Monthly Archives: September 2011

Commodore out 1-3 weeks with bruised MCL

DETROIT — Mike Commodore will miss the rest of the preseason due to a bruise MCL.

“They told me he’s probably 1-3 weeks, good news is we play two games a week,” Wings coach Ken Holland said. “We’re not in position, because our games are so spread out, to put someone on (long term) IR because it’s a minimum of 10 games.”

UPDATED — Smith receives suspension; will be assisnged to Grand Rapids

DETROIT – The time to watch and see if defenseman Brendan Smith is ready for the NHL is over after the league suspended him for the rest of the preseason and the first five regular season games.

It’s a suspension that Wings coach Mike Babcock feels is kind of harsh.

“I thought it was a little extreme to tell you the truth,” Babcock said Friday at Joe Louis Arena. “I still believe when you’re a left handed guy, chasing the guy and you put your stick down on the puck, so stick-on-stick, body-on-body, and the guy pulls back he’s got some responsibility in this area as well.

“In saying that, we’re not condoning anyone getting hit in the head with someone’s shoulder or any of that,” Babcock added. “They’re a work in progress at the league too trying to figure this all out and how to protect the players. He’s going to learn from this and move on.”

The incident occurred Wednesday in Chicago when Smith hit the Blackhawks’ Ben Smith in the head early in the third period. Brendan Smith was assessed a match penalty.

“I think some of the plays are no brainiers, suspensions,” Babcock said. “I think the other ones are a little grey. But if I’m in Chicago right now I probably see it a little differently. But I’d like to think not. I’d like to think what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. I also think we better not take the onus off the puck carrier.

“I don’t think most players know what’s going on,” Babcock continued. “If it doesn’t affect them they don’t do anything. I think Smith was one of those guys. He never thought this, he’s a puck mover. There appears to me there might be some suspensions of guys that have never been suspended. Then, suddenly you’re a second time offender. That’s the part I don’t like.”

Smith will forfeit $23,648.65 in salary, which goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Wings general manager Ken Holland said Smith is going to be assigned to Grand Rapids.

“I don’t think we ever stated our case,” Babcock said. “We didn’t offer an opinion. We didn’t call and lobby. We didn’t do anything.

“We’ve hired people at the league level with good experience,” Babcock added. “There is going to be an evolution in this too and we understand that. Just like when you add new rules, it takes players awhile to adapt.”

Smith out rest of preseason and five regular season games

DETROIT — Wings defenseman Brendan Smith found out his suspension from the NHL this morning.

Smith will miss the rest of the preseason and five regular season games.

Here is the press release from the league:

NEW YORK (September 30, 2011) – Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith has been suspended for the remainder of the preseason and five regular-season games, without pay, for an illegal hit to the head of Chicago forward Ben Smith during a preseason game on September 28, NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan announced today.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Brendan Smith will forfeit $23,648.65. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

At 5:26 of the third period, Brendan Smith hit Ben Smith in the head, injuring the Chicago player in the process. Brendan Smith was assessed a match penalty.

Brendan Smith will miss preseason games tonight vs. Toronto, tomorrow night at Toronto and Sunday vs. Pittsburgh. He also will miss five NHL regular-season games.

A full explanation of Shanahan’s decision, complete with video, will be available on later today.

Brunnstrom to earn contract soon?

DETROIT — It looks as if Fabian Brunnstrom’s tryout with the Wings has been a success.

“He had a great night last night,” said Wings general manager Ken Holland. “We’ve got until Monday to make a decision, so we’ll see. Maybe before.”

Brunnstrom scored twice in a 4-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday.

Holland said the team had initial contract talks before they even invited him for a tryout.

“When we talked about a tryout contract, at the same time we talked about if things did go good in the tryout, what it would take to sign him,” Holland said. “What they were thinking contract wise, what we were thinking contract wise. We were on the same page. I’m comfortable with what it’s going to take to get a contract done if we choose to sign him.”

Brunnstrom said the littler he hears the better.

“I’ve learned over the years in hockey, sometimes when they don’t say anything that’s a good thing,” Brunnstrom smiled.

Smith ruling won’t come till Friday

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings and defenseman Brendan Smith won’t learn the extent of his punishment from the league until today.

Smith had a hearing, over the phone, Thursday with NHL vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan.

Smith delivered a shoulder check to the head of Chicago’s Ben Smith in the third period of Wednesday’s preseason game, just has the Blackhawks’ forward got into the Wings’ zone. He received a match penalty on the play.

“I can’t even imagine being Shanny,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after practice Thursday at Joe Louis Arena. “There’s lots going on in the game. The game is so fast, the rink is so small and the players are so big.

“I think they’re saying it’s a mandate for the players to look after the players,” Babcock added. “I know they spent tons of time trying to educate the players on it.”

The “in person” hearing means the league has the right to suspended him for five or more games.

“It’s one of those things, he hit him in the head,” Babcock said. “We don’t want guys getting hurt and players don’t want guys getting hurt. I understand Chicago’s reaction totally, when it’s your player I understand all that. But I also know what hockey is and what’s going on in the game.
We have to be smart enough to not put ourselves in bad situations.”

Babcock feels players also need to be responsible so as not to leave themselves vulnerable to receive hits like those.

“(Brendan) Smith got run from behind against Philly, a guy buried him in London, absolutely ran him from behind big time,” Babcock said. “I wasn’t mad at the kid that ran him, I said to Smitty, ‘You’re going to end up with a broken neck if you do that again. You can’t go in at the last second and then turn your back and expect to be healthy. You have to use your momentum and shoot it out of the corner on that play.’ For me it’s all about getting better and learning.”

