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Wings fight through two more injuries

Howard, Kindl added to team's growing injury list

Sunday, 03.4.2012 / 8:03 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  -
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Wings fight through two more injuries
Red Wings rookie engaged in his first career fight with a second-period bout with Chicago's Andrew Shaw. (Photo by Dave Sandford)
DETROIT – Don’t expect the Red Wings to hang their collective heads after losing two more players to injuries Sunday at Joe Louis Arena.

“Injuries come to every team through the course of the year, and now it’s bit us a little bit, but at the same time nobody is really thinking too much about it,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “We can’t lay down and feel sorry for ourselves. Whoever is out there, they need to make sure that he does whatever is required of him and we’ll go from there.”

For the second time in eight days, more than one player has left the game due to an injury. On Sunday, goalie Jimmy Howard and defenseman Jakub Kindl couldn’t finish Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Chicago after they were bitten by the injury bug.

Howard and Kindl are just the latest players added to the Wings’ M*A*S*H unit, joining Nicklas Lidstrom (right ankle), Pavel Datsyuk (left knee) and Jonathan Ericsson (left wrist), who remain out of the Wings' lineup.

Kindl aggravated an undisclosed upper-body injury during his second shift Sunday, and Howard suffered a lower-body injury at some point in the first period and did not return after the first intermission.

“All I can tell you is it's a lower-body injury and it's day-to-day,” Howard said. “I don't think it's too serious. I'll get it looked at tomorrow morning and we'll go from there.

“Throughout the period it was just getting tighter and tighter, they decided to take me out. Go tomorrow morning to get it looked at and hopefully it's not too serious. Hopefully, I can bounce back quick.”

Joey MacDonald played the final two-periods and earned just his second loss since he was recalled from Grand Rapids when Howard fractured his right index finger in Vancouver at the start of February.

For the second time in the last four games, the Wings were force to finish a game with five defensemen when Kindl left the game early in the first period.

Last Saturday, three Wings’ defensemen suffered injuries when Lidstrom, Ericsson and Kyle Quincey (groin) were all hurt in a 4-3 loss to Colorado. Lidstrom and Quincey finished the game but missed the next start last Tuesday in Columbus.

Lidstrom has since missed two additional games, including Sunday’s contest, and Ericsson likely won’t return to the Wings’ lineup before early April.

Playing with five defensemen can cause problems, particularly when it comes to communicating with partners and making changes to the defensive pairings on the fly.

The problem can be compounded for guys who are new to the system, like Quincey and rookie Brendan Smith.

“It's a little hard and sometimes it can be a little frustrating because you don't know who you're going to go out with next shift,” Smith said. “It's tough on everybody once you drop to five D. I just think you have to play the situation. We're all good hockey players here and I'm glad they had a lot of faith in me in a lot of different situations.

“It is tough, but this is where I want to be and if I want to prove myself I have to play the way I did and even better, so hopefully next game if something happens like this I can even play better.”

Kronwall was fortunate that he wasn’t injury twice during one penalty-kill shift in the first period. First, the Wings’ defenseman took a bouncing puck in the chin off of a Patrick Kane shot and then in the left foot that was redirected past Howard on Patrick Sharp’s goal.

But Kronwall redeemed himself when he scored the team’s lone goal on his next shift. Taking a perfect pass from Darren Helm, Kronwall fired a one-timer that beat Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery.

“When the puck goes off of you like the first one,” Kronwall said, “it was obviously nice to get that one back fairly soon right after.”

Just when it seemed like it couldn’t get any worse for the Wings, they were forced to play five-minutes with only four defenseman when Smith engaged with fellow rookie Andrew Shaw for his first NHL fight.

“I didn't want to go because we only had five D and I didn't want to put the guys down,” Smith said. “He dropped the gloves, so I had no other option or no other chance to get away from it other than turtle ... and I don't do that.”

Wings coach Mike Babcock would have prefer to see his star rookie chose a better time to earn a major penalty, too

“He did a real good job and you like to see kids play real hard,” Babcock said. “When we had five D already, we didn't really need to go to four but when we have six he can do whatever he wants.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill




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


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
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80