DETROIT — Quick update from the Wings’ media availability Sunday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena.
With a pending hearing at 4 p.m. for forward Justin Abdelkader coach Mike Babcock doesn’t know what his lineup will look like for Game 4, Monday night in Detroit.
“I put 23 guys on the sheet and told them all to get ready to play and I’ll decide tomorrow,” Babcock said. “It just bides me some time.”
Babcock also said he watched the hit Abdelkader delivered on Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman and still views it as a clean hit.
“To me, I watched the hit again today and, holy mackerel,” Babcock said. “I don’t know what you’re going to be suspended for, but that’s me. You turn the video and pretend that there was contact to the head maybe you can find something, but a guy is gliding, goes through a guy, I don’t know.”
Abdelkader has hearing over the phone with the league at 4 p.m. over the hit that he was assessed a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct.
“None. None,” Babcock said if Abdelkader had any contact with Lydman’s head. “I think it was shoulder to shoulder, bent knees going into a guy and exploding through him. Should be (the guy sees you coming), braced in time. I think if you turn the video and you look at it from (another) angle coming in and you don’t see what is actually happening you can think that, but I don’t see that at all.
“But if I’m coaching them I can find a way to see it different or playing for them,” Babcock continued. “I know we have to protect the athletes, but I also know it’s a physical game. I thought it was pretty good contact.”
Lydman never returned to the game after the hit that occurred with a little more than five minutes left in the second period of Game 3, Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena.
“I think if you’re Abdelkader you finish the check, you go through people,” Babcock said. “I think that’s what you’re supposed to do. That’s what we pay him to do, be physical on the forecheck. He’s done a real good job for those guys.
“There’s no intent on his part for anyone to get hurt,” Babcock continued. “You don’t want anyone to get hurt. I’m sure he feels bad the other guy got hurt, but I don’t know how badly he’s hurt or anything about that. I know there was no intent there, when I go through it and look at it, I don’t know what the rules are, they’re going to decide.”