Bert, Huds Out Against Avs
Todd Bertuzzi and Jiri Hudler both missed practice today, increasing speculation on if they will be in the lineup for the Detroit Red Wings against the Colorado Avalanche tomorrow night. Both are "sick" and Fabian Brunnstrom has stayed with the team, basically carving out his spot in the game tomorrow.
I expect that Gustav Nyquist will be called up and given the chance he deserves to play second line minutes.
Having Bertuzzi and Hudler out is a blessing in disguise for the Red Wings. Both have been non-factors and have slowed the Wings down. Bertuzzi is obviously getting older and he's showing it. Hudler is probably never going to be like he used to circa 2009, because he doesn't have a top line that's producing as much. Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Marian Hossa, Dan Cleary and Mikeal Samuelsson all had goal scoring abilities, letting Hudler play against the opposition's third line, where he actually produced.
As we have all found out, Hudler is not a top line player, nor a second line player. He plays best when there is no pressure to perform, and when he came back from Russia, there was pressure, and he folded.
Brunnstrom looked good in his second game as a Red Wing, registering his first assist and using his 6'3 frame to lug the puck up the ice. When Nyquist gets the call up (how could he not), he should get top line minutes and get the opportunity to play with Datsyuk and Zetterberg.
The bottom line is the only way that young players will learn is to let them play and make mistakes. For example, Eric Wellwood was called up to the Flyers last night, and he logged 15 minutes of ice time. Even though the game was a blowout, Wellwood got the opportunity in only his fourth NHL game and played very well. So why can't the Wings do that with Nyquist and Brunnstrom?
Mike Babcock needs to play these guys and see if they can be more than the Wings expected. Who says they need to paly in the AHL for ever? If they're good enough now, use them!