The Red Wings, already without Niklas Kronwall and Mike Green, may also be down Danny DeKeyser as the defenseman was injured while blocking a shot Wednesday. Fortunately DeKeyser suffered a bruise not a break, but he’s still day-to-day.
Detroit’s 3-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators may have moved the Red Wings into sole possession second place in the Atlantic Division, but Tampa Bay and Boston are nipping at their heels. And fending off the Lightning and Bruins isn’t going to be easy without the services of defenseman Danny DeKeyser.
DeKeyser, 25, went down hard after blocking a blast from Ottawa Senators defenseman Dion Phaneuf Wednesday night. The shot block, which appeared to catch DeKeyser on the outside of the right knee, resulted in him needing help off the ice from the training staff and teammate Justin Abdelkader, but it appeared for a brief moment that DeKeyser would be all right after he returned to the ice midway through the frame.
However, after a short, 10-second shift, DeKeyser left the ice once again and did not return. There was some fear it could have been a break DeKeyser was attempting to fight through, but, post-game, coach Jeff Blashill delivered the news that DeKeyser will be out day-to-day with a bruise.
“It was sore. It hit in a spot that’s going to be painful,” Blashill said, via MLive’s Ansar Khan. “He’ll be day-to-day. We’ll see tomorrow where it’s at. He just couldn’t put enough weight on it to finish the game.”
The Red Wings likely won’t know the full extent of DeKeyser’s injury until Friday when the team hosts the Colorado Avalanche. DeKeyser hasn’t been ruled out quite yet, though it seems unlikely he’ll be back in the lineup after failing to complete Wednesday’s game if for no other reason than a precaution.
Even if DeKeyser only misses one game, though, it’s still a significant loss for the Red Wings while in the midst of a heated race in the Atlantic. In what has been a down season for Detroit’s veteran blueliner Niklas Kronwall, DeKeyser has been arguably the best defenseman on the team. He’s averaging the second-highest minutes of any Red Wings at 21:15 per game and he’s been an integral part of Detroit’s penalty kill.
That’s not to mention DeKeyser has been leaned upon heavily with Kronwall and Mike Green out of the lineup. Monday, DeKeyser played more than 25 minutes, and he skated 21:18 in Wednesday’s game. Considering he missed all but 55 seconds of the third period, it’s likely DeKeyser would have eclipsed the 30-minute mark in ice time.
If DeKeyser is out for an extended period of time, the Red Wings defense will be without their top three — Kronwall, Green and DeKeyser — which will mean increased minutes for Jonathan Ericsson, Kyle Quincey, Brendan Smith and Alexey Marchenko. It will also likely result in Jakub Kindl, who has found himself watching from the sidelines often this season, playing a larger role than the less than 14 minutes per game he has skated with Green out over the past two games.