Wings notes: Robby Fabbri energizing Red Wings in return to lineup with scoring, ‘bite’

Detroit News

Detroit — You’d think a player coming off his third ACL knee surgery and not having played an NHL game for about 10 months would take a while to get back into the swing of things.

For Robby Fabbri, it hasn’t taken long at all.

Fabbri has made a dramatic and immediate impact, Thursday scoring his third goal in four games since he’s returned to the Red Wings’ lineup.

“Goals are one thing, I’m just going off more on getting back to my game, getting my legs going and all that and the goals are coming,” Fabbri said. “Getting them in wins definitely feels a lot better.”

Fabbri tore his right ACL last March. While with St. Louis, Fabbri tore his left ACL in during the 2016-17 season, then tore the same ligament again and missed the majority of the 2017-18 season.

There was some question as to how effectively Fabbri could return this time around. But the early returns have been outstanding.

“I did everything to make sure I was as prepared as possible,” Fabbri said. “The staff here did a great job. We have a handful of games before we go on the road to really get in the swing of things, but I’m feeling more comfortable every game.”

Fabbri was expected to return right around the New Year, which occurred, but his return was eagerly anticipated by coach Derek Lalonde and the coaching staff.

Lalonde felt Fabbri’s addition could benefit the Wings’ lineup in a variety of ways.

“He’s got bite,” Lalonde said. “He was kind of the forgotten injured guy, because it was projected he’d be back (in early January). But that was one as a coaching staff we were anxiously awaiting back and he’s brought energy, compete and it just helps our depth throughout our lines.

“Obviously he’s pitched in three goals on a team that struggles to finish.”

Lalonde remembers discussing Fabbri with general manager Steve Yzerman, and the endorsement Yzerman gave.

“Steve’s brought up, ‘You’re going to like him,'” Lalonde said. “I saw glimpses of it in video or playing them in the past, but until you have him every single day, and I’ve experienced that with a lot of players being new here, but he’s been as advertised from the previous management and staff.

“Hopefully he can sustain it and stay consistent with it.”

Lalonde feels Fabbri might have an extra dose of motivation.

“Someone like that, maybe an appreciation for playing in this league when it gets taken away from you so many times,” Lalonde said. “He’s worked extremely hard. Credit to him, credit to our medical staff for the fact they had a plan, they had a hard date, they stuck to it and pulled it off almost to the day.

“I just think he was ready when he was ready and that’s why he’s had this jump with his return.”

Back to normal

Lalonde said after Friday’s practice that goaltender Ville Husso will get the start Saturday against Columbus.

It’s probably not shocking, considering Husso looked like his old self while stopping 32 shots against Toronto.

Husso has been hampered with an illness since the holiday break, and hasn’t been as sharp in net, while navigating the biggest workload of his career.

But his steady work against Toronto gives the Wings hope that Husso is returning to his early season form.

“There was a stretch early on that Ville was playing at such a high level,” Lalonde said. “He’d be the first one to tell you his game’s tailed off. Some of it had to do with timing. We probably overused him for a stretch and he comes off the Christmas break sick.”

Husso said, “It’s been tough. I was sick a little bit, lost the energy and all that. But I’ve just been trying to work hard and do some extra on the ice and battle every day. I feel like I’m trying to find a way to be on the level where I want to be.”

Ice chips

Lalonde said defenseman Filip Hronek (upper-body), who didn’t practice Friday, is day-to-day and uncertain to play against Columbus.

… Forward Filip Zadina (lower-body) is still seven-to-10 days away and may not be ready to play on the upcoming three-game road trip next week.

… Lalonde said goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic will stay in Grand Rapids through Monday, the completion of Nedeljkovic’s conditioning stint.

… In Toledo, goaltender Sebastian Cossa (2021, first-round draft pick) has been named to the ECHL All-Star Classic. Cossa is 10-11-1, with a 2.91 goals-against average and .895 save percentage.

Blue Jackets at Red Wings

▶ Faceoff: 7 p.m. Saturday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit

▶ TV/radio: BSD/97.1 FM

▶ Outlook: The Jackets (12-27-2) have the worst record in the Eastern Conference, have lost three consecutive games, and are 2-8-0 in their last 10 games…LW Johnny Gaudreau (12 goals, 39 points), the NHL’s biggest free agent signing last summer, leads offensively.

Twitter: @tkulfan

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