Illness takes out Red Wings; Jimmy Howard is latest victim

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Jimmy Howard

Detroit – Luke Glendening is in the danger zone in the Red Wings’ locker room right now.

It hasn’t nothing to do with the trade deadline.

Glendening’s locker isn’t far from Jimmy Howard’s, Justin Abdelkader’s, Frans Nielsen’s and Gustav Nyquist’s – and all of those players have been stricken with a nasty stomach virus in recent days.

Glendening sits right next to Abdelkader, who missed Thursday’s practice because of the illness.

“Just try to get your sleep at night and wash your hands,” said Glendening, of what he is trying to do to combat the strain going around the Wings’ room. “It seems to be going around a bit here. Just try to stay hydrated, and do the best you can.”

Abdelkader had an inkling he was headed toward a treacherous path just before getting sick.

“Actually, I sat on the plane next to both of those guys (Nielsen and Nyquist) on the Philadelphia trip so I kind of knew after both of those guys went down I was probably doomed,” Abdelkader said after Friday’s morning skate. “I felt it kind of coming on a couple days ago.

“During the (Chicago) game I didn’t feel great. Sometimes with a stomach bug you’re not sure if it’s something you ate or not. Everything started coming up and I knew I was doomed.”

Howard was the latest victim. He was unavailable to dress Friday against Minnesota, so the Wings’ recalled goaltender Harri Sateri to back up Jonathan Bernier.

So with the bug going around, the Wings are trying to be extra careful.

“We’re pretty cautious generally,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Certainly you put an emphasis on washing your hands on a regular basis. There’s only so much you can do.”

Blashill has taken his own precautions.

“I didn’t sit at the table they were at,” he said.

Ehn to Grand Rapids

With forward Jacob de la Rose returning to the lineup Friday, someone had to sit.

As it turns out, forward Christoffer Ehn was sent to Grand Rapids, to continue playing big minutes on a regular basis.

Ehn, 22, has seven points (two goals, five assists) in 44 games with the Wings.

Blashill said Ehn wasn’t scheduled to be in the lineup Friday and will stay in Grand Rapids at least through the weekend.

The Wings will reassess where they stand after Monday’s trade deadline.

“He’s played good, for sure,” said Blashill of Ehn, who surprisingly made the Wings’ opening night roster and spent much the season in the NHL. “But, again, this is all about continued development. Rather than sit here, they’re (Griffins) two hours away, and he might be down for a long time, or he might be down there for a little bit. We don’t know.

“(But) he’s headed in the right direction.”

Blashill said Ehn needs to continue to work on his offensive game.

“It’s certainly easier down there to improve your offensive game than it is here,” Blashill said. “We think there’s more offense there. We just believe if he can start to produce down there, it will help him.”

In 10 with the Griffins this season, Ehn has six points (one goal, five assists).

Sateri’s reward

Getting brought up, even for one game, was a nice reward for Sateri, 29, who is having a good season in Grand Rapids.

Sateri is 18-9-3 with the Griffins, with a 2.79 goals-against average and .902 save percentage.

Signed as an unrestricted free agent last July, Sateri has played in nine NHL games, all with Florida.

Twitter: @tkulfan