Howard will start Sunday; Zetterberg will play; Datsyuk’s chances of playing in the Olympics getting slim

DETROIT >> Quick update from Wings practice at Joe Louis Arena before they head out to Washington for a game with the Capitals Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

It appears that there won’t be any lineup changes for the game.

Jimmy Howard will start in goal and Henrik Zetterberg, despite not practicing, will play as well.

“I feel good,” Howard said. “It’s kind of nice. The injury wasn’t as significant as the one before. I wasn’t really all that worried about it.”

Friday was Howard’s first game back after missing four in a row due to a knee injury. He also missed eight games in December with a more severe knee injury.

Zetterberg also returned to the lineup Friday after missing two games with a reoccurring back issue.

“I felt pretty good in here,” Zetterberg smiled. “It felt good (Friday night). It was fun to be back playing again. I’m looking forward to (Sunday).”

Zetterberg missed 11 games in December with a herniated disc.

“I felt pretty good, better than I have the last couple of days (waking up),” Zetterberg said. “I played a game so that’s positive. It’s not fun to be out so it was a little never wracking to see it reacts, but it feels good.”

As for Pavel Datsyuk, it’s beginning to look more and more like his chances of participating in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, are getting slimmer and slimmer.

“Nope,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said shrugging his shoulders when asked if there was anything new on Datsyuk.

Datsyuk is the captain for Russia.

Asked if he would be back before the Olympics, Babcock said, “I don’t know. I’m just like you. I just keep asking.”

Babcock also picked up his 400th with Detroit on Friday.

“Obviously I got my 400th before, but my 400th with Detroit means I’ve been here a while and I’ve had good players,” Babcock said. “Let’s be honest, this last little while I haven’t exactly been mowing them down. So mowed ‘em down for a long time and it’s been a bit of a grind here lately.”

And like many of his players, Babcock is picking Denver to win the Super Bowl.
“I lived in the Pacific Northwest,” Babcock said. “Mark Rypien is a friend of mine. I remember when he was with Indy and then came into Seattle and I’d go watch him there. But I got to pick Peyton Manning.

“He’s ultra-competitive,” added Babcock about Manning. “He’s a working machine. He and (Tom) Brady to me are incredible because they’re so intelligent and they execute so good and they’ve done it over and over and over again. I just think it’s impressive. But I also (respect) Seattle as well so who knows. Plus the NHL will be in Seattle one day.”

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