Connect with us

Detroit Red Wings

4 Takeaways From Red Wings Loss to Penguins; Rasmussen Injured, Nedeljkovic Struggles



Jeff Blashill, Detroit Red Wings coach
Detroit Red Wings Jeff Blashill revealed that center Michael Rasmussen is the latest player added to the injury list.

The Detroit Red Wings lost, the Lions lost and the Tigers closed out another losing season. In other words, Sunday was the kind of day that Detroit sports fans have grown accustomed to in recent years.

Facing much of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ regular lineup, the Red Wings were 5-1 losers Sunday afternoon at PPG Paints Arena. It was the club’s first loss of the NHL preseason.

To make matters worse, center Michael Rasmussen missed the game through injury. However, on a positive note, rookie forward Jonatan Berggren, recovered from his own ailment, played for the first time during the NHL exhibition campaign.

Berggren, who finished among the top-10 scorers in the Swedish League last season, is playing his first season in North America. He was injured the NHL rookie tournament held in Traverse City, Michigan last month.

“It was good to get Berggy in,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “It will be an adjustment, just to the small sheet and learning how to get to the inside. But it was good to get him in and hopefully we’ll get him in some more here.”

Other takeaways from the Red Wings’ third preseason game:

Injury To Detroit Red Wings’ Michael Rasmussen Not Considered Serious

Rasmussen was originally expected to be part of Sunday’s Red Wings lineup. He was a late scratch due to an undisclosed injury.

Blashill’s indications were that the injury wasn’t something that would be putting Rasmussen on the shelf long-term.

“He had a little tweak,” Blashill said. “I don’t know that we’ll see him in the next few games here. I don’t know that it’s anything long term but we’ll take it day by day.”

The Red Wings are projecting Rasmussen to be their third-line center and to also be bringing a net-front presence on their second power-play unit.

Blashill Not Worried About Red Wings Goalie Alex Nedeljkovic

When you do the math, the numbers aren’t adding up for new Red Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic. Sunday, he was beaten for four goals on 23 shots, an .826 save percentage. He’s showing a 5.37 GAA and .857 save percentage through two games, covering 67 minutes between the pipes.

You can be pushing the panic button should you so choose. Blashill won’t be joining in at this juncture. It’s that small sample size that he so often references when referring to player achievements.

“First of all, I like Ned,” Blashill said. “I think he’s gonna be really good for us. I think he works his tail off, he pays attention to detail in practice.

“Tonight he had some squeak through him that he’d like to have back. Ultimately, this is what preseason’s for. I certainly don’t pass a whole lot of judgement on anybody in this short a period of time.

“He’s played two halves. I’m fully confident that he’s gonna give us real good goaltending throughout the season.”

Jordan Oesterle Shouldn’t Be Overlooked

Amidst the hullabaloo about the Red Wings’ offeseason addiditons and the ongoing debating about who should make the team, defenseman Jordan Oesterle’s name rarely enters the discussion.

He won’t be playing a starring role for the Red Wings but he can be an effective piece of the puzzle. Oesterle is a solid puck mover. Penciled into the club’s third defensive pairing, it should give the Wings a mobile pucker mover in each pairing. In today’s up-tempo NHL, that’s a vital quality for a team to possess.

In Sunday’s loss, he led all Red Wings defenseman in ice time, skating 20:22 minutes. He collected an assist on their power-play goal. Blashill believes that Oesterle is of the requisite skill level to run a power play.

“He’s a good skater who’s smart and can do a number of different things,” Blashill said. “He can play a little bit on your power play, can kill penalties. He’s been good in five-on-five situations.

“He jumps up in the play, gets the puck out of the zone. He’s not a real big guy but gives us some skating ability.”