DETROIT — The Detroit Red Wings more be even more shorthanded up front than what they were during Monday’s shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Wings coach Mike Babcock said after practice Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena that Todd Bertuzzi (sore back) will sit out Wednesday’s game against the Western Conference leading Vancouver Canucks.
He joins three others forwards — Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), Johan Franzen (groin) and Jiri Hudler (neck, shoulder) — that won’t play against the Canucks.
“I don’t think we’ll have Franzen, Datsyuk, Hudler or Bertuzzi available for tomorrow,” Babcock said after after practice. “He’s had aches and pain for a while and he just can’t go. So we’ll give him a few days.”
If Bertuzzi can’t play it’ll be his first game missed in his second stint in Detroit, playing in 155 consecutive games.
Hudler skated for the first time since getting hurt on his first shift last Wednesday against the Washington Capitals.
“It’s still really stiff and uncomfortable to move the head,” Hudler said. “That’s the main reason. I don’t care about the stiffness in my shoulder. I’ve played through a lot more stuff than that. I want to turn my head around. Everybody wants to feel comfortable on the ice. It’s sometimes a little dangerous (if you don’t).”
Hudler took part in the full practice, while Franzen skated before the full team took the ice.
Datsyuk did not skate.
Chris Osgood got most of the work in practice over Joey MacDonald, but his status for Wednesday’s game won’t be determined until later Tuesday or the morning skate Wednesday.
A healthy Osgood would add the Wings up front.
If Osgood can dress then the Wings can send MacDonald back to Grand Rapids.
That would free up salary-cap space for the Wings to recall a forward. That will in all likelihood be Jan Mursak.
If Osgood is unable to backup Jimmy Howard, the Wings will be forced to play with 10 forwards. They played with 11 Monday and dressed seven defensemen, which they will end up having to do again Wednesday.