Raleigh, N.C. — Dan Renouf felt it would be just another teaching session in the coach’s office and didn’t suspect anything otherwise.
But the news Renouf got Saturday night from his Grand Rapids Griffins coaches was beyond thrilling.
Renouf got the word he was headed to the Red Wings.
“It was right after the Rockford game Saturday night and I was expecting to go on the bus to Milwaukee,” said Renouf of the Griffins’ next opponent on the schedule. “I really wasn’t expecting it (to be promoted to the NHL). They called me in and I thought we’d be talking about video or something.
“Then they started shaking my hand, and I wasn’t expecting it, but I was excited for sure. I was excited to get the call and I’ll try to take advantage of it, and going to try to leave a good mark.”
Renouf is a 6-foot-2, 205-pound defenseman who the Red Wings signed as an undrafted college free agent out of Maine in March 2016.
You’re not going to get flash and dash from Renouf. But judging from scouting reports, Renouf is the poster child for a defensive defenseman, who also doesn’t mind to play a physical game.
“It’s something, I think, is the biggest part of my game, being gritty and that physical part of the game,” Renouf said.
In 58 games this season, Renouf had 15 points (three goals, 12 assists) with a plus-15 rating and 59 penalty minutes.
“I had a chance to watch him play earlier in the season and got chance to watch him last summer, and he’s good sized defenseman who plays fairly efficiently, skates well and makes good decisions with the puck,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Efficient is a world that he’s going to want to be.
Coach Jeff Blashill on young defenseman Dan Renouf.
“He’s got a toughness to him. I’m interested to see him. You don’t know for sure you until you get chances to watch guys play.”
Renouf called his parents immediately after getting the news he was being called up. His parents, and friends of the family were flying to Raleigh to attend Monday’s game.
“Pretty good showing tonight for sure,” Renouf said. “They’re just as excited as I am for sure.”
Renouf’s season began slowly as he suffered a concussion during training camp.
“It kind of slowed me at the beginning of the season,” said Renouf, who was going to be paired with Robbie Russo against the Hurricanes. “That’s why I was rusty to start the season but as it’s gone along, I’ve improved for sure.”
The adjustment from college to pro hockey has also been something Renouf had to learn.
“The biggest part to take out of this season is consistency,” Renouf said. ‘You go from playing 34 games (in college) to playing 76 in the American League, so it’s about consistency and showing up every night.
“Early in the season I didn’t excel at that but as the season has gone along, I’ve done better.”
Rookie defenseman Dan Renouf talks about the adjustment to pro hockey from college.
Russo gets chance
Russo, incidentally, was going to get an opportunity to play on the power play against Carolina, an area Russo thrived in while in the minor leagues.
“It’s pretty cool to get that opportunity,” said Russo, who was searching for his first NHL point after 11 games. “It’s definitely a privilege to be on the power play and I’ll try to make the most of it.”
Playing on a unit with Henrik Zetterberg will help.
“With Z out there, you get the puck to him and let him do his thing,” Russo said. “He’s our best player. He’s amazing.”
Blashill feels Russo is well-suited for the power-play unit.
“For him to be a regular in the NHL he has to be real good on the power play,” Blashill said. “He gets a chance, and hopefully he’ll be dynamic.”
Darren Helm (leg) said he felt good after participating in Monday’s optional morning skate and was going to discuss with Blashill his availability.
Helm missed the last four games.
…Blashill is planning on using Zetterberg all three games in the three-night stretch. If Zetterberg plays all the remaining games, he’ll reach 1,000 games played on the regular-season finale April 9 at Joe Louis Arena, which will also be the building’s last game.
…Renouf replaced Niklas Kronwall in the lineup.
“He’s (Kronwall) got a knee issue that we have to be cognizant of,” Blashill said. “He won’t play Monday but we hope to have him back the next day, but we’ll make that determination.”
Red Wings at Hurricanes
Faceoff: 7 p.m. Tuesday, PNC Arena, Raleigh, N.C.
Outlook: The Red Wings and Hurricanes play the regularly scheduled game of their back-to-back series (Monday’s was the postponed game from earlier this season). It’ll be the Red Wings’ third game in three days.