Tag Archives: toronto maple leafs

Franzen skates with team, but still not close to returning to lineup

DETROIT >> Johan Franzen participated in practice for the first time since injuring his groin on Oct. 17 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“It wasn’t great, but it was a first time skating with the team so that’s a good thing,” Franzen said. “I felt pretty good. I’m going to skate again tomorrow.”

Franzen will make the trip to Washington and take part in the morning skate.

“I’ve just been trying (to skate on my own), cruising around in shorts, seeing if it’s still there,” Franzen said. “Today was a step forward.

“I tried a few strides at 100 percent or close to it,” Franzen continued. “It didn’t feel great doing that so I backed off. I’m going to start a little slower.”

Wings coach Mike Babcock said he expected Franzen back in a couple days, but the forward was less optimistic.

“The big thing is anytime you’ve been out, and I say this all the time, it doesn’t matter who you are, it’s tough getting back in,” Babcock said. “The Mule has trained like crazy. But when you get back in your fitness isn’t the same and there isn’t anything you can do about that. It was good to see him out there today.”

Franzen has two goals and three assists in four games this season.

“I was feeling great,” Franzen said. “I’ve never had a groin issue before. I don’t know if it happened after I fell after that goal or what. I never really noticed it happened, but yeah it sucks. I’ve got to skate a little more and see where I’m at.”

Datsyuk out Wednesday and most likely through the weekend; Nyquist remains on top line

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

Pavel Datsyuk has ruled himself out for Wednesday’s home game against the Boston Bruins and it doesn’t seem look like, at least from his response, he’ll be available for the home-and-home series with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday and Saturday.

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

He skated in gray with Stephen Weiss and Daniel Cleary, both of whom were healthy scratches the first two games.

Wings coach Mike Babcock kept his lines intact from Monday’s practice, which meant Gustav Nyquist will be skating on the top line with Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen.

“If you score goals it gives you confidence so that’s a nice start, but it doesn’t really matter who scores,” said Nyquist, who has tallied two of the Wings’ goal goals thus far. “We’re playing as a team and as a team I think we’ve started pretty good.”

Franzen has three assists.

Wings coach Mike Babcock: “I can’t believe all the penalties. … Don’t know if they’re trying to get their quota during exhibition.”

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings’ special teams got a workout Monday night.

The power unit was 2-for-8, while the penalty kill was 8-for-8 as the Wings blanked the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-0, at Joe Louis Arena.

“I couldn’t believe all the penalties,” said Wings coach Mike Babcock, whose team improved to 3-1-1 in the preseason. “We have to be more disciplined I guess. Don’t know if they’re trying to get their quota up during exhibition, don’t know what it is exactly. I don’t know if we needed that many, but obviously we got some work.”

Detroit has yet to allow a power play goal in five preseason games in 23 chances, going 8-for-8 on the penalty kill against the Leafs.

“There was no flow, zero flow,” Babcock said. “That’s the problem with it. You want to play all your guys and you can’t play them. We got good work from our guys.”

“Special teams bit us in the butt,” Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said.

Nick Jensen and Riley Sheahan each scored on the power play, while Petr Mrazek made 27 saves. Tomas Jurco added an empty-net goal.

“The penalty kill was amazing obviously, I don’t even know how many there were but there were a lot of minutes that we had to kill,” Ryan Sproul said. “We did a great job offense and defense and it was hard on us but we killed it off.”

Toronto goalie James Reimer stopped 14 shots.

“Your best penalty killer is your goaltender and I thought he was really good, solid, good plays with the puck, he gave us an opportunity,” Babcock said.

“We killed lots of penalties, so a 3-0 game, I think it was a good effort from everyone,” Mrazek said. “I felt great from the beginning of the game. We had penalty kill right away, 17 seconds, you get into the game and then continue that work.”

Mrazek is in a battle to perhaps push Jonas Gustavsson for the backup job with the Wings.

“We’ll see what happens in couple days and then go from there,” Mrazek said. “I’m trying to do my best. Work hard every practice and every game I get so I’m happy for that.”

It took a while for the Wings’ power play to get going, finally striking on their fifth chance of the night. Jensen’s blast from the point deflected off Daniel Winnik’s stick just 33 seconds into the man advantage.

The second tally came on the seventh power play of the net, when Sheahan drove home a rebound off Reimer down low early in the third period. Sproul and Xavier Ouellet each drew assists.

The Wings lost two players during the course of the game. Tomas Nosek was ejected early in the second period for hitting Toronto’s Stuart Percy from behind. In the first period, defenseman Aaron Rome left with a lower-body injury.

Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle complains about how much Wings interfere

DETROIT >> Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle complained about how much Wings interfere.

“It seemed like there wasn’t a lot of space out there,” Carlyle said. “They had a job to do, as far as checking. I thought interference was supposed to be called in the NHL. Tonight was a clear-cut difference maker in that for us. We felt there was a lot of interference.

