When the Detroit Red Wings first acquired Kyle Quincey just prior to the trade deadline, I was singing both parties’ praises; a late first round pick in a shallow draft seemed like a minimal price to pay for a talented point-accumulating defenseman. Now having played in 16 games with Detroit, the deal doesn’t seem to be working out quite as well as expected.
What has Quincey brought the Red Wings so far? Three points and 29 penalty minutes. 17 of those penalty minutes came last night, 15 as a result of the play that got him suspended.
Just eight seconds after his team had tied the game at one 5:38 into the third period, Quincey launched into a flying check that found his elbow connecting with former teammate Tomas Kopecky’s face. Quincey left his feet and the principle point of contact was Kopecky’s head. A suspension was inevitable.
As expected, Quincey claimed no malicious intent and expressed relief that Kopecky wasn’t injured on the play.
While Quincey may have intended to make a clean play, a clean play is not what he made. At least that’s the way Brendan Shanahan (Senior Vice President of Player Safety and Hockey Operations) saw it, deeming Quincey’s hit to be a violation of Rule 42: Charging, and worthy of a one-game ban.
The game Quincey is to miss is a crucial one for his team, Wednesday against the division winning St. Louis Blues. The Wings find themselves just 1 point ahead of Nashville and Chicago in the race for 4th in the West (a home ice advantage spot Detroit covets dearly) knowing that every point from here on out counts and desperately looking for some momentum heading into the post-season. The loss of Quincey, though, wont hamper them in the slightest.
In fact, just one game prior Quincey found himself a healthy scratch as head coach Mike Babcock began rotating defensemen saying, “He probably mirrors our team. Our team hasn’t been great.”
And during an intermission interview on Sunday, Quincey admitted to not yet being comfortable with the new system he’s learning in Detroit. That fact has been painstakingly obvious. Through 16 games with the team Quincey has harmed more than helped.
In fairness to Kyle, he hasn’t exactly found himself in the easiest of circumstances thus far, becoming injured shortly after joining the team and then juggling different defensive partners on a nightly basis thanks to more injuries and finally continuing the act with Babcock’s rotations. He’s had no opportunity to build rhythm or chemistry with anyone and that lack of consistency has been heavily reflected in his game.
Even if his suspension had reached two or three games as many predicted it would, the Wings wouldn’t have been reeling from the loss. The announcement of this one-game slap on the wrist has merely decided which D-man Babcock will sit out on Wednesday.