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Notes: Nielsen misses practice with illness

Bowey working on power play; Seider impressed at world juniors

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT -- Based on the way this season has been going with injuries, it would not have been a surprise for the Red Wings to lose another player.

Center Frans Nielsen looked like his old self in Tuesday's 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens, scoring two goals, one on a breakaway in the third period that tied the game, 3-3.

Nielsen was fine the whole game but did not practice Thursday.

"Frans woke up this morning sick, so I don't know his availability for tomorrow," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "Obviously he's out today. I think he's had some sickness in his family. We're hoping it's just a quick thing and he'll be ready tomorrow."

Defenseman Trevor Daley was able to practice for the second time since injuring himself blocking a shot last Sunday in Chicago.

"I haven't talked to Trevor since the skate was over," Blashill said. "I think he was gonna skate and see how it feels, so we'll see."

Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, who is recovering from a surgically repaired nose, is also practicing and getting used to wearing a full cage.

"I'm gonna go with the same six D we played with the other night regardless, because I thought they played pretty good," Blashill said. "I think both those guys, whether they're totally available or not, I think in an emergency if you needed them, they could be. Whether they're totally healthy or totally feel great yet or not, I think Big E is closer. Dales I can't speak of for sure."

Mike Green, Patrik Nemeth, Filip Hronek, Madison Bowey, Alex Biega and Brian Lashoff played Tuesday night.

MANTHA, ATHANASIOU UPDATES: Forward Anthony Mantha, who was injured Dec. 21 at Toronto, is still not skating.

"Mantha won't be ready coming out of the break, he'll be a little longer than that," Blashill said. 

Andreas Athanasiou has missed the last four games with a lower-body injury.

"Athanasiou, I would say he won't be ready by the weekend, he'd like to be ready before the break," Blashill said. "I don't know whether he will be or not."

BOWEY ON POWER PLAY: Bowey is the team's second leading scorer among defensemen, with 13 points (2-11-13) to Hronek's 23 points (8-15-23).

During Thursday's practice, the second power-play unit had Bowey with Valtteri Filppula, Brendan Perlini/Adam Erne, Givani Smith and Green.

"We've used Madison last game, partially because both those power plays got out around 30 seconds left on the power play so it doesn't make sense to put your forward out at that time," Blashill said. "Madison hasn't had much time in pro hockey on the power play. He certainly did in junior. When he got here I wanted to make sure he concentrated on becoming a real good defender because I know that's what's going to allow him to stay in the NHL, No. 1. So we weren't in a rush to give him that and confuse himself in terms of what we want him to get down first, so he's done a better job of that.

"What it gives us is two righties and I like that look at times if you can run it off that other half-wall you can have two righties and it just gives you … I think that's when Mike Green has been at his best, power-play wise, and Madison's got a pretty good shot and he's pretty good at getting it off."

GREEN FINE, COUSINS FINED: There was a scary moment midway through the first period of Tuesday's game when Canadiens forward Nick Cousins cross-checked Green into the boards.

Green needed a little assistance to get off the ice but was able to continue playing and assisted on Nielsen's game-tying breakaway goal in the third period.

After the game, Blashill said Green, who practiced fully on Thursday, appeared to be fine.

"Obviously he finished the game," Blashill said Tuesday. "It was a scary hit for sure. You see somebody go in like that, they can get hurt bad. Anything on the boards like that is scary. He came back to play I think the best game he's played in a long time. I thought he was absolutely excellent. He was one of the best players on the ice, won battles, skate the puck, made good decisions. That's why we had him out there at the end. He earned that ice at the end. I thought he played excellent."

Meanwhile on Wednesday, the league fined Cousins $2,688.17, the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement.

Tweet from @NHLPlayerSafety: Montreal���s Nick Cousins has been fined $2,688.17, the maximum allowable under the CBA, for Boarding Detroit���s Mike Green.

All fines collected go to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

DOWN ON THE FARM: Michael Rasmussen, currently with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit's AHL affiliate, has had his own injury issues this season.

Rasmussen has been limited to just 10 games due to injury and has not played since Nov. 12.

"I talked to (Griffins coach) Ben (Simon) early last week," Blashill said. "We got our own kind of stuff going on here. My understanding was that he was close to being back and ready to play. If he hasn't played yet, I'm not sure why."

Tweet from @bkaser1: The ���@griffinshockey��� continue their trek through Texas and ���@mrasmussen16��� is moving another (two) step towards a return to the lineup. pic.twitter.com/IpcbHWrH1T

Rasmussen, 20, was performing well before he got hurt, scoring two goals and nine assists in his 10 games.

"You're missing critical development," Blashill said. "The fact he's been out so much hurts the timeline of development. It doesn't necessarily mean it will hurt his development long-term but the timeline, the quickness with which he would be ready to be an NHL player is hurt. Obviously we made the decision he needed time to go down to the American League and really play well and gain confidence and do all those things, and he hasn't had much of a chance to do that. So that makes it more difficult for him. There's still half a season left, and hopefully he can get to where he is healthy enough to play every night and do real well down there."

Tweet from @bkaser1: Hear from Ford and Rasmussen in advance of tonight���s game in San Antonio. https://t.co/7PFmyZfeeo

Despite the injury, the plan is still for Rasmussen to be a center when he does return.

"I don't think there's any doubt that both myself and (general manager) Steve Yzerman view him as a long-term center for him to use his attributes to the best of his abilities," Blashill said. "When you have that kind of size up the middle, you become almost a third defenseman. It's a real factor. I envision him as someone who can hopefully become kind of a shutdown center that can play against the other team's best and then do a great job net-front on the power play."

SEIDER AT WORLD JUNIORS: Although the Wings were busy with their own games, Blashill did try to catch some of the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship games when Detroit's prospects were playing.

Certainly there was plenty of time to see defenseman Moritz Seider, last summer's first-round pick, sixth overall, with Team Germany.

Seider captained Team Germany for the second straight time and led all tournament players in ice time with a 25:20 average.

Tweet from @JokkeNevalainen: Moritz Seider (DET) makes a big hit. pic.twitter.com/yk1KAVoFr4

"I saw Moritz play a decent amount," Blashill said. "I watched enough to see that I thought he played very well. The impact -- I don't know what the verbiage is in terms of the age he's at -- but that year after you get drafted is a year where guys sometimes they do okay and then it's the next year that guys generally run the tournament. Boy I thought Moritz was really good in the games that I watched.

"I think his development is right on cue. I don't want to even speak of the timeline but development-wise, he's doing a great job of keep getting better, keep getting better. Obviously I think he has more power-play time there and it did look like he knew what he was doing up top, so I was really impressed with him."

The Wings could do what they did with Filip Zadina last season, have Seider come up to play nine games with Detroit before sending him back to Grand Rapids.

"I look at it on a game-to-game basis and I want the six best to win a hockey game and Steve has to look at it more from a big-picture basis and there's a lot that goes into that, from expansion draft to lots of different things," Blashill said. "Steve will make that final determination on whether or not he's up and how long he's up and those things because there are a lot of different factors in play with it, including most importantly his own development and what's best for his own development. There's a confidence factor there that can be enhanced sometimes when you're at the American League level and can be hurt sometimes when you're here and sometimes it's reversed."

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