Tag Archives: three games

Babcock on Kindl: “Yet in the hundred mile journey he just finished lap five.”

DETROIT – It may have taken a bit longer than was expected, but the Wings are finally getting the kind of play they had hoped out of defenseman Jakub Kindl.

And it couldn’t have come at a better time on the blue line after losing three of their top four over the last two seasons.

“Well he’s probably not worried about getting cut, but he’s probably worried about how much he’ll get to play,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “So, to me, there’s always something to battle for and compete for. The more you prepare and the harder you work and the more you pay attention to detail, the bigger chunk of the pie you get. It’s different probably, but it’s still very important.”

In each of Kindl’s first three seasons in Detroit he always seemed to find a way to work his way out of the lineup.

After missing the first three games last season with an injured groin, he was a healthy scratch in four of the next 14. He sat behind rookie Brian Lashoff.

But then the light turned on.

Kindl finished with four goals and nine assists in 41 games and was a plus-15, second only to Pavel Datsyuk (plus-21) on the team.

“Yet in the hundred mile journey he just finished lap five,” Babcock said of Kindl’s year.

Kindl credits last season’s lockout to getting his game to where it’s at today.

“I had the opportunity to go overseas, played in every situation and played a lot of minutes,” Kindl said. “I played against some tough players from NHL when we played for the national team. It helped me a lot, gave me a lot of confidence so when I came over it was a little easier for me.”

Detroit rewarded Kindl with a four-year extension this offseason worth $9.6 million.

“It’s a huge opportunity for me,” said Kindl, who made $1.05 million last season. “There’s always things I can work on and be better at. I’m definitely going to focus on trying to get better every game, each practice.

“Every little thing counts,” Kindl continued. “Still be better defensively, make the right decisions with the puck, shoot the puck and all those little things. I’m 26 years old, hopefully I can have a long career. There’s always things to work on.”

Kindl will be paired with Danny DeKeyser on the blue line.

“The opportunity opened up last year,” Kindl said. “Nick (Lidstrom) retiring, (Brad Stuart) going away. When I was here those years before you never had a chance as a young guy to step in the lineup because they had all these guys like (Brian) Rafalski, Stuart, Lidstrom, (Niklas) Kronwall, (Jonathan) Ericsson, so it was tough.

“The back end is pretty young and in good shape,” Kindl added. “I think we can be even better.”

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Wings want a healthy Helm by training camp

DETROIT — One player Detroit missed basically all season was Darren Helm.

“We’ve got to get him healthy for next season,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “It’s probably going to take half the year to get him up and running.”

Helm played just one game this season due to reoccurring back pain.

He however won’t need surgery.

“He’s been to about four doctors and they say there is no structural damage,” Holland said. “The plan is to let him heal and have him ready for training camp. We need him healthy in September.

“In order to get him playing, doctors asked him to push through it,” Holland continued. “He tried that, felt good and then experienced pain. There’s no use for him to push through it anymore.”

Helm, 26, has been on the wrong end of a rash of injuries of late.

He missed the Wings’ week-long training camp and the first three games of the season with a back injury, which was the first of his playing career.

He 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.

Jimmy Howard: “I think a lot of people would be happy to see us miss the playoffs.”

DETROIT — The Wings’ win Sunday over Nashville got them back into the postseason.

And Dallas’ loss to Chicago on Monday night kept them there.

“It’s upon us in the dressing room to get the job done,” Wings goalie Jimmy Howard said. “I think a lot of people would be happy to see us miss the playoffs. We’ve got to go out there and play with the same sense of urgency when we get to Calgary.”

Detroit has 47 points and Dallas still has 45 points. Both teams have also played the same number of games.

However, the Stars they hold the tiebreaker (regulation and overtime wins, or ROW). Dallas has 19, while Detroit has 18.

“I just thought from my perspective, we’ve been playing pretty well here of late,” said Babcock, whose team is 2-1-2 over its last three games. “You don’t leave the rink as happy as you could be when you lose in a shootout, but actually the last time I didn’t like our game was in Phoenix (April 4).

“It’s good to get the two points (against Nashville),” Babcock continued. “I looked at the last nine games in three-game segments. I felt if we got four out of every six points we’d have a chance. (Sunday) morning we were out of the playoffs. We’re in it right now. (Minnesota) is right there with us, St. Louis is only a point up, so there’s lots of us in that mud puddle trying to find a way to swim.”

Columbus is now tied with Detroit in points with 47 points, but the Blue Jackets have three less ROW.

Detroit is just a point St. Louis, which has played one less game than the Wings, and two points behind Minnesota.

The Blues (20, ROW) and Wild (19, ROW) each hold the tiebreaker over Detroit.