Daily Archives: November 13, 2014

Wings’ new found success on power play will be tested Friday against Blackhawks’ top-ranked PK

DETROIT >> We’re going to see how much the Wings’ power play has improved Friday night.

Chicago has the top ranked penalty kill in the league, allowing just four goals on 48 chances (91.7 percent).

Detroit has scored two power play goals in each of their last three games, going 6-for-13 with the man advantage.

“The power play has been working better and better here,” Gustav Nyquist said. “Obviously, we want to keep that going, so it will be a good test tomorrow, for sure.”

The Wings went 5-for-46 (10.9 percent) with the man advantage their first 12 games.

“Obviously, it was a really slow start for us on the power play and now we’ve got some goals,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “Even if we don’t score, you have to get the momentum, and we’ve done that the last couple of games.”

Detroit, which finished 18th (17.7 percent) on the power play last season, is up to 17th this year (18.6 percent, 11-for-59) with the man advantage.

“I know the power play started slow, had trouble getting into rhythm, maybe had trouble trying to find the back of the net,” assistant coach Tony Granato said on Monday. “But I think all along it’s been building. I think it’s been really big for us the last week.

“I think the confidence that group has gained certainly moving forward should be a good thing for us,” Granato added. “You put Pav back in that mix it’s going to be even better.”

The Wings’ penalty kill (90.6) is second in the league.

“We looked good for a while and maybe didn’t get the results that we maybe wanted or deserved there and no lately we’re getting pucks in,” Jonathan Ericsson said. “It’s about getting in the groove when the pucks are bouncing and things are going your way, but sometimes it’s not going to go like that.

“Like the PK, we had bounces going with us at the beginning of the season and maybe pucks have gone in a little easier lately,” Ericsson continued. “That’s how it always happens throughout the season. We’re not going to be perfect. You have to go through those things. We work on the things we need to get better at. It’s all about the confidence level and pucks are going to start dropping in.”

Wings miss playing rival Chicago; 2013 playoff loss to Blackhawks still stings

DETROIT >> The loss overtime loss in Game 7 of the 2013 playoffs to the Chicago Blackhawks is still fresh in many of the Wings’ minds.

“The puck goes off Kronner’s skate and finds a way in,” Brendan Smith said of the game-winning goal that clanked off Niklas Kronwall’s skate and past Jimmy Howard. “It’s definitely frustrating. I thought we played really well. That year a lot of people ruled us out way before we even started the playoffs. It sucks we couldn’t finish off that one. It’s all good, but it’s tough to swallow still.”

The Blackhawks went on to win the Stanely Cup, beating Boston in six games.

What might make the loss in seven games a tougher pill to swallow is the fact Detroit was up 3-1 in the series.

“I thought it was a great series, overall,” Gustav Nyquist said. “We couldn’t finish them off. That series had a lot of emotions to it, with a lot of ups and downs. I think it was fitting that the last game went to OT in a Game 7. Unfortunately we couldn’t come up with a win there.”

The Wings host the Blackhawks on Friday, which will be Chicago’s only visit to Joe Louis Arena unless both teams reach the Stanley Cup finals.

“I miss playing a lot of the Central teams, especially Chicago,” Jimmy Howard said. “It’s always a fun atmosphere. Always an up temp game, fast, playoff atmosphere like. I’m expecting a lot of the same tomorrow.”

“These were games you were looking forward to the most every year,” Jonathan Ericsson saisd. “Tough games, fast paced games. They have a good team, we have a good team so they’re always good games. It’s a good rivalry between us.

“It is,” Ericsson continued. “I miss playing these guys. It’s always special. It’s a game with a lot of battles in it. There’s a rivalry. We’ll find new competitors and rivals in the East, but I sure miss playing these guys. If I would say one team I miss the most from the West, it’s Chicago.”

Alfredsson decision on future could come by end of month

DETROIT >> Daniel Alfredsson appears closer to making a decision on his future.

According to TVA Sports reporter Louis Jean, Alfredsson’s decision on his future will likely come before December.

Jean tweeted Thursday morning. “If Alfredsson doesn’t skate with the Wings in the next week or so, he’ll likely retire.”

The decision most likely will be he has decided to retire since he’s not been on the ice with the Wings since early September.

Alfredsson, who’s an unrestricted free agent, has said if he returns for another season it would only be with the Wings.

However, the decision could be the Wings’ based on how well the season is going at the time.

Alfredsson, who turns 42 on Dec. 11, led the Wings in scoring last year.

He’s had an issue with a nerve in his back that forced him numerous times to shut down skating as the team prepared for training camp which Alfredsson did not attend.

Jurco could return to lineup; Datsyuk as well

DETROIT >> Tomas Jurco was back skating on a regular line at practice with Justin Abdelkader and Pavel Datsyuk.

Jurco has been a healthy scratch the last three games.

“I haven’t decided on what we’re doing,” Wings coach Babcock said. “I would like to (get him in). Even though, contrary to belief, is that I took him out because he wasn’t playing good, I took him out because I thought we needed a change. I thought his last two games were two of his better games. I thought he had a good practice today, gets an opportunity for a good practice tomorrow and then I get an opportunity to decide who’s in the lineup.”

Jurco, 22, has no goals and two assists in 12 games.

“They just told me to work hard and skate hard,” Jurco said. “Hopefully it’s going to come. Hopefully I’m going to get it going on Friday.

“I just try to work hard and stay focused and maybe gain a little more confidence back since I had a little slower start,” Jurco added. “Hopefully one lucky bounce is going to go in and it’s going to break.”

Datsyuk missed the last two games with a sore groin.

“(Thursday) is another skate and so far it feels good, and we’ll see,” Datsyuk said.

Stephen Weiss, Daniel Cleary and Andrej Nestrasil all wore gray jerseys, which signifies they’ll won’t play Friday.

Four-day break gives Wings chance to work while resting

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings are doing what most would think a team would do during a four-day break between games … rest up.

“It’s kind of a unique opportunity for us to not have any games this week after just finishing a stretch where we had a lot of games in a short amount of days,” forward Justin Abdelkader said.

The Wings returned to practice Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena and won’t play again until hosting the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

Detroit will only have one more four-day break between games this season, at the start of February.

“It gives us a chance to do some work, it also gives the guys a chance to freshen up,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We didn’t like our game as much the last little bit. We think we can be better, so it gives us a real focal point here. We did some work here on Monday when I was away, and we’ll have a good specialty teams day (Thursday) and get some tempo in and then we play a real good Blackhawks team.”

The Wings play 13 games in the next 24 days, playing every other day beginning Friday.

“We’ll spend a lot of time working on the contact part of the game,” Babcock said. “When you play every second day you don’t get to do as much box outs and D-zone coverage and the physical part of the game.”

Eight of Detroit’s next 13 games are at home.

“I think just getting back to watching some video, looking at our segments, each segment as we go through the five-game stretches,” Abdelkader said. “These last five games we haven’t been as good defensively as we need to be, given up too many goals. We know we need to improve and what we need to do, just getting back to our work habits and our structure that takes care of us.”

The team worked mostly on battle drills, which included 3-on-3s and 2-on-2s on Tuesday.

“I think guys had a really good day off, kind of got refreshed and rejuvenated,” Abdelkader said. “Guys were energized. Guys realize what’s at hand, we haven’t played the way we’re capable of or the way we wanted to the last three, four, five games. We know we need to get better.”