MLive’s Ansar Khan and the Free Press’s Helene St. James spotlighted Joe Veleno’s performance over the course of the Red Wings’ 5-4 loss to Toronto last night. This afternoon, the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan has filed a notebook article discussing Veleno’s trip to Toronto (via a ride from Steve Yzerman), and his performance during the game:
With a third-period goal and assist, Veleno sparked a Red Wings comeback attempt in a 5-4 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Veleno played five games at the end of last season with the Wings, scoring one goal. But Saturday’s effort is the best Veleno looked in an NHL regular-season game.
“He was good in the third. It took a little bit to get his feet underneath him, which is understandable considering he had a day of travel, but he played well,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “He has strength on the puck, a good skill set, so we thought he could come in and give us our best chance to fill in for the guys that were missing. Certainly the way he played in the third gives a coach confidence to put him out there. That’s a good step.”
Veleno was recalled with Tyler Bertuzzi unavailable (unvaccinated, can’t enter Canada), and Adam Erne day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. If the Wings keep Veleno after they return from Canada, they must make another personnel move. That may not occur just yet. But Veleno is inching closer to a regular NHL lineup spot.
“That was my mentality (Saturday), I wanted to work hard and show what I could bring at this level, and how I can play,” Veleno said. “But at the same time I wanted to play with confidence and have some fun and I tried my best to do those things and be successful. It went fairly well. It would have been nice to have a ‘W,’ but it was a good hockey game to be a part of.”
Continued; Veleno may not make the Wings’ roster on a full-time basis just yet, but there’s no doubt that he’s going to be a player who provides a positive impact when he does. The fact that Jonatan Berggren and Chase Pearson had big games in Grand Rapids last night reminded us all that there are reinforcements coming.