Detroit — Coach Derek Lalonde had an opportunity to visit Lions’ training camp last summer but couldn’t do it. Lalonde was still in Tampa getting ready to make the move to Detroit, and had to decline it.
Lalonde sure wishes he had, though. The idea of meeting Campbell is exciting.
“I’ve liked watching him, his passion, what he’s about” said Lalonde, an ardent Buffalo Bills fan who will be attending Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day game between the Lions and Bills. “I’m looking forward to meeting him sometime. Not looking forward to wrestling him or getting into a bar brawl with him. Maybe if he was on my side.
“If he looks me in the eyes, I’ll be looking for nickels on the ground for sure.”
Campbell, a long-time NFL player, is known for his intense style during practice, in the locker room, or even in front of the media.
Lalonde likes the idea of Campbell, at some point, addressing the Red Wings, be it before a game or not.
“The same passion and excitement the fan base has with coach Campbell, I have it to,” Lalonde said. “When their season is over, I’m going to ask him to come talk to the guys. I don’t care what you talk about, just talk with the passion like you always do.”
This will be the third Bills’ game Lalonde attends this season, but this particular battle against the Lions presents some problems for him.
As much as Lalonde has a passion for the Bills, he says he’s a Lions fan, too.
“That’s a tough one,” Lalonde said. “It’s my favorite AFC team up against my favorite NFC team. I’ve always liked the Lions, that powder blue (color uniform).”
Jonatan Berggren has been getting shifts on a line with Joe Veleno and Pius Suter, as the Wings look to get regular ice time for one of the Wings’ top prospects.
Berggren enjoys seeing time with Veleno, as the two had success as linemates with minor league affiliate Grand Rapids last season.
“It’s real nice, we’re like friends from a year ago,” Berggren said. “We played with each other a little bit in Grand Rapids, too, and had good success there. He’s a nice guy and he’s helped me with everything on and off the (ice).”
Berggren played against Veleno two seasons ago during the COVID-shortened season.
“I tried to trash talk him but it’s hard to trash talk in English for me,” Berggren said. “I said something in Swedish. I’m trying to teach him a few words in Swedish.”
Berggren was one of the Wings’ final cuts out of training camp, sent down to Grand Rapids when the Wings didn’t feel there would be enough ice time to help his development.
“I was disappointed,” said Berggren, who suffered a concussion his first game with the Griffins this season, forcing him out of the lineup for almost two weeks. “Everyone sent down is disappointed because if you don’t feel (disappointed), it’s like you don’t really care. Everyone wants to play here (in NHL).”
Berggren has played five games with a goal and two assists.
“I’m feeling more confident,” Berggren said. “Starting to know the guys, how to play and live on an NHL team. I’m feeling more confident than when I (came up).”
Elmer Soderblom (lower-body) will likely need a conditioning stint in Grand Rapids once he returns from injury. Soderblom hasn’t played since November 8.
“It’s been two or three weeks without skating, and I don’t know how far it is to throw him into an NHL game,” Lalonde said. “Especially with where he’s at in his development. He missed practice (Tuesday). Still looking at it as a day to day but obviously flirting with more time (away).”
…Defenseman Jordan Oesterle has a plus-seven rating in eight games, and has formed an effective pairing with Jake Walman.
“He’s (Oesterle) done a great job, and playing on his off-hand, also,” Lalonde said. “When he’s at his best, he’s helping our transition, breaking pucks out and good with our regroups, and he’s on his toes offensively. He fits our system because he skates.”
Predators at Red Wings
▶ Faceoff: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Little Caesars Arena
▶ TV/radio: Bally Sports Detroit/97.1 FM
▶ Outlook: The Predators (9-8-2) have earned points in five consecutive games (4-0-1), including defeating Arizona Monday, 4-3, in a shootout…Nashville is 6-1-1 against the Wings in the last eight games…LW Filip Forsberg is a point per game player (seven goals, 12 assists, 19 points) and D Roman Josi is off to another fine start (12 assists, 16 points).