The struggling Detroit Red Wings host the Florida Panthers for a two-game series tonight and tomorrow at Little Caesars Arena (7 PM EST on Saturday; 5 PM EST on Sunday; both games will air on FSD/FS Florida/97.1 FM).
Our friends from Florida have won 6 straight games in Detroit, and possess a 3-0-and-1 record thus far.
The Red Wings were supposed to hit the ice just before 10:30 AM for their morning skate, but there was a delay, and Ken Kal’s Tweet made it look like an “optional”:
The boys have hit the ice for morning skate as we prep for tonight’s matchup with the Panthers. #FLAvsDET #LGRW
Watch live presented by: @littlecaesars » https://t.co/FpcREWdS2q pic.twitter.com/sGUTXty6gq— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) January 30, 2021
The Athletic’s Max Bultman also Tweeted this, which explains why the Wings are auctioning off 250 seats per home game:
The beat writers didn’t Tweet out anything from the morning skate, and, as of 10:45 AM, the Red Wings’ live stream was simply saying that the stream would begin shortly, so we waited until 10:48 till the stream started.
It looked like there were a fair number of Wings on the ice, including Jonathan Bernier and Thomas Greiss in the net, with both goalies off the ice by 10:55, and Givani Smith, Taro Hirose and Michael Rasmussen stayed out late after the morning skate ended.
The bottom line: No beat writers at the morning skate and no information from the Wings’ morning skate show = tonight’s lineup is To Be Determined.
Ahead of their morning skate, the Panthers plugged Jameson Olive’s game preview…
Meanwhile, in Sweden, Joe Veleno set up Grand Rapids Griffins alumnus Matt Puempel for a goal for the Malmo Redhawks…
Malmö is back in action after a long Covid-related layoff. Joe Veleno finds Matt Puempel for a 1st period goal. pic.twitter.com/J5KjtPdXMN— IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) January 30, 2021
And Lucas Raymond snapped a points slump:
Elmer Soderblom scored a goal as well:
Back at LCA, the Panthers took to the ice at 11:30 AM…
And Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill spoke with the media after today’s morning skate in Detroit, ahead of tonight’s game. He does not update Bernier’s status.
Blashill also hints at the concept that the Hirose, Smith and Rasmussen demotions to the “Taxi Squad” are temporary, but he was particularly evasive regarding lineup decisions today.
Aggravatingly, the Panthers did not post any news from the morning skate as of 12:01 PM…
Then came the Zoom Call Tweets:
Weegar on the #FlaPanthers defense early on:— Jameson Olive (@JamesonCoop) January 30, 2021
“I think we’ve been playing great… We got a lot of depth back here. Anybody can play on any given night. There’s a lot of competition. It goes down the whole way. We’ve all got to play well every single night. It’s been showing.” pic.twitter.com/VQHkD4WIRD
#FlaPanthers lineup notes for tonight in Detroit.— Jameson Olive (@JamesonCoop) January 30, 2021
Bobrovsky starting between the pipes.
Lammikko and Heponiemi both might play.
#FlaPanthers have Sergei Bobrovsky in net tonight v Detroit; Gustav Forsling out for the next week or two; Juho Lammikko and Aleksi Heponiemi could play tonight— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) January 30, 2021
Some pre-game #FlaPanthers notes before first game vs. Detroit:— Jordan McPherson (@J_McPherson1126) January 30, 2021
-Gustav Forsling (upper body) out one to two weeks; Markus Nutivaara slides into second D pairing with Stralman
-Hepinoemi or Juho Lammikko are options for 4th-line w/ Lomberg on waivers
-Bobrovsky in net tonight
Heponiemi on potentially making his NHL debut tonight.— Jameson Olive (@JamesonCoop) January 30, 2021
“I’m more than excited. I’m happy to get on the ice. I’ve been working hard for a couple months now without games. I’m just excited about it and I’ll try to enjoy it.” pic.twitter.com/nTV3mprnwg
#FlaPanthers Ryan Lomberg clears waivers, expected to go to taxi squad allowing Aleksi Heponiemi to jump onto 23-man roster and make NHL debut tonight at Detroit –— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) January 30, 2021
Prior to #FlaPanthers camp, Heponiemi was playing well with @MODO_Hockey, posting 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 16 games.— Jameson Olive (@JamesonCoop) January 30, 2021
“We had a nice team there that gave me a chance to play some games," he said. "It was huge for me. I’m just trying to keep that up and work hard.”