Injury to Red Wings' Filip Zadina 'wasn't best timing,' but he's finally on the mend

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — It was only an optional skate Friday morning, and there weren’t many teammates on the ice with him.

But it still felt awfully good to Filip Zadina to be going through a game-day routine.

“I’m feeling better, it has been way better than it was before,” said Zadina, who revealed he had a fractured ankle, forcing him out of the lineup after the Feb. 1 game.

“I’m just trying to get in shape and getting back with the team again and getting my confidence back.”

Filip Zadina

Zadina originally hurt the ankle the night before, Jan. 31 in New York, the first game after the All-Star break. Zadina had it X-rayed but the images didn’t reveal any fracture.

With his family from the Czech Republic in town, and Zadina, himself, on a bit of an offensive roll, Zadina played the next night at Little Caears Arena.

“It was sore, but you know, we’re hockey players so we can play through anything, I guess,” Zadina said. “I had my family here, I just wanted to play the game and they could see me. But it wasn’t my best game. I couldn’t move much.”

After the game at LCA, Zadina knew there was something wrong.

“I couldn’t walk after (the game) and I asked them and we did the X-ray again,” Zadina said. “And it (the ankle) was broken (fractured). It’s hockey. I’m glad I can skate again and feel it and just be on the ice. It makes me real happy.”

The injury was frustrating in that Zadina had scored five goals in the previous nine games before he got hurt, and had the look of a dangerous goal-scorer.

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“It wasn’t the best timing,” Zadina said. “But it has to happen sometimes and I’m just hoping it’s not going to happen in the near future (again). I just want to play and just want to be on the ice.”

Coach Jeff Blashill said Zadina was scheduled to be re-evaluated Friday night, and a clearer determination of when Zadina can begin practicing with the Wings and a possible return to the lineup, will come into focus.

“We’re hoping to get him back in a full practice sooner than later,” Blashill said. “The sooner we can get him into practice, the sooner he can get to working to get back in the lineup. I know he’s eager, and we’re certainly eager to get him back.”

With the schedule dwindling, and the Wings only having 13 games left after Friday's game against Chicago, there's a train of thought that maybe it would be best to simply shut Zadina down for the rest of the season.

But Blashill and general manager Steve Yzerman haven't broached that subject, at all.

"I don't anticipate that," Blashill said. "We still have (13) games left. If you get him back next week, you'd still have 10 or 11 games and those are valuable games (in terms of development)."

Zadina did a lot of work on the stationary bike while he was out, but that doesn’t compare to the daily conditioning of an NHL player.

Zadina feels like he’s inching closer to being 100 percent, in terms of both the injury and conditioning, but isn’t quite there yet.

“I just want to be 100 percent ready,” said Zadina, who wouldn’t speculate on a timetable for a return. “I don’t want to be 50 or 70 percent, then come back. I wasn to be healthy and do my best and play like (he was playing before).”

Because he was on the injured list and ineligible to be sent to Grand Rapids when final rosters were set, Zadina will not be eligible to play with the Griffins if they make the American League playoffs.

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That’s frustrating for Zadina, and the Wings organization, who relished the idea of Zadina getting that valuable experience of playoff hockey (Zadina got five games worth with the Griffins last year).

“I would like it (playing in playoffs) for sure, but it is what it is,” Zadina said. “They have a real strong them, they don’t need me. They have real good offensive players, and I’ll be cheering for them. I believe they’ll have a long run and I’m real happy for them.

"It was really my first playoffs (last year), it was great, it gave me some confidence for sure. Now I know what to expect."

If he’s healthy and able to contribute, Zadina would be excited about representing the Czech Republic in the men’s world championships, May 8-24, in Switzerland.

"If I feel good, and play real good, and they'd (Czech federation) be happy with me, I would go for sure," Zadina said. "But I don't know how I'll be feeling."

Twitter: @tkulfan