Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has been happier with his team’s defense (in the big picture) since adding some young blood, but that group took a big hit when it became clear that rookie Danny DeKeyser suffered a season-ending broken thumb.
MLive.com reports that Brian Lashoff will be his replacement.
It appears that Lashoff’s puck-moving skills are what prompted Babcock’s decision to use Lashoff rather than more experienced blueliners Ian White and Carlo Colaiacovo.
“He’s smart, knows how to play and competes hard,” Babcock said. “He makes a good first pass and he’s a good penalty killer.”
While the rotations could change, Babcock said that he expects the 22-year-old to take DeKeyser’s spot alongside Jakub Kindl on Saturday.
You can watch Game 3 of the Red Wings-Anaheim Ducks first-round series starting at 7:30 pm ET on NBC Sports Network.
Back in February, Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock spoke about the way his team had to play now that legendary defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom was retired.
“We have to be closer and tighter and more available and better defensively, and sometimes it’s not very pretty, but that’s just the way it is,” Babcock said.
The key, he said, was to be able to hit the opponent’s blue line with speed, which either produces an entry while maintaining possession or a dump-and-chase with a good chance of retrieval.
Veteran defenseman Ian White failed to move the puck the way his coach wanted and found himself in the press box as a result.
Lately, Babcock has really liked the way his blue-liners — including youngsters Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl, and Danny DeKeyser (and minus White) — have played.
“We’ve really improved drastically in that area, probably the most improved part of our team,” Babcock said. “With [goalie Jimmy Howard] playing the way he is and the D able to get the puck going, we’re spending a lot less time in our zone. That allows you to be much better up front.”
Detroit finished the regular season on a four-game winning streak. (And in the two losses that preceded those four wins, they outshot their opponents by a wide margin.)
The Wings open their 22nd straight postseason Tuesday in Anaheim against a Ducks side that’s just 8-9-2 in its last 19 games.
A Red Wings blue line that’s been hit hard by injuries this season has been hit again. According to general manager Ken Holland, defenseman Kyle Quincey has multiple fractures of his cheek bone and will be out four to six weeks (per MLive.com’s Ansar Khan).
Quincey was struck by the puck in the third period of Friday’s 3-2 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers.
The 27-year-old’s injury allowed veteran defenseman Ian White to draw back into the lineup for Saturday’s 5-2 win over the Canucks.
Depth on defense. Pretty important in the NHL.