DETROIT – Quick update from the Detroit Red Wings’ pre-game skate at Joe Louis Arena, prior to their game with the Nashville Predators.
The team will dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen as expected, due to the injuries to Daniel Alfredsson (groin) and Stephen Weiss (groin).
“I actually think in lots of ways for the forwards there is extra ice time and if you’re playing good you like extra ice time,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “What you do is get a rhythm going. You still role four lines, you just put a guy through. If I’ve got them two lines apart, I’ll role (Johan) Franzen through one time, (Darren) Helm through another and (Tomas) Tatar through another. You get more ice time so that’s a positive.
“It doesn’t help the D because you can’t get enough ice time for seven D,” Babcock added. “You’re better off playing six and playing them.”
Brendan Smith, who has missed the last six games with a shoulder injury, will be the seventh defenseman.
Alfredsson, who didn’t skate with the team Tuesday, will miss his third straight game due to injury, while Weiss will miss his fifth straight.
Weiss does appear to be close to returning. He did practice Monday and today.
“It’s just a matter of getting a couple more in to get the conditioning back and hopefully I’ll be ready to go,” Weiss said. “I don’t think Thursday, but hopefully sometime this weekend, maybe Saturday or Sunday. I would like to play today, but it’s not my call.
“Anytime you miss 10 days without skating you need a few practices,” Weiss continued. “We knew it was going to be a couple weeks and it hasn’t been that yet so we’re still trying to make sure when I do come back it’s not for the short term.”
Weiss missed most of last season with the Florida Panthers with a wrist injury.
“Sitting is the worst,” Weiss said. “(Groin) injuries are the worst because you start feeling better and you want to push it and you can go back to square one so quickly so you have to be patient and that’s not one of my fortes.”
Detroit is winless in its last six games (0-1-5) and are 0-1-6 in their last seven at home.
The Wings have lost their last three games in shootouts and are 0-4 on the season. They’ve lost nine in a row dating back to last season.
“Last game we started with (Henrik) Zetterberg and I don’t know if he’s shot in a shootout yet this year,” Babcock said. “What we do, it’s really complicated, is call the video coach and we ask for the stats and give us the best guys and we put them out there.
“One game Mule had scored two goals so we put Mule out there,” Babcock added. “So to change it up we put Z in there. I think change up is good, but I think we should just win in regulation.”
Detroit has scored just one goal in 12 shootout attempts (8.3 percent) this season, while opponents have scored on five of 10 shots.
“We’ve got points in nine out of 10 games and that’s the way I look at it,” Babcock said. “We’re right there knocking on the door so let’s make sure we get points tonight.”
Alfredsson has the lone shootout goal this season.
“We don’t score,” Zetterberg said. “It’s pretty simple in shootouts, you either score or don’t score and we haven’t scored lately.
“It’s not much to it, they either go in and you score or you don’t,” Zetterberg continued. “Maybe we should work on it a little bit more if that’s the case, but I don’t think there’s much to it, either the goalie makes a save or the player scores. But we’ve been on the wrong side of that.”
Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi are both 0-for-4 this season.
“Both Pav and Bert have scored a lot of penalty shots,” Zetterberg said. “I don’t know if I’ve really done it. But sometimes you just have it. You go in and you just know you’re going to score, and sometimes you doubt yourself. Losing games in shootouts starts creeping back in your head that this is real important. I think in shootouts you just go in and you just do what you think is best. When you have confidence and everything is rolling it’s a lot easier to do that.”
Zetterberg and Franzen have missed on their only attempts.
“Well, it’s great for the fans, they love it,” Zetterberg said of the shootout. “It’s fun when you win. It’s not so fun when you lose. I don’t mind a different option, (maybe have the) overtime go a little bit longer. That would be exciting too. But overall, I think it’s been working out pretty good. It’s exciting for a player to go in for a penalty shot. You don’t get that often in a regular game, but at the same time you don’t play three-on-three that often either.”
For their careers, Datsyuk is 33 for 76 (43.4 percent) and Bertuzzi is 16 for 47 (34 percent) in shootouts.
“I don’t like the tie,” Zetterberg said. “I want to have a winner or loser.”
When asked who his first three shooters would be in a shootout Zetterberg said, “Datsyuk, Alfredsson, Bertuzzi.”