Filip Zadina 'felt pretty good' on Red Wings' top line, hopes for another chance
Detroit — Getting an opportunity to play on a line with Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond is likely to be a great experience for any hockey player.
And especially for a young hockey player trying to find his way offensively like Filip Zadina has been for most of this season.
For Zadina, getting a chance to play on Larkin's line Wednesday in the 6-3 victory in Philadelphia was something Zadina enjoyed and is hopeful will be a steady thing.
"It felt pretty good," said Zadina, who didn't get on the scoresheet but had four shots and didn't look out of place in just under 14 minutes of ice time. "I haven't played with them for a long time. I had the chance recently and it felt good, special, to play with them and the hockey felt pretty easy."
Coach Jeff Blashill felt Zadina contributed to the line, gave it another element, and will keep playing with Larkin and Raymond for, at least, another game.
"He was an added piece to the line, he wasn’t just on the line," Blashill said.
Some players say playing with certain offensively gifted players can be tricky because those elite players think the game at a wavelength most players simply don't have.
Zadina has offensive skills himself, but has yet to consistently show it in the NHL. Zadina only has five goals this season (and 14 points), but feels he may have turned a corner the last few weeks.
"They're really good players, so the game is easier to play with them," Zadina said. "But I've felt pretty good the last five or six games. I was gaining my confidence and I've got to play with them and I just want to you use my ability to help them and win puck battles and go net front and create some space for them."
Staying patient, and waiting for his puck luck to turn positive, is part of what has helped Zadina in the last few games.
"There have been ups and downs this season for sure, (but I'm) not putting pressure on my shoulders; I just want to play the sport I've been playing since I was a little kid," Zadina said. "I just want to play hockey and have fun and the opportunity I got to play with those guys, I just have to do my best and enjoy the time with them."
Hronek in protocol
Defenseman Filip Hronek was placed in the NHL's COVID-19 protocol Wednesday and will miss a minimum of five days.
Hronek didn't feel "great," said Blashill, after Wednesday's game. Hronek tested negative coming out of the All-Star break early in the week.
"Coming out of the All-Star break we knew there would be a potential for different people to potentially get COVID for multiple reasons," Blashill said. "It is what it is. We'd all love to not have COVID in our lives, but that's not the reality of it."
Defensemen Troy Stecher (wrist) and Nick Leddy (upper body) both practiced Thursday and a determination on their availability for Saturday's game against Philadelphia will be made Friday.
When forward Joe Veleno was sent down to Grand Rapids to play two games with the Griffins during the NHL All-Star break, Veleno didn't sulk.
He went down to the AHL, played two quality games (four points), and was recalled Tuesday by the Wings. Veleno set up Givani Smith for a nice goal against the Flyers, and played with confidence after the good weekend results.
“It’s great he went there and played really good,” Blashill said. “It’s not an easy thing sometimes to be told you’re going down to play (during) the All-Star break and some guys react to it poorly. He reacted to it great. From all indications he had a great attitude, was good the first game and great the second game.
“Does it give him confidence? I’m sure it does. He gets to play more (in Grand Rapids), that’s a different feeling and it probably helped boost his confidence. His attitude was great going down and the results follow.”