Monthly Archives: December 2011

To mic or not to mic, that is the question

DETROIT — Mike Commodore is a big fan of HBO and what they’ve done with their ‘24/7’ series, which has featured the time leading up to the Winter Classic the last two seasons.

But they best not ask him to mic-up for a game.

“They do a fantastic job,” Commodore said. “They’ve got great programming left and right. That adds to the event.

“The only thing I don’t like is being miced up during games,” Commodore added. “I did that once in the playoffs in Carolina and I think I was minus-3 in the first period and I tore the thing off at intermission. Whenever I’m miced up during the game I can’t stop thinking about it. You worry about what you say and I don’t talk a whole lot.”

If the Wings are chosen to participate and HBO does a series on the game coach Mike Babcock wants all the attention paid to the players.

“I think it’s great for the game, I think it’s great for the players,” Babcock said. “Myself, I’d rather not be involved in it but if that’s part of what you’ve got to do to have the Winter Classic, you gotta be involved. The game’s about the players. And I think as a coach, the more you’re in it, the more you understand that it’s about the players. I like the attention to be on the players.”

Red Wings would relish to play in another Winter Classic

DETROIT – Tomas Holmstrom won’t be basing his NHL future on whether or not the Wings will get the next Winter Classic or not.

But the thought of playing in another one did seem to chipper up his already happy persona Saturday morning.

“It would be awesome to do it one more time, for sure,” said Holmstrom, who played in the 6-4 win over Chicago at Wrigley Field in the 2009 Winter Classic. “It was a great experience in Chicago. To celebrate New Year’s and the family was there in Chicago. It was the perfect day for it, too. It was fun the day before, the families were there. We skated outside. It was really good. And we came up with a win, too. But it was a great experience, something you’ll remember the rest of your life.”

A source told The Macomb Daily that the annual game could be coming to Detroit in the next season or two.

“It’s a short list and we’re on it,” the person said. “We’ll have the game in the not too distant future.”

Possible venues to host would be Comerica Park or Michigan Stadium, which hosted the “Big Chill at the Big House” in 2010 that had an announced crowd of nearly 114,000.

“It would be really cool (Big House), for sure, get the home crowd, too,” Holmstrom said.

The New York Rangers are also on the short list to host a Winter Classic. However, the Rangers play in this year’s event today against the Philadelphia Flyers at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

Holmstrom is one of 11 current Red Wings that took part in 2009 game at Wrigley Stadium.

“I know I’m looking forward to watching the one (today),” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Anytime you get a chance to play outdoors, I think it’s a great thing. If we could do it in Michigan, it would be great for our fans and great for our franchise, great for our trademark, so a real good thing.”

Backup goalie Ty Conklin has played in three different outdoor games for three different teams.

Conklin played in the Heritage Classic in 2003 with Edmonton. It was the first regular season outdoor game in NHL history. He followed that with starts between the pipes for Pittsburgh in the 2008 Winter Classic and then was the Wings’ netminder in 2009.

“It would be a lot of fun to be able to play in one,” Jimmy Howard said. “Growing up, you skate on lakes and outdoor rinks, to be able to play an actual game (outdoors) would be a lot of fun.”

Rookie Joakim Andersson played in the first outdoor game in Sweden, the 2009 SEL Outdoor Classic. His team, Frolunda HC beat Farjestads BK, 4-1, in front of a crowd of 31,144, which at the time set an attendance record for a European game.

“It was the year before I came over, it was fun,” Andersson said. “It was a special feeling to play outside with a large crowd. It was pretty cool. It was an unbelievable game. I kind of had goose bumps at the start.”

Tomas Holmstrom still shooting to play Tuesday

DETROIT — Quick update from the Wings’ morning skate, which had all of four skaters take part in.

Tomas Holmstrom did not skate, but was in the locker room receiving treatment for his groin tear.

Holmstrom, who suffered the injury in Nashville, was placed on short-term injured reserve Thursday. He has yet to start skating, but hopes to do so Monday

“It’s going better,” Holmstrom said. “It’s still sore but way better than yesterday and a couple days ago. They didn’t want me to skate today so I’ll probably skate Monday, for sure.”

He also hopes to play Tuesday in Dallas.

“That would be good,” Holmstrom said. “I’ve gotta skate first but most, the range and everything, I feel pretty strong. It’s just some stretching areas, it’s still sore and pain.”

Holmstrom said groins injuries have never been an issue for him.

“It’s just bad luck,” he said. “I hope (it won’t keep out a long time). The big test is when you’re skating and push away with the groin. I will be real disappointed if I couldn’t skate Monday and play Tuesday. I would like to get back at it now.”

Helm out two days with groin; Holmstrom placed on short-term IR

DETROIT — Darren Helm hurt his groin in practice Thursday and will miss the next two games according to Wings general manager Ken Holland.

With Tomas Holmstrom, who was placed on short-term injured reserve, the Wings called up Gustav Nyquist from Grand Rapids.

Helm, who will be re-evaluated on Monday, will miss Friday’s game in Chicago and Saturday at home against St. Louis.

Holland said Helm is day-to-day and will be re-evaluated on Monday.

Nyquist is the second Griffin to be called up in two days. On Tuesday the team called up Joakim Andersson to replace Holmstrom in the lineup.

“We’re hoping the young kids will give us a boost,” Holland said.

Mursak getting closer

DETROIT — The Wings activated Jan Mursak off injured reserve and assigned him to Grand Rapids for a conditioning stint that can last up to two weeks.

Mursak, who broke his left ankle on Sept. 25, is expected to play tonight in Lake Erie.

Joakim Andersson recalled from Grand Rapids

DETROIT — The Wings recalled forward Joakim Andersson from Grand Rapids to replace Tomas Holmstrom in the lineup.

