Montreal — Maybe he’ll get into a game. Maybe he won't.
But it doesn’t matter, necessarily, to forward Evgeny Svechnikov.
The fact the Red Wings called him up this week, even as extra forward, while Frans Nielsen is recuperating from an undisclosed injury, is enough of a reward and motivation for Svechnikov, who missed all season to knee surgery.
“I was waiting for this day my whole year,” said Svechnikov, who looked to be a healthy scratch Thursday in Montreal. “It’s a huge relief and you can kind of calm yourself down knowing you’re here, and knowing all the things you did all last season, it’s huge.
“It’s not for free. I earned it (the promotion), I earned this call. I worked my butt off every single day and I’m here for a reason.”
Coach Jeff Blashill reiterated Thursday that Svechnikov deserved the call-up, and there were other factors involved, as well.
Svechnikov, who’ll be 23 on Oct. 31, has been through the ups and down of being called up and sent back down, and knows and understands how to deal with it.
Svechnikov also is being rewarded for a good training camp and exhibition season, especially considering how he missed all last season after tearing his ACL late in the preseason.
Knowing what to expect at the professional level, and understanding you can’t rush things, has helped Svechnikov.
“It’s not my first year, it’s my third year, and just watching guys around the team last year and being a full season with them, it helped me a lot,” Svechnikov said of watching how veteran Wings prepared for the everyday grind of the NHL, on and off the ice. “Slow myself down and don’t rush, with our without the puck. I feel better that way.”
The relief of being with a team and doing actual hockey-related things is a huge mental relief, after what Svechnikov went through rehabilitating all last year.
“Just being with the guys, teammates, and doing the things everybody else do to play hockey, and not doing it last year and being myself; it’s hard to explain how good it feels,” Svechnikov said.
Svechnikov had a goal and two assists Saturday for Grand Rapids in the American League opener for the Griffins, which also was Svechnikov’s first game in a little more than a calendar year.
“It got the confidence and my game going,” Svechnikov said. “It was fun, and it felt good to get that feeling again, get some reps in. Fun to be with the guys again.”
Anthony Mantha is always swarmed by the Montreal media whenever the Red Wings play here, but the reporters were almost two deep around Mantha’s locker stall Thursday.
Considering Mantha’s quick start to this season, it wasn’t surprising.
It’s also not surprising Mantha enjoys the trips back to Montreal every season.
“It’s always fun,” Mantha said. “Get to see family and friends. I went to dinner with my sisters and a friend of mine last night. I can’t complain. It’s always good times.”
Mantha estimates there will be 40 to 50 family and friends at Bell Centre to watch Thursday’s game.
“I’m going to try to make them proud,” Mantha said.
One ingredient Blashill enjoys about this particular Red Wings’ forward group is its versatility and depth.
“One of the strengths of our team right now up front is the fact that I feel very comfortable putting any line out against anybody,” Blashill said. “That really allows you to manage your bench based on your team and not the other team. Sometimes when you match up so much, you lose a number of things on your bench, including fluidity.”