Detroit — It’ll be even more special and exciting when the game is in Vancouver in January.
But the Red Wings game against the Canucks on Tuesday was still expected to be special for Detroit rookies Dennis Cholowski and Michael Rasmussen.
The two are Vancouver natives.
“It’s pretty cool playing the Canucks, for sure,” Rasmussen said after Tuesday's morning skate. “A cool experience.”
Rasmussen’s parents had season tickets to Canucks games throughout his childhood.
“I want to say (Section) 117, about 15 rows up, seats 1 and 2,” Rasmussen said. “The Sedins (twins Daniel and Henrik) were my favorite players growing up. Then the two President trophies (league’s best record) seasons, those years, and going to the Stanley Cup Finals (in 2011), those were memories of my childhood, for sure.”
The 2011 run through the playoffs was a surreal time, said Rasmussen, who didn’t miss a playoff game — until the very end, in the Finals.
“The last series, I had some tournament, or something, myself,” Rasmussen said. “I was pretty much at all the home playoff games.”
Rasmussen also once got to play in the between-periods youth hockey games that are staples in most hockey arenas.
“My Timbits team,” Rasmussen said. “It was my first year of hockey. I was 8 or 9.”
“That’s something I always wanted to do,” Cholowski said. “I always thought that was one of the coolest things. I always would ask my dad every game (for the chance to play between periods).”
The Cholowski family had two season tickets to Canucks games.
“I don’t know how old I was when I started going but it was pretty young,” Cholowski said. “We were going to most every game. It was kind of a rotation. My dad always went because he’s dad, so he goes to every game. Then my mom, and my brother and I, so I got to go about every third game.
“We were up in the corner, I can’t remember what row and how many rows up, but they were great seats.”
One of Cholowski’s favorite players growing up was Todd Bertuzzi — teammate Tyler Bertuzzi’s uncle — and he was able to get a picture taken recently with the long-time Canucks star.
“It was pretty cool because he was my brother’s favorite player, so I had to take a picture with him,” Cholowski said.
Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill says he's a "really big fan" of Vancouver rookie scoring sensation Elias Pettersson Ted Kulfan, The Detroit News
In the last week around the NHL John Stevens (Los Angeles) and Joel Quenneville (Chicago) were both fired, two teams that had struggled to begin the season.
Coach Jeff Blashill, like many in the profession, understands the fragile nature of the job.
“As coaches you probably never like to see that, but that’s the reality of the world we live in,” Blashill said. “We all understand that the biggest thing from where I sit, and us as a staff, you get so focused on your own stuff that I didn’t even know until about two minutes ago before I came in here, which I guess I was a little late to the party, but it’s just the reality you’re focused on trying to make your team.”
Blashill doesn’t focus on the likelihood, as with any professional or college head coach, his term with a particular team will end at some point.
“I don’t come here at any point worried about that, I come here worried about doing the very best job I can,” Blashill said. “It’s a total waste of time to worry about anything else except for controlling what you can control, and doing the job the best you can.
“At the end of the day I also know perspective, and I’ve got a great family I go home to and have tons of fun with them, and that’s of tons of importance.
Blashill doesn’t go on social media, and keeps his family from it as much as possible.
“I’ve had to ban my wife from social media,” Blashill said. “My kids are smart, they understand the business I’m in, so you try to shield the best you can, but it’s almost impossible in today’s world.”
Frans Nielsen (concussion protocol) skated Tuesday but still hasn’t been cleared to play. Nielsen said he’s hopeful for Friday’s game against the New York Rangers.
“I was hoping for (Tuesday), but the testing showed I wasn’t quite there,” Nielsen said. “I don’t have any symptoms or anything, but the testing is lacking a little bit. I’m feeling good, but there’s protocol to follow and it’s a thing you don’t want to take a chance with.”
… Andreas Athanasiou (upper body) skated and expects to play Friday.
... The Wings recalled center Christoffer Ehen from Grand Rapids.