DETROIT – The Red Wings will be without Niklas Kronwall for up to a month.
The veteran defenseman underwent arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday to repair a problematic knee issue.
“It’s something that’s been planned for a little bit here,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “He’ll be out two-to-four weeks, that’s what we estimate. We utilized the All-Star break in that time period to try to minimize the games that he misses.”
The Wings hope Kronwall is a quick healer, which means he could miss as few as four games and be back in time for the team’s first game after the All-Star break – at Tampa Bay on Feb. 3. However, should he need the full month to recover, the Wings could be without their top defenseman for as many as a dozen games.
Blashill said that Kronwall, who had the same knee scoped a few years ago, has been playing with some lingering pain this season.
The team felt it was necessary for Kronwall to go through with the surgery for two reasons. “One, to relieve some of the pain and two, probably more importantly, we wanted to make sure it wasn’t something that three weeks from now would creep up and be a bigger deal,” Blashill said.
The 35-year-old Kronwall has appeared in all 45 games this season, quarterbacking the team’s top power play unit and producing three goals and 17 points.
But Blashill doesn’t believe the pain was impacting Kronwall’s ability to skate or maintain his high compete level.
“Honestly, I think Kronner has played great here in the last little bit,” Blashill said. “The timing that way is unfortunate. I’ve been real happy with Kronner’s play as of late.”
Alexey Marchenko will draw back into the Wings’ lineup beginning Wednesday when the Red Wings host the St. Louis Blues at Joe Louis Arena.
Marchenko, who has drawn rave reviews from the coaching staff this season, has missed the past two games since Kyle Quincey returned from ankle surgery.
“Maybe sometimes it’s good to see the game from the side to see how it goes,” Marchenko said. “Anyway it’s better to play. The team was doing like pretty good. Last game we were playing better than (Philadelphia), but a little bit of bad luck in the shootout. Now I’m going to play so I have to be good again.”
Defenseman Mike Green will move up to the power play’s top unit, while Brendan Smith figures to fill in on the second unit with Tomas Tatar, Teemu Pulkkinen, Dylan Larkin and Brad Richards.
The Wings also announced that Drew Miller, who suffered a left knee injury in Anaheim on Jan. 10, will miss 4-6 months following reconstructive ACL surgery.