DETROIT – Quick update from Detroit Red Wings practice Friday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena.
Coming off back-to-back losses, Wings coach Mike Babcock has decided to juggle up his top lines and also add rookie center Luke Glendening into the mix.
Justin Abdelkader was taken off the top line and Todd Bertuzzi was added to play alongside Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.
Abdelkader was added on a line with Stephen Weiss and Johan Franzen, which meant Daniel Alfredsson was bumped to the third line with Daniel Cleary and Joakim Andersson.
“That’s the thing about our business, if you don’t do good things you have to change things and that’s the bottom line,” said Babcock, who wasn’t completely sure if that’s how the lines would like for Saturday’s home game against the Philadelphia Flyers. “All I know is I can’t keep going the way we’re going because it isn’t working. I’ve got one line playing, 13-40-8. 8’s playing really well and skating good so I’m going to penalize 13 and 40, take him away and put him somewhere else. He’s got to help somebody else.”
Alfredsson understands why the move may be made.
“I think our line hasn’t clicked as we would have liked,” said Alfredsson, who had been on a linewith Weiss and Franzen. “(He) needed to change something. Hopefully this can stabilize and spread out the scoring and get everybody going.”
Cory Emmerton was sent to Grand Rapids to make room for Glendening.
“He’s a thick kid,” Babcock said. “When we played in Toronto, Cory Emmerton went and he went. He played against (Nazem) Kadri and I thought he played really well. He’s a right-hand shot, ideally he’ll learn to win faceoffs at our level and he’ll learn to be a good penalty killer. He might end up having to play on the wing for us one day because we have Andersson and (Darren) Helm down the middle, but we’re going to give him an opportunity to help us.”
It also appears Jordin Tootoo will see his first action of the season, playing with Drew Miller and Glendening.
“I want him to be Toots,” Babcock said. “I want him to be solid on the puck and make good plays on the wall and get it out and I want him to be all over their D.”
Backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson was also activated off the injured reserve.
The Wings were also still talking about how they were dominated in the faceoff circle in Thursday’s 4-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes.
“When you get beat like we did last the way we did, I’ve been here a long time, but if you can dig up a game when we’ve been that bad at home,” Babcock said. “I understand sometimes in the first period you get fed your lunch and you respond, but it was like that all night long. We lost the first seven draws in own zone, to me that’s intensity and being prepared. As a coach you didn’t do a very good job. It’s up to you to get your team ready to play, we weren’t ready to play, we didn’t play hard enough, we were foolish in the way we played, we weren’t relentless, go through the whole thing and it was a tough day.”
The Wings won just 34-percent of the faceoffs taken against the Coyotes.
“You could just tell the focus wasn’t there from the start, especially in the first,” Jimmy Howard said. “You look at the faceoffs in the first period alone and that pretty much tells the whole story of the night and how it went. From the drop of the puck to the final buzzer they were the better team and they won.”
Howard had to leave practice for some time after getting hit with a puck in his left shoulder. He’s expected to start the game against the Flyers.