Shanahan has already issued seven suspensions during the preseason.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said this after the game, “I think the severity of these suspensions have been very big. I’d say it’s going to get their attention and I’m sure players will learn. You look back a how obstruction came in and how they called it. Players adapt. This is another one that will definitely get a lot of talk in what we can’t do.”

Wings’ lineup for Friday’s game against Maple Leafs

DETROIT — Here is the Wings’ lineup for Friday’s game at Joe Louis Arena against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Justin Abdelkader – Darren Helm – Todd Bertuzzi
Valtteri Filppula – Henrik Zetterberg – Johan Franzen
Gustav Nyquist – Cory Emmerton – Tomas Holmstrom
Chris Conner – Joakim Andersson – Landon Ferraro

Nicklas Lidstrom – Ian White
Niklas Kronwall – Brad Stuart/Brian Lashoff
Garnet Exelby – Doug Janik

Jimmy Howard
Jordan Pearce

Cleary could be out six weeks

DETROIT — Wings forward Danny Cleary said after practice Thursday that he was told by the doctor that is upper-body injury could take up to six weeks to heal.

“Right now it’s tough to say,” Cleary said. “It’s going to be how much I can tolerate. We’ll see how it is as the week goes on. As long as it doesn’t get any worse it’s just going to come down to if I can tolerate the pain and we’ll see how it goes.”

The injury occurred during the Wings’ game against Philadelphia last Friday. And it wasn’t when Cleary suffered a cut under the chin on a hit from former teammate Andreas Lilja.

“He cut me, but it was the same game though,” Cleary said.

Cleary has already been ruled out for the rest of the preseason. The Wings open the regular season a week from Friday at home against the Ottawa Senators.

“Obviously, the doctor is saying six weeks for it to heal so we’ll see,” Cleary said. “I feel pretty good skating, playing, just trying to avoid contact. I’m shooting for (next) Friday, if it stays the same. I can’t tell how it’s going to be with contact. It’s pretty much impossible to avoid contact throughout a game. It’s just going to be how much I can tolerate.

“It’s going to be there six to eight weeks, whether I can play through it and how it’s going to affect my play,” Cleary added. “If it’s real bad, like where I get hit and can’t even move, then we’ll go from there. Right now it feels pretty good skating and handling the puck. I can shoot and skate.”

Cleary suffered a concussion in Game 7 of last year’s Western Conference semifinal series with San Jose last season. He said this injury is not a concussion.

“There’s nothing with that, it’s something different,” Cleary said. “I recovered well from that. It took just four or five days and I was totally fine.”

Smith faces possible suspension for blow to head

DETROIT — Detroit may get its first suspension of the season handed down by former Wing Brendan Shanahan, who is the NHL’s new disciplinarian chief.

Brendan Smith received a 10-minute misconduct and match penalty for a hit to the head on Chicago’s Ben Smith early in the third period.

Smith lowered his shoulder and nailed Smith in the head as he rushed into the Wings’ zone.

Shanahan has already handed down several suspensions in the preseason.

“So, the interesting thing about the league now, and I don’t doubt his shoulder hit his head … is there any responsibility on the puck carrier, toe-dragging, sliding sideways, to look after himself,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after the game. “Is there or no? It doesn’t appear like there is anymore, is there?

“You come across the middle toe-dragging like this (has head down, looking at pretend puck), jumping up, and you get dinged,” Babcock continued. “I’m not saying our guy isn’t guilty, because the shoulder hit his head … you better not put yourself in those situations is what I would say. There will be a video report on it tomorrow, I’m sure.”

Babcock insisted Smith wasn’t trying to hit the Blackhawks player in the head.

“He knows it’s against the rules to hit the guy in the head,” Babcock said. “But he wasn’t trying to hit the guy in the head. He was trying to make a body contact and he would’ve made body contact, but the guy did this (puts head down, pretends to toe drag) right? But he left his head there.”

Wings defenseman Jakub Kindl also defended his teammate.

“He’s not a dirty player at all,” Kindl said. “From the bench, what I saw, I think (Ben) Smith was just trying to cut to the middle and I think he caught him with the shoulder or elbow. I really didn’t see that, but he definitely didn’t mean to hurt him or anything. He just tried to step up and make a hit. It happens sometimes. It’s part of the game,but I don’t think he meant to do that. He’s not that kind of guy.”

Stuart, Cleary to miss rest of preseason

DETROIT — According to Wings general manager Ken Holland, defenseman Brad Stuart and forward Danny Cleary will miss the final four preseason games due to injury.

Stuart is suffering from a sore groin, while Cleary was hurt in Friday’s preseason game against Philadelphia.

Holland listed Cleary’s injury as upper body.

Both are expected to be ready to play in the Wings’ regular season opener Oct. 7 at home against Ottawa.

“Cleary’s injury is nothing serious,” Holland said. “We’re hoping he’ll be ready for the (season) opener. If he’s not ready for the first weekend, I’m pretty sure he’ll be ready for the second weekend.

Stuart did not practice Wednesday. He could be back on the ice Thursday according to Holland.

Wings’ lineup light on stars tonight

DETROIT — The Wings are taking as few of their star players tonight for their game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Here is the lineup.

Justin Abdelkader-Darren Helm-Chris Conner
Drew Miller-Ryan Johnson-Patrick Eaves
Gustav Nyquist-Cory Emmerton-Fabian Brunnstrom
Tomas Tatar-Joakim Andersson-Landon Ferraro

Jonathan Ericsson-Jakub Kindl
Doug Janik-Brendan Smith
Travis Ehrhardt-Mike Commodore

Ty Conklin
Jordan Pearce