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Red Wings practice day news; Datsyuk will return on Saturday, but Franzen doubtful w/ back spasms

Updated 6x at 5:56 PM: Good news-bad news from the Red Wings’ practice on Friday in San Jose, per the Free Press’s Helene St. James on Twitter:

Datsyuk says he’s playing against Sharks
In locker room after practice, Cleary asks, “Where’s Mule?” Kronwall supplies his answer “food court”
Babcock said Franzen has back spasms, doesn’t know status for tomorrow

Here’s the entirety of St. James’ Twitter quips...

Danny Cleary with Drew Miller and Darren Helm.
Jimmy Bedard filling in for Jordan Pearce in goal, since he’s not here yet
Hmm. Franzen just left ice.
You watch one end, I’ll watch other” http://pic.twitter.com/s8yBxibV
More strategizing http://pic.twitter.com/DgPoSopl
Datsyuk practicing PP with Zetterberg and Holmstrom
Bertuzzi, Filppula and Hudler on other PP
Holmstrom practicing with Datsyuk and Bertuzzi
End of practice drills http://pic.twitter.com/6OzxZrxF
Winding down http://pic.twitter.com/0o8mFhDb
Winding down http://pic.twitter.com/dOV9ebkj
“where do you want to go for lunch?” http://pic.twitter.com/l3Pc6Ay1
Filppula signing autograph http://pic.twitter.com/TQab9dAw
And Bertuzzi http://pic.twitter.com/gc2GpWr8
Datsyuk says he’s playing against Sharks
In locker room after practice, Cleary asks, “Where’s Mule?” Kronwall supplies his answer “food court”
Babcock said Franzen has back spasms, doesn’t know status for tomorrow

MLive’s Ansar Khan confirms via Twitter:

Wings on ice at Sharks’ practice facility. Brad Stuart’s two young sons were skating with team in warmups
Datsyuk skating on line with Franzen and Bertuzzi, a good sign.
Wings skating with these lines: 51-40-26, 93-13-44, 20-43-11, 96-48-8, 39; 55-23, 27-18, 2-27, 52-4; 35-31.
Wings’ Franzen has left the ice, apparently in some discomfort.
Goaltending coach Jim Bedard is manning one of the nets for Wings, as Pearce hasn’t arrived yet and macdonald (back spasms) isn’t on the ice
Holmstrom took Franzen’s place on line with Datsyuk and Bertuzzi.
Datsyuk said he is playing tomorrow
Babcock said Franzen has back spasms. Status for Saturday uncertain.

Update: Here are quips from the Wings’ Twitter account...

Players are starting to take the ice for Friday’s practice. Brad Stuart has his two kids in tow, both wearing number 23 sweaters.
Stuart, with a one-timer from Stuart here at the #Wings Friday practice. Great father-son moment. say.ly/EfH1AtC
Datsyuk says he’s feeling better, hoping to play tomorrow.
Nick Lidstrom did not make the trip to San Jose and isn’t taking part in today’s practice.
Ian White, who played in San Jose last year, signs for fans after practice. twitpic.com/8x56ev
Babcock: The emphasis on our team every day is to work hard and play with good structure. We haven’t done that lately.
Babcock said he hasn’t talked to Datsyuk yet, but if he’s ready to play. He’ll play.
Babcock: We’ve just got to keep plugging away and working hard. Having Pavel will help. (On the power play)
According to Mike Babcock, Johan Franzen left the ice with back spasms. Said that ‘I’m assuming he’ll play (tomorrow) unless told otherwise’
PHOTO: Goalie coach Jim Bedard served as the team’s backup goaltender in practice. twitpic.com/8x5eux

>Update 32: Not good, from St. James:

Franzen walking very gingerly, said back hurts quite a bit, never been this bad before. Said if he doesn’t feel better tomorrow, won’t play

Here’s St. James’ initial “print” report:

Quick update from practice: Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk says he will play against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.

Datsyuk has been out since undergoing knee surgery Feb. 21. He practiced today between Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen (for a while) and said afterward that he’s ready.

“I think so, yeah, if nothing happens,” he said. “Looking forward to play tomorrow. It’s tough to watch hockey, because it’s like you always want to play, go with teammates, skate. Every day, it’s more tougher and tougher.”

Though it takes all players awhile to get back into it after a layoff, Datsyuk is so skilled that he’ll have an impact right off the hop. The Wings badly need him back, as they’ve lost three games in a row.

Franzen left practice early with what coach Mike Babcock said were back spasms; his status for Saturday is uncertain. “I assume he’s playing till someone tells me different,” Babcock said.

