Benching Athanasiou ‘coach’s decision,’ says Blashill

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Plenty of things went right for Detroit in its 3-2 OT win over Ottawa on Thursday, but Andreas Athanasiou‘s third period wasn’t one of them.

Athanasiou was benched for the entire final frame — and all 1:07 of the OT session — after being on the ice for both of the Sens’ goals in the first and second.

When asked about why the speedy forward was a spectator, Red Wings bench boss Jeff Blashill told the Free Press it was a “coach’s decision.”

All told, Athanasiou finished with just seven shifts for 5:13 of ice time. It was, quite obviously, the lowest total on the team.

This year has been a struggle for the 22-year-old, who missed nearly a month of action after suffering a knee injury against Vancouver on Nov. 10. He has just two points in his last nine games and has seen his ice time chopped in previous instances as well — like a 6-4 win over Anaheim back on Dec. 17, in which he played just 7:47.

One of the fastest players on the team, Athanasiou off to a pretty solid start before getting knocked out of the lineup. He had four goals and five points in 13 games, and was averaging 12:06 TOI per night.