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Red Wings practice update: Rafalski’s healthy, Osgood’s healthy, Eaves is healthy!

One more update at 6:59 PM via Kulfan, and thanks to Paul for posting the video of Nicklas Lidstrom addressing head shots from the Windsor Star:  Following up today’s earlier Wings posts, MLive’s Ansar Khan confirms that the Red Wings have not only activated Chris Osgood off the IR and sent Joey MacDonald to Grand Rapids, but also expect to get defenseman Brian Rafalski and/or forward Patrick Eaves back into the lineup for Wendesday’s game against Washington:

Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said forward Patrick Eaves (groin) has been cleared to play, but he hasn’t set his lineup yet for Wednesday’s game against the Washington Capitals (7:30 p.m., FSD). Eaves has missed the past eight games.

“Once we know who’s available we’ll decide on the roster after that,’’ Babcock said.

Defenseman Brian Rafalski (back spasms), as expected, will return to action in that game, after missing seven games. Chris Osgood will dress as Jimmy Howard’s backup. Osgood won’t necessarily start Thursday’s game in Columbus. Babcock said he hadn’t decided when Osgood would play.

“Whoever gives us the best chance of winning, that’s what we’re going to do,’’ Babcock said.

Khan also confirms that the Wings will likely be without Ruslan Salei for the better part of the week as his wife’s very overdue to deliver the couple’s third child in Manhattan Beach, CA, and Fox Sports Detroit’s Trevor Thompson believes that Osgood will start on Thursday. More to come as the Wings’ beat writers file their Monday practice updates.

Update: The Free Press’s Helene St. James confirms the news:

Osgood was activated off injured reserve today, two months after undergoing surgery for a sports hernia. The Wings play back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday, hosting the Capitals and then playing at Columbus, but coach Mike Babcock wouldn’t commit to playing Osgood against the Blue Jackets—as would be the normal routine for games on consecutive nights.

“I want to win games,” Babcock said. “Whatever gives us the best chance to win, that’s what we’re going to do.”

Osgood, who missed 27 games, is 5-3-2 with a 2.77 goals-against average and .903 save percentage this season. Rafalski has been out since Feb. 24 because of back spasms. Patrick Eaves last played Feb. 22, when an awkward fall left him with a sore groin.

Babcock said he hadn’t decided on a lineup yet, but Rafalski is certain to be back in. The Wings could use his passing and shooting at even strength and on the power play. He also likely will need to be in, as Ruslan Salei is back in California with his wife, who is due to give birth Wednesday.

Eaves subbed in with the top lines during today’s practice, but that was just because the Wings now have an excess of two forwards. One takes turns with the top lines and the other with the third and fourth lines.

Update #2: DetroitRedWings.com’s Jake Duhaime asked the Wings about their recollections of the greatest pranks in the NHL, with Kris Draper, Patrick Eaves and Chris Osgood weighing in…

And the Grand Rapids Griffins’ Afternoon Shift for Monday has posted on their “Half Eagle, Half Lion, All Griffin” blog. Sunday is apparently Fan Appreciation Day.

Update #3: Per RedWingsFeed on Twitter, Chris Osgood and Patrick Eaves talked to the media about their statuses:

Update #4: Finally, here’s Babcock’s presser:

 

 

Update #5/6: The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan spoke to both Rafalski, Osgood and Eaves about their fitness levels…

“You don’t want to wait too long,” Rafalski said. “Conditioning is important come playoff time. One year I played one game before the playoffs (coming off a late-season injury) and it wasn’t enough.”
....
“I’m as close as I can get,” said Osgood. “I feel real good. I don’t know when I’ll play but I’ll keep practicing and be ready. My goal is to be ready for the playoffs, so Mike won’t hesitate to use me if he has to.”
...
“Couple more good skates and I should be ready to go,” Eaves said. “I’m feeling better. I’m getting the conditioning back up and the pace.”

And he asked Mike Babcock about Mike Modano hitting the fitness wall recently:

“In his own mind, he wasn’t as good (Saturday),” Babcock said. “Those things are going to happen. But you have to understand, No. 1, you’re 40 (Modano’s age). No. 2, you’ve had three months off. We’re ecstatic with him. You have to cut yourself a break once in a while. He has to do that and keep battling. The fountain of youth is about to kick in here. It does every year come playoff time.”

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Comments

SYF's avatar

Best wishes for the Saleis.  Here’s hoping it’s a problem-free delivery. 

Heh…and we just had the ever-awesome H2H2 fundraiser for Children’s Hospital.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 03/14/11 at 05:08 PM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Let me be the first to proactively say that Osgood had no chance on that first goal he’s going to give up against Columbus, or any of the next four either.

wink

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 03/14/11 at 05:16 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

Let me be the first to proactively say that Osgood had no chance on that first goal he’s going to give up against Columbus, or any of the next four either.

alol (tm Tyler) +19
Ding-ding-ding - We have a winner. 

If Chief were around, I’d nominate that comment for side-bar status. 

Well, done Mandingo.  Very well, done.  Smart ass, bastard.

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 03/14/11 at 06:12 PM ET

Crater's avatar

I was just posting over a NOHS that I was hoping Babcock would bench Rusty, so with him out my way trying to birth a baby I get my wish. I’ll clarify it isn’t because I don’t like him or his play. He has been exactly what the Wings asked for. I don’t want to see the Wings having to hire baby sitters for every prospect who comes up, especially first rounders like Kindl.

I want to see our D go out and play, and if they can’t do that, then we need to come up with a long term plan. I think having the 8 D and 72 forwards on the NHL roster was great for depth when the injuries came calling, however it does handcuff the team abit. I’m far from an NHL coach or GM, but I’d like to see the team move away from having so much talent scratched.

Carry less, depend a bit more on our rookies, in the last few posts here you can see how loaded GR will be for a few years, and I think call ups are an important cycle in a prospects development. Part of that is not always going with the sure thing, such as a veteran stay at home defensemen to watch over the rookie, especially when the veteran wasn’t part of the team the previous year. Learning from your partner is great when its Lidstrom or Cheli, but I don’t think it has as much impact from Rental players.

Just spit balling. Lets just let big E and Kindl get out there together again when we’ve got some leads and see what they do.

Posted by Crater from SoCal on 03/14/11 at 06:30 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.