Back in Grand Rapids, Joe Veleno doesn’t know for sure if he’s there for a weekend visit or a longer stay.
While his Detroit Red Wings teammates are enjoying a bit of R&R over the NHL All-Star break, the team is assigning Veleno the task of playing for the AHL Griffins.
However, center Veleno wasn’t provided specific instructions on when or if his recall to the Wings might be happening.
“I don’t know,” Veleno admitted. “I can’t answer that yet. As far as I know, they just told me to play this weekend.
“I guess they’re gonna re-evaluate after this weekend, see what the situation is.”
— Griffins Nest (@GrGriffinsNest) February 5, 2022
In Friday’s 5-2 loss to the Ontario Reign, Veleno centered a line between Jonathan Berggren and Tyler Elson. He scored a power-play goal in the loss.
Veleno Plays Big Minutes For Griffins
“I was definitely happy to be on the ice a lot,” Veleno said. He has mostly skated on the fourth line in Detroit. “I felt pretty good out there. It was definitely nice to play big minutes and play in all situations.
“It’s always something nice for a player, getting rewarded with ice time. Always nice to be playing the game and be on the ice.
— Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) February 3, 2022
“I think confidence was a big thing. Not saying that I didn’t have it up there but obviously being familiar with the league and playing in this league before and playing with most of the guys here, knowing a lot more of the coaching staff and just I guess being familiar with everything obviously helps.
“I played a lot of minutes and just feeling the puck, things started clicking a little bit.”
For a team struggling to right the ship – the Griffins are winless in seven games – adding an offensive talent like Veleno helps. Grand Rapids is without top goal scorer Riley Barber. He’s out with a knee injury.
“I think there’s an adjustment period anytime you go to a different group, a different team,” Grand Rapids coach Ben Simon said. “Obviously, you’re dealing with the emotions of being sent down to a certain extent but I thought Joe did a great job of being a pro in coming down.
“He’s been in here. He knows what we’re about. He knows the majority of these guys. And on top of that he’s a centerman.
“We’ll take an offensive centerman and actually Joe is pretty responsible defensively as well.”