Wednesday's morning skate
Derek Meech will definitely play forward tonight, according to coach Mike Babcock. Why there's a need for him up front isn't as clear. Aaron Downey will be in the lineup. So will Darren Helm.
That means that one forward who played in Sunday's game in Columbus will be absent tonight, but when asked which forward, Babcock declined to name one. It might be that a veteran will be given a night off to rest a lingering injury.
Meech hasn't played forward in his NHL career. He did spend significant time up front as a 16-year-old with Red Deer in his first year of juniors, including playing forward in the Memorial Cup. That was more about finding ice time for a youngster than thinking that Meech was better suited as a forward than defenseman.
-- Babcock did say that Brett Lebda and Chris Chelios will play tonight, making Andreas Lilja a healthy scratch. Babcock said yesterday that those three will battle for the third defense pairing in the playoffs.
-- Tomas Holmstrom did battle drills at the morning skate and said afterwards that he felt great. What Holmstrom can't do well right now is straight-ahead skating (insert punch line here). His abdominal strain still lingers. Holmstrom had hopes of returning to the lineup Thursday night in Nashville, but that seems out now. Saturday in Columbus would be his earliest return.