Detroit — The end result wasn’t what goaltender Jared Coreau expected, or wanted to hear.
Coreau was headed back to Grand Rapids, for yet another season — and not the NHL with the Red Wings.
“At the start of the year, I’ll admit it, I was a little down not making the team,” said Coreau, who was promoted to the NHL earlier in the week when Petr Mrazek was traded to Philadelphia. “It’s natural. I’m a competitor and felt like I had lost, you could say.
“But you have to suck it up and come ready to play. You work for it all summer, you work countless hours, days, weeks and months, and sometimes it just doesn’t work out. But you have to keep working and at the end of the day, no one is going to be mad at you for not succeeding but they might be bad at you for not succeeding and then giving up.
“I would be mad at myself.”
Coreau spent part of last season with the Red Wings (5-4-3, 3.46 GAA, .887 SVS) when Jimmy Howard injured his knee, but starred in the spring when he helped lead Grand Rapids to the Calder Cup championship.
Coreau felt he’d done enough to land an NHL job, but with Howard and Mrazek both on the Red Wings’ roster, there wasn’t any room for a third goalie. Coreau cleared waivers, and found himself back with the Griffins, where he and the team didn’t get off to rousing starts.
“I was one game below .500, 7-8-2, at one point so I said to myself, ‘You have to get it going’,” said Coreau, 25, who has been part of the Red Wings’ organization since 2013. “If the opportunity does come, I want the Red Wings to believe in me that I do have the ability to play at this level, so I have to prove it in the AHL.
“That brought more intensity in the game and it paid off.”
Coreau was 20-10-4, with a 2.47 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in Grand Rapids this season.
Whether Coreau makes his season debut with the Red Wings this weekend remains to be seen. Coach Jeff Blashill wouldn’t commit to his goaltending rotation, with the Red Wings hosting Carolina on Saturday and playing the Rangers on Sunday in New York.
With the Red Wings on the fringes of a playoff chase — and Howard’s previous success at Madison Square Garden — there’s a good chance Howard plays both games.
“We’re trying to win hockey games, here, right now,” Blashill said. “I certainly have belief in Jared Coreau as a good goalie. Jimmy Howard is a proven, very good NHL goalie. I’m going to put the lineup out there that gives us our best chance to win right now.
“We have life in us, fight in us. I’m not looking at it from a standpoint of anybody’s personal development. I’m looking at it as who do I put out there that gives us the best chance to win.
“I’m fully awaere that Jimmy plays great at Madison Square Garden. I’m also aware Carolina is a team that we have to track down to make the playoffs. I’ll make those decisions, but those things will factor into it.”
Anthony Mantha will need to wear a full face shield after suffering a slight facial fracture after getting hit in the face during Thursday’s game with a puck.
“Their defenseman tried to clear a puck out and it caught me in the face,” Mantha said.
The injury is similar to one Justin Abdelkader had earlier this season, with Abdelkader also needing to wear the shield for a period of time.
Mantha feels there will be an adjustment period to the shield.
“It’s difficult,” Mantha said. “When you look down to try to find the puck between the legs, the lower part is kind of weird. But you get used to it.”
Abdelkader and Tomas Tatar didn’t practice Friday but Blashill termed it a “maintenance day” for both, and they are expected to play against Carolina.
… Mike Green (upper body) practiced Thursday, with Blashill calling Green a “game-time decision.” Green, likely to be dealt by Monday’s trade deadline, has missed the last four games.
HURRICANES AT RED WINGS
Faceoff: 7 Saturday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
Outlook: The Hurricanes (27-23-10, 64 points) hosted Pittsburgh Friday. … The Red Wings and Hurricanes have split two games this season. … RW Sebastian Aho leads offensively (21 goals, 25 assists).