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Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings Recall Witkowski, Criscuolo From GR



Luke Witkowski, Detroit Red Wings
Down to six healthy defensemen, the Detroit Red Wings are recalling veteran Luke Witkowski from their AHL farm club the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Down to five healthy defensemen due to a combination of injury and COVID-19 protocols, the Detroit Red Wings are reaching out to a familiar face to answer the call in their time of need. The club is recalling veteran defenseman Luke Witkowski from their AHL Grand Rapids Griffins farm club. They’re also bringing back center Kyle Criscuolo, who was returned to GR after playing for the Red Wings December 1 in a 4-3 shootout win over the Seattle Kraken.

Witkowski will arrive in Detroit in time for Tuesday’s game at Little Caesars Arena against the Nashille Predators. But don’t expect to see him in the lineup for the game. Witkowski’s role with the Wings will be that of an insurance policy.

“It’s hard to say,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill admitted as to whether Witkowski might see game action while in Detroit. “We’re in a spot here. Between injuries and COVID we just gotta make sure that we have the right manpower.

“We’ll see if and when we use him. That’ll just be a determination as we move forward.”

Detroit is without defensemen Troy Stecher (wrist surgery), Marc Staal (COVID-19 protocol) and Gustav Lindstrom (lower-body injury). Danny DeKeyser is available to return to action Tuesday after missing five games while in COVID protocol. Dan Renouf was also recalled from Grand Rapids to fill a role along the Red Wings blueline.

If Witkowski were to remain in Grand Rapids, he wouldn’t be playing. He sat out the first of a two-game AHL suspension for charging on Monday. He’s also slated to miss the Griffins’ next game on Friday. However, the suspension doesn’t carry over to the NHL, so Witkowski could play if the Red Wings need him.

Witkowski also offers the additional bonus of being able to play on the wing in a pinch if need be. He signed with the Red Wings as an unrestricted free agent during the offseason. This is his second tour of duty with the Detroit organization. He played 65 games for the Red Wings from 2017-19.

Another Positive Test For Red Wings?

The Red Wings held an optional morning skate on Tuesday. It wasn’t until well after the conclusion of the skate that the team was announcing the additional recall of Criscuolo. During his morning media availability, Blashill confirmed that all healthy players were good to go for Tuesday’s game with the Predators.

Could it be that another Red Wings player – almost certainly a forward – has since entered COVID-19 protocol, leading to the recall of Criscuolo?

Criscuolo is lighting it up this season with GR. He’s leading the team with nine goals. He’s also enjoying a seven-game point streak (7-7-14), which is the longest recorded in Griffins franchise history.