The lineup of the Detroit Red Wings could take on a much different look when they face the Colorado Avalanche at Little Caesars Arena on Wednesday.
Injured forwards Vladislav Namestnikov and Carter Rowney were both practising Monday and may be available to suit up on Wednesday. However, Wings coach Jeff Blashill was still erring on the side of caution in trhe case of both players.
“I wouldn’t say that yet,” Blashill said of whether the two will be good to go. “We’re using today’s skate as a little bit of an evaluation. I’ll sit down with our training staff, get a feel for where those guys are at.
“They’re both certainly potential for Wednesday I would say right now.”
Vladdy’s back at practice! pic.twitter.com/DIX24RDYL2
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) February 21, 2022
Right-winger Namestnikov has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury. Center Rowney has been out the past 18 games, also with a lower-body injury.
Rowney won a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016-17 and Blashill likes the veteran presence he can bring to Detroit’s fourth line.
“He has really good awareness,” Blashill said. “Very calm. Makes good reads in chaos, which to be a better defensive team you need that. He’s a big body. He can make a play.
“He can do that and he can also go out and give you real good minutes without giving up many scoring chances, which I think is really important for the progress of our hockey team.”
Status Of Red Wings Center Veleno Uncertain
With a five-day gap between games, the Red Wings made the decision to assign rookie center Joe Veleno to the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins. They also did this during the NHL all-star break. Veleno was immediately recalled once NHL play resumed. However, this time, that may not be the case, depending upon the status of Namestnikov and Rowney.
— Grand Rapids Griffins (@griffinshockey) February 21, 2022
“We’ll see,” Blashill said. “We haven’t totally decided. He just gone done playing back to back, so obviously he wasn’t going to be here for practice [Monday]. We’re gonna evaluate where our forward group’s at and evaluate where we would foresee him in or not in and make decision of what’s best for Joe Veleno at that point.
In two games on the weekend with Grand Rapids, Veleno collected a goal and two assists as the Griffins swept a home-and-home set with the Rockford IceHogs.