DETROIT – Things could go from bad to worse sometime Sunday afternoon for the Detroit Red Wings.
It will all depend how a hearing goes, if there is one, for forward Justin Abdelkader.
Abdelkader was given a five-minute charging penalty and a game misconduct for a hit on Anaheim defenseman Toni Lydman with just under five minutes left to play in the second period of Game 3 Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena.
If Abdelkader is suspended for any length of time it’ll throw the Wings’ forward lines in complete disarray. And you saw an example of it over the last part of the second and all of the third period.
“It’s not as good,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said when asked what happens with the team’s top line if Abdelkader isn’t on the ice. “We don’t have anyone with weight to play there. That’s the bottom line.”
The Wings tried a trio of players to play alongside Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg – Damien Brunner, Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson.
What they may have to do is bump Johan Franzen up there, but that won’t be Babcock’s first choice.
“Then we’re kind of a one line team,” Babcock said. “When you’re really deep and you lose people it’s no big deal. When you’re like us and not as deep it’s a hard thing to deal with.”
Detroit’s other options would be Mikael Samuelsson or Todd Bertuzzi, who was a healthy scratch after playing in Game 2.
“I think obviously Abby’s played real well for us,” Daniel Cleary said. “He’s an important part to our team, plays well with Pav and Z.”
Babcock doesn’t think the hit was illegal.
“He’s a physical guy that’s taking the body hard,” Babcock said. “His shoulder hit his shoulder and the kid went down hard and they called it a major. He hit him hard. He’s a big guy. He hit him hard.
“I’m not involved in the next part of the process,” Babcock added.