Madison Bowey surprised, disappointed after Red Wings place him on waivers
Detroit — Madison Bowey didn’t see this coming.
Bowey, the young defenseman acquired last season for Nick Jensen at the trade deadline, was placed on waivers Monday.
If Bowey clears waivers by noon Tuesday, he’ll be assigned to Grand Rapids.
All of it caught Bowey off-guard after Monday’s practice, knowing he'd likely be in the minor leagues or with another NHL team in 24 hours.
“For sure,” Bowey said of being surprised. “I just have to move on now and keep working hard.”
Bowey, 24, has played in 22 games with eight points (one goal, seven assists). Bowey had a minus-13 plus-minus rating, while averaging almost 18 minutes per game (17:47).
After a fine early start to this season, where Bowey was providing offense and at least steady defense, Bowey hit a rough patch in recent weeks, struggling particularly in the defensive end.
Still, Bowey felt he had played well enough to maintain a spot on the roster.
“I’ve been making great progress,” Bowey said. “A few tough games there in a row, but other than that, I felt I played pretty well.
“It’s just consistency, mainly, just keep playing a consistent game.”
With defenseman Trevor Daley (lower body) close to returning — maybe as early as Tuesday in Winnipeg — the Wings had one too many defensemen.
And Bowey wasn’t going to see much playing time the way the lineup is currently configured.
“The question asked me is he (Bowey) in the lineup and my answer is no,” Blashill said. “Which certainly if I’m the player, I disagree with that decision, and I get that all day long.
“But I don’t think anyone can disagree he’s 24 years old and he has to play hockey, so let him play hockey, and we’ll see.”
As Bowey alluded to, his lack of consistency was an issue with the coaching staff.
“Game management as a defenseman is a huge thing,” Blashill said. “Going out there and the ability to know when to make a play and when not to make a play, especially when you have the skill to pass a puck and make those types of things, it just becomes game management and minimizing your mistakes and making quality plays.”
Bowey felt he did get a fair opportunity from the coaching staff.
“Everyone gets chances here, there’s a lot of opportunity and guys are working hard,” Bowey said.
Bowey will head to Grand Rapids if he’s not claimed. But there was no question he was hopeful of being claimed by another NHL organization.
“Just for me, I know I can play in this league,” Bowey said. “I just have to go out there and whether I’m in Grand Rapids or up with another team, I know what it takes to prove myself and play good.”
Anxious to return
Blashill is optimistic both Daley and forward Justin Abdelkader (upper body) will return Tuesday in Winnipeg.
Daley hasn’t played since Nov. 2 and is anxious to return in the lineup after two injury-marred seasons.
“The not-so-good part about it is I’ve been in this situation before,” Daley said. “In that way, it’s been frustrating. I’m excited to get back and help out and see how it goes.
“It’s been tough to put a string of games together. Hopefully, this time we can get it right. This is all I know, to go out and play hockey, and it’s really frustrating that way.”
Blashill feels a healthy Daley would make the Wings a stronger team.
“The important part would be Daley coming back and getting to the level he’s played at during different points with us,” Blashill said. “He’s went through so many injuries the last two years, he hasn’t gotten his game to the level when he first got here. If he can get going a little bit, Dales has been a real good player in this league for a long time and he can help us, for sure.”
Forward Andreas Athanasiou missed a second consecutive practice and will not be available for the Winnipeg game.
Blashill believes the injury is not long-term — more of the day-to-day variety — and Athanasiou could return Thursday.
“We’re hoping he’s available Thursday,” Blashill said. “We’re leaving him here with the hope he can play (Thursday).”
Red Wings at Jets
► Faceoff: 8 p.m. Tuesday, Bell MTS Place, Winnipeg, Manitoba
► TV/radio: Fox Sports Detroit/97.1 FM
► Outlook: The Jets (18-10-2) have won seven of their last 10 games (7-2-1) and have surged into third place in the Central Division. … LW Kyle Connor (Shelby Township), with 11 goals, and G Connor Hellebuyck (Commerce Township), who has 15 wins (15-7-2) and .934 save percentage, are part of a deep Jets’ nucleus.