This is the first and only meeting between the Wings and Flyers this season. The Wings are 7-2-1-0 in their last ten decisions. Legace will get the start, his 10th in 12th games. This is Nick Lidstrom’s 1000th game.
The Flyers are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to the Bruins, making for a 5-3-1-1 record in their last ten decisions. Robert Esche made the start. After the trade for Sean Burke that sent Mike Comrie to Phoenix, Burke has gone 4-3-1-0 in his first eight starts with his new team. Burke will make the start this evening. The Flyers are tied with the Senators for the league lead in points at 84, with the Wings trailing with 83.
The Wings will get to showcase their newly acquired center Robert Lang. He will wear #20 and center a line with Yzerman and Whitney. Lang, who leads the league in points with 74, joined the Wings for practice Saturday. With Hatcher returning shortly, the Wings will really have to work at creating team chemistry with the addition of two superstars in such a short time. I don’t expect Lang to score a hat trick or anything this evening, since he has to get used to the Wings’ style and pace, but I do hope he scores a goal in front of the home crowd at the Joe.
Notables: During the second period of the Leafs/Devils game on Hockey Night in Canada, Al Strachan commented on Brian Burke’s status as President and GM of the Canucks. He said that Burke might be demanding $2 million dollars for his salary next season, and cited rumors as his sources. Strachan said that Burke might not re-signed by the Canucks due to such costs with the imminent lockout. Well, Brian Burke was so incensed by the comments that he came on during Hockey Night’s postgame show and blasted Strachan, saying that Strachan is an irresponsible liar and should not be on CBC. Burke further said that, if he was asking for a salary with a “2” in it, he would immediately resign. Strachan had already left on a flight, and was unavailable for comment.
During that same second period intermission that featured Strachan going out on a limb, Brett Hull was also interviewed from Detroit. He commented on the CBA, saying the players are together on the issue, and on newly acquired center Lang.
Word is that New Jersey Defenseman Brian Rafalski may have a broken right leg after he collided with the right goal post versus the Leafs. He was skating backwards at the start of the third, defending against a rushing Leaf Alexei Ponikarovsky, when Ponikarovsky bumped him towards Brodeur and the Jersey net. Fortunately, Brodeur got out the way. But Rafalski slammed into the post full speed. They are doing further tests on Rafalski’s right leg and knee, but the intensity of the collision makes a broken leg a definite possibility. That would leave the Devils without All-Star defenseman and captain Scott Stevens, out with post-concussion syndrome, and Rafalski.
Bad News on Jeremey Roenick’s status. He had a second MRI on his brain, and the results were disheartening. It showed that Roenick may have circulatory system damage. Commenting from his home in Phoenix: “The doctors told me they didn’t want me to travel. They said they wanted to do an angiogram. I’ve had better days. It’s not good. There is damage in there in a couple of areas and they want to know what kind of damage it is. I heard the word aneurysm and I was pretty disheartened.” Doctors are going to inject dye into his bloodstream to get a better idea of the damage to the brain. Roenick broke his jaw when he was hit in the face by a slapshot against the Rangers Feb. 12.
News out of Stockholm, Sweden is that Colorado Avalanche center Peter Forseberg, who has been out since February 16 with a nagging groin injury, has decided he will play for MoDo, the Swedish Elite League team in Ornskoldsvik, next season. He had played for MoDo for four seasons before starting his NHL career with the Quebec Nordiques in 1995. The newspaper Aftonbladet said that, due to the likelihood of a extended lockout through the 2004-2005 season, Forsberg has committed to play for MoDo. Aftonbladet further said that Forsberg has informed Colorado of his decision, but nobody involved will comment until the playoffs are over.