Tag Archives: henrik zetterberg

Babcock’s message to Cole and Zidlicky simple: “Picture the player you are and just do that.”

DETROIT >> Wings coach Mike Babcock met with both newly acquired Erik Cole and Marek Zidlicky and had the same message for both of them, “Picture the player you are and just do that. That’s why we acquired you. Here’s our structure and now you have to find a way to do the two together.”

Cole and Zidlicky took part in their first practice with their new team since being traded for prior to the NHL trade deadline.

“I don’t want them thinking when they get on the ice I want them playing,” Babcock said. “It’ll show over time. We didn’t bring them here to change them. We got them here so they could do what they do and we’ll figure out a way to make it work for them.”

Cole practiced on a line with Henrik Zetterberg, who’s excepted to action Wednesday after missing four straight games due to a head injury, and Justin Abdelkader.

Zidlicky, who’s a right-handed shot and a power-play specialist, was paired on the blue line with Brendan Smith.

“He plays with pace and can take the puck to the net,” Babcock said of Cole. “He’s having a good year. Looks to me he has some size and has the ability to be heavy on it.”

“He’s a competitor,” added Babcock on Zidlicky. “He can shoot the puck and can make plays. He’s got good offensive skill. I think he’ll be a great addition. He made some plays in practice that makes you smile which is positive.”

The two will also be inserted on power play units. Cole will be out with his two linemates, along with Stephen Weiss and Niklas Kronwall, while Zidlicky will man the point for Pavel Datsyuk, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Riley Sheahan.

“It was great to see that we as an organization were able to help our team,” Babcock said. “I think our team has done a good job and if you do a good job Kenny (Holland) has shown over the years he tries to help you.

“From an organizational standpoint, long term, we were able to do that without giving up a whole bunch so therefore we serve ourselves for now and in the future with the group we have coming,” Babcock continued. “We’re excited we have both guys. I think both can be prominent players for us. It’s going to take them some time to adjust but I think they’ll be a factor.”

This and that … Zetterberg doesn’t practice, but will play Thursday; Franzen still MIA

DETROIT >> Henrik Zetterberg was absent at practice, but will play Thursday according to Wings general manager Ken Holland.

— Petr Mrazek will start in Colorado

— Jonas Gustavsson will complete his two-game conditioning stint with Grand Rapids Wednesday in Toronto and then join the team in Denver.

— There has still been no sign of Johan Franzen in the Wings’ locker room since he was injured on Jan. 6. “I don’t think he’s doing great, but I don’t really know,” Holland said. “He doesn’t come here. Until he gets to the point where they’re telling me he’s starting to work out, he’s starting to train, we run the team like they’re not on the team.”

Are the Wings over overachieving this season? Team is a point out of the top spot in the Eastern Conference

DETROIT >> If you had taken a poll inside the Wings’ locker room prior to the start of the season and asked if the team would be a point out of first place for the top spot in the Eastern Conference by the All-Star break, a majority of the responses would have been no.

Well that’s just where Detroit is at, with 63 points in 47 games and just a point behind Tampa Bay.

“When I thought about around July 5 when not much happened this summer, I was disappointed, like a few of my veteran players who called me were disappointed, too,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I don’t think any of us would have believed we’d be at this spot, the general manager and myself included.”

The team didn’t land any of the needs it had searched for through free agency, mainly a right-handed shooting defenseman, and essentially brought back the same squad from last season.

So far it’s worked out.

The Wings (27-11-9), who will come out of the break on a five-game winning streak and tied with the New York Islanders for second overall in the Eastern Conference, have 13 more points than they did after 47 games last season.

Health has also played a major role in getting the Wings to where they’re at in the standings.

Last season Detroit had the second most man games lost according to mangameslost.com at 421 and still found a way into the playoffs. And the Wings’ two best players – Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk – were limited to 45 games each.

“The contributions of players that were out a lot last year due to injuries have been a real positive and then the continued development of the younger players,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “At the end of the day, when you’re in the playoffs 23 straight years it means a lot of picking late and we’re trying to accomplish two goals at the same time, we’re trying to make the playoffs and compete for the Stanley Cup and we’re also trying to rebuild the team on the fly.”

