Monthly Archives: April 2014

Blashill not going anywhere just yet

DETROIT >> Wings general manager Ken Holland won’t grant NHL teams permission yet to talk to Grand Rapids coach Jeff Blashill.

“I don’t really want to be a development team for other teams,” Holland said. “We’ve got to get this team going.”

Holland said he may change his stance in June.

Blashill has one year left on his deal with the Griffins.

“I believe Blash is an NHL coach in the making,” Holland said. “Is he ready today? He’s coached in the AHL for two years and he had one year in the (NHL) with (Mike Babcock).”

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Howard doesn’t have a concussion

DETROIT >> Wings goalie Jimmy Howard knew the question was coming and he was ready to answer it.

Howard missed the final two games of Detroit’s opening round series with the Boston Bruins, suffering from the flu.

Reports surfaced he had suffered a concussion on a previous game.
“No,” Howard said when asked if he had a concussion during the team’s locker clean out at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday. “There was nothing. That was the weird part everyone was saying concussion, concussion and it actually got my mom pretty nervous. She heard it on the radio back in her own town. There was no concussion, just the flu.”

Howard said the flu hit him around 1 p.m. the day of Game 4 last Thursday. He led the team out for the pre-game skate and left before it was over.

“It progressively got worse,” Howard said. “Training and medical staff tried to give me all the medication so I could go out there and play for the guys, but as I got out there things just got worse and worse. I missed most of the game because I was too busy in the toilet area. It’s tough to go out that way, to not play again because of the flu. For me, I wanted to be out there for the guys in the worst way. We really tried, it just didn’t work out.”

Tootoo a possible amnesty buyout for Wings … not Frazen

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings have one amnesty buyout left before it expires and they just may use it this offseason.

But it won’t be on the player many feel they should be using it for … Johan Franzen.

If they do intend to us it, that player most likely will be Jordin Tootoo.

“Toots doesn’t want to be in the American (Hockey) League,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said during the Wings’ locker cleanout at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday. “We don’t want him to be in the American Hockey League.”

Holland said he has spoken with Tootoo’s agent, Kevin Epp, about that possibility.

“I think at the end of the day, there was a little bit of interest in Toots prior to the trade deadline,” Holland said. “Toots has done everything we could have asked of him in the AHL. He hasn’t complained. He’s been a good foot solider.”

Tootoo has one year left on a three-year deal worth $1.9 million. He would receive two-thirds of the deal (roughly $1.27 million) spread out over the next two seasons.

If the Wings choose that route to go with Tootoo they won’t suffer any cap penalties.

In two seasons with Detroit, Tootoo has played in 53 games with three goals and six assists and 83 penalty minutes.

He was assigned to Grand Rapids in mid-November after clearing waivers. He was recalled in March and played one more game in Detroit.

With the Griffins he has six goals and 12 assists in 51 games. He has appeared in one of their first round playoff games this season.

“I don’t know if we’re going to buy him out, but I don’t think it’s fair to Toots and from the business standpoint,” Holland said. “We don’t want Toots in the American Hockey League, so I’ve got to figure out a way to get Jordin Tootoo back to the National Hockey League.”

The Wings used the first of two cap compliance buyouts last season when they shed the contract of Carlo Colaiacovo, who had one year left on a $2.5 million a season deal.

As for Franzen, “I just think Mule, has been a streaky scorer,” Holland said. “When he gets into a groove, he rides the wave. When it’s not going in, it’s not going in. It’s a hard league to score in. You score 20-25 goals now, that’s a lot of goals. Other than superstars. We don’t have 60-goal scorers anymore. I don’t even know 50. Obviously (Alex) Ovechkin. What we need, we need six or seven or eight guys that score 25. Mule is a guy that has the potential to score 25.”

Wings coach Mike Babcock isn’t worried about possibly becoming a lame duck coach anytime next season

DETROIT >> Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock isn’t worried about possibly becoming a lame duck coach anytime next season.

Babcock is heading into the final year of a contract that pays him roughly $2 million a season.

