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Notes: Injuries offer Parenteau and Frk a chance to impress the Wings

Tyler Bertuzzi is only player expected to be out for an extended period

by Dana Wakiji and Art Regner @Dwakiji and @ArthurJRegner / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT - It's not the ideal way to win a roster spot, but for those players hoping to make the Red Wings roster, they have to look at it as an opportunity.

In their first exhibition game at Little Caesars Arena tonight against the Boston Bruins, the Wings will be without captain Henrik Zetterberg (neck), alternate captain Justin Abdelkader (groin), alternate captain Niklas Kronwall (back), forward Tyler Bertuzzi (wrist) and defenseman Ryan Sproul (knee).

For PA Parenteau, in camp on a professional tryout, it means he gets to play on a line with Frans Nielsen and Darren Helm and on the power play.

That is where Parenteau really needs to shine, according to Wings coach Jeff Blashill.

"Be great on the power play. That would be one area for certain," Blashill said. "Be great on the power play and then he's somebody that could potentially add secondary scoring. What's secondary scoring? Well, not everybody can play 18-20 minutes a night. So in your 14 minutes or 12 minutes of whatever it might be, provide that type of secondary scoring."

Parenteau, 34, has 10 NHL seasons under his belt. He has scored 20 goals in a season twice, in 81 games with the New York Islanders in 2010-11 and in 77 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2015-16.

"I think I have to play my game, which is make plays and try to get on the scoresheet as much as I can," Parenteau said after Saturday's morning skate. "That's what I've been doing my whole career, that's why I've played in the league for so long. So I think I need to do that here, try to make some plays, show that I can still skate in this league at my age and I'm going to try to do that tonight and in the next few days."

Being on a line with Nielsen is sure to be a comfort for Parenteau.

"I played with Frans Nielsen for two years, he was my center for almost a full year on Long Island and I'm playing with him tonight, so that's kind of cool," Parenteau said. "He's a great player, he's fun to play with, he's very responsible. I played against Kronwall for a long time, too. He gave me a call when I signed the PTO. There's a lot of good guys here. It's a solid group of guys. It's fun being here."

Being on a professional tryout at 34 might not be the most fun thing but Parenteau believes he still has plenty of hockey left.

"The young legs are taking even more space now, the league has become a lot faster the last three to four years, it's crazy," Parenteau said. "But it's fun, it's good for the game. I'm not bitter by any means, I had a good career, a lot of fun in the NHL. I'm just trying to extend it. I know I can. I know I have a few good years in me."

FRK'S SHOT A WORK IN PROGRESS: As much as Blashill would like to get a win or two or three during the preseason, he realizes building chemistry on his lines, defensive parings, and establishing consistent specialty teams play is what preseason hockey is all about.

It is also about giving players an opportunity to prove themselves at the NHL level.

One such player is Martin Frk.

A second-round pick of the Wings (49th overall) back in the 2012 draft, Frk has been a player that Blashill has witnessed grow into a legitimate candidate to make the Wings.

Frk has overcome many obstacles during his professional career, but he is known as having one of the hardest shots in hockey. A shot so deadly that Detroit's goaltending corps would rather not face it during practice.

But if Frk hopes to be a Wing, he must prove he can play five-on-five and be more accurate on his bomb of a shot.

"Sometimes I just got to go hit the net," Frk said. "If I shoot hard enough, always the rebound can come or anything, give an opportunity for the other guys there. So definitely just put it on the net, hopefully I will hit the net the most of the time."

Hitting the net has been an issue with Frk and though he is working on improving his accuracy, he says the time he has to get his shot off in the NHL is minuscule.  

"This is the best league so definitely everything quicker here. Just maybe I cannot use the big slapshot here, maybe just got to go use more wrist shot," Frk said. "It all depends how the teams play and the pressure they put on us. We will see how it goes tonight (Saturday).

"You always want to make sure you put it on net. It's what they always told me in GR (Grand Rapids) last year, just try to aim for the net and then maybe take a little bit off from that hard shot and try to place it more. So I was trying to work on it last year."

So far Frk has played in two of Detroit's three preseason games and is slated to go Saturday night against the Boston Bruins and most likely Monday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In his first two preseason games, Frk has failed to register a point, is even and has four penalty minutes.

If he wants to stick with the Wings after the preseason, he knows he must produce soon.

"First of all, I shouldn't put pressure on myself, I should just enjoy. I just got to go play my game," said Frk. "I know what I'm good at and also know what I'm bad at so I want to improve on what I'm bad at.

"It's always special teams I do right. I need to do good then plus play good defensively. I need to know what I have to do in the D zone and then offense will come from that."

Against the Bruins on Saturday at Little Caesars Arena, Frk is on a line with Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha, it could be a line of the future for the Wings, but Frk will not allow himself to get caught up in that possibility. It's all about the here and now.

"Today playing with all the big guys (Larkin and Mantha) here. It's definitely good for me," Frk said. "I got to go take the chance. It's kind of unlucky for the guys who are hurt but it gives me a chance to show what I can do."

INJURY UPDATES: Of the players sitting out, only Bertuzzi is expected to be a longer-term injury.

General manager Ken Holland said an MRI revealed that Bertuzzi has tendon inflammation in his wrist and he will miss three to four weeks.

Abdelkader, who had not skated since training camp, is making some progress.

"Abby skated today, so that's real progress for us," Blashill said. "I think he feels he's in a good spot. My understanding was he wasn't going to skate until he was pain-free. We just said for that, let's make sure that he's 100 percent ready for Minnesota and Game 1."

Zetterberg's neck is merely a day-to-day thing.

"To me it's not a long-term thing, it's not a chronic thing," Blashill said. "I've done it before in my sleep. You just rest that and get him back going here soon."

Kronwall's back spasms have eased and he has started practicing with the team. He hopes to get in at least one preseason game.

Sproul is returning from offseason knee surgery but has been practicing.

His next step is getting cleared by doctors for full contact.

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