Knee injury sidelines Homer; Draper getting close
The latest victim is left wing Tomas Holmstrom, who didn’t skate in the team’s practice Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena.
Holmstrom will likely miss Thursday’s home game against the Edmonton Oilers. The Wings have called up veteran center Mark Hartigan from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League.
For Hartigan, this is the second time this season that he has been called up to fill a void on the Wings’ roster caused by an injury. He played against Tampa Bay on Nov. 29 when Kris Draper (knee) and Kirk Maltby (lower back) suffered injuries two days earlier in the Wings’ 5-3 win over Calgary.
In 26 games this season in Grand Rapids, Hartigan leads the Griffins with 12 goals.
Hartigan, 30, has played in 80 career NHL games, having played in Atlanta, Columbus and Anaheim before signing as a free agent with Detroit in July.
Holmstrom’s absence from the team’s top scoring line with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk will be felt. Homer has 14 goals and 14 assists in 30 games, and plays a vital offensive role screening opposing goalies in front of the crease.
As a potential solution, coach Mike Babcock paired right wing Mikael Samuelsson with Zetterberg and Datsyuk during Wednesday’s practice. But Babcock isn’t certain that Samuelsson will be a part of the Wings’ top offensive line by the time Thursday’s game rolls around.
“I have about seven or eight different thoughts,” Babcock said. “I had a day off yesterday; lots of opportunity to think about what I was going to do, and I came up with this one for practice today. So, we’ll see.”
Holmstrom, who has missed only six games over the previous two seasons, doesn’t remember when the injury occurred.
“It was at the end of the second period against Carolina and it was sore,” he said. “I didn’t think too much about it; maybe I got hit or something.”
Still, despite the pain, he managed to log over 16-minutes of ice time in the Wings’ 2-1 win the next night in Nashville.
“I rested it yesterday and rested it today, and probably not (play) tomorrow, either,” Holmstrom said. “We’ll see. It’s still swollen and a bit sore. (It hurts) when I twist a little bit. So I’ll stay away from working out for these two days and we’ll go from there.”
In other news, Draper participated in his first full practice on Wednesday since suffering a sprained knee on Nov. 27.
“I was able to stay out there for the whole practice,” Draper said. “Hopefully, we’ve turned the corner here and we can get more and more involved in practice every day.”