DETROIT – Not overly thrilled to be a healthy scratch for the past three games, Tomas Jurco viewed Wednesday’s practice as a pretty good sign to getting back in the lineup.
“Right now I'm in there and hopefully it's going to stay like this for Friday night,” Jurco said about skating on Pavel Datsyuk’s line with Justin Abdelkader. “I don’t know if I will be playing but it looks like I am. It’s a good chance for me to get back into it and get it going.”
Starting Friday against Chicago, the Wings begin a 13-game stretch in 24 days.
It’s definitely been a frustrating first month to the season for Jurco, who has been held to two assists in 12 games.
“A little bit, yeah. It's sport,” Jurco said. “It's always like this, sometimes you're up, some times you're down. So I didn't have the best start. I think if I would have scored a couple goals, it'd be all different but unfortunately, none of those shots and chances went in for me. Right now it's pretty slow start for me. Like you said, it's gonna be good chance for me to get it going.”
Certainly, getting a chance to play with Datsyuk would be a phenomenal, Jurco said.
“It's great. He's obviously one of the best players in the league – in the world, too,” Jurco said. “It's a big opportunity for me to finally break that, maybe score some goals and just break that bad luck and just get going.”
With a few more days to think about the Blackhawks, coach Mike Babcock wasn’t prepared to divulge his lineup for Friday’s only home game against Chicago this season. But he did try to set the record straight about his decision to take Jurco out of the lineup three games ago.
“Contrary to belief that I took him out because he wasn’t playing good, I took him out because I thought we needed a change,” Babcock said. “I thought his last two games were two of his better games. I thought he had a good practice today, gets an opportunity for a good practice tomorrow and then I get an opportunity to decide who’s in the lineup.”
Should Jurco get a chance to play with Datsyuk it will definitely help him build confidence, Abdelkader said. And he should know something about getting a boost from playing alongside the Red Wings’ Magic Man.
“With Jurcs, for him he knows how he needs to play to be successful. He's a really good skater, he gets up and down the ice real well,” Abdelkader said. “He's a proven scorer wherever he's been. I know he's struggled to score here at least at the start. I think as a young kid in this league, it's a tough league and you can have success but once that success goes and maybe you go through a little rough stretch where maybe pucks aren't going in or you're not getting points like you want to, it's going to be tough on your game. But I think that's when you really need to get back to the basics and just find your game step by step, put your work in front of your skill and I think everything is fine in the end. I know it's probably been a tough stretch for him but he's a really good player, he works hard in practice, he's eager to get back in the lineup and to stay in the lineup."
By the looks of things at practice Wednesday, it appears Datsyuk will likely be ready for Chicago. The veteran center, who missed the past two games with a sore groin, had another good practice
“Tomorrow is another skate and so far it feels good,” Datsyuk said, “and we’ll see.”
PP ON THE RISE: The Red Wings continue to climb the power-play rankings, thanks to their recent stretch with two goals in each of the last three games. Through Tuesday, Detroit’s specialty unit was ranked No. 17, having produced 11 goals on 59 chances.
“The last five games, I mean, there have been a lot of bright spots,” Babcock said. “But we just think that we started getting going in the second five games. The first five games was awful. Second five games, even though the numbers were awful, it was starting to come, and then it’s been way better. It’s attacking more, it’s not passing it around as much, it’s playing better, so we just got to keep that going.”
The Red Wings and Pittsburgh are the only teams to score two or more power-play goals in three straight games this season. The Penguins, who lead the league with 21 power-play goals, also had a four-game stretch.
The last time the Wings had multiple power-play goals in four consecutive games was during the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs. The last time is happened in the regular season was during a seven-day stretch in 2008 when they went 10-for-30.
BERTUZZI’S HONOR: On Monday, Red Wings prospect Tyler Bertuzzi was named the Ontario Hockey League player of the week for the week ending Nov. 9.
The 19-year-old forward produced two goals and eight points in three games for the Guelph Storm.
In his fourth OHL season, Bertuzzi, who signed to an entry-level contract with the Red Wings last month, has 23 points in 17 games so far this season. The Wings’ second-round draft pick in 2013 will represent the OHL in the Subway Super Series Thursday in Peterborough.