“No priority whatsoever,” Babcock said Tuesday during the Wings’ locker cleanout at Joe Louis Arena when asked if getting an extension was a priority of his this offseason. “I’m real comfortable with the owner and the manager. That’s not a concern for me one bit.

“When you’re at the stage of my career that I am, I’m real comfortable with whatever they want,” Babcock continued. “I want them to be happy. If they’re not happy then I’m not happy. I have no problem. I can go year to year.”

Babcock just wrapped up his ninth season with the Wings after they were eliminated in five games Saturday in the first round of playoffs by the Boston Bruins.

It’s the second time in the past three seasons Detroit hasn’t made it out of the first round. They haven’t advanced past the second round the past five postseasons.

Asked if he thought he would talk about a contract extension over the summer Babcock said, “I doubt it. I just told you I’m comfortable. If I was uncomfortable, if this was my gig I’d want an extension, it’s not, I’m good.”

Babcock, 51, set a franchise record this season with his 415th win, passing Scotty Bowman and Jack Adams in the process. He’s led the Wings to a Stanley Cup and a two conference championships.

“I want him back behind the bench,” general manager Ken Holland said. “I respect the job he does for us. I respect his work ethic. I respect the job he did putting the young players into our system and sticking with them. I think if you write down a list of the best coaches in the National Hockey League he’s on that short list. I think many would have him on the top of that list.

“I’m going to talk to him,” Holland added. “From the time a team gets eliminated from the playoffs until early August, these are the times for big decisions. I want to talk to Mike here in the next couple of months and we’ll see what comes of it.”

Babcock has also led Canada to two straight Olympic gold medals.

There had been rumors circulating awhile back that Babcock could eventually take over for Red Berenson as the head coach at the University of Michigan.

“I never even thought about it,” Babcock said when asked if he had a few more years in him to coach in Detroit. “My daughter’s going into her grade 12 year. I’m either going to be the coach of the Red Wings or, I haven’t had a talk with Red Berenson yet, either that or I’ll be Red’s assistant coach for a year.

“For sure I’m staying in Detroit,” Babcock added. “I haven’t thought about going anywhere else. I’m real comfortable. I know Scotty Bowman went year to year sometime here and I’m real comfortable with that. I can get a job. I’m not worried about that. The owner has been better than great to me. They do things right. They treat people right. The GM is a driven guy who can’t stand losing and I like to be around ultracompetitive people.”

Holland is also heading into the final year of his contract with the team.

“We work well together,” Holland said. “He and I we want to go farther. I told the players I’m proud of the fact we made the playoffs for a 23rd consecutive year. It’s a hard league to make the playoffs. Thirty teams start the year and 14 miss. It’s getting to the point when the season starts most teams think they can make the playoffs. I’m proud we made the playoffs. I’m proud with all the adversity we faced with injuries, we had a lot of great stories, but nobody here wants to be taking team pictures in April. We certainly have bigger hopes and aspirations.”

Babcock not worried about getting a contract extension; Holland says that’s something he wants to discuss with him

DETROIT >> Another quick update on Wings coach Mike Babcock’s contract status.

Babcock is in the final of a contract that pays him about $2 million a season.

“No priority whatsoever,” Babcock said Tuesday during the Wings’ locker cleanout at Joe Louis Arena when asked if getting an extension was a priority. “I’m real comfortable with the owner and the manager. That’s not a concern for me one bit.

“When you’re at the stage of my career that I am, I’m real comfortable with whatever they want,” Babcock continued. “I want them to be happy. If they’re not happy then I’m not happy. I have no problem. I can go year to year.”

Babcock this season moved into first place on the all-time Wings list amongst coaching, passing Scotty Bowman and Jack Adams.

Asked if he thought he would talk contract extension over the summer Babcock said, “I doubt it.

“I just told you I’m comfortable,” he continued. “If I was uncomfortable, if this was my gig I’d want an extension, it’s not, I’m good.”

There had been rumors circulating awhile back that Babcock could eventually take over for Red Berenson as the head coach at the University of Michigan.

