The nationwide collection of illnesses that is sweeping across America found its way into the Detroit Red Wings dressing room. Defenseman Olli Maatta said pneumonia has been keeping him out of his team’s lineup.
“It was pretty bad, didn’t feel like the common flu at all,” Maatta said. “Took a couple days to figure that one out. Thankfully, we have a great medical staff here so we finally figured out what it was and it didn’t take long to fix it. It wasn’t fun.”
Maatta hasn’t played since Dec. 6 when he logged 23 minutes against Tampa Bay. He has sat out the past four games and the Red Wings have lost each of those games. Maatta practiced Friday. Still, he’s not a lock to play Saturday in the Red Wings’ 1 p.m. matinee games against the Ottawa Senators.
“He was laboring out there, which is certainly understandable,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. “He’ll probably take warmups tomorrow. It’ll be a post warmup decision on how he’s feeling.”
Maatta didn’t dispute the Lalonde assessment. “It’s iffy still, see how I respond after practice,” he said. “I skated once after missing so many days.”
Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov was also diagnosed with pneumonia and he missed six games over 15 games.
Maatta said he started feeling better as soon as the doctors prescribed antibiotics.
“That was a couple days ago,” he said. “It’s fun to be back in the locker room with the boys and practicing and hopefully play soon.”
The Filip Hronek-Maatta defensive pairing has been impressively sharp all season. It was noticeable when neither of those players were in the lineup for two periods against Minnesota when Hronek was knocked out of the game. A big hit by Ryan Reaves sent him into concussion protocol. Hronek looks fine now, although the Red Wings are still monitoring him.
“It’s never fun to see that,” Maatta said. “I’m happy he’s fine and everything is good. Good to see him back out there.”