Detroit Red Wings’ first road trip of season will be new ‘reality’


Detroit – The Red Wings are ready for a new NHL challenge: a real road trip.

What was usually a pretty normal part of day-to-day business changed dramatically in a pandemic.

The NHL has issued a team travel log that sets guidelines for meals, hotel stays, air and bus travel, and ensures disinfectant is available wherever you need it.

All in all, it sounds like it’s a lonely existence.

“At the end of the day, playing the game now is the sacrifice,” said striker Anthony Mantha, who has heard from other friends in the league that life on the street is ‘bad’ now.

Many Red Wings went out in groups for dinner the night before a game or the evening without a game during a long road trip.

That’s out now. Meals must be delivered via a service or are provided at the hotel.

Walks are allowed, but masks must always be on.

“Lots of players will bring their laptops and Xboxes and download movies and shows,” said Mantha, adding that Yellowstone will be the series on his bucket list. “This is the reality we are currently living in.

“We usually have a nice dinner the night before the game, six or eight of us on road trips. Obviously this will be different. Room service and Uber Eats all year round.

“This year it’s time to learn things or do other things.”

The routines are generally changed this season.

More: OctoPulse podcast: Red Wings (2: 2) to Chicago, interview with Murray Howe

Keep in mind that in the past, the Red Wings were typically out and about the day before a game to settle in the new town.

But the Wings stayed home on Thursday and will fly to Chicago on Friday morning, game day. You won’t be holding a morning skate on Friday either.

Coach Jeff Blashill said the move was taken to eliminate one night in a hotel and stay away from possible virus exposure and stay home safely the other night.

“There’s no doubt it’s going to be weird,” said Blashill of the season’s road experience. “There are just a number of differences and that will be the reality.”

Blashill and many players spoke during training camp about how well they could handle the restrictions on the street when there was a chance to play hockey again.

Now it is time.

“If we have a lot of restrictions on the road, it should be so that we can compete and play.” Blashill said. “We need to take as many precautions as possible and prevent the spread as much as possible and prevent any contact tracing.”

NHL teams have been increasingly encountered with COVID-19 throughout the lineup. The teams were forced to cancel games and drills, and Washington was fined $ 100,000 for four players gathered in a hotel room.

Blashill, tough, won’t get his staff to monitor players on the street.

“I firmly believe that individuals have responsibility and be sure that they are responsible for it,” said Blashill. “I don’t run around town to watch over them year round, and I won’t do it on the go.

“Our boys were very good overall. It’s not an easy fight. If it were easy, we wouldn’t be facing what we see around the world. “

Limited practice

The wings currently have strikers Robby Fabbri and Adam Erne on the COVID-19 log list, and Blashill said neither will take this two-game road trip to Chicago and Dallas.

But it was interesting that the wings trained in four separate, small groups – at different times on Thursday mornings and on both the main ice in the Little Caesars Arena and on the practice hall – something unusual for the regular season.

Blashill said “a few” players were unavailable for training.

“As such, we made the decision to go with four small groups,” said Blashill. “Beyond that, I can’t really comment.”

Forward on Thursday evening Sam Win and defense attorney Jon Merrill were put on the NHL protocol list, which they basically excluded at least for the Chicago series.

Ice chips

Blashill said forward Darren Helm and defense attorney Christian Djooswho were both on the log list but started practicing could be available to play this weekend.

With Djoos, however, Blashill wanted the defender to use the exemptions to at least complete a full training session before joining the Wings lineup.

… it is likely that the wings will stick with the lines they used on Tuesday, which means mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi and Dylan Larkin would be distributed among lines.

“As a group we defended much better,” said Blashill. “We didn’t cause that many insults, there weren’t many insults (from either team), but it wasn’t a lack of competition or readiness. Both teams defended very well, so that’s positive.”

Red wings in Blackhawks

Allusion: Friday, 8 p.m., United Center, Chicago

TV / radio: Fox Sports Detroit / 97.1 FM

Outlook: The Blackhawks (0-3-1) are plagued by injuries from C. Jonathan Toews (not disclosed), C. Kirby roof (Hand) and LW Alex Nylander (Knee) … Farmington Hills native of LW Alex DeBrincat (two goals, one assist) got off to a good start.

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Twitter: @tkulfan