When you have as versatile a player in your roster as Justin Abdelkader, you don't take that for granted. For a few seasons, Red Wings' fans called for Abdelkader's head because of his low point production and lack of direction when on the ice.
But all that has changed since last season. In 70 games, Abdelkader put up 10 goals and 28 points to hit a new career-high, and is on pace to shatter that this season. He's got 7 goals and 15 points in 24 games, which could put him on pace for a 20+ goal season if his production stays consistent.
That's why it's such a blow to the team that he's listed as day-to-day now with a shoulder injury, sustained in the Red Wings' 5-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks, on a check from Luca Sbisa in the second period. He did not return for the third period. He's been ruled out to play on Tuesday night against the Florida Panthers, the Red Wings' first meeting of the season with the division opponent. Via Ansar Khan of MLive:
"He's day to day. He's got a shoulder issue," coach Mike Babcock said. "It's not life-threatening. It might be for some guys, but Abby is tougher than most, so for Abby it'll probably be shorter than most."
Babcock liked the way Abdelkader, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg played together on Sunday.
"It was a big loss in the game when Abby goes because he's a good worker, he's at the net for those guys," Babcock said. "They don't need another guy to have the puck, they need someone at the net that can get it back for them."
With Abdelkader out, Joakim Andersson likely comes off the healthy scratch list and makes it back into the lineup. The lines they skated with in practice on Monday were as follows:
Henrik Zetterberg - Pavel Datsyuk - Johan Franzen
Gustav Nyquist - Riley Sheahan - Tomas Tatar
Tomas Jurco - Darren Helm - Stephen Weiss
Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - Joakim Andersson
Daniel Cleary rotating in.
Jonathan Ericsson - Niklas Kronwall
Danny DeKeyser - Kyle Quincey
Brendan Smith - Jakub Kindl
Brian Lashoff rotating in.