And here’s MLive’s Ansar Khan’s initial report:

Quick update following the Detroit Red Wings practice today at Sharks Ice:

Pavel Datsyuk said he will return to the lineup Saturday against San Jose (10:30 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit). He has been out since Feb. 21, when he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

Johan Franzen left practice early with back spasms. His status for Saturday likely will be determined after tomorrow’s morning skate.

It doesn’t sound like Franzen’s going to play tomorrow, however, per Khan on Twitter:

Franzen not too optimistic about tomorrow. Said he can’t play when back feels this way. Happened suddenly on ice.

Update #1.5: The Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa follows his own train of thought in his Twitter quips:

wings working in corners in drills today at sharks’ ice in san jose. concert tonight at hp pavilion dictated practice here.
stuart family here. brad weighing desire to be with family near san jose next season, really cute kids in hockey gear and stuart sweaters..,
it would be significant loss for the wings. stuart’s style of play makes him a bit low profile. but his contribution on back end huge
wings got big help last night with blues and predators losing. but math appears to dictate blues winning central. wings play sharks saturday
wings now working on breakouts and movement through neutral zone. they talked about the latter, especially, being a problem recently.
more than a few former michigan people taking in the practice, here. some tigers’ caps mixing in with red wings sweaters. kids enthralled

Update #2: More Franzen from Khan:

Wings’ Franzen on how he feels: “Not great. Hard time moving. When I started skating it started to cramp up or spasm up.’‘
Franzen: “I don’t know (about Saturday). Can’t play like this. If nothing really awesome happens tonight or tomm. morning, probably not.’‘
Franzen: “When I started skating it started to got worse and worse, tried to skate through it. I had to get off, I couldn’t really move.”

Update #2.5: More Datsyuk from Khan:

Wings’ Datsyuk: “Much better. I think so (playing Saturday). If nothing happens, it looks like. Looking forward to playing tomorrow.’‘
Datsyuk: “It’s tough to watch hockey, because you always want to play. Too much emotion when you watch game. Better you play.’‘

And Krupa’s finally weighing in on the players:

datsyuk says he thinks he will play saturday. franzen walking gingerly. back stiffens during practice. babcock says both decisions saturday.
pearce to rejoin wings saturday after macdonald’s back spasms. goalie coach jim bedard in net at practice. he looked good out there!

Update #3: Here’s Khan’s practice report with quotes added to the mix:

Pavel Datsyuk said he expects to return to the lineup Saturday against the San Jose at HP Pavilion (10:30 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit), but Johan Franzen might miss the game due to back spasms. But, at least, getting Datsyuk back will be a huge boost. He has missed 11 games since having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Feb. 21.

“If nothing happens, looks like (he’s playing Saturday),’’ Datsyuk said. “Looking forward to playing tomorrow. It’s tough to watch hockey, because you always want to play, you always want to go with teammates, skate, everything. Every day it’s more tougher and tougher. Too much emotion when you watch game. Better you play.’‘

Franzen left practice early today at Sharks ice. He is not optimistic about playing Saturday.

“I never had this before,’’ he said. “Can’t play like this. If nothing really awesome happens tonight or tomorrow morning, probably not (play).’‘

Franzen said there’s nothing unusual about having a stiff back a couple of times a season, but this is different. He felt it happen suddenly on the ice and had a hard time moving. Even after having treatment for more than an hour he didn’t feel good and wasn’t walking right.

“When I started skating it started to cramp up or spasm up,’’ Franzen said. “It got worse and worse, tried to skate through it. I had to get off. I couldn’t really move.’‘

He said he’ll have more treatment on it tonight and Saturday morning, but wasn’t planning on having an MRI or any other tests.

Here’s the Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa’s practice report...

Pavel Datsyuk says he thinks he can play Saturday against the Sharks, but Coach Mike Babcock said no decision has been made.

And a new problem popped up for the Red Wings at practice Friday morning.

Johan Franzen left the ice early with what the Red Wings said is back spasms. Franzen, the leading goal scorer for the Wings, would be a big loss as they struggle to remain in the race with the Blues for the Central Division lead, and to stay ahead of the Predators for second place.

Babcock said the decision on Datsyuk and Franzen will be made Saturday.

“I don’t go into that room,” he said, of the training room at Shark’s Ice, the auxiliary rink in San Jose, where Franzen was receiving treatment.

“It’s never good news,” he said. “I just wait until they tell me.”

