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Notebook: Mantha bigger; lineups for Boston

Abdelkader, Mrazek return; Hronek expected to play Friday

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

GROSSE POINTE WOODS, Mich. - Bigger is better.

At least that's the way Anthony Mantha operated this past summer.

Already 6-foot-5, Mantha added seven or eight pounds to the 214 pounds he carried last season.

"First of all, nutrition was way better this summer," Mantha said after the team's morning skate at University Liggett. "Not that I didn't eat good the years before, but I just beared down and ate maybe seven or eight times a day, just to put body weight on and came down to Detroit a month ago to work out with (Luke) Glendening and (Dylan) Larkin, so I think that was all positive."

Mantha said he worked with a nutritionist. 

Although it sounds like fun, eating that many times a day can take some getting used to.

"It was huge," Mantha said. "At first your body can't really eat that much, but after two or three weeks in I got used to it and I was craving food every two hours."

He described a typical day of eating.

"It would be like a smoothie with egg whites, fruit, almond milk just before the workout, just something to fill me up," Mantha said. "Then I'd eat a regular meal right after workout, maybe two hours later a bigger meal like 12:30 or 1, a snack around 3ish and then another big meal around 6 and two snacks during the night. It's just eating over and over and over again."

Mantha said he didn't have any trouble maintaining 212-14 pounds during last season and hopes to maintain 220-21 this season.

Mantha believes the extra weight will not slow him down while playing.

"I'm also stronger so I have a feeling I can move even quicker than before,' he said.

Wings coach Jeff Blashill agreed that Mantha hasn't sacrificed speed for size.

"Sometimes when you put more body mass on you're a little more clumsy, and he's not at all," Blashill said. "I think he's as fluid as he was but he's got more body mass and he's just as quick and fast."

Mantha will need to be fast as Blashill has him playing on a line with Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou, the two fastest players outside of Darren Helm.

The three played together in the Red-White Game but will get their first test against another team tonight in Boston.

"I'm not sure what the lineup looks like for Boston, most likely a lot of guys who are American League guys, so they should go in and be really good if they're the types of players we think they are," Blashill said. "Lots of speed and skill on that line. In the Red and White game they made mistakes that ended up in our net a little bit, so they got to eliminate those. But if they create more positives than negatives, that's what you're looking for."

Mantha is excited about what the line can create.

"I've played with Double-A in the past few years, I know what we're able to do, and then you add a great player like Larkin," Mantha said. "If we hold onto the puck and create plays offensively, it's going to be hard for the other team to get anything out there. For sure it's something he wants us to bear down on and he just wants us to be good two-way guys and try to get something going offensively."

LINEUP FOR GAME IN BOSTON: Here is the Wings' lineup for tonight's game in Boston:

Forwards lines:

Athanasiou-Larkin-Mantha

Steve Ott-Luke Glendening-Drew Miller

Tyler Bertuzzi-Kyle Criscuolo-Martin Frk

Dylan Sadowy-Dominic Turgeon-Zach Nastasiuk

Defense pairs:

Danny DeKeyser-Brendan Smith

Xavier Ouellet-Ryan Sproul

Brian Lashoff-Robbie Russo

Goaltenders:

Jared Coreau

Jake Patterson

Blashill said he intends to play Coreau the entire game.

"We're trying to get him some game time," Blashill said. "I don't think there's any issue of going back to back, especially when you didn't travel that night. He's done three-in-threes on the road in the American League, so I see no problem with him going back to back."

HRONEK TRAVELS WITH TEAM: Defenseman Filip Hronek, the Wings' second-round pick, 53rd overall, in this past summer's draft, practiced with the team at University Liggett. 

"We're going to try to get Hronek in a game on Friday," Blashill said. "He's going to travel with us tonight. I liked him at development camp. I think he's feeling his way out at camp so far but I just think the experience and seeing how hard our guys go and the pro approach they take and then hopefully for us get a chance to see him play Friday."

Hronek signed with the Saginaw Spirit and will be playing with them this coming season.

PLANS FOR WORLD CUP PLAYERS: Justin Abdelkader and Petr Mrazek did not practice with the group traveling to Boston but skated at University Liggett afterward with Teemu Pulkkinen and some others.

"I wouldn't expect Abby in an exhibition game until next week," Blashill said. "He played some pretty fierce games. Let's get him back skating today, so he's going to skate with the group today that's not a full practice. Tomorrow he'll get into a full practice. So maybe Sunday, but mostly likely Tuesday or Wednesday next week."

Blashill said they hoped to play Mrazek on Sunday at home against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Team Europe lost to Team Canada in the first game of the best-of-three in the World Cup Finals, 3-1.

Tomas Tatar scored the only goal for Team Europe.

Game 2 is Thursday night.

NOSEK UPDATE: Tomas Nosek, who was injured in the Red-White Game, remains day to day.

"Won't skate today, probably won't skate tomorrow," Blashill said. "I wouldn't expect him until next week for an exhibition game but nothing major."

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