Monthly Archives: November 2013

Quote of the day … Wings coach Mike Babcock

DETROIT — Wings coach Mike Babcock after his team’s 6-1 win over the Boston Bruins.

“We work pretty hard most nights, today we were rewarded,” Babcock said. “We had puck luck and got some energy and got going. I think that was the biggest thing. We’ve played lots of good games this year, we haven’t won lots of games. That’s the fact, because we never score in the ocean. The puck’s been going in. I thought we built off what we’ve been building and it was a positive for the guys.”

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Wings puts up six goals on Rask and do so without Datsyuk in the lineup

DETROIT – And who thought the Detroit Red Wings would have trouble scoring without Pavel Datsyuk?

The Wings won for a second straight time without their star forward in the lineup, sidelined with a possible concussion, this time 6-1 over the Boston Bruins Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Detroit got goals from six different skaters – Justin Abdelkader, Tomas Tatar, Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, Drew Miller and Gustav Nyquist – and a 16-save performance from Jonas Gustavsson.

“When you don’t have a player like that in the lineup everyone needs to chip in and be a little sharper,” said Zetterberg, who also added an assist. “You need to do a lot of good things and tonight we got rewarded for it.”

Boston’s Jarome Iginla spoiled Gustavsson’s bid for his first shutout as a Wing and sixth of his career with a goal late in the third period. Tuukka Rask made just 22 saves.

“We still miss (Datsyuk) a lot,” said Nyquist, who also added an assist. “He’s a great player, but it was nice to see really all our lines going and creating a lot of opportunities and in the end getting six goals at home was nice especially for sure.”

The win moves Detroit, which beat Buffalo on Sunday, just three points behind the Bruins, who have played one less game, for the overall lead in the Eastern Conference.

“We have a young group,” said Gustavsson, who will back up Jimmy Howard Friday at the New York Islanders and start Sunday in Ottawa. “When there are spots open there’s a competition. Everyone wants to be the guy to take that spot. That’s healthy for our group. Obviously we miss the guys that are out. But it’s always good to now we have other guys who can step up.”

The six goals were the most the Wings have scored in a game this season and the most Boston has given up.

“We work pretty hard most nights, today we were rewarded,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We had puck luck and got some energy and got going. I think that was the biggest thing. We’ve played lots of good games this year, we haven’t won lots of games. That’s the fact, because we never score in the ocean. The puck’s been going in. I thought we built off what we’ve been building and it was a positive for the guys.”

Detroit is now 6-1-0 in its last seven against Boston, 2-1-0 this season.

Taking a 1-0 lead into the second period, the Wings exploded for three goals in a span of four minutes to open up a four-goal advantage just past the midway point of the game.

Tatar doubled the Wings’ advantage six minutes into the second.

After taking a feed from Brian Lashoff just over the Wings’ blue line, Tatar bobbed and weaved his way up ice, tripping on his own in the faceoff circle to the left of Rask before regaining his footing to speed around the net and shove a backend before the Bruins goalie could get to the post.

Then, just seconds after Nyquist fired a shot wide of an entire open net, the rookie forward got a feed to Zetterberg and he snapped a wrist shot high over Rask’s shoulder.

Kronwall added the final goal of the second period on the power play, taking a precise pass from Franzen through a maze of players and he did the rest being Rask cleanly blocker side.

“It was nice, our second periods haven’t been our best and tonight we found a way,” Zetterberg said. “Specialty teams were good, our PK and we scored a goal on the power play.”

The Wings opened the scoring just past the midway point of the first period.

With Johan Franzen, who finished with three assists, just sprung from the box it led to an odd-man rush as Patrice Bergeron tried to get to the bench for a change but was unable to. Franzen dipped his shoulder to avoid the Bruins center and then had his stick broken from a slash as he passed the puck across the crease to Abdelkader, who buried his shot past Rask.

“We knew we had done a lot of good things, but we couldn’t do them for 60 minutes,” Zetterberg said. “I started to sound like a broken record there for a couple of weeks, so it was nice to see that the hard work was rewarded.

“We don’t get too high or too low in this locker room,” Zetterberg continued. “We know it’s one game. It’s nice to win, now we can celebrate Thanksgiving, fly to the Island and play another one there.”

Miller and Nyquist added goals in the third period to seal the victory.

Datsyuk out Friday against Islanders as well

DETROIT — Pavel Datsyuk, who won’t play Wednesday night against the Boston Bruins, skated roughly 10 to 15 minutes before many of his teammates got on the ice.

Wings general manager Ken Holland said afterwards Datsyuk won’t play Friday and isn’t sure if he’ll make the trip to Ottawa for Sunday’s game.

“He skated a little bit,” Holland said. “I just talked to him. He feels OK. He’s not going to play on Friday. He needs two or three days of practicing all-out so it’s a day to day thing.”

