Calling it his only lineup change "at this time," Wings coach Mike Babcock announced after Wednesday's morning skate that veteran forward Kris Draper
will play in Game 3 (8 p.m. ET, VERSUS [JIP], TSN2, RDS [JIP]) on the fourth line, with Patrick Eaves
and center Darren Helm
, while Drew Miller
will be a healthy scratch for the first time in the series.
That means Mike Modano
also likely will be a healthy scratch, for the third straight game, unless Babcock decides to put him into the lineup shortly before the game.
Draper, who will turn 40 on May 24, said sitting for the first two games a tough thing to swallow.
"I'll be honest with you, it's probably been one of the toughest things I've had to do in my career," said Draper, who is playing his 20th NHL season and 17th in Detroit. "Just like everybody else, I love this time of year. I love playing playoff hockey, but with that being said, I just tried to do all the right things for Game 1 and Game 2. Tried to do everything right. It's disappointing when you're not playing and it's frustrating when you lose a couple games. I guess Mike felt like there was going to be a change and I get to go tonight."
So what was it like having to sit and watch the Wings struggle offensively?
"You feel like … helpless," Draper said. "I try to do as much as I can to talk to the guys between periods, encourage guys, encourage the players and talk about some stuff that maybe guys saw. I just hung around the dressing room for both games. The bottom line is that everybody wants to be a part of this time of year and when you're not playing, it bothers you because you want to be a part of it. But it's not about me. It's not about one individual."
Likewise, he's impressed with how Modano has handled sitting so far. Modano, 40, has played just one game in the playoffs thus far and has said this could be his last NHL season.
"Mo's been unbelievable," said Draper. "For a guy who's going to be a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer … Mike's done so many good things at this time of year and very similar, he and I both really enjoy playing playoff hockey. But we have a lot of depth on this team, and that's the one thing you realize."