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Colaiacovo's excited for home debut

Healthy defensemen will soon cause good problem for Wings

Monday, 04.1.2013 / 2:29 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Colaiacovo\'s excited for home debut

Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo was injured on this play when he was checked by the Blue Jackets' Cam Atkinson in the third period on Jan. 21. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT – Rough doesn’t begin to explain Carlo Colaiacovo's year.

So when the veteran defenseman was asked if he was excited about playing in his first game in a Red Wings uniform at Joe Louis Arena on Monday night, his answer was more than anticipated.

“Hell yeah! It’s been a long time so I’m really looking forward to it,” said Colaiacovo who missed 33 games with a shoulder injury. “I put in my time last couple of games with the Griffins and felt really good. Looking forward to carrying that momentum into tonight.”

Colaiacovo will make his home debut when the Red Wings host the Colorado Avalanche at Joe Louis Arena at 7:30 p.m. EDT.

“I'm really looking forward to it,” said Colaiacovo, of playing in front of the home crowd. “When I first signed here I said The Joe is one of my favorite rinks to play in. I haven't had that chance to do it in a Wings uniform. That's something that's going to keep the adrenaline going for me tonight.”

Colaiacovo spent the weekend on a conditioning assignment with the Wings’ AHL affiliate. He played in two games with the Grand Rapids club and felt pretty good physically.

“I had a couple of good hits down there,” he said. “It really wasn't an issue for me. It made me feel a part of the game. There's a lot of thoughts that go through your head prior to the game about what it's going to feel like again. But once you get in, it feels good and you feel good about yourself and you're in the game. That was a lot of fun to be part of.”

He suffered a left shoulder injury in Columbus on Jan. 21. It was the same shoulder that he sprained while playing for Team Canada in the Spengler Cup in December when he was hit by current teammate Damien Brunner.

Colaiacovo will replace rookie Brian Lashoff in the lineup and will be paired with another rookie, Brendan Smith.

Though Colaiacovo hasn’t played in more than two months, coach Mike Babcock isn’t concerned with the defenseman’s conditioning.

“He’s got to get in here and grab his piece,” Babcock said. “The thing we’re not at this time of the year and where we are in the playoffs is in the business of trying people out. You start in a position and if you’re not going someone else is going to take your spot.

“He worked at it. He’s been coming back for a long time, skating that whole time, it was his shoulder and not anything else so he should be fine. We just have to keep his shifts short, but we think he’ll be fine.”

The Wings’ defensive corps has been on the mend for some time now, and Kyle Quincey (facial fractures) said he’ll be ready for Thursday’s game at Phoenix. And Danny DeKeyser could be ready to make his NHL debut later this week too. It’s certainly a nice problem to have, Babcock said.

“I think DeKeyser thinks he’s playing Thursday as well so it’ll be a battle,” Babcock said. “I like having too many.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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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

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80