Many regulars get day off from practice; Tatar returns; Jurco stays in lineup

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

A number of the regulars – Niklas Kronwall, Jimmy Howard, Daniel Cleary, Henrik Zetterberg, Todd Bertuzzi and Patrick Eaves – were given the day off by coach Mike Babcock.

All will play Saturday at home against the Los Angeles Kings with Howard starting.

Many of the injured players – Johan Franzen (concussion), Pavel Datsyuk (lower-body injury), Jonathan Ericsson (ribs) and Jonas Gustavsson (groin) – practiced, but Babcock had no update on any of them.

Franzen and Ericsson both said they weren’t playing Saturday. Datsyuk left the ice early and never returned so he’s doubtful.

Joakim Andersson (lower-body injury) and Daniel Alfredsson (back spasms) didn’t skate.

“You feel bad,” said Andersson, who was injured at practice Wednesday. “I tried in the morning to go, but I couldn’t. We have so many injuries and now we have another guy out.”

Andersson said he’s probably out Saturday.

Alfredsson is also likely out since he hasn’t practiced in some time.

The only lineup chance Babcock said would occur is Tomas Tatar returning.

Tomas Jurco also will stay in the lineup according to Babcock, who would not say which forward would be a healthy scratch. That forward is likely Mikael Samuelsson.

Tatar arrived in Detroit late Thursday after attending his father’s funeral in Slovakia.

“I’m really happy to be back,” Tatar said. “Hockey makes me think of something else other than my dad. The guys have been really helpful, coach has been great, and management was really good. I’m happy to be back and go back to playing.

“You should be with your family around this time,” Tatar continued. “It’s obviously really hard. That’s why I’m happy to be back here. Home was kind of depressing. The weather, then with what happened, it was really kind of greyish. I’m happy I’m back. My brothers will take care of everything back at home, they’ll help my mom and I’ll try to get them all over here just to be here and forget about what happened at home.”

Tatar got back in time to watch some of the Wings’ 1-0 loss on the road against the New York Rangers.

“I’m real tired with all the travel and time change, but it won’t be an excuse for me,” Tatar said. “I’m getting ready for the game and doing everything I can to be the best. It’s easier to forget this way when I have something to do. I’ve got great people around me. This will stay in my mind for a little awhile. This is going to help me.”

The Wings have not scored a goal in back-to-back games, losing 1-0 to the Rangers on Thursday and 1-0 at Anaheim on Sunday.

It’s just the second time in team history the Wings have suffered back-to-back 1-0 losses in the regular season. The other time was Nov. 11 and 13, 1954, when they were blanked in both games by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Detroit did get hand back-to-back 1-0 losses in the playoffs – May 1 and 3, 2004 to the Calgary Flames.


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