Wings’ Frk expects success to return in regular role
St. Louis — It was tough to see a friend leave, but Martin Frk might get a better chance to make an impact out of Tomas Tatar’s trade.
Tatar and Frk were good friends, and for Frk, it was disappointing to see his friend get traded Monday to the Vegas Golden Knights.
But Tatar’s leaving left a void in the lineup that Frk filled Tuesday, after being a healthy scratch for five of the last six games.
“It’s sad, we lost a good player,” said Frk of Tatar, who was traded Monday for three future draft picks. “He was a great guy in the room as well. It’s a little hard. We’ll miss goals and everything.
“But in an opposite way, it’s good to get back in the lineup and hopefully I can produce and help the team win games.”
Frk was slated to play alongside Luke Glendening and David Booth Tuesday against St. Louis, along with being on the second power play unit, where Frk was switched from the half-wall to a position near the slot.
Declining confidence was one reason coach Jeff Blashill pulled Frk out of the lineup.
“It’s a competitive environment and Frkie’s biggest challenge is to make sure he plays with confidence,” Blashill said. “When he plays with confidence, he’s a way better player. When he starts questioning himself, he gets a little panicky.
“He has to play with tons of confidence and he has ot understand that it’s a great day. He’s in the NHL and he gets to play against the St. Louis Blues.
“Just go out and enjoy it. It’s a real great opportunity for Frk. It went away for a couple of games, now he gets it back. It’s another chance to make a statement of what he is as a player.”
Frk admitted his confidence may have waned a bit “but I don’t think it’s a big deal.”
Frk has played in 50 games this season, with 10 goals and 10 assists (20 points) with a minus-12 rating, while averaging just under 11 minutes of ice time.
Frk feels with a regular role, he’ll be able to regain the early season success he had.
“It’s about how much time you get on the ice, too,” Frk said. “If you get a small time on the ice, it’s harder to play. I want ot make sure I play hard and earn more ice time.”
The last 48 hours have been pretty hectic for defenseman Danny DeKeyser, but it’s going to be even busier.
DeKeyser and his wife, Melissa, welcomed baby McKinley Ann — who checked in at seven pounds, one ounce, and 21 inches long — Monday evening.
“I’ll get a good knap today,” said DeKeyser after the morning skate, having flown to St. Louis early Wednesday morning.
The Red Wings got in from New York Sunday late, and DeKeyser raced to the hospital. Melissa gave birth late Monday.
“I asked Blash if I could have a little bit of extra time, and he let me do that, no problem.
“It’s kind of tough being way right away like that. (March is bad), this trip, then the west coast trip. I feel bad for Melissa kind of leaving here but she’s going to do good. She’s going to get help from the parents.”
There was a sense of relief with the trade deadline finally ending.
“The fear of the unknown is one of the hardest thing in life,” Blashill said. “The fact that now we know exactly where everything stands, and we lost a real good teammate and a good player in Tats (Tatar), (but) we have 20 good enough players to win tonight and there are no excuses.
“It probably is a sense of relief for the guys.”
DeKeyser agreed it is a better feeling around any team this time of season.
“It’s a relief for many guys,” DeKeyser said. “You never know what’s going to happen. In today’s game everybody can shipped anywhere. It’s just the nature of the game.
“It’s good to have that behind us and just go out and play.”
Teammates were disappointed to see the popular Tatar gone, but it also left a void of another kind.
Tatar was in charge of the pre-game music in the room.
“He was in charge of the music,” DeKeyser said. “We’ll have to figure out something and make sure we have a playlist going before the game.”