Monthly Archives: July 2013

Wings talking to Predators about Tootoo

DETROIT — With forwards needing to be moved, the Wings have been in discussions with the Nashville Predators about sending one of them back to his former team.

According to a source, the Wings have had discussions with the Predators about sending forward Jordin Tootoo back to Nashville.

The Wings will have too many forwards and continue to climb over the salary cap once they sign restricted free agents Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson.

Tootoo, 30, has two years left on a deal at $1.9 million a season.

Tootoo played eight seasons in Nashville appearing in 486 games. He registered 46 goals, 79 assists and 825 penalty minutes.

With needing to move a forward or two, the Wings would have difficulty trying to deal Todd Bertuzzi or Mikael Samuelsson because both have no-trade clauses in their deals.

Patrick Eaves is also a candidate to be dealt.

Center Cory Emmerton may need to be held onto if Darren Helm, who played just one game last season due to an injured back, is unable to start or play next season.

Tootoo spent most of the postseason with Detroit, like he did in Nashville two years ago, mainly watching from the pressbox.

Tootoo played in just one of the Wings’ 14 playoff games last season, being a healthy scratch the other 13.

“Playoff hockey is very intense and that’s my kind of game,” Tootoo said after cleaning out his locker at Joe Louis Arena on Friday. “Obviously you’ve got to make sure what you think is the right combination of guys in the lineup to win, and obviously I wasn’t part of that combination. But you never know, guys go down, things happen, there are a lot of ups and downs. Mentally, physically, I was prepared to be thrown into the battle.”

Tootoo was also a healthy scratch in six of the final 23 games in the regular season.

Tootoo played in Detroit’s series opener with Anaheim, totaling just a little over six minutes of ice time in a 3-1 defeat.

“I thought Toots was great for us,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said at the time. “He did everything we wanted. He was physical, he gave us energy. The type of player he is, he gets way more opportunity early in the season when it’s being silly and then he doesn’t in the end. But I thought he was fantastic for us. We’re thrilled with him. Maybe if you’re on the outside looking it, you say Toots never played, but I thought he was great.”

In his only appearance in the postseason with the Wings he recorded their first penalty of the series for a crosscheck that the Ducks promptly scored on just four seconds into the man advantage.

Tootoo played in just three of the Predators’ playoff games a year ago after coming off a career-high 12 postseason appearances where he registered a career-high six points.

The Wings signed Tootoo this past offseason to a three-year deal worth $1.9 million a year.

He played in 42 of Detroit’s regular season games, registering three goals and five assists to go along with a team-high 78 penalty minutes.

“You come in with the right mindset knowing that you’re going to have a chance to play every night,” Tootoo said after the locker clean out. “I kind of went through this last year with Nashville in the playoffs, not being able to play, but you know, you’ve got to go with what’s put in front of you. Obviously when you’re told that you’re not going to be in the lineup, I’m sure every hockey player can attest to this, it’s not a good feeling. We’re born to be competitive and play with our hearts out, and when you’re told that you’re not going to play it’s tough to swallow. But as a professional you have to be able to handle those situations.”

A move to the Eastern Conference, which is believed to be a more physical league, could open up more playing time for Tootoo next season.

“They know what I bring night in and night out, and obviously next year we’re moving over to the East so there’s going to be a lot of differences,” Tootoo said. “I’ve only played in the Western Conference my whole career, it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

“For me, it’s making sure that I’m physically and mentally prepared for training camp and the beginning of the season,” Tootoo added. “I let the business side deal with itself, and I’ve just got to make sure that I’m ready.”

Tootoo led the Wings with eight fighting majors, which was six behind the league leader this season, Tampa Bay’s B.J. Crombeen.

Despite this being a lockout-shortened 48-game regular season, Tootoo registered high most fighting majors since totaling 10 in the 2008-09 season with Nashville.

Abdelkader, DeKeyser honored by invite to Team USA camp

DETROIT – This year’s two-week break in the NHL season is shaping up to be anything but that for a number of Detroit Red Wings.

On Monday, Team Canada announced that Wings coach Mike Babcock will once again lead its squad in the Winter Olympics, while Jimmy Howard, Justin Abdelkader and Danny DeKeyser have all gotten an invite to the U.S. Olympic team’s orientation camp.

“It’s a huge honor anytime you can represent your country,” said Abdelkader, who will attend the two-game camp Aug. 23-24 in Arlington, Va. “You have pride every time you put that USA jersey on. To have an opportunity to make the Olympic team, this is a step in the right direction. I’m thrilled. Looking forward to getting down there and meeting the coaches, finding out what they expect.”

The NHL will break on Feb. 9 and return to play Feb. 26. The 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia.

