DETROIT – The extent of Stephen Weiss’s groin injury isn’t exactly clear yet, but the Red Wings’ center might seek a second opinion after the team doctor reads the MRI report taken Friday.
“Dr. (Doug) Plagens is going to look at the pictures tonight, and there’s a chance we might send him in for another opinion to one of these groin specialists,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said Saturday morning. “We’re going to see tonight what Dr. Plagens thinks.”
However, based on what the team’s athletic trainer Piet Van Zant saw in the report, Holland is fairly certain that Weiss will need to see a specialist.
This is the second groin injury to hamper Weiss in the last five weeks. He suffered the initial injury early in a game against Dallas on Nov. 7. He missed six games then. But this week in his first return to Florida since signing with the Red Wings last July, he felt soreness again and missed Thursday’s game in Tampa Bay.
“You got a guy that had groin issues 3-4 weeks ago, came back, felt great, now we got groin issues, we got to be sure,” Holland said. “He’s out for sure until after Christmas. Let’s see what Dr. Plagens reads and let’s see where we go.”
Right now, Weiss is on short-term injured reserve, joining goalie Jimmy Howard who is expected to miss 2-4 weeks with an MCL sprain, and center Darren Helm (shoulder). Captain Henrik Zetterberg (lower back) and defenseman Danny DeKeyser are still on long-term injured reserve.
Good news is that Helm and Zetterberg skated laps prior to the team’s morning skate on Saturday. It was the first time that Zetterberg has skated in two weeks.
The Wings made some roster moves on Friday, sending center Cory Emmerton back to their minor-league affiliate in Grand Rapids while calling up veteran forward Patrick Eaves and rookie center Luke Glendening. Both are expected to man the Red Wings’ fourth line along with Daniel Cleary tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“It’s good to be back,” said Eaves who produced four goals and six points in eight games with the Griffins. “I had a really good time in Grand Rapids. There’s an excellent team down there, very well coached and it was a great atmosphere. The guys made it easy on me to come in and kind of join their team.”
The best thing for Eaves was that he got steady ice time with the Griffins, where he played on a line with Tomas Jurco and Calle Jarnkrok.
“Just play every night, that’s the key, that’s what you want to do and I was able to do that down there,” Eaves said. “They gave me an opportunity and I tried to run with it the best that I could. … We were playing a lot of minutes, a lot of power-play minutes. So it was a lot of fun. It was nice to be playing with those types of players down there.”
Coach Mike Babcock likes the versatility that both Eaves and Glendening can bring against a high-flying Penguins’ squad that did not skate this morning following a 3-2 home win over New Jersey on Friday night.
“They both can penalty kill. Eaves can really shoot the puck. They both have some grit and physicality to them,” Babcock said. “We’re just looking for a more consistent push back from our fourth group. That’s what we need from them.
“We think (Joakim) Andersson, (Tomas) Tatar and (Drew) Miller have been fantastic for us. We think we can get more out of that (fourth) group so that’s why we’re giving them a chance.”
For Glendening, this is his fifth call-up to Detroit. The Grand Rapids native has appeared in nine games with the Red Wings and is a minus-3. But Babcock likes the rookie’s skills in the faceoff circle.
“We’ve liked it when he’s been here before,” Babcock said.
The Red Wings will renew their rivalry with the Penguins in the 140th all-time meeting between the clubs, but the first since Dec. 13, 2011. For the first time in their careers, five Red Wings – Brendan Smith, Brian Lashoff, Gustav Nyquist, Andersson and Glendening – will play in their first game against the Penguins.
With Howard out for 2-4 weeks, goalie Jonas Gustavsson gets his second straight start, while rookie Petr Mrazek will be his backup tonight.
“They have a lot of good players and they’re a good team, so I think we’re all have a very good challenge in front of us and it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Gustavsson said. “These kind of games you want to play when you’re really facing the good players and you know you have to be on top of your game.”
SLOWING DOWN PENS:
Defense - DET
Goals: 0 | Assists: 4 | Pts: 4
Shots: 25 | +/-: -3
With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the lineup, defenseman Brendan Smith
knows he and his partner, Kyle Quincey
, will need to step up their intensity tonight.
"It’s going to be a challenge,” Smith said. “Normally Q and I match up against the second line, which I think will be Malkin. We’re going to have to have our things together tonight because he’s a fantastic player and we got to play him tough, for sure.
“I think the opportunity to play against guys like Sid and (Chris) Kunitz and Malkin, your blood gets boiling, you get more ready for it, you’re more aware because you want to challenge yourself against the best players in the world. I’m excited. I know Q’s always excited to play high-level competition. You get to test your level and see how good you are and compare yourself. It’s going to be fun for sure.”
Goalie - PIT
GAA: 2.01 | Sv%: .924
Detroit native and Chippewa Valley High School alumnus Jeff Zatkoff will make his homecoming tonight starting between the pipes for the Penguins in front of his family and friends. It is his first game ever against the Red Wings.
Zatkoff, 26, is currently riding a four-game winning streak, having stopped 101 of 107 shots during his streak for a .944 save percentage togo along with his 1.60 goals-against average.
Zatkoff’s great uncle, Roger Zatkoff, was a star linebacker at the University of Michigan and a Pro Bowl player for the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions in the 1950s. He was on the Lions’ last championship team in 1957.
24/7 DEBUTS TONIGHT: HBO's "24/7 Red Wings/Maple Leafs: Road to the NHL Winter Classic" featuring the Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs premieres tonight in the U.S at 10 p.m. EST.
The all-access reality series chronicles the two rivals as they prepare to meet in the Winter Classic at the Big House on New Year’s Day. The series will debut in Canada on Sportsnet on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. EST.
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