DeKeyser out? Kronwall in?
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser, who left Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the Dallas Stars with a lower-body injury, is unlikely to miss significant playing time but his status for Thursday’s game at Arizona against the Coyotes remains uncertain, and at this point his participation would appear unlikely.
“Danny is day to day right now, so we’ll see tomorrow morning,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said after an optional skate on Wednesday. “He didn’t skate today. We’ll see tomorrow how he feels.”
While the Wings wouldn’t specify how DeKeyser suffered his injury, it is believed it was the result of blocking a shot, and Blashill’s words seem to back up that hypothesis.
“It’s going to be a thing where it’s pain tolerance for him,” was all Blashill would say about the possibility of DeKeyser playing in Thursday’s game.
Kronwall To Debut?
Assuming they are minus DeKeyser, is it possible that Niklas Kronwall (groin injury) might be inserted into the Detroit defense to make his season debut?
That chance seemed about as uncertain as DeKeyser’s status.
“He skated today,” Blashill said. Kronwall was one of 10 Wings who opted into the practice. “I think he’s in position where he’s close to playing. We’ll make a determination tomorrow.”
While ultimately bowing to the decision of the team’s medical staff, Kronwall was of the opinion that he’d be ready to answer the bell.
“It feels pretty good, still a little off on timing and things like that,” Kronwall said. “There’s certain things that you can only get by playing games.
“It’s getting there definitely. No setbacks (Wednesday), so I think I’ll be good to go tomorrow. We’ll see what they say here. I’ll be ready.”
That led to the next obvious question - with the Wings playing again Friday at Las Vegas against the Golden Knights, would Kronwall’s battered body be permitted to participate in back to back games.
Kronwall, who insists his chronic knee ailment has not been an issue thus far this season, didn’t feel that it would be a problem.
“I’d love to play back to back,” Kronwall said. “Once you’re going again, you want to play every game. And of course, you talk to the medical team and see what their thoughts are. But if you’re healthy, you want to play a many games as possible.”
That conference between Kronwall, Blashill and the club’s training and medical staff will likely take place sometime Thursday.
“He’s not necessarily 100 percent prohibited (from playing back to back),” Blashill said. “It’s not necessarily the best thing that you always want to do when a guy comes back after not playing for a long time. But let’s see.”
Witkowski To The Rescue
If DeKeyser can’t go and the Wings opt to insert Kronwall, Blashill can always provide himself with a safety valve by dressing fourth-line right-winger Luke Witkowski, who is also capable of playing along the blue line.
“It’s certainly gives us some flexibility for him to be able to do both,” Blashill said. “When he’s in the lineup, if you run short on D, you can slide him back there.
“The hard thing is getting him enough practices at both positions. I don’t want him to be so far in between that he’s not comfortable with either. That’s something that we’ve got to manage.”
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