Pregame: Kronwall Returns as Red Wings Host Jets


Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall is slated to make his first appearance of the season tonight as the Red Wings host the Winnipeg Jets.

Coming off a knee injury, Kronwall is expected to see reduced minutes.  He’s slated to start the game paired with Brendan Smith on the third defense pairing.

Ryan Sproul and Xavier Ouellet will be healthy scratches.

Petr Mrazek gets the start in goal.

Game time is 7:30 PM on FSD.

Random babbling about jersey numbers and an odd photo…

I was looking at the Wings’ roster earlier today and – as a jersey number geek – it jumped out at me that Ryan Sproul’s #48 is the third-lowest number on the Detroit blue line.

Detroit has a lot of non-traditional numbers in general.  Two numbers in the 70s, two in the 60s, four in the 50s.

Of the “traditional” numbers, 1-30, the Red Wings have only nine represented on the roster.  Nine are retired, true, but of the 12 remaining, six are unassigned (and/or were worn in camp by players under contract to the Griffins), five are reserved for players in GR, and one belongs to an OHL player (Vili Saarijarvi and #28).

I was talking to Michael Petrella about it and we were wondering how much that has to do with players never changing from their “prospect” numbers.  Darren Helm kept his #43 rather than taking the #15 he wore in Medicine Hat and Grand Rapids.  Andreas Athanasiou still has #72.  Yeah, Dylan Larkin picked #71 when he couldn’t have #17 and Danny DeKeyser went with #65 with #5 unavailable and Xavier Ouellet wears #61 because he can’t have #16, but why couldn’t Alexey Marchenko get the #3 he wore in GR from Nick Jensen when he switched numbers, and why not assign Sproul the #4 made available by Teemu Pullkinen’s departure?

That conversation reminded me of something I rarely see mentioned: Jonathan Ericsson switching from #52 to #2.

Ericsson has always worn #52 and I’ve never seen it suggested in print that he planned to switch.  That said, during the 2008 Stanley Cup parade, he rode with Justin Abdelkader in a truck that had #8 on one side and #2 on the other.

Credit: Hour Detroit

Credit: Hour Detroit

That fall, tryout Kyle Deck would wear #2 at camp, while Ericsson was back in #52.  Was a number change planned and abandoned?  Did someone just detail the truck wrong?  I don’t know and I’ve never heard it discussed.

Clark founded the site that would become DetroitHockey.Net in September of 1996 with no idea what it would lead to. He continues to write for the site and executes the site's design and development.

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