Tag Archives: cory emmerton

Emmerton’s elevator ride continues

DETROIT >> For some hockey players, life is a perpetual elevator ride.

Plying their trade in the American Hockey League, these skaters, such as center Cory Emmerton, wait patiently for their chance at a call up to the big time. Often in the lineup due to an injury on the big club’s roster – the norm this season for Detroit – players are caught in the back-and-forth tide of call-ups and send-backs.

The mental anguish can be exhausting. Not knowing if you’ll be suiting up in front of 20,000 fans at Joe Louis, or 8,000 in Grand Rapids, on a near-daily basis makes life as a professional hockey player difficult.

Five times since 2013, Emmerton has been assigned to – and then recalled from – Grand Rapids. The 150-plus mile journey down Interstate 96 is one that Emmerton has become all too familiar with.

“I-96, I’ve been on that plenty this year,” Emmerton explained. “It’s been, I don’t know how

to really describe it, but it’s been up and down, really. That’s all it has been. You’re up and you’re down. You’re up and you’re down.”

The elevator ride is particularly tough, because it allows for a lot of time for self-reflection. It is not uncommon for these borderline NHL’ers to ask the questions: ‘How can I be better? Why must I always prove myself? When am I going to stick?’

It is a brutal test of mental strength, requiring thick skin and determination.

“That’s exactly what it is,” Emmerton said. “I find it’s been more a mental test. The only thing you can do is prepare yourself each day the same, no matter where you are. The biggest thing is you learn pretty quickly not to worry about it. There’s only certain things you can do yourself.”

Emmerton has had his share of time to prove his worth as a legitimate NHL player. He’s appeared in 138 games for the Red Wings since making his debut in the 2010-11 season – including 17 games this year. Offensive success, however, has been tough for the speedy Emmerton to find. He’s managed just 12 goals and nine assists in his NHL career. In his current seven-game call-up, he has not recorded a point.

With the tug-of-war between realizing his dream and being sent down to the NHL, one might expect Emmerton to be frustrated. However, his focus remains on one thing: Continuing to improve while staying even-keeled about the situation.

“As long as you take care of yourself, and do the things you need to do, the rest of it you can’t realistically change,” Emmerton said.

“You can play your best and hope that you impress some people. You play your best, and your hardest, and you hope for the best. I still enjoy everything. That’s all I can ask for.”

A strong support system is what sustains Emmerton through the rough stretches. The minor leagues are trying: Every AHL players knows he is just one step away. No one wants to be there; everyone must put forth his very best effort. The emotional toll is considerable. That is why the backup from his fiance, friends and family is so important.

“I’ve had good support along the way, so I can’t say I’ve done it all by myself,” Emmerton said. “I’ve had a lot of people there who support me, and help me out daily.”

— FRED COSTELLO

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Wings coach Mike Babcock: “Our kids have done a real good job, given us an opportunity.”

DETROIT >> It’s all about grabbing your piece of the pie in Wings coach Mike Babcock’s eyes.

Tonight, he’ll dress a team that has a majority of its talent driven in from Grand Rapids against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Five of Detroit’s 12 forwards – Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendenning, Landon Ferraro and Temmu Pulkkinen – all began the season with the Griffins.

Tomas Tatar played there most of last year and Cory Emmerton spent most of the season there after being waived by the Wings at the start of this season.

“Glendening played basically second-line center minutes (Tuesday) night,” Babcock said. “Sheahan plays a ton. Those opportunities aren’t available to you otherwise. Cory Emmerton is in the league, Pulkkinen’s in the league. Ferraro’s in the league. Those are all opportunities for the guys. Make good on your opportunity. You never know what can happen.

“Those guys are in the individual point of their career,” Babcock continued. “They’re trying to find a job and stay in the league, so be confident and play hard and make it good for yourself.”

After losing Jonathan Ericsson to a broken finger on Tuesday, the Wings have lost a player to injury in six consecutive games.

“You can have lots of injuries but if you got Sid and Malkin playing and you got Z and Pav playing you can’t talk about injuries … we were still rolling along pretty good when Z was playing and Pav was out but when they’re both out – and it’s not just the two of them, we’ve got a whole ton of guys (missing),” Babcock said. “The way I look at it, if you’re the general manager of the organization, instead of thinking you’ve got something in the summer, you know what you’ve got, you’ve played them all, you’ve looked at the kids in the organization so now you can decide what you need to do to fix your team.

“Our kids have done a real good job, given us an opportunity,” Babcock added. “(Jeff) Blashill in Grand Rapids has done a real good job. These kids have all done a good job, they’ve won and they know what it takes.”

Ericsson will miss four-to-six weeks after having surgery to stabilize his fractured finger and repair a partially torn tendon.

