Taylor — They were rested and ready to play again.
The Red Wings hit the ice Monday at Taylor Sportsplex, concluding a five-day All-Star break, excited to begin the final push of the regular season.
"It was nice to get a few days and get away from it a little bit," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "But we're right back at it and we're looking forward to playing in a game."
Which happens Tuesday night when the Red Wings visit South Florida to play the Panthers. The two-game trip concludes Thursday against the Lightning.
As Monday's practice continued, some of the rust wore off from the extended break. And maybe all of the NHL games played Tuesday will not be works of art.
"(But) the good thing is it's the same for all the teams," Zetterberg said. "Obviously we're not used to having five days off, and even though it's great for the body and energizes you, it's not optimal to come back and play right away (after a lengthy break).
"But it's the same for all the teams and it's going to be fun."
The Red Wings play five of their first six games out of the break on the road and 11 of their next 14 away from Joe Louis Arena.
Coach Mike Babcock is looking at the short-term, in five-game segments, rather than looking at the schedule as one long final push to the end.
"A priority for us is to get started on time and make sure we're focused," Babcock said. "We feel we're a confident group that has a pretty good understanding of how we have to play and we have to get back to do that again.
"I don't get hung up in where the games are. We have a game in Florida (Tuesday) and we'll get there and we have to play well."
Howard goes on ice
Jimmy Howard (slight groin tear) skated for about 15 minutes before practice but isn't setting a timetable for a return.
Howard suffered the injury Jan. 10 10 in Washington and the original timetable was Howard being out for about a month.
Howard indicated that's likely to be correct.
"I'm definitely making strides," said Howard, who will make the trip to Florida. "It was nice to get back out there. Basically I just did some skating, but I haven't been on the ice since the injury so I'm just trying to get my feet under me."
Howard said he was able to begin walking up and down stairs a week after the original injury, he's been working out, and feels the original four-week timetable seems realistic.
"I haven't had any setbacks," Howard said. "We want to be cautious, but at the same time I want to get back out there as quick as possible."
The great outdoors
The Red Wings will play at Coors Field in Denver Feb. 27, 2016, facing the Avalanche, it was announced during All-Star weekend.
The opportunity to play in another outdoor game was greeted with excitement by everyone around the Red Wings.
"That's good for our franchise, good that you have enough respect nationally and across North America that you can be a draw," Babcock said.
Said Zetterberg: "It's going to be special. To be outdoors, it's going to be a great atmosphere. But it's a long ways away."
Tomas Jurco (back) skated in practice but looks to be a game-time decision against the Panthers.
…Johan Franzen (concussion) didn't practice and there's no timetable for a return.
…Jakub Kindl (elbow) and Jonas Gustavsson (shoulder) practiced but could be another a couple of days from being activated.