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Red Wings Firsts: Tomas Jurco

Rookie forward scored his first NHL goal a week after making his Red Wings debut

Wednesday, 06.25.2014 / 12:00 AM ET / News
Detroit Red Wings
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Red Wings Firsts: Tomas Jurco
Known as a splendid puck handler, Tomas Jurco concentrated on bulking up to handle the physicality of the North American game. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – When Justin Abdelkader suffered a concussion last December it put Detroit’s roster deeper in despair.

Patrick Eaves and Luke Glendening had been recalled the week before, and Gustav Nyquist was given permanent residence in the Red Wings’ locker room in November. With the talent pool to pick from in Grand Rapids dwindling, the club decided to call up a then unfamiliar face, Tomas Jurco, to make his NHL debut against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Dec. 15.

“Well, really it was between him and Riley Sheahan,” coach Mike Babcock said. “We already had up Glendening and he’s that kind of guy, so we looked for a different kind of guy.”

Jurco, the Wings’ second-round pick in the 2011 NHL draft, was touted as a talented winger with endless upside. At the time of his first call-up, he led the Griffins in goals (11), assists (16), points (27) and power-play goals (5). He was also tied for fifth in AHL scoring.

With injuries having decimated the forward lines, with Henrik Zetterberg (back), Stephen Weiss (groin), Darren Helm (shoulder) and Abdelkader (concussion) all sidelined, Jurco made his debut on the Wings’ top line with center Pavel Datsyuk and winger Daniel Alfredsson.

Babcock admitted he didn’t know much about Jurco when the forward first stepped into Detroit’s dressing room, however, Griffins coach Jeff Blashill gave his stamp of approval to the Red Wings.

“Personally, I don’t know him that good,” Babcock said at the time of Jurco’s call-up. “Blash tells me he’s a very good player. Blash tells me he has a chance to be a good player. But you can do anything you want down there but you have to come up here and have confidence to do what you do.”

It turned out that Jurco had plenty of confidence. He appeared in seven games during his first stint with the Wings, tallying his first NHL goal on Dec. 17, and his first two-point game (1-1-2) four nights later before returning to Grand Rapids.

But he didn’t stay in Western Michigan for long. Jurco was recalled on Jan. 16 as the Red Wings continued to suffer from an abundance of injuries, and he stayed in Detroit for the remainder of the season.

The forward finished the regular season with eight goals and seven assists through 36 games, often skating on the “Kid Line” alongside Tomas Tatar and Sheahan.

Most commonly known as “The Magician” for his popular YouTube videos displaying his impressive puck-handling skills, Jurco added a physical element to his game upon his arrivals in Grand Rapids and Detroit in order to continue his success.

“AHL is a little differently, there’s more I would say there’s more hitting and it’s a little different,” Jurco explained. “This is a little smarter here so I think I was building it while I was in Grand Rapids and then when I came up here I knew Babs liked me when I’m physical so it’s a good thing for me and I’m trying to do it. I know if I’m going to do that I know I’m going to get more ice time so it’s a good thing for me.”

While Jurco continues to focus on being more physical, he ultimately hopes to stay in the NHL long enough to combine that aspect of his game with the remarkable skills that made him an Internet sensation.

“Yeah that’s my next step that’s what I’m trying to do,” Jurco said. “If you put these two together, skills and physical, I think it’s going to show up pretty good so hopefully I can do it and hopefully I can do it quick enough to stay here.”




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


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
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38 is the official Web site of the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit Red Wings and are trademarks of the Detroit Red Wings. NHL, the NHL Shield and the word mark NHL Winter Classic are registered trademarks and Original Six is a trademark of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Detroit Red Wings and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.
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