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Notes: Lindstrom to make NHL debut in Buffalo

Rookie defenseman's parents flying in from Sweden; Mantha already out of orange jersey

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT -- It is going to be a bit of a whirlwind trip for Johanna and Anders Lindstrom but it will all be worth it.

Their son, Gustav, will be making his NHL debut Thursday night for the Red Wings in Buffalo against the Sabres and they intend to be at KeyBank Center to witness it.

"They are coming to Buffalo. So that's fun," Lindstrom said after practicing with the Wings at the BELFOR Training Center Wednesday. "They booked it like 10 hours before the flight was. It was quick."

For Lindstrom and his father, it will not be their first time at KeyBank Center.

"My dad has been in Buffalo before," Lindstrom said. "We played the world juniors there. It's pretty cool to come back to Buffalo and play my first NHL game there. I'm excited."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: ���It���s a dream come true.���@Glindstroom on the call-up. pic.twitter.com/53Ct7Kk9yw

On Wednesday, the Wings recalled Lindstrom, their second-round pick, 38th overall, in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, along with forward Taro Hirose from the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit's AHL affiliate.

"Benny (Griffins coach Ben Simon) and them in the early morning told me," Lindstrom said. "We were on the bus to Milwaukee yesterday. They were playing there today. We had to drive back to GR, me and Taro. It was a long day yesterday but lots of fun."

Wings coach Jeff Blashill discussed the reasoning behind bringing up Lindstrom as opposed to another Griffins defenseman.

"I talked to Steve Yzerman and we were talking about how we can get better as a group," Blashill said. "There's a list of defensemen down there, it could be a number of them. I think (Joe) Hicketts, (Dylan) McIlrath, (Brian) Lashoff have all come up and done a good job. They're good players. I'd feel comfortable with any of those guys coming up. Right now, we wanted to leave (Moritz) Seider where Seider is. He's a first-year pro, so at this time as we stand here today, we're going to let him continue to play.

"Gustav did a really good job in training camp. Talking to Steve, Ben Simon, Ryan Martin, Niklas Kronwall, everybody that's seen him have all been real pleased with his play. They think he's one of the better defensemen on a nightly basis down there and I think we're all cautiously optimistic that he can come up and do a good job. You just never know until guys get up here. He defends well and he passes the puck and he competes. If you can defend well and pass the puck out our your zone -- we all know that's been an issue for us -- what that does is help you offensively."

Lindstrom, 21, has played in 45 games with the Griffins, the most among the team's blueliners, and has five assists and 26 penalty minutes.

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: "I talk a lot to Nik Kronwall; he sends me clips to study. I talk to him once or twice a week and sometimes he's in Grand Rapids. We watch clips together, it's good to have him as a mentor."Taking Flight - Lindstrom with an 'N': https://t.co/FqPC0zJ8oo pic.twitter.com/ZiJUH1YyvE

"I think I'm happy how I played so far," Lindstrom said. "I started the season well and then I played a little bit worse there around Christmas. And then the last like 10 games I played better again. I'm happy how it went."

During Wednesday's practice, Lindstrom was paired with Trevor Daley, veteran of 1,043 NHL games.

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: Lindstrom paired up with Daley at today���s skate. https://t.co/xjquCbiNFJ

"Trevor obviously has been lots of different situations in hockey and can talk through," Blashill said. "He's a guy that players like playing with because he talks and he cares, so it's a good veteran and young guy pairing."

Daley has a long tradition for taking rookie defensemen under his wing.

Tweet from @Dwakiji: #RedWings Lindstrom with the veteran Daley in practice at BELFOR Training Center. pic.twitter.com/xuTcsdFvyS

"Of course, it helps me a lot to play with him," Lindstrom said. "It's gonna be fun. He has a lot of NHL games. Just try to learn from him."

HIROSE IN THE MIX: Hirose is no stranger to the Wings, having played 10 games with them last spring and another 23 at the beginning of this season.

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: 👋, @Glindstroom.👋, @Tarzy17. pic.twitter.com/KHum369JuB

In those 23 games, Hirose had two goals and five assists.

Hirose was sent to Grand Rapids on Dec. 3 and since then has recorded 15 assists and 19 points in 22 games, which are both team highs.

