Back in the summer, when the Detroit Red Wings signed Stephen Weiss to a $24.5 million contract, the plan was to have him center the second line, thus allowing stars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg to be paired together on the top line.
Unfortunately for Weiss and the Wings, that plan hasn’t worked out as hoped; in 11 games, the 30-year-old former Panther has just two goals, with no assists. As a result, head coach Mike Babcock has been forced to split up Datsyuk and Zetterberg ahead of Saturday’s home game versus the Rangers.
“I told them I wasn’t going to split ’em up; I told you guys I wasn’t going to split ’em up,” Babcock said, per the Detroit Free Press. “Here we are 11 games in, I’m splitting them up.”
The Wings are winless in three after starting 6-2-0. On Wednesday, they were embarrassed 6-1 by the Ottawa Senators — a game that saw Weiss play a season-low 12:45.
“This falls on me,’’ he said, per MLive.com. “You have to realize you’re a good hockey player and you’re here for a reason.’’
Related: Stephen Weiss is Under Pressure
Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.
His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.
As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.
The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.
This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.
Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.
It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?
OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.
Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.
There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:
Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.