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Notes: Athanasiou ready to play; Bowey gets an opportunity

Biega joins team after trade; Daley, Nielsen, Ericsson all out

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

DETROIT -- This time the word on Detroit Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou was a lot more definitive.

Athanasiou, who missed the first two games of the season with a lower-body injury and was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Sept. 20 Monday, participated fully in the morning skate Tuesday.

"He'll play," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said.

Athanasiou also participated in the morning skate in Nashville Saturday and said he was a game-time decision but ended up not taking warm-ups or playing.

"Just had a lingering tweak," Athanasiou said. "Ran into the boards against the Islanders in the preseason. I was kind of getting better and then it started acting up a little bit. It's been feeling pretty good and see how it is tonight."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: "It'll be good to get those 2 going again (Glendening & Hirose) and get going as a line."🗣���: Andreas Athanasiou | #ANAvsDET

Athanasiou centered a line with Taro Hirose and Luke Glendening during the skate.

"We played last (part) of the season together, definitely got our chem up. It'll be good to get those two going again and get going as a line," Athanasiou said. ""I think all three of us kind of bring a lot to the table. We impact the game and I think we play well with each other, Me and Taro play pretty well together. He's always looking, and Glenny's a workhorse out there, opening up the ice. So, it's three players that kind of click together and hopefully get it going early."

Hirose said it's easy to play with someone like Athanasiou.

"Just get him the puck," Hirose said. "He's a guy that can make plays out of nothing. For me it's just get him the puck in the right areas where he has space to create and beat people by I think is the biggest thing for me. We built a little bit of chemistry and the end of last year and hopefully we can keep that up."

Blashill said the three players can definitely complement each other with their different skill sets.

"I think Taro Hirose is exponentially better when he plays with skilled type players because of his ability to make plays," Blashill said. "He's not probably best suited to play with just two grinders. Double-A can play with lots of types of players because he's such a self-creator, he can play with different looks. But with Taro, he gets a little bit of a give-and-go guy and then with Glenny, he gets a guy who wins puck battles, who creates havoc on the forecheck, who goes to the net front so all those things allow the skill players to use that skill. If you don't have somebody on the line that does that, it's really, really hard to create and Glenny does an excellent job of that. The other thing Glenny's real good at obviously is he's really good defensively so he can help that line that way."

Hirose remains on the first power-play unit with Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi and Dennis Cholowski.

Athanasiou worked with the second unit with Filip Hronek, Valtteri Filppula, Adam Erne and Mike Green.

"We've left those power-play units, the top one the same," Blashill said. "The percentage wasn't good enough and we had some mistakes but I also thought Taro made a heck of a play to Mantha on the goal and we had other moments of being dangerous there. I think with Athanasiou on that half-wall, one, he can score on his own so you have to respect his shot, two, he can make plays and find the open guy. Then on the entries, he's a threat to score anytime he gets the puck. I think it gives us two dangerous units. I hope it does."

BIEGA SKATES WITH TEAM: After Sunday night's victory, the Wings made a late-night trade with the Vancouver Canucks, sending forward David Pope to Vancouver for defenseman Alex Biega.

Trevor Daley left Sunday's game with a lower-body injury and the team placed Daley and Jonathan Ericsson on injured reserve Monday.

With that, the Wings recalled Biega and rookie Oliwer Kaski from the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins.

"We did a lot of research," Blashill said. "Steve (Yzerman) had talked to me about it the last few days. Every one of our coaches looked at his game on tape and offered opinions. That's not our primary job, obviously Steve has got a great scouting staff whose primary job is that, but we want to know what we're getting. We want to make sure we know and give our opinion ahead of time.

"I had a chance to talk to two guys who have coached him in different spots and get firsthand knowledge of what they thought of him. No. 1, glowing report as a character person. Glowing in terms of work ethic. Glowing in terms of team guy, Glowing in terms of self-accountability. No. 2, he's somebody who uses his skating as a defensive weapon. It doesn't mean he doesn't push the play up the ice, but like Nick Jensen learned to use his skating as a defensive weapon, I think that's what Alex has been able to do and I think over the course of Alex's career he's learned how to really manage his game with the puck and he seemed to always make the pass when the pass was there and make the hard play when the play wasn't there."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: .@ABiega4 checking in at #RedWings morning skate. Wearing No. 3. #LGRW

Biega skated with the team Tuesday morning and was paired with Kaski but neither will play against the Anaheim Ducks.

