Tag Archives: sports

DeKeyser confident he’ll be ready for opener; Tootoo still ailing

DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser (knee) is confident he’ll be ready for Wednesday’s season opener at home against the Buffalo Sabres.

“I feel good,” DeKeyser said. “I kind of twisted it a little bit in the last game but it’s kind of precautionary, a little sore after that. Make sure it was 100 percent before I get out there again.”

DeKeyser’s foot got caught in a rut against (Sidney) Crosby in the third period of Wednesday’s loss to Pittsburgh. He fell and twisted his knee a little.

DeKeyser hasn’t skated since the incident.

“I might try to get on the ice tomorrow a little bit,” DeKeyser said. “See how it feels then, after that take it day by day.

Jordin Tootoo took part in his first practice since injuring his shoulder against Boston on Sept. 21.

“It feels good but shoulder injuries and the way I play, I just want to make sure it’s 100 percent and not 85-90,” Tootoo said. “I want to mentally be comfortable and be from there.”

The injury occurred on his second shift against the Bruins.

“I just kept playing through it and didn’t realize the severity of it until the next day,” Tootoo said. “I just want to make sure I get it fixed because I know I did the same thing to my right shoulder and it almost took three years to heal. Making sure everything’s on the right track right now.”

Tootoo has been in a battle all training camp to find a spot on one of the Wings’ four forward lines so this setback doesn’t help.

“I can only control my mentality,” Tootoo said. “I’ve just got to bring it every day. Obviously, injuries are going to be a part of the game. It’s how you recover from that. Mentally, just being focused every day and making sure I’m at all the team meetings and doing all the right things.”

Wings coach Mike Babcock on second line: “You don’t do anything and then things change.”

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings’ second line of forwards will indeed play together for the first time this preseason.

Daniel Alfredsson will skate with Johan Franzen and Stephen Weiss tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Joe Louis Arena.

This will just be Alfredsson’s second preseason game and first at home.

“It feels good to get into a game,” Alfredsson said. “It’s going to be exciting to play in this building for the first time. We’re going to have a good lineup, looking to have a good effort.”

Alfredsson had been bothered by a tender groin of late.

“Weissie and I have been here for a little bit,” Alfredsson said. “They know the systems, feel more comfortable overall. As far as the game goes, we just want to get going where you don’t think too much out there. In and out and just focus on playing. That’s what we’re trying to do today.”

The length of time this line, which didn’t win over Wings coach Mike Babcock, will all depend on how quickly they can build chemistry.

“They did nothing,” Babcock said of their time together in training camp. “That’s what gives you pause, you don’t do anything and then things change. Now they haven’t got a chance to play together so that’s an unfair assessment, but we need an assessment because we need production out of every group.

“To me it should be set up good,” Babcock continued. “I think Weiss has turned himself into a really good two-way player, he understands what’s going on. Alfie can shoot the puck and Mule’s a big, big man that can skate and win battles down low and can find people with the puck. He should be finding Alfie and Alfie should be shooting it. To me it has all the ingredients of a line, but you have to become one.”

Weiss and Alfredsson were the Wings’ two big signings this offseason.

“I’m sure there will be corrections from the coaches here and there but overall I got a pretty good understanding of what they’re doing here,” Alfredsson said.

HBO begins filming for 24/7 series

DETROIT — The HBO cameras were at practice for the first time, preparing to start filming for the series “24/7”.

“I really liked (the show), it was pretty cool,” Brendan Smith said. “What I’ve told people is it’s interesting to see some of these tough guys or goons or chippy kind of players and then they’re kind of soft hearted sweethearts back home with their families. It’s cool to see other people’s sides and what they’re like on different teams and how they hold themselves, so it’s a pretty cool experience and it’ll be cool for people to see what our team is like.”

Wings coach Mike Babcock isn’t a big fan, but he’ll do his part.

“I just know my kids, I remember a few years back, thought it was awesome,” Babcock said. “To be honest with you I can go without it totally, but doesn’t have anything to do with me. I’m just hoping someone else is first star.”

