DETROIT >> Teemu Pulkkinen went from being a team’s leading scorer to having difficulty finding room to shoot the puck.
Heading into play Tuesday, Pulkkinen has no goals and no assists in five games, while averaging a little over 12 minutes a game.
He also has just eight shots on goal.
“There’s no space,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “It’s the NHL, so there’s no space. In the American League or in Europe you swing by something or you cruise around, big shot, if you’re not in the right spot you never get the puck and then if your feet aren’t turned right so you can release it on the one-touch you never getting a shot. It’s just coming in and getting used to the league and understanding. It usually takes guys, unless you’re an absolute superstar, more than one try.”
Prior to being called up from Grand Rapids, Pulkkinen led the AHL in scoring with 20 goals and was tied for second with 39 points.
He had also equaled a Griffins franchise record prior to joining the Wings with goals in eight consecutive games. The mark was set by Donald MacLean in the 2005-06 season.
“I feel pretty good, unfortunately I haven’t scored any goals or gotten any points,” Pulkkinen said. “For me this is good experience and I now I know I can play here and compete against these guys and battle hard against stronger and bigger guys.”
Pulkkinen was moved to the top power play unit for tonight’s game against the Minnesota Wild.
“When you try harder to score you never score,” Pulkkinen said. “You just have to keep going, feel calm and relaxed and just play the way you play. When you start pushing it too much it’s not going to be good. I just go out and play. Of course I want to score, but it’s not easy. It’ll come.”
Pulkkinen played three games last season with the Wings and didn’t register a point while averaging less than eight minutes of ice time per game.
“It’s hard here,” Pulkkinen said. “The game is faster, players are aggressive, stronger. The game is better here. The D knows how to block the shots, where to be when guys are shooting.
“I want to score goals, get some points, but I don’t want to get frustrated that I haven’t scored,” Pulkkinen continued. “The team is winning right now so that’s perfect. Everything is good here. I just try and push hard and play better every night.”
Pulkkinen had just four shots on goal in those three games last season in Detroit.
“It’s been good,” Pulkkinen said. “We’ve won the last four games so it’s good for the team. The team is playing really good. It’s good right now.”
Pulkkinen, along with Xavier Ouellet, was selected to the AHL All-Star game, which takes place on Jan. 26.
He wasn’t sure if he’ll be playing in it or not.
“I think I’m going there,” Pulkkinen said. “We’ll see after the game to see what for sure is going on. They’re going to decide what’s going on.”