DETROIT – Fully recovered from off-season ankle surgery, Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey is looking forward to building on last season’s productivity.
“It went well, it feels good,” Quincey said, referring to ankle surgery he underwent in May to remove painful bone chips. “It was a successful surgery and I feel better than last year for sure. Pains gone.”
Quincey knew early last season that the chips were going to be a disruption to his health. The excruciating pain eventually limited his mobility, forcing him to miss nine games – four in November, five in February.
Late last season, Quincey often missed practices and morning skates in order to give some extra rest to the afflicted area damaged by the bone fragments.
He had surgery in Detroit after the Red Wings were eliminated by Tampa Bay in a seven-game, first-round playoff series.
“Yeah, there were a few games where I couldn’t really put too much weight on it,” he said. “It’s going to help a lot (with) skating, for sure.”
Even with the limitations caused by the season-long injury, the 30-year-old Quincey took a lot of positives from his seventh full NHL campaign.
Despite the bothersome ankle, he managed to establish a new single-season plus/minus best, finishing with a plus-10 – third-best upon teammates during the regular season. Only Pavel Datsyuk (+12) and Danny DeKeyser (+11) had better ratings in 2014-15.
Quincey and DeKeyser made a formidable defensive pair for much of last season, often drawing raves from the Wings’ coaching staff for the chemistry that the two built along the way.
But this season will be different. New coach Jeff Blashill has already stated that he’d like to start the season with DeKeyser and newly acquired Mike Green paired together. With Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson expected to remain as the team’s top defensive unit that leaves Quincey, Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl competing for the fifth and sixth defensive slots on the roster.
Quincey said he had a meeting with Blashill, but who he might be paired with and how much ice time he can expect once the season gets underway wasn’t discussed. However, it’s conceivable that Green will immediately assume a large role along the blue line while logging top minutes on the Wings’ power play.
“We added Greener and it’s going to be a good competition for ice time,” Quincey said. “That’s pretty much how I’m going into the year, just a lot of competition within for playing time and it’s a good push.
“We have to score more goals to be successful and (Green’s) going to add to that. So that’s No. 1 to what he brings.”
As for the change behind the Wings’ bench this season, Quincey said he wasn’t surprised that Mike Babcock left after a successful 10-season run in Detroit.
But now that Babcock has moved on and Blashill has moved in, Quincey is curious to see what systematic changes on the ice, and cultural adjustments off of it, will occur this season.
“I think Babs set the tone for a lot of us,” he said. “He's been these guys' only coach for 10 years now. We're doing a lot of the same drills and doing a lot of the same stuff. Our system's not changing much. Blash is, I think, very similar; personality-wise, probably not the same. It hasn't even started so I can't even answer that question, to tell you the truth.”