Bertuzzi back, Nielsen out, Hronek recalled
From the moment Tyler Bertuzzi arrived on a permanent basis in Detroit, a stir was born.
He’ll be back stirring things up Saturday afternoon. Recovered from a combination concussion/neck injury suffered Jan. 22 in a game at Edmonton against the Oilers, Bertuzzi will suit up as the Wings take on the Flyers in Philadelphia.
That was Detroit’s last game prior to the combination of the NHL All-Star break and the Wings’ bye week on the NHL schedule. Without that, Bertuzzi’s absence would have cost him more than the seven games he in fact missed.
“Obviously, the break helped,” Bertuzzi told Detroitredwings.com. “We probably could have played three or four extra games in there.”
Bertuzzi will go right back into his spot at left wing on Detroit’s top forward line with Dylan Larkin and Gustav Nyquist in the hopes that the trio can reignite the positive energy they were generating prior to Bertuzzi’s absence.
“I think everything will still be there,” Bertuzzi said. “If I can get up to pace quick, I think it’s going to take a game or two, but then I should be good. I think the chemistry will be there.”
He produced 3-3-6 numbers in the five games leading up to his injury, including his first NHL hat trick on Jan. 12 against the Minnesota Wild.
“We liked that chemistry lots,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “I thought it’s a middle drive, net-presence guy that has good hands and hockey smarts and is good defensively to play with with Nyquie and Larks. And Nyquie and Larks have had pretty good offensive chemistry together in zone especially, trying to spread the zone, knowing where each other is going to be. We’re hoping they can build off how well they played together earlier.”
Blashill doesn’t believe that the layoff will hamper Bertuzzi’s conditioning level all that much.
“I think he can handle it, he’s been skating a lot, he’s ready to go,” Blashill said. “I think whenever somebody’s been off a long time, you certainly have to be cautious of your expectation level. But I think we’ve been cautious in terms of giving him time to be ready. I expect him to come and be a big piece of our team.
“He’ll play in enough important roles, so he’s going to have to be ready to go.”
One forward comes back for the Wings and another goes out, making Blashill’s roster decision to get Bertuzzi back in much easier.
Center Frans Nielsen will miss Saturday’s game due to a stomach ailment.
“He’s not available for today’s game,,” Blashill said. “He should be available for sure tomorrow. Just a stomach bug that knocked him out a little bit. He doesn’t have great energy.
“I think he’ll have energy for tomorrow. I think he’ll be fine for tomorrow, but won’t play today.”
Just prior to the game, the Wings recalled defenseman Filip Hronek from AHL Grand Rapids.
Hronek, who played last night in Grand Rapids, isn’t in Philadelphia, so the earliest he could return to the Detroit lineup would be Sunday’s Wings-Flyers rematch at Little Caesars Arena.
Follow me on Twitter @asktheduffer