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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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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 51 18 19 25 37
H. Zetterberg 52 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 51 15 17 -2 32
G. Nyquist 52 14 15 -2 29
J. Abdelkader 52 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 37 6 20 11 26
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 38 5 10 6 15
D. DeKeyser 48 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 19 10 4 .932 2.03
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89