Detroit Red Wings on even more compacted schedule: ‘We have to be able to deal with it’

Detroit Free Press

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — The Detroit Red Wings checked into their second hotel of their California trip early, got in a practice and prepared to play the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

The Wings’ Friday was calmer than their Thursday, which began with a morning skate in Anaheim but segued into a flurry of packing and unpacking after the evening game was suddenly rescheduled.

“I was on the second bus, the players had already gone back,” coach Jeff Blashill said Friday. “As we got near the hotel, Steve Yzerman texted me and said the game had been postponed. We knew it was postponed at that point and it was likely to be played on Sunday, and likely to be 5 o’clock. So at that point, we were moving hotels after the game, so we were able to get our hotel rooms a little bit earlier. The players packed up and headed out, and we as a staff, we had to go back to the rink to get our stuff, help the trainers, and then we headed out as well.”

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On the positive side, the game against the Ducks, postponed due to that team’s COVID-19 issues, was rescheduled for Sunday, so the Wings aren’t facing another trip to California later in the season. On the flip side, that means the Wings play Saturday and Sunday. They finish the trip Tuesday in San Jose against the Sharks, then come home to host the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

“We would have rather played the game,” Blashill said. “If we had played the game, the spacing is better. We were certainly ready to play. Obviously, there’s been a lot of decisions made by the league that are very difficult decisions. These are unprecedented times and so they made the decision they thought was best.

“It puts us into a back-to-back and a three-in-four and four-in-six, but that’s the reality of the world we’re going to have the rest of the way. We have to be able to deal with it.”

Saturday’s game is at 10:30 p.m. and Sunday’s at 8 p.m., slightly infringing on the 22-hour rule that usually separates the start of games on consecutive days. The Ducks are scheduled to play at 7 p.m. Saturday.

“Steve would have handled that part of it,” Blashill said. “At the end of the day, we have to play. The half hour difference won’t make a difference to us.”

Contact Helene St. James at Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

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