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Captain's leadership sparks Red Wings

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Red Wings players credited the team's comeback win over Vancouver to captain Henrik Zetterberg for his leadership on and off the ice Saturday night. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT – It’s definitely a cliché, though it does best describe Henrik Zetterberg’s leadership skills.

The Red Wings’ humble captain would prefer to lead by example. But that doesn’t mean he won’t vocalize his displeasure when the team needs a kick in the derrière.

“He had to get a message across and he did it pretty well,” rookie Dylan Larkin said. “Then he went on the ice and backed it up. That’s a leader. It was a cool thing to see.”

Whatever Zetterberg said in the team’s dressing room at Rogers Arena on Saturday must’ve worked. The Red Wings rebounded from a two-goal deficit in the final period en route to a 3-2 overtime win at Vancouver.

Teammates credit the captain’s explosive hit behind the Canucks’ net followed by a passionate appeal during the second intermission that sparked the victory that snapped a four-game losing streak.

“He threw the team on his back as you watched that game unfold,” goalie Jimmy Howard said. “He was in the thick of things and he was the one that laid that first big hit of the game for us on (Luca) Sbisa behind their net in the second period. I think he got fed up with the way we were playing and he just took over for us.”

Just eight games into the season, Zetterberg’s team-high assists (9), points (11) and power-play points (4) are among the top 10 league leaders.

Now, the captain is closing in on a couple franchise milestones. He is two goals shy of 300 career goals and one assist from achieving 500 career helpers in his 13th NHL season. He will be just the fifth player in franchise history to reach the 300/500 club, joining Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio, Steve Yzerman and Sergei Fedorov.

Should Zetterberg score twice against the Hurricanes tonight, he will reach the 300-goal plateau on the 52nd anniversary of Gordie Howe’s 300th goal scored on home ice at Olympia Stadium.

Since returning from lower back surgery 20 months ago, Zetterberg has continued to lead on the ice for the Red Wings, producing 19 goals and 77 points in 85 regular-season games.

“He’s a tough character,” Howard said. “He’s got a lot of pride and he leads by example day in and day out. Everyone in this dressing room looks up to him and I think that’s what you want out of your leader. It’s great to see. To be able to have a guy like him around the dressing room to learn from is beneficial for any young guy coming into the league.”

Zetterberg isn’t one to blow his top for the sake of rallying his teammates, making him less like Yzerman and more like his countryman Nicklas Lidstrom.

“Hank doesn’t talk much but when he has we all know we’ve done something wrong,” Tomas Tatar said.

Last Saturday was one of those times.

“It was no surprise that he did what he did,” Howard said. “He had some things to say and the guys responded, so it was great to see.”

Tomas Jurco
Right Wing  - DET
Goals: 0 | Assists: 0 | Pts: 0
Shots: 1 | +/-: E
JURCO’S RETURN: In the last week, Blashill has referred to Tomas Jurco as a long-term project for the Red Wings.

Well, the 22-year-old forward gets another chance when he plays tonight for just the third time this season Jurco draws into the lineup against The Hurricanes while Landon Ferraro will be a healthy scratch.

“We felt like he did some stuff in the last week to get himself in position to be successful here tonight,” Blashill said. “So we’ll get another chance to evaluate where his game is at tonight.”

Jurco has no points in two games.

It seems like sitting as much as he has early on would be frustrating but Jurco is taking a positive approach to his role and development.

A former point-per-game guy in the American Hockey League, there’s some who think a change in style is needed, that he will have to morph into a grinding forward to consistently get time in the Wings’ lineup.

But Jurco doesn’t see it that way.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “I just have to skate hard and I gotta skate more. That’s the main thing for Blash, I think he wants me to skate more, and once I do it and work hard, and maybe I know a make some plays it’s gonna help me mentally and I think it’s gonna be good. Like I said, I’m excited for tonight and I’m gonna work hard and we’ll see what’s gonna happen after.”

Kyle Quincey
Defense  - DET
Goals: 1 | Assists: 2 | Pts: 3
Shots: 10 | +/-: 1
QUINCEY UPDATE: Kyle Quincey will miss his second straight game following a hit to the head by Calgary’s Sam Bennett last Friday night.

The Wings’ defenseman said Tuesday he’s not feeling “the greatest”.

Quincey and defenseman Mike Green were both injured in the 3-2 OT loss to the Flames at the Saddledome.

Green went down with an apparent shoulder injury in the first period, leaving the Wings with five defensemen for the remainder of the game.

Quincey finished the game following the hit behind the Red Wings’ net with 8:47 left in regulation. He said it must have been adrenaline that got him through the rest of the period.

“Didn't feel that bad until after game,” Quincey said. “If it was bad, bad at the time, then even if we had one defenseman out there, I couldn't keep going.”

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