Posts tagged “Lines”

4/23 Notes

Update (3:12 PM): Helene St. James reports that Kirk Maltby (hamstring) won’t play tomorrow and is doubtful for Saturday’s game. So, Darren Helm should get another game or two in the lineup. - Matt

Update (1:52 PM): Khan’s post on the Stuart question is here. - Matt

Update (1:42 PM): According to Bruce MacLeod’s lastest, Brad Stuart’s status for Game 1 is unknown. Ansar Khan told me via email that Stuart will stay in California until the baby is born. As Mike Babcock told the media, his first priority is to be there for his wife. Given Stuart’s obvious concern for her, I’d be surprised if he’s back in time for the game. I’m sure he won’t exactly hop on the first available plane following the birth, even if the baby comes today.

With the Wings’ depth on the blueline, this should be only a minor speed bump at worst. Andreas Lilja, who practiced in Stuart’s place today, can fill in ably.

By the way, kudos to the Wings for letting Stuart do this. It’s just more evidence that this is the best organization in the game. - Matt

Bruce MacLeod reports from practice that Pavel Datsyuk is on the ice after having the day off yesterday. That’s definitely good news

Brad Stuart is still in California with his wife. I would hope the plan is that he’ll be back tonight so that he can participate in the pre-game ska te tomorrow. If, however, the plan is for him to remain out West until his second child is born and as a result he isn’t back for Game 1, the Wings have options like Andreas Lilja, Derek Meech or Jonathan Ericsson.

Mark Hartigan, Kirk Maltby, and Aaron Downey are wearing the “likely scratch” greay sweaters.

Ericsson is practicing with the team again.

The lines:

Datsyuk-Zetterberg-Holmstrom
Franzen-FIlppula-Samuelsson
Hudler-Draper-Cleary
Drake-Helm-McCarty
Maltby-Hartigan-Downey

Lidstrom-Rafalski
Kronwall-Lilja (subbing for Stuart)
Lebda-Chelios
Ericsson-Meech

Osgood
Hasek
Howard

4/22 Notes

Update (4:00 PM): Ansar Khan says Pavel Datsyuk has the flu. Let’s hope it’s not the same “flu” that Nashville’s Jason Arnott had for Games 5 and 6 of the first round. Khan also quotes Babcock as saying Datsyuk will be back at the Joe tomorrow after spending today at home.

Khan also has more from Babcock on Kirk Maltby and Darren Helm. Basically, Babcock isn’t sure if Malts will be ready to go for Game 1, and he sounds too impressed with Helm to insert #18 anyway.

In another post, Khan reports that Tomas Kopecky (torn ACL, sprained MCL) underwent surgery today in Alabama. He’s expected to take 4-6 months to recover, so it’s possible he’ll miss the start of the season. - Matt

Update (1:14 PM): MacLeod has updated as promised:

Pavel Datsyuk is “sick,” though the team isn’t saying what he’s got. The best bet is that it’s “banged-up-itis” given that Piet Van Zant’s immediate prescription was more home rest. Babcock assured MacLeod that Pavel will “be ready to go” for the second round.

Brad Stuart missed practice because he returned home to California to be with his wife for the birth of their second child.

Kirk Maltby (hamstring) is awaiting medical clearance, but even if he gets it, he’s not a lock to play. Babcock told the media “that he doesn’t like to change the lineup when things are going well.” If Babcock opts to stand pat, he’ll be choosing Darren Helm’s youthful exuberance over Kirk Maltby’s 137 games of playoff experience.

I’m not sure how I feel on that. Do you remember Maltby much this season? Me either. Darren Helm, on the other hand, stood out and has a lot going for him in terms of speed and offensive upside. Then again, Kirk Maltby has a ton of playoff experience and after watching the ramped-up performances of Dallas Drake, Darren McCarty, and Kris Draper, it’s easy to value that above youth. Helm, though, gives the Wings a bona fide fourth-line center, a role Maltby can’t fill. But Babcock won’t be as quick to trust Helm with killing penalties. Of course, Maltby will be returning from a hamstring injury, which likely means a lost step or two. What do you think?

Also, Nick Lidstrom is, predictably enough, a Norris Trophy finalist. His competition is Zdeno Chara and Dion Phaneuf. - Matt

Bruce MacLeod reports from practice:

Pavel Datsyuk was not on the ice, though MacLeod doesn’t think there’s any reason to think it’s worse than normal playoff bumps and bruises. He promises to ask for more information, so expect an update on that later.

Brad Stuart also did not practice. The obvious reason for that is his finger, which is still healing. However, in light of Stuart’s absence, it is interesting that Jonathan Ericsson practiced “with the varsity” rather than separately with his fellow Grand Rapids call-ups. Even with Stuart out, there are eight defensemen participating (Lidstrom, Rafalski, Kronwall, Chelios, Lilja, Lebda, Meech, and Ericsson).

Kirk Maltby (hamstring) is practicing, so his return could come soon.

MacLeod says the team used the same lines that played in Game 6, though, with Datsyuk out, Maltby and Mark Hartigan working in on the top line. Aaron Downey got reps with the fourth line.

4/5 Notes

Update (2:12 PM): Helene St. James notes that the playoff schedule given below is not yet official. It’s just what the team is anticipating.

