Detroit— Frans Nielsen wants to play. You can sense it in his voice and his actions.
Nielsen has been practicing for almost a week now, while being in concussion protocol.
But having tests taken earlier this week, Nielsen didn’t satisfy doctors with the results. He’ll take them again Thursday, and is hopeful of returning to the lineup the following night against the New York Rangers.
Still, Nielsen is going to be careful. With everyone knowing the dangers of concussions, Nielsen is on board about safety being first and foremost.
“You do argue with the doctors and you do want to come back and play,” Nielsen said after Wednesday’s practice, which he took part in entirely. “But I’m sure it’s one of those things later in life you’re probably thankful he talked you into not coming back too early.”
Nielsen has missed the last four games since being hit awkwardly along the boards Oct. 28 against Dallas.
He hasn’t had any concussion-related symptoms, isn’t having any headaches or having any adverse affects to everyday life.
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“Like the doctor said, it’s not like it’s a shoulder where you can go and get surgery,” Nielsen said. “This is something that can keep with your whole life if you’re not careful.”
Nielsen has looked effective during practices.
“Guys are pushing me and I’m feeling good right now,” Nielsen said. “Hopefully I can get cleared (Thursday).”
Coach Jeff Blashill is in daily communication with trainers and the medical staff, but isn’t going to push any player into the lineup if he’s not ready to compete.
“They understand I have their best interests,” said Blashill, adding it’s mainly between the medical staff and the player. “I wouldn’t want any player to risk long term health (issues). Coaches stay out of it (decision to return player to game action), and that’s the way it should be for obvious reasons.”
Happy to be back
The Wings recalled forward Christoffer Ehn before Tuesday’s game and he played seven shifts, just under 7 minutes (6:53), being credited with four hits.
Ehn made the Wings out of training camp, but was sent to Grand Rapids as the roster got healthier and it was best for Ehn to get playing time in the AHL.
Ehn understood why he was sent down.
“I’m still in development, it’s all new to me, like the North American playing style,” Ehn said. “I can get more minutes in GR, work on my game, and get into a bigger role, too, playing important parts of the game.
“It was fun, the first couple games down there, we had a real good weekend (three victories), so I’m real happy with that.
“(But) it’s fun to be back and playing here. I just have to keep working and take it day-by-day and play my game. I try to bring a lot of skating and help the team.”
When the Wings wanted to add another forward Tuesday to return to 12 forwards and six defensemen, Blashill said Ehn was the natural choice to return.
“He plays real good hockey when he’s here,” Blashill said. “When we need a guy, he can help us. He walks in and he plays good hockey.
“When he’s not playing lots, (it’s best) to play in the American league and continue to work for pushing for more offense.”
On Wednesday night, Ehn was sent back to the Griffins.
Larkin held out
Dylan Larkin didn’t practice Wednesday after taking a hit during Tuesday’s victory over Vancouver that caused him to miss several shifts to open the second period.
Larkin returned, took a regular shift, and eventually scored the only goal in the shootout, giving the Wings’ the victory.
But Blashill said after the game it wouldn’t be surprising to see Larkin take a day, or two, off from practice — and that’s exactly what happened Wednesday.
“We’ll see (about Thursday),” Blashill said. “I expect him to practice. Obviously he left the ice (Tuesday) and he was out for a little bit. But I don’t think it’s anything long-term, it’s just part of the grind.”
Andreas Athansiou (upper body) practiced Friday and is set to return Friday.