Defenseman Kyle Quincey Is Vital to the Detroit Red Wings' Playoff Push

Brett Kaplan@brettkaplanCorrespondent IIIMarch 16, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 27:  Kyle Quincey #27 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on February 27, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey has been underappreciated by Red Wings fans since he was acquired on Feb. 21, 2012 for a first-round pick. Those same fans might realize now just how important Quincey is to the Red Wings' playoff hopes.

According to a report by MLive.com's Ansar Khan, the Red Wings fear that Quincey may have fractured a cheek bone on Mar. 15:

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey might have suffered a fractured left cheek bone when he was hit by the puck late in the third period of Friday's 3-2 overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place.

The Red Wings said Quincey will not travel to Vancouver for Saturday's game because they don't want him to fly in case the bone is fractured.

Quincey doesn't have the production from a points standpoint that he did when he played for the Los Angeles Kings and the Colorado Avalanche, but he is playing just as well for the Red Wings.

Quincey, who only has two points (one goal, one assist) this season, is averaging .08 points per game, which is below his career average of .34 points per game. However, Quincey is third on the team with a plus-eight rating and is averaging 19:22 of ice time. Quincey has showed poise and maturity by staying on the ice and limiting his penalty minutes to 0.54 per game compared to his career average of 0.93 per game.

By focusing on defense, Quincey allows other defensemen like Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson to take a more offensive approach.

While Quincey is capable of scoring, he is sacrificing individual statistics for the better of the team. Part of making the Red Wings better is working on Quincey's shot blocking, which he is showing improvement in. Quincey is currently averaging 1.35 blocked shots per game, better than his career average of 1.05.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock explained the value of Quincey to the Denver Post's Mike Chambers on March 6:

"I told 'Quince' the other day," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said Tuesday morning, " 'It's real clear for me and real clear for our team, we don't need stats beside your name. We need pluses beside your name and we need 22 minutes out of you a night, going against probably the second group on the other team. ... And if you do that, we're ecstatic. Maybe you're not. Maybe your agent isn't, but we are. But you're playing for us.' "

Hopefully Quincey's cheek isn't fractured. However, if it is, the Red Wings and their fans will soon find out just how valuable Quincey actually is. 

*All statistics are as of March 15

**All statistics are from hockey-reference.comespn.com and nhl.yahoo.com

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