As Detroit Red Wings training camp presses on into its third day today, several veteran players are missing from the action. Pavel Datsyuk will wait to join the team on ice until Thursday after just returning from Russia, Patrick Eaves skated a few days but is not yet at full strength, Darren Helm will likely miss the season opener and Mikael Samuelsson continues to be bothered by a groin injury.
Despite what it might sound like at first, this should be no cause for concern for the Wings. Players like Jan Mursak and Cory Emmerton now have a chance to step up and show they deserve more playing time, and Mike Knuble (at camp on a tryout) continues to get a chance to showcase his skills with the team.
At tonight’s Red-White game, members of the Grand Rapids Griffins will be mixed with the Red Wings roster, giving Riley Sheahan, Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar a chance to show why they should be called up at some point this season.
While the game tonight is the opportunity of a lifetime for Griffins defenseman Chad Billins and forward Luke Glendening, it will be a bittersweet evening for Wings prospects Joakim Andersson and Francis Pare, who both continue to be sidelined with injuries. This game would have been an excellent chance for the two to showcase their talents after a strong start to the AHL season, as this one night essentially replaces the full week of training camp that would have taken place over the summer in Traverse City, Mich.
Tonight’s game gives coach Mike Babcock a chance to test his line combinations in a game setting. It will also be the first chance for Red Wings fans to see the teams new players on television, and show how Jordin Tootoo, Carlo Colaicovo, Jonas Gustavsson and Damien Brunner fit on this roster.