Kindl gets another chance with Wings; Ouellet sent down
Detroit — Jakub Kindl was back in the Red Wings lineup Sunday after being a healthy scratch the last three games and four of the last six.
With the injury to goalie Jimmy Howard (lower body) making for some roster tweaking, the Red Wings sent down defenseman Xavier Ouellet to make room for backup goalie Tom McCollum.
So, Kindl jumped back into the lineup to replace Ouellet in Sunday's 2-1 shootout loss to Colorado, playing 18 minutes, 16 seconds with three shots on net. He was credited with one hit, one giveaway, one takeaway and one blocked shot.
Ouellet has been impressive in his appearances this season, leapfrogging both Kindl and Brian Lashoff in recent games.
But this is another chance for Kindl, another opportunity.
According to coach Mike Babcock, it's up to Kindl to take advantage of it.
"It's always an opportunity; each night is opportunity," Babcock said. "You have to do good things. The whole thing about the game is, the best guys get to play. If you want to be one of those guys, you have to dig in and make sure that happens."
Kindl has two goals and five assists in 26 games, with a plus-1 rating, both of the goals coming on the power play.
For Kindl to remain in the lineup and take advantage of this opportunity, taking care of and moving the puck are important aspects of his game.
"Go back and get the puck," said Babcock, of what he expects out of Kindl. "Get it going. No problem when you look up the ice, no problem in the offensive zone. But in the end, you can't outscore your mistakes."
Babcock views Petr Mrazek's situation as somewhat similar to Kindl's.
It's an opportunity to be in the lineup, and show what he is capable of.
"The same thing as Kindl," Babcock said. "This is you opportunity. What are you going to do with it?"
Babcock then referenced baseball consecutive-game kings Cal Ripken Jr. and Lou Gehrig as players who were replaced by young players, eventually.
"Somebody must have played before Cal Ripken Jr. in that spot," Babcock said. "I don't know who that was."
Mrazek stopped 22 of 23 shots, and six of nine shooters in the shootout, but came away with a tough loss.
"Mrazek gave us a great chance," Babcock said. "Anytime your goalie makes great saves, you have to find a way to score goals. That part, we're snakebit right now."
Daniel Cleary was in the lineup Sunday, replacing Joakim Andersson.
Babcock said the move was for no other reason than to get a different look in the lineup.
But it made for a big evening for Cleary.
By playing in his 10th game of this season, Cleary, 36, reached a performance bonus of $1 million on top of the one-year, $1.5 million contract he agreed to July 16.
The Red Wings can apply the bonus to next year's salary cap, if need be.
Cleary played 8:17, with two hits. He has one goal and one assist this season, with a minus-3 rating.
Howard (groin) remains day-to-day — tests Saturday revealed nothing significant — and he could start Tuesday against Buffalo if he feels better.
But Babcock is taking a cautious approach.
"I hear that all the time with groins, then 10 days later the guy shows up," Babcock said.
… Former Red Wing and current Avalanche defenseman Brad Stuart played in his 1,000th career game Thursday in Pittsburgh.
Stuart. 35, became the 293rd player – and 100th defenseman - in league history to reach that milestone.
Thursday's game was Stuart's first since missing 16 games with a hamstring injury.
… Pavel Datsyuk moved past Red Kelly for 13th all-time in Red Wings history with 847 games played.