Game Day Updates
Blashill looks to be pumping the brakes on any Veleno debut:
#RedWings Blashill said Joe Veleno still not cleared to play. When he is cleared, which could be any day, Blashill said he might play for Wings, but not definite. Still having conversations with Yzerman, and @griffinshockey schedule plays a role. Fabbri out tomorrow, to day.— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) April 23, 2021
Paraphrasing ‘Veleno MAY be healthy soon, and he MAY play if he does get healthy, MAYBE...’ doesn’t inspire confidence.
ICYMI yesterday Larkin will be out for the remainder of the season:
Jeff Blashill says Dylan Larkin will miss the rest of the season with an upper-body injury, will be re-evaluated in a couple weeks— Max Bultman (@m_bultman) April 23, 2021
Injuries have now spread beyond Detroit to one of their top prospects:
Moritz Seider goes to the lockerroom after this sequence. Unclear at this point if he will return for the 3rd period. pic.twitter.com/X7nqtQJf4E— IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) April 24, 2021
Seider did not return and there’s another video in that thread more clearly showing he took the opposing player’s helmet to his chin in that bump out front of the net. Hopefully he can be back in action shortly.
After a tough outing on Thursday that saw him pulled early, Khudobin is getting another chance against the Wings:
Anton Khudobin will start in net for the Dallas Stars tonight, per Rick Bowness.— Bruce LeVine (@BruceLeVinePuck) April 24, 2021
Some things are bigger than hockey and the Wings are reminding us of that tonight:
Jakub Vrana - Michael Rasmussen - Filip Zadina
Richard Panik - Vladislav Namestnikov -
Evgeny Svechnikov - Valtteri Filppula - Sam Gagner
Darren Helm - Luke Glendening - Adam Erne
Jason Robertson - Roope Hintz - Joe Pavelski
Jason Dickinson - Jamie Benn - Denis Gurianov
Andrew Cogliano - Radek Faksa - Blake Comeau
Tanner Kero - Justin Dowling - Mark Pysyk
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak - Miro Heiskanen
Joel Hanley - Andrej Sekera
Keys to the Game
1. Vrana Needs to Outpace Mantha
Yes, the ramifications of this deal won’t fully be realized for several years as both Vrana’s and Mantha’s careers develop. Not to mention the other important draft pieces of this deal. In 5 games with Washington since the trade, Mantha has 4 goals and 1 assist. Vrana has 5 goals and 1 assist in 4 games with Detroit, outpacing Mantha by one tally thanks largey to his 4-goal outing on Thursday. With both teams playing at 7:00 tonight, it would be a small victory in a tough season if Vrana can continue to outpace Mantha for the remainder of the season. That way all summer Wings fans can taunt the Capitals fans “It was 4 for 1”. Unless Mantha goes and wins the Conn Smythe or something.
2. Seek Some Vengeance on Benn
With Larkin’s season now officially over, Wings fans have Jamie Benn to thank for that. The Stars forward delivered a brutal cross check on Larkin’s neck as he was leaned over after a faceoff. The Wings should have looked to call up someone like Givani Smith to come take a pound of flesh from Benn for this, but they haven’t. So someone in the current lineup needs to try or at least send the message that the team won’t tolerate having their best players treated this way.
3. Help Send the Stars Home Early
As noted in the Morning Skate post, the Stars are looking down the barrel of being the first team since the 2012-13 Devils to be out of the playoffs following a trip to the Cup Final. With a Wings win today, the series this week between the teams would be split 2-2. Coming in the Stars had to be hoping to go at least 3-1 in this set and take hold of the last divisional playoff spot. With a split the road will be that much tougher and if they end up missing out by a point or two you know they’ll look back at this week as one of the ones they wish they could have back. Look nobody here is suggesting we should help the Predators make the playoffs but as Sara put it, the enemy of my enemy is my friend: