Today’s 3 p.m. NHL Trade Deadline may be absorbing most of the fans’ attention, but here is a subtle reminder the Detroit Red Wings have a game tonight.
After earning a rugged 5-4 shootout win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, the teams will complete the mini-series tonight at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.
Sure, the most interesting part of the game will be seeing who dresses for the Red Wings, but until the pregame skate, fans will have questions.
- Will goalie Thomas Greiss get the nod because of his level of play the past six starts – or because Jonathan Bernier was traded?
- Will Anthony Mantha continue to be double-shifted on the top and third lines – or will he be shoring up a playoff contender’s top 6.
- Will faceoff ace Luke Glendening win draws here – or elsewhere?
- Will Dennis Cholowski finally earn top 4 minutes with veteran defensemen Jon Merrill and Patrik Nemeth already traded away for two draft picks and a forward prospect – or could the former first-round draft pick be part of a package today?
- Will Marc Staal or Darren Helm find new homes?
Many of the questions will be answered before tonight’s rematch against the Central Division’s top club. And the Hurricanes (27-9-4) likely will compete with an edge to avoid a two-game sweep against the last-place Red Wings (14-23-6).
After surrendering four goals in regulation Saturday to one of the NHL’s weakest offenses, the Hurricanes’ coaching staff has its own questions.
- Like how can three defenders not subdue a hard-skating Adam Erne, allowing the grinder to win a race into the offensive zone and scoring a third-period, go-ahead goal?
Erne has recorded at least one point in six consecutive contests. He is tied for the team lead with 10 goals.
He won’t be traded before tonight’s game – will he?
So many questions …
On the Frozen Farm
The Grand Rapids Griffins had two games postponed over the weekend because of COVID-19 concerns with the Red Wings’ AHL affiliate.
In third place in the Central Division, the Griffins (8-6-2-0) will have two new centers in uniform when they finally return to the ice, possibly Thursday.
Newcomers Hayden Verbeek, who was acquired Sunday along with a fifth-round draft pick from the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman Jon Merrill, and center Joe Veleno, who was reassigned Saturday from the SHL’s Malmo Redhawks, are expected to provide an offensive boost.
The Griffins have scored a division-low 51 goals.
Verbeek and Veleno also could help with team depth as scheduling could become an issue over the next several weeks. The Griffins, for example, have played nine fewer games than the Texas Stars.
The Griffins announced Tuesday’s scheduled home game against the Chicago Wolves has been moved to Thursday. Other makeup dates are pending.