Of Red Wings and Hurricanes-related note this afternoon/evening:
- The Wings posted the team’s probable lines for tonight’s game on Twitter:
2. The Free Press’s Helene St. James took note of Wings coach Jeff Blashil and defenseman Marc Staal’s comments regarding the employment of the “taxi squad”:
“If they are good at self evaluating, they can look at it and figure out what they need to get better at,” Blashill said Saturday. “What they can control is self evaluating, what do I need to get better at to earn a spot. That’s what you get by being around the NHL guys and by practicing with them. Then the other part of it, you get a lot of one-on-one attention with our skills development group.”
When the Wings started the season Jan. 14, Bobby Ryan was recovering from an injury and Darren Helm was on COVID protocol. So was defenseman Christian Djoos, but that was because he traveled on a commercial jet to Detroit after being claimed off waivers Jan. 9 and has had to quarantine. Ryan was cleared Friday, and Helm has been cleared to practice, but he’ll need time to work his way into the lineup because “protocol states that after your quarantine period is up, you have to for sure have 14 days of no rigorous exercise,” Blashill said.
That leaves the taxi squad players to wait and see if they will be needed. They will travel with the team, giving them extra opportunity to learn.
“Any experience at this level is valuable,” veteran defenseman Marc Staal said. “Being around a professional dressing room and being able to practice with the guys is invaluable. As much as you can take in, you take in. Those guys are looking to improve and get better. And going through the season, we are going to need a lot of those guys. It’s good for them to improve and stay ready.”
3. The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan noted Blashill’s comments regarding attempting to slow the spread of any coronavirus cases by wearing a mask on the bench:
Thursday’s season opener was Blashill’s first of the season, obviously, coaching a game with a protective mask on. Like everything else this season, it was an adjustment.
“It was probably good for everybody but me because they (players, referees) can’t hear me,” Blashill said. “The refs like it because we’re muzzled and they’ve wanted to muzzle us for a long time. The players can hear you, but it’s different. I’d wear a body suit for whatever is needed, from head to toe protection if needed, to coach a hockey game right now. Certainly a mask is the least of my worries.”
Despite the masks on the benches for coaches, and no fans in the stands, Blashill didn’t notice hearing anything more than normal from players on the ice or the opposing bench.
“We didn’t hear them at all,” Blashill said. “It didn’t feel like a practice.”
4. The Red Wings also posted their pre-game “Forecheck” series this afternoon…
5. NHL.com posted the probable lineups for both the Red Wings and Hurricanes over the course of a truncated game preview:
Hurricanes projected lineup
COVID-19 protocol: Jordan Staal