Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  By ART REGNER  |  Last updated 11/8/13
DETROIT - While theyre trying to sort out their home ice deficiencies, the nagging injury bug continues to plague the Red Wings. After Fridays practice, the Wings placed forward Johan Franzen (upper body) on short term IR, revealed that center Stephen Weiss is day-to-day with a groin issue, called up center Luke Glendening and defenseman Xavier Ouellet from Grand Rapids and sent defenseman Adam Almquist down to the Griffins. With all the maneuvering Detroit has been forced to do, the Wings find themselves strapped for a second line center, a unit that Wings coach Mike Babcock has repeatedly said must be better. Our second line isnt getting it done, Babcock said bluntly. He also indicated that hes not going to break up Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, saying, Someone else is going to learn how to play in the second hole and play well. Secondary scoring has been an ongoing problem for the Wings for the last couple of seasons, especially getting consistent scoring from their second line. Babcock feels that veteran forward Daniel Alfredsson has been a valuable asset to the second line, however, Alfie cant do it all alone. We need someone to play with him, Babcock said when asked about Alfressons game. We have to give him some help, hes a good player, and we have to give him some skating, some net presence and some execution. He has to take responsibility as well, but we need to help him out. One player that will not center the second line is Darren Helm, who has played in 3 consecutive games with limited ice time. Although Babcock is encouraged by Helms play, he is concerned about his fitness level after missing so much time. How do you be in game shape, how do you have hands, after you havent played in two years? It just doesnt happen, Babcock stated. If I were to play Helmer as many minutes as a second line center needs, hed be done. Babcock said that hell take another day to sort out the Wings muddled second line center situation, but he did indicate that despite all the negative, he remains positive. I told the players lets breath, lets keep getting better, because we are getting better, but we cant shoot ourselves in the foot," Babcock said. HOWARD ON FACING FILPPULA When Wings goalie Jimmy Howard faces the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday night at the Joe, hell be playing against his former teammate Valtteri Filppula for the first time. Seems like hes having a lot of fun down there, playing with some good players and hes gotten off to a good start for them, Howard said. Filppula signed with the Lightning last summer as an unrestricted free agent when he couldnt reach an agreement on a new contract with Detroit. In 15 games with Tampa, Filppula has 12 points with six goals and six assists and is a plus 3. During his Detroit days, the Wings always wanted Filppula to shoot more. Howard was asked if he expects Fil to shoot more in Saturdays game. I dont know its a good question, Howard said. "With Fil, when he was playing here, he was always looking to give it to Z or Mule or Pav, whoever he was playing with. Im just going to play it like anyone else, play for the shot first. Im not worried about Fils shot. While hes not too concerned with Filppulas shot, Howard is concerned about the Wings play at home. We want to win, especially when were at home, we want to put on a great show for the fans, Howard said. Sometimes we might be a little too cute when were playing in our own building. "We just got to play that boring game until they (wins) start coming and we get on a roll. After Thursday's OT loss to the Stars, Howard was visibly upset. He peeled off his equipment and didnt speak to the media, which is rare. After Fridays practice, Howard offered his assessment of the Red Wings thus far. Were on a roller coaster ride right now, he said. Its weird, its been one of those years where it seems like were on a roller coaster ride and we got to find that flat line of playing the same way every single night.
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