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(Delayed) Morning Skate: Back to the grind

How do we go back  to watching the NHL after such an exceptional game yesterday between the Canadians and Americans? The show must go on though so let's get started.

  • Jimmy Howard will start in net against the Avalanche tonight. It'll be interesting to see how the goalies play after such a long break. There could be some rust on both sides but the Wings can't afford any rust.
  • Will Andreas Lilja make an appearance in the line-up? Lilja, as you all know, has been out since February of last year and finally shook the headaches.
  • On that same note, Kirk Maltby opted for shoulder surgery and in result freed up the cap space for Lilja to return. Maltby's tenacity on the PK will be missed for sure but it will give other guys a chance to step up and maybe even Lilja, given his shot blocking ability.
  • Tonight's game is the first of following the incredible Olympic play.
  • Colorado's top goal scorer: the rook, Matt Duchene with 20.
  • Craig Anderson will be in net for Colorado and the Wings know about his abilities with his great performance earlier in the year.
  • How will the play of Brian Rafalski in the Olympics translate to NHL play? Will he be able to keep up the torrid pace offensively?
  • The early exit by Team Sweden should benefit the Red Wings. The four players got some valuable playing time in but there's also a lot to say for the rest that they received.
  • The Red Wings need to make up serious ground in the Western Conference and as a reminder, 1 point behind Calgary and tied with Dallas for the 8 spot. That's not terrible in terms of points  but the keeping pace needs to start.
  • Johan Franzen played well in his early return before the Olympics. He really turned it on and looked great moving around. How will that continue in tonight's game?
  • Key match-up to watch when the Red Wings are on the attack: Johan Franzen's line.
  • Key match-up to watch when the Avalanche is attacking: Wojtek Wolski's line.