DETROIT -- When the Stanley Cup final shifts to Pittsburgh for Game 3 Tuesday, it's a fair bet winger Marian Hossa will face a flood of venom from fans for switching from the Penguins to Detroit in the offseason.
Red Wings backup goaltender Ty Conklin did the same thing -- he was with the Penguins for their run to the final last year, then signed with champion Detroit -- but doesn't expect a lot of jeers upon returning to Mellon Arena.
"I don't think so, no," Conklin said, with a big grin that interrupted a substantial playoff beard.
"I think they've got their hands full with Hoss."
Conklin was a key component for the Penguins in 2007-08, going 18-8-5, much of that when No. 1 goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was hurt. He got substantial playing time this past regular season as Chris Osgood's backup with Detroit, going 25-11-2.
Conklin is going to the final with his third team -- Edmonton was the first -- and has played in both outdoor Winter Classics. That would seem to be pretty good for a 33-year-old journeyman.
"Hey, I follow good teams around," he said, with another smile.
"No, it's just worked out that way. I've been pretty fortunate that way."
Conklin said he would not presume to offer Osgood any pointers on the Penguins, including star centers Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin -- "They see net, they're going to shoot at it. It doesn't matter where it is," he said -- and hasn't dished any dirt that could be used for trash-talk fodder.
"We don't really play like that anyway," he said.
Detroit wasn't quite as healthy as it had hoped for the game.
Defenseman and captain Nicklas Lidstrom was in the lineup after missing the last two games of the Western Conference final against Chicago with a lower-body injury, and rookie defenseman Jonathan Ericsson returned three days after an appendectomy.
Two others, though, were held out.
Center Pavel Datsyuk, a finalist for the Hart Trophy as league MVP, was not able to play because of continued trouble with a foot injury, and center Kris Draper sat out because of a groin injury. Both participated in the morning skate.
"When he first gets on the ice, especially in the morning, he's really stiff to get his foot going," coach Mike Babcock said of Datsyuk.
"We've tried a number of things, and it hasn't responded the way we first anticipated."
Consecutive games last night and tonight at Joe Louis Arena to open the series might be a bit taxing after the grind of three previous rounds, but Babcock figures at least the games are not spread out the way they were in some of the series before the final.
"The great thing about it is, they don't ask me," Babcock said. "It's kind of like refereeing -- they don't ask me about that, either."
"We had a ton of time. I mean, I could have gone bear-hunting every series in between games. ... So I guess the bottom line is, we're here, we're ecstatic to be here and we're excited to be playing in the games wherever they're scheduled and whenever they're scheduled."
Shelly Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1721.