Opening-Night Roster Not Set In Stone
Come Monday, the Detroit Red Wings will set a roster. But Friday, Wings coach Jeff Blashill sought to establish that the roster he sets on that day is not set in stone.
“It’s fluid,” Blashill explained to MLive.com. “A roster set means that’s the decision you’re making on that day, but it’s fluid as we go through the course of the year. It’s a relentless league, so whether you’re on the team or not on the team on Monday doesn’t mean you’re on the team on Friday, Saturday or the next week. That’s just the reality of it.
“It’s not like a junior team where a guy goes somewhere else to play after you cut him. I feel like we make too big a deal about Monday, or Sunday, or whatever. Will we have our decisions made after tomorrow night’s game? Yeah, we’ll have our decisions made.
“A lot of it depends on health. We’ll see if we get through these games healthy. Once we know where we’re at health-wise, we’ll make our decisions and we’ll make them with two things in mind - what’s going to give our guys the best chance to win hockey games in Detroit, and also what’s best for each young player’s individual development.”
As far as the make up of that final roster for their Oct. 5 regular-season opener at Nashville, Blashill insists he hasn’t determine how it will break down in terms of positions. Popular opinion is that the Wings will go with 13 forwards and eight defensemen.
“I don’t know that yet,” Blashill said. “I’d say some of that depends on health, some of that depends on waivers.
“There’s lots of things that play into that.”
Nick Polano, the first coach to lead the Red Wings under the ownership of the Ilitch family, died Thursday. He was 78.
The Wings gave Polano his first head-coaching job in 1982-83, and he guided the team to consecutive playoff appearances in 1983-84 and 1984-85, ended a five-year postseason drought He was also the first Wings coach to take the team to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons since Sid Abel in 1964-65 and 1965-66.
Polano was also the first NHL coach of current Wings GM Steve Yzerman.
He coached for three seasons and remained with the Red Wings for another seven years as assistant general manager and director of player personnel.
In 2015, Polano was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Eight players were released from pro tryouts and goaltender Kaden Fulcher was assigned to the ECHL Toledo Walleye Friday as the Wings reduced their preseason roster to 48.
Forwards Matthew Ford, Josh Kestner, Troy Loggins and Tyler Spezia, defensemen Marcus Crawford, Charle-Edouard D'Astous and Alec McCrea and goaltender Pat Nagle were released from tryouts.
Ford, Loggins and McCrea are expected to report to the American Hockey League's Grand Rapids Griffins. Crawford, D'Astous, Kestner, Nagle and Spezia were to join Toledo.
The Red Wings roster breaks down to 28 forwards, 16 defensemen and four goaltenders.
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