DETROIT — Jonathan Berggren’s mother and older brother were due to arrive from Sweden Tuesday night for their five-day trip to Detroit that includes hockey, soccer and turkey.
They’ll see Berggren play Wednesday when the Red Wings host Nashville (7 p.m., Bally Sports Detroit). Then they’ll go to the Lions-Bills game on Thursday, followed by Thanksgiving dinner at a local restaurant. Then they’ll watch the Red Wings play Arizona on Friday before going home on Sunday.
“It’s going to be fun,” Berggren said. “I don’t know if there is a good restaurant that serves Thanksgiving. I’ll try to find it.”
His family made two trips to the US, last season to watch Berggren play in Grand Rapids.
“I haven’t seen them in a long time. It would be great to be with each other,” Berggren said. “It’s his first NHL game, so it’s going to be a great experience.”
Berggren made a good impression during his first NHL stint with three points (goal, two assists) in five games. The last two days he trained on a line with Joe Felino and Pius Sutter.
“I feel more confident,” he said. “I feel like I’m starting to get to know the players and how we play, and what it’s like on an NHL team.”
He was called up out of necessity on November 10, following injuries to Matt Love and Elmer Soderblom. Berggren suffered a concussion in his first game of the season with the Griffins, but it did not affect his production (four goals and seven points in seven games).
The 33rd pick in the 2018 draft continues to flash those skills at the NHL level.
“I feel like when I have the flow, I don’t really think about it,” Berggren said. “Everything slows down a bit.”
Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said Berggren showed flashes of skill.
“Adding a skilled man to your squad shows in many different ways,” said Lalonde. It sometimes appears with a play outside the D-zone, or a skill play in the neutral zone that keeps the play moving north. A world-class skill doesn’t have to end up in the back of the net.
“We gave him looks in the top six when necessary and that helped with our line-up, but it’s just a different look in our bottom six, and a little skill that helped us.”
Felino loves having Peregrine on his streak.
“Obviously he’s a great player and he sees the ice really well,” said Felino. “It’s easy to open up with his style of play. I know what he’s thinking most of the time, he spends time with him on GR, he makes it so much easier.”
Peregrine and Felino are close on the ice, too.
“He’s a nice guy who helped me a lot with everything on and off (the ice),” said Berggren.
This included being a Peregrin driver during training camp in Traverse City. Peregrin returned the favor this week.
“I have a rental car now,” Berggren said. “I rode to the rink yesterday. I picked him up. I think I owe him many times over for all the times he drives me.”
Berggren is staying in a hotel in the area, and has not been given the go-ahead by the team for his own place because it has not been decided where he will play once Söderblom or another injured striker returns.
“If we were healthy and starting to get into 13-14 forwards here, when Elmer comes back, we would probably now have that kind of conversation,” said Lalonde. “What makes sense? What’s better to develop at that time – 10-12-13 minutes in that role, or an important NHL role? Hopefully we’ll have that luxury one day.”
Soderblom may need games in GR
Lalonde said Soderblom may need an intense stint in Grand Rapids when he returns from a lower-body injury that will keep him out of action for the sixth straight game on Wednesday. Soderblom never started exercising.
“Now he’s starting to get into 2-3 weeks without skating,” said Lalonde. “I don’t know how fair it is for him to throw him into an NHL game, especially where he is in his development. You still look at him as a day in and day out. He’s obviously flirting more time than that. We’ll cross that path when we hope he’s available to us.”