Monthly Archives: March 2013

Quenneville recalls time playing against Gordie Howe

DETROIT — The Wings celebrated Gordie Howe’s 85th birthday by wearing No. 9 jerseys during the pre-game skate.

Chicago coach Joel Quenneville had this to say about the Wings legend, “Gordie, I got to know him. I got to play against him. He was kind of part of our coaching/managing staff when I was in Hartford when I was there.”

Quenneville also played with one of Howe’s sons, Marty.

“I got to see him a lot in the summertime,” he said. “He’s an amazing man. In our game today, when you get to be late 30s and then you’re in your 40s or 50s, I think the joy I got out of it was getting to play with his kids. I think that’s probably the most memorable thing I went through. The guy was a strong man and he enjoyed playing the game.”

Then Quenneville was asked if it bothered him to have played against a guy who just turned 85 to which he responded, “How about playing against a guy who’s 50-something?

“He whacked me a few times,” Quenneville added. “He cut me up once, too, with his stick. He was pretty good.”

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Zetterberg injuries groin; Colaiacovo recalled after Lashoff sent to GR

DETROIT — Henrik Zetterberg (groin) was scratched from the lineup, despite taking the pre-game skate.

“I don’t know, but this is what I do know about groins, if you missed today you’re probably not playing tomorrow,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said.

The Wings then lost Mikael Samuelsson to start the third period to an upper-body injury.

Samuelsson, who has missed 31 games this season due to injury, just returned from a broken left index finger.

“Well, I …,” Babcock said when asked about Samuelsson’s status.

After the game the Wings sent defenseman Brian Lashoff to Grand Rapids and recalled Carlo Colaiacovo, who was with the Griffins on a conditioning stint.

Colaiacovo, who has played just two games this season, will be in the lineup Monday night against the Colorado Avalanche.

Rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser’s contract was approved by the league.

Howard, Gustavsson combine for no saves on first four shots they faced

DETROIT – Jimmy Howard and Jonas Gustavsson combined to have one of those games you just want to forget.

Howard gave up three goals on the first three shots he faced and when Gustavsson came on in relief he let in a goal on the first shot he saw in the Wings’ 7-1 loss Sunday afternoon to the Chicago Blackhawks.

“Just forget about it and move on,” Howard said. “It’s going to happen over the course of the season. Every team goes through it. You just got to be mentally tough and forget about it.

“It’s a little bit of a setback,” Howard continued. “We just got to forget about it and get back at it tomorrow night.”

Howard made just 10 saves before being pulled after allowing the Blackhawks’ fourth goal early in the second period.

“Turnovers,” Howard said. “We turned the puck over a lot in the first period and especially against a team like that, that’s very high powered. They like to get in a track meet and just go, you can’t do that.”

It was the third time Howard has been relieved in goal. The first was the season opener and then he was pulled due to injury on Feb. 19 in Nashville.

“It happens, stuff like this throughout the season,” Howard said. “You can’t explain it. We’ll come back tomorrow and get right back into it.”

Gustavsson wasn’t much better.

“It was early, but you should be ready,” Gustavsson said about allowing a goal on the first shot he faced. “(Brandon Saad) had a lot of speed so I thought maybe he was going to try to go around me and made a quick shot instead. Maybe you want to come out and try to make that save.”

The goal was Chicago’s fifth of the game.

“After that the game is pretty much over,” Gustavsson said. “It was a tough start for me, but I felt the only thing I could do was take advantage of the opportunity in net, get some experience playing in this building and think positive. In the end you never know what’s going to happen. And then there were maybe a couple of soft goals in the end. Especially last one, I don’t think he had much to shoot on there.”

Gustavsson, who had yet to play at Joe Louis Arena prior to Sunday, made just nine saves on 12 shots.

“It felt like it really didn’t go our way,” Gustavsson said. “We had some unlucky bounces early on and they capitalized on that. It felt like it was one of those days where you go to work even harder to get some success. But we just got to put this behind us as soon as possible and move on.”

Huskins excited about heading to Flyers

DETROIT — After practice the Wings dealt defenseman Kent Huskins to Philadelphia for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2014.

“I’m excited to be going to Philadelphia and get a chance to play again,” Huskins said. “For me it’s just an opportunity to go play some games and try to contribute to a new team and see where it goes. I mean, if anything over the last few years I’ve learned not to look too far ahead and just concentrate on what you’re doing because you can kind of drive yourself nuts thinking about scenarios and everything that could happen down the road. I’m just happy to be getting in some games here.”

The move frees up a roster spot for defenseman Danny DeKeyser, who will be on the 23-man roster once the NHL approves his two-year contract.

Huskins, 32, had been a healthy scratch the last 15 games.

He signed with the Wings near the start of the season after the blue line was decimated with injuries. He played in 11 games and, averaging just over 15 minutes of ice time, had no points and a minus-3 rating.