This year Detroit is 14th in man games lost with 111. Columbus is first with 283.

“Everyone’s been healthy and we’ve been playing well, so it’s not a huge surprise,” Darren Helm said. “It’s hard work but it’s paid off.”

The injuries last season has helped in the development of the younger players, including Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist, who lead the team in goals with 21 and 19 respectively.

“Our scouts have done a real nice job and obviously (Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill) has done a good job in developing and then we’ve done a good job here,” Babcock said.

Special teams have also contributed. The Wings rank in the top 10 in both power play (second) and penalty kill (sixth).

“We’re in a good situation and now we’ve got to get better,” Babcock said. “Our penalty kill hasn’t been near as good here lately. We’ve got to get our penalty kill back, our faceoff circle back and get everyone playing a little better. I think the big thing right now is just get guys away and get them freshened up and get ready for a push.”

Detroit also is 10th in goals per game and seventh in goals against.

“We’re doing a lot of good things,” Zetterberg said. “We’ve gotten better and got it going here. Compared to last year we’re more healthy. I think we’re a little deeper. Special teams are a little bit better.

The Wings have also taken advantage of a favorable schedule.

During the first half they’ve had a favorable home schedule and have faced teams coming off games the night before 13 times.

However, coming out of the break Detroit plays 11 of its first 14 on the road and 20 of its last 35.

“There’s a long way to go and we have to keep winning games,” Zetterberg said. “We know that. Montreal and Tampa will win games. And Boston will win games. We need to keep playing well if we want to have fun in the end.”

Wings coach Mike Babcock on Teemu Pulkkinen: “Hopefully he shoots it every time he touches it.”

TAYLOR >> Teemu Pulkkinen is known for one thing … his shot.

“It’s amazing,” Riley Sheahan said of Pulkkinen’s shot. “It’s almost like every time he shoots the puck it’s either going in or the goalie’s not going to know where it’s going and it’ll hit off him and create another scoring chance. It’s hard. It’s accurate. He gets it’s off pretty quick. Not many guys have a shot like him.”

Sheahan will center a line with Pulkkinen and Drew Miller on Saturday at Washington.

“Hopefully he shoots it every time he touches it,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said Friday after the team finished practice at the Taylor Sportsplex.

Pulkkinen, who was recalled from Grand Rapids after the Wings placed Johan Franzen on short-term injured reserve, leads the AHL in scoring with 20 goals and is tied for second with 39 points.

On Wednesday, he equaled a Griffins franchise record with a goal that extended his goal scoring streak to eight consecutive games. The mark was set by Donald MacLean in the 2005-06 season.

“Obviously he has a real good shot,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “But also he’s good at finding the open ice to be able to receive passes. He doesn’t need much.

“It’s almost like Brett Hull in a way,” Zetterberg added. “He doesn’t need a lot of room to get a shot off. It’s going to be interesting to see what he can do. Obviously he’s done a real good job down in Grand Rapids and looking forward to having him around with us.”

“I’ve heard them,” Pulkkinen laughed nervously when asked about the comparisons with Hull. “Since I was a little kid I had fun with my friends going out to shoot pucks, play different games. I enjoy shooting and I’ve been practicing that since I was a little kid.”

Pulkkinen was also see time on the Wings’ second power play unit.

“Play a good two-way game and they want me to shoot,” Pulkkinen said when asked what’s expected of him. “Of course I want to score goals and I’m feeling good right now. If I get the chance to shoot I will shoot for sure.”

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.

“He just didn’t earn a spot,” Babcock said of Pulkkinen. “I’m just in the winning business. Can you help us or not.

“All players think they need more ice time to play better,” Babcock continued. “Coach thinks play better and you get more ice time.”

Pulkkinen also had just four shots on goal in those three games last season.

“It’s like the guys have played here so many years and they’ve been around and scored so many goals,” Pulkkinen said when asked if it was tough not to give the puck to established NHL players to shoot. “I haven’t scored any goals. So of course you sometimes think ‘Should I shoot or pass to the guys.’ I just try to shoot it and put it away and play your own game.”

