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Morning Skate: Shark Tale

Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau in the remake. Not confirmed yet.
Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau in the remake. Not confirmed yet.

Happy Groundhog Day to everybody! We'll have quite a bit of stuff today so keep on checking back throughout the day, all the way until the whistle blows after the Wings/Sharks game tonight.

  • Andreas Lilja rehab stint in Grand Rapids begins tomorrow This is great news for Lilja and the Wings moving forward. To lose that much time of your career from an injury is kind of hard to believe and for Lilja to finally get on the ice is surely something he's long been awaiting.
  • Tomas Holmstrom returns to the line-up. Homer's been out for a while with a broken foot but tonight he will get back on the ice and plant his rear end in front of Evgeni Nabokov, picking up where he left off by infuriating opposition goalies. 
  • Continuing on Homer, think just how much he brings back to this offense. Power play, even strength and in the corners he is a nightmare to defend against. Plus, I know we're all looking forward to trying to figure out what he says during intermission reports as well.
  • Around the league tonight: Jean-Sebastian Giguere gets his first start in a Leafs uni, the Coyotes take on the Preds, Wild battle Stars, and Rangers take on the Kings. Minny, Dallas, and a surprising Anaheim are all sneaking up on that 8 spot so
  • For those scoreboard watching: Calgary dropped another game and thus put Detroit back in the 8 spot heading into tonight's contest with the Sharks.
  • After Calgary lost, they sent Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust to New York Rangers for Christopher Higgins and Ales Kotalik
  • I'm feeling a Valtteri Filppula goal tonight. Just sayin'
  • The Herm2Hockeytown website is up and running so check it out!
  • Our pal Motownchollis has a great post up over on Motown Wings about the scenarios the Wings need to make the "magic number" for the playoffs. My head hurts.
  • Sharks top goal scorer is also the League's top goal scorer: Patrick Marleau with a blazing 37 goals. That's one shy of the career high for the guy that always looks either surprised or confused.
  • Fear The Fin is the home of the SB Nation Sharks blog. Ch-ch-check it out.
  • Cap issues are starting to rise up. When Franzen returns on the 9th against the Blues (the tentative time for his return) and a possible return of Lilja, the Wings will have a lot to figure out in terms of the cap. Expect to see Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves to stay though, they've earned it.
  • Niklas Kronwall seems to be fine after the hit he took against the Penguins and Jordan Staal and will play tonight. What a huge sigh of relief.
  • With Homer returning, Jason Williams will likely head down to the fourth line to join Miller and Maltby. Which May or Leino!
  • Nicklas Lidstrom is a +20 on the ice while Jonathan Ericsson is a -12. Hooray and yikes. Lidstrom's +20 is good enough for fifth while Ericsson is tied for 228th. Wow.
  • Goalie battle? Jimmy Howard and Evgeni Nabokov are tied for third in save percentage at 92.8% shots saved. 
  • How to beat em: For the love of Gordie, make decent passes and take some shots. The Wings were horribly constricted by the Penguins defense and it showed. That was probably one of the easiest games MAFleury has ever played because the shots and quality chances were not that numerous.
  • Key match-up to watch when the Red Wings are on the attack: How will Holmstrom do in his return to the ice? Will he pick up where he left off or is there a bit of a catching up period for Homer.
  • Key match-up to watch when the Sharks are on the attack: Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau, and Joe Thornton. That's one heck of a line and with Thornton dishing to two great scorers, the Wings have their hands full.