|Mike Green did not return to the game after the first intermission. The Red Wings defenseman was believed to suffer an upper-body injury on his first period hit. (Photo by Getty Images) |
VANCOUVER – The Red Wings lost more than a game Friday night in Calgary.
Detroit will be without two defensemen – Mike Green and Kyle Quincey – who were injured during the Red Wings 3-2 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Already without three top forwards – Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen and Brad Richards – the Red Wings must rely on their defensive depth if they are to snap a four-game losing streak.
“We’ll have 20 guys dressed tonight that I know are good enough if we execute, are good enough to win,” an optimistic coach Jeff Blashill said. “Now we’re gonna have to execute at a high level. I know we’re playing a good team, but again, I always focus on the 20 we have and we got 20 that are good enough to do it if we execute at a high level.”
Alexey Marchenko, who started the season on the Detroit roster, has been recalled from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League. The rookie defenseman is expected to arrive in Vancouver in time for Saturday’s game against the Canucks.
The Red Wings have carried seven defensemen on the roster, so should Green be ruled out, Jakub Kindl – who was a healthy scratch Friday – will draw into the lineup against the Canucks.
Through four games with the Griffins, Marchenko has no points with a minus-2 rating. He played in four exhibition games for the Wings before suffering a groin injury on Sept. 28.
Marchenko started the NHL season in Detroit when Danny DeKeyser was sidelined with strained ligaments in his left foot.
In order to make room on the roster for Marchenko, the Red Wings placed Richards on short-term injured reserve. Richards has been experiencing back soreness since the Wings game at Edmonton on Wednesday.
The veteran center, who signed with the Red Wings as an unrestricted free agent last July, did not accompany the team to Vancouver. He returned to Detroit where he plans to consult a specialist on Monday.
“Yeah, his back’s bother him all of camp and just felt progressively worse, so we want to be proactive,” general manager Ken Holland said. “He’s gonna go see somebody. Hopefully it’s nothing more than a little bit of time off. We’ll know more on Monday or Tuesday.”
Meanwhile, Green and Quincey were injured on very questionable hits.
Green went down late in the first period with what appeared to be a right shoulder injury. While retrieving a puck behind the Wings’ net, Green was driven into the end boards by Josh Jooris. It looked like the Flames’ center may have left his feet as he made contact with Green.
Green finished his shift, but did not return to the game.
According to Holland, the severity of Green’s injury wouldn’t be known before he’s reexamined after team returns home from their three-game trip to Western Canada.
Quincey was dazzled late in the third period as he tried to knock the puck away from Jooris who was racing behind the Wings’ net. As the defenseman reached out to poke check the puck, Sam Bennett moved in from the blindside and lowered his left shoulder before making contact to the side of the Quincey’s head with 8:47 left in regulation.
“Well I just looked at it,” Holland said Saturday morning at Rogers Arena. “There’s no doubt it was interference.”
Quincey is going through the concussion protocol after he complained of not feeling good as the team got on the bus to the airport last night.
Playing with only five defensemen at the time, Quincey did finish the game, if only out of necessity.
MARCHENKO’S DEBUT: The Red Wings had to make late-night travel arrangements on Friday for Marchenko to get to Vancouver in time for the game against the Canucks.
Wings coach Jeff Blashill said Marchenko – who will make his season debut for the Wings tonight – will immediately be challenged by jetlag of traveling all day from Grand Rapids, where he played two games in three days.
“It’s not easy getting up in the morning and flying here,” Blashill said. “Now he would have got here by, I think, 11:30 today so he should have enough afternoon to regroup. But as it is a challenge it can’t be an excuse. He’s gonna have to come and execute at a real high level. ”
With that said, Blashill has plenty of confidence in Marchenko’s skills and ability perform at the NHL level. Now, whether he can do that consistent remains the unanswered question.
“He’s earned lots of confidence from me over the two years that we’ve been together,” Blashill said. “He has to play at a level where he helps us win on a nightly basis over a long period of time for him to ultimately earn one of the seven spots on our team. He’s gonna get an opportunity to do that tonight.”
Blashill wasn’t sure after the Wings’ optional skate this morning how he would work the defensive pairings and line combinations, though he plans to stick with the same 12 forwards that played in Calgary.
Marchenko’s travel itinerary took him from Grand Rapids to Minneapolis, where he boarding a connecting flight that got him into Vancouver around 12 p.m. local time.
HOLLAND’S ASSESSMENT: Since opening the season with three consecutive wins, the Red Wings (3-3-1) have been on a bit of a slid, dropping four straight. They have scored just seven goals in the last four games, and four in the last three.
“I don’t think we’ve played 60 minutes night after night after night,” Holland said. “We seem to play stretches. We don’t play 60 minutes. I’m not sure why, but we play good for periods but not good enough, long enough.”