By Ian Oland
Former Capitals star Jakub Vrana will play in his first hockey game in over two months, Wednesday night.
Vrana will suit up for the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins as he continues to ramp up for a return to the Detroit Red Wings that is expected next week.
The Griffins announced the news in a press release.
UPDATE: The Red Wings on Wednesday assigned forward Jakub Vrana Griffins on a conditioning loan. #GoGRG
Details >> https://t.co/5lJVkgtngf pic.twitter.com/w9xw5Smd5n
— Grand Rapids Griffins (@griffinshockey) December 28, 2022
The conditioning stint is expected to last three games. The Griffins play the Rockford Ice Hogs on Wednesday and the Milwaukee Admirals on the road Friday before returning home for a rematch against the Admirals Saturday.
Exciting night for Jakub Vrana who returns from the NHL and NHLPA player assistance program to play his first game in over two months. He’ll talk about it during the first intermission of our @griffinshockey broadcast @WOODRADIO from Rockford, IL. Pre-game coverage begins at 7:45 pic.twitter.com/gPKJrtTTno
— Bob Kaser (@bkaser1) December 28, 2022
The games will mark Vrana’s first in the AHL since playing for the Hershey Bears during the 2016-17 season. That season he scored 19 goals and had 17 assists.
Vrana has not played since mid-October after entering the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program. Vrana returned to the Red Wings on December 16 and has been practicing with the team ever since.
“It feels awesome,” Vrana said to the press then. “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.”
Vrana won a Stanley Cup championship with the Capitals in 2018. The Capitals dealt the popular winger in April 2021 for Anthony Mantha. Vrana has scored 22 goals in 39 games for the Red Wings.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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