Stephen Weiss is making his return from his hernia injury and was expected to take a conditioning stint in Grand Rapids, but it does not look like that will be happening.
Ansar Khan caught up with Weiss, who said:
“I practiced twice last week with the (Plymouth) Whalers and three times (this week) with the (Red Wings), so I’m starting to feel really good but it hasn’t been that much practice time,” Weiss said. “First day with some contact today, just start ramping that up tomorrow and Monday and see what happens next week.”
I understand that practice is important and he is just starting to take contact again, but he has not played a game since December 10th.
Weiss needs the time in Grand Rapids, just like Darren Helm did earlier in the season, to get his legs back underneath him and readjust the pace of the game. Practice can help a player, but it can only do so much and gametime is needed for him to return.
Ansar Khan caught up Wings’ assistant coach Bill Peters, who said:
“He got a little bit sick there early in the Olympic break but his last two skates have been excellent and him and Pete (trainer Van Zant) obviously communicated and (not playing in Grand Rapids) is probably a good decision where he’s at right now.”
Peter’s and Van Zant believe it would be better for him to stay in Detroit in their care and where they can keep a close eye on his progression, which is a good idea, but when the season starts back up he will be behind condition-wise compared to the other players in the NHL.
If Weiss does not spend time in Grand Rapids then it will take him a few NHL games to get back up to speed and the Detroit Red Wings will need him to return at a high level after losing Zetterberg for the season.
If he is a half second slow to the puck, not able to patrol the ice effectively, or worn out by the end of the game, then they will have to deal with the backlash.
Will Stephen Weiss’s plan be a huge success or will it backfire for the injured forward?