DETROIT -- It was a mixed bag of news at Red Wings practice Tuesday.
Captain Nick Lidstrom skated for the second day in a row, goalie Jimmy Howard didnt practice because his groin has flared up again, and Ty Conklin will start in net Wednesday in New York against the Rangers if he clears re-entry waivers.
Other than that, it was just a typical day for the Wings.
Were hopeful that he (Lidstrom) might be ready Saturday, Wings coach Mike Babcock said after Tuesdays practice. Im not certain. If not Saturday, then next week.
"Big E (Jonathan Ericsson, broken wrist) and Kuba (Jakub Kindl, strained oblique) have got to be coming eventually.
Lidstrom said that he didnt feel better or worse after Tuesdays practice. Hes still listed as day to day and wouldnt speculate on when hed return.
Lidstrom will travel to New York and continue to skate with the team, which is an encouraging sign.
As far as my foot, its about the same" he said. "As far as my stick-handling, its starting to feel better.
Its important to get the groins going again when you havent been on the ice for a long time, trying to get the body used to skating again, and that will take some time.
I cant put a timetable on it when it will be good again. I just have to kind of take it day by day now. Ive been anxious for quite some time now. Hopefully, its a little bit better every day I wake up, but it has been getting better.
"It just takes time. Thats the problem.
As upbeat as the Wings are about Lidstrom finally being on the mend, their goaltending situation could become a concern if Howards tweaked groin turns into a major issue and Conklin doesnt clear waivers.
Conklin can be claimed by another team any time before noon Wednesday. If he is, then Wings would start rookie Jordan Pearce in New York.
Backup goalie Joey MacDonald is suffering from back spasms. He had an MRI on Monday and said that he was relieved the results showed no bulging disc.
Its a little better than it was four or five days ago, MacDonald said. You can still feel it. Its not a big improvement, but I happy knowing its not a disc.
MacDonald was to be evaluated by a back specialist Tuesday and hoped to get a more definitive timeline of when hell be able to play again.
Babcock was uncertain of exactly how and when Howard re-aggravated his groin. It happened at some point during Mondays 5-3 loss to Washington.
I dont think its anything major," Babcock said. "Its just some tightness. Theyre (team doctors) just trying to be cautious.
If Pearce does start against the Rangers, the former Notre Dame goalie and aspiring medical student says he'll be ready.
Hockeys hockey," Pearce said. "Its always the same game. The puck is the same size. The net is the same size.
For me its always been a nervous excitement. You have to be confident in yourself. Im definitely excited if Im called upon.
Babcock: Lets win ugly
You might think that the Wings are trying to ride the storm out until they get back most of their injured players.
After all, there isnt much Detroit can do about their injury bug.
I disagree with that," Babcock said. "I think theres lots we can do. We can try and eliminate our errors and continue to be sound defensively.
Is there anything wrong with just digging in and playing tight to the vest and getting yourself a great win? Were going to go play a real good, hard-working Ranger team that has good depth and good goaltending.
Were not racing them to 10. We cant win like that, but there is a way we can win, so lets embrace it and lets do it.
Helm on the road to recovery
Watching Darren Helm walk, youd have a tough time believing that hes going to miss the next four to six weeks with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee..
Its going to take a while," he said. "There isnt a whole lot of mobility in there.
Im walking pretty good right now and moving fairly well, and those are good signs."
Helm said the he cant bend his knee and has a tightness that limits his movement.
Doctors are encouraged with his range of motion, but not optimistic enough to move up his return date.
They say a month," Helm said. "Well see how quick I can come back. We not going to be stupid with it. Were not going to rush it too much.
"Im going to try and push it so I can get back quicker, but again were not going to be stupid with it.