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Lalonde Says Shot-Blocking Injuries Are What Winning Looks Like

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Elmer Soderblom, Red Wings
Detroit Red Wings forward Elmer Soderblom is still out with a lower body injury

Injured Elmer Soderblom won’t be available for tonight’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs and still doesn’t appear to be close to returning. He suffered a lower body injury while shot-blocking on Nov. 8 against the Montreal Canadiens.

“I’m told maybe a week now,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. “It’s been a little frustrating for me not knowing. This was day to day and now we’re in the 2-3 weeks, it’s lower body, it’s just going to take some time. I would not expect him on this homestand.”

The Red Wings have been unlucky when it comes to blocking shots. Tyler Bertuzzi, Filip Zadina and now Soderblom have all suffered injuries that have taken them out of the lineup.

But shot blocking makes teams harder to play against and the Red Wings are 11th in the NHL with 339 blocks. Lalonde views injuries as the price to be paid for a successful style.

“That’s what winning looks like,” Lalonde said. “If we would have told our guys we’d be sitting where we are right now and the sacrifice would have been some injuries over blocked shots, every single player would have taken
that, and that’s exactly where we’re at.”

One positive out of the frustrating Soderblom injury situation is that the Red Wings have the opportunity to look at Jonatan Berggren in the NHL. He boasts one goal and four assists for five points in seven games. He’s playing like a player who doesn’t want to return to Grand Rapids.

With Soderblom still unable to play, the Red Wings don’t have to make any roster decisions.

Learning on the Fly

Berggren plays well alongside Joe Veleno, although he has looked good with other centers as well.

“That line has had some great chemistry,” Lalonde said. “Today’s NHL with the salary cap it’s hard to build a true one line, two line, three line, four line, that fourth line just being a checking line, heavy line. Sometimes you’re going to have looks like this, where we’re at. I think he’s helped our bottom six because he brings skill to it. Getting pucks out of our zone, too. We’ve been really happy with him.

Berggren did take a bad penalty in the third period against the Arizona Coyotes.

“Every game is a great experience for him,” Lalonde said “Every game there’s growth. I don’t foresee him taking a holding penalty 200 feet from our net again late in the third period. That’s just inexperience. You grow from those things. That’s why you put those players in that position.”

In other lineup news, defenseman Gus Lindstrom is fit for duty.

“Lindstrom is available and we have full confidence in playing Lindy,” Lalonde said. ”
He would not have warranted coming out, due to injury obviously, but our D corps has played well of late.”

In other words, Lalonde is not going to tinker with a lineup that is winning.

Lalonde still isn’t sure how Magnus Hellberg works into the goalie set-up.

“I don’t know if we have Hellberg playing right now,” Lalonde said. “We had the roster
spot, we wanted the depth at that position throughout, one through five (with GR), so our immediate play is just where we’re at. Ville, while he’s playing like he is, and (Alex Nedeljkovic) will get the net again soon,
and then we’ll re-evaluate from there.”

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