Update (4:40 PM): It looks like the Wings’ site is ramping up the news updates, even on off days. Nice to see. DetroitRedWings.com’s Bob Roose has more on Draper’s knee injury, including a better description of what happened and on the effect the injury will have on the roster make-up.
Also, a response to this piece by Ryan Dixon of The Hockey News, in which he berates Andreas Lilja for fighting Dion Phaneuf after the latter’s high hit on Jiri Hudler last night. Regardless of the cleanliness of the hit (a somewhat debatable point given the fact that Phaneuf left his feet and used his elbow), Lilja was perfectly within his rights to challenge the Flames defenseman. Like George Malik points out, Phaneuf did not have to accept the challenge and could have easily skated away. Few would have questioned his toughness.
Dixon betrays his true motivations for criticizing Lilja here:
Would the thinking go: â€œWell, I could give my team a lift by laying somebody out, but is that worth our worst defenseman getting more ice time while I sit in the box for five minutes?â€
Dixon’s all wound up because Phaneuf is touted as a star in the League, whereas is Lilja a no-name player who had the gall to challenge him and take him off the ice, away from prospective fans, for a whole five minutes. Mr. Dixon, it’s part of the game and Lilja earned points with his own fanbase for the fight. It’s not all about Phaneuf. It’s too bad for the Flames that it happened in the last 7 minutes, but, again, Phaneuf didn’t have to fight. – Matt
Update (3:22 PM): Red Wings TV has added three post-practice interviews:
… Bruce MacLeod reports that Kris Draper will be out 10-14 days with a knee sprain. That’s a big hit to the team’s defensive capablities, especially going into the game against the NHL points leader Vincent Lecavalier and Tampa Bay tomorrow night. It’s not the end of the world by any means, given the defensive talent on the roster, but the third line won’t be as effective at shutting the other team down.
… Tomas Kopecky has been cleared to play.
… It looks like the earliest Matt Ellis will be back is Tuesday night in Montreal.
… Kirk Maltby did not practice today and the reason given is a shoulder injury. MacLeod does not know his status for the Tampa Bay game. If he’s not able to go, the team will carry 7 defensemen or call up a forward from Grand Rapids in order to fill in the empty roster spot. Personally, I hope Derek Meech gets to see some ice time, if Maltby needs a night off. The last thing the Griffins need is to lose a forward, however temporarily.
… Apparently, Chris Osgood will start again tomorrow night. It’ll be his third start in a row. Dominik Hasek is slated to start either Saturday or Tuesday. Babcock says the strategy is to play Osgood more in the first half in order to rest Dom for the second half and the playoffs. Okay, I can believe that, but tell me Dom wouldn’t be starting more often if he were tearing it up like Osgood has been.