Friday night, the Red Wings will take on the Maple Leafs in the first half of a home-and-home. They’ll be icing mostly regulars, with a complement of call-ups. Or, as Red Wings fans call it, February.
The expected lineup:
Johan Franzen — Pavel Datsyuk — Tomas Holmstrom
Todd Bertuzzi — Valtteri Filppula — Dan Cleary
Kris Draper — Justin Abdelkader — Mattias Ritola
Brad May — Kris Newbury — Francis Pare
Nicklas Lidstrom — Brian Rafalski
Niklas Kronwall — Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson — Brett Lebda
THINGS TO WATCH FOR:
1. That back-end and goaltending tandem looks an awful lot like what you should expect on October 2nd.
2. Justin Abdelkader is officially the Red Wings Pre-Season Iron Man – having suited up for all six.
3. Recent try-out addition Brad May will be in the lineup right away, and might make things interesting.
4. Dan Cleary makes his return to the lineup after catching the groin injury bug last week.
5. There are seven players who – after this game – will not have suited up for the Red Wings, yet remain on the roster. Most of those are due to injury (Zetterberg, Lilja, Helm, Oulahen), but Sebastien Piche, Dick Axelsson and Jordan Pearce might just be getting the snub.
6. Doug Janik has played in one pre-season game. What’s that about? Ditto Jan Mursak, Logan Pyett, and Evan McGrath.
7. Of the “regulars,” only Jonathan Ericsson has dressed more than four times – presumably to get him in the groove and ready to play 82. The Red Wings playing in four are Nick Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Derek Meech, Brett Lebda, Brian Rafalski, Kris Draper, Johan Franzen, and Tomas Holmstrom.
8. Playing the fewest: Cleary, Kirk Maltby, and Jason Williams – all with 2. Cleary and Williams have battled injuries, should we assume Kirk Maltby has as well, or is he getting ready for his slot in the 13-hole?
9. Aside from Justin Abdelkader, who has dressed in all of the games so far, Kris Newbury and Mattias Ritola lead the call-up brigade, with five games each.