Mike Babcock isn't worried about any possible after effects the Olympics might have on his players. (David Guralnick / Detroit News)
San Jose, Calif. — Now that the rosters have been chosen and travel arrangements set, one interesting aspect remains for NHL teams such as the Red Wings before the Sochi Games:
What will it be like for those teams that have a lot of players competing in Sochi?
For the Red Wings, Blackhawks and Blues, it’s a relevant question. Each team has 10 players on Olympic rosters, more than any other team.
But Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, who’ll be coaching Canada, doesn’t see any negative for Red Wings players competing in Russia.
“I can’t imagine anything better for you than have the opportunity to play in the Olympics,” said Babcock. “If we try to turn anything of that into a negative, I’m not buying it.
“They’ll come back energized and ready to go, and the rest of the guys will be coming back from Hawaii, or somewhere, and they’ll be energized, too.”
As much as potential for injuries, what worries NHL teams is the travel to and from Russia.
But with the probability the Red Wings will have all their injured players healthy by then, with depth in their lineup, Babcock isn’t likely to monitor ice time shortly after the Olympics.
“I’m going to do what I do every night,” Babcock said. “The guys who play the best will get the most (ice time).”
No rush to return
Red Wings forwards Johan Franzen (concussion) and Darren Helm (groin) went through Thursday’s morning skate, but were out Thursday and questionable for games Saturday (Kings) and Sunday (Ducks).
Franzen has missed nine games, and remains a little cloudy on the ice.
“The issues are on the ice when there’s too much movement and processing all the information that goes around you,” Franzen said. “There’s progress, and hopefully it gets better every day.”
Helm missed his third consecutive game.
“It’s tough for me to say I can’t go, but it’s the right call,” Helm said. “I pushed it a little harder than I had and it wasn’t feeling too great afterward. I can’t rush it just because I’ve been out this much.”
Two Griffins are All-Stars
Griffins defenseman Alexey Marchenko, who made his NHL debut last weekend, and coach Jeff Blashill were selected for the American League All-Star Classic on Feb. 11-12 in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
A 20-man AHL All-Star team will play Färjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League in a two-day competition.
With Danny DeKeyser returning to the Red Wings lineup Thursday against the Sharks, Marchenko was a healthy scratch. Babcock, however, said Marchenko will remain with the Red Wings for the time being.
After their 4-1 victory Thursday, San Jose is 11-2-1 over the Red Wings in its last 14 games.
… Sharks forward Joe Pavelski, who had two goals, has eight goals in his last 10 games.
Pavelski, Joe Thornton, and Brent Burns have combined for 36 points (13 goals, 23 assists in the last 30 games).
Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk (lower body) practiced Thursday but didn’t play. He remains day to day.
... Sharks coach Todd McLellan, a former Red Wings assistant, still sees a dangerous Detroit team despite a muddled lineup.
“Their veterans know how to play and it rubs off on their rookies,” he said.