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Fabbri’s Fate Could Prove Foreboding to Red Wings Season

Detroit forward Fabbri again coming back from knee surgery



Red Wings Robby Fabbri
Red Wings forward Robby Fabbri is coming from a second summer of rehab following knee surgery.

Robby Fabbri’s return to game action for the Detroit Red Wings was delivering a combination of excitement, exhiliration, hope and ultimately, disappointment. If this was foreshadowing, Detroit fans aren’t going to like the outcome.

He scored twice and figured in Detroit’s other tally. In the end, though, it wasn’t enough. The Red Wings lost 4-3 at Washington.

The NHL preseason is a time when all is positive. Optimism is skyrocketing. Hope springs eternal.

With a plethora of new talent in tow, the Red Wings are eyeballing an end to their seven-year playoff drought as the endgame of the 2023-24 campaign.

“Our expectations are high,” Fabbri said. “We’re looking to come out and be ready to go.”

Of all the players on the Detroit roster, no one is more cognizant of how quickly hopes and dreams can be dashed than Fabbri.

Rebounding From Knee Surgery

It was another summer of going under the knife and going through rehab for Fabbri. He’s undergone multiple surgeries on both of his knees. The latest was merely an effort to clean up some previous work on his meniscus. Still, it meant more arduous training to get back to being NHL ready.

“This surgery wasn’t a big one but it still takes a toll mentally that I couldn’t finish the year last year,” Fabbri admitted.

Fabbri, Red Wings Have Much To Prove

Much like the team he’s playing for, Fabbri is a bundle of tantalizing potential. Two years ago with 17 goals through 56 games, he was on pace for a career high in goals. Then he blew out his knee, ending his season.

Over the past five seasons, Fabbri has never played more than 61 games in a single campaign. Detroit coach Derek Lalonde readily admits he still doesn’t know what a fully healthy Fabbri might be capable of achieving.

“I still think he’s growing with being a little more healthy,” Lalonde said. “Every day a little more consistent.

“He seems to have some pop. When he’s competing he’s winning battles and kept plays alive in the O-zone and on the rush. I still think where he is physically, he’s gonna have some ups and downs.”

Optimism In Detroit

On the surface, with so many new players, some from top NHL teams, some coming off career years, there’s no end to the positive vibes emanating from Detroit. But that doesn’t mean a thing until they start playing the games.

“Our record right now is 0-0-0, there’s 82 games ahead of us,” Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin said. “Every team no matter what it looks like on paper you have to show up and play together, you have to be committed, which are all things we’ve been talking about.

“I’m excited to see how it unfolds.”

The same suggestion could be made regarding Fabbri. It’s exciting to think about what he could deliver given a healthy campaign to make forward strides. But the fact of the matter is that fate hasn’t offered him that opportunity for several seasons.

It’s not a stretch to argue that as Fabbri goes, so might go the Wings. Like the club he plays for, Fabbri is offering so much potential. But far too often, both he and Detroit have been sidetracked by harsh reality.

As the season nears, he’s again bubbling with optimism, while staying grounded in the challenge that lay ahead.

“I think every team going into the season has the expectation of making the playoffs,” Fabbri said. “We’re no different. We know the work we gotta do and how much work it’s gonna be.

“We’re just gonna start with the work and go from there.”