Red Wings being cautious with preseason injuries
As the Red Wings begin to prepare for their preseason home opener against the Boston Bruins on Saturday, two things are apparent: The nagging injuries are starting to pile up and Coach Mike Babcock doesn't want everybody to get too excited about Wednesday’s 8-2 victory over the Bruins.
“We had way more in the lineup dressed than they did," Babcock said. "That wasn’t our intention. It’s just the way it worked out.
“We were able to play fast and execute with the puck. Our good players were really good and we won the game. We had good specialty teams.”
Translation: Babcock liked what he saw and the ‘real’ Bruins are a whole lot better than Wednesday’s mixed bag lineup.
If there is an area of concern, it’s the growing list of players nursing minor injuries.
As of today, Daniel Afredsson is day-to-day with a groin issue. Patrick Eaves is out 2-4 weeks with a sprained left MCL and a slightly sprained ankle. Jakub Kindl is day-to-day with a hip flexor. Johan Franzen has a hip flexor, but is expected to play Saturday. And Darren Helm is making progress with his back and strained groin.
"At the end of the day, all of the injuries other than Eaves, are day to day - hip flexors, groins, sore lower backs,” Red Wings' GM Ken Holland said. “Obviously, they’ve been skating here (Joe Louis). You come to Traverse City and it’s another level of demand on the body and it’s day after day after day after day.
“Then you go to the preseason and you have people fighting for jobs. We’re going to be pretty precautionary. Why run the risk of injuring a regular for a preseason game?”
Even though they find themselves with roster and cap issues, the Wings would prefer that the players settle matters on the ice and not in the infirmary.
Defenseman Kindl, who tweaked his hip in the second period of Wednesday’s game against Boston, is feeling positive about his progress.
“I feel better than I thought,” Kindl said today while the Wings practiced. “I was going to get the puck, the puck was coming along the boards, and I kind of tried to push. That's probably when it happened.''
“Probably take two days off. It's nothing major. I had that before. It was a good call getting off the ice after two periods yesterday.''
“I had a groin last year at the beginning of the season (missed first three games) but this is a little different. It's not that bad.''
ALUMNI GAME UPDATE
With Friday’s announcement that legendary defenseman Nick Lidstrom has committed to play in the Alumni game on December 30, Holland was asked about whether Sergei Fedorov and Steve Yzerman would be part of the team as well.
“Well, Sergei, if the Winter Festival were last year, he was in,” Holland said. “I think depending on how his team is doing (Fedorov is GM of HC CSKA Moscow in the KHL) as we get closer … he’s interested. I think he would like to play.
"He has responsibilities as a general manager, which is his first priority. But we have our fingers crossed that it’s going to work.”
According to Holland, Yzerman is a real work in progress.
“At some point I’m going to reach out to Steve,” Holland said. “Obviously, Steve knows the game is going on. He knows everyone wants him to play. I haven’t officially asked him.”
“On occasion [I've] cracked some jokes, but at some point and time here, once we get out of training camp and the season gets up and running, I’ll officially reach out and see what he’s thinking.”
Holland also indicated that with the exception of Fedorov and Yzerman, the Red Wings alumni roster is close to being set, but the Wings are trying to accommodate as many players as possible.