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Morning Skate: WILSON!!!

I could have gone with the somewhat cheesy jerseys the Islanders had in the 90s but...I actually like them so the next logical decision had to be a reference to Castaway right? Sure, sounds good to me.


  • Jimmy Howard will get his ninth straight start in between the pipes for Detroit tonight. Should be interesting to see how he follows up two spectacular nights after a few days of rest. I think he will be able to get it done against the Islanders attack.
  • John Tavares is a star already. He leads all rookies in goals with 16 and has 13 assists to go with it. No wonder the franchise is trying to build around him. He's tallied 11 of his 16 goals in games against teams from outside of his own division, so he can get it done against the rest of the league.
  • Tavares is actually tied with Matt Moulson for the team lead in goals at 16. Another up-and-comer Kyle Okposo is at 9 goals with 21 assists. Not bad for the young guys on the team.
  • Big Johnathan Ericsson is hoping for a return to the line-up on Thursday. This means bye-bye to Doug Janik for the Carolina game more than likely. I can't see any reason why the Wings would keep him in the press box unless the Carolina game is just a test for Ericsson. 
  • How will Pavel Datsyuk do tonight? He flipped the switch in the last game and was making the plays that we as Red Wings fans are accustomed to. 
  • Darren Helm is getting the engine going. Helm has 5 goals in the last 5 games. Yeah, you read that right. The kid is getting it rolling and has found hands to go with his exceptional speed, grit, and hockey sense. He's the driving force behind what has quickly turned into the most dangerous line (in my opinion) that the Wings put out there.
  • Lighthouse Hockey, the best Islanders blog on the internet, is your go-to source for the Islanders side of things. 
  • I was looking through the roster, and who is this Chris Osgood guy? Anyone know?
  • Detroit can pick up some good points but there is a danger of overlooking this New York team. Nothing like a young team that plays hard for 60 minutes to knock you off your game. 
  • Ville Leino is slipping more and more into danger of being a complete non-factor. Another game out of the line-up and the fact that Brad May is replacing him is bad. A Finnish elite scorer replaced by a guy who's made his career fighting? Ville better be working his ass off in practice because it doesn't sound like Uncle Mike is pleased yet with his progress.
  • Stastically speaking...The Isles rank in the bottom five in scoring per game, bottom five in goals allowed per game, near the bottom in shots allowed, but they are a disciplined team and don't take that many penalties per game.
  • Way to beat the Islanders: Out hustle them. They are a team that works hard in every zone and the Wings will need to do what they did in San Jose to force turnovers all over the ice and put shots on net. If it is DiPi starting, fire away. He hasn't seen much NHL game experience in a long time so that could be the key to scoring.
  • Key match-up to watch when the Red Wings are on the attack: The Darren Helm show. Helmer's line has been great and I expect it to continue tonight. Too much roster depth for the Red Wings and matching the Islanders third line with the Red Wings third line could be costly.
  • Key match-up to watch when the Islanders are on the attack: All eyes on John Tavares. He's definitely a gifted kid (why he was selected #1 I suppose) and can play a big role in the game tonight. He's not particularly physical so I would expect the combination of Lidstrom/Rafalski to be paired with him in an attempt to shut him down. 
  • The lines for Detroit will be the same: