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Vrana Making Red Wings Season Debut vs Coyotes On Tuesday



Jakub Vrana, Detroit Red Wings
For the first time since he underwent shoulder surgery early in training camp, Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana will play a game on Tuesday.

Like a kid staring at the wrapped presents under the Christmas tree, Detroit Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana was bouncing up and down with delight.

“I’m super excited,” Vrana said. “That’s all I can say. Huge excitement to join the team again and get back at it tonight.”

Vrana will be in the lineup as the Red Wings play host to the Arizona Coyotes (7:30 p.m. ET) at Little Caesars Arena. It will be his first action of the season. He’s been out since undergoing shoulder surgery the first week of training camp in September.

“It’s my first game after a while, so I hope after my first shift everything goes back together,” Vrana said. “I’m gonna have to watch a lot of video before the game to get back to back to the system, get used to the system again.

“Just trying to simplify my game. I don’t want too many things in my mind. I just want to come here and play my best game that I can play. That’s what I’ve been focusing on since this morning.”

Red Wings Still Seeking Linemates For Vrana

It appears that Vrana will be starting on Detroit’s second line with Tyler Bertuzzi and Pius Suter. That trio makes more hockey sense than the Vrana-Suter-Robby Fabbri combo tried in Monday’s practice. Bertuzzi gives the unit some tenacity and puck retrieval ability.

Fabbri moved to the top line with captain Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond. However, Wings coach Jeff Blashill is insisting nothing is written in stone when it comes to his line combinations.

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“Not sure what we’ll go with tonight,” Blashill said. “There’s a huge unknown in that Jakub hasn’t played all year. Doesn’t matter the level of player, it’s really difficult to jump right in. When a guy comes off an injury like this it’s even harder because you don’t totally know how he’s going to react to being in these game situations.

“We’ve had a little bit of movement in the Larkin line. We’ve had (Filip) Zadina there, had Bert there, (Vladislav) Namestnikov there. We’ve kept Raymond and Larks together. Bert and Fabbs and Suter have had lots of moments of being really good, not quite as good here lately.

“That’s where I’m going to be fluid tonight, might try different line combinations as we go through the game without turning it into a blender.”

Vrana Started Fast Last Season

Arriving from the Washington Capitals in a trade deadline move last season, Vrana scored in his first game as a Red Wing. He finished with eight goals in 11 games. The Wings were clearly counting on that production playing a significant role in their 2021-22 plans.

“I’m a little bit nervous,” Vrana admitted. “I haven’t been playing in a while. But at the same time I want to feel like it’s another game for me. I just want to come in – and that’s another thing with don’t have too much on your mind.

“Just trying to come here and enjoy the game of hockey. That’s what I’m gonna do tonight.”