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Notes: Ouellet gets another chance to play

Wings did not see Team USA and Team Canada's gold medal game but were impressed with shootout winner

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

DETROIT -- It has been a challenging season for Red Wings defenseman Xavier Ouellet.

Ouellet has played in just 36 games total and only one of the last 11. He has four assists and is minus-2.

"Personally, it's been rough," Ouellet admitted after Thursday's morning skate. "I think every athlete wants to play, wants to contribute. So yeah, it's not fun to sit for a long period of time. So that's been a little rough mentally but I guess it's part of the game. I need to keep working on myself, which I did. I kept working hard in the gym and on the ice so I feel really good physically, now it's just getting the timing back and feel good and feel better with the puck."

Ouellet's name has been mentioned in a few rumors as Monday's trade deadline approaches but that doesn't mean he is looking for a fresh start elsewhere.

"I want to play. I'm 24 years old, I think I need to play, personally," Ouellet said. "I'm a Red Wing today and I want to be a Red Wing. I've worked really hard to be where I am here right now. So I'm looking for an opportunity, hopefully it's here. I don't know, it's kind of hard to say."

Ouellet returns to the lineup tonight against the Buffalo Sabres.

"I think it's a difficult thing for athletes when they're out for a while and they step back in and play with the kind of confidence you have to play with to be successful, but that's what he's got to do, playing with confidence," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "He's been a good player in this league at different times going back a number of years. I thought the last couple times he's played he's come in and not played with that type of confidence and swagger that you have to play with to be successful. He's got to find it within himself.

"We're only dressing six D, so he knows he's going to get a regular shift and just got to find it within himself to make sure he goes out and plays his game. I think when he's at his best he's doing a good job passing the puck, he's physical defensively, he's hard to play against and he's a shot-first mentality, so let's get back to that."

Ouellet, who was paired with Niklas Kronwall during the morning skate, said he needs to find his timing after being out so much.

"I feel really good physically so that's a good positive," Ouellet said. "Now it's just to get the timing back and execute, passes on tape, get the puck on net and be extremely solid defensively."

GREEN STILL OUT: Defenseman Mike Green will miss his fourth straight game with an upper-body injury.

"I thought there was a good chance Green could have been in the lineup today," Blashill said. "As it turned out, he wasn't quite there. I expect him to play on the weekend, doesn't mean he's going to play for sure."

Green did not skate Thursday morning, nor did he take part in Wednesday's optional practice.

Green did participate in Tuesday's morning skate.

"I don't know if you can really call it a setback but he's not quite where he thought he'd be today, but he has a lot of confidence he'll be ready for the weekend," Blashill said.

FRK OUT AGAIN: Martin Frk will sit out for the second time in the last three games.

That means Tyler Bertuzzi gets another chance on the second power-play unit with Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, Justin Abdelkader and Trevor Daley.

"It changes the look of the unit," Blashill said. "I think ultimately Bert is going to be a real good power play player. It's more of a shoot it and get it back … not with the big one-timer but more of a downhill approach that we've had success with, going back to the year before I got here, with (Mike Babcock).

"When we've had success I think it's been with a group of guys knowing that they're all going to go downhill, they're going to shoot it and get pucks back and attack. Bert is a strong, heavy kind of guy in that slot area with good ability around the net, so I'm hoping he can at least pick up some loose puck rebounds and find a way in the back of the net. Bert is a good enough player that he should be on the power play and and we're going to give him power play opportunity here."

WHILE THEY WERE SLEEPING: None of the Wings stayed up late enough to see the end of the USA-Canada women's hockey gold medal game.

"It was at 3 o'clock in the morning? I was sound asleep," goaltender Jimmy Howard said.

Most had seen the final score, that Team USA won in a shootout, but they had not seen Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson's shootout-winning goal.

So reporters helpfully pulled out their phones and showed the video of the incredible goal.

Tweet from @NBCOlympics: If you needed a better look at how DIRTY Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson's game winning goal was ��

"That is top-notch," Howard said. "I'm pretty sure I would have been right there with the Canadian goalie. That's pretty slick."

Jared Coreau was asked what his chances would be in trying to stop that goal.

"I don't know, I haven't been too good in shootouts lately down in the AHL but before that I was on a 3-0 streak," Coreau said. "It's about 50-50 maybe. I think I would try a poke check, throw my pads one way and stick the other way and hope for the best."

Gustav Nyquist has 13 shootout goals in 36 career attempts but none like Lamoureux-Davidson's.

"By far that's a better move than any move I have," Nyquist said. "I don't know what to say. It looks kind of a little bit like Double-A's best move but just the opposite since he's a lefty."

Athanasiou gave his stamp of approval upon seeing video of the goal.

"She did a really good job selling that fake," Athanasiou said. "That's a move I like to do. I do that most of my breakaways.

"I think it's just something when you're coming down with speed, you want to get that goalie to bite on the fake. I think as long as you sell that backhand fake, she actually did a pretty sweet job of bringing it all the way across the ice to the other side of the net so it was a pretty goal."

Blashill appreciated that Lamoureux-Davidson picked that moment to unleash the move, something she has named "Oops, I did it again."

"Oh my gosh! What guts to be able to pull that off in that moment. Unreal," Blashill said. "I knew the Lamoureux sisters' brothers when they were playing. I don't know the family well but I know who they are, my gosh is that guts, what a move there for the winner. I thought it was incredible. Nobody wants to see the game end in a shootout, I think everybody would like to see them play it out, but that's the rules that they're given and the men lost that way and the women thankfully won that way."

Athanasiou said it doesn't bother him that the gold medal was decided in a shootout.

"I think it bring some type of excitement definitely, the shootout," Athanasiou said. "You had the chance during the game and OT. I know some people don't like it, finishing on the shootout. I don't mind it. I like it. I think it's kind of exciting. I can see why some people aren't too happy about it but I don't mind it."

Blashill was happy for women's coach Robb Stabber and the entire team.

"I had a chance to watch them win the World Championship last year in Plymouth and it was awesome," Blashill said. "Robb was actually a childhood idol of mine when he was a goalie at Minnesota and he was winning the Hobey Baker and his brother was my dad's student at Lake Superior State, so he was someone I paid tons of attention to and I've known him a long time. I did not stay up and watch it. I stayed up the night before and it almost cost me, so I went to bed, got up right away and checked the score and was pretty pumped up.

"Anytime we can beat Canada it's a great thing. I think it's awesome."

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