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Notes: Cholowski excited about opportunity to play with Green

Frk returns to lineup; Jets have plenty of Michiganders

by Dana Wakiji and Arthur J. Regner @Dwakiji and @ArthurJRegner /

DETROIT -- When Dennis Cholowski was growing up in western Canada, there was a young defenseman who played for the Washington Capitals that he enjoyed watching.

Fast forward to 2018 and Cholowski will be playing alongside that defenseman for the Red Wings.

That player is of course, Mike Green, who will be making his season debut after missing the first nine games of the season with a virus.

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: Morning skate as the #RedWings get set to faceoff with the Jets tonight! #WPGvsDET #LGRW

"It's great. He was one of my favorite defensemen growing up, always loved him and loved the way he skated and ran the power play and everything," Cholowski said. "I tried to emulate a lot of what he did and now I get to play with him so it's pretty cool for sure."

It's something Cholowski said he never expected to happen back when he was a kid watching hockey.

"Not at the time, no, I definitely didn't," Cholowski said. "Now that it's happening, it's kind of surreal for sure."

At 33, Green is 13 years older than Cholowski and has 787 NHL games under his belt. Green said he is also looking forward to playing with the gifted young defenseman.

"He's such a great, young talent," Green said after Thursday's practice. "Been able to watch him over the last month and a bit. He's really multidimensional. He's kind of got all the tools in the tickle trunk. Now I get a chance to play with him."

Wings coach Jeff Blashill is just hoping the two can click as a pair.

"(Cholowski) can learn some things offensively, I am hoping more than anything else it's just a good pair," Blashill said. "Obviously, they're two guys who can move the puck. Mike is a little more active in his skating, Dennis is a little more efficient in his offense where it doesn't come so much from beating people up the ice as it does from his stick and his poise."

FRK BACK IN: Martin Frk will play in his second game of the season when the Red Wings host the Winnipeg Jets tonight.

The Wings have gone through some hard practices since their poor effort against the Carolina Hurricanes Monday night, something that Frk expected.

"When you lose that many games, you got to work on all the things 'cause they're unhappy, we are unhappy when we're losing," Frk said. "We need to focus. First off, we need to start scoring some goals because we cannot win a game with one or two goals. It's hard in this league. We definitely need to do that and just play as a team. It's a fun sport and game, I feel like we are too frustrated or we don't enjoy it. I feel like we have more fun, it's always harder when you are always holding your stick too tight."

Green, who will be back in his familiar quarterback position on the power play, said he will be looking to recreate that chemistry he had with Frk on the man-advantage.

"If he's open, then for sure," Green said. "Obviously he's got a great shot and we want to utilize that and have that a piece of the puzzle out there. Definitely be looking for him."

Frk said he watches Patrik Laine, Winnipeg's young star forward, because they both like that left circle on the power play.

"He scores pretty much 30-plus goals every year so definitely I watch him," Frk said. "He's a righty so it's the same spot. We will see tonight. Hopefully we don't want to give them any power plays because he's right there and he will be waiting for a one-timer there. Just stay out of the box."

Laine already has three power-play goals and the Jets' power play is ranked fourth in the league at 32.1 percent.

Frk wants to try to keep a spot in the lineup but he also doesn't want to put too much pressure on himself.

"I'm in a bad spot right now," Frk said. "I think last time I was in this spot was three years ago in Grand Rapids. Yeah, right now for me is just play good game and enjoy it. If you pick up any points or you score a goal, it's always a plus but I just want to play good hockey and have as much fun on the ice as I can and help the team win the game tonight."

MICHIGAN-BRED JETS: The hockey community is a close-knit group that stretches across the globe.

Most players and coaches have crossed paths over their careers as they've made their way to the NHL.

There are four Michigan-born players on the Jets roster -- defenseman Jacob Trouba (Rochester), forwards Andrew Copp (Ann Arbor) and Kyle Connor (Shelby Township) and goalie Connor Hellebuyck (Commerce) -- they were all reared in the state of Michigan's extensive hockey development programs.

Blashill, a state of Michigan hockey player himself, has a relationship with all four Michigan-based Jets and is impressed by what these Michiganders have accomplished in their NHL careers.

"I've coached three of the four on world championship teams (Trouba, Hellebuyck and Copp), you'd have to ask them what our relationship is like (laughter)," Blashill said after Friday's optional morning skate. "I think the relationship is good with all three of those guys, actually I know (Kyle) Connor a little bit. I was at a Tigers game and met him a little bit and saw him at JJ's game in August, (Stars and Stripes game in Plymouth to benefit the family of the late Jim Johannson). I think all but Hellebuyck were at that game.

"So, yeah, I have enough of a relationship with them. They're all great representatives of Michigan and the great hockey we have here in the state."

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