Abdelkader returns to Wings lineup

Justin Abdelkader returns to the Red Wings top line after serving a two-game suspension.

While the Detroit Red Wings are excited to have suspended forward Justin Abdelkader back in the lineup Friday night, coach Mike Babcock was ambiguous as to why Abdelkader would be taking the spot of forward Patrick Eaves in Game 6 win-or-go-home scenario.

“That’s a real good question, I asked myself the same question,” was how Babcock responded when asked why Eaves would be sitting.  “He’s played good, does what he’s supposed to, runs over people, a competitive guy, but because I have a little inside information than you do (reporters) that I’m not sharing with you, I have to have other guys cover other people in case they can’t survive.

“It makes no sense to me either.”

Eventually, we’ll find out why Eaves is sitting out. Speculation points to some sort of injury, however, at this point in the playoffs, injuries are as well guarded as England’s crown jewels.

Abby back with Pav and Z

Abdelkader will be back in his familiar spot on Detroit’s top line with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.

“It’s not easy especially this time of year to be sitting out watching knowing that you can help by doing something to help the team, it’s been tough” Abdelkader said.  “Our backs are against wall, it’s going to be exciting.”

Forward Mikael Samuelsson, who spelled Abdelkader on Detroit’s top line will drop to Detroit’s fourth line with Cory Emmerton and Todd Bertuzzi.

Colaiacovo in for Lashoff

When he signed with Detroit, defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo envisioned playing meaningful playoff games for a team that is always in contention for the Stanley Cup.

It hasn’t turned out that  way for the injury plagued defenseman who has appeared in only six regular season games for the Wings and has been a healthy scratch for the first five games of Detroit’s playoff series against the Ducks.

Colaiacovo will finally get his chance to play playoff hockey for the Wings in tonight’s pivotal game 6 replacing struggling rookie Brian Lashoff.

“There’s no easy way to prepare when you’re not playing, it’s tough,” said Colaiacovo. “Especially this time of year that you love playing in.  That’s why you play hockey, to play in the playoffs.”

During his time as a spectator, Colaiacovo said that he’s kept himself sharp mentally and physical, though, it’s been difficult, but he’s confident he’ll step in and not miss a beat.

“It’s behind me now (not playing), I’m presented with an opportunity today and I plan to make the most of it.”   

Colaiacovo will be paired with Jakub Kindl on Detroit’s blueline.

Babcock: Wings too much like a lawn mower?

While most of the Red Wing veteran players have been emphasizing to their rookies to be relaxed  and embrace the moment in an elimination game, Babcock continues to accentuate that the key for Detroit is to start the game on time.

“I explained to one of our kids (rookies) that it’s kind of like a lawn mower, you know you choke it and start it and it’s revving for a few minutes to get going,” said Babcock.  “We don’t need to be a lawn mower, we need to get that done in warm-up.  We just need to be idle and just perfect.”

Face-off is set for 8 p.m. EDT tonight, catch all the action on FOX Sports Detroit beginning at 7:30 p.m.

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