Andersson clears waivers, still with Wings for now

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Joakim Andersson cleared waivers Saturday, and will remain with the Red Wings for now.

Andersson was placed on waivers Friday and no team claimed him by the noon Saturday deadline.

Andersson will remain with the Red Wings but can now be sent to the minor league Grand Rapids Griffins when the Red Wings need to recall a defenseman from the Griffins.

General manager Ken Holland said the move was made mainly to give the Red Wings salary cap flexibility and there are no immediate plans to send Andersson to Grand Rapids.

The Red Wings currently only have six healthy defensemen — Danny DeKeyser, Jonathan Ericsson, Mike Green, Alexey Marchenko, Kyle Quincey and Brendan Smith.

Niklas Kronwall’s arthroscopic knee surgery Tuesday took one more healthy defenseman out of the equation.

Andersson, 27, has played in 26 games with one goal and two assists. He was in the lineup Friday when the Red Wings defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-0.

But with Brad Richards returning to the lineup Saturday — Richards was attending his grandfather’s funeral Friday — Andersson was a healthy scratch.

Andersson will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Howard returns

Goaltender Jimmy Howard was in net for the first time since Jan. 11 and only the second time since he was pulled in the second period Dec. 29 in Winnipeg.

Howard made 31 saves in the Red Wings’ 4-3 loss against Anaheim.

“It’s been a while but it’s the hand I’ve been dealt right now,” said Howard, as Petr Mrazek has taken over the No. 1 role the last month. “I just have to go out there and try and get the points for the guys.”

Howard didn’t get much defensive support from his teammates, who allowed numerous quality scoring chances to the Ducks.

“We really hung him out to dry,” coach Jeff Blashill said.

Howard has spent considerable time lately working with goaltending coach Jim Bedard and the practice time seems to have had a positive effect.

“I was just trying to play the way I practice,” Howard said. “I’ve been practicing really, really hard with Jim, staying out (late) and doing what I know.

“Hopefully it’ll pay off sooner rather than later.”

Said captain Henrik Zetterberg of Howard: “He was good. He hadn’t played in a while and played with confidence .He was big in net and he handled the puck well and he gave us a chance to win.”

Ice chips

The Red Wings power play continues to struggle. It went scoreless on four attempts Saturday, and over the last nine games is 3-for-26.

…There appeared to be missed penalties against Anaheim, particularly in the third period which could have had an impact on the final result. Blashill wasn’t worried about the missed calls, though.

“When you don’t play good enough, you have to no right to worry about anything but your own play,” Blashill said.

…The Red Wings are scheduled to fly out of Detroit Sunday afternoon and play the New York Islanders Monday night in Brooklyn.

The colossal snowstorm hitting the East Coast has already cancelled three games, including the Islanders’ game Saturday against Philadelphia.

As of Saturday night, the Red Wings are scheduled to play.