One of the reasons why the Detroit Red Wings sought Andrew Copp out in free agency was for his compete level. His passion and competitiveness are already on display in practice as battles back from mid-August core surgery.
Wearing an orange non-contact jersey as he practices during his recuperation, Copp evidently doesn’t understand how this system works. It doesn’t just mean no one is supposed to hit him. It also means he’s not supposed to hit anyone else.
“I got a little bit of that bump in, absorbing contact and whatnot,” Copp explained of his exhuberence in practice. “It’s part of the process. You gotta kind of get used to that.”
Andrew Copp skated with the team today 🎉 but still won’t be seen until the regular season. The goal is still the first week of play, but the Wings will be smart with him.
— Jeanna Trotman (@JeannaTrotmanTV) September 30, 2022
After a talk with coach Derek Lalonde, Copp seems to have gotten the memo. He now understands the concept of the non-contact jersey. In his case, it’s as much designed to protect him frm himself as much as anyone else.
“It is one of those injuries where you can kind of set it back for 3, 4, 5 days,” Copp said. “So I’m trying to kind of ride that line of doing enough to stretch and strengthen it, but at the same time not go over the line and set it back.”
Regular Season Opener Target Date For Copp
Copp is understanding another concept as the NHL regular season nears. The Red Wings will open for real at Little Caesars Arena against the Montreal Canadiens on October 14. Copp intends to be part if that process.
“Oh yeah for sure,” Copp said. “Opening night is seven and a half weeks from surgery day. It’s a 6-8 week recovery in general, so I feel like we’ve kind of been a little bit ahead of schedule the whole time.
“I’ve been on the ice for probably three weeks now, which was pretty early for this type of injury. A lot of that’s been on my own and then we ramped up the conditioning a little bit.
The @umichhockey connection 🤝
— Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) September 28, 2022
“The last two days have been with the team, which has been really nice just to have other guys out there, worry about where guys are gonna be, not only offensively but defensively. The other team, our own team. Those little reads that you want to be seamless by the team the regular season starts.”
Opimistically, Copp harbors a tiny bit of hope that he’ll be improving so rapidly that he might get into action for a preseason tilt.
Building Up His Strength
“The next step is it’s just gotta continue to strengthen a little bit,” Copp said. “Sometimes it fatigues a little as the practice goes along, or the workout goes along. I gotta strengthen that to make it close to 100 percent.
“And then just get into contract and have the longer days of the full hour and 15 practice, where it’s a grind the entire time. And then hopefully to be able to get into a preseason game. If not then we’ve got two weeks to basically get going.”
More than likely, his realistic target date is the season opener. But he knows that could also be delayed.
“Yeah. I feel like I’m pretty strongly gonna play in that game, but we’ll see,”Copp said. “You’d rather be healthy for 78 games than come back too early and mess it up and it’s three weeks into the season.”