We're all happy to have Dan Cleary and Henrik Zetterberg back. The Red Wings are happy. The fans of the Red Wings are happy. The bloggers who write about the Red Wings are happy (even though we don't have access thanks to the Chief over at A2Y).
Out of all of the happy people, Kris Draper actually was quoted, and since he's more important to the Red Wings than you and I, the Detroit News published it. Here's what he had to say about Danny and Hank:
"We are getting two guys back who do it all, on both ends of the rink. They are tough guys to play against. They play every situation for us. So when you lose guys like that, you miss them a lot. Getting them back is huge."
So left on the injury list for Detroit:
Niklas Kronwall - knee
Jonny Ericsson - leg
Jason Williams - leg
Johan Franzen - knee
Andreas Lilja - bleeding brain
Remember when our problem was having too much talent? No? Neither do I. But the fact of the matter is that once Williams comes back, someone who has been playing decent is going to go down.
Maltby? Draper? Miller? And what about Ville Leino? Has he already become obsolete on this team after a disastrous first half? Think about this lineup and see if you don't get a warm fuzzy feeling...
Not touching the goalie section...it's a sensitive subject for some.
But think back to Sweden when we didn't think that Maltby should have been playing in that first game. Leino was in, Eaves was out, and Miller hadn't even arrived yet. What a change 41 games can bring.
If you ask me, Miller deserves to be in this lineup. Maltby has been playing as well as can be expected, but Miller gets my vote. I'm not quite ready to give up on Ville Leino. He's probably not willing to go back to GR, so I'm not sure what we're going to do with him.
Look at the names in red again. Is that a play-off caliber team? I'd say so.
What's that you say? I left a name off of there? Who...wha...? Oh that's right. Johan Franzen. Well I say that the lineup I provided above is good enough to get us to the post-season. And if that means resting The Mule longer than he wants to...so be it. Remember Bobby Orr? His career was cut short because he passed on missing additional games with knee problems. Know what he's missing now? All the cartilage in that problematic knee. So I say rest Franzen until he's so mad that he rips Paul MacLean's mustache from his face then watch him take down whatever team we play in the first round of the play-offs.
Unless he's not ready. Then we may have "wasted" one year of his contract. But so what? We have an entire decade more.