"To be honest with you I kind of knew something was going to happen in the last week or so," Biega said. "I was back home with my family. I couldn't be happier to be joining the Red Wings and for the opportunity. I'm very grateful."

Biega, 31, was originally the Buffalo Sabres' fifth-round pick, 147th overall, in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. He signed with the Canucks on July 6, 2013.

In 179 games with the Canucks, Biega had four goals, 32 assists and was minus-14.

"I like to move the puck," Biega said. "I'm a skater. Use my speed to get involved in the rush as a fourth wave. Using my skating ability to break pucks out and exit the zone cleanly. I'm just a guy that's up and down. I like to play physical and be hard defensively for the guys."

Biega, a Montreal native, said he didn't know anyone on the Wings other than goaltender Jonathan Bernier.

"I'm from Montreal originally, he's from Quebec and we played under-17 together," Biega said. "I think that was the last time I saw him when we were 17, and obviously playing against him."

Since the morning skate was Biega's first time with the Wings, he will need some practice to get acclimated to the systems.

"I think a couple of days," Biega said. "Obviously it was like the first day of class today in practice. New drills, new faces. But I think once game time comes, when I get called upon, you just go out there and play. Obviously, you have to know the systems but at the end of the day, that's why we get paid. You've got to know the system and understand them. It's not like football. It's a little more simple. I'm just really looking forward to really getting in and proving what I can do."

There is one thing that Blashill said Biega will have to do to crack the lineup.

"What he hasn't done tons of over the last number of years is kill penalties," Blashill said. "For him to earn that spot, he's going to have to kill penalties for us. The people I talked to felt he had the smarts and attributes to kill penalties. He's going to have to prove it."

Although the Wings moved out of the Western Conference, Biega does remember playing against them.

"It's funny when I first got in the league, with the style I play, I was so excited to watch the Wings," Biega said. "A puck-possession team. They never force plays. Now, as the game has progressed to more of an up and down, north south game, fast-moving game, I think you see the Red Wings really taking advantage of that. They play fast. They have young guys with a lot of speed. It's evident in the games. It's similar in a sense to Vancouver. You've got a lot of young faces here. Just for them understanding the right way to play the game. Usually if you can do that consistently in this league, you're gonna win a lot more games that you're gonna lose."

BOWEY'S CHANCE: Young defenseman Madison Bowey found himself on the outside looking in for the first two games of the season but Daley's injury opened the door for him against the Anaheim Ducks.

"It's obviously tough to see guys go down," Bowey said. "He's a key to get back in, a key veteran in our locker room but for me I think I've just been waiting for my opportunity, waiting for my chance. I'm definitely excited and ready to go."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: "Play my game for a full 60 and focus on defending hard."🗣���: Madison Bowey | #ANAvsDET

Bowey knows that others will be waiting to jump in if he doesn't solidify his hold on a spot in Daley's absence.

"It's just consistency," Bowey said. "Play my game for a full 60 and focus on defending hard and keeping the pucks out of our net. If I can do that it helps our team win and gives us good chances. I've got to use my skating ability to my advantage and when I can, get up in the play and help our offense."

SVECHNIKOV BACK IN TOWN: There's no question that everyone in the organization is rooting for forward Evgeny Svechnikov, who missed the entire 2018-19 season with a knee injury.

With Frans Nielsen out after taking a puck to the head in Sunday's home opener, the Wings recalled Svechnikov and Ryan Kuffner.

"Exciting, obviously, really pumped after last year what I went through and coming back after the injury, playing in GR one game," Svechnikov said. "It's exciting but it's a huge opportunity now so I'm ready to go."

Neither forward is expected to play against the Ducks.

"Right now he's here precautionary," Blashill said. "He was the best forward down there in the game and probably the best forward at the end of training camp, and he's also been around the block a little bit. When guys haven't been around the block in terms of getting sent down and called back up, it can really hurt them mentally. We think he's super-prepared mentally to come back and go back down again he'll be just fine."

Svechnikov had a goal and two assists in the Griffins' 8-5 season opening victory over the Chicago Wolves.

"I feel it's huge confidence," Svechnikov said. "Obviously for anybody to go through something like that last year and come in for preseason, I think I did a good job. Start pretty decent in Grand Rapids, too, first game. It gives you obviously huge confidence going forward and just have to keep going."

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