Monthly Archives: March 2011

Howard will start Saturday; Datsyuk and Modano status TBD

DETROIT — Jimmy Howard will start Saturday in Nashville after missing the last two games with a sprained left shoulder.

“I’m good to go,” Howard after practice. “Last night was just precautionary, I just got one more night of just letting it heal up and getting treatment on it. I felt good out there in practice, the stiffness is pretty much all gone and I’m looking forward to getting back out there.”

Pavel Datsyuk (lower-body injury) practiced again, on a line with Johan Franzen and Tomas Holmstrom, but his status for Saturday won’t be determined till after practice Friday.

Mike Modano was given the day off after tweaking his groin Wednesday. He didn’t complain about having the day off the ice.

“It was just something I felt as the game went on, the same deal I had a couple of days ago, Modano said. “Considering the type of day they were going to have today … you knew there was going to be a lot of skating. It was probably best to give it a little rest, get ready for (today).”

He added that he caught some grief from teammates about his timing.

“The comment was that it was something a 40-year-old would pull,” Modano laughed.

Babcock said he’s not sure if Modano would play this weekend, but Modano thinks he’ll be ready to play Saturday.

A ‘penance day’ on ice for Wings

DETROIT – Wings coach Mike Babcock wanted to deliver a message to his team at practice Thursday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena.

It was a well deserved one after a 10-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues the night before.

“We deserved a hard skate with the way we played last night,” Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “We know we have to have the effort there. We need to work hard and we didn’t last night.

“It was pretty much a wake up call for all of us,” Lidstrom continued. “If you don’t show up for work or you don’t show up for a game you’re going to lose. We were embarrassed with what happened, all of us in here. It’s no fun being booed at home, but we probably deserved it with the way we played.”

The 10 goals allowed was the most by the Wings have given up since the Los Angeles Kings beat them 10-3 on Oct. 9, 1993.

“It was a penance day basically,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “The coaches and players we didn’t do our job last night. We flush that game away here today and get on with our lives.”

“We know what we have to do, it’s a matter of going out there and doing it now,” Lidstrom said. “We’ve said a lot of right things, but we haven’t done them yet.”

Detroit still holds a six-point lead over the Nashville Predators, who host the Wings on Saturday, in the Central Division standings. Both teams have five games left in the regular season.

“We have to wakeup,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “The games are winding down and the playoffs are just around the corner and the way we’re playing right now we’re not going to win a lot of games. If we keep playing like this it’s going to be a short run in the playoffs.

“Everyone in here was embarrassed walking out,” Kronwall added. “You don’t want to go anywhere and be seen anywhere because you feel so bad with how you played. Everyone felt like that in here.”

Quotes from Wings 10-3 loss to Blues

DETROIT — “It was embarrassing,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “They outplayed us at every level. It’s disgusting to play a game like that. I don’t know what to say. It really got out of hand.”

“We weren’t very good and the puck kept going into our net,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Thank God it’s over. It looked like it was never going to end there for awhile. This was obviously unacceptable.

“And they had one (goal) called off,” Babcock added. “Anyway you look at it it’s more than a touchdown and it’s ugly. Players watched it and went through it, I did the same thing and it’s going to be here right till we play next. ”

Detroit finishes the month of March 5-5-4.

“They weren’t great, they were just like the rest of us,” Babcock said about his two goalies. “The harder you try sometimes the more disorganized you look.”

“It’s two weeks before the playoffs and we should be playing a lot better than this,” Zetterberg said. “If we play like this in the playoffs it’s going to be an early exit.

“Today we really got outworked,” Zetterberg added. “You just have to go home and forget about it and come down tomorrow and work your (tails) off.”

Salei, Kindl battling for sixth spot on defense

DETROIT — Rookie defenseman Jakub Kindl will skate tonight against the St. Louis Blues, in place of veteran Ruslan Salei.

Salei was signed this offseason to solidify the Wings’ three pair of defensemen now has six games left in the regular season to win his spot back.

“I want someone to take the job,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I don’t want to rotate them. So it’s up for grabs. One of them better grab it.”

Salei was given time off recently to be with his wife in California when she delivered their third child. He missed three games and a few practices.

“I’ve been playing the whole year and now he feels like we have to fight for it, so I guess I have to fight for it,” said Salei, who will be a healthy scratch for the second time in the last three games. “I got some time off with my newborn, so I guess it had a little effect on my game.”

Kindl will be paired with Brian Rafalski tonight.

