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Notes: Hronek could return for Senators; DeKeyser, Daley not close

Green back in lineup after missing game for birth of daughter Lula

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

DETROIT -- It seems there is always a lot happening with the Red Wings defensemen the last couple of seasons.

The defense corps was ravaged by injuries last year and that pattern has unfortunately continued into this season.

Filip Hronek, who has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury after blocking a shot in Anaheim Nov. 12, took part in the optional morning skate and said he hopes to play against the Ottawa Senators tonight.

"We'll make that decision after warmups tonight," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "I think the biggest thing is he needs to be able to go out there and look like he's at full speed. That doesn't mean that you feel like you're at full speed but nobody in the building can know he's not. So we'll see."

Hronek, 22, leads Detroit's defensemen in scoring with 10 points (4-6-10) and is fifth overall in scoring on the team.

Patrik Nemeth, 27, has missed the last three games due to an infection caused by a blocked shot.

"He feels way better," Blashill said. "I think he's in a good spot. I know he's meeting with the doctors tonight so we just want to take the right approach with that. He could be back much sooner than maybe the original anticipation."

The news is not quite as positive for Danny DeKeyser, who has missed the last 13 games with a lower-body injury.

"Nothing new on Danny except that there's been no significant progress, I'd say," Blashill said. "Where that leads to, I don't know. But right now, we won't have him back in the foreseeable future."

Things are also not trending upward for Trevor Daley, who has missed the last seven games and 10 total this season, with a lower-body injury.

"Dales would be similar in a sense to DeKeyser in that there has been no significant progress whatsoever," Blashill said. "That just means they're still weeks away. When you've been out as long as both of those guys have been out it's going to be at least a week before you get back going once you're full speed and they're not anywhere near that right now."

GREEN RETURNS: Veteran defenseman Mike Green missed the last game of the road trip in San Jose but for happy reasons.

His wife, Courtney, gave birth to their second child and first daughter, Lula.

"Obviously, we were out on the west coast. I tried to get back as soon as possible," Green said after the morning skate. "I just missed it but I guess I showed up at the perfect time anyway.

"It's really exciting and most importantly, they're both healthy and doing well. We just kind of take it one day at a time."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: Congrats to the Green's on their new baby girl! 🗣 @GreenLife52 | #OTTvsDET #LGRW

Naturally, the Wings had to be three time zones away when Courtney went into labor.

"I was hoping that she would come before we left but once we got out there, I was expecting her to come while I was gone, just because it was gonna happen that way," Green said. "We got down to the last day and I thought maybe I might be able to get back and sure enough, she called me that morning. It all happened like I said in the perfect time."

Although Green admitted he's not getting any sleep with the new baby, he's a happy and proud dad and husband.

"It's always an experience," Green said. "You just feel really blessed and full. It's an exciting time for myself and my wife."

Green said his son, Axel, is also happy to have a sister.

"He was excited," Green said. "He was actually really excited. It's been sweet so far."

After tonight's home game, the Wings leave for games in Columbus Thursday and New Jersey Saturday. which means Green hits the road yet again.

"I'm grateful and fortunate with my wife. She's very understanding," Green said. "She's a warrior and she'll be fine. We have a little bit of help, too this time, which is nice."

WELCOME BACK: Veteran defenseman Jonathan Ericsson is a little worse for the wear since returning to the Wings after playing 10 games in Grand Rapids with the AHL's Griffins.

But the reason Ericsson has seven new stitches above his left eye is not because of an opponent.

"It was just a battle drill and I think actually my stick ended up under Perls' (Brendan Perlini's) skate and he kind of fell and as he was falling down, his stick kind of came up and hit me," Ericsson said. "I think Stevie (Yzerman) came up to me after practice and he said, 'Welcome back to the NHL.'

"So yeah, that was a little funny."

Ericsson played in the last two games with the Wings on the California trip.

"I wasn't here for when they had that toughest little run but it feels like the room has some confidence," Ericsson said. "Obviously, I think we can get even more than that. How we get there is just working hard and keep going at it. Winning games, getting puck in. You have to build up your own confidence. Nothing is just going to be given to you."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: "It feels like the room has some confidence. Obviously I think we can get even more and how you get that is working hard." 🗣 Ericsson | #OTTvsDET #LGRW

Blashill praised the way Ericsson handled being sent down to Grand Rapids.

"I think the approach that he took when he went down there is a great example of how you should approach it," Blashill said. "He went down there, he worked his (butt) off, he played good hockey, he was a team guy, he wasn't pouting, he wasn't any of that stuff. Because of that, we felt confident when we needed, especially a left-shot defenseman that can kill some penalties and have size, we called him back up and he's done a good job in a couple games. Obviously you're missing Danny, you're missing Nemeth, those are two of our big left-shot D that play important minutes for us. Left and right does matter. All things being equal, you'd love to have one of each in every pair. It doesn't always work that way but all things being equal, you'd like to have it.

"He's come up here and in a couple games done a good job. He's gotta keep going."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: .@Lions in the 🏠������#LGRW | #OnePride

SENATORS IN TOWN: The Senators have actually been in Detroit longer than the Wings have.

The Senators played in Buffalo Saturday and then flew to the Motor City right after and have been practicing at Little Caesars Arena.

The Wings played in San Jose Saturday and remained overnight there before flying back Sunday.

When these two teams played in Ottawa on Oct. 23, the Senators handed the Wings a 5-2 loss.

"I didn't like our game last time," Blashill said. "I thought we played really loose when we were in there. I think we played emotional after a tough loss at home on a back to back, instead of playing right and doing it right. I'll take the blame on that. We got away from process and I think since then we've done a good job of focusing better on process. They're going to play hard. They got some young, talented players, some real good, young talented players and they're going to play hard.

"I know (Anders) Nilsson specifically, has been real good for them. I saw him firsthand when he played for Sweden and beat us in the World Championships in the semis. They're like every other team in the league, they got good players and it's a hard matchup, regardless of either of our records. Every night is a hard matchup in this league."

Nilsson is 5-4-1 with a 2.76 goals-against average and .925 save percentage.

Offensively the Senators are led by Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who has 15 points (11-4-15), Connor Brown, who has 14 points (2-12-14), and Vladislav Namestnikov, who has 12 points (6-6-12).

"I guess any team can beat anybody on any night," Darren Helm said after Monday's practice. "I think maybe we thought it was going to be an easier test. But they're still a really good team, they just haven't had some luck, or puck luck, or haven't been able to find wins as much but still a really good team. We gotta be ready and prepared for another tough game coming up."

The Senators (8-11-1) and Wings (7-12-3) both have 17 points but the Senators have two games in hand.

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