Datsyuk suffered what’s believed could be a concussion late in third period of Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Senators after taking an elbow to the jaw by Ottawa defenseman Jared Cowan.

Todd Bertuzzi (upper-body injury) also skated with Datsyuk.

Ericsson ‘relieved’ to get extension out of the way

DETROIT – Jonathan Ericsson didn’t want to leave Detroit.

On Wednesday, the organization made sure he doesn’t have to.

The Wings signed Ericsson, 29, to a six-year extension with $25.5 million.

“Of course it’s great security,” Ericsson said after the Wings’ morning skate at Joe Louis Arena. “The longer you get the better it is. I’m really sure I want to be here and that for me was a big thing, I wanted to stay here as long they want me. I’m really comfortable in the city and really like being here.

Ericsson is in the final year of his deal that pays him $3.2 million a year. He was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

“I haven’t been anywhere else to compare it to, but I hear other guys coming here saying this is a top class organization from top to bottom,” Ericsson continued. “From Mr. and Mrs. (Ilitch), to Ken Holland and all the way down to the coaching staff and trainers, I couldn’t ask for anything better. I’m really happy here so why would I take a chance to go anywhere else.”

Ericsson, who played forward in his teen years, is 6-foot-4 and was the last player taken in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.

“It’s a great pick by our scouts, especially Hakan Andersson,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “To me he’s a unique player, he’s 6-foot-5 and he’s really mobile. That’s a tough combination. There are some defensemen like him in the league, but there aren’t a lot of 6-foot-5 guys that are mobile. Again, he’s 29, going to be 30 when this contract starts. He’s home grown, we’ve watched him from the draft table through Grand Rapids into a bottom pair defenseman to a top pair defenseman, so certainly a real important guy to our team.”

Like most of the Wings’ prospects they had him spend a number seasons overseas before bringing him to Grand Rapids where he spent three more seasons.

The logjam on the blue line was deep for Ericsson to break in with the likes of Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski, Brad Stuart and Niklas Kronwall.

“It’s taken time,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He evolved and now he plays on our top pair. He’s a big man and he can pass the puck. He’s smart and he obviously likes playing here or he wouldn’t have signed the deal and we like having him. It’s good for all of us.”

Ericsson raised his own bar high after his second short stint in Detroit and carried that over to a strong run in the 2009 playoffs, but then came some very inconsistent play over the next few seasons as Ericsson found himself in the Wings’ final pairing on D most of the nights.

“It’s not like Big E didn’t have his moments here where he struggled,” Babcock continued. “That’s most of these guys’ careers. It’s hard. There’s only so many stars and even those guys have up and down times. It’s no different than all of us.”

Ericsson is quite relieved this deal got done quicker than his last one, which was finalized just before free agency opened three years ago.

“I remember last time, it was a little nerve wracking coming near the end,” Ericsson said. “It was the first days of July and I didn’t know what was going to happen. Even though I wanted to stay here there were other things that I had to weigh in my decision too. It’s just really comfortable getting it done know. I don’t have to think about it during the summer, I know what I’m going to do know for the next few years. I’m really happy about it.”

Todd Bertuzzi insists latest injury not his back

DETROIT — Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi both didn’t practice Tuesday and both will miss Wednesday’s game.

Datsyuk suffered what’s believed could be a concussion late in third period of Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Senators after taking an elbow to the jaw by Ottawa defenseman Jared Cowan.

He’s likely out Friday (at New York Islanders) and Sunday (at Ottawa Senators) as well.

“He’ll go through the process,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We’ll talk to him after that. I think he had a light ride or something today. I don’t remember exactly what all the protocol is, but he’ll go through it and we’ll see what happens.”

Bertuzzi is out with an upper-body injury, which isn’t his back.

“It’s probably a little bit more than day-to-day but obviously I hate missing games and I don’t want to be out but at the same time I’ve been playing with it for about a week and a half now so I couldn’t do it anymore,” Bertuzzi said.

The injury occurred last Tuesday against Nashville.

“I was on a bad angle and went to make a pass and (Shea) Weber caught me on a tough angle and it kept flaring up from there and getting worse and worse each game,” Bertuzzi said. “That’s why it’s frustrating not playing. I’ve spent enough time in this room in civilian clothes and that’s not fun. But if I can’t go out there and contribute and play the way I need to play I’m basically just a sitting pylon out there. Might as well get it healthy now and hopefully in the next little while it’ll settle down and I can get back out there and play.”

Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard laments month that ‘hasn’t been very kind’

DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard can’t wait for the month of November to be over.

Howard won’t have more than one more start in the month since backup Jonas Gustavsson will start Wednesday night at home against the

“It hasn’t gone as good as Howie would have liked,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Let’s be clear about this: We’re going as far as Howie takes us. We have an elite goalie and it hasn’t gone as good. It happens for players when they don’t score, but when you’re a goalie and it happens for you, the spotlight’s on you because it affects everyone.

