Daily Archives: November 24, 2014

For Kindl to stay in lineup Babcock looking fo him to ‘just flat-out compete’

DETROIT >> Defenseman Jakub Kindl returns after being a healthy scratch for the last four games.

“Compete, just flat-out compete,” Babcock said when asked what Kindl has to do to remain in the lineup. “Get pucks, make plays. Compete. That’s all part of being a good teammate, being competitive, being ultra-competitive, being good to help your team win.”

Kindl, who replaced Brian Lashoff in the lineup, was benched midway through the Wings game on Nov. 14 against Chicago.

“Sometimes people think whether you like a guy gets in the way – you don’t confuse the player and the person one bit,” Babcock said. “You’re in the winning business, you’re about putting players in the best situation to have success and whoever can help you win that’s who you play.”

Advertisements

Weiss returns to Wings’ lineup. “It’s a good opportunity for him,” Babcock says.

DETROIT >> Stephen Weiss will be back in the Wings’ lineup tonight at home against the Ottawa Senators.

And for how long he remains in it will be up to him.

“It’s a good opportunity for him, he’s going to have to grab ahold of it, obviously,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after the team’s morning skate Monday at Joe Louis Arena. “He’s had a good NHL career. It’s been sidetracked for two years.

“The way I look at it is I’m in the day to say winning business,” Babcock continued. “I get up each day and I’m trying to find a way to win the game and I’ll play whoever gives us the best chance to win.”

Weiss, who has played in one other game this season, has played in 47 out of a possible 150 regular season games for his teams since the start of 2013.

“Now it’s up to him,” Babcock said. “We’re in the business of winning games and everyone’s got to command their share of the ice and get their share of the ice time. We’ll see what happens.”

Weiss will play left wing on line Tomas Jurco and centered by Darren Helm.

“I’ve played a few games (at wing), but I’ve been a center all my life,” Weiss said. “It’s just different.

“I don’t know how to really explain it,” Weiss continued. “You’ve just got to be more aware in the D zone, a little bit different coverages. I’m just used to playing center and being able to move the puck both ways. On the wing, you’re more so limited to one side of the ice. It’ll be fine.”

During his two-game conditioning stint in Grand Rapids he scored a goal in each game.

“It was nice to play some minutes and get through the games (with) no problem,” Weiss said. “I would have liked to get a little bit more accomplished, but it was nice to score a couple and get that feeling back. It’s been a while since I’ve scored a goal.”

Babcock: “Tats considers himself a goal scorer.” Forward has eight goals in his last 12 games

DETROIT >> Nine games into the season and Tomas Tatar had just one goal.

Since then, Tatar has eight goals in this last 12.

“I told you guys, I wasn’t worried about it at all,” Tatar said. “You won’t lose it if you can’t find the net once. I’m not afraid I’m not going to score goals. It’s all about confidence, keep shooting the puck. It eventually will find the net.”

He’s got goals in three straight games and is tied with Gustav Nyquist for the team lead with nine on the season.

“Earlier in the season I still had chances I just couldn’t for some reason find the net,” Tatar said. “Right now it gives you a boost of confidence after scoring a few goals. You feel good about yourself, but more importantly the team is winning and everybody is feeling really well right now and everybody is playing really good and we’re feeling good.”

Tatar began his first full season in the league a year ago a healthy scratch in eight of the first nine games. He finished the year a goal shy of 20.

“Tats considers himself a scorer,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “When you think you’re scorer and you don’t score you probably press a little bit. Tats has just got to become a 200-footer. He’s got to learn to play and play without the puck all the time and he’s got to be competitive every night. If he does those things he’s going to score more. So that’s his biggest challenge, just to become a player.

“He wants to be a top-six forward,” Babcock continued. “If you want to be a top-six forward you got to play every night.”

Tatar admits he likes to slow the game down by holding onto the puck more and he gets to learn from one of the best in the business at every practice, Pavel Datsyuk.

“There aren’t many players who can slow down the game, but I think one of the best is Pavel,’ Tatar said. “He can make his space and look around. I think every player wishes he could be as good as him at that. That’s a big benefit to have.

“I’m not a big fan of the fast game either,” Tatar continued. “I like to take my time and think about what I’m going to do, whether I want to shoot or pass. Pavel’s a great example for me.”

Tatar has also been shooting the puck more this season, averaging 2.65 shots on goal. He averaged 2.16 on net a season ago.

“I’m trying to create more chances and opportunities to score and so far it’s working,” Tatar said. “Hopefully I’ll keep shooting and finding the net.”

Tatar proved he was a goal scorer during Grand Rapids run to the Calder Cup in 2013, totaling 16 goals and five assists. He was named the playoff MVP.

“Tats is a competitive kid,” Babcock said. “I might be harder on Tats than anybody on the team just because I think Tats has a chance to be a real player. We’re going to hold him to that. We think he should be good every night because he’s capable of being good every night and every shift. We expect a lot from Tats and he’s capable of doing that.”

In four seasons with the Griffins he tallied 87 goals.

“He’s one of those guys who loves to score,” Johan Franzen said. “He’s a little hard on himself when he doesn’t score but he’s always a great player. He’s strong on the puck and creates a lot of offense but it’s great to see him score. It really makes him better. His confidence grows a lot, it’s good to see.”