“I never even thought about it,” Babcock said when asked if he had a few more years in him to coach in Detroit. “My daughter’s going into her grade 12 year. I’m either going to be the coach of the Red Wings or the assistant coach, I haven’t had a talk with Red Berenson yet, either that or I’ll be Red’s assistant coach for a year.

“For sure I’m staying in Detroit,” Babcock added. “I haven’t thought about going anywhere else. I’m real comfortable. I know Scotty Bowman went year to year sometime here and I’m real comfortable with that. I can get a job. I’m not worried about that. The owner has been better than great to me. They do things right. They treat people right. The GM is a driven guy who can’t stand losing and I like to be around ultracompetitive people.”

Wings general manager Ken Holland said talking extension is a priority of his to keep Babcock.

“I’m going to talk to him,” Holland said. “I thought he did a tremendous job. From the time a team gets eliminated from the playoffs until early August, these are the times for big decisions. I want to talk to Mike here in the next couple of months and we’ll see what comes of it.

“I want him back behind the bench,” Holland added. “I respect the job he does for us. I respect his work ethic. I respect the job he job putting the young players into our system and sticking with them. I think if you put down a list of the best coaches in the National Hockey League he’s on that short list. I think many would have him on that list.”

Kronwall excited about the Wings’ future

DETROIT >> Quick update from the Detroit Red Wings’ locker cleanout Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena.

The Wings reached the playoffs for a 23rd consecutive season, due in large part to a bunch of young players.

“The regular season was a big challenge for us with all the injuries we had, lots of guys coming in and out of the lineup,” Niklas Kronwall said. “We’ve got a chance to see some of the younger guys do really well. I think there’s a very exciting future. Guys that had to grow up maybe sooner than they had to, and without he young guys we couldn’t have made it to the playoffs.”

Gustav Nyquist led the team during the regular season with 28 goals and was tied for third with 48 points. He had no goals and no assists and was a minus-1 in the five games.

Tomas Tatar was second on the team during the regular season with 19 goals and ranked sixth with 39 points. He had no goals and no assists and was a minus-3 in the five games.

Riley Sheahan had nine goals and 15 assists in 42 games during the regular season. He had no goals and no assists and was a minus-1 in the five games.

Tomas Jurco had eight goals and seven assists in 36 regular season games. He had no goals and no assists and was a minus-1. He found himself out as a healthy scratch in the final two games of the series.

“(They) give us a lot (of optimism),” Kronwall said. “Not only did they come in and play great but they also got a taste of the playoffs, what a different game it is, how tight it is,” Kronwall said. “It’s not a lot of space. Somehow you have to find a way to fight through it. It was a good learning curve.

The Wings lost in five games to the Boston Bruins.

“These guys know what to expect a little bit more,” Kronwall added. “Hopefully all of us in here need a big summer of training and be ready to go when the season starts. The message was pretty clear, have a great summer of training and be ready to go. We need a good start. It was tough when you’re not in a good spot with 15-20 games to go, when you have to fight for every inch out there, it’s a little different than what we’ve had in the past.”

Four players will be heading to Belarus to take part in the World Championships – Justin Abdelkader, Nyquist, Tatar and Jakub Kindl.

Still no decision on path Datsyuk will take with injured knee

DETROIT >> It was well known that Pavel Datsyuk wasn’t 100 percent when the playoffs came around, despite getting a month off to try and recover from a left knee injury.

Wings general manager Ken Holland isn’t sure if he’ll try rehab or have surgery to repair the injury.

“It has to be determined whether four months off and a commitment to the gym will give him the power and the quickness we’re used to,” Holland said. “He was still a good player.

“It’s the ligament,” Holland added. “It’s minor surgery, but it takes three months to heal. There’s a question if there’s dead tissue in there. They take the dead tissue out and get the blood flowing in the ligament.”

The team shut Datsyuk, who played in the Olympics, down at the trade deadline. He returned for the final six games of the regular season and played all five games in the playoffs.

“A lot depends on what Pav wants to do,” Holland said. “He doesn’t seem to feel he has the power. We gave him January off, waiting for it to heal and it never did.”