“It’s obviously been a unique season all around,” Huskins said. “But I think there have been a lot of instances like this league-wide. It’s just a function of the lockout and a shortened season. I don’t know, I was happy for the opportunity here and got to play some games. I guess after having some injury problems over the last few years to just kind of get back playing and get another crack at it.”

Lidstrom helps seal the deal with DeKeyser

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings had what no other team courting prized free-agent defenseman Danny DeKeyser had in their back pocket … Nicklas Lidstrom.

The soon-to-be NHL Hall of Famer, gave DeKeyser a call Saturday prior to the Western Michigan defenseman announcing his decision of which team had won the sweepstakes for his services and it seemed to be just what the Wings needed.

“He called me the other day when I was going through the decision process and talked to me for a few minutes,” DeKeyser said after taking part in his first practice with the Wings Saturday at Joe Louis Arena. “Then I got to meet him here today. So it was pretty special. That helped in my decision definitely.

“He just told me about the organization and how special of a place it is to play,” DeKeyser added. “They have a great management team and a locker room full of great guys. He said it would be a fun place to play so I took his word for it.”

Lidstrom said the call seemed to take DeKeyser by surprise.

“Kenny (Holland) handed him the phone and told him it was me,” Lidstrom recalled. “We had a good little chat. I just told him about the positive things I’ve seen and learned over the years here with the team.

“I don’t think he was ready for my call,” Lidstrom continued. “I don’t think he was expecting me to call him. It was more listening to what I had to say. He had a lot of teams that were asking for him and had meetings with a lot of teams so I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision for him. We’re very happy to have him here.”

Lidstrom is in town for a few days before a family vacation to Florida.

DeKeyser, 23, was one of the NHL’s most sought-after free agents last year before deciding to stay at WMU.

That again was the case this year where DeKeyser’s representatives met with a number of teams over this past week, including Toronto, Anaheim, St. Louis, Edmonton, Philadelphia, Ottawa and Nashville.

DeKeyser wore No. 5 in college, the same number Lidstrom had in Detroit.

He’ll be No. 65 with the Wings.

“I definitely grew up a big Wings fan and to have a chance to play for you hometown team is definitely something special so it’s definitely a good opportunity for me,” said DeKeyser, who grew up in Macomb County and graduated from De La Salle. “I’m going to come in, get my feet wet a little bit, practice here this week and just take it from there.

“It was tough decision,” DeKeyser added. “I could have picked a lot of reasons to go to any of those teams, but ultimately in the end I thought this was the best choice for me. I just looked at what some of the best places would be like to play for and what they had one the blue line and where I would fit in. Here there are quite a few young guys and a good group of veterans. I thought it would be a good fit for me.”

It’s not known when DeKeyser will get his chance to play, but it won’t be Sunday against Chicago.

“I want to be a big part of the team here,” DeKeyser said. “I just have to work hard and that’s all I can do then we’ll see what happens from there. I need to get adjusted to the next level. Guys are a little bit bigger and stronger and quicker so that’s going to be a little bit of an adjustment there for me, but I think and can come in here and be fine.”

In three seasons at WMU, DeKeyser, who was undrafted, appeared in 118 games and had 12 goals, 37 assists and 107 penalty minutes.

“He’s obviously good, good,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “At his level he’s been a dominant player there for the last two years and we’re excited to have him. He hasn’t practiced since Tuesday, so that will take him a little bit. He’ll watch tomorrow. We’ll probably put him in warm-up tomorrow, or whatever, and just go from there.”

DeKeyser skated with Kyle Quincey in practice.

“You see a guy play at one level and he’s a dominant player,” Babcock said. “Now he’s got to be able to turn that from there into being a dominant player at this level. There’s a process there. The other thing about it is we started the year with no depth on D and then suddenly we’ve got all of these guys on D.

Quote of the day … Mike Babcock

DETROIT — Wings coach Mike Babcock on Todd Bertuzzi continuing to skate with team after returning from the West Coast.

“Bert came on the trip and got himself a little bit of sun, so he’s looking good,” Babcock smiled. “He’s skating better. Feeling good.”

Huskins dealt to Flyers to clear spot for Danny DeKeyser; Franzen and Samuelsson cleared to play

DETROIT — Quick update from Wings practice Saturday.

The team dealt defenseman Kent Huskins to Philadelphia for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2014.

The move frees up a roster spot for defenseman Danny DeKeyser, who agreed to a deal with the Wings Friday.

DeKeyser won’t play Sunday, but will be on the 23-man roster once the NHL approves his two-year contract.

Huskins, 32, has been a healthy scratch the last 15 games. He was signed when the Wings were desperate for defenseman at the start of the season and played in 11 games.

Forwards Johan Franzen and Mikael Samuelsson have both been cleared to play Sunday.

Wings coach Mike Babcock said he won’t make a lineup decision until game time.

At practice Drew Miller skated on one of the Wings’ top two forward lines, alongside Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula. Daniel Cleary and Justin Abdelkader skated with Pavel Datsyuk.