As the Red Wings prepare for Game 3 tonight against the Ducks, one of the big areas of discussion is how fatigued the Wings are following the marathon, two-OT Game 2 and when will we finally see Brian Rafalski and Kris Draper.
According to NHL.com, neither Rafalski nor Draper will play in tonight's contest, as both remain sidelined with undisclosed "upper-body" injuries. Rafalski isn't talking or practicing, while Draper sounds like he is ready to go just as soon as he gets a doctor's clearance.
"The good thing is once I get the nod from the docs, then there isn’t any conditioning period and doing that stuff," Draper said. "That’s the one positive to this whole thing."
"I thought Game 1 was realistic," he said. "I know I’m not playing Game 3 and we’ll just go from there. Maybe the morning of Thursday, we’ll see what the docs have to say. If I get good news, obviously I’ll be real excited. If not, just wait and see what happens."
Both of these are pretty big mysteries, especially when one player is talking and the other isn't. In regards to Draper, you have to believe that if he is practicing and staying conditioned, he's being kept away from contact in order to prevent further damage to something like a cracked rib or perhaps even a concussion.At this point, all we can do is wait and see when the doctors will give him the go-ahead.
As for Rafalski, even though he's being listed as suffering from an "upper-body" injury, he's being treated in a completely different manner than Draper. Where Draper is skating, conditioning and practicing, Rafalski isn't, which seems a bit odd for an upper-body type injury. The better bet here is that he probably tweaked that groin injury that bothered him throughout February, which would explain why we he hasn't taken part in practices or skating, as the medical staff try and heal it with plenty of rest.
What does it mean? I still think we will see Draper this round, but I am not so confident about Rafalski. If it really is a groin re-aggravation, it will take time to heal, which could equal Rafalski staying on the bench against the Ducks.
Only time will tell for these two.