Tonight, the Red Wings take on the Chicago Blackhawks in their preseason home opener. Chicago lost 6-4 against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, while the Wings dropped their first inter-squad scrimmage to the Penguins 5-1. The Red Wings lines are as follows:
Howard (Will play the first two periods)
MacDonald (Will play the third)
Hudler remains out with a bruised foot while Franzen is currently slated to miss the next three games with the thigh bruise he received at the hands of Brooks Orpik's knee (what?). Derek Meech also sits with a mild concussion. Interesting to see Ritola up on the 2nd line, look for him to continue impressing. Meanwhile, from the other side of the lakes, the Blackhawks will look like...well... something tonight. I don't have the lineup and, according to ESPN's Jesse Rogers, that's by design. Rogers says the entire roster won't be announced until closer to game time. What we do know is that Corey Crawford will play in net and Kyle Beach, Jeremy Morin, and Nick Leddy will all play for the Hawks tonight, but that Marian Hossa won't play until Saturday's rematch in Chicago.
Hopefully Ericsson can build off the momentum he had in the Penguins game where he led the team in minutes played and escaped the slaughter with an even rating. That was a marked improvement from his Red & White scrimmage game that had me screaming about shipping him off on a rail(gun).
Look for Brendan Smith. Lots of people like him, I do too. We should hang out sometime.
Most importantly, no more injuries. Nick Boynton's suspension doesn't start until the regular season, but hopefully he'll keep his ever-dangerous throat-slash maneuver under wraps. We all know how egregious that can be. We'd much rather send the message that knee-on-knee hits can stay in the game, but rude gestures should be eliminated from the polite society that is the National Hockey League.
Game thread up tonight. Join us for a live blog of the action. This one should be better, since we'll get to see it on television.