Babcock recalled players tending to shy away during the taping of Nicklas Lidstrom 360.

“No one would go near him,” Babcock said. “I assume since these guys are around here for so long you become immune to it a little bit. Obviously, just like in your own life do you want everything on TV or YouTube, or is there anything you do that you don’t want it to be (broadcast). It’s the same for these guys. That’s part of promoting the sport so they feel it’s a good thing for the sport.”

Red Wings injury updates

DETROIT — Justin Abdelkader appears ready to go despite needing stiches after a tussle late in the 5-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

“I should be fine, I just got cut open during the fight,” said Abdelkader, who got two stiches on his left index finger. “Holding the stick can be tough, it’s on my bottom hand. Trainers did a good job of patching it up, protecting it.”

Defensemen Jakub Kindl (hip flexor) and Jonathan Ericsson (groin) also appear ready to return.

“I will be playing for sure,” Kindl said. “We decided I needed a couple of more skates before getting into the game so it was a smart decision, so I’ll be playing tomorrow.”

Defenseman Brendan Smith fell awkwardly into the boards after being hit by Gustav Nyquist and left the ice early. He said he would available for Friday.

Defenseman Danny DeKeyser didn’t skate after “bumping his knee” in the loss to the Penguins.

“His foot got caught in a rut against (Sidney) Crosby and fell down,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “That’s when he bumped his knee. I don’t think it’s very serious, but once again it’s this time of the year.”

Wings hope to have second line playing together Friday against Maple Leafs

DETROIT – Quick update from the Detroit Red Wings practice Thursday at Joe Louis Arena.

It looks like the team will have its second forward unit – Daniel Alfredsson, Stephen Weiss, Johan Franzen – playing together its first preseason game of the year.

“I’m hoping so, but I can’t guarantee anything,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “It’s all based on health.”

Alfredsson, who has played just one preseason game, has been sidelined of late with a groin.

“I would love to play a couple more,” Alfredsson said. “But it is what it is and you got to be smart, especially now when you have the time but I’m hoping to play Friday and get a game in here before we start for real.”

Franzen missed some time with a hip flexor.

“We’re looking to get just get the first one,” Weiss said. “It is what it is this time of the year, guys go down with stuff and they work other guys into the lineup and kind of work with what you’ve got.

“For me it’s been kind of tough cause I’ve had new guys every night and working with that has been a bit of a challenge, but hopefully tomorrow we can that line together and try to at least get one game in before we get going for real here,” Weiss added.

Babcock would love to dress an “NHL lineup” for Friday’s home preseason game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“When you play eight exhibition games, your lineup is spread out big time,” Babcock said. “You have to just to keep guys alive. Obviously we dressed a pretty good lineup there in Boston, that happened because a few guys got dinged and we had to move a few guys around. Since that time I’ve had full intention to … Pittsburgh came here with an NHL team and wanted to play an NHL team. And they got here, maybe they got something out of it, but they would have got way more out of it had they played against an NHL team.

“I don’t know what to do about that,” Babcock continued. “We can play two less exhibition games and we can have more guys in the lineup or we can continue to do what we’ve done and that’s the way it is.”

Wings younger players “need more time” to development according to Babcock

DETROIT – If we learned anything from Detroit’s 5-1 loss to Pittsburgh Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena, it’s that the Penguins appear ready for the regular season and the Wings do not.

Chris Kunitz scored a pair of goals and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury needed to make just 16 saves to hand Detroit its third setback on home ice.

Jussi Jokinen, Pascal Dupuis and Craig Adams also had goals for the Penguins, who scored twice on the power play.

Drew Miller had the Wings’ lone goal and Petr Mrazek made 32 saves.

“Well you have to have the puck more than we did if you’re going to have any fun out there I’ll tell you that,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “They came in here with an NHL looking team and we didn’t have one. We still have to play so many games we have to spread our lineup out and we have so many guys hurt. We weren’t deep enough and we didn’t have the puck enough so that’s what I took from it.”

