Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill was offering updates on three of his injured and ailing players on Friday. The news was not good.
Forward Joe Veleno (upper-body) injury is questionable for Saturday’s game at Little Caesars Arena against the Buffalo Sabres. Defenseman Marc Staal (non-COVID illness) is doutbful for Saturday and defenseman Danny DeKeyser (COVID-19 protocols) is definitely out.
“He was unable to practice today,” Blashill said of Veleno. “I would call it day-to-day but not being able to practice yesterday and today puts him at very questionable for tomorrow.”
— Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) November 19, 2021
While declining to get into specifics as to what stage DeKeyser is at in the NHL’s COVID protocols, Blashill did outline that there is a possibility that he could be back earlier than the standard 10 days of quarantine.
“You can be in the protocol for a number of reasons,” Blashill explained. “Sometimes you’re in the protocol for a test and it can be a false positive like we had with Larks (captain Dylan Larkin). Sometimes you’re asymptomatic. If you’re asymptomatic, ultimately if you receive consecutive negative tests after that, then you can be out (of the protocol). Two days of consecutive tests and you can be out. If you’re symptomatic, then it’s probably a minimum of 10 days.”
Staal A Possibility For Red Wings
The most likely among this trio to suit up Saturday is Staal, but even that chance appears to be remote at best.
“I don’t know that answer,” Blashill admitted about Staal. “He practised the last two days. He was out a long time and sick. I don’t know if he has enough energy. I’m not sure where that’s at. We’ve just got to make sure he’s had enough practice time, skating time after being off for eight days. We’ll meet with our training staff tomorrow and we’ll make the best decision for him.”
If Staal can’t go, Dan Renouf will be in the lineup for a second straight game. He was recalled Wednesday from the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins.
Marc Staal back on the ice with the boys.
Veleno (upper body) and DeKeyser (COVID protocol) not practicing. pic.twitter.com/vbT4Kb7nMQ
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) November 26, 2021
“Ultimately it was good that we had him because we lost a lefty, so it was good to be able to have a lefty to put in there,” Blashill said. “(Brian) Lashoff’s been a little bit troubled with some injuries. Renouf’s been a little fresher that way.
“Danny’s played in the NHL, played last year, does a real good job on the left side. He can kill penalties. We weren’t going to throw him in without even practising but he certainly is a guy who we have confidence in killing penalties.
“He can be a guy who can be physical and hard and he’s pretty smart. If he can do that, he can help us.”