Kron­wall to make de­but in Ari­zona

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY TED KULFAN The Detroit News ted.kulfan@de­troit­news.com twit­ter.com/tkul­fan

Glen­dale, Ariz. — He’s been at this a long time, played 13 sea­sons, but Wings de­fense­man Nik­las Kron­wall was ex­cited.

There was a gleam in his eye af­ter Thurs­day’s morn­ing skate, know­ing he’d be in the lineup for the first time this sea­son that night against the Coy­otes.

“I’m anx­ious to get back in there and play again,” Kron­wall said.

In terms of health, it hasn’t been the start Kron­wall, 36, would have wanted.

Al­ready trou­bled by a chronic bad knee, Kron­wall had to sit and watch most of train­ing camp and the ex­hi­bi­tion sea­son be­cause of back spasms.

Once that was cured, and Kron­wall was able to play an ex­hi­bi­tion game, he was slowed by a sore groin.

The groin in­jury kept Kron­wall out of the first three reg­u­lar sea­son games, as both he and the Red Wings didn’t wanted to be cau­tious and care­ful.

But af­ter sev­eral good days of skat­ing, Kron­wall was ready to fi­nally play.

“We wanted to take the ap­proach of mak­ing sure when he comes back, he stays in (the lineup),” Wings coach Jeff Blashill said.

Kron­wall’s re­turn was timely, in that de­fense­man Danny DeKeyser suf­fered a lower body in­jury dur­ing Tues­day’s loss in Dal­las. DeKeyser is con­sid­ered day-to-day, though it’s ques­tion­able he’d be able to re­turn tonight in Las Ve­gas.

So will Kron­wall be able to jump right into a back-to-back sit­u­a­tion and play both games?

“We’ll see,” Blashill said. “To­mor­row is a new day. We’ll see what that brings. We just want to make sure (about Thurs­day’s game).”

Kron­wall didn’t leave any doubt he’s “hop­ing to play” both, and many more af­ter that.

The chronic knee is­sues that caused Kron­wall to miss some of the first half of last sea­son, weren’t as big of a prob­lem later in the sched­ule. Kron­wall, in fact, felt bet­ter with more play­ing time and games played and isn’t shy about say­ing he wants to play as many games as he can this sea­son.

Sim­ply lis­ten­ing to his body, and tak­ing pre­cau­tions, are key to any vet­eran player.

“Just look af­ter the body and stay fo­cused on the most im­por­tant thing, which is to play games,” Kron­wall said.

“Ev­ery­thing feels pretty good right now so I’m anx­ious to get go­ing.”

At this point in his ca­reer, Kron­wall is savvy enough to know when he needs to sit out if nec­es­sary.

In­juries have been more preva­lent later in his ca­reer, forc­ing him to miss more games than he’d like.

“It’s been a lit­tle bit frus­trat­ing,” Kron­wall said.

“It’s al­ways go­ing to be a lit­tle bit of a roller­coaster. But in say­ing that, it’s hap­pened to me quite a few times now and you just have to keep your head high and fo­cus on the goal, which is to get back in the game. Just do what­ever you can to­day to pre­pare your­self for to­mor­row and put your­self in a bet­ter spot.”

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