Detroit — Reaching the NHL, putting on a jersey, and playing in the world’s best hockey league would be dizzying for many young players.
But for Dominic Turgeon, it’s just a bit less so.
His dad Pierre Turgeon played in the NHL for 19 seasons and scored over 500 goals, so Dominic has been around the league, NHL locker rooms, and NHL players his entire life.
That takes some of the mystique away.
“I grew up around hockey because of him,” Dominic Turgeon said after Tuesday’s morning skate. “Without him I wouldn’t be here where I am today. I’m grateful for that and thankful.”
When Turgeon looks around the Red Wings locker room these days, he sees plenty of former teammates of his in Grand Rapids, the Red Wings’ minor league affiliate.
That makes the promotion to the NHL that much easier and comfortable.
But coach Jeff Blashill feels Turgeon’s ability to grow up around the NHL atmosphere is a huge benefit.
“He’s grown up in this environment,” Blashill said. “I’ve always felt he carries himself with a quiet confidence. He’s not awed by the NHL. He can walk into a locker room and be confident.
“Having a bunch of guys he’s played with certainly makes it easier.”
While Turgeon’s father was an elite offensive threat, he younger Turgeon is more of a two-way center with an impressive defensive presence.
One of the reasons the Red Wings promoted Turgeon to the NHL last weekend was the fact they needed a penalty killer with Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm injured, and depth lacking among potential penalty killers.
Turgeon was the Griffins’ best penalty killer.
“Dom’s game is transferrable,” Blashill said. “What he does at the American League level is exactly what we need him to do here. Be a solid two-way player, be a good defensive center, a real good penalty killer, and then make plays.”
Turgeon’s offensive game has progressed while playing in the AHL.
“The playmaking has grown down in Grand Rapids,” Blashill said. “But he’s not an offensive guy we’re trying to force into a defensive role. He’s a natural two-way defensive type of player who can bring offense as well.”
Turgeon was recalled Saturday from Grand Rapids Saturday after forwards Abdelkader and Helm both suffered lower-body injuries.
Tuesday’s game is No. 2 of the younger Turgeon’s NHL career.
Turgeon’s parents were able to fly to Chicago to see Dominic’s NHL debut at United Center, a game in which the Red Wings won, 4-0, and Turgeon played nine minutes with three blocked shots.
Did Dad offer any advice leading up to the NHL debut?
“To enjoy it, have fun and play my game,” Dominic Turgeon said. “Just try to be consistent every night. I’m here for a reason.”
Abdelkader and Helm are out of Tuesday’s lineup, and Blashill also ruled them out for Saturday’s game against Carolina.
Tests have revealed no structural damage, so it’s basically waiting for the two veteran forwards to progress to the point where they’re able to play again.
“That’s the biggest thing you want to stay away from,” Blashill said of any structural issues. “This way, it’s going to be less time for sure. It’s a matter of the healing process, which we can’t predict.
“Both of them are out (Saturday) and we’ll re-evaluate after that. Honestly, that’s where it’s at. I’m not going to put it on a week-to-week or day-to-day (basis).”
Luke Glendening (hand) skated during the optional morning skate. Glendening was injured Dec. 20 in Philadelphia, and isn’t likely to return until early February.
…It is Anthony Mantha bobblehead night Tuesday, and the young forward is pleased with the likeness.
“It looks good; the hair is on point,” Mantha said. “I would’ve loved to seen a little curve on the stick but that’s all right. It looks good.”