Red Wings expect Bobby Ryan is out for the season with upper-body injury
Detroit — Bobby Ryan’s season with the Red Wings appears to be over.
Coach Jeff Blashill confirmed Friday that Ryan is getting a second opinion on an upper-body injury, with the expectation Ryan will need surgery.
“We expect him to be done for the season,” Blashill said on Zoom call after Friday’s practice.
Ryan has been on the ice, and was involved in a light practice earlier this week, but wasn’t able to return to competition.
“He was trying to come back from the injury and felt pretty good through most of it (practice) and felt a twinge at the end," Blashill said. “He was making progress and we thought it was going in the right direction. Originally it was thought to be a minor thing, and you try work through it. He had a setback and he just was not going to be able to get through it.”
Ryan played 33 games, with seven goals, seven assists and a minus-14 rating.
Signed to a one-year contract the first day of unrestricted free agency for $1 million, Ryan, 34, made an immediate impact.
He became the first Red Wing to score four goals in his first three games. As the season progressed, nagging injuries slowed him down.
“Bobby has battled a little bit of a back issue most of the season that he hasn’t had in his career," Blashill said. "And as you get a little bit older, you get more nagging injuries and this is a tough one."
Ryan was expected to be a bargaining chip leading to Monday’s NHL trade deadline. That is unlikely given the injury.
Blashill appreciates what Ryan brought to the Wings.
“He’s a great person and a good leader in our locker room, he’s been a good example,” Blashill said. “He’s a guy who can score goals. We’ll miss what he brings, and I feel bad for him that his season is cut short.
“He came in and did a real good job and obviously scored early. Again, he’s had a nagging back injury through enough parts of the year and those are ones that don’t necessarily go away. It probably hurt his ability to just keep rolling, and obviously scoring is one of those things that fluctuated.
“I liked having him on our team. He made our team better and he was a good example for our young guys.”
The top two Red Wings’ forward lines had tough times against Nashville, not getting on the scoresheet or making much of an impact offensively against a strong defensive team.
When those lines don't produce, it makes things more difficult.
Many of the young impact players the Wings have are on those lines. They have learned and are continuing to learn, lessons and gain experience through tough times.
“We don’t have a lot of guys that have some of the ability that those guys have, and there’s more pressure on those guys," Blashill said. "I don’t know anyone who is at their best every night. What we’ve been through the last few years was good experience. If it’s always easy you don’t learn much and you get fooled.
“It's when you go through hard stretches and hard times. Anyone who thought this was going to be easy and miraculously you’d show up and and start winning games every single night is crazy. It’s not how that happens."
Blashill said forwards Robby Fabbri and Sam Gagner, and defenseman Patrik Nemeth are out for Saturday’s game in Carolina.
… The Wings’ minor-league affiliate in Grand Rapids had to postpone games this weekend (Friday, Saturday) due to American League COVID-19 protocols. Make-up dates have not yet been determined.
Red Wings at Hurricanes
►Faceoff: 7 p.m. Saturday, PNC Arena, Raleigh, N.C.
►Outlook: The Red Wings (13-23-6) and Carolina (27-9-3) open a two-game series in Raleigh. …The Hurricanes have the best win percentage in the NHL (.731), have won three consecutive games, and are 7-2-1 over their last 10 games.