“You’ve got give them credit, they disguised it,” Carlyle added. “They did a better job than we did. And they got some opportunities and scored some timely goals. When you are into forecheck, they step in front of people, holding people up.”

Ericsson out 10 days to two weeks with a broken finger

DETROIT >> Another game, another player lost to injury for the Detroit Red Wings.

Jonathan Ericsson broke a finger late in the third period of Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It’s the sixth consecutive game the Wings have lost a player to injury.

“(Wednesday) there’s a chance he could have surgery, which would speed up the process,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “We might pin it.”

Jonas Gustavsson (groin) began the long list of injuries after leading the team to a win over the New Jersey Devils on March. 4. That was followed by Joakim Andersson (broken foot, March 9 against the New York Rangers), Tomas Jurco (broken rib, March 11 against Columbus), Todd Bertuzzi (lower-body injury, March 14 against Edmonton) and Justin Abdelkader (leg laceration, Sunday against Chicago.

Ericsson is seeing Dr. Plagens, a hand specialist.

“It’s the top of a finger, I don’t know which one,” Holland said. “They put a screw in to keep everything in line and then it would be when he can handle pain.

“I would say to you right now he’s out minimum of 10 days to two weeks,” Holland continued. “Sometime in the 10 days to two weeks we’ll see if he can handle some. It’s all about the pain threshold.”

Ericsson has missed 20 games total already this season. First he was out 10 games due to a shoulder injury and then he was out another 10 with broken ribs.

Brendan Smith, who was moved up to play win on the fourth line Tuesday, will drop back to defense.

The team is also without Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Henrik Zetterberg (back), Daren Helm (concussion), Stephen Weiss (sports hernia), Daniel Cleary (knee) and Mikael Samuelsson (shoulder).

Bertuzzi did return Tuesday after missing one game.

Quote of the day … Wings coach Mike Babcock

DETROIT >> Wings coach Mike Babcock on the team’s morning skate prior to the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Lots of kids,” Babcock said. “Watching the pre-game skate, the puck was like a hand grenade. The bottom line is you get called up, you’re excited, you want to show you can stay. The guys that are real good players aren’t scared of the puck, they want it. The guys that are nervous have to go back for more time.”

Abdelkader out up to two weeks; Smith not looking as move to forward was a demotion

DETROIT >> Quick update from the Detroit Red Wings’ morning skate prior to their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Justin Abdelkader could be lost up to two weeks with a leg laceration he suffered Sunday in Detroit’s 4-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

One other major shake up to the lineup will be defenseman Brendan Smith moving to forward.

“No. 2, Smitty, he’s playing left wing tonight,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Why? Because I think it gives us the best chance to win. With the amount of injuries we have, we feel this gives us the best opportunity. I talked to him yesterday and let him know.”

Smith has three goals and 12 assists this season and is a minus-4.

“They just told me I was playing some forward because we’re hard pressed for some forwards right now with all the injuries,” Smith said. “They asked if I would play that.

“Surprised, for sure,” Smith continued. “I haven’t played forward in quite some time. They just think I have the tools where I can skate, hit and pressure so that’s what I’m going to do.”

Smith is looking at this move as a compliment rather than how it could be perceived like a demotion.

“You have to look at it like that,” Smith said. “It’s different. I’m always excited to play, it doesn’t matter where it is. I’d rather be playing forward than not playing at all. There’s excitement there for sure. I hope it’s not like a demotion where you went from defense to playing 4-5 minutes. That would be very frustrating.

“They see me as the most versatile on the back end that can step in,” Smith added. “We need to win games so whatever I can help with. We haven’t scored so maybe I can help out in that area. Help in winning battles. So that’s how I need to look at it for sure.”

He had a very costly turnover against Edmonton on Friday, a backhand pass right onto the stick of the Oilers’ Ryan Smyth that led to the game tying goal.

Smith said he talked with Babcock before the move was made.

“He went about saying that we need a player with your speed and caliber to play,” Smith recalled. “I know coach repeatedly says that he’s going to put his best lineup out there whether it’s guys in different positions. I guess I can look at that as something good and we need wins.”

Smith took the morning skate on the fourth line with Cory Emmerton and Teemu Pulkkinen.

While playing Triple-A with the Toronto Marlies, Smith was on a line with John Tavares and Sam Gagner.

“I’ll do exactly what (the Wings) want me to do, win puck battles and skate and then dish the puck so that’s pretty much what I did with those two,” Smith said. “I got a lot of points doing it. I was kind of the power forward in that sense and I’ll try and do that again tonight.

“This is just to help the team,” Smith continued. “I’m a defenseman. This is not something that I’m going to be changing. I’m not (Dustin) Byfuglien or Brent Burns. Truthfully, I’m here just to help the team win. That’s what a lot of these guys are doing and that’s what I’m doing. As soon as someone gets healthy I’ll go back to defense and assume the position.”

Todd Bertuzzi will be a game-time decision. If he can’t go, Landon Ferraro will make his NHL debut.