Jakub Vrana’s time with the Detroit Red Wings has been tumultuous since being traded to them by the Washington Capitals in April of 2021. The 26-year-old winger has faced injury issues since the deal and most recently in October, he entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program for unknown personal reasons.
Vrana’s life seems to be on the upswing though. The Czech forward was reinstated to the Detroit Red Wings by the program on Friday and was a full participant in team’s Sunday practice, shedding his non-contact jersey.
“It feels awesome,” Vrana said. “I’m so happy to be back, see the guys. It’s really positive. Just happy to be back here.”
Vrana was also asked by the press what led to him leaving the team.
“I don’t feel like sharing anything, it’s just my personal reasons,” Vrana said. “There is bigger things than hockey in life.
“You’re going to get it in order – you’re going to deal with some things. It’s important to make the decision… you have to make some decisions that are important in your life and hockey goes besides.”
— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) December 16, 2022
Vrana has now taken part in two practices with the Wings since being reinstated. His first came in a light blue non-contact sweater but on Sunday he shed that in favor of a regular white practice jersey. The news was reported by The Detroit News’ Nolan Bianchi.
Jakub Vrana looks like a full participant in Red Wings practice today. He had a blue non-contact jersey on when he returned Friday.
Dylan Larkin, however, is not practicing today. pic.twitter.com/1f63H6fBgm
— Nolan Bianchi (@nolanbianchi) December 18, 2022
“I’ve been trying to stay in shape as much as I could,” Vrana said Friday. “I felt really good on the ice. Now, it’s just a matter of time. Obviously, that’s not my decision. I just follow the orders and do the best I can every day to stay in shape and be able to help the team.”
When asked what that entailed, Vrana said he’s been doing some on-ice individual work. He also says he thinks he’s ready to play but that the decision there lies with Detroit’s coaching staff.
“I have been skating a little bit,” Vrana said. “But, this was the first time with the fellas on the ice. To be honest with you, I feel the best I can. This decision is not my decision. I was out there today. I didn’t really get a lot of reps in the lines. It’s up to other people to make the decision. I just come here now and work hard and see where it takes me.”
The Red Wings’ next game is on Monday at Capital One Arena against the Washington Capitals. It’s unclear if Vrana will be in the lineup against his former team. Vrana did not factor into the team’s line rushes per MLive.com’s Ansar Khan.
#RedWings lines in practice:
Rasmussen-Fabbri (for Larkin)-Perron
Soderblom appears to be the extra.
Vrana also practicing. pic.twitter.com/3fc8loY8ut
— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) December 18, 2022
“When [his return is] going to be, I don’t know,” Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde said. “It’ll be a day-by-day process with Jakub.
“Just great to have him back.”
Screenshot via Detroit Red Wings
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