DETROIT — Ruslan Salei was under the impression after the Wings’ morning skate that he wasn’t playing tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
His coach had other ideas.
Salei has missed the last three games and has not skated since March 12 in St. Louis after spending more than a week with his wife as they welcomed in their third child.
“It’s up to the coaches obviously, whatever decision they make,” Salei said when asked if he would be ready to play Wednesday against the Vancouver Canucks. “I just got back into it. I haven’t been up to the standards conditioning wise and I haven’t been skating for a week.”
Babcock said, “We’ll go with seven (defenseman), so Salei will be our seventh D or our 12th forward whether we choose to play him there. He told you wasn’t, well he probably didn’t know. He is. We don’t have the ability to call anyone up because of cap space. I don’t think he’ll be worn out. He’ll be alright.”
Goalie Chris Osgood hopes to backup Jimmy Howard Wednesday against the Canucks.
“I felt like I’m back where I was before I had the previous setback,” Osgood said. “If I feel real good tomorrow hopefully I can be back Wednesday.”
However Osgood’s wife is due to deliver a baby on Wednesday.
Jiri Hudler has recovered from the flu, but still is bothered by a sore neck and shoulder, which he suffered on his first shift last week against the Washington Capitals when he was hit by D.J. King.
“I feel better,” Hudler said. “My fever I had that for four days. It’s down now.
“I got hit really hard in Washington on that first shift,” Hudler added. “I hurt my neck and shoulder and with fever it got really stiff. It wasn’t pretty the last few days. I battled through and I feel a lot better now.”
Hudler has not been on ice since the Washington game and doesn’t know when he’ll get back on skates.
“I’m doing treatments,” Hudler said. “I hate being off the ice, but if this is what it takes I’ve got to do it. All the way till last night I’ve felt pretty bad.
Hudler said he’s lost about seven pounds.
Johan Franzen (groin) and Pavel Datsyuk (lower body) will also miss tonight’s game.