Already without Niklas Kronwall for Game 7, the Detroit Red Wings’ blueline took another hit Wednesday when news broke that Marek Zidlicky will also be out after suffering a concussion in Monday’s Game 6. Jakub Kindl and Alexey Marchenko will suit up for Detroit.
If it wasn’t bad enough the Red Wings were going to be missing defenseman Niklas Kronwall for Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, news broke Wednesday afternoon that Detroit will also be without blueliner Marek Zidlicky.
Zidlicky, the Red Wings’ big acquisition at the trade deadline, suffered a concussion in Game 6 of the series, but finished the contest and news that he may miss Game 7 was kept under wraps until today. The injury occurred early in the game, according to reports, with some pointing to a hit from Lightning winger Brenden Morrow around the midway mark of the first period.
Through the first-round series, Zidlicky hasn’t registered a single point and has been used primarily as a bottom-pairing and power play defenseman, but losing him for Game 7 means Detroit will have to turn to both Jakub Kindl and Alexey Marchenko.
“I expect them to play good, they’re Red Wings,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock told the Red Wings website. “I expect us to come here and enjoy being in the atmosphere and enjoy being at a Game 7 and get ourselves a win. There’s a deli called Schwartz’s in Montreal that I’m dying to have a sandwich from.”
Marchenko skated in Games 1 and 2 of the series, but didn’t draw into the lineup in any of the games that followed. In his two games, he averaged nearly 19 minutes per outing but didn’t register any points. Marchenko suited up for 13 regular season games, notching one goal and two points. With Kronwall out, it was expected that Marchenko would be the blueliner to draw in, but Zidlicky’s injury has forced Kindl into action, too.
Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg told media that he has been impressed with the play of Kindl in practice over the past couple of weeks and that he’s sure Kindl will be prepared come puck drop Wednesday night.
Kindl is one of the more maligned Detroit blueliners, but he has much more experience than Marchenko and has suited up for the Red Wings in the post-season before. Kindl averaged 15:54 of ice time and scored five goals and 13 points in 35 games during the regular season and, over his 18 career playoff games, has scored one goal and five points. In seven career games against Tampa Bay, Kindl has two assists.