Red Wings Notebook: Holmstrom hoping to return from injury
Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom, left, takes out Gary Roberts during first period action in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at Mellon Arena.
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Detroit top-line left winger Tomas Holmstrom skipped practice yesterday but hopes to be back in his usual spot -- in front of the Penguins net -- tonight for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final at Mellon Arena.
Holmstrom was knocked out of Game 3 when he was leveled by hulking Penguins defenseman Hal Gill in the third period.
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, who at first stalled and joked about not wanting to reveal anything about the injury, said it concerned "the back of his leg, the hamstring. He's got a little problem there. We think he'll be fine. He's a tough guy."
Holmstrom said he wants to play tonight as Detroit tries to increase its 2-1 series lead. The Red Wings got back-to-back shutouts at home before falling, 3-2, Wednesday in Game 3.
After the hit, Holmstrom tested the leg during stoppages but decided against continuing to play.
After resting Thursday and riding a stationary bike yesterday, he said he hopes to participate in the morning skate today and decide about playing tonight -- and he likes his chances of being in the lineup.
"That's the way it looks," he said. "It feels good."
Holmstrom said the injury is not related to the groin problem that forced him to miss 13 games from early March to early April.
Babcock indicated that if Holmstrom can't play, Daniel Cleary will replace him on the top line with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, and Johan Franzen will take his spot on the top power-play unit.
Darren McCarty, who has been scratched the past two games, would return to the lineup.
Holmstrom has four goals and 12 points in 19 playoff games, including a goal and an assist in this round.
He drew two penalties against Gill in Game 3 during those battles near the crease -- something that had the Penguins questioning whether Holmstrom dived.
"Obviously, it would be a pretty big loss for them," Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney said. "He's pretty good at what he does. It's funny. Some of these penalties, he's going down easy, [but] in front of the net, I've never had to move anybody who seems that strong. He's real tough to move.
"I'm sure they're hoping he's in, and we're hoping he's out."
Television dictated that there would be two days off between Games 3 and 4, and the NHL dictated that the Red Wings would not be able to return to Detroit during the break.
"They never asked me about the schedule," Babcock said. "Obviously, they felt it was the best way for TV, and so that's what we do.
"We tried to fly home. We wanted to go home [Wednesday] after the game. But this is our opportunity to sell the game and the NHL."
As long as they had to remain in the area, the Red Wings opted to ditch practice Thursday and take a short overnight road trip to the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Fayette County.
"I thought what we did [Thursday] was great, absolutely fantastic," Babcock said. "It's a great spot we went to. Totally get away from hockey and do something different, which I think is important."
Players were given the choice of several activities at the resort.
Franzen first thought about heading to the woods to tackle the ropes course and zip line, "but I'm scared of heights, so I didn't go," he said. He settled for paintball.
"Some guys went golfing, some guys played miniature golf, some guys got massages," defenseman Brian Rafalski said. "I got a massage.
"There's nice restaurants there. We had a good steak dinner. It was a nice place. I'd never heard about it, but was a good place to get away."
Penguins coach Michel Therrien repeated an accusation that Detroit is getting away with obstruction that isn't being penalized.
To which Babcock responded:
"I don't know. I didn't listen to him. I didn't read his comments."
First Published May 31, 2008 12:00 am