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Power outage doesn't stop Red Wings

by Andrea Nelson / Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings center Darren Helm experiences the brownout inside Joe Louis Arena Monday morning. (Photo by Bill Roose/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – It was a dim morning at Joe Louis Arena, as a brownout had some of the Red Wings wondering if they’d be able to take the ice for the team’s morning skate Monday.

“It’s been interesting for sure,” Wings defenseman Brendan Smith said. “I didn’t know if we’re even going to get to practice at the start but I guess we had to play half ice because half of the rink was lit up. But it’s been alright, I mean it’s just a little adversity but it’s cool to have a change sometimes maybe it will help us out somehow.”

The temporary power outage occurred at 9 a.m. and affected much of The Joe’s lighting, as well as the surrounding area’s stoplights in downtown Detroit, but was restored two hours later as the Wings were wrapping up practice. Although the rink was a little bit darker than normal, the Red Wings adjusted to the issue by simply conducting most of their drills on the brighter of the two ends.

“We just changed some things up, we tried to go at the one end as much as possible,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “It’s hard for the goalies with the pucks coming in they don’t see it clear so where the light was the brightest, that end we were trying to shoot at all morning.”

Practicing in the dim lighting did rekindle some fond memories for the defenseman, though.

“You kind of felt like when you were younger; we always used to go skate on the 24th at night, not a lot of light out, outdoors, the day before Christmas (in Sweden),” Kronwall said.

The darkened arena may have made it more difficult to see and handle the puck, but Smith thought that added challenge forced him to concentrate more during practice.

“It was a little dim but I think you just had to focus down on making better plays and passing a little more efficiently,” Smith said. “But it didn’t affect us I think that’s the thing about the team here, everybody is professional and they know when to maybe buckle down a little bit more and it was alright.”

For defenseman Danny DeKeyser, the lighting was just a minor inconvenience that didn’t bother him one bit.

“I don’t think it was a big deal at all,” he said. “They had enough backup lighting where it was fine to practice so it really didn’t affect anything.”

The power was restored as the players stepped off the ice, and when they return tonight to host the New York Islanders, a fully lit rink will be a welcoming sight.

“We played in the dark and now that the lights are up for the game, I think it will be better for us,” Smith said.

Gustav Nyquist
Right Wing  - DET
Goals: 4 | Assists: 4 | Pts: 8
Shots: 27 | +/-: 4
NYQUIST RETURNS: Christmas came a few days early for Gustav Nyquist, who will return to the lineup tonight when the Red Wings host the Islanders. Nyquist has missed three games with a groin injury and is looking forward to his return.

“I’ve had a few good skates here over the last few days to try and get back to game pace,” Nyquist said. “Everything feels good.

“It’s going to be fun to play tonight.”

With Nyquist back in the lineup, forward Jordin Tootoo was reassigned to the Griffins.

GRIFFINS SHINE: With injuries sidelining six key Red Wings, several youngsters have been recalled from the Grand Rapids Griffins over the past few weeks, and have been earning high praise from coach Mike Babcock for their high level of play.

“Well it’s a huge deal for me, is that I didn’t know Riley Sheahan could play in the league and now I know he can and he can be good in the league,” Babcock said “So what it does when you have bumps and bruises you can let guys get better, you don’t have to rush people back in the lineup. I thought those guys were real good and some of our guys that have been out, when they come back in they gotta be real good.”

Sheahan recorded two assists in Detroit’s 5-4 shootout victory over Toronto on Saturday. Tomas Jurco has also been making a splash in the league, recording two goals and one assist since making his NHL debut on Dec. 15.

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