Tag Archives: stephen weiss

Wings want to continue to build on the fly with young talent

DETROIT >> With a head coach in place, the Detroit Red Wings can turn their focus on how the roster will look for the 2015-16 season.

And that gets going Tuesday when general manager Ken Holland oversees things during the annual pro scouting meetings, which run to Thursday.

“We’re trying to go younger,” Holland said. “We’re trying to get better and sometimes when you’re dealing with younger people you’ve got to have patience and believe the patience is going to reward you somewhere down the line.”

The Wings’ core – Pavel Datsyuk (36), Henrik Zetterberg (35) and Niklas Kronwall (33) – are getting up there in age.

“There’s no doubt the core group of our team is old, but they’re superstars in their prime,” Holland said. “Those players can last longer. Even as their skills diminish, they may not be superstars, but they’re still good players. That’s what happened with (Steve) Yzerman, (Nicklas) Lidstrom. They could play until they’re 40. We’ve got a core that’s older, but if we can support them with youth, enthusiasm, speed, energy, it allows those players to kind of hold and maintain their status.”

The Wings have 17 players signed for next season with a cap hit of $56 million. This year’s projected cap is around $71 million.

Of the 17 players signed, two – Johan Franzen and Stephen Weiss – may not be back because of different issues. Franzen ($3.955 million per year over the next five seasons) because of his concussion issues and Weiss ($4.9 million per year over the next three seasons) having the potential to be bought out.

“I think the way things ended last year when I came back when the season started I wasn’t in the lineup, I was a healthy scratch, sat around for a while,” said Weiss, who has a no-trade clause in his deal. “They told me they were going to put me in and wanted to know if I wanted to go play a couple games in Grand Rapids. I wanted to. I went and did that, came back and got a good opportunity then. Playing with Pav there for a little bit and playing pretty well. And then, for whatever reason, I just fell down the lineup. I wasn’t playing a ton and when you’re not playing a lot it’s tough to do what you’ve always done.”

The buyout period runs June 15-30. Players receive two-thirds of the remaining contract value spread out over twice the remaining length of the deal.

If new coach Jeff Blashill feels Weiss, 32, will help the lineup he’ll be back.

A lot of the remaining cap dollars will have to go to re-sign restricted free agents Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Jurco, Joakim Andersson, Teemu Pulkkinen and Landon Ferraro.

They also have those in need of extensions next season – unrestricted free agents Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm, along with restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser, Petr Mrazek and Riley Sheahan.

Holland said Blashill will have input as well on how the roster will take shape.

“My management philosophy is we’re all in it together and at the end of the day the head coach has to have a voice as we head into the off-season as we make decisions,” Holland said. “He’s behind the bench. I can’t tell somebody ‘we trust you to run the bench but we’re not letting you be involved in any decisions. You’re not qualified to make any decisions.’ That doesn’t make sense.

“Mike Babcock was involved in lots of the decisions,” Holland continued. “Not many decisions went on where he wasn’t totally involved. Some of the decisions he was the leader on, good and bad. When I say bad, I mean decisions that didn’t work out. We’re in it together.”

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Weiss unsure of role next season with Wings

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings’ $5 million dollar man had another one of those less than $5 million dollar performance seasons.

And a lot of his performance issues are due to how things went his first season with the Wings since signing a hefty five-year deal worth $24.5 million.

Stephen Weiss, 32, tried to play through a sports hernia, which he started to feel the effects of during training camp, that first year. He wound up having sports hernia surgery and then had a second procedure later to repair an issue with scar tissue.

“What I had in mind last year was tough going through those injuries and it kind of hurt me this year,” Weiss said during the Wings’ locker room cleanup Friday at Joe Louis Arena. “Didn’t get in the lineup right away and I was still going through a bit of issues when I did get in the lineup. That took some time. I felt like I played really well when I got back and then for whatever reason fell down the lineup and just couldn’t recover.”

In the first season in Detroit, Weiss managed to play just 26 games totaling two goals, two assists and a minus-4.

“Looking back on it I should have taken time right away instead of playing through it,” Weiss said. “When I decided to play through it that wound up costing me.”

He played in 52 games regular season games this year and finished with nine goals and 16 assists.

Weiss appeared in the first two playoff games against Tampa Bay before finding himself benched the rest of the series.

“I’ve been around long enough, it was frustrating,” Weiss said. “You always want to do more. You feel like you can do more. I felt that way. I wanted to be in there, especially in the playoffs playing and have a bigger role, but it wasn’t to be.”

In all, he’s appeared in just 78 of a possible 164 regular season games since signing with the Wings.

After beginning this year as a healthy scratch, Weiss seemed to ignite the offense when he got in after a brief conditioning stint in Grand Rapids.

He had two goals in his first game back and had another goal in his next game.

In a seven-game stretch, Weiss had four goals and six assists. He had just five goals and 10 assists over the next 44 games as he slipped further and further down the lineup.

