Daily Archives: November 25, 2014

Brendan Smith not ready to return from hand infection after fight with Columbus’ Nick Foligno

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings aren’t known for having players that fight on their roster.

And after what happened to Brendan Smith, fighting may be forbidden from this point on for any player in that locker room.

Smith returned to practice Tuesday after missing the last six days with an infection in his left hand from a fight he had with Columbus’ Nick Foligno in the third period of a Wings’ 5-0 win.

“I think I hit Foligno in the mouth and apparently there’s a lot of bacteria in the mouth so I ended up getting infected that way,” Smith said. “It was just a fluke incident. Sometimes it can get cut open. A lot of times nothing will happen but it was just unlucky that time.”

The fight was the Wings’ only one of the season.

Smith had surgery to clean out the wound and is on antibiotics.

“It was pretty bad,” said Smith, who did finish the game. “It wasn’t until the morning. It kind of woke me up and it was swollen and throbbing a little bit.”
Detroit is behind Chicago, Florida and New Jersey for fewest fighting majors in the league. Each of those teams have three.

“You can’t really, it’s so split-second kind of thing but I think at the end of the day, you just play the game hard,” Smith said when asked if he will think twice before dropping the gloves again. “If something happens, you answer the bell. Obviously you want to be aware of what you’re doing; you want to make sure you’re not going to get yourself hurt. You make sure that you’re not at the end of your shift when you’re tired so there’s a chance you’ll get hurt. These are all things that you’ve got to take into effect. It’s never going to stop me from being physical or anything.”

Smith is eligible to come off short-term injured reserve Wednesday, but it’s more likely he’ll miss his fourth straight game.

“I think I’ve been playing pretty well and all of a sudden a fluke incident like that gets me hurt,” Smith said. “It’s frustrating. But the other thing is it could be a lot worse. If we didn’t catch it and I played another game and got more stuff from my glove, it could have been a lot worse. I could have been out for a month. You can look at it as a blessing in disguise that our docs figured it out quick. It was one of those things, instead of taking one step forward, two steps back, we did the opposite. I’m pretty happy with how everything’s gone and obviously it is frustrating but it looks like I’ll be back soon as possible.”

Datsyuk a game-time decision Wednesday; centered a line with Helm and Weiss in practice

DETROIT >> From the looks of things, Pavel Datsyuk is set to return to the Wings’ lineup.

And it could come as early as Wednesday when the Detroit hosts the Philadelphia Flyers at Joe Louis Arena.

“I feel good,” Datsyuk said after practice Tuesday. “We’ll see (Wednesday) morning. I’m happy to skate full practice with team.”

Datsyuk has missed his four straight games with a groin injury and six of the last eight.

“Be better myself,” Datsyuk said when asked what more he felt he needed to do before declaring himself fit to go. “No (pain), it’s fine. Everything is fine so far. I need a little bit (of) pace with team, a little bit. Everybody’s flying.”

Datsyuk centered a line with Darren Helm and Stephen Weiss as wingers. All three players are centers.

Datsyuk also doesn’t want to be in-and-out of the lineup due to a lingering injury.
“It’s kind of difficult, what happened first time, looked like I was ready, but jumped in too early,” Datsyuk said.

Weiss nets a pair in Wings’ win over Senators; he said he ‘never lost confidence’

DETROIT >> If Stephen Weiss was looking for a glimmer of hope that he’s still the point-producing forward the Wings signed two offseasons ago, he got just that Monday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Weiss scored twice in Detroit’s 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators.

It was just his second game this season with the Wings.

Due to a lingering groin injury that developed into a sports hernia, Weiss has played in just 28 since the start of 2013.

It was also his first goal with the Wings since Oct. 14, 2013 and his first two-goal game since Feb. 26, 2012 while still with the Florida Panthers.

“I never lost confidence,” Weiss said. “It was just a matter of when you haven’t played in so long, coach has a tough time putting you in situations where you’ve always played and rightfully so. Even in practice, you’re not playing power play and getting those reps I have throughout my career. It’s just a matter of sticking with it. Hopefully get a break here or there to stay in the lineup for a couple games, build some momentum and off you go.”

Weiss had a goal in each of his conditioning games this past weekend with Grand Rapids.

“Scoring,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said when asked what Weiss can add to the lineup. “The guy’s got 60 points in the league a ton of times. That doesn’t happen by accident. But in your career, when you get hurt and you miss a couple of years, there’s no guarantee you’re getting it back.

“Weisser has played (three) games, two in the American League, and he’s got (four) goals,” Babcock continued. “Scoring is scoring. Not many guys can do that. We acquired him initially because we thought he could help us score and he spent two years on IR basically. Hopefully he can get his confidence back and get going.”

Weiss, 31, managed to play just 26 games last season totaling two goals, two assists and a minus-4. He had sport hernia surgery on Dec. 23 and then a second procedure on April 21 to repair an issue with scar tissue.

“I felt good physically,” said Weiss, who had 10:42 of ice time Monday. “We didn’t play a ton, but when I was out there I would still like to create more. It was a decent start. I felt healthy, had good legs and hopefully it just keeps snowballing in that direction.”

Weiss drove to the net hard and chipped in a loose puck over Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson’s right shoulder to put the Wings up 3-1 just past the halfway point of the game.

“That’s where you’re going to score goals,” Weiss said. “It was nice having pucks lying around there. Sometimes you go there and they’re going off skates and away from you and tonight they were there lying there for me. It’s nice to get those breaks.”

His second goal came in similar fashion, positioning himself in front of Anderson. After Anderson made a right pad save on Darren Helm, Weiss calmly backhanded a shot over the goal line.

“This is the best league in the world,” said Weiss, who played left wing on a line with Tomas Jurco and centered by Darren Helm. “It’s hard enough when you’re in a groove and playing well never mind when you’ve missed so many games, you’re in, you’re out, you’re in, you’re out. You’re playing different positions. It’s tough to do what you’ve done throughout your career.

“Like I said, it felt good to be in the lineup, it was nice to get a couple of goals and get the win,” Weiss added. “But I’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

Weiss had a rough preseason, registering just an assist and was a minus-4 in six games.

“Anytime you can score it gives you confidence,” Weiss said. “You remember how to do it. I always said it takes a bounce or something to go your way and then it starts snowballing. Hockey is funny that way. You see if with a lot of guys. To get those two down (in Grand Rapids) was huge. I had some bounces and hopefully I’ll keep scoring.”

The Wings targeted Weiss on the first day of free agency two off-seasons ago and landed the center for a hefty five-year deal worth $24.5 million.

Weiss has had scored 20 or more goals four times in his last seven seasons in Florida.