Prep for Game 1
A few points of interest ...
Right now, it looks like Derek Meech and Chris Chelios will be the scratches on the blue line.
-- No surprise, but obviously they have a lot of confidence in Jonathan Ericsson to put him in with such limited experience. It certainly worked with Darren Helm last spring, but he was brought in after being around the playoff environment for a while as a scratch.
-- The fourth line is still somewhat a mystery. The first rep goes to Tomas Kopecky-Kris Draper-Kirk Maltby, but coach Mike Babcock is going out of his way to make Helm an equal part of what is now a four-man unit. During one drill designed for three-man units, Babcock yelled at Helm for not skating and making it a four-man forward rush. "Stay with your line Helm. Stay with your line." I'd guess that either Helm will start on the fourth line or be brought into the lineup early in the playoffs.
-- Everyone other than Andreas Lilja (concussion) is on the ice, a good sign that the Wings are starting the post-season relatively healthy. Obviously, the loss of Lilja hurts, but if everyone else is good to go, then that's not bad attrition.