NEW YORK – Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said he's not sure he should have scratched Tomas Jurco on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden, but if it produces the result he thinks he can produce, the questionable move will pay dividends.
Jurco has no goals and two assists in 12 games. He had eight goals and 15 points in 36 games last season.
Jurco was robbed by Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson at 6:11 of the third period Tuesday. He went in on a 2-on-1 with Darren Helm and got off a hard, quick wrist shot that Anderson stopped with a rising stacked pad save. Detroit lost 3-1.
"He's a kid," Babcock said of Jurco, 21. "The NHL, it's a hard League. We've seen a lot of guys come back for their second year and it doesn't go as good. Now it's the mental part. You think about it, I probably put gas on the fire today. You scratch the kid today and so now what's the right way. You've gotta dig in. The NHL is about mental toughness, you've gotta find a way to be a good pro. This is what he's going through right now."
Right Wing - DET
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 9
SOG: 25 | +/-: 2
Babcock doesn't think Gustav Nyquist is going through anything similar. Nyquist entered the game Wednesday with two goals in the past eight games since starting the season with one goal in each of the first four games.
However, Babcock said Nyquist was Detroit's best forward against Ottawa. He rejected the notion that Nyquist might be a streaky scorer.
"I don't think he's streaky," Babcock said. "I think [Nyquist] plays hard most nights. There has been instability of lines just with injuries. I think if you just played [Riley] Sheahan, Tats [Tomas Tatar] and Nyquist together and left them alone they'd probably do better than moving them around, but that may not be the best way to help our team so that's why it's not like that right now. But, to me, he competes hard. I think he's a good pro. To me, of that young group of guys, he's one of the most consistent. Consistency is the hardest thing for a kid."