“At this point I’m just trying to get stronger and stay healthy over the summer and hopefully find a way to get a bigger role,” said Weiss, who missed the final 26 games of the 2012-13 season with Florida due to a wrist injury. “That would be nice. I feel like I can do a lot more. We’ll see.

“I think the way things ended last year when I came back when the season started I wasn’t in the lineup, I was a healthy scratch, sat around for a while,” Weiss continued. “They told me they were going to put me in and wanted to know if I wanted to go play a couple games in Grand Rapids. I wanted to. I went and did that, came back and got a good opportunity then. Playing with (Pavel Datsyuk) there for a little bit and playing pretty well. And then, for whatever reason, I just fell down the lineup. I wasn’t playing a ton and when you’re not playing a lot it’s tough to do what you’ve always done.”

Franzen has been battling an illness for a few weeks; he hasn’t scored since Nov. 20 and it a team-worse minus-9

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

Johan Franzen (illness) and Stephen Weiss (shoulder) both took part in a full practice.

Franzen hopes to return to the lineup Friday against the New York Islanders after missing Tuesday’s shootout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Weiss, who separated his shoulder on Dec. 12, is shooting to return Sunday at home against the Colorado Avalanche.

For Franzen, he’s been battling an illness for a number of weeks.

“I’ve been under the weather for three weeks or so I think my body shut down for a few days,” said Franzen, who didn’t feat he had the mumps. “I’ve just been battling flus, stomach flus, regular flus, for the last few weeks. I just haven’t been able to get healthy.

“Beginning of this week I just felt really, really awful, like no energy, nothing,” Franzen added. “I figured I needed a couple days just to get healthy. I think it’s run its course.”

Franzen said they ran tests on him Wednesday and found no mumps virus, which has hit the NHL hard this season.

“I’ve been battling stuff the last few weeks, enough was enough,” Franzen said. “I just needed to get rid of it. Sunday I got really, really sick. Tuesday I tried to skate in the morning skate and I was really shaky. I just was running on empty.”

That illness could have affected how Franzen performed on the ice.

He hasn’t scored a goal since Nov. 20 and is a team-worse minus-9.

“No,” Franzen said when asked if he was frustrated he wasn’t scoring much.

“Not really, mostly in the corners, passing pucks,” Franzen added when asked if he felt he was creating chances.

Asked if it was important for him to go into the short Christmas break on a strong note Franzen said, “I hope we win the last three games. That would be nice. If we win three games I’m happy, it’s a good Christmas gift.”

Franzen has never finished a season with a minus.

“We need him playing hard,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Everybody on the team, if your work doesn’t come before your skill you got no chance to be any good, period. So if you’re not a worker, no chance in today’s NHL, period. That’s why you look through it and see the teams. You’ve got to skate and you’ve got to work and if you can’t you’ve got to have people around you that flat-out can. But you can only have one guy per line max that doesn’t really haul.”

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.

Weiss not as excited this time around to face former team

DETROIT >> Stephen Weiss was excited to face his former team last season.

This time around it’s just another game.

Weiss and the Wings host the Florida Panthers, a team he had spent his entire career with until signing a deal with Detroit two offseasons ago.

“I don’t have quite the same feeling this year for sure,” Weiss said. “There’s only a few left on the team that I was on last. Some of the staff is still there, but it’s pretty much a new team again.”

The Panthers took Weiss fourth overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.

“Last year I was really excited to play against them, this year it’s just another game,” Weiss said.

Weiss played 654 career games with Florida and made the playoffs once.

Wings set to debut their ‘all center’ line tonight against Flyers

DETROIT >> The center of attention, so to speak, in Wednesday’s Wings home game against the Philadelphia Flyers will be their third line.

Pavel Datsyuk will center Darren Helm and Stephen Weiss.

All three are natural centers.

“We might be the only line in the NHL with three natural centers, so we should have success on the dot, hopefully, and some pretty good skill with Pav and Weisser,” Helm said. “We have to find a way to click pretty early.

“There are definitely some different aspects to our games that could gel together if we find a way to click, and it is exciting for me at least, playing with those two skilled, confident guys,” Helm continued. “If we find a way to click or gel it will be fun and pretty exciting.”

Datsyuk has missed his four straight games with a groin injury and six of the last eight.

“It’s very important for us to have him back,” Weiss said. “It’s a big boost to our lineup to have him back. Anytime he misses a game, it seems like it’s too long.”

Former Wing Kris Draper said playing on a line with Datsyuk was like winning the lottery.

“It definitely feels that way,” Weiss said. “When I saw the sheet this morning I had a little grin on my face. He makes the game a lot easier for the guys that play around him.”

Datsyuk is considered one of the best two-way players in the game if not the best.

