Wings will get closer look at gritty Eric Tangradi

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Eric Tangradi

St. Paul, Minn. – Granted, it was an early wake-up call and flight, but forward Eric Tangradi was looking at the positives.

He was headed back to the NHL, with the Red Wings.

"I've been joking this is the first time when I've been called up, I've had a direct flight to the city I was playing in," said Tangardi, 26, who has had brief stays with Pittsburgh, Winnipeg and Montreal in the NHL. "I was pretty excited about that.

"It was an early-morning flight but I'm excited to be part of things here."

The Red Wings called up Tangradi Monday morning because of a variety of reasons.

Luke Glendening is sick, missed the morning skate, and coach Jeff Blashill said Glendening's availabilitiy for Monday night's game against the Wild was undetermined.

Dylan Larkin (upper-body injury) skated Monday morning and looked to be ready to play, although a final determination would be made before the game.

Tangradi could replace Glendening, or Blashill could find a spot for the power forward Tuesday against a bigger, physical Winnipeg team.

There's also the snowy, blustery weather conditions headed to the upper Midwest that could snarl flights and make recalling anyone on short notice difficult.

Night off gives Red Wings' Larkin fresh perspective

Regardless, the Red Wings want to take a look at Tangradi, who is having a successful season in Grand Rapids, with 22 points (13 goals) in 24 games, justifying his decision to sign with the Red Wings last summer.

Tangradi has played in 143 NHL games, with 15 points (five goals) and 86 penalty minutes. He has 174 points (87 goals, 87 assists) in 250 career AHL games.

"When I got the call from Detroit and thought about what things could be like in Detroit, it's a winning culture and organization, and for me as a player, I have some faith I can play in the NHL again," Tangradi said. "This would be a great organization for me to prepare for that opportunity."

Tangradi stands out in the smallish Red Wings locker room. At 6-foot-4, 235-pounds, he can provide size and bit of grit.

"For the Griffins, he's had an impact since the beginning of the season," Blashill said. "When they were struggling, he was the one guy Ryan Martin (Red Wings assistant general manager), Ken Holland (general manager) and Todd Nelson (Griffins coach) were telling me was consistently real good.

"He's physical at times, he's been around, he knows how to play, and he's looking for more opportunities, and that's one reason he signed here. He brings a different element than what we have with that size."

Tangradi was suspended for three games in the AHL right before the holiday break for an illegal hit, so the two games he played last weekend were his first in 13 days.

"He got suspended for a hit I thought was a good, physical hit," Blashill said. "We'd like to add that element. It gives us a chance to look at him."

Larkin looks ready

Dylan Larkin had upper-body stiffness but took part in Monday's morning skate on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader. He appeared ready to play.

"I felt good, definitely seeing progress," said Larkin, who missed Saturday's game in Nashville. "I'm excited to get back and ready to skate. The way I play, I don't see it holding me back or being afraid out there.

"I just want to get back and create some offense and play my game."

Said Blashill: "Larkin looked like he was ready, but until I know for sure and he comes back tonight and feels the same as he did (this morning), he could definitely be in the lineup but we'll wait and see where he's at tonight."

Jonathan Ericsson (upper body) will miss his fourth consecutive game.