Once the Detroit Red Wings acquired Jeff Petry, they called their seven veteran defensemen together for a math lesson.
They just wanted to make sure everyone understood that seven players for six spots meant one of them will sit on most nights.
“We try to be as direct as possible,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “We brought them all in. We had a little camp, spoke to all of them in the summer.”
Two days ago, Lalonde brought the defensemen together again for a similar talk. Olli Maatta and Petry have each sat out a game, and Lalonde went with seven defensemen in the other game.
“Just because of the way it played out,” Lalonde said. “I know it wasn’t ideal. Did not love sitting Olli or Jeff. They handled it real well. Someone’s number will get called again. I’ll do the best I can to be as honest as I can and try to get them back in. In time, maybe that’ll play itself out. It can be an injury, or we can hold someone accountable on their play.”
Injuries Impact Tonight’s Lineup
Injuries will play a role in tonight’s decision on the defense.
“We’ve got a couple of guys a little nicked up, so we’re gonna go seven in warmups and it’ll be a game-time decision,” Lalonde said. “We will not dress seven. It’s just that we have two guys battling a little something. Nothing long term or serious. It’ll be seven and we’ll decide from there in warmups.”
Lalonde didn’t say who was injured.
The second-year Red Wings coach said the meetings with the defensemen have been positive.
“Very positive,” Lalonde said “We’re doing some good things, 2-1 but our game for the most part is pretty much in a good spot. It really helped that Olli and Jeff handled their sit out, their turn, extremely well.