The Detroit Red Wings have predictably struggled out of the gate and currently have a league-worst 1-6-2 record, but reinforcements are on the way.
Mike Green appears set to make his season debut Friday when the Red Wings host the Winnipeg Jets, according to Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill, while fellow defenceman Danny DeKeyser could return on the weekend when they host the Dallas Stars.
Green underwent off-season neck surgery to repair a herniated disc and was cleared for contact prior to training camp but early in camp Green was feeling fatigued so he informed his coaches and they sent him back to team doctors to get some blood work done in mid-September. That’s when it was discovered Green had contracted a virus that was attacking his liver. He was placed on injured reserve Oct. 1.
The 33-year-old told reporters he liked how he felt at his team’s Wednesday practice.
“It was a good test,” Green said. “I kind of needed to see where I’m at and that was a good way. It was a good skate today.”
DeKeyser has missed four consecutive games with a hand injury.
“Danny and Mike, you can say whatever you want, they’re real good defensemen in this league, top four on most teams in the league and we’d like to have them back,” Blashill said Tuesday.
Detroit is coming off a 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes Monday in a game in which they were outshot 38-21. In fact, the Red Wings have only outshot an opponent once this season and are averaging a meagre 2.22 goals per game.
“What I know for sure is that we have to shoot the puck 100 per cent and we better buy into it,” Blashill added. “We better buy into overshooting. We got a bunch of guys that want to make a play first and shoot second. We will continue to address that to make sure that we have an overshoot mentality.”
If Blashill wants more pucks directed at the net then Green in particular will be a welcome sight once he officially returns. Green has led Red Wings blue-liners in shots in each of his three seasons with the team. He also led the Red Wings in ice-time and was tops among their defencemen with 33 points in 66 games in 2017-18.