DETROIT – Injuries are a part of hockey.
But for a second year in a row, the Wings have had an inordinate amount of them.
However, this time season the injuries have occurred to many of their core players.
“We’ve been through all that, right through our medical room to our strength and training to how we condition our guys, the whole thing,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said when asked if they have been able to pinpoint why the rash of injuries this season. “The interesting thing is when we were old we never got hurt and now that we’re young we get hurt all the time. So why is that? Lots of things don’t add up in the short term.
“In the long term, when you try to be scientific and solution based, that’s how I try to coach and that’s how we try to run our team,” Babcock continued. “In the short term you can say we’re over-training our guys, spending too much time in the weight room, we don’t got it going in the medical room, I don’t buy any of that crap.”
Already this season the Wings’ man-games lost total is 202, which ranks seventh in the league according to mangameslost.com. Pittsburgh leads the league in man-games lost with 289.
“We got to get some guys back, no question about it,” Babcock said. “It’s great that we talk about these young guys and they’re good young players, but we’ve got a whole bunch of guys, we’ve got millions and millions of dollars that never seems to play. As much as the other guys are digging in, you need a certain amount of depth in the league to have success. One of the reasons you don’t score is you don’t have enough scoring depth.”
Groins have been the major epidemic in the locker room.
“We expect groin injuries and hip flexors at the start of training camp,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “We’re looking into why we’re having groin issues during this part of the season. I’m not sure what we can do about it this year but it’s something we’ll look at in the summer time.
“Fractured ribs, separated shoulders and concussions are just part of the game,” Holland added.
Here’s an update from on the laundry list of injuries the Wings have.
Pavel Datsyuk (lower body): He continues to be day-to-day and isn’t expected to play Monday.
“His injury hasn’t responded the way we hoped, so we’ll see if rest helps,” Holland said. “The doctors told him to take a couple days off.” Datsyuk left Friday’s practice early.
Darren Helm (groin): could return Monday at home against the St. Louis Blues.
Jonathan Ericsson (ribs): They’re taking their time getting him back in, but with this huge five-game homestand that could be difficult.
“He’s very close,” Holland said. “Why not wait a few more days and get them healthy?”
Johan Franzen (concussion): He’s been cleared just over a week, but he still has yet to string a few good days together.
“When dealing with a head issue, we’re going to be very conservative,” Holland said.
Daniel Alfredsson (back spasms): They’re giving the inflammation in his lower back time to settle down.
“We’re giving him medication,” Holland said. “They’re no timeframe for his return.”
Jonas Gustavsson (groin): He should be ready Monday, Wednesday or Friday.
Stephen Weiss (sports hernia): He’s still on track to return after the Olympic break.