“Growing up you always dream of representing your country,” Abdelkader said. “There’s no greater feeling than putting on that USA jersey, the pride you have for your country. The Olympics are one of those things that brings the country together. It’s an honor to be out there.”

Team USA will select 25 players in late December from the pool of 48 players invited to camp.

Pavel Datsyuk was also one of 35 players invited to Russia’s orientation camp, Aug. 23-24 in Sochi.

Team Sweden could have the likes of Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, Daniel Alfredsson, Johan Franzen and Jonathan Ericsson, while Jakub Kindl (Czech Republic) and Tomas Tatar (Slovakia) may also represent their respective countries.

“It would be an extraordinary opportunity to represent my country,” DeKeyser said. “It would be something I would definitely remember the rest of my life. Growing up as an American kid playing hockey you always watched Team USA playing in the Winter Olympics and you always hope for them to win. It’s some great hockey that’s played over there. You look at some of the names that have been invited to camp and that’s a pretty special group to be a part of and just to get a shot.”

Abdelkader and Howard both gained valuable international experience during the 2012 World Championships.

“They got to see me on the bigger ice surface, just getting that experience under your belt really helped me,” Abdelkader said. “I enjoyed (playing on the bigger ice), it gives you more time and space. The game is different but speed is a big part of my game.”

DeKeyser, 23, made quite the impression during his brief stint with the Wings after signing a free-agent deal right out of college.

“Sometimes my head is spinning a bit still,” DeKeyser said. “I’m just trying to stay focused, keep my head on straight and keep working hard. Everything that’s been going on over the past few months has been great. I know that I need to keep working hard to keep those opportunities coming.”

DeKeyser was lost in the midst of the Wings’ playoff run with a broken right thumb, but recovered in time to help lead the Grand Rapids Griffins to the Calder Cup.

He’ll compete with the likes of Dustin Byfuglien, Cam Fowler, Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, Seth Jones, Nick Leddy, Brooks Orpik, Kevin Shattenkirk, Ryan Suter, Jacob Trouba and Keith Yandle to earn a spot on the team.

“For me, it’s trying to get out to a good start this season,” Abdelkader said. “They’ll be watching closely. Just play my game and let the rest take care of itself. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to represent the USA.”

Team USA has a number of talented forwards to choose from including, David Backes, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel, T.J. Oshie, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, Bobby Ryan, Brandon Saad, Paul Stastny, Derek Stepan and James van Riemsdyk.

“Hopefully I bring attributes that they’re looking for,” Abdelkader said. “Hopefully they see me as someone that can help them out.”
Howard will be competing for one of three spots between the pipes. Two of the netminders –

Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick – helped lead Team USA to the silver medal in the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

Corey Schneider and Craig Anderson are the other two goalies invited to camp.

Babcock guided Team Canada to gold in 2010 in Vancouver.

“I am extremely proud to represent my country and coach Team Canada,” Babcock said in a statement. “To have had the opportunity to share the Olympics with family, friends and all Canadians in Vancouver was something very special. To win gold in Canada was a dream come true.”

Babcock will be assisted by Dallas’ Lindy Ruff, St. Louis’ Ken Hitchcock and Boston’s Claude Julien. Ken Holland will again be part of the management staff.

“In February, we will have a whole set of new challenges with a new group of players and staff,” Babcock said. “I am very excited to be working with Claude, Lindy, Ken, the management group, support staff and players to defend our Olympic gold medal.”

Howard, Abdelkader and DeKeyser invited to USA camp

Three Red Wings have been selected to participate at the U.S. Olympic team’s orientation camp Aug. 26-27 in Arlington, Va.

Goalie Jimmy Howard, forward Justin Abdelkader and defenseman Danny DeKeyser were among the 48 players invited to the camp.

Twenty-five players will be chosen to participate in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Howard and Abdelkader both played during the 2012 World Championships.

More to come.

Babcock named coach of Team Canada

Hockey Canada has named Wings coach Mike Babcock to lead Canada again at the 2014 Olympics.

Babcock led Team Canada to gold in 2010.

Also on the staff will be Dallas’ Lindy Ruff, Boston’s Claude Julien and St. Louis’ Ken Hitchcock.

Ruff and Hitchcock were also members of Babcock’s staff in 2010.

Holland: “We’re comfortable where we’re at right now.”

DETROIT – If Daniel Cleary is going to return to the Detroit Red Wings there’s a lot that needs to be done with the roster beforehand.

In other words, a few players will have to be moved in order to clear shed salary before any deal with Cleary, or any other free agent the Wings may have interest in, could be made.

“We’re comfortable where we’re at right now,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “But if we do anything else we’d have to move somebody first.

“As you can see in the industry right now it’s pretty quiet,” Holland added. “Everybody is probably going into a bit of a summer mode.”

