monthly Archives: February 2011

Wings unlikely to make trade; Howard deal timing fluky

DETROIT — As the trade deadline approaches, the Wings made move and it was to lock up their No. 1 goalie for the next two seasons.

Jimmy Howard will be with Detroit for the next two seasons at $2.25 million per.

“We’re pleased to get him signed,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “His prime years are ahead of him. He had a great rookie year. He’s got 30 wins this year. In less than two years he’s been in net for 70 Red Wings wins.”

Howard will turn 27 next month.

“I like that he’s a workhorse,” Holland said. “He’s a guy we can put in net night after night. We drafted him, we developed him, we watched him grow as a goaltender.

“Both sides feel good about it,” Holland added. “We’re hoping Jimmy will continue to grow and we’ll do a deal bigger than this one (next time).”

Howard’s deal coming as the trade deadline of 3 p.m. looms was ‘fluky’ according to Holland.

Holland said they were prepared to wait until after the playoffs to get a deal done. Now any risk of a distraction the rest of the season and in the playoffs is gone.

“It’s out of the way, put to bed, no potential for distractions,” Holland said.

Howard was scheduled to an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Holland said they’re not close to signing anyone else.

Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson is the other notable unrestricted free agent.

“I’m open to talks,” Holland said. “It’s a cap world, it’s all about numbers for both sides. We’ve got some other potential unrestricted free agents who’ve done a nice job. I’m comfortable waiting until the end of the playoffs.”

Of note, Holland said it’s highly unlikely he’ll make a trade today.

Jimmy Howard inks extension

Wings goalie Jimmy Howard has signed a two-year extension to stay in Detroit.

The deal is reportedly worth $4.5 million.

Howard, who leads all goalies with 30 wins, would have been an unrestricted free agent this summer.

More details to come.

Modano ready for 20-game stretch run

DETROIT – There has been something missing in Mike Modano’s life these last few months.

He’ll get that all back tonight in Buffalo.

Modano returns to the Wings’ lineup tonight against the Sabres. He’s been out since Nov. 26 when he suffered a lacerated right wrist.

“It’s just our life and our routine, when you’re away from it for so long you certainly miss it and look forward to the days when you get back to the day to day routine with everybody else, traveling,” Modano said Friday after practice at Joe Louis Arena. “This is what you love doing. When it’s taken away from you, you work hard and do what you can to get back.”

The Wings may not make any moves at the trade deadline so getting Modano back right before Monday’s deadline passes could be a big boost up front.

“That was mentioned a couple of times that it feels like they made a trade for somebody and hopefully it pays off,” Modano said. “Just being here now and watching how they’re playing, being here has helped maintain the thought process of how I was playing at the tail end. Thinking about what I was doing prior to the injury that was effective.

“Some good things were finally starting to happen,” Modano added. “I’m going to try to get those back as quick as I can.”

In 20 games this season, Modano has two goals and six assists.

Modano struggled in his first nine games with Detroit. After scoring a goal opening night, he had no points and was a minus-7 in the next eight.

Things picked up for Modano after that as he went on a five-game point streak.

“Spring is around the corner, so I think that’s the part we’ve all been gearing toward, it seems like this team thrives on that part of the year, so it’ll be fun to be a part of it,” Modano said. “The timing worked out I came back 20-21 games back.”

Modano is supposed to play on a line with Valtteri Filppula, who’s expected back from his sprained MCL, and Tomas Holmstrom.

“Me and Fil are pretty interchangeable,” Modano said. “Holmstrom, what you see if what you get, he’s a great net guy, hopefully we can get the puck there and let him do the rest.

“I’m sure there’s going to be some moments where I’m sucking some wind and hurting a little bit,” Modano added. “It’s just the nature of the beast. You just haven’t been out there as long, a lot of things happening you’ve got to adjust to when you get in the game. Until you get out there, get in some traffic, in a competitive nature, I guess that’ll tell.”

Modano likes he’s got 20 games to play in before the postseason.

“That was basically all the motivation I needed to push it really hard and see if I could get back quicker than they thought I would or expecting to,” Modano said. “It’s going to be a little bit of a grind, but certainly the fact that there was some excitement at the end, I think that was … the opportunity we have here certainly is exciting. To be a part of that, be a part of the playoffs in Detroit with this team, that’s going to be the exciting part.”

Ins and outs

DETROIT — Brian Rafalski did not make the trip to Buffalo, suffering from back spasms. He will rejoin the team in Los Angeles. The spasms began in the first period Thursday against Dallas.

“We were able to keep it somewhat loose, just trying to rest it to make sure it doesn’t get any worse,” he said. “It’s not that bad.”

Filppula is expected to play.

“I feel good,” he said Friday. “Hopefully it feels in the morning, that’s always the biggest thing, how it feels the next morning.”
Johan Franzen will play tonight, but will miss Monday’s game against the Kings. His wife is due to give birth today.

“It (Buffalo) is pretty close, so there’s a chance to get back if something happens,” Franzen said. “I’m not risking going to California. Have the baby first and then I’m go out there.”

He will rejoin the team and play Wednesday in Anaheim.

Ruslan Salei’s and Chris Osgood’s wives are both due to deliver babies next month.

Darren Helm didn’t practice due to a sore foot. Helm, who expects to play tonight, sustained the injury after blocking a shot on the penalty kill Thursday.

Joey MacDonald will start in net against the Sabres.

Oh brother Part 4

DETROIT — Drew and Ryan Miller will meet for the fourth time tonight. Drew has a 2-1 edge of his brother.

“I haven’t been able to get a goal on him yet so it would be nice to get a goal on him,” Drew said. “We’re pretty competitive in the summer, just for fun.”

Drew has beaten his brother once with Anaheim and last season with the Wings.

Their parents, along with their younger brother and sister, will drive from East Lansing to Buffalo to watch the game. They usually have two TVs going at home when the Wings and Sabres are playing at the same time.

Eaves not making Wings road trip

DETROIT — Wings forward Patrick Eaves said Thursday that he will not be on the team’s West Coast trip, which begins Monday after playing in Buffalo Saturday night.

Eaves has soreness in his groin. He said he’ll get the results from an MRI Wednesday sometime today.

“I’ll see the doctor tonight and get the full report,” Eaves said. “(It’s) not a knee, I lucked out there. Hopefully (I’ll be out) just a little while.”

Eaves collided with San Jose’s Torrey Mitchell on Tuesday.

“I hit the guy, kind of went up in the air and as I was coming down kind of got into a split situation, didn’t feel very good,” Eaves said.

Mursak recalled from Grand Rapids

DETROIT — The Wings recalled Jan Mursak from Grand Rapids to replace Patrick Eaves for Thursday’s game at Joe Louis Arena against the Dallas Stars.

The Wings were still waiting on the MRI results from the lower-body injury Eaves suffered in Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks.