Looking for an offensive boost after suffering a 3-0 shutout at Calgary, the Detroit Red Wings are inserting forward Taro Hirose for Tuesday’s game at Edmonton against the Oilers.
Recalled Friday from the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins, Hirose was a healthy scratch for Saturday’s game. Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill opted to go with a more physical component, playing rugged Luke Witkowski in Calgary. The 5-foot-10, 162-pound Hirose might be a better fit opposing the highly-skilled Oilers.
At the time of his recall, Hirose was leading Grand Rapids in scoring with 14-31-45 totals in 52 games. The Wings are without Tyler Bertuzzi (24) and Robby Fabbri (17), who’ve combined for 41 goals this season.
The Grand Rapids Griffins scored their second of the night with this lovely perimeter play off the faceoff on the power play.
— Elaine Shircliff (@imaraindancer) February 12, 2022
“He’s a very good American League player, that’s a fact,” Blashill said. “He’s done that for a long time. He is a very smart, talented, hockey player.
“With Bertuzzi out, with Fabbri out, we just felt like we needed some more skill back in the lineup. He gives that.”
Hirose has never been able to translate AHL productivity into NHL success in the past. He’s collected 3-13-16 totals in 43 games with the Red Wings. Hirose has failed to score in his last 13 NHL games.
“He’s a very responsible player, he’s just not a very big man,” Blashill said. |That’s the only thing Taro doesn’t have, a lot of speed or a big man. But he’s as smart as any player that we have.
“Ultimately, he’s a good player on the power play. He’ll give us a chance to give us a little more skill.”
Like Father, Like Son
Sam Gagner launched his NHL career with the Oilers and he’ll reach a unique milestone playing against Edmonton on Tuesday. The Red Wings forward will be playing his 946th NHL game. That will tie him with his father. Dave Gagner played 946 NHL games between 1984-99.
“That’s a special thing,” Sam Gagner said. “I don’t play one in this league without his support. It’s a really cool thing and something our family cherishes for sure.
Sam Gagner's bury to knot this one up. #LGRW
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) October 9, 2021
“Whether you’re in your first year in the league or your 15th, you go through adversity, you go through struggles and you need people to lean on. My dad’s always been that for me.”
The Gagners are among six father-son combos to each play at least 900 NHL games. The others are Bobby and Brett Hull, Peter and Paul Stastny, Gordie and Mark Howe, Mike and Nick Foligno and Thomas and Alexander Steen.