The Wings’ are about $2 million over this year’s salary cap of $64.3 million. Their cap number will rise once they re-sign restricted forwards Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson sometime before training camp begins.

Another problem will arise when Nyquist and Andersson are inked to new deals and that’s the roster size limit. Those two additions will put the Wings at 25 players on their roster, two over the league limit.

On the first day of free agency, the Wings signed Daniel Alfredsson (one year, $5.5 million) and Stephen Weiss (five years, $4.9 million).

Prior to free agency, they re-signed Drew Miller (three years, $1.35 million) and then reached a deal last week with one of their three restricted free agents, defenseman Brendan Smith (two years, $1.2625 million).

They do have a bit of flexibility with this year’s cap if they choose to apply Alfredsson’s potential $2 million in bonuses to next season since that cap number is expected to rise.

“We’d like to do a move or two, I’m not sure we can,” Holland said. “If we can’t make a move I’m OK with our team, we’ll go to camp. If we can make a move and free up some money then certainly re-signing Dan Cleary is a possibility.”

Cleary is believed to be seeking a three-year contract that will pay him roughly $2.6 million a season.

Detroit had offered Cleary a two-year deal and then added a third year at a reduced rate, but that was taken off the table once free agency started.

Cleary, who had nine goals and six assists in 48 games during the lockout-shortened season last year, has flourished since he joined the Wings for the 2005-06 season.

Cleary, who was a first-round draft pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1997, was the Wings’ second leading scorer in last year’s playoffs with four goals and six assists in 10 games.

He’s spent eight seasons in Detroit and has reached the 20-goal plateau three times.

Teams can go 10-percent over the salary cap during the offseason, but that’s something they don’t want to do.

“Unless we move somebody we aren’t signing anybody,” Holland said.

Detroit also isn’t completely sure if Darren Helm will be ready when training camp arrives.

Helm was limited to playing just one game last season due to a slightly torn disc in his back. He took part in the Wings’ development camp last week to test his health out and it seemed to go well.

“I’m optimistic that I’m heading on the right path,” Helm said. “I wasn’t too sure how it was going to go. It’s a good start to summer training. It’s very encouraging.”

If Helm is unable to start the season the Wings could place him on long-term injured reserve and thus create a roster spot there. It would also allow his $1.75 in salary to not count against the salary cap.

The list of possible players to be trimmed from the roster via trade includes Mikael Samuelsson, Justin Tootoo and Patrick Eaves.

Eaves’ game is comparable to that of Miller.

Cory Emmerton appears safe on the roster if Helm is unable to regain his pre-injury form to center the Wings’ third line. That would more than likely move Andersson up a line and allow Emmerton to center the fourth line, like he did most of last season.

“I think we have a lot of pieces here,” Holland said. “I feel good about our nucleus. I feel good that Pavel Datsyuk re-upped for three more years. We have Pav around for four more years. We believe that we have a tremendous goaltender in Jimmy Howard, so with the addition of Alfie and Stephen, we think that we’re going to be a lot deeper up front going to Traverse City.”

If Detroit can’t trade players off its roster they could still trim them off when the regular buyout period in August begins, but two thirds of those salaries will count toward the salary cap.

Wings schedule highlights include Alfredsson’s first trip to Otttawa on Dec. 1

— Detroit opens the season Oct. 2 at 8 p.m. at Joe Louis Arena against the Buffalo Sabres, their new Atlantic Division rival.

— The Wings face their first former Western Conference opponent when they host Phoenix on Oct. 10 (7:30 p.m.).

— Detroit faces the Stanley Cup runner-up Boston Bruins twice in the first month of the season (Oct. 5, 7 p.m.; Oct. 14, 1 p.m.). Both games are in Boston.

— The Wings host their first former division rival, the Columbus Blue Jackets, on Oct. 15 (7:30 p.m.).

— Daniel Alfredsson will face his former team, the Ottawa Senators, on Oct. 23 (7:30 p.m.) at Joe Louis Arena. He’ll make his first trip to Ottawa, where he had played his entire career before signing a one-year deal with the Wings on the first day of free agency, on Dec. 1 (5 p.m.) His second trip to Ottawa will be Feb. 27 (7:30 p.m.).

— Detroit makes it’s only trip to Western Canada starting Oct. 30 at Vancouver, then hit Calgary (Nov. 1), Edmonton (Nov. 2) and Winnipeg (Nov. 4).

— Valtteri Filppula returns to Joe Louis Arena as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Nov. 9 (7:30 p.m.).

— Stephen Weiss will face his former team, the Florida Panthers, on Dec. 7 (7 p.m.) at Joe Louis Arena. A couple days later, Dec. 10 (7:30 p.m.) he plays at Florida, where he had played his entire career before signing a five-year deal with the Wings on the first day of free agency.

