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Postponed game puts Nick Jensen’s NHL debut on ice

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

 

Nick Jensen

Tampa, Fla. – One day, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nick Jensen will be able to laugh about this.

Jensen was all set to make his NHL debut Monday night in Carolina and, well, we all know what happened.

The game was postponed – no rescheduled date yet – because of ice equipment problems.

So Jensen, 26, sat and waited with this Red Wings teammates for a game that never happened.

And Jensen had to wait even longer for his NHL debut.

“Interesting,” Jensen said of the entire experience. “It was kind of funny. It’ll make a good story one day.”

Jensen and the rest of the Red Wings found out about 10-15 minutes before the scheduled warmup that the game would be delayed because of poor ice conditions.

“I’m putting on my gear, and we find out we’re going to be delayed,” Jensen said. “We figured it would be 20 minutes and we end up waiting around for two hours.

“Nothing you can do. You roll with the punches. I’ll laugh about it one day. I’ll always remember that one.”

Jensen was called up from Grand Rapids on Monday. In all of his years of playing hockey, at any level, Jensen can’t remember being involved in a canceled game.

“No, that’s why I thought it was funny,” Jensen said. “I finally get my chance in the NHL, which is the biggest stage of them all, so I thought it was kind of funny, a little bad luck, but what are you going to do?”

Jensen was scheduled to be in the lineup Tuesday night in Tampa.

“I guess have another game to look forward to and get ready for,” Jensen said.

 

Waiting around

Some of the Red Wings kicked soccer balls and dribbled basketballs during the delay to keep warm and stay loose.

“The games were pretty creative in the room,” goaltender Jimmy Howard said. “It was good to see.”

But that got old after a while.

“You can only play so much soccer and basketball,” Steve Ott said. “It was one of those nights I’ve never had in my career.”

Said Howard: “After around 8 (p.m.) everyone was just over it and wanted it to be done.”

The game, which was scheduled to start at 7 p.m., was called a little before 9.

A makeup date has not been announced.

“There are so few gaps in the schedule,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “It’s very difficult to just match up dates which they’re not playing and we’re not playing, and it’s not going to be a three games in three nights (which is not allowed, per league regulations).”

Getting healthy

Justin Abdelkader (knee), Darren Helm (dislocated shoulder), Tyler Bertuzzi (high ankle sprain), Brendan Smith (knee) and Alexey Marchenko (shoulder) are all skating on this trip, so returns to the lineup are getting closer.

“I don’t think on this trip, but after Christmas we can look to expect to get some guys back,” Blashill said. “I don’t know the exact timeline but guys will start to come back.”

Ice chips

Howard, who would have started in Carolina, got the start in Tampa.

… Blashill said Tomas Jurco, who was battling the flu in Carolina and wouldn’t have played, was available for the game against Tampa.

… Brian Lashoff, who took a puck to the face in Tuesday’s morning skate, was another player Blashill said was available who would not have been in Carolina.

… Blashill loves to tweak his good friend, Tampa coach Jon Cooper, and Blashill got off a great line during Tuesday’s morning scrum.

Talking about the Lightning’s injuries, Blashill said, “Regardless of who’s out for them, they’re still poorly coached.”

No rebuttal, yet, from Cooper.

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

Twitter @tkulfan