Monthly Archives: December 2014

Wings PP tops in the NHL; PK ranked second

DETROIT >> Heading into play Wednesday, the Wings have the top ranked power play and the second ranked penalty kill in the league.

“I think it’s key for us,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “All you have to do is look at the expectations for the Red Wings coming into the year. One of the reasons we’re not like that is because of our special teams. Our coaches have done a good job, our players have done a good job, our attention to detail has been good.

“The other thing about it is we didn’t get off to a good start on the power play, but I think through good teaching and guys buying in and a good plan and execution and having good players, we’ve been able to execute in both of those situations,” Babcock continued.

The power play is at 24.3 percent, scoring 34 goals on 140 chances. St. Louis has the second most power play goals in the league, 30.

“The power play didn’t start off the way we wanted to but I think we’ve been clicking here lately for a while now and that’s great,” Gustav Nyquist said. “The PK has been great all year, so that’s great to see as well.

“Special teams are a huge part of the outcome of the game and I think we’ve won a lot of games because of our special teams,” Nyquist added. “Hopefully we can keep that going and also improve a little on our 5 on 5 scoring as well.”

Nyquist leads the team with eight power play goals, which ranks him tied for second overall in the league.

The penalty kill success rate is 87.7 and that’s due in large part to the team’s fourth liners – mainly Luke Glendening and Drew Miller.

“I’m a big believer in that helps your team be better because everyone’s important,” Babcock said. “We can spread the workload out. Don’t get me wrong, Pav and Z are really good penalty killers, they’re outstanding penalty killers, but we just feel that the wear and tear on them isn’t
worth it when we can put in on Glenny and Millsy and those guys and then they contribute to the team and they feel good about themselves.”

The PK units have allowed 16 goals on 130 chances.

“Usually you kind of get the same amount of power play and PKs during the game, so with everyone playing you’re not getting a lot of guys sitting out those minutes, because if there are a lot of penalties in a game some guys who don’t play either PK or PP they get to sit a lot and it’s hard to get a rhythm in a game,” Nyquist said. “But we have so much depth so we pretty much use all players in different situations and that just helps the team get kind of a good rhythm in the game.”

Ouellet knows when he’s called up it’s not to sit and watch in the stands

DETROIT >> Defenseman Xavier Ouellet knows if he’s called up from Grand Rapids he won’t be watching the Wings game in the stands.

Ouellet is set to play in his 10th game tonight when the Wings host the New Jersey Devils.

“He’s a good player,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He knows how to play. He competes hard. Moves the puck, got good hockey sense. He’s been effective for us.”

Ouellet was recalled from the Griffins on Monday to take Jakub Kindl’s spot in the lineup. Kindl was placed on short-term injured reserve with a sprained elbow he suffered in practice Sunday.

“I’m still very excited every time I get called up,” Ouellet said. “That’s for sure. But I’m a little more used to it, that’s for sure, too. This is my 10th game here this year, so I feed good, I feel part of the guys. It’s easier and easier every time I get called back up.”

To put Ouellet’s season a bit more in perspective, defenseman Brian Lashoff has played in just 11 games this season.

“I know what’s coming and I just try to stay ready for it,” Ouellet said. “It feels good for sure. I don’t think they would call me up to put me in the stands. Every time they call me up I get ready to play and then they make their decisions. All I can do is play.”

In his previous nine games Ouellet has a goal, an assist and is a plus-3.

“He’s a good human being, great hockey player, he’s smart, he can make plays,” said Luke Glendening, who played with Ouellet in Grand Rapids. “He’s a good guy to have around for sure.”

Quote of the day … Wings coach Mike Babcock calls Jaromir Jagr the ‘modern day Gordie Howe’

DETROIT >> Wings coach Mike Babcock on the New Jersey Devils’ Jaromir Jagr.

“They’ve got the modern day Gordie Howe there in Jagr on there team,” Babcock said. “That’s the truth. He’s still an unbelievable player at the age he’s at.”

Jagr is tied for the team-lead with 21 points.

He’ll turn 43 on Feb. 15.

Ouellet on his way back to Detroit; Babcock says he’ll be in the lineup Wednesday

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings will recall defenseman Xavier Ouellet from Grand Rapids after placing Jakub Kindl on short-term injured reserve.

Kindl suffered an elbow sprained elbow in practice Sunday. He skated on his own before practice testing it out and looked as if he was having difficulty shooting the puck.

Wings coach Mike Babcock said Ouellet will be in the lineup Wednesday against New Jersey.

Kindl didn’t play Monday in Boston.

That means Brian Lashoff will be a healthy scratch.

Message at practice Tuesday was simple … “Our compete level has to be higher and better.”

DETROIT >> Quick update from Wings practice at Joe Louis Arena Tuesday.

The message from coach Mike Babcock was quite simple after the team’s 5-2 loss Monday in Boston.

“The message was clear, our compete level has to be higher and better,” Kyle Quincey said.

The Wings were facing a Boston roster that was missing two of its key players – Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic – and trailed 3-1 after the first period after being outshot 19-12.

“Complacency, I don’t know what it is, we weren’t prepared,” Babcock said Tuesday after practice. “You can look at. We went to Toronto, it was five in eight nights. We were fresh (Monday). We had a nice practice day in Boston. We just had three days off for Christmas, we should have skated and competed hard. They were upset. They were missing two key players. They came out and skated us into the ground. Worked us hard, competed and won every battle and every race and in the end we go home feeling like we do.

“I’m a big believer, the sun gets up the next day, that’s how I operate,” Babcock continued. “When the sun doesn’t get up there’s something wrong. It got up today.”

The Wings gave up a season high 45 shots on goal.

“There wasn’t much talking out there,” Quincey said. “Our starts have been too slow. That’s an emphasis going into tomorrow night and the rest of the year.

“I wouldn’t say we’re worried,” Quincey added. “We have to be better. I think if today’s message sinks in we’ll be fine. If we can start competing at the very first second of the game and follow through for 60 minutes we’ll be OK.”

Quote of the day II … Wings coach Mike Babcock

DETROIT >> Wings coach Mike Babcock’s response when asked if pride just kicks in eventually for the Buffalo Sabres and that’s why they’re nine points out of the final playoff spot heading into play Tuesday.

“For sure and the other thing that kicks in for them is every time you get on the ice, not only are you showcasing yourself for your coach and your team, but you’re showcasing yourself for the other 29 teams,” Babcock said. “That’s just the reality. And what you have as a player is it’s all about the team, but you’ve got to do your part to help the team.

“Your brand is your name,” Babcock continued. “So if you do good things every single day around the rink, no matter whether your team wins or loses, somebody out there wants you. Your ideal is to play with one team as long as you can, but if you’re to play in the league, you move and you play in the league.”

Quote of the day … Wings coach Mike Babcock

DETROIT >> Wings coach Mike Babcock’s response when asked if the Christmas break is a mental relief.

“You know what I’m going to worry about? I’m going to worry about if I have enough red wine and gifts under the tree,” Babcock said. “Is Santa Claus coming? Is the turkey cooked well enough? How much dressing can I ram into this body? A little midnight mass. That’s what my focus is going to be and I hope the guys are thinking the same. I won’t be thinking about hockey, I can tell you that.”