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Weiss misses practice due to a funeral; Abdelkader skates on own; Wings power play red hot

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

Stephen Weiss missed practice due to a funeral he attended. He’s expected to play Saturday when the Wings host the New York Rangers.

Justin Abdelkader skated for the first time on his own since injuring his shoulder on Sunday. He’s also been sick with the flu.

The Wings worked on the power play at practice which has been red hot of late.

Since starting the season 5-for-46 with the man advantage through their first 12 games, they’ve gone 19-for-58 since.

“I think the biggest thing is we’re just throwing pucks at the net,” Niklas Kronwall said. “We know we’re going to have guys there, we have guy’s net-front that are doing a great job of screening and making it hard for their goalie. The rest of us just have to make sure the puck gets there. Of course, winning face-offs is another huge area. But throwing the puck, I think that’s the biggest key.”

Detroit has at least one power play goal in six straight games.

“I think we’ve just been sticking with it, we believed in what we did,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “Obviously the puck didn’t go in for us from the beginning. I don’t think we made that big of changes to it. One thing we did is shoot a little bit more instead of looking for passes before we shoot. We shoot and then automatically it will open up for us and we can make plays. Also, once you score your confidence goes up and you’re more confident in what you do. That helps.”

Heading into play Friday, the Wings’ power play is ranked sixth best in the league.

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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.

Helm has more hurdles to climb before he’s fully ready to next week’s training camp

DETROIT – Red Wings forward Darren Helm continues to have a certain kind of optimism about being ready for the start of training camp, but there is still a bit of hesitation.

“Well, I’ll be able to skate and do most of the drills, but I haven’t really tested it the whole physical aspect of it,” Helm said after returning to practice Wednesday with a number of his teammates during an informal skate at Joe Louis Arena. “I’m just taking the most cliché line of the year, taking it one day at a time. I haven’t really focused on any kind of time line or how it feels today or yesterday. I’m just kind of going every day and working hard and trying to get ready to play.

“I’m skating pretty good,” Helm added. “I feel I’ve been skating pretty good these last couple of weeks. It is something to look forward to since things are going so well going into camp. It’s good knowing that I’ve been skating so hard for this long. There is that certain optimism going into camp.”

Physicals are next Wednesday in Traverse City with the first practice and scrimmages set for Thursday.

“I haven’t even thought about (scrimmaging),” said Helm, who didn’t skate on Tuesday. “It’s going really slow. Today I got bumped a couple of times. A couple weeks ago I got bumped a couple of times and it felt good. I think it’s just a gradual thing. It’s just going to have to come down to comfort between myself, the trainers and the staff that they’ll measure me against.”

Asked if he was pain free he said, “Fairly.”

Helm did say he’s unable to lift like he has been able to in the past and that’s a level he needs to come close to before returning to the ice.

“I’m still a bit away from (squats),” Helm said. “That’s one thing I do want to overcome before I start playing again. I want to be able to do the stuff I used to do, maybe not to the extreme that I used to do, but I still want to be able to do some fairly heavy lifting. I’m not at that point yet.”

Helm played just one game last season due to slightly torn disc in his back that never required surgery.

Helm, who has been skating in Detroit for nearly a month, took part in the Wings’ annual prospects development camp in Traverse City to test out his back.

Helm, who back issues began before training camp began last season, has been on the wrong end of a rash of injuries of late.

He was hit by a puck on Nov. 2 during an informal skate in Troy, breaking an orbital bone.

On March 17, he missed the final 10 regular-season games with a sprained MCL. Then, in his first game back, the playoff opener against Nashville, he had tendons in his forearm sliced by a skate.

Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey: “It’s not good.”

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

Defenseman Kyle Quincey had more tests done on his fractured cheek and returned after practice wearing a pair of large sunglasses to hide the swelling.

“It’s not good,” Quincey said walking into the training room. “It’s so early right now I really don’t know what’s going on, but it’s not good.

“I just got back from doctor,” Quincey added. “I’ll have more information as the week goes along and as the swelling goes down.”

Quincey has multiple fractures in his cheek bone that will sideline him four-to-six weeks.

He was hit in the face in Friday’s 3-2 win over Edmonton when a puck deflected off his stick after a shot by Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle early the third period.

“It was one of those things, you have to go stick on puck to make sure the puck doesn’t get to the net and just bad luck it came up and hit me right where I don’t have protection,” Quincey said.

Official retirement announcement on Holmstrom will come Thursday or Friday

PLYMOUTH — Tomas Holmsrom made his intentions known to the Wings this offseason.

On Thursday or Friday the team will make it official announcing his retirement at a press conference at Joe Louis Arena.

“He’s going to be surely missed in the locker room,” defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said. “He just lifts up the spirit in the locker room every day. I hope we see him down there a few times.”