It’s the beginning of the end of the All-Star mess. Once this game’s out of the way the psuedo-suspension of Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk will be over and maybe we can talk about something else.
Obviously those two are out tonight. Brad Stuart is also out, recovering from the crash into the boards he suffered in Phoenix. Johan Franzen is expected to be back in the lineup so with Chris Chelios and Derek Meetch on the blue line that leaves the Wings down just one man, going with 17 skaters.
Chris Osgood gets the start in net and he’s pretty p*ssed about being without Datsyuk and Lidstrom.
“In the salary-cap era, the league is built for different teams to win every year, so it wouldn’t be good if we won again, would it?” Osgood says. “You see a lot of commercials with us in it? Most of it is Pittsburgh scoring on us (in the Final) and we’re the team that won. I think we’re the New York Yankees of the N.H.L. People dislike us. We have our fans, but there probably are a lot of people that love to see us lose and love to see us get guys suspended. We look at that as a nice challenge.”
Expect him to be “suspended” when the league determines he needs extra time to rest his tongue or something like that.
Columbus gets to have Steve Mason start in net, even though he skipped out on the YoungStars game on Saturday. Colin Campbell says that’s not even a real game, as opposed to the uber-important ASG in which no defense is played and there is no hitting.