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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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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80