One bit of good news from Monday's morning skate came from defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom
, who participated in his first full morning skate since taking a slap shot off the outside of his skate Feb. 25 against Colorado. He left the lineup with a deep bone bruise in his ankle and has missed the last nine games -- which are three more than he's ever missed in any one of his 19 previous NHL seasons.
Lidstrom tried to get on the ice a couple of times last week during a road trip out West, but never lasted long, and eventually was sent home. On Monday, he wasn't near full speed but was at least able to complete the workout.
"That's encouraging compared to how it was on Wednesday morning in L.A., where if I had my skate on I couldn't really stand on my foot," Lidstrom said. "That's an improvement for sure, where I was able to skate out there and even pivot and do some turns."
His teammates were pretty happy to have him out there, as well.
"He's a guy you want in the lineup every night, especially our power play would like a little boost," Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall
said. "Just seeing him on the ice, we know he's getting closer. Hopefully he'll be back soon. Until then, we all have to dig in and take care of business."
Lidstrom said he's still "day-to-day" with the injury, which has been X-rayed several times and hasn't shown any fractures -- including the latest one taken Friday when he got back to Detroit.
"It's still just a bone bruise that's taking time to heal," Lidstrom said. "I still look at it as day-to-day and hopefully it gets better every day. Hopefully (Monday's morning skate) will help me, too, and that it's not going to get worse from skating."
He'll find that out Tuesday, when Lidstrom is hoping to go through a full practice for the first time since getting hurt. The biggest issues have been swelling and pain once he puts his foot in the skate and laces it up, but the swelling has subsided a decent amount in the past couple weeks.
"It's slowly been getting better, but the big test is when you put your skate on and when you're skating," Lidstrom said. "That's when you put the most pressure on it and can test it out. I can walk around and do all that, but the most pain is from tying the skate and putting the pressure on where it's hurting and then trying to skate."
The Wings have just 10 regular-season games left, but Lidstrom said he's planning to get back into games before the playoffs begin.
"As far as playing again, I think it's going to be up to the coaches and trainers," Lidstrom said. "I want to get back before the playoffs. I want to get some games in before the playoffs start. Hopefully it's just a matter of getting better every day."