“In saying that, we’ll give him a breather to work with (coach) Jimmy (Bedard), we’ve started that before,” Babcock continued. “It’s good that Gus got us a win so we could go back to him. He gets a little breather and he’ll be back in the right after that and we’ll go from there.”

After winning his first start on the first day of November, Howard has gone 0-3-4 the rest of the month.

“I thought the season started off good, it’s just been the month of November that hasn’t been very kind,” Howard said after practice Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena. “It’s just something I have to work through. It’s just something I have to deal with.”

Over his last seven games, Howard has a 3.03 goals-against average and a .899 save percentage. He entered the month with a 2.50 GAA and .915 save percentage.

“Maybe I’ve put a little too much on my plate, trying too much on my plate, trying to go out there and make everything look so great,” Howard said. “For me personally, I just have to concentrate on going out and stopping pucks.”

The seven-game winless streak is the longest of his career. His previous longest winless streak was five games (March 4-30, 2012) when he went 0-4-1.

“It’s just the way it’s going right now,” Howard said. “I can’t really put my finger on it, but I’m not going to get down about it, that’s for sure. You get a win, you get on a little bit of roll and this will all be forgotten about.”

Gustavsson has yet to lose in regulation (5-0-1) and has beaten the Bruins, in Boston, already this season.

Gustavsson was between the pipes when the Wings handed Colorado its first loss of the season after six straight wins, and when Detroit ended a season-high seven-game winless streak last Thursday.

The backup has been plagued with injuries, mainly groin, since signing with the Wings.

“I had no background with him, I just heard,” Babcock said of his backup goalie. “So when a guy comes to you and he’s hurt every day and never plays and you’re in 46-game schedule, playing for your life and your goalie is playing good you don’t spend a whole lot of time worrying about the other goalie. You just don’t. I’m learning about him now. He’s a guy that has made some huge saves for us and I’m hoping he keeps the puck from going underneath him. He’s been great. That’s the biggest challenge I see, but he’s done a good job. I don’t think you can ask more about your second goaltender than what we’ve got this year.”

Gustavsson gets call between pipes over Howard against Bruins

DETROIT – Quick update from Detroit Red Wings practice at Joe Louis Arena.

Pavel Datsyuk will miss his second straight game and Jonas Gustavsson will get the start Wednesday night at home against the Boston Bruins.

“He’ll go through the process, he’s not playing tomorrow,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after practice. “We’ll talk to him after that. I think he had a light ride or something today. I don’t remember exactly what all the protocol is, but he’ll go through it and we’ll see what happens.”

Datsyuk, who did not practice with the team, will also likely be out Friday (at New York Islanders) and Sunday (at Ottawa Senators) as well.

Datsyuk suffered what’s believed could be a concussion late in third period of Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Senators after taking an elbow to the jaw by Ottawa defenseman Jared Cowan.

There was no penalty called on the play and the league didn’t feel the hit was deemed illegal so therefore Cowen did not receive any disciplinary action.

Gustavsson will make his second straight start in goal.

“It hasn’t gone as good as Howie would have liked,” Babcock said. “Let’s be clear about this, we’re going as far as Howie takes us. We have an elite goalie and it hasn’t gone as good. It happens for players when they don’t score, but when you’re a goalie and it happens for you the spotlights on you because it affects everyone. I saying that, we’ll give him a breather to work with Jimmy (Bedard), we’ve started that before. It’s good that Gus got us a win so we could go back to him. He gets a little breather and he’ll be back in the right after that and we’ll go from there.”

Howard has not won in his last seven starts, dropping his overall record to 5-7-6.

Conversely, Gustavsson has yet to lose in regulation and has beaten the Bruins, in Boston, already this season.

“You take everything into account and he’s got points in every game he’s played this year, he’s missed out on one,” Babcock said. “He’s done a good job for us and gives us a chance. It’s important we win games and it’s important about Howie getting back to feeling good about himself. To me that’s the key, getting confidence for Howie and get him feeling good about himself so we can continue to role on.”

Gustavsson is 5-0-1 this season.

The injury bug has plagued Gustavsson his entire time in Detroit.

“I had no background with him, I just heard,” Babcock said of his backup goalie. “So when a guy comes to you and he’s hurt every day and never plays and you’re in 46-game schedule, playing for your life and your goalie is playing good you don’t spend a whole lot of time worrying about the other goalie. You just don’t. I’m learning about him now. He’s a guy that has made some huge saves for us and I’m hoping he keeps the puck from going underneath him. He’s been great. That’s the biggest challenge I see, but he’s done a good job. I don’t think you can ask more about your second goaltender than what we’ve got this year.”