Wings coach Mike Babcock on Tomas Jurco: “He needs to be physical on the forecheck and he’s got to be physical at their net.”

DETROIT >> Offensively, Tomas Jurco is chipping in where needed.

But there’s one element to his game that Wings coach Mike Babcock wants to see on a more regular basis.

“It’s really straight forward for Tomas, he’s got to play a simple game,” Babcock said after the Wings’ morning skate prior to their game against Carolina at Joe Louis Arena. “He’s got to be physical on the forecheck and he’s got to be physical at their net. Then, everything else will happen for him. When he isn’t he’s just another player in the league.

“When he wants to get physical, wants to get involved physically, he’s got such great pace, such great strength, he’s got great hands in tight, that he’s going to be an effective player,” Babcock added.

Entering play Friday, Jurco had three goals over his last four games.

“Obviously there’s more confidence with the goals,” Jurco said. “It just started going in for me a little more than it used to. I know I’m trying to get at the net and maybe have some rebounds. I was trying to shoot more and I guess that I couldn’t score, so I just went to the net and tried to get some rebounds, so it’s going pretty well for me and hopefully it’s going to stay like this.”

Jurco found success early on with former Grand Rapids linemates Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar to form the ‘Kid Line’.

But then lapses in his game crept up and soon he found himself on the fourth line.

Now, Jurco is skating on the third line with Darren Helm and Daniel Alfredsson.

“I’m trying to get some nice goals, but there’s no reason for me to change anything now since it’s going in,” Jurco said. “Obviously, it’s nice to score some highlight reel goals, like Gus does, but I’m going to take mine, too.”

“Good speed with Helmer and Jurco on it and Alfie gets to use his skill set which is his brain,” Babcock said of the line.

Jurco, along with his other Griffin teammates, got the vote of confidence from Babcock after the Wings clinched a berth in the postseason on Wednesday.

“It helps me a lot but I’m never sure,” Jurco said. “My mind is always like I have to keep working hard otherwise I’m going to go down. I’m never good with what’s going on right now, I always want to be better, work hard to stay here. Obviously, I have more confidence now but I’m still trying to work hard.”

Jurco has one more year left on a deal that pays him $709,167 before becoming a restricted free agent.


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