Detroit — The horrific news of a mass shooting in Las Vegas hit home with the Red Wings on Monday on different levels.
Too many of these kind of senseless events, combined with playing and working at large venues, and the fact the Red Wings play a game Oct. 13 in Vegas, gave a lot of people a moment to pause.
“We have to get it figured out; it’s absolute craziness,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Obviously my heart goes out to the victims. It’s such a sad, sad thing. It’s something that’s happened way too much in this country and we have to get it figured out.”
Blashill and several players talked about how they are now more cognizant of their surroundings when attending events.
“Sure, when I go to church on Sundays I think about it,” Blashill said. “Anytime you’re in large gatherings, it feels you have to be recognized of that now, and that’s a sad thing.”
Said goaltender Jimmy Howard: “Now that it’s happening more and more, and each event gets more coverage, maybe now you have to think a little bit more when you’re going to these types of events.”
Not just in the U.S., but in Europe, too. Forward Henrik Zetterberg said there were incidents of a much smaller scale that prompted Zetterberg to decide against having his family attend certain events.
“Something is wrong and we have to figure it out and get it fixed,” Zetterberg said. “You try not to think about it all the time, or you’ll go nuts.
“It’s a big tragedy. Everyone here this morning heard about it as we got to the rink. We’re going there in 10 days or something; it’s hard to see.”
Defenseman Niklas Kronwall (groin) skated on his own but not at practice, and his status for Thursday’s season opener is unknown.
“I’d say he’s questionable or doubtful, he’s in between that for Thursday,” Blashill said. “I’m not going to play him if he’s not 100 percent. I don’t want to play him one game and lose him for two weeks.”
…Defenseman Nick Jensen (thumb) practiced Monday and is set to play.
… Luke Witkowski practiced almost exclusively at forward during the exhibition season, but was solely on defense for Monday’s practice.
“He has the flexibility to do both,” Blashill said. “He (played) a good amount of defenseman with Tampa, and that’s what he is naturally. I’m going to practice him on defense this week to make sure he’s prepared.”