Jonas Gustavsson (groin) began the long list of injuries after leading the team to a win over the New Jersey Devils on March. 4. That was followed by Joakim Andersson (broken foot, March 9 against the New York Rangers), Tomas Jurco (broken rib, March 11 against Columbus), Todd Bertuzzi (lower-body injury, March 14 against Edmonton) and Justin Abdelkader (leg laceration, Sunday against Chicago.

The team is also without Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Henrik Zetterberg (back), Stephen Weiss (sports hernia), Mikael Samuelsson (shoulder) and Daniel Cleary (knee).

Bertuzzi missed just one game and Gustavsson returned to his backup role Tuesday.

“The kids have come up and jumped right in their spot and I think that’s helped our team,” said Drew Miller, who’s one of just two players on the roster to have played every game this season. “The other big thing is this locker room still believes we can get it done. Night in and night out we’ve got to battle for our wins and play a full 60-minute game but I think we’re getting better every game and as hard as it is to play without Pavel and Z I think we’re trying to find the best way to do that and having some success.”

The Wings head into tonight’s game second in the league in man games lost at 313 according to mangameslost.com. Pittsburgh tops the list at 413.

“We’ve had such good leadership, it’s rubbed off on a lot of guys in the room,” Miller said. “When one guy does down, even when Nick (Lidstrom) retired, you see different guys step up.”

Nyquist on Pulkkinen: “I think he’s more of a shoot-first type player.”

DETROIT >> Teemu Pulkkinen likes to shoot the puck and he won’t be changing that mindset when he hits NHL debut Friday against the Edmonton Oilers.

“I’ve been practicing that since a little kid, playing outside and when you have free time on the ice,” Pulkkinen said. “I like to shoot the puck. That’s my type of game. I want to shoot, score goals, so that’s what I like to work on.”

Pulkkinen, who was recalled from Grand Rapids on Wednesday, leads the Griffins with 175 shots on goal.

“Teemu is an interesting player, he’s obviously not very big but he skates hard, he plays hard and loves to shoot the puck,” Cory Emmerton said. “He’s got an unbelievable shot, possibly one of the best I’ve ever played with or seen. I don’t know if he’s scored an ugly goal all year. They’ve all been pretty much slap shots, blowing it by the goalie. The NHL is a different level, but we’ll see how that plays out.”

Pulkkinen leads the Griffins with 26 goals and 51 points.

“He looks like he shoots the puck so shoot the puck,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Do whatever you do, make sure you play well defensively and keep doing whatever you do that got you called up.”

Pulkkinen will play on the point on the Wings’ second power play unit Friday.

“(His shot is) just so hard, very accurate, too,” Gustav Nyquist said. “He usually shoots slap shots. I haven’t seen him take too many wristers. He likes to wind up and obviously when he gets that extra time it’s hard for the goalie to react to a hard shot like that, so he’s a really good shooter.”

Henrik Zetterberg still leads the team in shots on goal with 151, followed by Justin Abdelkader (133), Tomas Tatar (130) and Daniel Alfredsson (120).

“I think he’s more of a shoot-first type player,” Nyquist said. “From what I heard back in Finland he was a big goal-scorer back there too. He showed this year that he can score a lot of goals. He’s got a lot of goals in Grand Rapids for a first-year guy.”

Wings place Cory Emmerton on waivers again

DETROIT >> The Wings have placed Cory Emmerton on waivers Saturday.

He has until noon Sunday to clear or be picked up by another team.

If he’s not picked up he’ll head back to Grand Rapids.

It’s the second time this season Emmerton has been placed on waivers.

“You know, everyone knows what’s going on here,” Emmerton said when he was placed on waivers the first time and wound up staying with the team after Patrick Eaves was placed on injured reserve. “There’s too many players, no cap space, so something’s got to give.”

Emmerton injured his right pinky on Jan. 18 in the second period of Saturday’s 3-2 shootout win over the Los Angeles Kings.

He hasn’t played since the injury.

Emmerton, who’s salary cap hit is $533,333, has no goals and two assists in 11 games this season in Detroit.

“He’s a good penalty kill, he skates good and he’s getting better,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s still in the growth point of this career. He’s going to be better this year because he’s a lot stronger than he was last year.”

Emmerton, who was taken 41st overall in the 2006 draft, has 12 goals and nine assists in 132 games in parts of three seasons with the Wings.

“I just want to play hockey,” Emmerton said. “That’s the only mindset that I have. I’ve done everything that I could to improve myself, to become a better player and more useful. The rest of it will take care of itself as long as you can do what you can do personally. Stuff has a way of figuring itself out and that’s all you can hope for.”

Helm returns to the lineup; Emmerton injures right pinky; other injured players remain out

DETROIT – Quick update from the Wings’ morning skate at Joe Louis Arena before tonight’s game against the St. Louis Blues.