"I think he's a point a game down there," Blashill said. "He produces. He was up last year, did a really good job, wasn't as successful this year. I don't think he played poorly, but he wasn't as successful at producing points, but our team was playing better at that time than it is now. We just need a little more, obviously, we need a lot more offensive punch, and Taro is good defensively and he's smart. I think we could use more good decisions on the ice and he makes a lot of good decisions."

Blashill said Hirose would be on the power play.

NIELSEN AND GREEN SKATE: In addition to calling up Lindstrom and Hirose, the Wings placed forward Frans Nielsen and defenseman Mike Green, retroactive to Jan. 20, on injured reserve.

But both players took part in practice Wednesday, although Nielsen did not go in battle drills.

Blashill said neither would play in Buffalo or Columbus but might be available Sunday.

MANTHA OUT OF ORANGE: On Sunday, Anthony Mantha skated with the team for the first time since getting injured Dec. 21 in Toronto.

Mantha wore the orange no-contact jersey both Sunday and Monday and said it would likely be 7-10 days of no contact.

Apparently it was a much quicker timeline than that as Mantha was back in red on Wednesday.

"It was supposed to be that long," Mantha said. "We got news for the concussion test I went to pass. That was just preventative and it showed I could go with contact now. So here we are with a normal jersey."

Now that he is mostly healed, Mantha felt free to reveal the true extent of his serious injuries.

"I had a punctured lung," Mantha said. "That's what took six weeks to heal. We don't want to risk that. Then obviously the ribs. It's a matter of time before it heals and then the head was just preventative, like I said. I don't think I had a concussion but we just wanted to make sure. That was like the last little thing to take that orange jersey off."

Mantha said his Christmas was actually a miserable one from a physical standpoint.

"It was probably the worst pain I've been in," he said. "On top of all that I got the flu on Day 2 of being injured. I had a 103 fever. So it was just a terrible first week."

Mantha said he should not have any lingering effects from the punctured lung and won't need any additional protection.

"No, because once it's healed, it's healed," Mantha said. "That's the good news about this injury. How it worked, the first 10 days after it happened I couldn't do anything. We had to be careful for it not to collapse. And then once we did a CT scan about Week 3 is when we started to move again and started the gym again."

Despite playing in just 29 games this season, Mantha is still among the team leaders in points with 24.

Dylan Larkin is first with 37, Tyler Bertuzzi is second with 36, Robby Fabbri and Filip Hronek are next with 26 points apiece.

So there's no question the Wings would love to have him back as soon as he's ready.

"Anthony is not going to come back and be the Anthony that he was at the beginning of the year right away," Blashill cautioned. "He had training camp to get ramped up. This is just walking in after being off a significant amount of time. He was only back for three games and then back out. So it's going to take him a while to get going. But he was our best offensive player at the beginning of the year. He can be an elite player in this league. So for him to be closer is great.

"I think these timelines are always flexible because you never know how guys are going to react. The 7-10 days looks like it's getting accelerated right now because he's doing very well and reacting well but that can also happen the opposite, so we'll see. We'll take it day by day."

For his part, Mantha sounds like he thinks he'll be back sooner rather than later.

"It won't be this week, that's for a fact," Mantha said. "And then like we talked about, it's gonna be when I'm game ready. I'm gonna have to push a little bit, get pushed in practice to see how it feels. From there we'll see if it's first game next week of fourth game next week. Hopefully it's before the 15th of the month."

LINE SHIFTS: In practice, the forward lines were changed.

"We've had no offense in the last couple games, although we've had some chances," Blashill said. "I would like to get some guys going at a higher level, so you hope by switching lines you can get guys going a little bit more. I thought our energy level against Philly wasn't good. We looked super-tired. I don't have the answer why. So you can switch lines all you want, that's not going to help that."

Here is what the lines were Wednesday:

Darren Helm-Larkin-Fabbri

Bertuzzi-Valtteri Filppula-Justin Abdelkader

Hirose-Luke Glendening-Andreas Athanasiou

Givani Smith-Christoffer Ehn-Adam Erne/Brendan Perlini

"Bert and Larks have been together for a long time and they're not quite clicking right now, so I separated them a little bit," Blashill said. "Helm gives them some forecheck, with Larks. The Athanasiou-Hirose-Glendening line was really good at the end of last year. It was not good when we put them together this year. At times (AA) has been really good at center. He can be a really good defensive center, he can be really good with his speed through the center of the ice, so I'm hoping that we can get some guys going at a higher level."

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