Update (9:31 PM): In a piece meant for Thursday’s edition, Helene St. James suggests again that Niklas Kronwall will be back Friday night.
I still think the Wings aren’t 100% sure on that, as evidenced by Kyle Quincey’s continued presence on the roster, but that must only be a precautionary measure in case of a setback. Given that the Griffins could badly use their defensemen back, you have to think Quincey will be headed to GR soon.
I should also say that it’s possible Jonathan Ericsson will be the next to follow Stafford to GR, but I’d be surprised if the team doesn’t want to continue to get a look at the big Swede in the NHL.
Also, St. JamesÂ characterizes the battle for the bottom end of the defensive corps as a four-way affair between Derek Meech, Andreas Lilja, Brett Lebda, and Chris Chelios. However, I have a hard time seeing Chelios get knocked off the playing roster, so it’s more of a battle between the other three. - Matt
… George Sipple reports that Dominik Hasek has completely recovered from the hip flexor that has kept him out since the Wings’ February 9 loss in Toronto. Sipple quotes Hasek as saying,
“I don’t know what the coach’s decision is going to be like, but I’d like to play twice a week. There are not even six weeks before the playoffs, so now it’s very important for me to get into good rhythm.”
I’m sure the brain trust is thinking the same thing, so don’t worry Dom. You’ll see the ice plenty in the coming weeks.
A better Hasek quote comes via Ted Kulfan:
“I feel healthy.”
Let’s hope so.
… Sipple also reports on Chris Chelios’ situation. Evidently, he’s undergone treatment on his right fibula, but still feels what Chelios calls “discomfort.” For us normal people, that’s “pain, significant pain.”
For those of us hoping for a speedy recovery for #24, HockeyTownTodd set the record straight in the comments Monday:
Anyone that has ever chipped a bone does not expect Cheli back very soon.
Here’s hoping Chelios bucks the odds and makes it back faster than expected, as he did with his recovery from knee surgery a few years back.
… It looks like Brian Rafalski (groin) isn’t close to returning. Sipple says he “skated briefly” today, but Mike Babcock doesn’t sound very optimistic:
“Obviously things haven’t progressed like we anticipated early with him. So we’ll have to re-look at it and go from there.”
Despite the fact that the Wings are hemorrhaging points because their four most important defensemen are out, I can’t advocate rushing Rafalski (or any of them, for that matter) back. They need him (and them) too much in the playoffs to do anything but let him (and them) recover fully now. It sucks, but it’ll pay off.
… Bruce MacLeod reports that Garrett Stafford has been sent back to Grand Rapids. I forgot him altogether in my speculation yesterday (3:50 update) on who would get sent down as a result of the trade, but with Brad Stuart now on the roster, Stafford became extraneous.
Because Kyle Quincey also did not get demoted today, it’s probably safe to assume the status of Niklas Kronwall for Friday is still undetermined, today’s Helene St. James piece notwithstanding. If the team were certain Kronwall would be back for the Sharks game, Quincey would be on his way to GR, too. That doesn’t mean he won’t play, but we probably won’t know for sure until Friday sometime.
… Lastly, some links via Abel to Yzerman: