Update (3:33 PM): George Malik has some more on the injury situation here. – Matt
Update (2:40 PM): Helene St. James has a couple further details:
Draper apparently felt good after skating today. That seems to indicate that the Helm recall is more of an extra caution than a necessity.
Holmstrom, on the other hand, is “still shying away from hard stops and starts.” So it’s no surprise that Mike Babcock is holding him out of this week’s games, despite Tomas’ hopes for return.
Also, St. James reports that Babcock will finalize the defense by the last three or four games of the regular season. She characterizes the contest for the third pairing as a three-way one between Chris Chelios, Andreas Lilja, and Brett Lebda for the two spots. However, I think it’s safe to say that Chelios is a lock, so it’s more likely to be a two-way battle for the sixth spot.
I suspect that, when it comes down to it, Lilja’s penalty killing and shot-blocking ability will earn him that final spot at Lebda’s expense.
In related note, I’m a little surprised Derek Meech is apparently out of the equation, but it seems his chance to become a regular this season has passed. – Matt
Ansar Khan reports that the Wings have recalled Darren Helm from Grand Rapids because Kris Draper (groin tear) is not ready to return Wednesday after all. Draper is a “maybe” for Thursday night, depending on how he feels after practice tomorrow.
Helm was just returned to the Griffins yesterday along with Mattias Ritola.
Khan also says Tomas Holmstrom (abdominal strain) is eager to return, but he is not likely to play until after this week. The team is being cautious, as it can afford to do at this stage in the season. They need #96 for the playoffs, not for these last intradivisional games.
Lastly, Khan provides info on the starting goaltenders for the next two games: Chris Osgood will get the nod against Columbus tomorrow night and Dominik Hasek will be the man Thursday night in Nashville.