The Detroit Red Wings will end the 2018-19 NHL season the same way they began it: without defenseman Mike Green.
Green has been shut down for the rest of the season, thanks to a reactivation of the same virus that kept him out for most of October.
The initial thought was that Green would miss 7-10 days due to the flare-up, but the Red Wings announced Thursday that Green had seen a specialist and the choice was made to end his season.
The virus is said to be attacking his liver and causing Green to be fatigued.
Head coach Jeff Blashill said he’s been told that there is no long-term worry with Green, only that he needs proper rest at the moment.
“I’ve been told of no concern at all long term,” Blashill said. “Obviously, like anything else in life, you never know, you take everything day to day, but they think it’s a virus that with proper rest he’ll be fine but you can’t get proper rest when you’re going through an NHL season. The purpose of holding him out for the rest of the year is that he can fully recover and once he’s fully recovered he should be totally fine.”
Green signed a two-year, $10.75 million deal last summer and has five goals and 26 points in 43 games this season.
Green missed over a month –12 games — earlier this season because of a foot injury.
The Red Wings are all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs at this point sitting on 56 points, 23 behind the Montreal Canadiens, who hold down the second wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.
The silver lining to Green’s absence will be more time for some of the young crop of defenseman to see more meaningful minutes. This includes both Filip Hronek and Madison Bowey, the latter who the Red Wings picked up at the trade deadline from the Washington Capitals in exchange for Nick Jensen. Hronek appears in line to quarterback the team’s first power-play unit.
Detroit is in a full-blown rebuild at the moment and as of Thursday, have the second-best odds heading into the draft lottery at 13.5% according to Tankathon. That would land them Kaapo Kakko at the very least in June’s draft.
Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck