Notes: Abdelkader coming into his own; Smith brothers face off

Justin Abdelkader will be on Detroit's third line with Darren Helm and Andrej Nestrasil against the Bruins Wednesday night.

Jerome Miron

Mike Babcock relies on Justin Abdelkader to be his swing forward. Whatever the Wings need up front, he turns to Abdelkader to fill that role.

Abdelkader has played on all four lines over the years and has always provided a physical presence. During the Wings’ first two games he was on the first line with Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen.

Wednesday against the Bruins he’ll be on Detroit’s third line with Darren Helm and Andrej Nestrasil, which doesn’t change his game at all.

"Playing with Z and Franzen we were counted on more offensively to produce. But as far as my game it’s still the same. I don’t have to really change much," Abdelkader said.  "Even though the third line is counted on more as a checking line I think we can still be a line that can create offensive chances and still produce."

Babcock also feels that his third line can produce, especially Abdelkader, who he sees as a player that beginning to reach his full potential, but he does have some advice for the former Michigan State Spartan.

"I think his best years are right now. I think Abby’s been great in both our games. Played real well, got a goal and an assist," Babcock said. "But he’s got to learn to slow down in the scoring areas. He’s got more time than he thinks.

"You don’t have as much time as you want but you got more time than you think."


Brothers Brendan and Reilly Smith share the same profession, and though they’re heated rivals on the ice, they still have a bond that goes beyond hockey.

"I know everything he does. I watch clips, videos of his highlights. We stay in touch," Wings defenseman Brendan Smith said about his younger brother and Bruins forward, Reilly. "If I score, I’ll let him hear about it. If he scores, he lets me know, and if they win, yada, yada, yada like that back and forth.

"We really do have a good relationship, so we’ll always talk about things. I think we talk about fantasy football more than hockey."

Reilly is a little less animated than his older brother, and even though the Wings and Bruins play each other eight times this season, he enjoys competing against his brother and the Wings.

"It doesn’t get old playing him. Maybe it gets old answering questions about playing him," Reilly Smith said. "It’s an important game for us tonight. They’re a tough team and a tough team to play here.  

"It seems like we’re coming to Detroit every other week. There are definitely other buildings I’d rather play in, but I like the rivalry against them.  

"We played each other last week and he won, so I’m pretty upset about that. I’ve got to get some payback tonight."


Stephen Weiss will once again not be in the Wings’ lineup Wednesday against the Bruins. Weiss has been a healthy scratch for Detroit’s first three games, but the veteran forward is maintaining an upbeat attitude.

"I knew for me the way things went last year I was going to have to be real special in the preseason to get a chance early on this season," Weiss said. "It wasn’t able to go that way but I’m working real hard every day to be ready for when I get my chance and hopefully things can snowball positively in the right direction.

"I had a little chat with Babs before the first game and he was real positive, it was going in the right direction. He said just stick with it and when you get your chance you’ll be ready to go."

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