Originally written November 14, 2011 on Fox Sports Detroit:
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DETROIT -- Drew Miller may be a forward but in this case, he's taking the side of the goaltender. Of course, that goaltender happens to be his older brother, Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres. In Saturday's game against the Boston Bruins, Miller was playing the puck in the right circle when Milan Lucic ran him over. Lucic received a minor penalty for charging. Ryan Miller was incensed, calling Lucic "gutless." On Monday, the team announced Miller suffered a concussion. "It's unfortunate," Drew Miller said after Red Wings practice Monday. "You watch that happen a lot, a guy racing for the puck like that and you see the goalie slides and the guyflies over him like different highlights in the past like that. He actually ran right through him. He's a pretty big guy so it's a pretty dirty play. "I know I had a bump with the goalie on Minnesota a couple weeks ago but I checked the boards first. My intention was to take the boards away so it makes me look like I ran thegoalie but my whole mindset was to avoid him at all costs. It looked like Lucic tried to run right through Ryan." Drew Miller said he has spoken to his brother. "He's pretty rattled about it, just that someone would actually do that and he's upset that he's got a concussion," Drew Miller said. "He hasn't said what grade or how long butI know he has some stiffness and headaches and stuff so I don't know what degree. He'll be out for a bit. It's a tough one to see." Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard weighed in with his opinion, from a goalie's perspective. "I think it could have been avoidable," Howard said. "I think the one thing that people forget is that goalies, we've never been taught how to take a hit. We've never been toldhow you take a body check or anything like that so we're very susceptible when we're out there because it's tough for us." NHL senior vice president of player safety and hockey operations Brendan Shanahan, a former Wing, opted against further discipline against Lucic after a formal hearing Monday. "The minor penalty called on the ice was the correct call," Shanahan told NHL.com. "And while it's unfortunate that Miller was hurt, I saw nothing egregious about this hit thatwould elevate it to supplemental discipline." Smith almost done with suspensionDefenseman Brendan Smith joined the Wings for practice Monday and it could turn into a longer stint with the team. First, Smith will miss Tuesday's game in St. Louis as he serves the final game of the five-game suspension he received for a preseason hit on Chicago's Ben Smith (no relation). "It feels kind of like I'm getting out of prison finally," Smith said. "I think it was a little more tough when I wasn't playing in Grand Rapids as well. Now that I was able toplay, I think I've played 10 games or 11 games with Grand Rapids, it's gotten my mind off this and then I'm just coming up here and get this out of the way. It's a good feeling." Coach Mike Babcock planned to evaluate things after the Blues game and decide if Smith would continue on with the team to California for the rest of the trip. "I like to have seven D(efensemen)," Babcock said. "If we need him, we'll play him." Smith said he has taken the punishment to heart and doesn't plan to make the same mistake again. "I think there's lots of things I learned, just how to play that situation next time," Smith said. "I think a lot of people are actually going to learn from how to play that situationon the offense and the defensive style. And how to stay calm and not get frustrated about all the games that I served up with the NHL and down, so I think I've done well with controlling my emotions and just what happens, it happens and just live with it." Second star for HowardHoward was honored by the league as one of the three stars of the week. Howard, who went 3-0-0 with a 1.33 goals-against average and .948 save percentage, stopped 73 of 77 shots last week. That included a 3-0 shutout of the improved Edmonton OilersFriday night. "Pretty cool, I guess," Howard said. "(Goaltending coach) Jim (Bedard) told me this afternoon. It's a nice honor but a lot of my success is coming from how good the team's beenplaying in front of me." Babcock agreed with Howard that his play was reflective of the team's better play in their four-game winning streak. "It's good for Howie," Babcock said. "It's a real compliment to him and a real compliment to our team. I always like when the goaltender gets an award like that because to me,goaltending is way easier to do when your team plays right." Howard received the second star. First star went to Boston's Tyler Seguin, a former Plymouth Whaler. Third star went to Chicago captain Jonathan Toews. Room to improveThe Wings may have won four in a row to climb back to fifth in the Western Conference, but they still feel they have room for improvement. "I think special teams can get even better," captain Nick Lidstrom said. "I think both power play and penalty killing can do a lot better. We've been getting chances but not puttingit in. That's something that we can do to help ourselves. The Wings are currently ranked 18th on the power play and 24th on the penalty kill. Their goal is generally to rank in the top 10 in both. "I thought our power play was excellent the last game and the game before and didn't score a goal," Babcock said. "I thought our penalty kill was pretty good and yet it goes offone of our guys' legs and it goes right to the other guy and they shoot it in the net. Our specialty teams gotta be better."
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