Darren Helm returns to the lineup after missing the last seven games with a groin injury.

“It feels good,” Helm said after the skate. “It feels fine. I’ve felt good the last couple of days. I’ve skated hard, no problems so tonight’s the next test.”

Helm was a last minute scratch prior to the Winter Classic due to the groin injury.

“I’m just going to try and do what I did last time and the time before that, just play my game,” Helm said. “There’s nothing special I need to do, just make sure I’m taking short shifts. I’m going to be a little rusty out there so I can’t be doing too much.”

Helm has missed 18 of the past 19 games due to injury. Part of the time out it was due to a left shoulder injury.

“He hasn’t played in a long time,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I don’t know if it’s going to take him some time or not. When he’s going he’s a real impactful player for us. I don’t know how many minutes he can handle tonight but it’s good to have him back.”

Helm has been hot offensively with seven goals and four assists in 16 games.

He’s not stranger to being injured.

Helm returned to the lineup on Nov. 2 after playing in just two games over the last 19 months.

He had missed 89 of the Wings’ last 91 games, last playing on Jan. 25.

“I’m a veteran of being injured,” Helm said. “The first thing I tell myself is there is nothing I could do about it. You just try to do what you can to get better and stay positive.

Including playoffs, since he was hurt late in the 2011-12 season, Helm has played in just 19 of Detroit’s last 125 games.

“I’m mentally fine,” Helm continued. “There is always one or two bad days, but I’ve done this enough that they were too stressful on me. I’ve done it before. It’s just a grind to get back, you’re happy now and you don’t have to worry about it anymore.

To begin the season, Helm was sidelined with a back problem and then his groin became an issue.

“It’s a hard league, it’s hard to come back and it takes players a long time sometimes,” Babcock said. “He was an impactful player for us last time he was back. It was our best run of the season, we were the healthiest we’ve been and we got on a roll. We could use goals. We don’t score. That’s normally not what he’s about but he scored a bit this season and he can help us.”

Helm will replaced Cory Emmerton in the lineup.

Emmerton injured his right pinky in the second period of Saturday’s 3-2 shootout win over the Los Angeles Kings.

“It happened a penalty kill,” Emmerton said. “We were just trying to clear it and it hit me. I played the rest of the game, but it was sore.”

Emmerton was going to have the finger examined more.

“We took pictures and stuff,” Emmerton said. “Right now it’s not very good. It’s my top hand on the stick so that’s hard. I practiced today, went through everything. It was sore. If I needed to play I would be able to figure something out.”

Jonathan Ericsson is expected to return to the lineup Wednesday from fractured ribs.

“I did some hitting with (Johan) Franzen the other day just to test it,” Ericsson said. “I was sore the day after, but I needed to test it. I did more battling today and we’ll see how it feels during the day.”

Ericsson will wear something to protect his ribs during games.

Of the other injured players, Franzen (concussion) and Jonas Gustavsson (groin) were the only one to practice. Daniel Alfredsson (back spasms), Pavel Datsyuk (lower-body) and Joakim Andersson (lower-body) did not.

Alfredsson did say he has been able to ramp up the rehab and exercises in the gym, which he feels is very encouraging.

“I had back issues before but this was a little bit different,” Alfredsson said. “When the team is doing well, it’s easier (to sit out). I think they’ve been playing extremely hard. Goals have been tough to come by, but they’ve been in all the games.

“We have quite a few guys watching in the locker room, it was an emotional roller coaster the last game,” Alfredsson continued. “The guys are really fighting for each other, it’s great to see.”

Sheahan recalled over Emmerton

DETROIT — In need of another center, the Wings recalled Riley Sheahan from Grand Rapids and he’ll play Tuesday against Anaheim.

Sheahan, 22, has leapfrogged Cory Emmerton as far as call ups go.

“We’ve seen Emmerton for nine games, we know what he can do,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “We haven’t really seen Riley Sheahan. He’s a first-round pick. He had a pretty good rookie year last year and had a good playoff in Grand Rapids. Let’s see what he can do.”

Sheahan, who was selected in the first round (21st overall) in the 2010 draft out of Notre Dame, has six goals and eight assists in 23 games with the Griffins.

He’s played in two games over his career with Detroit, one in each of the past two seasons and has no points.

Eaves, Glendening recalled; Emmerton sent to GR

DETROIT — The Wings also have recalled forwards Patrick Eaves and Luke Glendening from Grand Rapids and reassigned Cory Emmerton back to the Griffins.

In eight games with the Griffins this season Eaves has four goals and two assists, while Glendening has three goals and seven assists in 17 games.

Both have yet to record a point in limited time this season in Detroit.