from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Alex Nedeljkovic had Carolina on his mind in the best possible way: It would mean seeing old teammates and a little extra motivation on the road.
The rest of his Detroit Red Wings had Carolina on their minds principally as the next opponent and the fact it meant going on the road. With COVID-19 raging — Robby Fabbri and Michael Rasmussen entered protocol Wednesday, two days after Tyler Bertuzzi and Marc Staal cleared their quarantines — there’s a sense of foreboding and focus on enhanced measures.
“I know our guys will be safe and smart about it,” Wings captain Dylan Larkin said. “We got vaccinated for a reason and we’re hoping we don’t have to live in a modified bubble like last year, because it was really difficult. With how it’s going right now we’re going to have to be smart and it’s probably going to be like that for a little bit, but I just really hope it doesn’t stay like that for the rest of the season.”
The game was in question when the Canes had four players enter protocol Tuesday, but when there were no further positives the next day, it was game on. Playing a team that is dealing with an outbreak is a regular occurrence, but that hasn’t abated worry.
“Do I have trepidation? Yeah I have trepidation,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “I certainly don’t want to see my team exposed to any more cases than we have to.
“It’s the balance we’ve all faced: You can shut down and not do anything, or you can try to work within the parameters. I think that’s what we’re trying to, we’re trying to get the games in, and that’s important, too. I want to coach and our players want to play, so I’m not torn that way, but torn in the sense that I don’t want to expose the guys.”