Daley, Frk still out; Booth earns spot on Red Wings’ top line
Detroit – The injured Trevor Daley and Martin Frk are unlikely to return to the lineup against the Kings at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Little Caesars Arena, and Jeff Blashill said the Red Wings will need everyone else skating hard to reverse a four-game winless streak (0-1-3) since Nov. 19.
David Booth, who scored two goals against the Devils Saturday, continued to work with Henrik Zetterberg and Gustav Nyquist on the top line at practice Monday, after not dressing for 18 of the 24 games so far this season.
Blashill said that based on Booth’s assertive performance, he deserves the position. But Daley’s return to the lineup must wait.
“I would list Daley, as of right now, as off tomorrow,” he said, of the veteran defenseman, who often plays top minutes among the blueline corps.
Against the Rangers Friday, Daley reinjured himself in mid-ice collision after suffering a stinger against the Flames November 15.
Frk, whom Blashill said is missed especially on the second power-play unit, has not played since Nov. 11 against the Blue Jackets. Recovering from a groin injury, the forward with a booming shot participated in part of the practice Monday.
“He will not be in tomorrow, either,” Blashill said. “But we didn’t expect him, necessarily, tomorrow, given where we were at going into practice today. He was going to do part of practice today, which is what he did.”
Frk, who has six goals and three assists in 18 games, should be back this week in one of the back-to-back games against the Canadiens, Blashill said.
“I would aim for Thursday or Saturday, with Saturday being the much more likely scenario,” he said.
As for Booth, he has not only found a place in the game day lineup, his slot is at least temporarily on the top line.
“Yeah, he earned it, you know?” Blashill said.
“The two things we’re going to have to do tomorrow is skate and compete, and so the guys that want to skate and compete are going to play. And the guys who don’t skate and compete, I just can’t put out there.
“Because if we don’t skate and compete against L.A., we’re not winning.”
The Red Wings entered play Monday in playoff position, in third place in the Atlantic Division, at 10-9-5, with a minus-1 goal differential.
The Kings were in second place in the Pacific Division, at 13-8-3, with a plus-13 goal differential.