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Notes: Glendening does not miss a beat after offseason surgery

Martin Frk out for Wednesday, Darren Helm questionable

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT -- The way Luke Glendening has played this season, you would never have guessed that he had offseason surgery.

Early in the game in Carolina last March 27, Glendening suffered a fractured left ankle and partially torn tendons and he had to miss the final seven games of the season.

On June 5, Glendening had surgery performed by Dr. Don Bohay in Grand Rapids to repair the damage after the team determined that rest and immobilization wasn't going to be enough.

Initially there was some question as to whether Glendening would be ready for training camp as the recovery time for the surgery is three to four months.

"I was a little nervous before the season started, before camp started because I didn't know how my body was going to respond," Glendening said after Tuesday's practice. "I only got to skate a week before camp so I didn't know what to expect but I'm very fortunate I had a good surgeon in Grand Rapids and then my rehab this summer went well. Glad it worked out the way it did."

When camp started, Glendening appeared ready to go and has not missed a beat.

"Camp was hard and some of the preseason games were hard but I tried to keep myself in the best shape I could, doing what I was able to do," Glendening said. "The gym I go to in the summer did a great job.

"I actually feel pretty good. I had to tailor my workouts a little differently this summer. It actually helped me lose some weight. I feel lighter and feel better this year."

Glendening is notorious for his stringent workout routine so it wasn't like he really needed to lose weight.

"Not a ton but I'm probably down 10 pounds from what I was last year," he said. "Just to feel lighter on the ice is nice."

The Wings are trying to be one of the faster teams in the league.

"I'm trying, I don't know if I look any faster but I feel a little faster," Glendening said with a laugh.

Wings coach Jeff Blashill was not at all surprised that Glendening was able to return to form so quickly. "He's in elite, elite shape, he's an elite worker," Blashill said. "He's in this league because of his will and determination and his pain tolerance is high. He's got all those factors that allow him to work past that."

While Blashill often has Glendening centering the fourth line, this season he has also used him on a line with Frans Nielsen and Darren Helm to match against opponents' top lines, especially on the road.

"If it's helping our team win then that's great, but I'm just here to help any way I can, whatever role that might be," Glendening said.

Glendening is also one of the Wings' top penalty killers and the team is currently sixth in the league in that department at 84.6 percent.

"I said to our group we got to have elite specialty teams and I think the penalty kill is in that range," Blashill said. "I think it's seventh or something in the league. I think the power play's in the middle so we'd like to get the power play up into that top 10 range as well. I think if you have a top 10 PP and a top 10 PK, you give yourself a better chance to be a playoff team. I think we're going to keep striving for that."

Glendening, Helm and Nielsen all have shorthanded goals this year, which is another factor in the penalty kill's success.

"I don't know if you see a difference but I think our mentality has been a little more aggressive than it was in the past," Glendening said. "They've always said if you get a chance go and take it but I think this year we've done that a little more. Maybe it's backed them off a little bit but I think we're trying to score just as much as we were."

Glendening said he prefers playing a more aggressive penalty kill.

"It's fun to be aggressive and try to get after the other team's power play," Glendening said. "Their skilled guys are the ones out there, so if you can slow them down to deter their confidence just a little bit, it's always a good sign."

Despite the league cracking down on face-off violations, Glendening has also not missed a beat in that area.

Glendening leads the team with a 60.6 face-off win percentage, which is 36th in the league.

"It's different, that's for sure," Glendening said. "Some nights it's more frustrating than others but it's something you have to adapt do and everyone's adapting and everyone's learning. Guys are getting better and better as the games go on and learning the nuances of the refs and the linesmen and what you can get away with and what you can't. I'm sure some of the guys you see that are down are going to be getting better and it'll become more even as we go."

FRK AND HELM: Darren Helm missed practice for the second straight day and Blashill said he was questionable for Wednesday night's game against the Calgary Flames.

"It would be just something that happened the other night there," Blashill said. "I'm hoping it's just a bruise, pain-tolerance thing."

Martin Frk started practice but left after about five minutes.

"Frk left practice today," Blashill said. "It looks like he'll be out tomorrow. I can't tell you how long, lower body, could be a week.

"I think it's just more accumulation of the last couple days and it affected him today and he couldn't skate great."

Nielsen will take Frk's spot on the power play.

The Wings could call someone up from Grand Rapids but they do have David Booth and Luke Witkowski available.

"I got to sit down with my staff and figure out where we go," Blashill said. "That happened during practice. I came in this morning kind of expecting, I didn't have any thought that they wouldn't be practicing and now they aren't so we got to kind of refocus."

DEKEYSER GETTING CLOSER: Danny DeKeyser practiced for the second straight day.

"It felt good," DeKeyser said. "It felt even a little bit better than yesterday, which is good. I did a little bit of, just a little bit of kind of battling and stuff in the corners. I'll try to do more of that in the next couple days. It was a good day."

The one thing that was tough for DeKeyser was without Helm and Frk, DeKeyser had to skate as a forward on a line with Glendening and Scott Wilson.

"I had to ask a few questions before going in those drills for sure," DeKeyser said. "Playing forward is a little bit different, I wasn't used to that. Frky went off, I don't know, a little soreness or whatever but I just filled in for the day."

It's been many years since DeKeyser has played forward so he has a new appreciation for what Witkowski can do, playing both.

"A little bit when I was really young, when I first started playing, but pretty much I was always defense," DeKeyser said. "It was definitely strange. I was a little bit lost out there."

DeKeyser is still aiming to return as soon as this weekend.

"That's what I'm hoping for," DeKeyser said. "That's kind of like the best-case scenario. If it keeps feeling better and I keep feeling better on the ice, it's definitely a possibility."

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