Andreas Athanasiou, Jimmy Howard expected back soon

The Detroit Red Wings received a bit of good news on the injury front. Injured goaltender Jimmy Howard and winger Andreas Athanasiou are both ready to return to practice, according to general manager Ken Holland.

Athanasiou has been absent from the lineup since suffering a sprained knee during Detroit’s 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on November 10. He scored four goals in 13 games before going down with the injury and brings an element of speed to the lineup that will aid the offensive side of things. He’s expected back at some point during Detroit’s five-game home stand that begins Friday night against Columbus – maybe even as early as then.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Howard was enjoying a bounce-back season after struggling the past two years. He injured his groin during Detroit’s 5-4 overtime win against the New Jersey Devils on November 25. With his impending return, the Red Wings plan to send Jared Coreau back to the Grand Rapids Griffins. He currently sports a 5-5 record with a 1.82 goals-against-average, a .940 save percentage, and one shutout.

Meanwhile, defenseman Alexey Marchenko is also close to returning to action. Injured with a sprained shoulder on November 20, he’s also expected back during the home stand.

Justin Abdelkader (sprained MCL), Brendan Smith (knee), and Darren Helm (dislocated shoulder) are all still weeks from returning.

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