“Whenever I have the opportunity I just got to show (Babcock) I want to take the job,” Kindl said. “I don’t way to say it’s a battler between us. I want to play, he wants to play. It’s coach’s decision.”

Joey MacDonald will get his second straight start in goal.

Jimmy Howard (sprained shoulder) practiced and expects to play Saturday in Nashville.

Pavel Datsyuk (lower body) also hopes to return against the Predators. He will miss his sixth straight game tonight.

Kris Draper is also a healthy scratch.

Bertuzzi won’t be suspended

DETROIT — According to the Detroit Red Wings, forward Todd Bertuzzi won’t be suspended for his hit to the head on Chicago’s Ryan Johnson Monday Monday night.

Bertuzzi was given a five-minute major penalty for elbowing and a game misconduct early in the first period.

It was Bertuzzi’s first ejection from a game in seven seasons.

Bertuzzi reportedly apologized to Johnson during the first intermission.

“I don’t think it was anything malicious,” Johnson told the media after. “He was very apologetic, came walking right in here and said ‘Sorry’ as soon as it happened.”

Franzen says he’ll play Monday; Babcock will wait and see

DETROIT — After practice forward Johan Franzen said he would play Monday against Chicago.

“I’m playing,” Franzen said. “I was skating with max speed. It usually takes 2-3 games to get back to 100-percent.”

Wings coach Mike Babcock said they’ll wait to see after the morning skate today if he will play.

“What we do here is we got medical people who decide those things,” Babcock said. “He says he skated good today. If he’s available, he’ll go.”

In practice it looked like Franzen was playing, being paired on a line with Todd Bertuzzi and Justin Abdelkader.

Pavel Datsyuk (lower-body injury) took part in another full practice. Babcock said he will return either Wednesday against St. Louis or Saturday in Nashville.

Goalie coach Jim Bedard was the other goalie in practice Sunday.

“I think a lot of got their confidence back with Jim Bedard in net for us,” Nicklas Lidstrom laughed.

Howard ‘dodge a bullet’

DETROIT – In Jimmy Howard’s own words, he ‘dodged a bullet.’

Red Wing fans, teammates, coaches and management can all now breathe a sigh of relief.

“I was just hoping it wasn’t anything serious and it wasn’t,” Howard said Sunday at Joe Louis Arena. “The MRI came back, it was fine, just a sprain.”

Howard’s injury is a sprained left shoulder, which occurred when Toronto’s Joffrey Lupul collided with the Wings’ netminder at the top of the crease and then fell on his shoulder while he was on the ice.

An MRI revealed no damage.

“My arm just got caught underneath him, where my glove was, my arm didn’t really spread out and he just landed on my shoulder,” Howard said. “It’s a tough play. I was coming out to cut down the angle.

“It was an unfortunate occurrence,” Howard added. “It was just a hockey play. He was going to the net, trying to create havoc. I watched it on replay. It was a pretty good play, sitting on his rear end to still put it in.”

Lupul scored on the play, whirling the puck into the open net while on top of Howard.

“If it was (Tomas Holmstrom) to fall on him it would have been (goalie interference),” said Kris Draper, who was tied up with Lupul in front of Howard on the play. “I was just trying to find the puck. I definitely didn’t push him onto Howie.

“Like I said, if that’s Homer falling on the guy this thing’s getting reviewed and it’s probably not a goal,” Draper added.

Howard said he hopes to return for Wednesday’s game against the St. Louis Blues, which seems highly unlikely.

He will be back for sure by the playoffs.

“I’ll be ready for the playoffs,” Howard said. “We’ve got enough games left. They’re still a couple of weeks away. I’m going to do the best I can to try to get back as soon as possible. Icing it like crazy and continue to work with (trainers).”

Detroit is already without Chris Osgood who was placed on long-term injured reserve earlier in the week. He won’t be eligible to play in a game until the second to last game of the regular season.

“When you have one guy out already and then your starting goalie goes out, that’s a concern,” Nicklas Lidstrom said. “It’s always a concern when a goalie goes out.”

The Wings recalled Thomas McCollum from Toledo. He’ll dress as Joey MacDonald’s backup Monday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

“Jimmy is going to take a little break,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I don’t know exactly when he’ll be back. The bottom line, just like any other player who’s got an injury, he’s got to get back and get healthy and get playing. Ideally it won’t be very long.”

McCollum, who was Detroit’s top pick in the 2008 entry draft, struggled with Grand Rapids this season going 6-11-2 with a 3.18 goals against average and a save percentage of .881.

His numbers with the Walleye are better, 11-8-2, with a 2.69 GAA and .911 save percentage.