DETROIT – Quick update from Wings practice at Joe Louis Arena.
It looks like Henrik Zetterberg (back) will return to the lineup Saturday on the road against the Florida Panthers, but Wings coach Mike Babcock says he won’t know his exact lineup until after the morning skate.
“(I’m) good and ready to play tomorrow,” Zetterberg said. “If nothing happens from now until 7 (p.m. Friday) I will be in. The good thing is I’ve been doing more and more stuff and it hasn’t gotten worse. It’s time to play again and get out and play some hockey.”
Justin Abdelkader (concussion), Jimmy Howard (knee) and Darren Helm (shoulder) also took part in the entire praftice.
“I’m not 100 percent sure on anything,” Babcock said. “(Justin) Abdelkader’s another guy too that I think might be available. Howie was in the net the whole time so I’ll assume he’s coming here eventually. I hear there’s a sighting of Darren Helm too. I don’t know when these guys are coming or not coming. We’ll know more after the morning skate.
“We’re going to send (Riley) Sheahan down with the anticipation that Zetterberg is going to play,” Babcock continued. “Anytime you’ve been injured for a long time you never know, plus we’ve had three days off.”
Zetterberg has missed the last 11 games and still leads the team in points with 30 (11 goals, 19 assists).
“We’ve missed him,” Babcock said. “It’s been a long time. I just know we need him back.”
Howard plans on returning between the pipes Monday in Nashville.
“I’m still hoping to play in Nashville, that’s been the goal here all along and I don’t think anything’s changed,” Howard said. “The first real test was today with a full practice and it felt pretty good out there. I think I need a couple more practices. It’s still a little stiff for not using it for so long. That’s going to happen with any injury. I just need to be the mobility back.
He’s missed the last seven games.
“It’s a combination of everything, timing, keeping track of the puck, everything,” Howard said. “It’s almost been a month since I’ve been in the net so for me when I do get back out there and I do get to play it’s about staying at the top of the crease and being as patient as possible.”