And, via the Wings, here’s a clip of Stuart skating with his kids:

Detroit Red Wings on WhoSay

Update #3.5: Krupa version 2.0:

Franzen said his injury is something he has not had before, and he expects to take treatments Friday night and Saturday morning. But he was not encouraging about his prospects to play, and he walked gingerly as he left the dressing room.

“One in, one out, maybe,” he said, with a shrug, when asked to comment on the Wings’ bad luck with injuries. “We’ll see.”

Babcock also took a wait-and-see approach.

“He had back spasms. I assume he’s playing until someone tells me different,” Babcock said. “I don’t go into that room,” he said, of the training room at Shark’s Ice, the auxiliary rink in San Jose, where Franzen was receiving treatment. “It’s never good news,” he said. “I just wait until they tell me.”

Update #4: Here’s our first Sharks update of the day, from Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area’s Brodie Brazil:

Red Wings superstar forward Pavel Datsyuk is set to return on Saturday night at HP Pavilion, when the Sharks host Detroit. Datsyuk has been out for nearly a month with a knee injury suffered on Feb. 21, but skated in his regular place between Todd Bertuzzi and Tomas Holmstrom on Friday morning at Sharks Ice.

“Looks like it, yeah. Looking forward to playing tomorrow,” Datsyuk said, when asked if he was ready to return.

The man voted by his peers as the best player in the NHL not named Sidney Crosby is anxious to get back on the ice. He hasn’t enjoyed his view from the press box and on television.

“It’s tough to watch hockey because you always want to play,” he said. “You want to go with your teammates, skate, and everything. Every day it’s tougher and tougher. It’s too much emotion when you watch a game, it’s better to play.”

He also expects a tough game from the Sharks, who have beaten the Red Wings twice this season, although Detroit claimed a 3-2 win in the most recent game at Joe Louis Arena on Feb. 19.

“It’s a good team but now it’s the end of the season. Every team is fighting for the playoffs. Every game is very tough. It’s going to be a challenging game tomorrow, for sure,” Datsyuk said.
“In my mind, anyway, he’s the best player in the world. Any time you can get a player of his caliber back in the lineup, it’s always a good thing,” Niklas Kronwall said. He’s got that presence with him. All the superstars do. Nick [Lidstrom] is the same way. Any time a guy like that comes back in the lineup, it makes their surroundings better, as well. Obviously, we’re excited about that, and we’d like to turn this around right now.”

• Hockey’s Future continues to try to transform itself from a “prospects” website to a “news portal” with a Central Division notebook which includes this quip about the Wings:

Detroit Red Wings - With the possibility of losing home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, the Red Wings will hope to rebound from what has become a road trip to forget. Yesterday the club opted to send Nicklas Lidstrom home as the Hall of Fame defenseman continues to be frustrated by a bone bruise on his right ankle. On a brighter note, they may have Pavel Datsyuk back in time for their lone game this weekend in San Jose on Saturday.

• Speaking of superfluous observations, if you’re interested in the details of the NHL’s new playoff ad campaign, “Because It’s The Cup,” Yahoo Sports’ Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski will provide for your needs;

• More interesting: Grand Rapids Griffins coach Curt Fraser gave a 2:57 interview to the Griffins’ website/YouTube channel about the Griffins’ playoff push, Ty Conkllin’s presence and having to deal with call-ups:

• And I just don’t share the same sense of doom-and-gloom about Lidstrom’s eventual retirement that the Left Wing Lock’s Sarah Lindenau does. Yeah, the Wings will be different, but they’re going to spend money on the best free agents on the market when Nick leaves, and while the Wings aren’t the same team they were when Yzerman and Shanahan were in town, Datsyuk and Zetterberg have tended to allow the Wings to cope decently.

Update #4.5: The OHL released the results of its Coaches’ Poll today, and Petr Mrazek was named the 3rd-best shootout goalie in the Eastern Conference, and Ryan Sproul earned nods as the player with the hardest shot and the 2nd-best offensive defenseman.

Update #5: Here are some Wings-related comments from the Sharks, via the Mercury News’s David Pollak:

Normally, you welcome the fact the Detroit Red Wings are practicing in San Jose. It’s a good chance to talk with Mike Babcock or his players about the always curious relationship between the two teams, for one thing — however exhausted that topic may seem by now. But the teams were skating at the exact same time at Sharks Ice so decisions had to be made. Having had to leave the post-game scrum early last night, I opted to invest my time with the Sharks — looking back at that 2-1 shootout win over Nashville, looking at ahead to Saturday night’s game against the Red Wings.