— Detroit hosts Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 14 (7 p.m.).

— The Wings’ first game with the Maple Leafs will be in Toronto on Dec. 21 (7 p.m.).

— Detroit will take part in its second Winter Classic on New Year’s Day at 1 p.m. The game will be at the Big House in Ann Arbor against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

— The Wings have a pair of five-game road trips on the schedule, the longest of which is from Jan. 4-16. They play on the road in Dallas (Jan. 4, 8 p.m.), San Jose (Jan. 9, 10:30 p.m.), Los Angeles (Jan. 11, 10:30 p.m.), Anaheim (Jan. 12, 8 p.m.) and close at the New York Rangers (Jan. 16, 7 p.m.).

— The Wings’ first game with Montreal will be at Joe Louis Arena on Jan. 24 (7:30 p.m.).

— Detroit’s first of two games with long-time rival Chicago Blackhawks will be at Joe Louis Arena on Jan. 22 (8 p.m.). The Wings travel to face the defending Stanley Cup champs on March 16 (7:30 p.m.).

— The league will also shut down for two weeks this season so players can participate in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. They will break on Feb. 9 and return to play Feb. 26.

— The Wings end the season on April 13 on the road against former division rival St. Louis at 2 p.m.

Wings open season at home Oct. 2 at 8 p.m. against the Buffalo Sabres

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings’ inaugural season in the Eastern Conference will begin with a new divisional foe, the Buffalo Sabres.

The Wings will open the 2013-14 regular season when they host the Sabres at Joe Louis Arena on Oct. 2 at 8 p.m.

They end the season on April 13 on the road against former division rival St. Louis at 2 p.m.

In March, the NHL’s board of governors approved the new four-division realignment plan that will have the Wings playing in a Atlantic Division with three Original Six teams, Boston, Montreal and Toronto, along with Ottawa, Buffalo, Florida and Tampa Bay.

“I like the travel,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Some of my favorite cities in the world are Toronto, Boston and Montreal.”

Columbus also moved from the West to the East, while Winnipeg is now in the West.

The Eastern Conference will house 16 of the league’s 30 teams.

The other divisions would look this this: Metropolitan Division (Carolina, Columbus, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington), while the Western Conference will be made up of the Central Division (Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis and Winnipeg) and Pacific Division (Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose and Vancouver).

The league will also shut down for two weeks this season so players can participate in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

“The decision to participate in the (Winter Games) in Sochi was in many ways a difficult one, but one that we know will be well received by our players and, most importantly, by the vast majority of our fans and sports fans everywhere,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.

The NHL will break on Feb. 9 and return to play Feb. 26.

“The players are very pleased that an agreement has been reached that will allow the world’s best hockey players to compete at the Winter Games in February,” NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr said in a statement. “Having the opportunity to wear their nation’s sweater in Sochi is something the players look forward to.”

NHL players have participated in the past four Olympics, beginning in Nagano, Japan.

With the players taking part in the Olympics there will be no All-Star Game this season, which was scheduled to be played in Columbus.

All be it a year late due to the lockout that shortened last season, the Wings will host Toronto at the Big House in Ann Arbor on New Year’s Day at 1 p.m. in the annual Winter Classic.

“I just remember how I felt when they announced it,” Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said last year. “When I went to the Big House and went on the field for the press conference there. It was real exciting. It will be a great game and it will be a division game now as well. So it’s a big game with a lot of people and it will be a lot of fun.”

A crowd of at least 105,000 is expected, which would stand as the world record for attendance at a hockey game.

The Winter Classic’s festivities might include two alumni games on New Year’s Eve at Comerica Park in Detroit, along with American Hockey League, college, high school and youth hockey games over a two-week period leading up to the Winter Classic.

This will be the sixth time the Winter Classic has been played and second time the Wings have played in one.

Detroit faced the Chicago Blackhawks in 2009 at Wrigley Field before a crowd of 40,818. The Wings beat their hosts 6-4.

This will be Toronto’s first Winter Classic.

The biggest benefit the Wings have moving to the Eastern Conference will be their limited trips to the West Coast, just seven of their regular season games will begin at 9 p.m. or later.

“We’ve traveled back and forth, across the United States quite a bit,” goalie Jimmy Howard said. “To move to the East I think that would be a lot of fun to play a lot of games in the Eastern Time Zone. It would be great for our fans too, not having to stay up until all hours of the night to watch us. I think the travel sometimes takes years off of all of our lives. It’s one of those things that you have to deal with.”

Detroit makes it’s only trip to Western Canada starting Oct. 30 at Vancouver, then hit Calgary (Nov. 1), Edmonton (Nov. 2) and Winnipeg (Nov. 4).