“His ability to get the puck back is just one of the skill sets that separate him from a lot of other guys in the league, his ability to play defensively and steal pucks and turn it into offense,” Weiss said.

Datsyuk has been limited to 45 games in 2013-14 due to a knee injury and concussion. This season he’s already missed 11 of 21 games due to a separated shoulder and groin pull.

“He’s a guy I grew up watching, really and now to have a chance to play with him, it’s pretty cool,” Weiss said. “But you can’t be worried about that too much. I’ve just got to worry about what I’ve got to do and hopefully we can find some chemistry, the three of us.”

Datsyuk has five goals and six assists in 10 games this season.

“I thought initially it took him a bit to get back and then he was on fire and got hurt again,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “The big thing for Pav is as you get a little older in your career your physical fitness and the amount of care you take in keeping your body healthy is so important.

“He’s a high-end player for us,” Babcock continued. “I haven’t put him with (Henrik Zetterberg) on purpose just because … if he gets going maybe I’ll do that but right now leave him where he is and play him on a separate power play. I don’t think you can ever go wrong with having Datsyuk in your lineup.”

Not only is the line all centers, but they’ve all missed significant playing time over the past three seasons, combining to miss 306 regular-season games over that span – Weiss (140), Helm (83), Datsyuk (83).

Weiss had two goals in his return to the lineup Monday, doubling his output since joining the Wings two off-seasons ago.

“All signs are pointing towards being over the hump,” Weiss said.

Weiss nets a pair in Wings’ win over Senators; he said he ‘never lost confidence’

DETROIT >> If Stephen Weiss was looking for a glimmer of hope that he’s still the point-producing forward the Wings signed two offseasons ago, he got just that Monday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Weiss scored twice in Detroit’s 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators.

It was just his second game this season with the Wings.

Due to a lingering groin injury that developed into a sports hernia, Weiss has played in just 28 since the start of 2013.

It was also his first goal with the Wings since Oct. 14, 2013 and his first two-goal game since Feb. 26, 2012 while still with the Florida Panthers.

“I never lost confidence,” Weiss said. “It was just a matter of when you haven’t played in so long, coach has a tough time putting you in situations where you’ve always played and rightfully so. Even in practice, you’re not playing power play and getting those reps I have throughout my career. It’s just a matter of sticking with it. Hopefully get a break here or there to stay in the lineup for a couple games, build some momentum and off you go.”

Weiss had a goal in each of his conditioning games this past weekend with Grand Rapids.

“Scoring,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said when asked what Weiss can add to the lineup. “The guy’s got 60 points in the league a ton of times. That doesn’t happen by accident. But in your career, when you get hurt and you miss a couple of years, there’s no guarantee you’re getting it back.

“Weisser has played (three) games, two in the American League, and he’s got (four) goals,” Babcock continued. “Scoring is scoring. Not many guys can do that. We acquired him initially because we thought he could help us score and he spent two years on IR basically. Hopefully he can get his confidence back and get going.”

Weiss, 31, managed to play just 26 games last season totaling two goals, two assists and a minus-4. He had sport hernia surgery on Dec. 23 and then a second procedure on April 21 to repair an issue with scar tissue.

“I felt good physically,” said Weiss, who had 10:42 of ice time Monday. “We didn’t play a ton, but when I was out there I would still like to create more. It was a decent start. I felt healthy, had good legs and hopefully it just keeps snowballing in that direction.”

Weiss drove to the net hard and chipped in a loose puck over Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson’s right shoulder to put the Wings up 3-1 just past the halfway point of the game.

“That’s where you’re going to score goals,” Weiss said. “It was nice having pucks lying around there. Sometimes you go there and they’re going off skates and away from you and tonight they were there lying there for me. It’s nice to get those breaks.”

His second goal came in similar fashion, positioning himself in front of Anderson. After Anderson made a right pad save on Darren Helm, Weiss calmly backhanded a shot over the goal line.

“This is the best league in the world,” said Weiss, who played left wing on a line with Tomas Jurco and centered by Darren Helm. “It’s hard enough when you’re in a groove and playing well never mind when you’ve missed so many games, you’re in, you’re out, you’re in, you’re out. You’re playing different positions. It’s tough to do what you’ve done throughout your career.

“Like I said, it felt good to be in the lineup, it was nice to get a couple of goals and get the win,” Weiss added. “But I’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

Weiss had a rough preseason, registering just an assist and was a minus-4 in six games.

“Anytime you can score it gives you confidence,” Weiss said. “You remember how to do it. I always said it takes a bounce or something to go your way and then it starts snowballing. Hockey is funny that way. You see if with a lot of guys. To get those two down (in Grand Rapids) was huge. I had some bounces and hopefully I’ll keep scoring.”

The Wings targeted Weiss on the first day of free agency two off-seasons ago and landed the center for a hefty five-year deal worth $24.5 million.

Weiss has had scored 20 or more goals four times in his last seven seasons in Florida.