Detroit was playing without a few of their main pieces, including Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Daniel Alfredsson, Niklas Kronwall and Jimmy Howard, while the Penguins had close to their opening night lineup on display.

“Without the leadership of Kronwall, Datsyuk and Zetterberg it doesn’t appear we have much driving the bus either,” Babcock said. “You saw guys you were hoping for, but it’s pretty clear a few of the things we thought might work aren’t going to work for us didn’t because they’re not good enough players yet. They need more time that’s just the way it is.”

This was Pittsburgh’s last preseason game, while Detroit has two more left.

The Wings have scored one or fewer goals in three of their last five preseason games.

“I think it starts with defense,” Stephen Weiss said. “We had a tough time getting out of our zone clean and getting through the neutral zone clean and when you’re having a tough time with that you’re turning pucks over and they’re coming back at you, so it’s tough to generate offense a lot of times. By the time you get in their zone you’re either changing and you can’t sustain anything.”

The Wings drop to 2-4-0 in the preseason.

Jokinen opened the scoring with 11 seconds left on the Penguins’ first power play.

Jokinen took a nice outlet pass from blue line to blue line from Matt Niskanen to get behind the Wings and into their zone all alone before putting his backhand shot top shelf past Mrazek.

Just over four minutes later Pittsburgh went up 2-0.

Sidney Crosby raced onto a puck chipped out of the Penguins’ zone past Wings defenseman Brendan Smith. He then spotted a wide open Dupuis cutting through the center of the ice and he beat Mrazek stick side.

After the Wings were unable to generate much on their first power play of the game, the Penguins came right back down and struck just after Evgeni Malkin got out of the box. Malkin took a pass from Rob Scuderi and calmly flung it on net where it was redirected in by Adams just three minutes into the second period.

Miller spoiled Fleury’s hopes of a shutout past the midway point of the contest, getting to a puck dumped in between the two faceoff dots in Pittsburgh’s zone and chipping it over a sprawling Pens netminder, who had come out to try and play the puck.

Kuntiz built Pittsburgh’s lead back to three, stripping the puck off Xavier Ouellet’s stick at the Wings blue line and rifling a shot past Mrazek.

Kunitz capped the scoring on the power play, getting a feed in front of Mrazek and after making the keeper make the first move, he stuffed the puck into the short side.

Alfredsson, Ericsson out against Penguins; Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Kronwall healthy, but won’t play

DETROIT — Daniel Alfredsson (groin), Jonathan Ericsson (contusion), Jakub Kindl (hip flexor) won’t play tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Alfredsson didn’t practice and has played one game this preseason.

Patrick Eaves (sprained MCL and ankle) and Jordin Tootoo (shoulder) are also out.

Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall will also sit.

The team had to bring back Riley Sheahan and Xavier Ouellet from Grand Rapids to fill the lineup.

“Every year I have this fantasy that this game and the on Friday night was supposed to be a full roster,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Obviously that can’t happen, plus we can’t play guys three games in four nights. That doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you’re a kid. So we’ll have to figure out a way to get a lot of Grand Rapids guys back for a couple of days.”

So the lines will be Stephen Weiss centering Johan Franzen and Justin Abdelkader; Riley Sheahan centering Todd Bertuzzi and Daniel Cleary; Joakim Andersson centering Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar; Cory Emmerton will center Drew Miller and Mikael Samuelsson.

The defensemen pairings will be Kyle Quincey and Brendan Smith; Danny DeKeyser and Ouellet; Brian Lashoff and Adam Almquist.

Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Kronwall will all return Friday.

“I want to watch guys compete,” Babcock said. “We’ve got to make decisions. We’ve got three games left. Let’s compete, let’s do what we’re supposed to do. Focus on our details and continue to get better as a team. We haven’t scored any goals with the exception of one game. We don’t shoot the puck. We’re averaging 23 shots a game. We got to shoot the puck, we got to get to the net.”