DETROIT – As the long list of injured players continues to funnel back into the Red Wings lineup, it appears that one player’s season is done.
Veteran center Stephen Weiss, who was signed during the off-season to essentially replace the departure of Valtteri Filppula on the second line, is all but through this season, according to general manager Ken Holland.
“At this stage of the game I’m not expecting him back this year,” Holland told reporters Friday morning. “I think that’s the way we have to go forth; I mean he’s not even practicing. So I really don’t know what to tell you.”
Weiss played in just 26 games before it was determined that he needed to undergo surgery to repair a sports hernia. He traveled to Philadelphia where he had the surgery in December. He finished with two goals, four points and a minus-4 rating.
Expectations were that Weiss would fully recover and be available to play as soon as the NHL schedule reconvened after the Olympic break in February. But numerous setbacks have limited his ability to recover.
“Everybody is a little bit frustrated because we obviously thought he would be back by now, actually a long time ago,” Holland said. “So they’re going through a check list. Everybody’s frustrated. He’s not getting better the way we had hope.”
Since the surgery, Weiss has met with the doctor who performed the surgery, and even traveled to St. Louis where he received another opinion. There’s a belief that scar tissue is the culprit and that Weiss won’t have to undergo surgery again.
“The doctor who performed the surgery and the doctor in St. Louis, who gave a second opinion, both think that it’s not an issue,” Holland said. “Part of heeling is what they call breaking down scar tissue and is it the scar issue, is it some other issue?”
Holland added that Weiss, more than likely, will return to Philadelphia for a follow-up with the doctor next week.
The Wings don’t expect either player to be available before late April, which equates to the last half of a first-round playoff series, but both will likely beginning skating again by the end of next week.
“We’re not getting Zetterberg back for anytime in the regular season and if we can play our way into the playoffs don’t expect him to play at the start of the first-round playoff series,” Holland said. “Obviously, we’ve got Ericsson out too. I think he’s probably out until the middle or late first round, maybe even miss the first round, but in the meantime we have to figure out a way to win a game.”
With six games remaining, the Red Wings, who have 86 points, host the Buffalo Sabres tonight at Joe Louis Arena. Detroit gets Pavel Datsyuk (knee) back in the lineup for the first time at The Joe since Dec. 23.
“Adversity is good for an organization to grow,” Holland said. “I think realistically you expect to have 2-3 players out. But when we had stretches when we had 9-10 players out it was a real challenge, especially when you factor in the quality of the people you we missing. Everybody had 2-3 injuries. I don’t mind 2-3 injuries.”
NYQUIST NUMBERS: Sensational forward Gustav Nyquist has scored 23 goals in his past 28 games, which represents the most by a Red Wings’ player during a 28-game stretch since Ray Sheppard scored 27 goals from January-March 1994.
Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose
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