MLive’s Ansar Khan filed a notebook article regarding Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill’s media availability on Sunday afternoon, and the Red Wings’ coach was uncertain when or whether the Red Wings will return to play given the COVID outbreak on their team:
“We’re tentatively planning on playing (Wednesday), but I don’t know whether or not the games will happen,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “The NHL has done a good job through the course of this whole pandemic of taking information and making decisions when they have to, not necessarily before they have to. I’ve been watching NHL Network and a lot of guys across the league have tested positive (upon returning from the holiday break). So, I don’t know if that means there will be a further delay in the restart of our schedule.”
One day after their 5-2 victory over New Jersey on Dec. 18, the Red Wings were shut down for a week due to an increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
Sunday was Blashill’s final day in COVID protocol. He will join the team on the ice for practice Monday, along with forwards Robby Fabbri and Michael Rasmussen, who were removed from protocol on Sunday.
Blashill said he anticipates having only 12 skaters – two more than they had Sunday — and a goaltender on the ice.
Lucas Raymond and Nick Leddy entered protocol on Sunday (Blashill said Raymond tested positive before Christmas, so he could return sooner), joining forwards Adam Erne, Sam Gagner, Carter Rowney, Givani Smith, Pius Suter, Joe Veleno and Filip Zadina, defenseman Jordan Oesterle and goalie Alex Nedeljkovic.
It will take players a while to get into playing condition once they start filtering back onto the ice.
“Guys haven’t skated since last Saturday, so (Sunday) was used to start the process of getting our legs back,” Blashill said. “That’s not an easy thing when you’ve been off this long, even for those that weren’t sick. It’s a step today and hopefully we’ll take another step tomorrow.”