Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 3/3/12
For the Red Wings, the playoffs are a rite of spring, but now that the injury bug has infested the roster the team may soon be nicknamed Grand Rapids East. OK, its a bit of a stretch and an overreaction, yet with Todd Bertuzzi now day-to-day with a sore groin, Nick Lidstrom recovering slowly from a deep bone bruise to his ankle, Jonathan Ericsson nursing a broken wrist and Pavel Datsyuk still not able to skate, well, you get the picture. Playoffs will soon be here and the suddenly wounded Red Wings need to get healthy in a hurry. I think were playing better, I think our energy is better, Red Wing coach Mike Babcock said after Saturdays practice. Health wise were not as good as we probably could be, but everybody goes through it. So, lets suck it up and win some games. Bertuzzi didnt practice Saturday and is a game time decision, although Babcock told reporters that Bertuzzi has notified him that he will play Sunday afternoon against Chicago, but Babcock quickly added, I dont think he makes that decision. Forward Dan Cleary was given Saturday off in what Babcock called a maintenance day. Cleary will definitely be in the Wings' lineup on Sunday. It was a low key practice as the Wings had to travel to City Rink because Joe Louis Arena was setting up for a concert featuring the Black Keys and the Artic Monkeys. Babcock has always been a realist when it comes to injuries. Like most coaches hes more concerned with the players in the lineup as opposed to the players that cannot contribute. When asked about Lidstrom, Babcock joked, Nick didnt even pretend (that hes ready to skate), he said he was looking pretty good in his suit (Friday night) and was wondering if we wanted him to stand on the bench because he was looking so good. As far as where Datsyuk is in the recovery process Babcock replied, He doesnt have a tan, so he hasnt been to Florida, he must be doing therapy. Datsyuk did address reporters on Saturday and was his usual playful self. Were trying to figure out why Im a little bit higher (taller), it must be because he fixed me, said Datsyuk about his most recent trip to the doctor. They say Im too short to play up front to get the rebound. Detroits top scorer hasnt skated since he had arthroscopic knee surgery on February 21, but he says he feels much better. He may attempt to skate tomorrow (Sunday), but he sounded unsure. Every day my movement is much better, Datsyuk said. I can do bike, I do almost everything. But I need time. I wish I had some magic pills. Two weeks was the timeline to have Datsyuk back up and playing and hes still optimistic that he can return soon. He expects to be back in time for the Wings' California road trip that begins on March 13 with a game against the Kings. Thats what Im looking for, said Datsyuk. I hope to practice with the team before that trip. I will take sun cream for California trip. I definitely want to go to California. I go Hollywood.
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