In no particular order:

******The Sharks have now captured five of the six points on table over the past three games. Can they afford to think of themselves as getting out of the tar pit they put themselves in?

“No, I don’t look at it that way at all,” Dan Boyle said. “It’s very hard to gain ground. We can win the next three and if Colorado, Dallas and Phoenix win the next three, we’ll have gained nothing. We’ve just got to keep winning.”

No argument here. Todd McLellan uses the Joseph Heller novel to describe how he wants his players to look at their current situation.

“I want them to have an urgency to their approach and to the way they apply their trades. Yet I want them to play relaxed and free — Catch 22,” he said. “But you can relax, you can go home today and relax and start preparing for the game tomorrow. And then when you come, you’ve got to bring your A game and it’s as simple as that.”

*****The Sharks are catching the Red Wings without Nicklas Lidstrom, who left Detroit’s current road trip to go back home because his bruised ankle bone hasn’t been healing. Pavel Datsyuk, on the other hand, will be back in the lineup after missing the past 11 games due to arthroscopic knee surgery. Without those two, the Red Wings have been struggling with only one win in their last six games and going 0-for-California so far after stops in Los Angeles and Anaheim. Don’t try to tell the Sharks they’re catching the Red Wings at a good time, though.

“It’s nothing you even think about,” Douglas Murray said of playing Detroit without Lidstrom. “It might be a different answer if you play a seven-game series and you might approach it differently. But a single game, it’s nothing to focus on.”

Says McLellan: “It (three-game losing streak) may motivate them more, they might be hungrier. I don’t know. I just know that we need to get ourselves on a streak and they stand in the way of that. We’ve got to be ready to come out and play our best. I can’t give you any other answer than that the rest of the year. That’s just how it is.”

Update #6: Via RedWingsFeed, here’s DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose’s off-day update:

Forward Johan Franzen left the ice early Friday morning complaining of low back pain as the team skated at the Sharks’ training facility. His status for Saturday is uncertain. Franzen said that he’s experienced back problems in the past, but nothing quite as severe as Friday morning.

“I never had this before. Not like this,” he said. “Can’t play like this.”

The Wings’ leading goal-scorer is one of three players to appear in all 71 games this season, joining center Henrik Zetterberg and defenseman Niklas Kronwall. But Franzen is just the latest in a laundry list of players to be added to the team’s infirmary. Over the last month, nine players have spent time on the shelf for either injury or illness, including Datsyuk, who had knee surgery and captain Nicklas Lidstrom (bruised right ankle). If Franzen can’t play Saturday, he’ll be the 10th player since Feb. 21 to miss a game.
But Datsyuk sounded much more positive about his possible return.

“Looking forward to playing tomorrow,” said Datsyuk, who last played on Feb. 19 against the Sharks.

While he’s glad to be returning, Datsyuk is glad to have 11 games to work out any rust prior to the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs next month.

“Every time is different,” he said. “I hope so tomorrow it be back, kind of everything. But after every injury, it takes more time or less time, it’s hard to say.”
“San Jose good team. Now it’s end of season, every team is fighting for playoffs, every game is tough,” he said. “It’s going to be a challenging game tomorrow for sure.”

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MOWingsfan19's avatar

Wings on ice at Sharks’ practice facility. Brad Stuart’s two young sons were skating with team in warmups

That’s gotta be awesome for him… and it’s another reason he will not be back next year.  hmmm

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 03/16/12 at 04:41 PM ET


Franzen has back spasms…..working too hard I see….

Posted by Nat from MTL on 03/16/12 at 04:57 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

Stuarts sons aren’t the problem- they’re his.  It’s the stepdaughter that causes the unfortunate conflict, if I’m not mistaken.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 03/16/12 at 05:09 PM ET

WingsFanInBeanLand's avatar

Franzen has back spasms…..working too hard I see…


Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from where free agents no longer dare. on 03/16/12 at 05:19 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Wings on ice at Sharks’ practice facility. Brad Stuart’s two young sons were skating with team in warmups…

When I read this, I suddenly totally understood why Stu might leave.  *sigh*

And that was before I saw that video, which was beyond cute.

We don’t know precisely why Stuie’s family can’t move to Detroit.  (Yes, rumor has it that it’s a complication of the step-daughter’s custody.)  Maybe they just don’t want to.  Whatever, it’s clear that he has to make a choice.  And after seeing those two little ones out there on the ice with Daddy, well, I think the writing is on the wall.  Stuie looked pretty happy out there with his kids.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 03/16/12 at 05:56 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

And the Mule is injured now.  Wonderful.  Can we suit up Darren McCarty?

