DETROIT – Quick update from the Wings’ morning skate prior to tonight’s game against the Calgary Flames.
Tonight also marks the return of former Red Wing Jiri Hudler.
“Hud’s is a good player,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s got great hockey sense and is a fierce competitor. He’s not a big man, not an unbelievable skate, but unbelievable hands. He’s as good on the power play as anybody in the league. He’ll be exited to play here tonight and we’re excited to see him.”
Hudler has two goals and three assists in three games with the Flames this season.
“It’s going to be weird seeing him on the other side after seeing him for a such a long time over on this side,” Wings goalie Jimmy Howard said. “We wish him all the best, but not against us.
“He’s a good passer, that’s an underestimated part of his game how well he finds guys out there,” Howard added. “We’ll have to be aware of that when the puck’s on his stick and find the guys in the soft spot.”
Defenseman Ian White will return to the line after missing the five games with a leg laceration.
Brian Lashoff will also return to the lineup for Jakub Kindl.
“I just want to win,” Babcock said after the skate. “It’s just about trying to figure out what’s the best option that gives us the best chance that’s what you’re trying to do on a nightly basis. Lash did a real good job for us on the penalty kill. Specialty teams are huge for us, tonight’s the Flames’ power is about eighth in the league, around 24 percent, we’re probably going to take a couple penalties, but we want to be disciplined so we want to kill them off and we feel Lash gives us the best opportunity to do that.”
Tomas Tatar will make his season debut, skating on the Wings’ second line with Pavel Datsyuk and Valtteri Filppula.
“We’re hoping he’s a bit like Huds,” Babcock said. “He’s a kid that played and has been very dominated at the young levels and maybe got to pro hockey maybe even a bit earlier. He’s been good in the minors when we called him up.”
Patrick Eaves is out.
“We’re not generating much from our bottom six,” Babcock said. “Originally we were going to play him there, but we’re going to put him with Fil and Pavel and give him a chance. That gives me better depth on the third line.”
Darren Helm had a bone scan on his back and the results came back negative. He plans to see a specialist in the next day or two.
Jan Mursak skated with the team for the first time since injuring his shoulder in the season opener.
“I felt pretty good,” Mursak said. “My shoulder is getting better. I’m still a week or two away from being able to get some contact on that shoulder. Hopefully it goes the same way as it did the last week and I’m back playing on the ice pretty soon.”