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Up-to-the minute updates and insights from the Red Wings locker room at home and on the road. By Chuck Pleiness of The Macomb Daily.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Waiting for word on Lidstrom

As a Red Wings fan, tonight will be one of the two worst nights of my life.
The other was in high school when I had to wait until the next day to get a yes or no from Mindy Sue about going to the prom with me. OK, so that's not a Red Wings fan moment, but it was a lousy night of anticipation and I was a Red Wings fan then too.
Tonight will be spent as most Red Wings fans will, wondering what tomorrow morning's MRI would reveal about Nicklas Lidstrom's ailing right knee. Lidstrom was knocked woozy, Monday in Denver, when Avalanche forward Ian Laperriere ran the Detroit captain hard into the boards. Laperriere's forearm landed on Lidstrom's jaw and the defenseman bounced back off the boards.
(That was a dirty hit, by the way. Any time a player gets a forearms up on another player's jaw and slams him against the boards, it's dirty. It might have been accidental, but Laperriere sure didn't act like it was.)
At first, it seemed as though a concussion was the biggest concern because Lidstrom couldn't stand up on skates. But he never lost consciousness and he hasn't had headaches since the incident, both good signs that he wasn't concussed.
The concern today, however, is Lidstrom's right knee, which was damaged when he crumpled to the ice after the hit. The knee kept Lidstrom out of the rest of the game and likely out of the Red Wings' games' on Friday and Saturday.
Coach Mike Babcock tossed out numbers like 7-10 days after Monday's game.
Seven to 10 days? Those are not good words to Red Wings fans' ears. Niklas Kronwall is out for 7-10 days with a shoulder injury that's lasted for 20 days. Henrik Zetterberg had a 7-10 label on him with his strained back late last season. That one lasted 19 games … games not days.
The initial reports have been that Lidstrom has a minor sprain to the MCL and that the team was more worried about a possible concussion.
So this morning will be good news … right? Tell me so.
You might think that I'm being overly dramatic calling last night one of the worst ever for a Red Wings fan. Compared with losing in the Stanley Cup playoffs, how bad can this be?
Well, losing playoff series is something that's going to happen. Nicklas Lidstrom being hurt isn't supposed to happen.
Seriously, it's not. Nicklas Lidstrom is the mechanical man, a modern-day Charlie Gehringer. He just performs at a high level over and over and over again. I think I saw Lidstrom go down to one knee once on the ice and that was a shocker. He popped right back up though.
Nicklas Lidstrom could get shot -- bullet, not flu -- and he wouldn't miss a game. He could be electrocuted and start the next game. At least so we all thought.
He did miss that one game with the flu back in 1996. And there were those few games with back spasms in 1995 … no wait, Lidstrom is indestructible. He is.
So all we had last night were initial medical reports and quotes from Lidstrom on the team website that he's feeling OK.
All of which is nice, but doesn't make for a good night's sleep, considering that there's an outside chance that today could be the first of many for the Red Wings without Lidstrom.
Hopefully, Brian Rafalski will be back from his groin injury this weekend. Because without Rafalski, Lidstrom and Kronwall, the Red Wings are missing their top three defensemen.
And if you're wondering, that night of waiting for Mindy Sue's answer was the best part of it all. I wasn't smart enough back then to see that "No" coming from a mile away.
Hopefully the only no that comes out of tomorrow morning's MRI is "No, Lidstrom won't be sidelined for long."


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