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Notes: de la Rose completely healthy after heart procedure

Larkin, Mantha and Bertuzzi to be reunited; Athanasiou, Abdelkader, Nielsen and Ericsson out Sunday

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

DETROIT -- It was a scary situation for Detroit Red Wings forward Jacob de la Rose last March at Madison Square Garden.

After assisting on an Andreas Athanasiou goal in a 2-on-1, de la Rose experienced an accelerated heartbeat and had to leave the game.

It was the second time it had happened, with the first when he was with the Montreal Canadiens during training camp last year.

"Obviously, it's scary when it's your heart," de la Rose said after Saturday's practice at Little Caesars Arena. "You don't really know what's going on. You know right away it's something serious when it comes to the heart. I knew I was in good hands with the doctors and everything. It was the second time it had happened, too. It happened in Montreal in training camp last year, so I kind of knew what it was this time.

"We decided to have a procedure done and everything went well. I feel normal. I had a good summer and was able to work out as usual, so I feel fine and I feel excited to get this season going."

The 24-year-old Swede experienced no trouble in playing back-to-back games against the Chicago Blackhawks to start the preseason.

In the first game, at Little Caesars Arena, de la Rose had 23 shifts for 20:19, had one shot, three hits, one giveaway and was an impressive 10-for-13 in face-offs.

In the second game, at Chicago's United Center, de la Rose had 21 shifts for 18:10, had one shot, three hits, one giveaway, two takeaways and was 5-for-14 in face-offs.

There is quite a bit of competition for roster spots, which de la Rose knows.

"There's a lot of really good players here, so it's tough to earn a jersey here," de la Rose said. "I'm just trying to do my best here every day and show them what I can bring to the team and what they can get from me."

Wings coach Jeff Blashill has said he plans to play both de la Rose and Christoffer Ehn at both center and wing so they can provide versatility, much like Luke Glendening has done.

"I've played both," de la Rose said. "Growing up I played center the whole time and then kind of as I went pro, first in Sweden and kind of my first years in Montreal, they played me at the wing. Now I've been back and center, so I know I can play both. At this level, you just gotta be open for everything. For me it's more about earning a job, so I play where they want me to play."

SOME BACK IN, OTHERS OUT: In Saturday's second practice group, Dylan Larkin was reunited with linemates Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi.

Mantha and Bertuzzi played Friday without Larkin but that is about to end.

Tweet from @Dwakiji: #RedWings Larkin, Mantha and Bertuzzi reunited.

"I haven't talked to (Larkin) since we've got off the ice but the plan is he's going to go tomorrow, so unless something drastically changes, yes, he's going to go," Blashill said.

After that line, things are still up in the air with six exhibition games left to play.

"At the end of the day I'm not locked into any lines except I really like the Bertuzzi-Larkin-Mantha line," Blashill said. "To me that's what these exhibition games are for, so I get a chance to watch all this. We're going to try a whole bunch of combinations and see which ones work best."

Frans Nielsen left Friday's game with a lower-body injury and did not skate Saturday.

It makes it a little tougher to determine which center Athanasiou would do best with, Nielsen or Valtteri Filppula.

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: Production day 🔥 @AndreasA86

"Nielsen has played a bit with him, so I've seen that," Blashill said. "I want to see Fil with him as much as I can. Unfortunately, last night when Nielsen went out I couldn't do that as consistently as I wanted to. So we'll keep watching. Double-A had a little tweak last night, so it doesn't look like he'll play tomorrow, so I'll keep watching."

Blashill said the tweak Athanasiou has is different from the one which kept him out of the second half of the Red and White Game last Sunday.

In addition to those injuries, Blashill said veteran defenseman Jonathan Ericsson is dealing with an issue that happened in Friday's practice and he won't be available Sunday.

Justin Abdelkader did practice with the first group Saturday morning. "

Working his way back in," Blashill said. "He won't play Sunday or Monday."

YOUNGSTERS TO PLAY A LOT: Young defenseman Oliwer Kaski played in his first game Friday night.

He had 25 shifts for 16:39, had one shot, one minor penalty and was even.

"It was good that we were able to get him in last night," Blashill said. "It was unfortunate he couldn't play one of the first two, if not both. I want to see him play as much as possible. You get into a tough situation Wednesday-Thursday of next week because one plane's getting home at 2 in the morning, one's leaving at 7 or something so I won't play those guys back-to-back there. You start to get a little bit limited but we're going to get Kaski in hopefully five games to see him play as much as possible."

Some of the others fighting for spots will possibly play even more than Kaski.

"I'd say (Filip) Zadina, Ras (Michael Rasmussen), (Joe) Veleno, (Moritz) Seider, those guys are all six-plus games probably."

For Rasmussen, the Wings are playing him at center this preseason even though he played mostly on the wing last year.

"He'd have to really knock other guys out of the box at wing," Blashill said. "I think long-term, that's something I'll talk with Steve (Yzerman) about. If our long-term thought is that he's best served for the organization at center, then we're going to put him at center, stick with him at center.

"Either he wins one of the center spots here or he goes to Grand Rapids. That's the reality of it. I think he knows he's in a fight and he's going to get tons of opportunity to prove that he should be here."

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