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Versatile Meech happy to contribute

Wednesday, 03.31.2010 / 3:26 PM ET / News
By Michelle Crechiolo  - DetroitRedWings.com Intern
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Versatile Meech happy to contribute
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DETROIT – Derek Meech has quietly been the Red Wings’ most versatile player.

Meech is usually the eighth defensemen in a star-studded lineup that includes six-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom. But when injuries plagued the team’s defensive corps before the Olympic break, Meech stepped up and logged more minutes, recording a season-high 19:42 of ice time on Dec. 23.

Now that all the blue liners are healthy, Meech was again seeing limited ice time, until forward Dan Cleary’s nagging groin injury flared up on March 26. Since recalling someone from Grand Rapids is out of the question, Meech has been asked to play forward, a position he last played full-time as a 16-year-old in juniors.

“It’s a lot different,” Meech admitted. “It’s tough to sort of switch that defensive-mindedness, from defense to forward, but I like it because skating’s always been kind of one of my strong suits. It allows me to get up in the play and really try to use some speed and some tenacity and get up in the forecheck and use the body, which I like to do.”

This is a role he’s been asked to fill in previous seasons with the Wings, seeing ice time as a forward last season as well. He’s a team player and doesn’t complain about the switch, which makes him invaluable to the coaching staff

“He’s been positive all the time, even when he doesn’t play,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s an upbeat guy, the guys really like him, and he competes hard.

“I think obviously that attitude’s everything, you choose it every day. So he’s making the best of a situation that at times hasn’t been very positive for him. Would he like to play 20 minutes a night and play on the ‘D’ every night? He would. Ideally, one day it’ll work out that it works out like that for him. But right now to help us, that’s not his role.”

Meech has taken his temporary switch to forward in stride. He logged 6:46 of ice time on Tuesday paired with Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves, which gave the Wings a chance to roll all four lines in what ended up being a tight game against Edmonton.

“I think it’s just getting your mindset in the right spot,” Meech said on how he adjusts to an offensive role. “Personally, it’s just playing on the fourth line usually, to just go out there and try to create some energy, and get some forecheck pressure and some body.”

Jason Williams, a forward who sees time on defense during power plays, understands how tough the transition can be, but said that Meech can use his experience to help him develop as an all-around player.

“You just see the game in a different perspective,” he said. “Sometimes it helps going back there, or moving up on forward, because you see things that kind of develop and happen, and you can use them when you’re in different positions.”


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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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