With the NHL season opener just a night away, the roster shuffling for the Detroit Red Wings continues. Patrick Eaves will return to the lineup for the first time in over a year, after receiving medical clearance to play. Speedster Darren Helm will not be ready to go Saturday, and was placed on short-term injured reserve. When he’s ready to go the Wings have a difficult decision to make, but that’s a story for another post. Mikael Samuelsson and Todd Bertuzzi have been bothered by groin injuries at times this week, but both will hopefully be ready to go against the St. Louis Blues.
It will be interesting for the Wings to see how Eaves responds in his first game action since suffering a broken jaw while blocking a shot against the Nashville Predators. He has battled lingering concussion effects since then, and needs to show that he can be a consistent third or fourth line scorer for this team. Helm isn’t expected to miss much time, and Jan Mursak and Cory Emmerton are available to take his place in the lineup.
Joey MacDonald has been sidelined by a back injury for part of the offseason, and recently started taking to the ice for practice. If he gets healthy, he could be waived and sent to the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL) if he clears. An injury to Jimmy Howard or Jonas Gustavsson could push him right back onto the Wings’ lineup, in a similar situation to last season.
Staring down a shortened season that features 48 games in less than four months, injuries like this aren’t good news for the Wings heading into their first game. The team must hope these players just need to shake off the lockout rust and will be back at full strength within a week, or it could be a very long season in Hockeytown.