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 03/16/12 at 05:57 PM ET

Norskirama's avatar

Not really related but Brendan Smith’s brother Reilly who plays at Miami is on the final Ten Hobey Baker list.  Top three will be announced the end of March.

Posted by Norskirama from Lincoln, Nebraska on 03/16/12 at 07:08 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

anyone else that hasnt been hurt yet, just assume they will miss a few before playoffs start as well.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 03/16/12 at 07:42 PM ET


Stuarts sons aren’t the problem- they’re his.  It’s the stepdaughter that causes the unfortunate conflict, if I’m not mistaken.
Posted by shanetx on 03/16/12 at 04:09 PM ET

That’s a little harsh to say the stepdaughter caused the problem; it was her parents that caused the problem.

From what I have read, there is a provision in the joint custody agreement signed by Stuey’s wife and her ex that prevents either parent from moving their daughter. I have seen a couple of those agreements in the State of California and they were tied to a specific school or school district. Basically, if you are a parent and you sign such an agreement, you are free to move away, but that child is not moving with you. No agreement is ever unbreakable, but considering the move would be across the country and 3 time zones away, I doubt the ex would agree (especially if they still hate each other, which they usually do). I haven’t practised any family law in a while, but I don’t recall the Court being able to order this type of agreement; the parties usually have to agree to it themselves. But I could be wrong on that last point.

I don’t know all of the facts in this case, but in general you can’t blame a parent for not wanting their school aged daughter to move across the country. Like you said, Shane, it’s an unfortunate situation and it will likely cost the Wings a top 4 D-Man.

Posted by LA Law on 03/16/12 at 08:09 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Not really related but Brendan Smith’s brother Reilly who plays at Miami is on the final Ten Hobey Baker list.  Top three will be announced the end of March.

Posted by Norskirama from Lincoln, Nebraska on 03/16/12 at 06:08 PM ET

As is Michigan’s goaltender, Shawn Hunwick.  Last I heard, “Hunny” is in 2nd place in the balloting.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 03/16/12 at 10:57 PM ET


Stuart and the tikes subtitles: 

Tyke 1 : Man I love this Winged Wheel sweater dad.

Tyke 2:  Yeah, dad.

Stu:  Yeah, but unfortunately I’m gone 8 months out of the year this way.

Tyke 1: But it’s the Wings dad!

Tyke 2 (Stuart bends down to talk to him):  I want to go lay a body on the Mule dad.

Stuart:  Careful, he doesn’t like the checking aspect of the game.  I wish we could inject him with 10% of Helms DNA.

Tyke 2:  He’s mine

Tyke 1: Look dad, I’m Datsyuk…SCOOORRE (Falls on ass)

Posted by BobaFett from Las Vegas on 03/17/12 at 02:49 AM ET


IMO, TPH is going to retire after the season.  It was looking good until this non-healing bone bruise.  Especially because Homer is probably done after this year too.

But that frees up the Wings to go after Wideman or Suter.

Either way a blueline of


is a pretty good Defensive lineup…it’s just not world class like with TPH instead of Wideman/Suter.

Posted by BobaFett from Las Vegas on 03/17/12 at 02:55 AM ET


One more thing: While I think the Wings could get two of the top 3 UFAs on the market this year if TPH retires, they might be better served if they come down a peg for less expensive assets like:

Jarret Stoll (A Righty) and Andrei Kostitsyn

Milan Jurcina (as a Stuart replacement) an excellent D man playing for a horrible team.

or Matt Carle.

And unless the Wings REALLY think they have a shot at signing Stu, they should trade his negotiating rights prior to July 1 for a conditional 3rd or 4th rounder…In Wings scouting that’s worth a 2ndish.

Posted by BobaFett from Las Vegas on 03/17/12 at 03:05 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I don’t think Nick’s gonna retire, and I would be surprised if Holmstrom did, quite frankly, unless he falls into a Draper-type, “Dude, we’ve got young kids we need to bring up, can ya take a position with the team as a power play coach and tell kids to get off your lawn, Homer?” situation…

But the Wings will definitely spend to help replace Lidstrom with the top free agent defenseman available if he does retire…

And yes, especially after having given up a 1st-rounder, the Wings will trade Stuart’s rights at the draft if they cannot re-sign him.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/17/12 at 03:43 AM ET

Joe Z.'s avatar

“Too much emotion when you watch game. Better you play.”
This guys makes me smile everytime he comments on something.

Posted by Joe Z. from Austria on 03/17/12 at 08:17 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.