Wings do move into first place in Eastern Conference

DETROIT >> The Wings will go to bed Wednesday night and wake up Thursday morning knowing the same thing.

They’re in first place overall in the Eastern Conference.

The point the Wings earned in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Joe Louis Arena, moved them a point ahead of ideal Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh for first overall in the East.

“Getting points is good when you can get them,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “Obviously we wanted two here at home, but one point is better than no points. If you look how the game ended with a 3-on-4 there for almost a minute I think we’re going to be OK with this tomorrow and move on.”

Niklas Kronwall was sent off for goalie interference with 57 seconds left in overtime.

“I thought we played good,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “It’s over with to me. We got a point. They stole two points but I’ll take it every night. If you play like that you’re going to win.”

Wings’ new found success on power play will be tested Friday against Blackhawks’ top-ranked PK

DETROIT >> We’re going to see how much the Wings’ power play has improved Friday night.

Chicago has the top ranked penalty kill in the league, allowing just four goals on 48 chances (91.7 percent).

Detroit has scored two power play goals in each of their last three games, going 6-for-13 with the man advantage.

“The power play has been working better and better here,” Gustav Nyquist said. “Obviously, we want to keep that going, so it will be a good test tomorrow, for sure.”

The Wings went 5-for-46 (10.9 percent) with the man advantage their first 12 games.

“Obviously, it was a really slow start for us on the power play and now we’ve got some goals,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “Even if we don’t score, you have to get the momentum, and we’ve done that the last couple of games.”

Detroit, which finished 18th (17.7 percent) on the power play last season, is up to 17th this year (18.6 percent, 11-for-59) with the man advantage.

“I know the power play started slow, had trouble getting into rhythm, maybe had trouble trying to find the back of the net,” assistant coach Tony Granato said on Monday. “But I think all along it’s been building. I think it’s been really big for us the last week.

“I think the confidence that group has gained certainly moving forward should be a good thing for us,” Granato added. “You put Pav back in that mix it’s going to be even better.”

The Wings’ penalty kill (90.6) is second in the league.

“We looked good for a while and maybe didn’t get the results that we maybe wanted or deserved there and no lately we’re getting pucks in,” Jonathan Ericsson said. “It’s about getting in the groove when the pucks are bouncing and things are going your way, but sometimes it’s not going to go like that.

“Like the PK, we had bounces going with us at the beginning of the season and maybe pucks have gone in a little easier lately,” Ericsson continued. “That’s how it always happens throughout the season. We’re not going to be perfect. You have to go through those things. We work on the things we need to get better at. It’s all about the confidence level and pucks are going to start dropping in.”

Datsyuk a game-time decision Tuesday; Franzen on short-term IR; Howard starting

DETROIT >> Quick update after Wings practice at Joe Louis Arena before they travel to Montreal for Tuesday night’s game.

Pavel Datsyuk appears to be a game-time decision.

“Say, day-to-day,” Datsyuk said afterwards. “I hope. You never know but what I’m looking (forward to it).”

Datsyuk practiced on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.

‘We had him on a line, but I had him on a line last Monday,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said.

Datsyuk was expected to miss roughly four weeks from the time he suffered a separated shoulder on Sept. 22.

Datsyuk said his shooting and stick work has been fine for some time.

“It’s only the contact still,” Datsyuk said. “But I had (it) last week. We’ll see what happens (Tuesday).”

The news isn’t so good on Johan Franzen, who was placed on short-term injured reserve with a groin injury.

Franzen, who’s tied for second in points with five, missed Saturday’s game against Toronto.

Jimmy Howard was back in goal and will start Tuesday. He was unable to back up Jonas Gustavsson Saturday due to a slight groin strain.

“It was a little sore so I just wanted to be cautious,” Howard said. “I wasn’t planning on playing from the get-go Saturday so we decided to use caution with it.

“The ice just gave out underneath my foot in Toronto there late in the game when I went to push across,” Howard continued. “So those things really can’t do anything about it. It rebounded quickly so it was nice to see. It wasn’t that bad.”