Detroit – By noon Thursday, rookie forward Andrej Nestrasil will either be on his way to Grand Rapids to join the Griffins, or, he will be on his way to another NHL organization.
"It's so fresh, I never have time to think about what would be the best option for me," Nestrasil said Wednesday just a few hours after he'd been placed on waivers by the Red Wings.
"Obviously," he continued, "everybody knows me here and this is an organization I would love to play for. But if someone else claims me, then I will go play for someone else. That is hockey life. You just take it and go with it."
The Wings placed Nestrasil on waivers to make way for the eventual return of veteran Stephen Weiss, who has been on IR with a groin injury. He will begin a conditioning assignment with Grand Rapids tomorrow.
Since Nestrasil was out of options, the Wings had to place him on waivers.
"He just needs to keep playing," coach Mike Babcock said. "He's not quite ready for this level. If he plays for a while in the American Hockey League, maybe one day he will play at this level."
Babcock told him the news before practice Wednesday and Nestrasil skated with the Wings one last time, actually playing defense on a couple of drills because the both Brendan Smith (hand) and Jonathan Ericsson (rest) were out. Teams have until noon Thursday to claim Nestrasil. If not, he will be reassigned to Grand Rapids.
"The best thing for him is to spend a couple of years in the American Hockey League and see if he can keep growing his game," Babcock said. "I'm not saying somebody won't pick him up, but I don't know how a kid like that grows playing no minutes and sitting in the crowd."
Nestrasil had two assists and was a minus-3 in 13 games.
"This was a possibility from Day One," Nestrasil said. "I think everyone was surprised I was here (to start the season). If you would've told me before the season that I was going to start up here and play 13 games, I would take it 100 percent.
"It sucks; everybody wants to play in the NHL. But at least I proved to a lot of people I can play here, I especially proved it to myself. So it's good motivation for me to go wherever and keep working because I know I can play in this league."
Weiss to GR, redo
If things go according to plan, Weiss will play for the Griffins Friday and Saturday and return to the Wings in time for the game Monday against Ottawa. But that was also the plan a few weeks ago when Weiss lasted only two periods before feeling soreness in his groin.
"He's got to get himself going," Babcock said. "This business is straight forward. Coaches and management, they play the guys they think can help them win. So, when you haven't been healthy, you've got to get yourself playing. We have an obligation to help him help himself. And that's what we're trying to do.
"But his part is to play well so he can get into the lineup."
Weiss, after missing most of last season with a core muscle injury, has played in only one game this season.