Jeff Blashill doesn’t want Filip Zadina facing Pittsburgh’s top players

The Detroit Red Wings will once again have Filip Zadina in their lineup tonight as they try and break a 10 game losing skid – but don't expect to see him matched up against the Penguins' top players in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

“There’s also defensive matchups that you’ve got to be concerned about,” Blashill said. “Do I want him, in his 15th NHL game, playing head-to-head against Malkin all night? That’s a hard position to put a young guy in. I think it’s real important as coaches that we put people in positions to succeed and sometimes that means you have to kind of feed him a little more at a time and not just throw him right in there.”

In five games this season so far, Zadina has notched two assists with no goals. While fans may be wondering why he isn't getting a chance on Detroit's top line while Anthony Mantha recovers from an injury, Blashill offered a frank explanation.

“Right now, I got (Robby Fabbri) there; Fabbs has played pretty good,” Blashill said. “I can’t say Zadina has outplayed Fabbri. I think you got to make sure you do it on merit. If he’s outplayed him, great. But that’s not what’s happened so far.

“I think Filip’s come in and done a nice job. He’s played solid hockey. If he is in a position where he’s dominating and says that I’m better than the wingers that are up there, then that’s awesome, then he wins the spot. I think we’d all be excited about that.”

During the Red Wings' four day break in action, Zadina was briefly sent back to the Grand Rapids Griffins before being promptly called right back up to the big club.