Jakub Kindl

Detroit signs Smith to two-year, $5.5 million extension


The Red Wings have reached an agreement with RFA blueliner Brendan Smith, signing him to a two-year, $5.5 million deal with a $2.75M average annual cap hit.

Smith, 26, was Detroit’s first-round pick at the 2007 draft and appeared in a career-high 76 games last year.

Despite that games played total, it wasn’t an incredibly successful campaign; Smith’s numbers took a dip (in points and minutes per game, specifically) and former head coach Mike Babcock made him a healthy scratch for Game 1 of the club’s opening-round series against Tampa Bay.

Still, Smith figures to be a fairly key cog of Detroit’s defense moving forward.

He’s scored himself a pretty decent raise — up from the $1.26M he was making annually on his old deal — and should be firmly planted in the top-six group alongside Niklas Kronwall, Kyle Quincey, Jonathan Ericsson, Jakub Kindl and Danny DeKeyser next season.

Kronwall ‘extremely disappointed’ with Game 7 suspension


Niklas Kronwall met with reporters on Wednesday, making his first comments since being suspended for Game 7 of the Tampa Bay series for a charge on Bolts forward Nikita Kucherov:

One guy not interested in talking about the Kronwall suspension was Detroit head coach Mike Babcock, who’d only say “I think if I talk about Game 7, then I won’t get fined.”

As for tonight, Kronwall won’t be the only veteran d-man out of the lineup. Marek Zidlicky has been sidelined by a concussion, forcing Detroit to ice a six-man defensive unit comprised of:

Jonathan Ericsson — Alexey Marchenko
Danny DeKeyser — Kyle Quincey
Brendan Smith — Jakub Kindl

Replacing veterans Kronwall and Zidlicky will be tough. The pair combined to play over 41 minutes in Monday’s Game 6 loss in Detroit.

Not just Kronwall — Zidlicky (concussion) also expected to miss Game 7


As if playing without Nicklas Kronwall wasn’t going to be enough of a challenge, it appears the Detroit Red Wings will also be without Marek Zidlicky for Game 7 of their series with the Lightning tonight in Tampa Bay.

Zidlicky reportedly suffered a concussion in Game 6. He did not skate this morning. (Update: Zidlicky is confirmed out, per coach Mike Babcock.)

With two veteran defensemen missing — one suspended, the other hurt — Detroit’s defense is expected to look like this:

Jonathan Ericsson — Alexey Marchenko
Danny DeKeyser — Kyle Quincey
Brendan Smith — Jakub Kindl

Neither Marchenko nor Kindl dressed for Game 6, in which Kronwall logged 24:16 and Zidlicky 17:22. In fact, Kindl has yet to appear in the postseason; he last played April 11 in Carolina.

Related: Can Mrazek steal Game 7 for Red Wings?

Red Wings make Kronwall late scratch with lower-body injury


Defenseman Niklas Kronwall isn’t in the Detroit Red Wings’ lineup on Wednesday against Arizona. He’s being held out with a lower-body injury, the team announced on Twitter.

Defenseman Jakub Kindl will play for the first time since Feb. 28 as a result.

Detroit has essentially missed its opportunity to secure the home-ice advantage in the first round, but the squad still needs to have a strong finish to stay ahead of the surging Ottawa Senators or potentially the Boston Bruins in the battle for the third seed in the Atlantic Division.

More importantly though, Detroit needs Kronwall to be healthy going into the playoffs. He logs a team-high 23:45 minutes per game and has scored eight goals and 40 points in 71 contests in 2014-15. It’s not clear at this time how significant Kronwall’s injury is or if he might miss any playing time beyond this contest.

Babcock: Despite acquisition of Zidlicky, Wings are ‘going to make sure’ Marchenko keeps playing


Mike Babcock is excited at the potential for trade-deadline acquisition Marek Zidlicky to improve his Detroit Red Wings.

“Zidlicky’s going to play on the power play and play a regular shift, starting with [Brendan] Smith, and he’s going to run our power play with [Pavel] Datsyuk, and we’ll see kind of where it goes from there,” the coach said Tuesday, per CBS Detroit.

“Zidlicky, he’s a competitor, he can shoot the puck, he can make plays, he’s got good offensive skill. I think he’ll be a real addition. He made some plays in practice today that make you smile, which is positive.”

At the same time, Babcock wants to keep rookie Alexei Marchenko, the Wings’ only other right-shooting d-man, involved.

“We really like Marchenko,” Babcock said, per NHL.com. “Marchenko is a real good player and he has played very well for us. You can never have too many d-men at this time of the year. We wanted to make sure we had enough hands on deck. We’re going to make sure he’s playing.”

Marchenko is currently on injured reserve with an oblique strain, but shouldn’t be out too long.

His injury leaves the Wings with seven d-men on their active roster. Tonight versus the Rangers, Jakub Kindl is expected to be the healthy scratch.