Wings’ Nosek ‘ready to go’ after whirlwind weekend

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Tomas Nosek did, finally, actually get to play for the Red Wings after a whirlwind weekend of playing everywhere but at Joe Louis Arena.

Nosek was in the lineup Monday against the Buffalo Sabres, after he was recalled Saturday.

Here’s a recap:

■ Nosek played in Grand Rapids on Friday night (he scored a goal in a 5-4 win over Chicago), then drove to Detroit after the game.

■ Nosek took part in the Red Wings’ pregame skate on Saturday, but found out he wasn’t going to play after it was determined several Red Wings were healthy enough to play. So, he flew to Chicago, where the Griffins were playing Saturday night.

■ He flew back to Detroit on Sunday, rejoining the Red Wings after Darren Helm (lower body) was injured.

“It’s been busy,” said Nosek after Monday’s morning skate, in a bit of an understatement. “Now I’m here. It’s been busy, but it’s hockey. It’s good. I’m young (24), still.

“I’m ready to go.”

Nosek played in six games with the Red Wings last season, and is enjoying his best pro season in Grand Rapids currently, with 40 points (15 goals, 25 assists) in 49 games.

“Every time you get a chance to play in the NHL, it’s very exciting,” Nosek said. “I did my best down there to hope to get a call-up and now I’m here, so I will try to prove I belong here.”

Nosek is a good-sized body (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) who always has had the reputation of being dependable on both ends of the ice, but the questions have been about foot speed and quickness.

Nosek has worked hard the last two summers to improve that aspect of his game.

“His skating has really gotten better over the last two years,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “If you would have asked me two years ago I would have said his skating had to improve for him to play in the league.

“I know he’s trained real hard in the off-season and when he came up and played for us last year, his skating was excellent.

“A lot of times, with a lot of these guys, it’s opportunity.”

Blashill feels Nosek brings good attributes to the lineup.

“He’s always been an accountable player,” Blashill said. “That’s what is going to allow his transition into the league to be smooth. He’s a two-way player already and there’s not a lot of bad habits.”

Sproul: No decision on surgery

Defenseman Ryan Sproul (knee) said there’s still been no decision on whether he’ll need surgery on his knee.

Sproul said he suffered a partial tear of his ACL and there was a bone bruise after he caught a rut in the ice and fell awkwardly March 7 in Toronto.

Sproul played in 27 games this season, with seven points (one goal, six assists) with a minus-8 rating.

“It was a tough season in general, it’s not what I wanted,” said Sproul, who has begun mildly working out on the knee. “I wanted to come in and make my point of knowing I could play in this league, and it’s kind of a struggle when you can’t get into games (with) any consistency.

“With this injury, I’m going to look back on this season and do whatever I can next season to stay in the lineup.”

Sproul expects a final decision on whether he’ll need surgery in the next couple of weeks.

“We’ll see where it’s at, and we’ll see if I can fix it by myself by working out and if it’s strong enough, I’ll stay away from surgery,” Sproul said.

Ice chips

Blashill said Helm, who hurt his leg Saturday on a hit by Colorado’s Erik Johnson, isn’t likely to play Tuesday in Montreal either, but is considered day-to-day.

“Friday (against Tampa) is not out of the question,” Blashill said.

… Mitch Callahan was sent down to Grand Rapids.

Blashill said Helm, who hurt his leg Saturday on a hit by Colorado’s Erik Johnson, isn’t likely to play Tuesday in Montreal either, but is considered day-to-day.

“Friday (against Tampa) is not out of the question,” Blashill said.

… After a season-long struggle, the Red Wings’ power play entered Monday’s game successful on five of its last 15 attempts and had scored two power-play goals in each of the last two games, after not scoring more than one in the previous 47 games.

“Confidence, and I also think there’s been chemistry developed in those two (power-play) units,” Blashill said.

Red Wings at Canadiens

Faceoff: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Bell Centre, Montreal

TV/radio: FSD/97.1 FM

Outlook: Montreal (41-23-8, 90 points) solidified first place in the Atlantic Division after two victories over Ottawa last weekend. … The Canadiens are revitalized (10-4) since Claude Julien replaced Michel Therrien as head coach…G Carey Price (2.26 GAA, .923 SVS) continues to be Montreal’s key figure.