In additiona to the several safety protocols in place for players and fans this NHL season, one notable addition to every team was implemented.
The use of a taxi squad is now in place. In basic terms, every team will be able to have four to six players in reserve in the event of last minute COVID-19 tests, or separate injuries.
The Detroit Red Wings revealed their taxi squad players shortly before their season began on Thursday night, and they include defensemen Dennis Cholowski and Gustav Lindstrom, forwards Michael Rasmussen and Givani Smith, and goaltenders Kevin Boyle and Calvin Pickard.
And while the names on the list could change in early February with the start of the AHL season, head coach Jeff Blashill wants the players to use the time to get better in practice.
“If they are good at self evaluating, they can look at it and figure out what they need to get better at,” Blashill said Saturday. “What they can control is self evaluating, what do I need to get better at to earn a spot. That’s what you get by being around the NHL guys and by practicing with them. Then the other part of it, you get a lot of one-on-one attention with our skills development group.”
“Our approach right now is worrying about the next two weeks,” Blashill continued. “We will make a decision at that time. Up until that point, we have two things here with the taxi squad: One, their readiness to step into a game and help us if needed, and two, continue to maximize their development. They are all young players that need to continue to develop their game. We are working those two modes to best use the taxi squad.”
The Red Wings will take on the Carolina Hurricanes in the second game of their season tonight at Little Caesars Arena.
– – Quotes via Helene St. James of The Detroit Free Press Link – –