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Draper itching to get in Game 7 lineup

Thursday, 05.14.2009 / 5:17 PM ET / News
By Brian Compton  - NHL.com Staff Writer
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Draper itching to get in Game 7 lineup
DETROIT -- Kris Draper has had it.

The Red Wings forward -- who has missed the entire 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs to date with an upper-body injury -- is aching to crack the lineup when his team meets the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7 of this Western Conference Semifinal at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday night (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS).

Draper, 37, was one of the first players off the ice on Thursday morning and will be a game-time decision. He's hoping to hear some good news.

"I'm preparing that I'm going to play," said Draper, who hasn't been in action since April 9 against the Nashville Predators. "When the docs come in, hopefully I get that green light. That's what my preparation's going to be. I hope to be a part of it (Thursday)."

If he's not, Draper will clearly be devastated. He's one of the few in the Wings' locker room who was part of the franchise's last Game 7, which took place in 2002 against the Colorado Avalanche. He's not prepared to watch this one.

"We've talked a lot here the last five, six days about not being able to be a part of this," Draper said. "I've said my peace to the docs. Everything that I can do … it's out of my hands. Hopefully I get that nod and I'm able to play (Thursday) and be a part of it."

Draper had been hoping to play since Game 3, when the Wings made their first trip to Anaheim. He was asked if he's noticed a difference in his health since that time.

"I don't," he said. "I've been trying to get in for a long time. But this is something I want to be a part of. I've stated that, I've argued that. We'll see. I'll probably find out when I get to the rink (Thursday) or just before warmup. But my preparation is that I'm going to play. I don't get the last say -- that's the unfortunate thing."

Team physicians will determine before the game whether Draper is ready to play. Then, it will be up to coach Mike Babcock to write Draper's name on the lineup card. On Thursday morning, though, Babcock wasn't prepared to answer the question as to whether Draper will dress.

"I don't make those decisions," Babcock said. "When the doctor makes those decisions at game time, then I can get involved. I said to Nick Lidstrom last night, how many (Game 7s) has he played in, and he said, 'Four, maybe five.' It's an unbelievable opportunity and should be a lot of fun, so Draper probably wants to play and I don't blame him."

Detroit defenseman Brian Rafalski understands where Draper is coming from. Rafalski was forced to miss the first five games of this series before returning to the lineup in Anaheim for Game 6.

"Obviously he wants to contribute … he's been around here a long time," Rafalski said. "He's someone that has contributed a lot to this team. He's very good in the faceoff circle. To add that would help."




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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

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2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Tatar 5 0 3 1 3
M. Green 5 1 1 -1 2
A. Athanasiou 5 1 0 1 1
G. Nyquist 5 1 0 2 1
H. Zetterberg 5 1 0 3 1
J. Abdelkader 5 1 0 -3 1
B. Richards 5 1 0 -4 1
D. Helm 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Larkin 5 1 0 -2 1
N. Kronwall 5 0 1 3 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 1 2 0 .945 1.36
J. Howard 0 2 0 .891 3.59