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Notes: Illness hits another Red Wing

Abdelkader and Helm healthy for Wild; Howard out and Sateri up to back up Bernier

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

DETROIT -- Whatever sickness has been floating around the Detroit Red Wings dressing room has infected another player.

Goaltender Jimmy Howard did not participate in the team's optional morning skate and coach Jeff Blashill announced afterward that Howard had the flu and would not be available to even back up Jonathan Bernier against the Minnesota Wild.

So the Wings are recalling Harri Sateri from the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins to serve as Bernier's backup for the night.

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: The #RedWings today recalled goaltender Harri Sateri from the AHL���s Grand Rapids Griffins and assigned center Christoffer Ehn to the Griffins.Details:

Sateri, 29, is 18-9-3 with a 2.79 goals-against average and .902 save percentage in 30 games.

Justin Abdelkader, who missed Thursday's practice after getting sick, skated in the optional morning skate and said he was ready to play.

Frans Nielsen missed last Saturday's game in Philadelphia and Gustav Nyquist missed Sunday's home game against the Flyers.

"Actually, unfortunately I sat on the plane next to both of those guys on the Philly trip, so I kinda knew after both of those guys went down I was probably doomed," Abdelkader said. "I felt it kinda coming on a couple of days ago, our game day against Chicago on Wednesday. I kinda felt it coming on during the day.

"My stomach was kinda cramping and it got worse as the day went on. During the game didn't feel great. Sometimes with a stomach bug you're not sure if it's something you ate or if it's something that's going on with your stomach. Everything started coming up and I knew I was doomed right from then."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: Justin Abdelkader ahead of #MINvsDET.

Luke Glendening, who sits right next to Abdelkader in the dressing room, is well aware that there is something getting passed around and doesn't want it.

"Just try to get your sleep at night, wash your hands," Glendening said. "It seems to be going around a bit here so hopefully most guys can stay healthy."

Said Blashill: "I don't want to get it, so I've washed my hands a bunch. I didn't sit at the table they sat at. I think we're pretty cautious generally. It's certainly from an emphasis of washing your hands on a regular basis. You do those things but there's only so much you can do. We had flu shots earlier in the year. Luckily it's been more - I don't know if you're really supposed to call some of it the flu. Really it's more stomach virus."

THE BERNIER BLUES: It has been a rather peculiar year for Bernier. When he signed his three-year, $9 million deal last July, the Red Wings stated he was their top goaltending priority in free agency and Bernier was looking forward to sharing the net with Howard, with aspirations to someday becoming Detroit's No. 1 netminder.

But since a Saturday afternoon game in Boston on October 13 where the Wings were dismantled by the Bruins, 8-2, Bernier has been playing behind the 8-ball, trying to get his inflated numbers down.

In 25 games, Bernier is 6-13-4 with a 3.31 goals-against average, .898 save percentage and one shutout.

Detroit's coaching staff and his teammates have consistently indicated Bernier's record is not an accurate indication of how well he's played, with many Wings saying most of the blame rests on their shoulders.

This past week is indicative of Bernier's season.

Since Howard receives the bulk of Detroit's starts, Bernier needs to make the most of every opportunity to bring his numbers down and improve on his win total. With the Wings falling behind 5-1 at Philadelphia last Saturday and 4-1 on Wednesday to Chicago at Little Caesars Arena, the Wings pulled Howard and Bernier was sent in to quell the offensive explosion.

Bernier played well, allowing the Red Wings to mount impressive comebacks in both games, tying the score and forcing overtime.

But the Flyers and Blackhawks each scored in OT, which made Bernier the losing goaltender in a game where his goaltending gave the Wings a chance to win.

"Kind of the way my season has gone," Bernier chuckled, shaking his head. "It's just the way hockey goes sometimes."

Blashill, a former collegiate goalie at Ferris State, has empathy for what Bernier has endured this season.

"I've grabbed him a couple times through the year to tell him his game has been better than maybe his stats or record reflect. I haven't done it in the last couple games. I think he understands that," Blashill said. "He's a pro, he knows. I would say that he's a guy that understands. He just wants to win. Everybody likes their personal stuff to look good. He's at a spot where again, I think he's played better than that. But you just keep grinding."

Blashill believes Bernier's attitude has helped him approach this less than ideal season.

"One of the things I've said lots, you have to have a short memory, whether it's a team, a player or certainly a goalie," Blashill said. "And you've got to move forward so he'll continue to move forward."

HELM OK: Darren Helm missed Thursday's practice but not because of illness.

He was a little banged up after getting hit by his own teammate, Danny DeKeyser. But he skated Friday morning.

"Friendly fire. That's all it was," Helm said. "It happens sometimes. I'm sure I'll get a few guys once in a while, so I just laugh it off. Nothing major, just a little soreness. I felt good out there today, so it shouldn't be a problem tonight."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: "A lot of guys take pride in playing hard and competing we don't want to lose that culture."More from Darren Helm:

EHN TO GR: When Blashill said Wednesday that he expected Jacob de la Rose to return to the lineup after sitting one game as a healthy scratch, it meant someone else would have to sit.

That someone is rookie Christoffer Ehn, who is returning to Grand Rapids.

"We just met with him," Blashill said. "He's going to go down and play at least this weekend in GR. He wasn't in the lineup tonight."

Ehn, 22, has two goals, five assists and is even in 44 games.

"He's played good," Blashill said. "He's played good for sure. But again this is all about continued development. Rather than sit here, they're two hours away. And he might be down for a long time, he might be down there for a little bit. We don't know that. I think he's headed in the right direction. The one thing we'd like him to continue to get better at is his offensive game and it's certainly easier down there to improve your offensive game than it is here. We think there's more offense there. We just believe if he can start to produce down there it will help him."

Ehn played in 10 games with the Griffins from late October through mid-November and had one goal and five assists.

WILD DIFFERENT TEAM: The Wild that the Wings face tonight looks a bit different than the team the Wings beat 5-2 in Minnesota on Jan. 12.

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: Good morning 😊

In that game, Nino Niederreiter scored and now Niederreiter is with the Carolina Hurricanes.

On Wednesday, the Wild traded center Charlie Coyle to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Ryan Donato and a conditional 2019 fifth-round pick.

"No Niederreiter, no Coyle. (Victor) Rask is hurt," Blashill said. "Donato had a nice assist last night. I still think the framework of what they are is similar. They're a big, heavy, strong team. They can really grind you in the O-zone. They're very, very good in front of their net defensively. They give up the least amount of shots from the slot in the league. They've got a good goalie. And they're obviously a team whose level of desperation is high based on where the Western Conference standings are and how close they are in the playoff picture and obviously last night's win was big for them.

"We gotta make sure we come out like we have had a focus all year long and pay our best hockey. We know if we play our best hockey, we're in a position to win the hockey game. Now we got to make the plays to win it."

The Wild are playing in the second game of a back-to-back after beating the New York Rangers, 4-1, in New York Thursday.

"They're a team that's going to come out hard," Abdelkader said. "Obviously, they played last night so usually teams that play the night before have some jump right away, so we gotta be prepared to get a good start, better than our previous game. They're a team that I think their forwards are good, their D are good, they're just good all around. A really good team and they try to make it hard on you through the neutral zone. So we just gotta make sure we manage the puck."

The Wild are an unusual team in that they are better on the road (15-14-1) than they are at home (13-13-5).

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