Christoffer Ehn looks to make most of quick return to Red Wings
Detroit — Christoffer Ehn received some ribbing at Wednesday’s practice after being recalled by the Red Wings.
Detroit, after all, sent him down to Grand Rapids about three days ago.
Ehn was the subject of some stick taps on the ice, friendly welcome backs in the locker room, and the occasional quizzical “haven’t you left yet?” look.
“It’s all fun,” Ehn said.
For Ehn’s part, he was more than happy to return to the NHL.
With the Wings likely without forward Darren Helm — “questionable,” according to coach Jeff Blashill — and Luke Glendening taking a maintenance day Wednesday, the Wings needed a healthy forward.
“He’s played good games for us,” Blashill said of Ehn. “Getting sent down was more about him getting a chance to play more than anything.”
But what made Ehn expendable was the fact he was getting away from his strengths as a hockey player.
“When he’s playing good, he’s skating and forechecking, and he got away from the skating and forechecking,” Blashill said. “He’s a good defensive player almost all the time and a good penalty killer almost all the time. But he has to skate and be physical and be a good forechecker.”
In 14 games with the Red Wings, playing entirely on the third or fourth lines, he’s yet to score a point and is minus-5.
But it’s his defensive work that makes Ehn an important part of the roster.
“That’s my role on the team: Be a good, solid penalty killer and make the right play, play hard and be hard to play against,” Ehn said. “I can be a little more physical than I’ve been so far. But just keep putting pucks behind (the other team), and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Ehn had been in and out of the lineup before being sent to Grand Rapids. Being a healthy scratch was a good trigger for Ehn to get back to being the player he can be.
“You don’t really need a wake-up call, you want to be out there playing every game,” Ehn said. “I’ve been scratched, and you kind of put it on you. You want to get better and just keep working on it.”
Along with Helm, defenseman Mike Green is “doubtful” for Thursday’s game in Columbus, Blashill said.
Green hurt himself in the third period of Tuesday’s loss against Ottawa. Alex Biega would take Green’s spot in the lineup.
Blashill said defenseman Patrik Nemeth (leg infection) is progressing well, and could be ready to play this weekend. Nemeth has missed the last four games.
Valtteri Filppula has seen an uptick while playing with young wingers Andreas Athanasiou and Robby Fabbri.
Filppula had a goal and assist against Ottawa, and has four points in the last four games, as the line has settled in and gotten comfortable.
Filppula’s savvy and passing has melded well with the speed and playmaking of Athanasiou and Fabbri.
“It’s fun to play with those guys,” Filppula said. “Both are good with the puck and can make plays and skate well. It’s nice to have those kind of wingers.”
Filppula went through a scoring drought the month of October, but has gradually seen his overall game improve as the season has progressed.
“You get more comfortable the more you play, get to know the players again, and who you’re playing with, it all helps,” Filppula said. “We’ve had the same line for a while now, too, and those things always help you out.”
Red Wings at Blue Jackets
► Faceoff: 7 p.m. Thursday, Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
► TV/radio: Fox Sports Detroit/97.1 FM
► Outlook: The Blue Jackets (8-8-4) have won two consecutive games and have survived the loss of five key free agents over the summer. …Former Red Wing C Gustav Nyquist (12 points) and Grosse Pointe native, D Zach Werenski (11 points), have been offensive leaders. ... This is the start of another three-games-in-four-days stretch for the Wings.