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Notebook: Abdelkader, Mrazek return; Nosek skates

Blashill pleased with team's performance in Boston

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

DETROIT - The Red Wings are starting to get their World Cup players back.

After skating on their own after the team's morning skate Wednesday, Justin Abdelkader and Petr Mrazek took part in a full practice at Joe Louis Arena Thursday.

Although they didn't make the World Cup Finals, both players appreciated the experience.

"It was great," said Abdelkader, who played for Team USA. "It's nice to hang out and meet some guys that I didn't know prior and meet some new coaches. It was a great tournament, really good hockey, so I had a lot of fun."

Said Mrazek, who played for Team Czech Republic: "It was a great experience, I would say, for every player that could be on the team. I think we enjoyed it, had lots of fun."

Team USA lost all three games they played, 3-0 to Team Europe, 4-2 to Team Canada and 4-3 to Team Czech Republic.

"Against Canada we hit some posts, we had some bad breaks go against us," Abdelkader said. "In a short tournament you'll find yourself out real quick if that happens. It's unfortunate. As we look back on the tournament, it would be nice to get another game in there or even have three out of four teams (in the group) make it. If you throw us and whoever else - North America, Finland, Czech Republic - if you throw those teams in there I guarantee those teams have a chance to win that first game (in playoffs). That's how good the tournament is. It's just unfortunate you lose your first game and you're pretty much out. We had a great group of guys, coaches were great, I thought the general managers picked a great team. We just didn't get the job done. It's a short tournament, it's going to happen."

In addition to the win over Team USA, Team Czech Republic lost to Team Canada 6-0 and to Team Europe in overtime 3-2.

"It was my first tournament for Czech, so I think it was really high-level tournament, the best players in the world so yeah, I could say it was the best tournament," Mrazek said. "A little disappointing we didn't make the semifinal but it was a good tournament."

Mrazek is good friends with Tomas Tatar who is playing in the finals with Team Europe.

"He's playing well, all Europe playing well," Mrazek said. "We finish third, they finish second so they made it. I'm happy for them. But I would love to be in that second spot and go instead of them but good for him. I hope they're going to win tonight and they're going to play Saturday the third game."

Wings coach Jeff Blashill gave World Cup players five days off after their team was eliminated. 

Mrazek welcomed the brief respite.

"I think it's good after the tournament, get a couple days off," Mrazek said. We practiced a lot. You don't have much time to be with the team, like two weeks or 10 days and then the tournament starts. We practiced every day and after tournament it's good to have a couple days off and refresh and get ready for the season here."

Blashill said he planned to play Mrazek in Sunday's game.

As for Abdelkader, Blashill said he would play in at least one preseason game.

"Those five days off were nice," Abdelkader said. "Right now I'm a little tired but after a few more days practice I'll be feeling good. Starting off early, especially Tats, (Frans) Nielsen and (Thomas) Vanek, they've had another week. They'll be ready to go. I imagine they won't play any preseason games, they'll just get some practices in and be ready to go. I feel good. These guys are working hard too, preseason games gets you back into the swing of things."

Because Nielsen and Vanek are new to the Wings, Blashill said he would most likely play them in the final home preseason game, at home against Toronto on Saturday, Oct. 8.

Blashill isn't worried about the two adjusting to the Wings when they return.

"I think they'll be a little behind in systems but that'll be made up for by playing at such a high level for such a long period of time," Blashill said. "So I think they'll be hitting the ground running. System-wise, stuff's easy to pick up."

BOSTON RECAP: The Wings won their second straight preseason game, beating the Bruins in Boston, 5-1.

"I thought we played a good game," Blashill said. "I thought we did things we wanted to do. We were real fast as a team. That was because we did a good job getting the puck out of our zone, we got into lots of footraces. I thought we put their defense in tough spots we got behind them a number of times."

The Wings got goals from Kyle Criscuolo, Steve Ott, Luke Glendening, Anthony Mantha and Drew Miller.

"I think it's positive," Blashill said. "I think when people score, they gain confidence. Glennie, Millsie, Otter all had a goal last night. That's a confidence thing. I think as a hockey team it's a confidence thing. We know this isn't, it's not the NHL right now, I understand that. I also think that when pucks go in, you gain confidence and we'll take it."

Jared Coreau, who played the entire game, stopped 33 of 34 shots.

"I thought Jared Coreau was very good," Blashill said. "I thought both games now we've gotten good goaltending from Jimmy Howard and Jared Coreau. I thought Jared looked real calm in the net, I thought he made big saves when he needed to but he wasn't scrambly, he was real calm. He controlled his rebounds, he looked big in the net. He took another real good step forward."

FRIDAY NIGHT: Blashill said Howard would play the entire game Friday night when the Wings host the Bruins.

The lineup will mostly be those who played Tuesday at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins while the lineup for the Boston game will mostly play Sunday.

The only change for Friday is defenseman Filip Hronek will replace Nathan Paetsch. Hronek, 18, was the Wings' second-round pick, 53rd overall, in this past summer's draft.

"He didn't play in the Red-White game, didn't play in the exhibition so it's hard to judge him on that," Blashill said. "But I saw him play this summer, development camp. I thought he was very good. He's got a little edge to him for his size but I think he controls the puck, he's got lots of poise, he likes to make plays to the middle of the ice when he can. He looks like a guy that's going to be a good puck mover."

NOSEK SKATES: Tomas Nosek appears to be on the mend.

Nosek had to leave Monday's Red-White Game after suffering a right knee injury.

"I just twist my knee a little bit," Nosek said. "They just wanted to make sure it's not a big deal, so I didn't go back into the game."

Nosek said Steve Ott was not to blame.

"Right after the practice, he came to me and apologized," Nosek said. "I think it's not his fault. I left my leg so that it goes to the (outside), it twisted."

Nosek skated for the first time Thursday.

"I feel pretty good," Nosek said. "The knee is getting stronger, so I think it's going to be OK."

The Wings have already played two of their eight preseason games so Nosek doesn't want to miss any more time.

"It's not a good time to be injured," Nosek said. "I think it's going to be good and I'll get a chance to play."

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