Red Wings-Devils morning skate Tweets II: More Yzerman presser Tweets; Devils without Blackwood (neck), Subban (COVID)

The Red Wings will host the New Jersey Devils this evening (8 PM EST start on Bally Sports Detroit/MSG+/97.1 FM) without coach Jeff Blashill, assistant coach Alex Tanguay, goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic and forwards Robby Fabbri, Michael Rasmussen, Carter Rowney and Givani Smith.

Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman’s press conference with the media superseded the morning skate in terms of personnel-watching importance for Detroit’s media, but, well, this quip from Yzerman, who will employ assistant coach Doug Houda and Grand Rapids Griffins coach Ben Simon and assistant Todd Krygier tonight…seems ironic:

When asked if he has an option to talk to the league about postponing the game, Yzerman says he could call and give his opinion— but they’re ultimately going to make a decision on their own to protect the safety of the players and society. #LGRW— Carley Johnston (@carleykjohnston) December 18, 2021

*Makes uncomfortable noises*

Steve Yzerman thinks the league is being consistent *this season* with shutting teams down.

“We’re not there yet,” he said. Last season, when the Red Wings went winless with guys out with COVID? “I didn’t think there was any consistency.”— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) December 18, 2021

Steve Yzerman says Nedeljkovic’s positive came in today, hence the only one goalie at morning skate. Sounds like the others came in yesterday.— Max Bultman (@m_bultman) December 18, 2021

Steve Yzerman said he originally thought Lucas Raymond would need some time in the AHL. Added that he has gotten better every day since prospects tournament. Raymond through 30 NHL games has to be a pleasant surprise even for him. #LGRW— Daniella Bruce (@daniellabruce_) December 18, 2021

“The coaches don’t listen to me anyways,” Steve Yzerman said. 🤣

“I expect these guys to ignore me like Jeff would if he were here.”— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) December 18, 2021

When asked about the coach changes for tonight, Steve Yzerman laughs and says “the coaches don’t listen to me after puck drop anyway, so I don’t expect anything to change.” 😂 #LGRW @DetroitRedWings— Carley Johnston (@carleykjohnston) December 18, 2021

Yzerman said his understanding is Ben Simon will be Red Wings acting head coach tonight, Doug Houda would remain in his role running Detroit’s D, but adds it is a fluid situation.— Max Bultman (@m_bultman) December 18, 2021

I asked Yzerman about his team and their mentally going through all this for another hockey season. He said they all have been very positive. @Local4News pic.twitter.com/Yno9biR6Ol— Jamie Edmonds (@Jamie_Edmonds) December 18, 2021

Yzerman says he’s “fine with whatever everyone decides to do” RE: the Olympics. He’s a big supporter of NHLers at the Olympics, thinks it’s great for the game and league. But under circumstances says he understands league’s apprehension and player concerns over quarantines— Max Bultman (@m_bultman) December 18, 2021

Anyway, the Devils took to the ice for their morning skate at 11:30, and NewJerseyDevils.com’s Amanda Stein reported a problem:

#NJDevils starting to trickle onto the ice for the 11:30am— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) December 18, 2021

#NJDevils Mackenzie Blackwood did not travel to Detroit.
He is out with a neck injury. https://t.co/1yf3hvPXmc— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) December 18, 2021

Make that two problems:

#NEWS: P.K. Subban has entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.https://t.co/ddCNyfYa3d— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) December 18, 2021

So:

We’ll see what happens in terms of goalie tonight, it will either be Jon Gillies or Akira Schmid, but here’s how things went down at #NJDevils morning skate.

Noticeable change is the reuniting of Johnsson-Mercer-Bratt. pic.twitter.com/N1TfjZJUfH— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) December 18, 2021

In the text department, DetroitRedWings.com’s Jonathan Mills posted a game preview:

The Red Wings are set for an 8 p.m. puck drop (Bally Sports Detroit, Red Wings Radio Network) against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night at Little Caesars Arena. Detroit is 14-13-3 overall and is 1-4 in its past five games, but the Wings are 10-3-2 at home this season, good for a tie for third-best in the Eastern Conference.

New Jersey has lost four straight games and enters with an overall record of 10-13-5, good for seventh in the Metropolitan Division. The Devils have also lost five straight games on the road.

Under coach Lindy Ruff, New Jersey has also struggled defensively this season. The Devils have surrendered 3.32 goals per game, the ninth-most in the NHL. In its last three road games, New Jersey has surrendered a combined 18 goals.

Leading the way on offense for the Devils is Jesper Bratt, who has a team-high 24 points on eight goals and 16 assists. Andreas Johnsson (19 points) and Dougie Hamilton (16 points) have combined for 15 goals.

Mackenzie Blackwood has made 15 starts in goal and is 5-6-3 with a .902 save percentage. Former Red Wings goalie Jonathan Bernier is 4-4-1 in 10 appearances for the Devils, but Bernier has been on injured reserve since Dec. 10 with a hip injury.

Saturday’s tilt is the first meeting between the Red Wings and Devils this season. Both will face off twice more in April.

“We’re being challenged as a team. It’s hard. It’s young guys opportunities to prove they can be players.”

Hear from Lindy Ruff after today’s morning skate in Detroit. pic.twitter.com/XodJOOIBa8— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) December 18, 2021

Spoke to #NJDevils Lindy Ruff during media avail after morning skate- there are no call ups from Utica currently.

There’s a lot of moving parts for roster decisions with the Covid protocols on who is available. https://t.co/3Ur6XivuUp— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) December 18, 2021

Lindy Ruff was hoping to have the 11-18-63 line reunited last game, but Johnsson and Bratt were two of the guys still fighting through illness.

He said for the first time in his career he really had to distribute based on making sure each line had energy dispersed properly.— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) December 18, 2021

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.