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Red Wings ready for ‘awesome’ game outdoors with Avs

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Colorado Avalanche center John Mitchell stands next to the glass that surrounds the rink on Tuesday at Coors Field.

Denver — The NHL regular season is a grind.

That’s what makes an outdoor game such as Saturday’s Red Wings-Avalanche matchup at Coors Field so enjoyable — it breaks the monotony.

“It’s going to be fun,” Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “It’s one of those games that you circle, even before the season starts.

“Hopefully the ice holds up and we can enjoy it.”

Temperatures could approach the mid-60s in the afternoon, but drop into the upper-30s by the 8 p.m. EST faceoff.

Kronwall believes the outdoor game still can be special and enjoyable despite the pressure of earning two critical points.

“You have to find a way to embrace it, enjoy it and have some fun with it,” Kronwall said. “The minute you start focusing too much on what’s at stake, it’s just going to push you down and hinder you from moving forward.”

Today’s alumni game is attracting as much buzz as Saturday’s Stadium Series matchup, and some Red Wings players have said they’ll try to catch some of that game.

Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill just wants his players to embrace the entire weekend.

Red Wings old-timers taking it outside against the Avs

“It’s important to enjoy the moment,” Blashill said. “It’s important to enjoy the journey in life. I’ve stressed that a lot. Myself and the team, we want to enjoy the journey. You can go through life, and you blink and it’s over.

“Moments like this, within the season, when you get an opportunity to play in an unbelievable setting and obviously it’s a big deal, it’s awesome.”

Fun with close calls

Five of the last seven Red Wings games have been decided by one goal — they’re 2-3, but earned at least one point in the three losses.

Players are getting used to the tightness of the games, which have a postseason feel.

“I feel like our last handful of games have been like this, so they’re fun to play in,” forward Riley Sheahan said. “Obviously it’s more fun when you come out with a win.

“Your attention is all into the game and you’re focused and the intensity of the crowd and everything. It’s an adrenaline rush and we have fun with it.”



NHL Stadium Series

Red Wings vs. Avalanche

Faceoff: 8 p.m. Saturday, Coors Field, Denver

TV/radio: NBC/97.1

Alumni game: 7 p.m. Friday, FSD/97.1