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Danny DeKeyser Understands He Has To Earn His Spot In The Lineup

02/23/2021 at 1:08pm EST

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Danny DeKeyser was a healthy scratch for the first time in his nine seasons as a Detroit Red Wing, and that was difficult to accept.

Technically, he wasn’t completely healthy, and he still isn’t, after having back surgery 14 months ago....

“The discussion was to give me a little bit of time off and use that time to hit hard in the weight room and try to improve as much as possible in that time frame,” DeKeyser said. “I know I have to be playing well to stay in the lineup. I wasn’t asking for any free passes. I know the reality; if guys are playing better, then that’s how it is.”

DeKeyser returned to action in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Florida and will be in the lineup again tonight against Nashville at Little Caesars Arena (7:30, Fox Sports Detroit).

DeKeyser essentially lost his spot to Christian Djoos. A short-term injury to Troy Stecher created an opportunity for DeKeyser to return. Moving forward, DeKeyser’s performance and health will determine whether he plays, Blashill said.

“As he gets challenged more and more, we’ll get to see how his body is responding,” Blashill said. “If we think his body is responding to a point where it puts him in our top six, then he’ll play. If it’s something where he’s still not close to 100 percent and there’s six guys ahead of him, then we’ll do what we did for a bit (sit him) and he’ll keep trying to get stronger with it. When Danny is healthy, he’s one of our best defensemen, but he’s not 100 percent right now.”

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