GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Before fulfilling his media obligation Wednesday night, Filip Zadina stopped to have a chat with Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland in the Grand Rapids Griffins locker room.
What did the discussion entail?
“He was just talking to me about World Juniors,” Zadina told Wings Nation. “He wished me luck and that I played well today.”
Zadina returned to the Grand Rapids Griffins lineup Wednesday night after missing Sunday’s game with a lower-body injury.
He recorded three shots in a 3-1 loss to the Cleveland Monsters at Van Andel Arena. It wasn’t a spectacular game by any means. Really, the entire Griffins team wasn’t great, so it isn’t a knock on Zadina personally. His mind might already be on the 2019 World Junior Championship, which begins Dec. 26 and ends Jan. 5. Appearing in his second and final World Junior, which will take place in British Columbia, Zadina said he wants to make this one memorable.
“It’s a huge thing,” he said of representing his country. “Especially for me, it’s the last World Junior. I just want to do the best and help the team and have fun there.”
Last year, he scored seven goals and added an assist in helping the Czech Republic finish fourth.
This year? Zadina wants to return to Grand Rapids with a medal.
“I’m just going there with a clear mind,” he said. “I just want to go there and have fun and help the team. We would love to do better than what we did last year. It’s going to be very hard for us. It’s going to a be a huge challenge for us. We want to medal this year.”
Griffins coach Ben Simon said he hopes to see growth from Zadina.
“I expect him to go over there and compete and apply what he’s learned over here to compete against some younger guys,” Simon said. “Use the confidence he’s developed here over the last little bit and go over there and have fun.”
After playing against players much older and stronger than him for the past three months, I expect Zadina, who has eight goals and 17 points in 27 games with the Griffins, to dominate his peers in the World Junior.
Turgeon still feels ‘100 percent’
Dominic Turgeon had quite the health scare last spring.
Right before the playoffs began, the 22-year-old had to have two surgeries due to thoracic outlet syndrome (blood clot) in his right arm.
After being on blood thinners for three months, the third-year pro did some light training and, eventually, weight lifting. He attended Detroit Red Wings training camp in September, telling MLive.com’s Peter Wallner:
“I thought recovery went well and I did have another ultrasound, and everything looks good, looks fine … I had a good summer of training and I had a lot of time to do it, so I feel 100 percent and ready to go.”
This season, Turgeon has two goals and eight assists in 29 games for the Griffins, including an assist in Wednesday’s loss.
“I’d say it took me a little bit to get back, but I feel really good,” Turgeon said Wednesday. “I feel 100 percent.”
Coach Ben Simon agreed.
“I think that it took him a little bit to get going, but I think he knows he has more to give, and I think there are high expectations from both him on himself and from us on him,” Simon said. “He’s been good … you know you’re getting an honest effort out of him every night.”
Unfortunately for Turgeon, the health scare might have cost him a long stay with the Red Wings this season. Taking a cautious approach to training over the summer, Christoffer Ehn was able to leapfrog Turgeon and make the Red Wings out of training camp.
Even with all of the injuries the Red Wings have suffered, Turgeon hasn’t yet received the call, as Detroit opted to call up Wade Megan and use him as a 13th forward, which makes sense for Turgeon’s development. There’s no sense in calling up a younger guy like Turgeon only to have him watch games in Detroit rather than playing in them in Grand Rapids.
Right now as the roster stands, there is a logjam at forward and really no room for Turgeon. Should there be more injuries or should we see some trades in the next few months, Turgeon may be able to get some playing time with the Red Wings.