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 Team shops for forwards to add toughness 
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Modmin Dude
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Post Team shops for forwards to add toughness
freep.com wrote:
Team shops for forwards to add toughness


February 14, 2007

BY HELENE ST. JAMES

FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

Tuesday afternoon, the Red Wings gathered near Metro Airport for their flight to Dallas, where tonight they'll play the Stars. By the time the Wings return in five days, there could be a new player or two on board.

General manager Ken Holland confirmed Tuesday he's having lots of conversations with colleagues around the NHL, both those with playoff-bubble teams and those already out of the running.

"Right now the price is high, but we're talking," Holland said. "We know what we'd like to add, but it takes assets. We'll make a deal if it addresses our needs at a price we're prepared to pay."

Two weeks remain before the Feb. 27 trade deadline. The Flyers' Peter Forsberg remains the most desirable pickup; his game-winning goal and assist Monday demonstrated how great a player he is. While every team is allowed a clunker during an 82-game season, the Wings' 6-1 dismantling also exposed the need for what Holland has said all along he wants: at least a top-six forward and possibly a second forward.

The Flyers effectively pounded the Wings, and it paid off with a rare victory for the team with the worst record in the NHL. Two events during the game stuck out: After Andreas Lilja hit Simon Gagne into the boards, Denis Gauthier jumped Lilja in response (Gauthier jumped Lilja from behind, but that's a different topic), and Lilja didn't fight back. When Mike Richards ran over Joey MacDonald, no Wing responded -- something unlikely to have happened in the days when the Wings had Darren McCarty, Martin Lapointe, Joey Kocur or Brendan Shanahan in the lineup.

"I don't think we've been pushed around that much this year, but we are missing some of what we had with Mac in the past, Shanny a little bit last year," captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "We're missing a little bit of that toughness, but it's not the same as it used to be a few years ago when you saw a lot more tough guys. It's not that you have to have one to win. I think we're pretty tough. We might not fight, but I think we can stand up for ourselves as a team."

It pays to bear this in mind, too: The Wings got a four-minute power play out of Gauthier's response, and on most nights that would have yielded a goal for Detroit rather than one for the opposition. That the Wings are third overall in the NHL says something about their level of skill -- and Holland is working to address other needs, pressured by a clock that has begun its countdown.

Journalism 101: Chris Osgood (broken right index finger) and Dominik Hasek (tendinitis, right wrist) both had such good on-ice workouts Tuesday that Osgood was prompted to suggest a fitting headline would be "Sexy tandem back in the saddle in Dallas." Hasek dittoed their near-readiness. "If needed, I could go tomorrow," he said. "I don't want to say it's great, but definitely I feel progress, and I feel I could go." In all likelihood, Osgood will get the nod. MacDonald has started seven games and has dug himself a 1-5-1 record with a 3.46 goals-against average and .872 save percentage, and the Wings need points to secure first place in the Central Division and thus delay meeting powerhouses Anaheim and San Jose. Plus, Osgood needs to get into a rhythm in case he's needed in the playoffs.

Contact HELENE ST. JAMES at 313-222-2295 or hstjames@freepress.com

Copyright © 2006 Detroit Free Press Inc.


Its about time they're looking for some toughness. It seems every year Det gets beatup in the playoffs. IMO they don't lose because of lack of skill, they lose because they're not tough enough. They need an enforcer; someone to whoop up on the other teams.

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February 14th, 2007, 2:32 pm
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Post Re: Team shops for forwards to add toughness
TheRealWags wrote:
Its about time they're looking for some toughness. It seems every year Det gets beatup in the playoffs. IMO they don't lose because of lack of skill, they lose because they're not tough enough. They need an enforcer; someone to whoop up on the other teams.


I agree... However, Ken Holland said that the team is at a cross-roads where they have to decide whether to take two steps back in the future to take a shot at winning it all this year... As much as I would like to see another Cup in D' Town, I wouldn't want to sacrifice having the Wings suck for the next 4-5 years to do it... I just hope we don't do anything stupid... That said... It's the Wings and I trust their judgment... If it were the Lions, I would be scared... But no worries there... They have to be successful before they fall apart...


February 14th, 2007, 3:44 pm
Modmin Dude
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Post Wings intensify search for forward
Still looking...........

Quote:
Wings intensify search for forward

Guerin, Roberts may cost too much

February 20, 2007

BY HELENE ST. JAMES

FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

The Red Wings are curious. Who might soon join them -- if anyone?

A week remains before the Feb. 27 trade deadline, and general manager Ken Holland is searching for a top-six forward. He has about $5 million in face-value cap room, but there are a dozen teams looking to improve, and that's keeping prices prohibitively high.

"You'd always like to improve your hockey team, but I'd like to have a house on a hill in Aspen, too," coach Mike Babcock said Monday. "But there's a cost to that, so that's where you have to do your math and work it out. How do we win at playoff time and how do we have the best roster we can for next season? That's where the tough decisions come."

With Nashville having acquired Peter Forsberg, Bill Guerin of St. Louis is the second-most desirable option. But in addition to price, there's the question of whether the Blues would trade him to a Central Division rival. Other names out there include Guerin's teammate Keith Tkachuk, Florida's Gary Roberts and Jozef Stumpel, and Columbus' Anson Carter. It's looking more unlikely that Todd Bertuzzi will be moved because he has yet to play after back surgery, and that's a tremendous risk for any team to take -- unless Florida decides to sell him for a low price.

While Babcock and Holland talk daily, the players wait to hear.

"We know there are some names out there, and Kenny is going to add the player he feels is going to complement this team the best," Kris Draper said. "A nice power forward, everybody wants to add those kinds of guys. That would certainly be something that would help out this hockey club. I'm sure he's looking at adding a player that can play on the power play and help out in an offensive role."

Chris Chelios, a trade-day deadline acquisition in 1999, said the downside is if there's a cost from within the locker room.

"It's a tough thing to talk about because it affects your teammates," he said. "If they're just going to give away draft picks, I could care less, because I don't worry about tomorrow at my age. If we happen to pick up a player and we don't have to give up too much, it's great."

NOTEBOOK: For the second straight week, Henrik Zetterberg was selected by the NHL as its first star, this time after four goals and four assists in three games for the week ending Sunday. "It's just been really good of late," he said. "Hopefully I can stay like this for a bit longer, but I just have to enjoy it because it won't last forever."...

It has been two weeks since Mikael Samuelsson aggravated a broken bone in his right foot, and it's uncertain when he'll rejoin practices. "I have no idea, but he's on that table every day when I walk in," Babcock said of the trainer's table in the medical room.

Contact HELENE ST. JAMES at 313-222-2295 or

hstjames@freepress.com

Copyright © 2007 Detroit Free Press Inc.


C'mon Kenny get 'er done!

On a side note: Congrats to Hank!!!! 2 weeks in a row being named the #1 star. Great job, keep it up!!!!

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February 20th, 2007, 1:28 pm
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