Red Wings – Islanders Pregame Notes

Because Mike Modano, Pavel Datsyuk and Danny Cleary weren’t enough… Patrick Eaves will miss tonight’s game against the New York Islanders with an upper-body injury.

Eaves his coming off of his first career hat trick and is listed as day-to-day.

Tomas Tatar will make his NHL debut, having been called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins to take Eaves’ spot in the lineup. Tatar is the Griffins’ leading scorer, with 29 points in 35 games.

Jimmy Howard gets the start in net for the Red Wings.

The Islanders are coming off a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, in which they stopped Sidney Crosby‘s scoring streak at 25 games. They’re second-to-last in the league but are on a 5-1-1 run.

Red Wings – Stars Postgame Thoughts

As previously mentioned, I was running around for this game so I followed it but not too well.

Great to see Jiri Hudler with another goal. Same for Kris Draper. Hell, same for Brad Stuart. Guys who usually don’t score putting it in the net is usually a good sign.

Patrick Eaves… I told you he was going to break out. I love the way he’s been skating. He’s getting the grindy goals but he’s also getting open and getting opportunities because of it. It’s easy to forget that the Wings turned him into a grinder, he was a scorer in Ottawa and Carolina (though a somewhat-failing one). This was supposed to be his game, he knows how to play it.

Since Pavel Datsyuk went down, Detroit is 3-1, with all three wins coming in a three games in four nights post-Christmas road trip. Not bad. The December that started with the Red Wings going 1-2-1 has become a 8-5-2 month with one game left to play.

One last note… I can see why Jan Mursak was called up from Grand Rapids rather than Ilari Filppula or Tomas Tatar. Mursak is skating very well and started getting some chances.

Numbers Game 2010

Red Wings Central has published Detroit’s training camp roster, meaning I moved too slowly getting my annual sweater number predictions made. It turns out I was right on a couple of my unpublished guesses and wrong on some others.

Mike Modano, as widely-reported, will wear #90 rather than switching to #89 with his usual #9 unavailable.

Free agent signee Ruslan Salei will keep his usual #24, inheriting it from Brad May.

Jiri Hudler will be making no change upon his return from the KHL, picking up the #26 he left behind a year ago.

This will not be the year that Justin Abdelkader takes the #87 he reportedly asked for last year. He’s back with #8.

Like Derek Meech and Kyle Quincey before him, Jakub Kindl is changing his number for his full-time jump to the big club. The #5 he wore in Grand Rapids is – of course – in use with the Red Wings so he’s switching from #46 to #4. This was one of my predictions.

Griffin Tomas Tatar has a somewhat expected switch. With his star rising in the organization, his jersey number drops from #72 to #21. I had expected him to get the #27 he wore last season in Grand Rapids. That number went to Travis Ehrhardt, who previously wore #45.

Given his status as a high-risk, high-reward European free agent signing, I’d expected Ilari Filppula to get the cursed #21 of Igor Grigorenko and Ville Leino. He gets neither that nor the #81 he wore in Finland, instead taking his brother’s original #41.

Rookie Brendan Smith will make his first appearance at Detroit’s camp wearing the #2 formerly belonging to Jiri Fischer.

Making their second runs with the Red Wings, Joey MacDonald returns to his #31 while try-out Aaron Downey will wear #32 with his previous #20 and #44 now taken.

The following are the remaining number changes for Red Wings prospects:

Mitchell Callahan, from #73 to #65
Jan Mursak, from #39
Andrej Nestrasil, from #56 to #49
Brent Raedeke, from #62 to #47
Jamie Tardif, from #67 to #29
Gleason Fornier, from #54 to #67
Brian Lashoff, from #49 to #25
Sebastian Piche, from #58 to #54
Logan Pyett, from #60 to #22

Abdelkader Gets His Chance to Impress

The Red Wings appear to be giving Justin Abdelkader every chance to impress them this preseason. The lineup for tonight’s matchup with the Buffalo Sabres reveals he will be making his third appearance in as many games for Detroit.

Abdelkader has two goals and three points through the first two preseason games. He started Friday night’s game against the New York Rangers on the top line centering Todd Bertuzzi and Dan Cleary before switching placed with Valtteri Filppula to center Jason Williams and Ville Leino.

Tonight he’ll be back between Kris Draper and Patrick Eaves, as he was on Wednesday against Philadelphia.

Tonight’s expected lines are as follows:

Johan FranzenPavel DatsyukTomas Holmstrom
Kris Draper-Justin Abdelkader-Patrick Eaves
Tomas TatarKris NewburyFrancis Pare
John VigilanteFrancis LemieuxJeremy Williams

Nicklas LidstromJakub Kindl
Logan PyettBrian Rafalski
Jonathan EricssonBrett Lebda

Jimmy Howard will get the start in goal and is expected to play the entire game. Thomas McCollum will be the backup.

Tonight’s game is the first of the preseason to be broadcast on Fox Sports Detroit.

I’ll be at the game but I’ll check into the gameday thread when I can.