Defenseman Danny DeKeyser’s whirlwind hockey season was supposed to be over when he broke his thumb in early May, but instead he’ll learn to adjust to a new set of teammates … again.
DeKeyser confirmed that he’s ready to play for the Grand Rapids Griffins – the Detroit Red Wings’ AHL affiliate – against the Syracuse Crunch in Game 1 of the Calder Cup finals on Saturday, MLive.com reports. The 23-year-old blueliner insists he’s not limited despite returning to action ahead of schedule.
“I was shooting fine, taking slappers, making hard passes, taking hits – everything,” DeKeyser said. “It feels really good.”
Getting used to being on another roster might be a little weird, if increasingly familiar.
He went from playing college hockey for Western Michigan to an abbreviated rookie run with the Detroit Red Wings in 2013, playing in 11 regular season contests and two postseason games, the last of which resulted in that injury.
Grand Rapids head coach Jeff Blashill seems confident that DeKeyser will fit right in, much like he did pretty seamlessly with the Red Wings.
“The two things that Danny does are skate great, and he’s really smart,” Blashill said. “Those types of people usually adapt very well to different situations. I expect him to adapt very well coming in to play for us.”
The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.
“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.
“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”
While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.
“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”
Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?
News and notes from around the crease…
Jones goes for San Jose
Martin Jones, acquired by the Sharks this summer, will make his first regular-season start for the club tonight against his old team — the Los Angeles Kings.
Jones, 25, spent the last two years in L.A. as Jonathan Quick‘s understudy. He was flipped to Boston at the NHL Entry Draft, then shipped to San Jose. Sharks GM Doug Wilson wasted little time locking Jones in — signing him to a three-year, $9 million extension — and Jones wasted little time locking up the No. 1 gig, putting together a stellar preseason.
For the Kings, Quick will get the start in goal.
Markstrom out for Vancouver
Jacob Markstrom wasn’t scheduled to start for the Canucks tonight — No. 1 Ryan Miller is getting the call — but the Swedish ‘tender won’t even dress when his club takes on the Flames in Calgary.
Markstrom suffered a lower-body injury at practice this week and is being held out of tonight’s action. In his place, the Canucks called up AHL netminder Richard Bachman, who’ll serve as Miller’s backup.
For the Flames, Karri Ramo is the opening-night starter.
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