The Detroit Red Wings are one of the hottest teams in the league over the past 10 games, picking up 15 of a possible 20 points, but not everything is going well in Hockeytown. After Thursday night’s game against the Arizona Coyotes, the Red Wings will be without wingers Teemu Pulkkinen and Drew Miller for at least the next six weeks.
Pulkkinen was injured early in the first period of Thursday’s tilt with Arizona. While chasing a loose puck into the corner, Pulkkinen had his feet taken out by the stick of Coyotes center Martin Hanzal, who then crushed Pulkkinen into the boards:
Pulkkinen did not return to the game and Red Wings GM Ken Holland announced Friday the 23-year-old will miss six-to-eight weeks recovering from a dislocated shoulder. While Pulkkinen’s injury will keep him sidelined longer, he will not have to undergo surgery unlike Miller who will miss at least six weeks after breaking his jaw on a hit from Coyotes defenseman Klas Dahlbeck.
The hit, which also happened in the first period, left Miller dazed and visibly shaken. The 31-year-old needed to be helped off of the ice and did not return to the game:
“Those are two guys that are big part of us and who we are and certainly I don’t like to see guys go down,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill told DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose.
Due to the injuries, Blashill was forced to juggle his lines, though Holland told MLive.com’s Ansar Khan the Red Wings won’t be bringing anyone up from the Grand Rapids Griffins for Saturday’s game against the Nashville Predators. However, Holland said reinforcements are likely to be coming next week when the Red Wings play three games in four nights from Dec. 8-11.
Blashill said that the injuries will test the Red Wings’ depth, and he believes the players who have been fighting for ice time can come in and produce in the absence of Pulkkinen and Miller.
“Our depth has to come in and be great,” Blashill told Roose. “I have full confidence that we can do that. (Tomas) Jurco and (Joakim) Andersson will both be in the lineup tomorrow night. They haven’t been sitting because they haven’t played well enough, they’ve actually both played good when they’ve been in. Now they get an opportunity to play a little bit more.”