The Atlanta Thrashers (22-22-2) come into town for the first time since December 2005 and I know I'm looking forward to seeing Slava Kozlov play once again at the Joe (he was part of the Russian Five back in the glory days).
Slava Kozlov has dinner plans with Vladimir Konstantinov, his old teammate with the Red Wings who was paralyzed after that limo accident in 1997. When I asked Kozlov if he was looking forward to the Detroit trip, he answered: "Always, always. I have great memories of Detroit."
Kozlov isn't the only member of the Thrashers team looking forward to tonight's game.
Detroit (33-9-4) hope to snap a two game losing streak. They lost their last two games against Minnesota and Ottawa.
Dallas Drake hurt his knee during the game against the Ottawa Senators. It was in the same hit that Ottawa star Danny Heatley separated his shoulder. Aaron Downey will take Drake's roster spot.
Chris Osgood, who is 7-1-0 against Atlanta, will get the start in net tonight.
Atlanta's big center, Bobby Holik, has resulted in Wings head coach Mike Babcock moving Johan Franzen from the wing to the center (Kris Draper will play wing tonight instead of his usual center).
"We already know Drapes can play in the middle," said Detroit coach Mike Babcock. "There's no concern with that. Franzen's a great big guy. I feel that this is a good opportunity to see ... He played real well at center when we had injuries. And then after seeing that, I thought maybe he could be a good matchup center for us with his size. Tonight, he'll have the opportunity to go against a huge guy (Bobby Holik).
"It gives us something right there that we can test to see how we match up in that area. When you go through the west, they've got some big, big centermen that can wear on your smaller guys. Holik gives us that opportunity to test that theory."
Tonight's game starts at 7:30pm and will be shown on FSN Detroit. Go Wings!