This will be Andersson’s NHL debut.

Holmstrom stuffered a groin injury in Monday’s 4-1 win in Nashville.

Andersson has eight goals and nine assists in 29 games with the Griffins and is a plus-1.

In 109 games in Grand Rapids, Andersson has 15 goals and 25 assists.

Andersson was drafted in the third round, 88th overall, by the Wings in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Conner out two weeks with a slight hand fracture

DETROIT — Chris Conner’s three-game point streak will have to put on hold.

Conner was placed on short-term injured reserve after suffering a slight hand fracture in Tuesday’s 4-1 win at Pittsburgh according to general manager Ken Holland.

Conner is expected to miss two weeks.

Holland also said another player is also suffering with a minor injury and might not be able to play tonight at Nashville. Holland would not say what other player is injured.

Because of that the Wings recalled forward Tomas Tatar from the Grand Rapids for precautionary reasons.

If that other inured player can play Tatar will rejoin the Griffins in Cleveland.

“We’ve got a player other than Conner that got hurt the other day,” Holland said. “We think he’ll play, but if he can’t we’ve got Tatar here as insurance.”

Cory Emmerton, who Conner has leapfrogged to become a regular in the lineup, will play tonight against the Predators.

Conner has a goal and two assists in his last three games playing on a line with Danny Cleary and Darren Helm.

Emmerton has been a healthy scratch in seven of the last eight games. The one game he did get in it wasn’t to replace Conner, but an injured Valtteri Filppula.

Unlike two other Grand Rapids Griffins that have been called up this season – Fabian Brunnstrom and Gustav Nyquist – Conner is playing during crucial situations, killing off penalties.

Conner, who was leading the Griffins in scoring when he was called up, is averaging just over 11 minutes of ice time a game.

This and that

DETROIT — Jan Mursak will make his second trip with the team to Nashville, but that doesn’t mean he’s close to returning to the lineup. “Until he can turn and have agility, he’s not even close,” Babcock said. “He’s coming, but I haven’t seen any agility out of him yet.”

The Wings evened their road record to 7-7-0 after Tuesday’s win.

“We were great defensively last year on the road and awful at home, 29th in the league to second,” Babcock said. “We had the second-best road team in the NHL. This year it doesn’t look like we’re very good on the road, so I don’t know what I did over the summer that different, but the reality is we really tried to commit to being better defensively.

“In this league it’s hard to outscore the other team,” Babcock added. “If you play well defensively, you got a better chance. Our penalty kill on the road’s been good, our penalty kill at home’s been no good, so I don’t know the answer to that either.”

The Wings now have fifth best goals against in the league, allowing 2.17 goals a game.

“We pride ourselves in being good defensively, that’s how we’ve won a championship here,” Cleary said. “We all believe that’s how you win in the end. The other side of it is Howie’s had a spectacular season. Anytime your goalie is your best player you’re goals-against is going to be good.”

Conners’ hustle helps Red Wings win

DETROIT – For a guy looking to stick in the NHL, Chris Conner is making the most of his time with the Detroit Red Wings.

Conner extended his point streak to three games Tuesday night with an assist on Danny Cleary’s first of two goals in a 4-1 win against his former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“I just want to come in and play hard,” Conner said. “Every chance I get to play I want to prove I can play, I want to keep improving and do whatever I can to help the team.”

Conner, who has a goal and two assists in his last three games, has taken full advantage of playing on the Wings’ third line with Cleary and Darren Helm.

“They’re both great players,” Conner said. “They talk to me a lot, help me out, so it’s been good so far. I just want to continue and keep getting better.”
He’s also a plus-2.

“You can see as Connie’s gotten more comfortable in the lineup he’s making more plays,” Cleary said. “He’s a talented little player and tenacious on the puck.”
And because of his play Conner has also moved ahead of Cory Emmerton on the depth chart.

Emmerton has been a healthy scratch in seven of the last eight games. The one game he did get in it wasn’t to replace Conner, but an injured Valtteri Filppula.

“He just works, has energy, blocks shots and competes hard,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s like a dog on a bone on the puck.”

Unlike two other Grand Rapids Griffins that have been called up this season – Fabian Brunnstrom and Gustav Nyquist – Conner is playing during crucial situations, killing off penalties.

Conner, who was leading the Griffins in scoring when he was called up, is averaging just over 11 minutes of ice time a game.

However, Conner’s days in Detroit may be numbered. Jan Mursak (broken ankle) is expected to return in a few more weeks and Patrick Eaves (broken jaw) is slated to return around mid-January.

“I’m just trying to go out there and do whatever I can,” Conner said. “Use my speed to forecheck and be responsible in my own zone as well. Penalty killing as well, I know that’s what my job is so I’m going out there and doing my best.”

In 60 games last season with Pittsburgh, Conner had nine goals and 16 assists.

“He’s doing a great job, he’s got great speed,” Jimmy Howard said. “He played really well last year for Pitt and he’s doing it again this year for us.”

Crosby out indefinitely, will miss game against Wings Tuesday

DETROIT — According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Sidney Crosby be out indefinitely with concussion-like symptoms, which means he will miss Tuesday’s game against the Wings.

“It’s not something I am happy about watching,” Crosby told the paper. “That being said, you have to be sure with these sorts of things, careful and aware that I am 100 percent before I come back.”

Crosby has missed the last two games after Boston’s David Krejci elbowed him in the head.

Crosby said doesn’t feel as bad as he did nearly a year ago when he was out for 61 games.

“It is obviously frustrating for Sid,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma told the paper. “Sid knows his body better than anybody else. He is not feeling 100 percent. He will return to practice and playing when he is feeling 100 percent.”

Crosby has played just eight games this year and has two goals and 10 assists.