Also, I’ve added a sidebar section with first round info and links. For some reason, it’s not showing up on the main page, but it’s there in the post pages. I hope to get that fixed, but because it’s tied to a conflict between the new version of WordPress and the k2 theme I use, I can’t do much aside from wait for a fix to be posted. - Matt

Update (2:06 PM): For those wondering why the Wings signed Abdelkader when they could have just called up a Griffin or two, here’s my thinking (posted as a comment over at Abel to Yzerman in response to IwoCPO calling it a panic signing):

I think it’s a matter of timing. Abdelkader decided just this past week that he was going to forgo his senior year at MSU. When he told the Wings, they had two routes they could take: 1) sign him by the Saturday deadline and have him available for the playoffs, or 2) let him hang out for a summer and sign him by the August deadline so that he could join the organization next season.

The benefits of Option 1 are obvious: you can bring in a highly-touted prospect who would be idle otherwise. He brings a fast, physical style as well as buckets of motivation to play for his home team. If nothing else, he can join the group of young guys the team will be calling up at the end of the Griffins’ season and give the Wings a heck of a practice squad.

So, they signed him to an amateur tryout in order to whet his appetite. He then signed the entry level contract and now has the chance to play hockey in real life this summer instead of on his Xbox.

Not a panic signing at all. Just a realization that an idle Justin Abdelkader is a waste of talent.

- Matt

Ansar Khan has an update from practice:

… Tomas Holmstrom (abdomen/groin) is definitely going to play tomorrow. He’ll skate on Henrik Zetterberg’s wing with Pavel Datsyuk.

… Kris Draper (groin) is out tomorrow, but claimed he’ll be back for Game 1. So, the 10-14 days claim from the FSN broadcast Thursday night was incorrect. Draper implied that he’d be playing through pain by telling Khan he would play tomorrow if it were the playoffs.

… Mikael Samuelsson (groin) was on the ice but not for long. No return date has been set yet.

… The team recalled Darren Helm from the Griffins, apparently to give Babcock more options.

… The practice lines:

Datsyuk-Zetterberg-Holmstrom
Filppula-Franzen-Cleary
Drake-Hartigan-Downey
Hudler-Helm-McCarty

… Justin Abdelkader was the odd man out in practice, but Babcock told Khan he’d dress 13 forwards prior to the game and decide who sits after warmups.

… Brian Rafalski will be rested tomorrow, which means Derek Meech will be on the blueline.

… Lastly, Khan provides the first round schedule. Not times yet, but Game 2 will be an evening game, apparently:

Game 1 — Thursday in Detroit
Game 2 — Saturday in Detroit
Game 3 — April 14 in Nashville
Game 4 — April 16 in Nashville
x-Game 5 — April 18 in Detroit
x-Game 6 — April 20 in Nashville
x-Game 7 — April 22 in Detroit

x-if necessary

4/1 Injury Notes

Update (2:54 PM): Ted Kulfan has a slightly different take on Holmstrom’s situation:

The status of Tomas Holmstrom (abdominal strain) will be determined by Wednesday’s morning skate in Chicago. If Holmstrom doesn’t play in Chicago, he’ll likely play Thursday against Columbus.

Makes sense. If I had to guess, though, I’d say they keep him out tomorrow night no matter what. - Matt

Update (2:12 PM): Ansar Khan also has more, but about the only new piece of injury-related information is that Holmstrom said he expects to play Thursday night.

Khan also astutely suggests that Babcock may break up the Eurotwins on the road, but keep them together at home, when he has the last change. - Matt

Update (2:05 PM): George Sipple has some more on Draper’s injury, with quotes from Mike Babcock. Apparently, it is a recurrence of the groin issue that kept him out earlier this month, though it does not sound that serious. The team is just being cautious. - Matt

… Bruce MacLeod has some bad news: Kris Draper skipped out on nearly the entire practice today due to tightness in his groin. He definitely will not play tomorrow or Thursday, and probably won’t return for the home game Sunday. MacLeod says he likely won’t be back until the playoffs begin on the 10th.

As MacLeod points out, Draper only recently returned from a groin injury that sidelined him for five games. Here’s hoping this goes away with some rest.

… It looks like Tomas Holmstrom (abdomen) won’t return tomorrow after all. The team is looking at a possible Thursday return date for #96, who has missed 11 games. Just as long as he’s good and ready. There’s no rush.

… Mikael Samuelsson (groin) did not skate and does not appear to be close to returning.

In an earlier post, MacLeod reported that Brad Stuart (broken finger) took part in practice, but did not participate in 5-on-5 drills.

… MacLeod also provided the practice lines and pairings:

Filppula-Datsyuk-Cleary
Hudler-Zetterberg-Franzen
Kopecky-Hartigan-Maltby
Downey-Drake-McCarty

Lidstrom-Rafalski
Kronwall-Chelios
Lebda-Lilja

It’s interesting to see the Eurotwins split up again. Obviously, that’s preparation for the playoffs, when keeping them together (and matched up against the opposition’s shutdown players) would be less productive than splitting them up.

Also, with Draper’s injury, it looks like we won’t get a reprieve from Hartigan any time soon.