Injured forward Tyler Bertuzzi should play this weekend, although it probably won’t be against the Washington Capitals at Little Caesars Arena on Friday.
“He went a full practice today, with contact, regular red/white jersey on,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. “He had some good hard reps today. I want to see how he responded from practice today. Talked with our trainer Piet (VanZant), but I would expect to see him in one of the next two games.
Lalonde said he would probably give Bertuzzi another day for body maintenance “and then we’ll decide on the road game.” The Red Wings play the Blackhawks in Chicago on Saturday night.
Joe Veleno (undisclosed injury) is on the same timeline as Bertuzzi.
“Probably will not see him tomorrow night but our hope is he’s available for at Chicago,” Veleno said. “Again, good reps today, hard reps. He was in a full jersey, not the orange non-contact jersey. A
good step for him, also.”
The news is also good on Jakub Vrana. He missed the Red Wings’ first two preseason games because of an illness.
“Vrana full skated today,” Lalonde said. “That was exciting for us. (Defenseman Robert) Hagg is still out. He won’t be available for us.”
Andrew Copp (offseason core surgery) skated Thursday in a non-contact jersey. He struggles to embrace the “non-contact” idea.
“He went through the full practice,” Lalonde said. “We’ll probably tomorrow have to define what a non-contact jersey is for him, because he got really engaged. But that’s who he is. That’s how he knows to play the game. A good step forward for him. Again, we don’t expect to see him anytime soon, but he had a full practice today non contact, which is a good step for him.”
Injured Oskar Sundqvist, acquired from the St. Louis Blues late last season, has skated the last two days with the team’s skills coach.
“Amped it up today,” Lalonde said. “Had a good skate. It was a good sign he was out there getting reps. Obviously we’d like all these guys for Game 1 but conditioning is a reality coming off those body maintenance (days) when they’re unable to be on the ice. It’s going to be a process for those guys but they’re taking steps forward.”