Turgeon surprised, happy to be back so soon with Wings

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Surprised, yes, but it was a good surprise for Dominic Turgeon.

When the young forward was sent back to Grand Rapids on Tuesday by the Red Wings — after four good games in the NHL — it wasn’t entirely a shock, as Luke Glendening was returning from injury.

But when Turgeon received the call Wednesday to return to Detroit, it was unexpected.

“It surprised me a little bit,” said Turgeon, who was recalled by the Red Wings, while David Booth went the other way on Interstate 96 to Grand Rapids. “I got sent down the day before, then to get the call to come right back. I’m just going to try to make the most of my opportunity.

“The day after, it was kind of quick and kind of surprising, but it’s exciting for sure.”

Turgeon was scheduled to center the fourth line, with Martin Frk and Luke Witkowski on the wings.

In four games, before being sent down Turgeon averaged just under 10 minutes per game and registered two shots on net, while centering the fourth line and seeing time on the penalty kill.

Coach Jeff Blasill was quick to praise Turgeon, 21, a 2014 third-round draft pick, when he was sent back to Grand Rapids, noting the attributes that could keep the young player in the NHL.

“What he has to do to be successful is he has to be a good, two-way center,” Blashill said. “He’s going to have to be a real good penalty killer. He showed those signs.

“He won battles. He’s never going to be super, super fast, so he has to make sure he’s real strong on his stick and win tons of battles and he did a good job of that.”

Turgeon felt more comfortable in his time with the Red Wings, as it progressed.

“I felt good with what I did in my time here,” Turgeon said. “There’s always ups and downs, but my mindset was to get better every day.

“I just want to play the best I can and whenever I’m here make the most of my opportunity.”


Another break

Thursday was the last game before the NHL shuts down until Tuesday for its All-Star break.

The league’s midseason showcase event is Sunday in Tampa, Fla. Mike Green is the Red Wings’ lone representative in the game.

So that means many Red Wings are off to warm climates again — just as many were during the three-day holiday break in late December, and five-day “bye” week earlier this month.

That’s a lot of down time in a span of a month.

“Honestly, I wish I’d still be playing,” said forward Tomas Tatar, who wishes the bye and All-Star breaks were spread out. “These two breaks are too close to each other. It kind of throws you off.”

Many players around the league agree, noting having the bye week in February might be a better help, later in the season and just before the important playoff push.

Tatar feels a player’s timing and rhythm are thrown off by all the time off.

“In Europe, with the national team, we had breaks that were more spread out,” said Tatar, noting this month’s Red Wings schedule has 10 days off away from hockey. “That’s kind of a lot. But you just follow the schedule and play.”

Timing and conditioning, Tatar said, are the most difficult ingredients to recapture.

“When you’re not skating, that first time after the break you feel like you haven’t skated for two months,” Tatar said. “That’s just how it is. You have to get ready over the break and be ready when you get back.

“You can’t look for excuses. You have to adjust and be ready.”

Close to returning

Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm (both lower-body injuries) both took part in Thursday’s morning skate but neither was in the lineup against Chicago.

Both forwards were injured the first game after the bye week, Jan. 13 in Pittsburgh, and haven’t played since.

There was hope Abdelkader might return in time for Thursday, but it didn’t happen.

Both are now aiming for Wednesday’s game against San Jose, the first game after the All-Star break.

“It’s been tough with the schedule to get the practices in,” said Abdelkader, who along with Helm, has been skating with strength/conditioning coach Mike Kadar. “I’ve been feeling good. The timing, going on another break, isn’t ideal.

“But coming back from injury, we’ll take it and get the rest and build up and get ready for coming out of the break.”

Helm appeared to suffer a right knee injury during a battle along the boards against the Penguins. Tests showed no damage, and Helm has been skating regularly lately.

“I knew something was bad but I didn’t realize how bad it was going to be,” Helm said. “I’m pretty lucky it’s not as bad as it could be.

“That was the first skate with the team (Thursday). It’s always good to get out with the guys again and feel that energy.”

Ice chips

Blashill wasn’t at Thursday’s morning skate. He attended the funeral service in Colorado Springs, Colo., for Jim Johannson, 53, general manager of USA Hockey, who died Saturday in his sleep. Blashill was expected to arrive late in the afternoon.

Jimmy Howard was slated to start in net for the Red Wings, after sitting in favor of Petr Mrazek the last two starts.

… Former Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk, now playing in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, was named to Russia’s roster for next month’s Olympic games in South Korea.