Originally written February 25, 2012 on Fox Sports Detroit:
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DETROIT -- When Vancouvers Alexandre Burrows scored his game-winning shootout goal Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings, he celebrated by pretending to break his hockey stick across his knee. Not only had the Canucks defeated the Wings, 4-3, they also halted Detroits NHL-record home winning streak at 23. Burrows sent a clear message with his sophomoric move -- the streak is broken. After Fridays practice, Red Wing goalie Jimmy Howard was asked if he saw what Burrows did after he scored against him. I dont even pay attention," Howard said of the Canucks. "Theyve got a bunch of idiots over there. There are only several good guys on that team, and they know who they are. Howard was matter-of-fact with his comments and said that he didnt care if he was quoted. Since his return from a broken right index finger, Howard has been extremely sharp in two defeats. Even he cant explain why he hasn't missed a beat after his long layoff. Maybe Im fresh," Howard said. "I dont know. "Almost three weeks off and youre coming in and youre working hard, but youre not really focused for the games. Maybe Im mentally refreshed out there. Not Stuart's No. 23 It was a given that the Wings' home winning streak was going to eventually end. And when it did, it happened in stunning fashion. Twenty-three consecutive home victories is an NHL record that might never be broken. For many Detroiters, No. 23 has now become an iconic number in Red Wings history. For Red Wing defenseman Brad Stuart, it also happens to be his number. Our last win at home, there were a lot of 23 signs, and I thought, 'Geez, Ive got a lot of fans tonight.' And then I looked closer, and it was going for win 23. I should have known better." Stuart said that the streak was not an issue with the Wings. The players never really talked about it as a team. Obviously, you would like to keep those things going, but you had to think at some point it was going to end," Stuart said. "Its not a big deal. Well move on and, hopefully, put some more wins together. The big thing for us is to try and get better, whether were at home or on the road. Weve got to start putting things together. Nik Kronwall, Stuarts defensive partner, also feels Detroit needs to play better. Were looking to get two points every night, Kronwall said. Our division, in particular, is so hard. In the Western Conference, wed like to be in first place come playoff time. That way we could take advantage of the crowd we have at home. Short term, were just looking to get the energy back that we use to have and play more solid hockey for 60 minutes and not just in spurts. We have another gear. Energy crisis? Energy seems to be the latest Red Wings buzz word, and coach Mike Babcock would like to see his teams energy level at its highest level every game. But Babcock realizes that maintaining an extremely high-energy level each game is impossible. Your energy levels go up and down as the year goes, Babcock said. Sometimes you get on a real roll energy wise and sometimes you come off it. Weve been able to win some games without maximum energy. That doesnt mean that your guys dont work. Thats not what Im saying. What Im saying is that we dont seem to have the kind of energy or emotion in us right now. Babcock said the best way for the Wings to get back their energy is to skate in practice. By skating hard in practice, Babcock believes the Wings will re-energize themselves and get back on a roll. When asked if the home winning streak took a toll on his teams energy level, Babcock replied, I think the season takes stuff out of you at times. Sometimes you feel fresher and better, and sometimes you dont feel that way. So just keep on plugging and grind it out. Well have a big game here tomorrow (Saturday night against Colorado). Weve got to response. Weve dropped two in row. Wed like to get back on the winning side.
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