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Notes: Ehn returns to Wings after very brief time away

Green doubtful, Helm questionable for game in Columbus Thursday; Nemeth possible for weekend

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

DETROIT -- Christoffer Ehn was gone for such a short period of time, he didn't even have time to miss anyone.

Ehn also didn't even get a chance to play for the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins.

"I was supposed to play tomorrow in Grand Rapids," Ehn said after Wednesday's brief practice at the BELFOR Training Center. "They've got some stuff going on here so I got the call last night to come back up. So I'm here.

"It was only like a day or two, but that's the way it is. I had a worse one last year where I got called up and then got sent down like the next day. It turns around pretty quick."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: Practice today. Columbus tomorrow.

Ehn has been a healthy scratch in some games earlier this season so he said he wasn't surprised when he was sent down.

"I mean, you can't feel that when you're in and out of the lineup," Ehn said. "You don't really need a wake-up call. You want to be out there playing every game. Every game I've been scratched, you kind of put that on you and you want to get better. Just keep working."

Ehn, 23, has played in 14 games with the Wings this season, averaging 11:53 in ice time.

"I think Ehner has played good games for us," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "I thought the last couple of games prior to getting sent down -- sent down was more of a thing to give him a chance to play more than anything else. When he's playing good, he's skating and forechecking. I thought he got away a little bit from the skating and forechecking. He's a good defensive player almost all the time. He's a good penalty killer almost all the time. But he's gotta skate, he's gotta be physical and he's gotta be a good forechecker."

The Wings are not relying on Ehn to be a big point producer but he does have nine points (3-6-9) in 74 career games, none this season.

"I think that's my role on the team really, to be a good, solid penalty killer, make the right plays and play hard and be hard to play against," Ehn said. "I think I can be a little more physical than I have been so far. Just keep putting pucks behind and skate a lot. That's my goal."

The young forward has been asked to play both center and wing and says he feels comfortable doing both.

Taking face-offs in the NHL is a little different than back home in Sweden so that has been an adjustment.

"I've been playing center my whole life, really from back home in Sweden, but it was a little of a change when you came here," Ehn said. "You can kick and tie up more here. You're not allowed to do that back home. I think that's something I improved over the last season. Just gotta keep working on it in practice and get better. I've got some really good guys here like Fransy (Frans Nielsen) and Glenny (Luke Glendening), who have been good on face-offs for long. I take tips from them."

Ehn is at 53.66 percent this season on face-offs.

NIELSEN WORKING THROUGH STRUGGLES: Nielsen has always been a player who arrives at the rink early and works extremely hard.

So his work ethic and effort are not to blame for his continued scoring drought.

In 19 games, Nielsen has not yet recorded a point, the longest such stretch of his career.

"I know I can do better but it's not like I feel I've been terrible out there," Nielsen said. "I've been getting my chances. It's been hard but at the same time, all the time I've ever known, I've always felt that if you just try to play the right way, things are going to happen out there. You're going to get your bounces and all that stuff, but for some reason it's not coming right now. All I can do is just try to be myself out there and not get out of comfort zone and try to be someone else because it's not working right now. I just got to stay the course and hopefully know I'm going to get out of this and it's going to come easier."

It certainly looked like it was going to happen Tuesday night in the second period when he and Glendening broke in 2-on-0 on a shorthanded chance but Nielsen was unable to finish.

"You feel a bit different when you got all that confidence and when it's not quite there," Nielsen said. "If I would have had six or seven goals already, I'm not sure that I wouldn't have roofed that one yesterday but now … yeah, he made a good save but I didn't get it up at all. It's one of those things, you know when you get a pass like that, side to side, you have to get it up because all the goalies are good down low. But you just don't do it.

"Just got to keep battling, keep being me and playing my game and hopefully it's going to turn around sooner or later. Worst thing I can do is feel sorry for myself and be down. I got to keep my head up and keep working at it."

After Tuesday's game, Blashill said that Nielsen's overall process has been sound.

"His effort is great, his compete is great," Blashill said. "He took a hit in the third period against Anaheim where he was going to get crushed, where 90 percent of the league bails and he didn't bail. For me, that was as indicative of a winning play as anything we had done to come back and tie that game up. He's done that kind of stuff on a repeated basis.

"Now, do we need him to produce points? Yeah, he's got to produce some points. It's more difficult when you're not on the power play, it's more difficult when you've gotten the kind of ice time he's gotten. On enough nights, they've almost become our pseudo fourth line depending on who's on the other line. When Abby (Justin Abdelkader), Helmer (Darren Helm) and Rosie (Jacob de la Rose)were going I played them more than the Nielsen line. When Glenny is out there with Helmer and them I play them more than the Nielsen line, so he's not getting tons of minutes and he's not on the power play, but do we need him to produce? Yes."

INJURY UPDATES: The Wings lost Helm (lower body) in the second period and defenseman Mike Green (upper body) in the third period of Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators.

"Mike Green appears to be, I'm going to say doubtful for tomorrow," Blashill said. "Day to day.

"Helmer is questionable for tomorrow. Day to day."

Glendening, who returned to the lineup the last two games after missing 11 with a left hand injury, did not practice Wednesday.

"Glenny was a maintenance day," Blashill said. "He should play tomorrow."

That means the Wings won't have to call up an additional forward.

"We had 11 forwards on the ice today. Glenny makes it 12. Helmer potentially makes it 13," Blashill said. "I'd probably leave it at that. If we needed to call somebody else up, we'd do it last minute if we had to. They play tonight, so anybody left there, we're gonna let play."

There is some good news for the blueline as Patrik Nemeth, who missed the last four games due to an infection, is not far away.

Nemeth is making the trip but Blashill said he would not play in Columbus Thursday.

"Definitely making progress," Blashill said. "We're hoping maybe for the weekend."

Justin Abdelkader, out since Nov. 10 with an upper-body injury, is heading in the right direction.

"Abdelkader is skating but he's at least two weeks away," Blashill said.

Veteran defensemen Danny DeKeyser and Trevor Daley remain far away from returning.

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