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St. James: Red Wings get Datsyuk back vs. Minnesota, but scratch Modano?

This news is downright puzzling: the Free Press’s Helene St. James reports that the Red Wings’ doctors have cleared Pavel Datsyuk to play against the Minnesota Wild today (5 PM EDT, FSD/FS North/WXYT), but for some reason, Mike Modano, who’s been battling a persistent groin injury, is a healthy scratch:

Quick update headed into this afternoon’s game between the Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota Wild at Joe Louis Arena: Forward Pavel Datsyuk will return after missing seven games because of a lower body injury, general manager Ken Holland said. But defenseman Niklas Kronwall will miss a second straight game because of an upper body injury. He’s considered day-to-day.

The healthy scratches are Kris Draper, who is up in the rotation between him and Drew Miller, and fellow forward Mike Modano.

This means Westland’s Modano will fall just shy of hitting 1,500 NHL games by season’s end. He stands at 1,496, with four games remaining.

Continued.

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Comments

Red Winger's avatar

The Wings like to rest their regulars this time of year. Maybe it’s just Modano’s turn?

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 04/03/11 at 04:44 PM ET

Avatar

I’d sit Modano before Draper and/or Miller.

Posted by Steve on 04/03/11 at 04:55 PM ET

edillac's avatar

yay,Drew is back

Posted by edillac from isolation on 04/03/11 at 05:01 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I think this has to do more with resting his chronic groin issues than anything else.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/03/11 at 05:13 PM ET

Bradley97's avatar

It’s a shame Modano won’t hit the big game marker this season, but as with Ozzie falling just short of 400 wins last season, them’s the breaks. I guess he’ll just have to play another season, be it here or maybe back in Dallas, or even with Minnesota if he wants that particular milestone. I want a healthy team in the playoffs, and a healthy wily veteran Modano ready to go at full strength. He’s not the player he was when he won the big face offs for Dallas with a broken hand on their run, but he still has something left in the tank for the playoffs, so long as he’s healthy enough to push himself to whatever that high level actually is. Just protecting the puck and not getting knocked down (the guy is like a wall when he’s healthy) could mean the difference in winning or losing the key game in a series.

Posted by Bradley97 on 04/03/11 at 05:29 PM ET

Avatar

I’d sit Modano before Draper and/or Miller.

Posted by Steve on 04/03/11 at 03:55 PM ET

I wouldn’t object if Hudler was dropped into the “healthy scratch” rotation.

Posted by mc keeper on 04/03/11 at 05:37 PM ET

CC Moor's avatar

George,

I’d like to ask you and Bradley 97, and any others who care to comment:

(1)  Is there a preferred 1st round playoff opponent, and if so, why?  If we assume L.A. is weakened without Kopitar and Williams and so everyone would pick them, what about the other four teams?  I fear CHI the most though they are all capable when healthy.

(2)  Is Nashville ready to take a step forward in the playoffs this year?  They seem like it to me with their defense.

(3)  Would you agree that if the Red Wings are to win the Cup this year, they cannot finish worse than 2nd in the West?  Because 3rd may well portend two series with west coast teams where they’d have to travel 3X each, likely.  So it is imperative to overtake San Jose.

(4)  Is Vancouver a prohibitive favorite going into the playoffs, in your opinion?  They’re certainly not going to be 100% healthy.

(5)  Who is likely to survive the three rounds in the East?

Thanks for your great work George!

Posted by CC Moor from Washington DC on 04/03/11 at 06:05 PM ET

Bradley97's avatar

Hi CC Moor!

Friend, you ask the toughest questions.  tongue wink

As always, I’ll give you my best:

1) I hate asking for a preferred opponent, but looking at the other division winners, it’s Nashville or Chicago. And that scares me. The fact is unless Vancouver or San Jose have a first round meltdown there is a good chance Detroit will have to play both the second and third round on the west coast against both of those teams. And LA and Anaheim could also be opponents at some point, with Calgary still a possible playoff team, though I’m not sure the numbers are in their favor. So, there is a chance Detroit could play all three rounds on the west coast or two on the west and one in Alberta. Talk about a nightmare.

Of the two division rivals, Chicago is beat up but still loaded with potential and Nashville is one of the hardest working teams in the league.

2) If Nashville is ready for a run, I hope Detroit is not the first team they face. If the standings stay where they are today, Nashville plays San Jose (with Detroit playing Anaheim, ouch!). While an upset is possible, I still like San Jose (unless there is some injury I’m not aware of). If Nashville can take out San Jose and Detroit makes it to the second round, that could be it for Nashville.

