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Notes: Mantha out at least a couple of weeks

Zadina's confidence higher than a season ago; Green, Erne practice Tuesday

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

DETROIT -- The good news is that Anthony Mantha's lower-body injury does not require surgery.

The bad news is that Mantha will be out at least a couple of weeks.

"Right now it'll be at least a couple weeks," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "We'll have more as the healing process goes."

Mantha leads the Wings in both goals with 12 and points with 23.

"You miss a scorer like that," Blashill said. "He's been our most dynamic offensive player this year, without a shadow of a doubt. But there's other ways to score. We haven't been as hard at the other team's net as we were a year ago. A year ago we were better at having net presence, better at getting pucks around the cage. I thought we scored more dirty goals. This year we haven't been as good at it. So we got to make sure we get better at it."

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Mantha's teammates know that they have to elevate their games in Mantha's absence.

"When one of the players leading our team is injured, obviously it sucks, but injuries happen and being good buddies with him it sucks to see him when you come in the morning and look for him and he's doing stuff for his knee and stuff," Andreas Athanasiou said. "It's never fun seeing someone injured, but at the same time, injuries happen and a lot of guys have to step up."

The other issue is that because the injury is to his lower body, Mantha will not be able to skate while he rehabilitates it.

"It's harder for sure," Blashill said. "He won't be skating anytime soon in the next few weeks. It's harder. When you have an upper body you can keep your legs. Justin Abdelkader is skating really, really hard right now and he's able to keep his legs but Anthony won't be able to do that. It'll be a process once he gets himself closer to being healed where he can get going a little bit."

In Sunday's 2-0 shutout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, the Wings moved Robby Fabbri to the top line with Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi.

"He's a good player," Blashill said. "There's a reason why he was drafted high, too. He looked like he could be a good fit on the line if they could get some chemistry going. We had put him on that line in one of the previous games when I didn't like the way it was going and I thought he played well. So we'll see if he stays up there or not."

The Wings recalled Filip Zadina from the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins to take Mantha's spot in the lineup but that doesn't mean Zadina will remain the entire time that Mantha is out.

"We'll treat it 100 percent day to day," Blashill said. The one thing we're going to do, both myself and Steve (Yzerman), is we're going to make sure that it's in his best interest long-term. If he comes in here and plays unbelievable, that's good for him. It's good for us. But we're going to take it day by day and make sure it's the right thing."

ZADINA FEELING CONFIDENT: Although he did not score Sunday as none of the Wings did, Zadina showed off the growth in his game from a season ago.

At 4:42 in the first, Zadina made a pass from behind the net to Valtteri Filppula, who was streaking to the net.

"I would say for sure his overall game has gotten better, just his competitiveness on the puck, competitiveness to get the puck when he doesn't have it," Blashill said. "When you're a scorer in junior you have the puck on your stick lots, so when you get to the pros sometimes you wait for the puck to get to your stick and never gets there. You got to go get it enough times. He's certainly gotten better in those areas.

"I would also say that he looks more confident. The way that shows is his quickness is a little better, a little quicker decisions with the puck. He's confident to try to make a play. He made a play real early in the game the other night that was a real offensive play, so I think he's coming for sure."

Zadina, who turns 20 on Wednesday, agreed that his confidence is higher than it was a year ago.

"Since I was playing better down there, I was feeling better with my head and my body, I guess," Zadina said. "I think the confidence is pretty huge in the hockey. If you are not, you can't play in this league. I think I feel good right now. I just want to keep going."

During Tuesday's practice at the BELFOR Training Center, Zadina was on a line with Valtteri Filppula and Darren Helm.

He was also on the first power-play unit with Larkin, Fabbri, Bertuzzi and Dennis Cholowski.

Although Zadina understands the Wings need some scoring, he's not putting any additional pressure on himself to prove anything while he's here.

"No, I don't think about it," Zadina said. "I think about today. I live right now. I don't think what's going to be in the next week. I just want to play every game, impress them and help the team to win some games for sure."

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OTHER INJURY UPDATES: Both defenseman Mike Green (upper body) and forward Adam Erne (hand) practiced with the team Tuesday.

"This was my first skate with the team here, so we'll discuss and go from there," Green said, "We've just kind of been day-to-day and it's getting better, I'll discuss with the trainers and I'll talk to Blash."

Erne was hurt during the team's morning skate in New Jersey.

"I just took a shot with the puck," Erne said. "I felt pretty good today. As long as there are no setbacks, should be good for tomorrow. I'm hoping."

Erne had a similar injury to his other hand back when he was with the Syracuse Crunch, the AHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"I broke this finger (index)," Erne said. "I broke that knuckle, I don't have it anymore. So I was a little nervous."

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