With Kronwall, Datsyuk and Alfredsson missing from practice, Babcock juggles up lines

DETROIT >> With Niklas Kronwall, Pavel Datsyuk and Daniel Alfredsson missing from practice, Wings coach Mike Babcock had a different look to his lines.

“I didn’t ask anybody today on purpose,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said when asked if he inquired about the status for those three for Game 4 Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena. “I figure by not asking anybody it buys me until tomorrow to decide what I want to do first and then I would assume that they’re both playing (Datsyuk and Kronwall. They’re not giving birth. Their wives are. One has and one is.”

Datsyuk just had a daughter, while Kronwall’s girlfriend is expecting to give birth soon.

The top line consisted of Justin Abdelkader, Henrik Zetterberg and Todd Bertuzzi.

Zetterberg, who’s still recovering from undergoing successful surgery on Feb. 21 to remove part of a disc which was rubbing against a nerve, said he was able to skate lines because of Datsyuk’s absence.

“I’ve been thinking about (Zetterberg’s return) for eight weeks,” Babcock said. “It doesn’t matter what I think about it though. We have doctors here that decide that so they’ll let us know, if he’s available, he’ll be going.”

Asked if there was a shot he’d play Babcock added, “We haven’t talked about this at all. I put him in there because I thought his number looked real good where Pavel was supposed to be.”

Bertuzzi has been a healthy scratch the first three games of the series.

“I’ve skated with him for about four or five days now,” Bertuzzi said of Zetterberg. “He looks good, he looks strong. Only he can tell whether it’s ready or not. The back is a pretty crucial part of your body and I know he’s put a lot of time and work in and months to be back, so obviously if he’s available he would be a huge part of our team coming back.

“It’s him and Pav take two lines away,” Bertuzzi continued. “It’s up to the third and fourth (lines) to contribute. Usually those guys go status quo or get a goal or two and it’s up to three and four to take care of business.”

The second line consisted of Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar, while Darren Helm centered Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist on the third line.

The fourth line had Luke Glendening centering David Legwand and Drew Miller, with Joakim Andersson rotating in.


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