Red Wings lose goalie Eric Comrie on waivers

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — So much for Eric Comrie becoming the Red Wings’ goaltender of the future.

With goaltender Jimmy Howard returning from injury, the Wings placed Comrie on waivers where he was claimed Thursday by Winnipeg.

The Jets are the team, coincidentally, that drafted Comrie (2013, second round). Comrie, 24, played five games with Winnipeg.

“We knew that was part of the potential risk,” said coach Jeff Blashill of losing the goalie on waivers. “We made the decision with our eyes wide open.”

Goalie Eric Comrie was claimed by the Jets off waivers Thursday.

The Wings acquired Comrie on Nov. 30 from Arizona — where Comrie had been languishing as the third goalie in the Coyotes’ organization — for Grand Rapids defenseman Vili Saarijarvi.

In two games with the Wings, Comrie didn’t distinguish himself. He lost both decisions, with a 4.28 goals-against average and .864 save percentage.

“We were able to play him a couple games, we were able to see him in practice,” Blashill said. “We said we were OK with that risk (of losing Comrie on waivers), and so be it.”

So what’s the plan for the next several days, leading to the holiday break, with no Comrie anymore?

Howard, after he made 30 saves in Tuesday’s victory in San Diego for the Griffins, will get one more start in the minor leagues Friday in Iowa.

Blashill said Howard will rejoin the Wings in time to play Sunday against Arizona, the Wings’ final game before a five-day holiday break.

The Wings called up Calvin Pickard from Grand Rapids to back up Jonathan Bernier Saturday in Toronto.

Tough decision

Forward Justin Abdelkader was a healthy scratch in Tuesday’s loss against Columbus.

If there was a message to the veteran forward, Blashill said it was simply “just have to play a little bit better.

“Justin is a great person, a great pro, and he has been a real good Red Wing who cares a ton about being a Red Wing. So I don’t even like to put him in position where we talk about this because he works hard,  he competes hard. What’s the message? Just have to play a little bit better.”

Abdelkader, Christoffer Ehn and Brendan Perlini are among a group of forwards who have been in and out of the lineup lately, with opposing matchups and their own individual performances deciding who gets into the lineup.

“He’s in a group of guys that different guys can sit at different times,” Blashill said. “We made the decision to sit him (Abdelkader) the other night, and whether that moves forward, we’ll see, I’ll decide the lineup on Saturday.

“But I expect him to do a couple of things: work like crazy to get back in, which I know he will, and be a great mentor in how he handles this adversity, which I know he will do that as well.”

Abdelkader has been out of the lineup with injuries on two separate occasions this season, and this particular time, has struggled to reach the level of play he was at the beginning of the season.

“He’s fighting his way back in,” Blashill said. “It’s not a knock on him as a competitor or worker or person. He’s fighting his way  back into where his play in 10 to 12 minutes can say ‘you’re not going to take me out,’ and it’s hard to do that.”

Twitter: @tkulfan