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Quincey skating

by Dana Wakiji / Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings' penalty kill has fallen from seventh to 14th since Drew Miller was injured Dec. 3. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT -- Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey has been through this before but he wasn't trying to push it.

Quincey had surgery on his left ankle last May to remove bone chips.

The first time he went on the ice was in July and by then that ankle was 100 percent.

But with the NHL season in full swing, Quincey has a greater sense of urgency.

Quincey underwent surgery on his right ankle on Nov. 14 and started skating on his own less than four weeks later, beginning last Thursday.

Quincey skated again before practice Sunday.

"It was a good skate with an actual coach out there," Quincey said. "Skating for 40 minutes is pretty good. Keep doing that and hopefully get on with the guys and get the speed of the game up in the next week or so."

Quincey said the problems in his right ankle started in the last informal skate before training camp.

"I stepped on Abby (Justin Abdelkader) when we were doing battle drills here and then it flared up and obviously you skate for 2-3 hours every day it’s only going to get worse," Quincey said. "Everything happens for a reason. I had an opportunity to get it done. It’s half the season. Hopefully I have no pain going forward and hopefully I’ll have a real good last half of the season."

Quincey said even though he just started skating, he has been doing other things to stay in shape.

"I was biking 6-7 days after surgery and I was working out the day before surgery," Quincey said. "But you can bike and work out all you want … my legs were still burning today on the ice. That’ll come back, hopefully."

The original timeline for Quincey's return was 8-12 weeks after surgery but Quincey believes he's ahead of schedule.

"My goal has always been personally Christmas, New Year’s, but that’s way before what they think," Quincey said. "I’m just pushing it every day and trying to get stuff back. I’m doing good right now."

Quincey said his right ankle still has some pain but it's post-surgery pain and not anything worse.

"Skate 3-4 times this week, maybe five next week and try to get in with the team," Quincey said. "I’m lucky they’re home, try to get some practices in."

With the team climbing up the Eastern Conference standings and getting at least one point in 13 straight games, Quincey won't try to come back too soon.

"A lot easier to watch when the guys are putting up points," Quincey said. "It would be a lot more frustrating if we were struggling. You push yourself, kind of want to be out there to help the guys, but they’re playing so well right now, I’m excited to get back and be part of a winning team as well."

PK FALLS OFF: When Drew Miller was hurt Dec. 3 against the Arizona Coyotes, the Wings' penalty kill was ranked seventh in the league at 83.7 percent.

In Miller's absence, the penalty kill is now 14th at 81.2 percent.

"Obviously Drew Miller is an elite penalty killer," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "That's why he's such an important piece of our team. With that said, we've got other guys that we think can really do the job but we've got to execute at a higher rate. I think you're always going to have some ebbs and flows, I think that's part of the season, but we made a point to tell our team we've got to be better on the kill than we've been in the last five-game segment."

In the four games since Miller went down, the Wings have killed just 10 of 15 power plays at 66.7 percent.

"That’s something we have to get back, killing more penalties, being better at it," Niklas Kronwall said. "Everything goes back to the details again. You can’t go away, let it slip away too far. Millsy is a huge part of our PK. We know we’re going to be missing him here for a little bit. Other guys are going to get a chance. It’s just a matter of doing it every shift."

Abdelkader doesn't kill penalties as much as Luke Glendening, Riley Sheahan, Darren Helm and Joakim Andersson, but he has spent some time short-handed.

"We just need to get back to what’s made us successful, skating and working, trying to get up the ice, disrupt the forecheck, and when we get a chance clear pucks," Abdelkader said. "I think we’re doing some good things but we need to get back to what’s made us successful in the past, which is pressuring up the ice and having good structure in our zone."

HAPPY HOMECOMING: Abdelkader had a very special Saturday night.

Abdelkader, his parents and girlfriend flew to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where Abdelkader spent the 2004-05 season with the USHL's RoughRiders.

Abdelkader won a Clark Cup championship with the RoughRiders.

The RoughRiders honored Abdelkader Saturday, making him the first member of their Hall of Fame.

"That’s what I was telling a lot of people when I mention Cedar Rapids and I played there usually the second thing that comes out of my mouth is winning the championship which was pretty special," Abdelkader said. "It’s the only championship they won since coming into the league. It’s a really special year. You’re connected with those guys forever."

Abdelkader, who was Mr. Hockey when he was in high school at Muskegon Mona Shores, went to Cedar Rapids right out of high school.

"Going to the USHL and playing against top talent, elite talent was really another level for me," Abdelkader said. "I did take my game to another level. I remember the first month being a big adjustment period for me just with the speed and skill and the practices were hard. It was a really important year for me. I had a lot of great memories. People were really nice to me there. Good Midwestern city."

Abdelkader played at Michigan State and now for the Wings, so that season was the only one he played for a team based outside the state of Michigan.

In addition to signing autographs and checking out his own bobble head doll, Abdelkader had a chance to speak to the current RoughRiders.

"I just relayed the message when I was there 11 years ago when I was sitting in their same seats there and if you’d told me where I was going to be today it would have been crazy," Abdelkader said. "To see how fast things progressed. I just told them to go out there and work hard and there could a lot of good years ahead of you if you do things right and commit yourself on and off the ice."

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