Wings goalie Mrazek makes preseason debut

Gregg Krupa
The Detroit News
Petr Mrazek

Detroit – The Red Wings faced an old rival, the Blackhawks tonight (6 p.m., joined in progress on NHL Network), but glancing down the Chicagoan’s lineup, once can scarcely believe it.

Not only was there no Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane, a number of other regulars who make the Blackhawks a perennial Stanley Cup contender are also missing.

Pre-season normally allows teams to look at their prospects amid an atmosphere that is closest to a regular season game. But this year, with the World Cup of Hockey now concluded, substantially more young players, most destined for the AHL, are getting substantially more playing time.

That will continue this evening, by and large, for both teams.

One exception is the return of Petr Mrazek in goal for the Wings. He started in goal tonight, fresh from his good performance at the World Cup, although it was a bit shorter than the Czech team hoped.

The Red Wings are 2-0-1 in the post-season, and played fairly well in the overtime loss to the Bruins.

“I think we’ve done a good job in the pre-season games from an effort level, from an intensity level,” coach Jeff Blashill said, after some of the game squad participated in an optional morning skate, and before the rest of the roster practiced in Joe Louis Arena.

“I think we can certainly clean up a lot of things; I think it’s been a little chaotic.

“But I also think, so far, we haven’t faced NHL lineups. And that’s no offense to anyone, but we haven’t faced even two full NHL lines.

“The three games we have played so far have had basically one NHL line and guys trying to make the team.

“So, as we get further into pre-season and you start to face more NHL lineups, we’ll get a better idea of where our teams at and what else we need to work on. And, also, as we get guys back from the World Cup and they become a little fitter.”

The Wings with the young, much-anticipated line of Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou and Anthony Mantha. Danny DeKeyser was again paired on defense, as Blashill continues to evaluate how the defensive pairings will pan out.

The Blackhawks didn't dress their two off-season acquisition, their former defenseman Brian Campbell and the Red Wings former forward Jordin Tootoo.