Update (1:14 PM): Helene St. James does address the question with this line: “Leino will go back to Grand Rapids.” Her assumption seems to be that Cleary is definitely in (no Khanian “if”), which leaves no reason for Leino to stick around once Cleary’s status is re-confirmed prior to the game. – Matt
Update (1:05 PM): Bruce MacLeod confirms Cleary’s status, and provides the likely lines, here. He doesn’t address the Leino question, though. – Matt
Update (1:00 PM): So much for my claim of “doubtful:” Ansar Khan says Cleary is expected to play tomorrow, after all. He has it from both Cleary and Babcock. Leino is still with the team, though, apparently in case Cleary has some kind of relapse.
Khan claims the plan is to return Leino to the Griffins if Cleary is set to play in Game 1, but given that Babcock was given authority to dictate call-ups, it may turn out that he won’t let Leino go now that he has him in Detroit. – Matt
Bruce MacLeod reports that Dan Cleary “isn’t” (or wasn’t, by now) on the ice for the morning skate today. That ought to put his status for the opener pretty deep in the “doubtful” category.
He also notes that Kris Draper was on the ice, and taking part in drills. That’s not all that surprising given that his is an upper body injury (Cleary’s could be lower body). He’s still out for tomorrow and Saturday, however. His injury can’t be all that serious, and that makes me wonder why Babcock doesn’t let him play through it.
Ville Leino skated with Valtteri Filppula and Jiri Hudler, which should make that third line a lot for the Jackets to handle, as John pointed out in the comments, if it carries through to Game 1.
To help fill in for Ville in Grand Rapids, “Hat Trick” Dick Axelsson was flown in from Sweden for an amateur tryout. My wife has more on thatÂ here. (Edit: We crossed posts, so I’m cutting my comments on Axelsson.)