Late last night, as I was skating to victory in my over 25 Men’s League game, Khan(!) was hard at work, making sure that we remain up to speed on every one’s favorite underachieving team…
Babcock shuffled practice lines with the anticipated return of Pavel Datsyuk for Thursday’s game in Phoenix, the start of a five-game, 10-day road trip, the longest of the season. Tomas Holmstrom returned to the top line with Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Kris Draper centered a line with Todd Bertuzzi and Cleary.
Glad to see Monty Babcock’s Flying Circus back together. It would seem that Holmer is finally healthy again (knock on wood). Zata has completely elevated his game over the course of the last week, so if Datsyuk can get it going, this line will return to prominence as arguably the best in the league.
Babcock had this to add about keeping Cleary and Bertuzzi together:
“I thought Cleary and Bert have played well together. They’re both big bodies, I expect them to cycle. When you go on the road, you need depth in your lineup, you’re not getting last change, and I think those guys will be good. I thought Bert played real well with Pav and Z. I know Cleary would play really well with Pav and Z, so we’ll see how that goes.”
Basically, Uncle Mike is saying that just about anyone would be able to play really well with Pav and Z. Holmstrom was never really a first line forward until the Euro Twins started making music together.
Draper playing with Bertuzzi and Cleary is a bit confusing, but I guess when the “Two Finns and a Williams” line is playing so well, who are you to have center those two? Abdelkader doesn’t appear to be ready for the big time just yet (told you so). Now, don’t get me wrong, the kid has looked solid at times. But too many occasions where he is knocked off the puck or makes a silly change that leads to a scoring chance. Let May, Eaves, Helm, and Maltby fight over who does what on the fourth line and send Abadabbadoo back in Grand Rapids. He’ll be ready next year…or in the play-offs this year.
Ozzie is going to start his sixth consecutive game on Thursday. Jimmy will most likely get in when the Wings look to redeem themselves against the Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on Saturday.