Abdelkader predicts playoffs for Red Wings in near future
From left: Justin Abdelkader, Jimmy Howard and Todd Krygier.
Justin Abdelkader says he thinks the Red Wings are relatively close to being able to make the playoffs.
The veteran Detroit left wing made those comments at the Justin Abdelkader Hockey School in his hometown, Muskegon, at L.C Walker Arena on Monday.
“We have a lot of great, young talent. I think you saw that last year. We called up some guys and we had the guys that were with us,” Abdelkader told www.mlive.com. “The organization is, I think, starting to build its depth with all the draft picks we have. We have a lot of draft picks coming up in this week’s draft also, so we’re building the organization. I think we have a good mix of some young players and some veterans, and I don’t think we’re far off.”
He said the St. Louis Blues winning the Stanley Cup is evidence that the Wings would be able to compete in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“Hopefully we can get back in the playoffs because it’s tough to sit and watch,” he said. “For a team like St. Louis to come where they came from, being last place … turning it around and then ultimately winning the Stanley Cup, it shows you the parity of this league. I mean, they’re a team that a lot of people didn’t think they would be where they’re at now as Stanley Cup champions…
“We’ve just got to make sure we’re going out each and every day and working hard and trying to get better.”
He said that the leg fracture that ended his 2018-19 season on March 14 has completely healed.
“Recovery’s been good,” he said “Took around eight weeks to fully recover, but been feeling good, been training, getting back on the ice here and skating.”
The 32-year-old is looking for a bounce-back season in 2019-20. He had only six goals and 19 points in 71 games this past season.
Abdelkader is in the middle of a seven-year contract worth $29.75 million.
Wings players in AREA 313 Celebrity Challenge
Three Red Wings players will participate in the AREA 313 Celebrity Challenge at the Detroit Golf Club on Tuesday, June 25, ahead of the PGA Rocket Mortgage Classic, which will be played at the course June 27-30.
Scheduled from 3-5 p.m, the competition will feature three teams of golfers playing a scramble format on holes 14-16 at Detroit Golf Club.
The team captains will be PGA stars Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson, and they will each lead a team of three celebrities. A Red Wings player is on each team.
Abdelkader will play with Fowler’s team, Dylan Larkin with Johnson’s team and Jimmy Howard with Watson’s squad.
Tickets for the AREA 313 Celebrity Challenge are $10, and kids 15 and under receive free admission with a ticketed adult (limit four kids per adult). Active duty and retired military also receive complimentary tickets, and veterans can purchase reduced-priced tickets.
Krygier named Griffins assistant coach
The Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit’s American Hockey League affiliate, has hired former Novi High School coach Todd Krygier as an assistant coach.
Krygier, 53, has been an assistant coach with Western Michigan University for the past three seasons. Before that he was head coach of the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the United States Hockey League for three seasons.
Krygier spent seven seasons (2006-13) as the head coach at Novi High School, winning a Division I state championship in 2011.
He played 12 seasons of professional hockey from 1987-2000, including 543 NHL games with the Washington Capitals and Anaheim Mighty Ducks.