Tatar gains promotion in Nyquist's absence

Gregg Krupa
The Detroit News
Detroit left wing Tomas Tatar

Detroit -- Following the announcement of Gustav Nyquist's six-game suspension, Tomas Tatar was moved up to the top line with Henrik Zetterberg and Anthony Mantha, and the captain saw little need for concern.

“I think Hank is steady. This whole season he is playing great hockey,” Tatar said. “He’s really smart on the ice, he knows the game a lot and it’s always fun to play with him, that is for sure.”

Tatar played on the line earlier in the season, and it worked well.

“I played with ‘Tuna’ many games this year,” Zetterberg said. “I thought it’s been working well.

“Hopefully, we can create some offense.”

Tatar had 12 goals, 14 assists and 26 points entering Wednesday’s game against the St. Louis Blues.

Remembering Mr. I

The Red Wings attended the visitation for their late owner, Mike Ilitch, before an optional skate Wednesday in which few players participated.

Blashill said the empathy between Ilitch and his players was remembered at the visitation and prayer service he attended Tuesday night.

“I think that our owners always play very hard for ownership, they have an affinity for ownership, they know what special owners we have and certainly that is magnified tonight,” Blashill said.

Blashill recalled his first meeting with Ilitch after becoming head coach was also at Comerica Park, about a week after the announcement.

“Sitting up with him and just discussing assistant coaches and some other things with free agency that was looming,” he recalled.

“Just the passion that he had. He was on top of it. It was clear that he wanted us certainly to make the right decisions and just great, great passion.”

Zetterberg said he recalled meeting Ilitch, who died Friday at age 87, and his wife Marian at a Tigers game shortly after he signed his professional contract in 2001, the year before he began playing for the Wings.

“You felt right away that this is a special place and how they take care of their players and fans,” he said.

“Not just for this team and the Tigers and the youth hockey organization, he’s done remarkable things for hockey and the city of Detroit.

“It’s a big game for our hockey club, and a special night.”