It would be something if the Detroit/Chicago season ending home-and-home series led to a first round match for Detroit and Chicago and left San Jose to deal with Nashville. If Nashville can take that next step, hope they get themselves worn out in the process. On the other hand, those last two regular season games could place Detroit against Nashville and Chicago against San Jose.

Nashville always scares me, but as good as some aspects of their game are, I’m just not sure they can make a run this year, especially if Detroit is healthy and rolling and the other division winners make to the second round. Once the final standings are set I’ll have a better idea of what we are looking at.

3) As I’ve listed above, finishing 2 or 3 may not matter as currently Detroit is in 2nd against Anaheim. The final standings will have more to do with how the other teams fair and the way Detroit finishes at 2 or 3 that will make the biggest potential impact on Detroit’s chances travel-wise.

4) I like Vancouver a lot this year. They have rarely had their defense at 100% but they are so deep it never mattered. The Sedins are the best tag team in the league, with Daniel taking a step up this season. If Luongo gets hot and the rest of the team does it’s job this could be the first playoff in some time that a big money goalie hoists the Cup. Don’t forget Vancouver has Burrows back at full strength with the Sedins so their line is complete. But they are a two-line team, so if it comes down to them and Detroit and Detroit is healthy, Detroit’s superior depth down the middle could be the difference.

5) Ovechkin spent the season learning to play a complete game. Then he started scoring again. I think Washington might break through this year because they finally learned how to play at both ends of the ice. But looking at the number of potential hot goalies in the East, if one gets super hot all bets are off.

Posted by Bradley97 on 04/04/11 at 02:21 PM ET

CC Moor's avatar

Bradley 97,

Thanks very much for your incisive analysis and commentary—you and George both know your stuff!  I cannot but agree with everything you say, and you make great points. I guess we will see how this week plays out.  I guess Hamhuis is out of Vancouver’s line-up but they have everyone else and as you say Luongo seems ready this year.  Having to travel out there three times in one series after having had to do the same thing against San Jose and maybe LA or Anaheim seems cruel.  But Nashville and Chicago are not any picnics either in the first round!

Jimmy Howard is saving 90.9% of the shots against him and giving up 2.77 GA per game; it is amazing how at the margin that kills you, versus him being 2.25 GA last year and saving 92.5% of his shots.

Anyway it is a great time of year.  More soon and thanks.

Posted by CC Moor from Washington DC on 04/04/11 at 10:24 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

the only problem with healthy scratching 26 is the guy is a mass of nerves. He’s just barely getting his confidence under him. A benching might yank the rug from under him. Still, he frustrates me the way Lebda used to (and I loved the guy before he went to the KHL and lost his touch).

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 04/04/11 at 11:44 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

CC, aside from the fact that the Predators have tended to have the Red Wings’ number over the past few seasons in Nashville?

I really and honestly don’t believe that the Wings have a first-round opponent, aside from the fact that the Wings want to travel as little as possible.

It’s gotten to the point where the West’s teams provide such stiff challenges that regardless of whether it’s Dallas, Chicago, Phoenix, Anaheim, Nashville or even LA, the West’s teams are all capable of making a two-round push.

Mind you, during the second round of the playoffs, the teams that get lucky and the teams that are built for the long haul tend to be sorted out, but in terms of a first round opponent that’s easily beatable, or a team that can’t beat Detroit? That team doesn’t exist anymore. Even Columbus and Colorado have given the Wings fits, so I don’t really believe that it’s possible to suggest that there’s a more favorable match-up *in general.*

Certainly, there are teams that stack up against the Wings a little better or a little worse physically, who have more or less depth on defense and/or have goaltenders who’ve gotten the Wings’ collective goat, but every team is dangerous and every team presents a six-or-seven-game series’ worth of challenges.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/05/11 at 12:04 AM ET

CC Moor's avatar

George thanks for your comments; I quite agree with you.  I would like to play L.A. first only because their top two offensive guys are out and Penner seems asleep there so far.  And I would like to get the #2 seed so as not to have to travel 3X in two series back to back.

But there is so much parity now it does not matter as you say, in the end.  Whoever is healthy and has a hot goaltender will go places this spring.

Keep up your great work.

P.S.  Any insight into how are favorite kid Ben Marshall is doing out in Omaha?

Posted by CC Moor from Washington DC on 04/05/11 at 09:55 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.