Red Wings forward Patrick Kane was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice, Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reports. It’s his first time joining the team at practice since sustaining a lower-body injury against the Maple Leafs on Jan. 14, nearly a week and a half ago.
Per St. James, the Red Wings hope Kane can return to action in one of their three games before the All-Star break but are still unsure of an exact return timeline. The 35-year-old has been out with a lower-body injury – a concerning designation given his recent hip surgery – but the two don’t appear to be related. Since signing his one-year, $2.75MM deal with Detroit, Kane has assumed a top-six role and posted seven goals and 16 points in 19 games, much closer to the level of production expected from the future Hall-of-Famer at this stage in his career. The Red Wings, who have a slim lead on the Devils for the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, are 8-9-2 with a -9 goal differential in Kane’s 19 appearances this season.
Elsewhere from the Red Wings today:
- St. James also relays that defenseman Ben Chiarot is not practicing today as he remains out with an upper-body injury. He’s listed as day-to-day and has missed the last two games, most recently suiting up against the Hurricanes on Jan. 19. Chiarot, who’s rebounding somewhat after a ghastly defensive performance in his first campaign in Detroit, had averaged 19:31 per game and has 12 points in 45 contests. Given he isn’t yet ready to return to practice, he’ll likely miss tomorrow’s game against the Flyers. A day-to-day designation suggests he may return before the All-Star break, though.
- The carousel continues for depth defenseman Brogan Rafferty, who the Red Wings returned to AHL Grand Rapids today, per a team release. The 28-year-old hasn’t played for Detroit this season despite being recalled three times in the past two weeks, only serving as insurance given their minor injuries on the blue line. This is Rafferty’s fourth transaction in the last four days, and with Chiarot likely out for tomorrow’s contest, the Red Wings will likely recall him again.
- Also absent from practice today was center J.T. Compher, who head coach Derek Lalonde says is questionable for tomorrow against Philadelphia as he battles the flu. Compher has three points in his last three games after going pointless in six, bringing his total to 27 in 42 appearances during his first season in Detroit. His per-game pace is roughly the same as last year’s breakout performance with the Avalanche when he used his 52 points and 20:32 average time on ice to cash in with a five-year, $25.5MM commitment from the Red Wings in free agency.